Thursday, October 06, 2011

The 19th Brigade's withdrawal went poorly

Again, there was difficulty in communicating with all the companies in the 19th Australian Brigade to inform them of the order to withdraw on 14 April 1941. They had assumed that they would be able to take their Bren carriers with them. They found to their dismay that the bridge could not hold them and the one raft they had was unequal to the task and overturned. They were forced to destroy the carriers as best as they could. One company became separated, but they were reduced to sixty men, so they were able to transport them across the river using a small boat. While all this was happening, the Germans were pressing the Greeks defending the mountain passes to the north. The armoured brigade was caught in the mess. They attempted to withdraw along congested roads. In the process, the 3rd RTR had seven tanks break down. This was Robert Crisp's unit and he was present. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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