Tuesday, January 31, 2012

General Mackay on 19 April 1941

General Mackay wanted to see what Brigadier Lee's force was enduring, so he spent time with the rearguard at Domokos from about 7:30am until 4pm on 19 April 1941. General Mackay understood what Rommel also understood: the importance of leading from the front lines. On 18 April, Brigadier Lee had four infantry battalions, engineers, and additional troops. At that point, he thought that there was little danger of being pressed by the Germans until after the Australian and New Zealand divisions had passed through Lamia. Because of that, he had sent one brigade of two battalions back to Thermopylae. General Mackay had approved the move early on 19 April. That was when the men discovered a train of valuable fuel and explosives two miles away. The Victorian railway men were determined to take the train to Athens. However, they were bombed by German aircraft and caused and explosion that destroyed the train. Miraculously, the Australian railwaymen survived. This is based on the account in Vol.II of hte Australian Official History.

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