Monday, October 24, 2011
17 April 1941: a scratch brigade is formed
Brigadier Allen was put in charge of a scratch brigade formed of two of his battalions (the 2/2nd and 2/3rd) and the 21st New Zealand Battalion. They were to move to the Pinios Gorge in an attempt to block the advancing Germans. He had a mixed force of infantry, along with most of a field artillery regiment, some anti-tank guns, and carriers. He was to defend Larisa from the east. Allen's 2/1st Battalion was put under the command of the division commander at Olympus. The plan was still to withdraw to Thermopylae, the site of the famous battle in antiquity. General Mackay would have responsibility for protecting the flanks of Freyberg's NZ division. The commanders could only hope that the Germans could be delayed long enough for their withdrawal plans to be executed. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.