Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Germans on the move

 By 2pm on 4 April, the leading German vehicles approached Petrana. That was about six miles north of the Aliakmon. As it was getting dark, the German guns started firing to get the range. 

By about midnight, the German guns were shelliing steadily. They were targetting  the ANZAC positions. 

By 8pm, they could see the headlights of German vehicles moving west towards Gervena. This was an area of hills through which the British armored brigade had moved. 

During the night of 14 April, the New Zealand brigade moved the 20th Battalion on the left to be in touch wsith the Australian 19th Brigade. This was north of the Aliakmon River. Now the three New Zealand battalions were nominally holding 15,700 yards, but that was only an illusion because 9,500 yards were along a steep escarpment that was close to impassible. The New Zealanders only watched the area with patrols.

Early on 15 April, before dawn, forward posts from the New Zealanders saw men "straggling along the road, looking like Greeks, but they were Germans. The Germans were eventually fired upon. By 5:45pm, a German attack was turned back. Some of the Germans waved white handkerchiefs, asking to surrender. The New Zealanders eventually took 147 infantry as prisoners. This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

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