Friday, July 22, 2011

The 2/8th was in deep trouble: 12 April 1941

The 2/8th Battalion had depended on the Rangers to form a screen in front, but the Rangers misunderstood what was happening and withdrew to the "rearguard position at Rodona". By late afternoon on 12 April 1941, the situation became desperate, as German tanks and infantry penetrated the Australian position. The men withdrew as best they could, lightening their loads by abandoning weapons and other equipment. As the night fell, the men were marching in mud, which only made matters worse. The battalion should have started a retreat sooner, but the headquarters did not realize how bad the situation had gotten. As the men assembled at Rodona, there were only 250 men from the 2/8th. They included about half the officers but only a fraction of the men. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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