Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The German advance continues

 The German attacks were costly to the Germans. Besides the 147 "unwounded officers and men, some 30 or 40 men from the 9th Armored Division where taken. These were all wounded men. The Germans seem to have had 400 casualties. The cost to the New Zealand Division were only 8 men. The New Zealand men were in good positions, well dug in. The attacks were all frontal assaults. The attackers lacked air or artillery support.

Some of the Germans had passed the forward New Zealand positions prior to being recognized. The Germans continues to push against the New Zealanders. The Germans used Servia as an assembly point. Because of that, Servia was kept under constant fire. A New Zealand  unit ended up being almost surrounded by the Germans. The Germans were using the escarpment as cover.

One New Zealand platoon pulled back, higher up on the slope. Two platoons from the 19th New Zealand Brigade launched an attack and caused a German patrol of some 40 men to withdraw from their position "below Prosillion village". 

During the afternoon of 15 April, General Blamey told General Mackay that he needed to reposition the 19th Australian Brigade on the other side of the Aliakmon River. It was late in the day and there was no bridge in place to cross the river. At this time, communications were proving to be unreliable. 

The 26th New Zealand  Battalion had dealt with the issue of the river using an improvised ferry using folding boats. Engineers were ordered to build a timber bridge. It took a very long time to construct and water was rushing past in the river. This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long,.

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