Friday, December 23, 2005

The collapse in the Balkans in April 1941

The British had become separated from the Greek army. Yugoslavia had surrendered. The Greek government was in turmoil. The Greek president of council had committed suicide on 18 April 1941. General Wilson had spoken with the Greek king and asked if he would stay in Athens as long as possible. Some in the Greek government wanted to withdraw to Crete and continue fighting. Other ministers thought that further resistent was not feasible. General Wavell flew to Athens on 19 April and met with General Wilson and Brigadiers Galloway and Brunskill, Rear-Admiral Baillie-Grohman, and Air-Vice Marshal d'Albiac. General Wavell was resistant to withdrawal, partly because of the equipment that would be left behind. General Wavell needed to consult with the Greek government before definitely deciding on withdrawal. He met with General Blamey, who would have to hold Thermoplyae. He told Wavell that he could not hold Thermopylae for long. General Wavell then met again with the King and the new head of council. By 21 April, the Greek government notified Wavell that the best course would be to withdraw. The withdrawal appeared to be difficult, partly because the navy was in such a strained state. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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