Friday, November 25, 2011
On 17 April 1941, the 5th New Zealand Brigade had been loaded onto trucks to move to Almiros. Their assigned road was so bad that General Mackay had them move on the Australian division's road. The withdrawal also commenced from the Servia Pass. Lt-Col. Howard Kippenberger commanded the rearguard. The artillery withdrew first and then the infantry. The demolitions effectively held up the German advance. Savige Force, to the left, was left to hold for too long. They would only get to start the withdrawal in the night of 17/18 April. They had the dubious protection of the 1st Armoured Brigade. By the afternoon of 17 April, there was no armoured brigade to provide cover. The road behind them was packed with vehicles, so any withdrawal would be difficult. Brigadier Savige only expected to be able to start a withdrawal on the night of 18/19 April. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.