Monday, April 30, 2012

Withdrawal plans changed: 25 April 1941

The force that General Wilson commanded in Greece was called "W Group", W presumably standing for Wilson. By 25 April 1941, the evacuation plan had changed. Now, they would try to hold off the German advance while embarking from more southern beaches. They had hoped to have all troops withdrawn by 27 April, but it was not to happen. New rear guards were mounted to buy time for more troops to withdraw. Brigadier Charring, commander of the 1st Armoured Brigade, was to try and hold eastern Attica, to protect the Athens beaches from the north. They were then to move to Rafina for embarkation on the night of 26-27 April. They also hoped to withdraw some 8,000 troops from Kalamata the same night. Now, they hoped to withdraw the New Zealand troops from far southern beaches on the nights of 28/29 and 29/30 April. General Freyberg was designated as the commander in the Peloponnese. The plan was now to withdraw the 19th Brigade from Megara on the night of 25/26 April. Wilson's staff then doubted that all the men could be embarked at Megara, so they were to send half to the beaches at Marathon. It seemed that the situation was starting to be more than Wilson's staff could handle. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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