Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The German sweep: 7 April 1941 in Greece

The Greek HQ at Salonika received word on 7 April 1941 that a German armoured force was sweeping through Yugoslavia, and then turned south through the Doiran Gap. They would flank the Greek force and drive south to Salonika. The Greek 19th Division was stationed at the Doiran Gap the day before, and reinforcements were rushed to aid them. The Germans were moving fast, and the leading units arrived at Doiran late on 7 April. A Greek offensive in Albania had started on 7 April, but had made little progress. The Yugoslav division that was to have cooperated failed to do so on the 7th. The 19th Australian Brigade, under General Wilson's command, was ordered forward, despite being short a battalion. The 16th Australian Brigade was to move to the Veria Pass and try and hold it. They were often above 3000 feet and had to carry equipment up the mountains, or use the few donkeys that were available. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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