Monday, July 25, 2005

Given Wavell's paltry offer, we can understand why the Greeks declined

On Wavell's trip to Athens, starting on January 13th, 1941, he could only offer paltry forces:
  • two field artillery regiments
  • one or two medium regiments
  • one anti-tank regiment
  • one cruiser tank regiment
  • one or two batteries of AA artillery
Since Germany had not yet intervened, General Metaxas thought that such a small British contingent would only give the Germans further pretext to act. The British assumed that their presence would reassure the Yugoslavs, but General Metaxas had information that they would resist German attack only if they thought that the attack had not been provoked by a British presence at Salonika. The priority for General Metaxas was to resolve the situation in Albania. Not only was the British army not welcome, but the RAF should also wait for events to develop. This suited Air Chief Marshal Longmore, as it bought time to develop airfields, before he was forced to deploy aircraft.

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