Saturday, March 06, 2021

More rearguard action from 12 to 14 April 1941

 At about 3:30pm, the 1st Armoured Brigade was then at Ptolomais engaged in a last rearguard battle. British carriers and armored cars were firing on advancing Germans. New Zealand artillery, positioned some 10,000 yards back was engaging the advancing German force. 

By early on 14 April, the Germans were starting to move forward. German tanks and infantry were moving towards the defenders. By 10am on 14 April, the rearguard was pulled back to Katerini. By late afternoon, they were within the Olympus defensive perimeter. 

As all this was happening, the 16th Brigade was moving into the Servia position. They had been forced to travel over the mountains using borrowed donkeys. Back on 9 April, "the engineers had cratered the pass". Soon, they were ordered to move on to the Olympus defenses. They destroyed or burnt much gear prior to the withdrawal. Of course, just to make things interesting, they got a day of snow at Veria, before they moved out. 

General Blamey had ordered the 2/3rd Battalion to move into position near the main road and the track they would take on the way to crossing the Aliakmon river. The 2/1st Battalion had reached Leventes by 3am on  13 April. They walked south on foot to Avlianna, where they had to ask directions about how to reach the river by traveling over the mountain.  This is based on the account in "Greece Crete and Syria" by Gavin Long.

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