Wednesday, January 11, 2012

18 April 1941 involving Larisa

The British commanders spent the day of 18 April 1941 in a state of anxiety. They feared that one or both of the rearguards might be pushed past Larisa before the retreating columns could safely pass. The other concern was that German bombers might inflict heavy casualties on the forces on the roads. At 9:30am, a truck laden with explosives was hit by a bomb and exploded. The explosion blew a large crater in the road. Brigadier Steele, himself, the ANZAC Corps Chief Engineer was on the spot to personally supervise the repairs. A knocked out bulldozer made matters worse. They not only had to repair the crater but to create a detour. At 2pm, Brigadier Rowell had gone to see Mackay and Freiberg to see if they might postpone the withdrawal. The situation was so tenuous that it was not possible, but by then, the columns were able to continue on the detour and traffic moved forward. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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