Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Yugoslavia collapses on 8 April 1941
The British were not able to conduct aerial reconnaissance on 8 April 1941 due to the rain and snow. A patrol penetrated north and found that the Yugoslavian army in the south had collapsed. The Germans had taken Veles and Skoplje. Three Yugoslav divisions surrendered to the Germans. A core of Yugoslav officers gathered at Florina. Three Yugoslav tanks and four anti-aircraft guns returned with the patrol. A German thrust through the Doiran Gap pushed back the Greek 19th Division. General Papagos had hoped that the British 1st Armoured Brigade might help hold the gap, but there was no chance of that happening. The 4th Hussars, presumably with light tanks, formed a screen on the Axios plain. When they saw German tanks driving across the plain, they blew up a road bridge and damaged a railroad bridge before withdrawing. Canadian commandos destroyed the oil stored at Salonika, as had been planned. The New Zealand Divisional Cavalry and the 6th New Zealand Brigade also conducted demolitions before withdrawing. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.