Thursday, September 23, 2021

Action from 18 April 1941

 It was early on 18 April 1941 when the men saw forty German soldiers on the far bank of the river. This was on the right of the 2/2nd Battalion. The Germans were "bunched up" and this drew the Australians fire. They got all forty of the German soldiers. 

As the morning progressed, the number of Germans in front of the New Zealand 21st Battalion increased. By midday, the Germans attacked. The first thing that the Germans did was to remove the road block. That allowed German tanks to drive through. The first tank knocked out a 2pdr anti-tank gun. The next tank proceeded to drive past. More tanks were in action and there was German infantry. The New Zealand troops were sitting, in exposed positions, on Mount Ossa on the "forward slopes".

The forward men were back, while there were anti-tank guns and crews in front. Three German tanks were driving slowly along the road. When the tanks were closest, the anti-tank guns fired, knocking out two tanks and damaging the third tank. They had fired 28 rounds. 

German infantry had crossed the river and called on the gunners to surrender. One gun crew had escaped while another had some men captured or were driven off. 

At this point, field guns fired on the tanks and kept them pinned down. Eventually, the action became so intense that the men had to "fall back". This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

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