Tuesday, September 14, 2021

 Men from the 2/2nd Battalion moved along the earth road to travel through the Gorge. They moved past the New Zealand posts. They expected that they would not see any Germans in their travels. They believed that the Germans were still "far away". When the Australians had reached a railroad tunnel, they drew fire from some 150 yards from "either side of the tunnel". Some men were wounded by the firing. The Australians found cover and returned fire. A New Zealand platoon also opened fire on the Germans. 

The firefight continued for some two hours. At dusk, the Australian leaders brought their men out. Men from the New Zealand battalion brought their men out and carried out two wounded Australians. Blamey had issued orders to the New Zealanders to withdraw following the "Larisa-Volos road". The main road between Larisa and Lamia was left for Mackay to use.  It turns out that the road "to Volos" was just a "dirt track". The road led over flat county. There had been enough rain that road was muddy. 

Sometime on 17 April, General Freyberg wrote to General Blamey, informing Blamey of an arrangement Freyberg had made with General Mckay to let the New Zealanders make use of the road that had been allocated to the Australians. The letter was slow to reach Blamey. 

Freyberg had ordered the 5th New Zealand Brigade to mount their vehicles. That put two battalions on the "top of the pass" some three miles south of "Ayios Dimitrios". A third battalion was sitting at Kokkinoplos. 

It turned out that by blowing craters in the road, the Germans were so delayed that they were not seen until 6pm. This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

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