Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Summary of the Greek campaign in 1941

 The German forces in Greece in 1941 were from the Twelfth Army. There were official figures for losses announced at the end of the operation:

"1,160 killed,

3,755 wounded,

and 345 missing."

The British forces in Greece included the following:

"British army 21,880

Palestinians and Cypriots 4,670

RAF 2,217

Australian 17,125

New Zealand 16,720"

losses:

"British 146 killed, 87 wounded, 6,489 prisoners"

"RAF 110 killed, 45 wounded, 28 prisoners"

"Australian 320 killed, 494 wounded, 2,030 prisoners"

"New Zealand 291 killed, 599 wounded, 1,614 prisoners"

"Palestinian and Cypriot 36 killed, 25 wounded, 3,806 prisoners"

When the "ANZAC Corps pulled back from Thermopylae and Brallos, the Germans were slow to advance towards Athens. The first Germans to reach Athens had come from Corinth. This was "on the morning of April 27". The "Adolph Hitler" Division had been at Yannina. They only advanced by 26 April. They were in a position where they could "outflank" the Anzac Corps. By 27 April, the "Adolph Hitler" Division had reached Patras and sat there while the British withdrawal was accomplished.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

At Kalamata on April 28-29 1941

 The soldiers at Kalamata were divided into four groups, hoping to be loaded onto ships on the night of 28 to 29 April 1941. There was a plan to guide the loading of men. The first group were the wounded and stretcher bearers. The second group was called Pemberton Force. They were about 1,400 men, mostly base troops. The third group was Harlock Force, including both Australian and New Zealand soldiers. Then there was Lister Force, a mixed group of men. They had 2,400 British depot soldiers. There were some "100 Indian mule drivers". The rest were laborers. About 2,000 were Palestinian and Cypriot. The last 2,000 were also laborers in this case, Yugoslav and Lascar. 

The 4th Hussars were patrolling towards the north. They had seen no Germans so far. But there was a surprise, because two ours later, Germans had run over the Hussars and went "through the town" and drove tot he quay. The captured the beach master. The "British" started fighting. Officers gathered soldiers and led them "to the quay". A New Zealand battalion "fixed bayonets and charged towards the quay. The fighters had very few weapons left. The quay had been recaptured by 9:30pm. The captured two German field guns and took about 100 Germans prisoner. During the fighting, two cruisers and six destroyers were headed for Kalamata. The Germans had disrupted withdrawal plans for Kalamata. Destroyers had succeeded in loading some 399 soldiers.

Admiral Pridham-Whippel sent destroyers to see if they could pick up soldiers from the coast south of Kalamata. They succeeded in picking up somewhat more than 900 soldiers. 

After this, one Australian hospital unit remained in Greece. They gradually were controlled by the Germans. They eventually took in wounded from Crete, after that battle had started.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Last minute developments in Greece from 28 April 1941

 By 28 April 1941, the Germans were said to be advancing into the Peloponnese. German paratroopers were thought to be jumping in an area near Navplion. The senior officer at Navplion suggested that everyone should "head for the hills", 

At the beach at Tolos, the rear-guard was an "Australian Composite Battalion". They were soldiers from the area around Athens. They had reached Argos early on 26 April. They were ordered to travel to Kalamata and to be ready to fight as a rear-guard. When they had passed through the Tripolis Pass, German bombers and fighters attacked the group. They took action to make the road unusable and half of the battalion move into a defensive position "near Tripolis". Brigadier ordered them to protect the loading soldiers from Navplion and Tolos. These were referred to as the "Argos beaches". About 130 men from the battalion moved into a position to protect the beach at Tolos. The decision had been made to not use Navplion to load soldiers onto ships. By early on 28 April, the soldiers at Navplion were told that if they wanted, they could try to "break away". Miller and Jackson chose fight to keep the Germans from moving into the beach that night. The two groups set up on either side of the road into Navplion. By the afternoon, they fought a German group riding in trucks and captured British carriers. The battle lasted some three hours, the Australians were forced to surrender. Most soldiers had surrendered to the Germans, but many small groups escaped from Tolos. Some used boats they found while others found Caiques that were functional.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long. 

Monday, May 09, 2022

British soldiers at the "Argos beaches" 29-29 April 1941

 By 28 April 1941, there was only fairly strong "group" left in Greece. This was a New Zealand brigade that was still at Monemvasia. They had no artillery with them, but they were still a good fighting force. The plan at this point was to send a cruiser and four destroyers on the night of 28 April. 

They also thought that there were some 7,000 soldiers at Kalamata, although there were actually more than 7,000 at Kalamata. Two cruisers and six destroyers were to be sent to Kalamata. They would also send three sloops to Kithera load about 800 soldiers. The operation at Kithera was successful. Landing craft took the soldiers from the beach to the sloops. They carried the soldiers to Suda Bay, a place that is familiar to me (Spring 1977). 

One sloop, the Hyacinth, towed the landing craft. Loading soldiers went well at Monemvasia. The first ships, the Isis and Griffin arrived at 10:30pm on 8 April. At about 1am on 29 April, aa cruiser, the Ajax, and the destroyers Hotspur and Havock appeared, The soldiers were carried to the ships on barges and fishing vessels. All the men, including General Freyberg and Rear-Admiral Baille-Grohman were loaded and were underway. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria, by Gavin Long.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

more embarkations on 27-28 April 1941

 During the night of 27-28 April there about 2,000 men, with groups of stragglers still arriving. Thesewere the "Argos beaches", namely Navplion and Tolos. There were German aircraft firing machine guns and dropping bombs. An attemt was made to provide a "rearguard". Men were collected from the "Australian REinforcement Battaliom" along with some 200 men of the 3rd RTR (Robert Crisp's unit). They expected to see destroyers, although there were none seen. By 3am, the men were sent back into hiding. 

There was a fund with Greek money. They hoped to hire small Greek boats, but none were available for hire, with the Germans expected to appear soon.

Of some 8,000 men still at Kalamata, there were largely unorganized "base troops" without weapons. There  some 800 New Zealand soldiers and 380 Australian soldiers. During the day, some 300 men from the 4th Hussars arrived. While men were preparing to move to the beach, they were bombed by about 25 German aircraft. After that, the got organized and waited for ships. No ships arrived, so the men went back into hiding. The men of the 4th Hussars were to defend Kalamata. The New Zealand battalion was to provide cover for an embarkation, if it happened. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.



Monday, May 02, 2022

More embarkation on 27-28 April 1941

 No men were loaded onto ships in the Peloponnese on the night of 27-28 April. The transports used the night before were now at Alexandria. Their escorts had been four of the cruisers and 12 of the destroyers. 

The Bew Zealand 6th Brigade was at Miloi and Tripolis. They saw German aircraft but no ground troops. General Freyberg ordered the brigade commander to sit where they were until darkness fell and then move to Monemvasia as quickly as they could. My the middle of the day, the brigade started to "thin out". One battalion travelled south, seemingly under constant air attack. The rest of the 6th Brigade travelled at night. Freyberg moved his headquarters with the brigade. By 28 April daylight, they had moved some 120 miles. After that, the brigade was incorporated into the "defensive line" located at Monemvasia. 

Lee's force was already included in the defenses at Monemvasia. There was a Greek destroyer run aground in the harbour. New Zealand engineers took some depth charges from the destroyer and planted them in the road. 

The Group W headquarters "Rear Party" was setup close by. The went looking for Caiques that could be used to evacuate soldiers. They asked the people who lived in the area to move to villages "in the hills". That would create the illusion that the "town would look deserted". 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Events from 27 April 1941 in Greece

 On 27 April, there were still some 800 men of the armored brigade located at Rafina, which was about ten miles north of the action we have been following. They had no artillery left, since all the guns were destroyed. During the day on 27 April, the men of the armored had gotten into defensive positions close to the beach whch kept them hidden. The group included about 250 Rangers at the left end. There were also some anti-tank gunners in the middle, along with the New Zealand cavalry. Early on 27 April, they observed German aircraft bombing the vehicles that had been wrecked. These were "in the hills at Rafina". The German aircraft also bombed the village. They flew over the hidden men, but did not see them. Some men from the anti-tank regiment took charge of a Greek caique that lay in the harbor. Their lieutenant spoke "classical Greek". They expected that the caique could carry about 250 men. The other 600 men would head for Porto Rafti. There was a planned embarkatiom planned for Porto Rafti "that night". 

There were Germans blocking the route to Porto Rafti to Rafina. The men headed for Rafina instead. The caique's engine had been sabotaged, but they could see a destroyer approaching Rafina, which proved to be the Havock. The destroyer's captain hard that there men at Rafina, so he headed there. They were able to load all 800 men onto the destroyer. They sailed from Rafina to Crete. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Monday, April 25, 2022

Near Markopoulon from 27 April 1941

 After the air attack on 27 April 1941, the New Zealand 18th and 20th Battalions were positioned forward while the 19th Battaluon was held in reserve. They were supported by the Australian 2/3rd Field Regiment. Some their guns were pulled forward, to act in      the anti-tank role.

The Greeks living in Markopoulon came out to watch the soldiers move up to their positions. The Greeks knew how the battles had gone, many Greeks showed support to the New Zealand soldiers. Greeks threw roses to the soldiers and left roses in the road. "women and girls" took water in cups to the soldiers. Old men flashed "thumbs-up" to the soldiers from the road-side. There was a smoke cloud from burning trees and crops.

At 3pm, a line of vehicles, mostly German light tanks, drove into Markopoulon. The Australan artillery did not fire on the village, butas the vehicles drove out, "guns and mortars" opened fire. German tanks sheltered in the village, knowing that they were safe there. Many of the German "vehicles" drove to "the little port of Loutsa". There was never an attack while the soldiers prepared to be loaded onto ships. By 6pm, the soldiers began destroying trucks. At 8:45pm, they destroyed guns. The 19th battalion made a perimeter "about a thousand yards from the beach. By 9pm, thr forward soldiers moved into the perimeter. Men were loaded onto ships from Porto Rafti. The ships were the cruiser Ajax and "the destroyers Kimberley and Kingston". 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria:, by Gavin Long.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

From 26-27 April 1941

 During the night of 26-27 April 1941, some 19,000 soldiers were loaded onto ships. Of the purpose-built transports, two were sunk. Of these, the Slamat was lost with almost everyone aboard. The other, the Costa Rica was sunk, with no losses of men. No cruisers were lost and two destroyers were sunk. 

There were still many British and commonwealth soldiers left in Greece. There was still the 4th New Zealand Brigade Group. This near the beaches at Athens. Part of the 1st Armoured Brigade was also near the beaches near Athens. Another 2,500 soldiers were located "at the Argos beaches". The 6th New Zealand Brigade Group "was at Tripolis". There were also some units or groups located at Monemvasia. there were also a large group, more than eight thousand,  located at Kalamata. 

It was thought to be wise to move the 4th New Zealand Brigade into a suitable "defensive position" some five hundred yards on the east side of Markopoulon. This was on the road that ran from Athens to Porto Rafti. They were overflown by 23 German aircraft around 11am. The aircraft noticed the brigade and "machine-gunned the soldiers". Ammunition from the 2/3rd Field Regiment exploded, and caused other, secondary explosions. There was widespread chaos, with ammunition exploding, burning vehicles, along with burning crops and trees.

This is based on the account on "Greece, Crete, and Syria", by Gavin Long. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

more details from 26 April 1941 at Kalamata

 By 10pm on 26 April, the men could see lights from approaching ships. The men started forward "in threes". They could see approaching destroyers. Two destroyers tied up with gangways "at bow and stern". The men walked aboard. When a destroyer was filled, the men waited for the next ship. There was only one incident where Cypriots and Palestinians tried to push forwardonto the destroyer Hero. Some soldiers from the 2/2nd Battalion pushed them back with "rifle butts".

Brigadier Savige praised the men were well-behaved and they showed "complete confidence in their officers and N.C.O.'s. Naval OOfficers who had been at Dunkirk were surprised that men were "carrying their weapons and Equipment, and spare boxes of S.A.A." One of Savige's battalions had gotten pushed back, so they were "led forward and embarked". 

They eventually found that some of Allen's "force" were still on the shore. They had managed to remove more than 8,000 men, "the most embarked from a single beach on one night". 

By 27 April, the navy was hard-pressed. Suda Bay, at this point was "packed with ships carrying soldiers. All the regular transports were filled with soldiers. They would probably haveto load soldiers onto cruisers and destroyers. All transports were sent to Alexandria with escorts. 

When there was an air raid, soldiers came on deck with weapons to fire at the aircraft. Some seven attacking aircraft were destroyed. The transport Costa Rica was damaged. Destroyerscame alongside to remove men. The Costa Rica was Dutch and the officers from the Costa Rica with twenty soldiers jumped onto the destroyer Hero. 

At this point, there were still men on beaches near Athens, at the Argos beaches, at Tripolis, at Monemvasia, "more than eight thosand men at Kalamata". This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria", by Gavin Long. 




Thursday, April 14, 2022

Loading troops at Kalamata

 At Kalamata, about one-third of Allen Group was assembled. Some "18,000 to 20,000" soldiers were present from the Australian 16th and 17th Brigades along with "corps troops"). There were more units heading to Kalamata, including the remnants of the 4th Hussars and the "New Zealand reinforcement battalion". 

Brigadier Parrington was put in charge of Kalamata. Brigadier Allen recommended to Brigadier Parrington that they should load combat troops first. Later that day, Brigadier Parrington ordered taht the men should be put into four groups. The first group would have Allens two brigades. The second group would have all men to the northeast from Kalamata. Everyone who arrived at Kalamata were n the third group. Everyone else were in the fourth group. Each group was subdivided into small groups of fifty. Each small group was assigned a number. The men were told to move "to the beach or quay" and report to a "control post". The control posts assigned small groups to ships. 

The leaders of the Australians desired that their men should leave Greece "as a disciplined force". One of the challenges was that the men were largely without officers. Allen ordered that steps be taken to keep men other than Australians and British soldiers under Allen's command off the ships. They would not let any "stragglers" on the ships.

By evening, there were men engaged in burying or damaging their kits. Allen and Parrington decided that they would destroy vehicles by draining oil and water and then running them until "they seized up". Allen was instructed to not destroy his vehicles until Parrington gave the order. They were concerned that they might need need to transport AQllen's forcr to another location. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria", by Gavin Long.



Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Loading troops from Greece on 26-27 April 1941

 The Stuart was a British-built flotilla leader serving in thr Australian navy. The Stuart had sailed to Tolos to load soldiers from the beach. Loading started at 11:15pm. The men walked in the water out to a landing craft. There was a sand bar some thirty yards from the beach. The "naval beachmaster" had recommended the army "area commander" not to use Tolos, but it was too late to change. 

The Stuart filled up and transported the soldiers to the cruiser Orion. They sailed back to Tolos with the Australian cruiser Perth. By 4am about two thousand men had been taken from the beach. That left about 1,300 soldiers on the beach at Tolos.  They had loaded four Australian "embarkation staff", which meant that there just four officers left. 

The operation at Navplion had gone badly. The transport Ulster Prince had been bombed and burnt. That blocked the harbour at Navplion. At 4:30am, the ships had left Navplion carrying 2,600 men. That meant that there 1,700 men still on the beach. One of the ships that left Navplios was bombed and sunk with few survivors rescued.

Two destroyers had rescued survivors, but they ere sunk eventually. Some from Navplion were loaded on a laning craft and were transported "down the coast". Some 700 men went to Tolos and went into hiding. The German aircraft did not see the hidden men.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Troops loaded onto ships at three locations on 26-27 April in Greece

 There were ambitios plans to load troops onto ships at three locations in Greece: beaches at Athens, beaches at Argos, and at Kalamata. Porto Rafti counts as "Athens beaches". Brigadier Miles commanded a large group composed of artillery. The remnants of the 1st Armoured Brigade were at Rafina. Porto Rafti was not well-organized. They had just one landing crat to move many men. There wasa group of men at KeaIsland that hd to be moved before anyone else. 

It was obvious to Brigadier Miles that they had a big problem. He aent two units to Rafina. Brgadier Miles ordered that all the equipment be loaded onto ships, but this was not possible, 

The loadng at both Rafinaand Porto Rafti were well-executed. They loaded the Glengyle and Salween and put about 2,720 onto the little cruiser Carlisle nd two destroyer, the Kington and Kandahar. There was a problem, though, because the men of important units were lwft on the beach. 

At 1:30am, they found that the 4th New Zealand Brigade would need to travel to the beaches at Marathon "on the next night". While men were traveling in the direction of Athens, Germans entered Athens at 9:25am. 

There had been plans to send the Glenearn to Navplion to load troops on the night of 26-27 April. Instead, the Glenearn had been bombed and disabled. "Vice-Admiral Pridham-Wippell" sailed to Navplion with his ship, the cruiser Orion and with the Australian cruiser Perth. HMAS Stuart sailed to Tolos. Again, there was a problem with the landing craft. This is based on the accoumt in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.



Tuesday, April 05, 2022

A nearly final battle in Greece on 26 April 1941

 It was from 11am on 26 April that the 100 vehicle German column was seen traveling from Thebes. When Australian artillery had the entire column in range, well-aimed artillery fire caused the column to scatter. The German infantry quickly dispersed before the climbed onto their vehicles and drove back to Thebes. Something like eight vehicles were knocked out and left on the road. 

Somewhat later, they were attacked by German aicraft, an attack that the veterans expected to see. That was followed by German artillery firing after about 1pm. The afternoon was spent with German and Australian artillery trading shots. They ocasionally noticed German tanks darting forward.

Later in the afternoon, artillery hit a tank. About the same time, German infantry moving forward drew machine gun fire, which caused the infantry to disperse. The range was some 3,000 yards. Through the afternoon, they could see German vehicles driviv to the east on the road to Skhimatarion. It was at abot 2pm that the got word of German paratroopers at Corinth. The men got orders to travel to Porto Rafti to board ships at 7pm. By 9pm, the men boarded vehicles and started to drive down the road at some 30mph. Enineers left cratrs behind them as they traveled. It was Puttick led his men along the road through Eleusis and Athens while moving towards Porto Rafti. Thisis based in the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Events progress in the final days in Greece

 By the beginning of 27 April, Freyberg would have a force about equal to one division. That was the case if they were able successfully load troops onto ships. There would betwo New Zealand brigades (the 4th and 6th) as well as the remain of the 1st Armoured Brigade, The fact is that there were so many more unorganized bace forces, deciding to dissolve W Group headquarters seems ill-considered. We would point to this as more evidence that General Wilson lacked the experience and skills to be W Group commander. The other evidence that this was true was the decision on 24 April to remove Generals Blamey and MacKay from Greece.

By the morning of 27 April, some 39,000 men had been withdrawn. The Australian historian noted that this number only had about one third of the men from the New Zealand Division. Failure to remove the other two-thirds would greatly damage New Zealand and would worry the Australians. The New Zealand forces had been instrumentalin protecting the Australian withdrawal. 

There were some events that were important during 26 April, The 4th Hussars were on shore in the Gulf of Corinth. They were located at Patras from which they left at 2pm. They had to cross mountains traveling near Kalavrita. 

There were some units to the north of Athens. They were to load onto ships during the night of 26-27 April. A group assembled at Rafina during the night. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Freyberg in charge in Greece

 The German paratroop attack at Corinth had the effect of dividing the British force into two pieces. The "main force" was located from Argos and to the south. There was also the rearguard, consisting of the 4th New Zealand Brigade and a group from the 1st Armoured Brigade. They sat on the "roads north-west of Athens."  There were also "artillerymen" waiting at the beaches near Marathon. They were waitng to be loaded onto ships. Freyberg had ordered troops to block roads that came from the north and west to keep Germans from entering the south part of the Peloponesse. Freyberg used radio to order the 4th New Zealand Brigade to head for the Athens beaches to be loaded onto ships from 27 to 28 April.

General Wilson told Freyberg that he, Wilson, would leave by ship the night oh 27 April. Freyberg would be commander for all British soldiers in the Peloponesse until he left by ship on 28-29 April. That meant that Freyerg would be the only British general in Greece for those two days. 

There were still two brigades trapped north of Corinth. One of those was fighting Germans while the other was waiting to load onto ships. There was the 6th New Zealand Brigade at Tripolis and the 16th and 17th Australian brigades at Kalamata. There were a mass of men, not organized, at Kalamata or else enroute to Kalamata. There were about 6,000 more men near Argos.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria, by Gavin Long.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The situaton in Greece on 26 April 1941

 On 26 Apil 1941, the men of the 4th Hussars were located on "the south shore of the Gulf of Corinth." They moved as a group "by midday" to Patras, where they arrived by 2pm. Their next movewas to go over the mountains. On the way, they passed through Kalavrita. 

There were men still north of Athens. At Rafina, here were the remnants of the 1st Armoured Brigade. and also some artillery. They were to move into position so as to be loaded onto ships during the night of 26-27 April. Therewasa erroneous rumour circulating that Germans were in Athens. That prompted orders to the Rangers to block the road "from Athens to Kephissia and Porto Rafti". 

During the night the rest of the Rangers with the New Zealand cavalry drove along the road to Rafina. The rearguard also arrived at Rafina during the night. 

The 4th New Zealand Brigade was in hiding at Erithrai. German reconnaissance aiecraft did not see the men of the brigade. At 11am, they noticed a German column driving from Thebes. He column included some 100 tanks and cars, probably with trucks. 

When the artillery could reach the entire column, the Australian artillery egan firing, causing the vehicles in the column to scatter. The German infantry got back on their trucks which drove them back to Thebes. 

This is based on the account i "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Embarking troopson 26-27 April 1941

 On 26 April, both Wilson's and Freyberg's headquarters were located at Miloi. They knew little about the attack at Corinth. The attack at Corinth was made by part of the "2nd Parachute Rifle Regiment". They took some casualties in the attack: "63 men were killed, 158 were wounded with some 16 missing". That succeded in capturing 21 officers and abut 900 men. Thosewere British, Australian, nd New Zealand soldiers. About 1,450 Greek soldiers were also captured. 

It seems that on 27 April, General Freyberg was in charge. Wilson was preparingto leave Greece, leaving Freyberg in command until he was scheduled to leave. It seems clear that Wilson's decisions were ill-considered. Sending away Generals Blamey and Mackay on 24 April was a bad idea. Freyberg thought that the situation on 27 April was in chaos. There was a great deal happening. About 19,000 men were withdrawn from Greece "during the night of 26-2 April". 

By the morning of 27 April, the German attack at Corinth hadthe effect of "cutting off" a New Zealand brigade on the beaches at Marathon. There was another brigade "in the Peloponesse". Freyberg also didn't realize that there were 8,000 more soldiers at Kalamata, of which about 800 were New Zealand reinforcements. .There were also about twothousand soldiers near Navplion. 

So far about 39,000 men had been withdrawn, but that only included about a third of the New Zealand Division This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

An overview

 1941 was a bad year for Churchill. It started out well when Richard O'Connor captured Libya. When Rommel arrived in North Africa, tngs changed drastically. Archibald Wavell was the theater commander. He was a better theater commander than his successor, Claude Auchinleck. Auchinleck excelled as a  general in the field, and he defeated Rommel twice: once in the Crusader Battle and once in the First El Alamein. Where he went wrong was to let Anthony Eden talk Chuchill into send a force to Greece. They were forced to withdraw in late April, losing equipment and men. They went into Crete and had a worse defeat. 

Churchill liked to appoint friends as comanders, so he had appointed Henry Maitland Wilson as commander in Greece, where Wilson did a poor, I would imagine that it was due to Wilson's lack of experience. Bernard Freyberg might have done better.

Wilson left Freyberg as the only General in Greece. He tried to execute the evacuation, but the Germans were pressing the as they attempted  to withdraw.

Bernard Freyberg left Greece exhausted, so when Churchill appointed Freyberg to command the defence of Crete, he was unable to do a good job. Freyberg ended up in Egypt in command of thr New Zealand Division. He led the New Zealand Division in the Crusader Battle. He struggled in the battle at Sidi Rezegh, in the Crusader Battle. Churchill begged Auchinleck to command the Eighth Army, which he eie briefly in the Crusader Battle, whe Rommel was driven back to El Agheila.

About the same time as the battle for Crete, the German battleship Bismarck broke out into the Atlantic with the cruiser Prins Eugen. The Bismarck sank the Hood and damaged the Prince of Wales. Fortunately, the Rodney intercepted the Bismarck and reduced the Bismarck to a burning wreck.

After Rommel took Tobruk, Auchinleck defeated Rommel at the First El Alamein. Churchill gave up on Auchinleck and fired him.

This is based on our generak knowledge and our opinions.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

W Group being loaded onto ships

During the night of 24 to 25 April saw the  frst group of W Group loaded onto ships. Some 6th Division Australian officers were in charge. The 5th New Zealand Brgade Group  were loaded onto the amphibious transport Glengyle and the cruiser Calcutta using two landing craft. About five thousand men were in the Glengyle and seven hundred in the Calcutta. The ships got underway at about 2am. 

Other groups were loaded onto ships at Navplion and Tolos Bay. The staff at Tolos were Australian and the staff at Navplion were British. The men embarked were from base units and were not well-organized. Early on 24 April, Navplion was packed with "men and vehicles". And this was just a "small town". They had only planned for five thousand men at Nzvplion, but there were actually seven to eight thousand present. At  about 10:30pm. Then there was a major incident when the Ulster Prince grounded in the harbour entrance. Some 6,600 men were loaded onto the Glenearn, a cruiser Phoebe, destroyers Stuart and Voyager, and the sloop Hyacinth. No one got off at Tolos. 

They attempted to load men at Piraeus, but it turned out badly. "The large yacht Hellas" loaded men but was bombed and capsized. Any where from 500  to 742 were lost. 

Allen Group traveled from Megara to Argos. Some men crossed the Corinth bridge. There was concern that there could be a German attack. 

The embarkation from "Attica and Piraeus" was slowed by the perception that they needed to protect against German attacks. Because of W Groups involvement, things were disorganized. All of 19th Brigade were loaded from beaches. At Corinth, air attacks were a problem. There was eventually a paratroop attack. General Freyberg was left as the only general in Greece. 

Loading at Rafina and Porto Rafti went well. The later attemts at loading were bombed and were pretty much failures. This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria"  by Gavin Long.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Action on 24 April 1941

 The Germans were trying to move forward, but took artillery fire and then were under fire by heavy machine guns, The Cermans finally were able to approach the "British" They were on the north side of the slope on the high ground. By the middle of the day, two German units were together They moved forward, but they stopped around 8:10pm. One compnay got close to the road from Brallos to Gravia. At idnight, some Germans arrived at Palokhorion

New Zealand soldiers on the way to Molos were attacked by a nixed German force, By the afternoon, 18 German tanks attacked. Four of these were Pzkw IV's with short 75mm guns. The tanks took heavy losses. Of the 18, 12 were "total losses". 

It is interesting to realize that in an attack by German tanks 

Australian infantry supported by artllery at Tobruk succeeded in defeating a German tank force that attempted to "break into" the fortress area. This fight occurred on 11 April. The battle in Greece was near Thermopylae. Another action of the same sort happened at Tobruk on 1 May. The German attackers on 1 May ended up with even heavier losses

This is based on the account in "GReece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

The situation from 20 April 1941

 As of 20 April there had been four German divisions engage along the Aliakmon line an the Olympus passes. were sitting between Elasson an Larisa. The German 5th Armoured Division. The armoured division had moved quickly from Sofia. They ha left Sofia on 7 April. They drove to the Northwest until they ha arrive in the vicinity of the Larisa-Lamia road. They then rove to Lamia where they "joined the 6th Mountain division. The next step was to move against the units near Thermopylae.  

The plan was to send mountain troops "through the hills" to the west of Brallos. The largest force would advance following the coast road. A group would attempy to "encircle" the Anzac corps. This group had arrive in the vicinity oh Kato Dhio Vouna early in the day on 22 April. The Germans  were having trouble. They were in contact with "British outposts".  The Germans pulled back to the south and east. 

Part of the German group were soldiers from an armored division motor battalion but without their vehicles. They got little rest an then were shelled uring the night. The men spent much of the next day resting trying to recover. They also thought that they neee to reorganize before being engaged. 

Their commaner decided that they neee to attack in the direction of Brallos. Early in the morning thr Germans foun that the defenders' main body had pulled out. They sent one group to cut the road south of Brallos. The rest pushed towards Brallos. By 7:30am German divebombers attacked the Australians. The 2/11th Battalion was attacked by German mountain troops. 

This is based on the account in "Greece Crete and Syria" by Gavin Long. 

Thursday, March 03, 2022

The Australians "on the move" on 24 to 25 April 1941

 Vasey had sent his brigade major to express Vasey's concern that the Germans moving "on the west flank" might arrve at the Ano Kalivia junction before the Australians. Major Bell, the brigade major, took three carriers, hoping to block the road to the south. The last trucks drove towards the south-east at 10:15pm. The men in the trucks were kneeling with "their automatc weapons ponting outwards". They could see German Very lights "about 500 yards south of Brallos".

There was still a rearguard at Erithrai. They were part of the 2/5th Battalion (group). They were sitting at a spot "just west of Levadia"". They were controlling a road going through Delphi. They had been ordered to move there on 23 April due to reports of German vehicles were driving along the road, coming from Epirus, moving towards Delphi. The Australian historian thought that the veicles sighted were probably Greek, It turned out that the had not started from Yannina yet. 

The 2/5th Battalion moved out by 3am. They drove to the south, hoping to meet up with the 17th Brigade. By early on 25 April, had moved past the rearguard ad Erithrai. They were protected from the Germans by "many miles of cratered roads".

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syra" by Gavin Long.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Plans changed on 24 April1941

 The original plan had been to destruy the guns belonging to the 2/2nd Field Regiment. The new plan was now to keep the guns operable and to take them to the south. Each gun would have thirty rounds. At this point, they couldn't take 30 rounds, because they were still firing and there were fewer than 30 rounds per gun.

To preserve some ammunition, they fired the guns less often. By 8:30pm, the guns were pulled out. They had to be taken on the main road. That road passed trhough Brallos. The engineers of the 2/1st Field company managed to make a three mile long track from Brallos to the position for the guns. The 2/2nd Field Regiment was moved along the track. After they had arrived, the engineers destroyed the track. 

One company from the 2/11th Battalion traveled along the main road. A second company moved around the right end of the Battalion. The group from the 2/8th Battalion was ordered to Brallos to load onto vehicles. One company from the 2/1st Battalion to strengthen the position. 

The "main rear-guard" was now not being pressured. The commander of the "forward companies" moved them back using leap-frogging. Loading the men on vehicles was quite slow, due to the ned to turn around on a "side track".

This is based on the account [n "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Action from 24 April 1941

 5:40pm saw a gun fight where German were hit at a 30 yard range "at the edge of the scrub". After this, the companies that were furthest out were pulled back. Brigadier Sandover ordered his "reserve company" to a hill to the south, where machine gunners and the reserve company could cover the ground from which they had withdrawn. 

The 2/1st Battalion had made the planned move to the main road. They were positioned so that they could look at the "mountain road" that they had travelled. 

By 6pm, there were some German infantry on the west side of Gravia. While there was still some light, there was a gun fight between the Germans and a company of the 2/1st Battalion. 

There was now a change of plans. At about 6pm, General Vasey was concerned about the 2/11th Battalion's situation. He ordered 2/1st and 2/4th Battalions, with a groupof extra soldiers, to load onto trucks at 8pm, instead of a half-hour later. He also told Brigadier Sandover that he needed to hold his ground until 9pm, instead of a half-hour later. 

Once the 2/1st Battalion had mostly pulled out, German infantry was shooting at the right end of the 2/11th  Battalion and at a part of the 2/8th Battalion. They were on the higher ground to the right. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Fighting on 24 April 1941

 As we recall, the Australian 2/4th was sitting, blocking the road at about five miles beyond Brallos. Vasey then ordered the 2/1st Battalion to ove along the main road until they reached the 2/4th Battalion position, which they reached by about 6pm. 

The guns of the 2/2nd Regiment had come under air attack on 23 April. The regiment commander ordered that during the night, the guns should move back some 1,000 to 1,500 yards. He had them leave the camoflage nets over the old gun positions. That was in the area held by the 2/11th Battalion. The infantry stayed away from the old gun positions. 

That morning, the Germans made a dive-boming attack on the old gun positions. A captain and four men were there, acting as artillery observers. 

On the 24th, early in the day, they could see trucks driving over the bridge across the Sperkhios, which had been repaired. There were also tanks on the main road driving south. At one point, the tanks turned to the east, so as to attack the New Zealand positions.

Australian machine gunners opened fire on German infantry who were oving forward. They were on the "near side of thr rails". They would occasionally fire, during the day. Suddenly, at about 4:50pm, the Germans opened fire with motars on the Australian infantry. This preceded a bigger attack. 

This is bases on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

In Athens and back "in the hills"

 With men in Athens in battle-scarred vehicles, General Freyberg was feeling bad that the commaner's efforts had worked so badly. The vehicles driving through Athens showed damage from the last day and then "the drive through the night". Still the Greek people gave the soldiers a rousng greeting, inckuding flowers. 

Back in the hills, the Australian 19th Brigade was hit by a German attack. The 2/11th Battalion was sitting on the main road. The battalion waqs now commanded y Major Sandover. One company was located on the east side of the road and two companies on the westside. A fourth company was "in support". The battalion had only moved into its place at about 5am. They had had a long march from their previous spot in the hills "on the right". 

To their right were an officer and 48 men from the2/8th Battalion. About half of the 2/1st Battalion was protecting "the right rear" of the 2/11th Battalion. There were "tracks" that passed through Kalothronion up to the 2/11th Battalion position.

One company from the 2/1st Battalion had been sent to cover men engaged in demolition at Gravia (where there was a defile). The road which passed through the defile came from Amfissa. There had been a report of German soldiers comng from Epirus. The 2/4th Battalion was sitting across the road at a postion about five miles south from Brallos.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Withdrawal from Molos

 One good thing was that on 24 April, German air attaack had not been a factor. Once it was dark, trucks were driven "boldly" on thr road, driving past the destroyed German tanks. The crews of the guns that were now in front of the infantry were picked up and carried out.

General Freyberg learned on the afternoon of 24 April that the ammunition trucks that he had been counting on to bring out part of the infantry were lost, or at  least were in some unknown location. Freyberg then directed Brigader Miles to use the available artillery vehicles to carry out as many of the infantry as could be carried. The rest of the infantry would have to march.

During the night, the German nfantry forward while the artillery fight continued. At 9:15pm, they learned that the ammunition trucks had been located and were on the road, moving towards Molos. After the trucks arrived, the men thinned out as they boarded the trucks. Theyeventually set about destroying the artillery.  The destroyed the medium guns and then the field guns. The last to be destroyed were the field guns of the 2nd RHA. That was completed at about 11:50pm.

All vehicles had left Molos by midnight. That meant that there was a long column of vehicles driving south. They moved through the rearguard at Cape Knimis and then on to Atlandi. The vehcles all had their lghts on as they moved on the main road. When the arrived at "the main rearguard" at Erithrai, the passed through. 

By the middle of 25 April, they had covered 100 miles. That meant that they were driving through the streets of Athens. Brigadier Miles was already in Athens, because he was arrange with the "Force headquarters" to fix the corners for easy passage and "to guide the column through". This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.



Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Fighting tanks

 At least one troop of the 5th Field Regiment sat right in front of the infantry of the 25th Battalion. Knocked out tanks were partially blocking the road. Besides knocked out tanks, smoke was becoming a factor. Some surviving tanks tried to maneuver past the blockage, but they were largely unsuccessful. 

The blocked tanks started to fire on the25th Battalion, which "suffered heavily". "By 5:15, 14 tanks had driven to the right end of the 25th Battalion." Another two tanks followed, but the first was knocked out by the field guns when it had approached "a little bridge" that formed the rightmost edge of the 25th Battalion. There were knocked out tanks for six miles on the road. The field guns apparently destroyed about fiftee tanks during the fight.  One gun and crew had knocked out nine tanks abd set them on fire. Another gun had hit two more tanks. 

Brigadier Miles, the artillery commander, ordered three artillery regiments to fire "on the road by Thermopylae". This measure stopped the Germans from bringing in any mor tanks to the battle scene,.

Later in the day, an attack to the rear of the 25th Battalion was dangerous. To counter this threat, two carrier platoons drove "into the hills". Two companies from other battalions were used to make the 25th Battalion longer.

This is based on the account n "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

The fight began on 24 Aprl 1941 at the Molos Bottleneck

 The fighting at "theBottleneck" started "at about 2pm" on 24 April. Two German tnks that started

across the swamp were knocked out by long-range field gun fire. Since that didn't work, they sent a force down the road.  They sent motor cycle troops first. Next came four tanks. 

The next move was sendind infantry "into the hills south of the road". The 25th Battalion then opened fire 

on the German infantry. Soon, Germans then hit the left end of the 25th Battalion with "heavy fire". 

That was enough to cause the 25th Battalion to have to pull back. 

A larger German attack started by 3pm. A column started down the road with some tanks in front.

After that were infantry in trucks with more tanks following. In response, heavy, aimed artillery frre was called in. After an hour, German tanks were near the 25th Battalion. 

An attack at 4pm was pushed back, but a larger tank attack followed. After that, tanks had reached the25th Battalion positions. The 5th Field Regiment had knocked out some of the tanks.

This is based on the account in Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.




Thursday, February 03, 2022

Trying to work through the results of Wilson's errors

 General Wilson owed his position as British commander in Greece to his relationship with Churchill, not his experience or ability. GGeneral Blamey was no longer in Greece, so General Freyberg had to fill the role of wise and experienced commander. Freyberg's performance during the rest of 1941 exposed his shortcomings. 

General Blamey wasnot a professional soldier, but he performed better than many of the professional soldiers in Greece. If we would criticize Blamey, it would be for his playing Australian army politics to ensure that he was as senior as possible and ssuing orders to his chief rival, John Laverack.

The revised plan was for embarkation on dats 24 and25th (5th Brigade),

25th and 26th (19th Brigade and part of the 1st Armoured Brigade),

26th and 27th (6th Brigade as well as part of the 1st Armoured Brigade).

The plan shows that Athens beaches were to be utilized despite previous statements 

that they would not be used, 

The 4th Brikade would be embarked at Magara,

The Corps and RAF as well as some other units would be embarked from Navplion.

Some base units, Robert Crisp's unit, the 3rd RTR with the 4th Hussars would embark from 

Navplion on 26th and 27th. 

Brigadier Allen and his group would not embark at Magara, but from a distant beach, about  hundred miles away. Allen, at this point, had almost no staff.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.





Wednesday, February 02, 2022

More happening from 24 April 1941

 It was on 24 April 1941 that the Greek army surrendered. A late order to the army had been to tell them to stay off the roads, to help the British to withdraw. The Greek King and some of the government flew to Crete in a flying boat. You wold expect the aircraft to be a Short Sunderland. This was the latest and best British flying boat.

A New Zealand Brigade was sitting at the "Molos bottleneck" Two battalions were forward, the 24th to the right, the 25th to the left, witht he 26th as the reserve. The main road, which ran to the sea, To the west of the 25th Battalion, The main road ran towards the Alamanas bridge. The road came to within three miles of the bridge. 

There was a gap between the 25th Battalion and the Australians was large enough that artillery fire could coer the gap. The Australians were at the Brallos Pass. To the north, there were dried marshes that seemed to be passable to German tanks. They might come that way so as to attack the Molos defensive position. 

To make preparation for such an attack, they positioned field guns to be able to fire towards a tank attack across the marsh area. supporting the foward battalions were "one medium regiment, and four field regiments". One of these was "Royal Horse Artillery and three New Zealand field regiments". In addition, there were "two anti-tank regiments and a light anti-airraft battery".

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

.The embarkation from Greece

 General Wilson's headquarters took control of the embarkation after ANZAC Corps ceased to exist. On the afternoon of 24 April, Wilson's staff ordered Generals Freyberg and Mackay, along with their staffs, to embark that night. This seems strande, gicen that considerable forces were still in Greece, with only command organization left being Wilson's staff, which we would consder to be less experienced than Freyberg and Mackay's staffs.

Mackay's staff headed for the "Argos area" after receiving Wilson's order. Mackay and his aid flew to Crete in a flying boat. The rest of his staff boarded a cruiser. Freyberg disagreed with the order, at least partly due to the issues we mentioned z'but also because of fighting with German tanks at the Thermopylae Pass".

It seemsa that Wilson quit trying to order Freyberg's movements. It is clear that Freyberg better understood what was needed than Wilson.At this time, there were still thee New Zealand brigades, thrr Australian brigades, one British brigade, and many base units. There were also labor battalions, 

During April 24, yhe plan for embarkation was modified, They wanted to move more men to the south, and to make greater use of destroyers.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

General Blamey moves to Egypt

 General Blamey ended up at Alexandria, Egypt by the middle of 24 April, 1941. Upon arriving, General Blamey met with Admiral Cunningham. The way that the commanders in the Mediterranean and Middle East did business in April 1941, Admiral Cunningham had not realized that the army was about to evacuate from Greece, and expected to be transported by the navy. It seems that General Blamey was a lot more capable of commanding significant forces with a good understanding of the issues, and with sufficient knowledge to make decisions that could be trusted.

Admiral Cunningham responded by ordering every ship to sea, heading towards Greece. It was true, though that by 24 April, Admiral Cunningham had been told that by 22 April that the operation was now 24 April, and enough ships had been ordered to sea, heading for Greece, to carry the first group that would be carried. 

General Blamey had earned a great deal of respect by late April 1941. Once Blamey was in Egypt, "he was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the Middle East. The Australians had mentioned that General Blamey should command the force to be withsrwn from Greece, since the Australians predomonated. That suggestion was not acceptedby thr British. Another suggestion was made that Blamey should command "the Western Desert Command, later called the 8th Army. What Wavell wanted was to have Blamey as his deputy. That appointment was accepted.

Thia ia based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.





Thursday, January 20, 2022

The withdrawal from Greece starts

 There was action  "on the night of 23-24 April 1941. The 17th Australian Brigade had been on the left end of the Thermopylae line. The combiation of the 16th and 17th Brigades were to travel to Megara. Their instructions were to wait at Megara to be embarked on ships. The comment was made that the movement had gone "remarkably smoothly".

Rather detailed orders were given at the battalion level about how the movements shoul proceed. By "daybreak", ordered the column to stop at Elensis, where it was thought there was an area that had cover to reduce the chances of being seen. For the entire day on 24 April, "Allen Group" stayed in "olive groves" on both sides of the "Athens road". "It was thought that traveling with lights dimmed was smart. Dimmed lights had been General Mackay's idea. 

Traffic on the road was very heavy, but the use of traffic control allowed the vehicles to arrive at the desired time. The orders giving instructions about the embarkation were the last orders issued by the ANZAC Corps. The ANZAC Corps headquarters shut down at 8pm on April 23 where it had been at Levadia. The headquarters immediately reopened at Mandra. The headquarters was disestablished at midnight of 23-24 April.  Athens beaches, The plan would need to be updated. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

More events in Greece from 22 April 1941

 The Germans attacked all the airfields used by rhe British in the Athens area. The British air commander, Air Vice-Marshal D'Albiac sent all the surviving Hurricanes to Argos. The Germans were determined to keep pressure on the British, so they hit Argos on 23 April. They succeeded in destroying 13 aircraft. The survivors were ordered to fly to Crete. 

The Greek King announced that he would move his government to Crete. The British base in Athens settled their accounts, and gave the supply depot to the Greeks. They gave the "canteen stores" to the American Red Cross. 

They had "mostly Palestinians, Arabs, and Cypriots" in the Pioneer Corps. They were moved out by train. They also had "middle-aged British offcers." Some New Zealand Nurses and semi-mobile wounded had been "sent to Argos". "More wounded were sent to Megara".

Some officers sent by General Blamey to General Wilson's headquarters arrved at "3am on 23 April". The idea was that these men were available for duties relating to embarkation of troops to be withdrawn from Greece.

Finding anyone from Wilson's headquarters proved to be difficult. They finally located Major Packard. He "seemed to be involved with communicatng with the Navy". They learned from Major Packard that the plan for Australians was that they would provide men to be used in beach parties",

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Wilson's concerns during 22 and 23 April 1941

 General Wilson's staff was looking at risks that might impact the withdrawal from Greece. They seem to have been concerned about a German movement, usihg the Delphi Pass. They worried that the Germans might block thr path for the retreat from Greece. The Greek headquarters issued orders to a protective force. They were sent to Navpaktos. An officer training unit was sent to Patras with "some field guns". The remnants of the 4th Hussars was also ordered to Patras. Air reconnaissance noticed vehicle movement from Yannina. Late-breaking news reported "hundreds of vehicles moving south". 

General Blamey decided that the needed to "demolish the road at Delhi" and put troops in place to "defend the demolitions." He also had Brigadier Steele "to damage the road". Lt-Col. King's column travelled all night with their vehicle lights turned on, apparentlt to draw attention to themselves. At dawn, they were located "three miles west of Levadis". They were protecting the denmolition work.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, ans Syria" by Gavin Long.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

22 and 23 April at Thermopylae

 The weather on 23 April was fair, Since the weather was good, that mean t that there was both British and German air activity, particularly, reconnaissance aircraft. In the evening, some Germans were seen moving towards the Sperkhios Bridge. Men from the 22nd and 23rd battalions stopped the movement, The infantry involved moved to Molos. The carriers ended up with a rearguard group,

One ongoing effort involved thinning out was being implemented. During 23 April, yhe 19th Brigade traveled to Brallos. A rearguard was "formed" at a pass that overlooked Lamia. Colonel Campbell checked out a "mountain road" that thy might use very soon. 

They were thinking about withdrawal, the 5th Brigade moved to an area near the beach at Marathon, where they might be embarked. By 23 April, the 19th Brigade was in position at Brallos. They expected that they might use the mountain road for withdrawal.

They planned to "damage the road" to try and impair German movement. There was concern that the Germans might "cut across the line of retreat". That possibility created "nervousness" in General Wilson's staff.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long. We expect to include content from a New Zealand reference, as well.



Monday, January 10, 2022

The campaign to sink the Bismarck

 The movie "Sink the Bismarck" is based on a novel "The last nine days of the Bismarck" by C.S.Forester. I thought that the movie made a good story. The battle for the island of Crete started about the same time as the Bismarck operation. The story is about the events in a command center beneath the city of London, blow street level. A very senior British navy captain commanded the command center. His assistant was played by Dana Wynter. She is in the navy and wears the woman's uniform with jacket and skirt.

The captain's son was a Swordfish pilot.

Rear Admiral Wake-Walker's two cruisers, Norfolk and Suffolk found the two German ships and followed them. Admiral Holland's ships, the Hood and Prince of Wales, found the Bismarck and Prins Eugen. Admral Tovey, in the King George V, headed for the area.

Hood and Prince of Wales opened fire, but assumed that thr lead ship was the Bismarck, but it wasactally the heavy cruiser Prns Eugen. That was eventually corrected. It was the Prince of Wales that got the first hits in the Bismarck. At about 6am, the Bismarck got the fatal hit on the Hood that caused the explosion that sank the Hood. The Prince of Wales changed course to miss the Hood's wreckage. The Prince of Wales took hits that disabled the armament for a time.

The captain's son was shot down by the Bismarck's anti-aircraft guns while he attempted a torpedo attack. The captain and his assistant saw a report about the son's plane being shot down.

A crew member of a Catalina flying boat saw the son in the water and rescued him.

before that, the Battleships Rodney and King George V made contact with the Bismarck. The Rodney armed wth nine high-velocity guns firing light shot. By 1941, that was considered to be a bad design. Still, the Rodney managed to reduce the Bismarck to a sinking wreck.

A British cruiser torpedoed and sank the wreck that was the Bismarck.

Before they left the command center, the Captain and his assistant saw the report that the Captain's son had been rescued. When the captain and his assistant climbed to street level, they had no idea of the time of day. They found it was morning and found a place to have breakfast. 



Wednesday, January 05, 2022

The situation on 23 April and beyond

 It seems that weather on 23 April was good. During the day, there was a report saying that the Germans had landed on the island Euboea. British reconnaissance aircraft did not see any sign of Germans on the island. 

The initial report was enough to cause Wilson's staff to worry about the crossing at Khalkis.They ordered General Freyberg to do somethng to reinforce the 1/Rangers at Khalkis. Brigadier Charrngton was ordered to hold the crossing at Khalkis until 9pm on 25 April. They expected by that tme, the 6th New Zealand Brigade would have moved south of the crossing. They were told that the 6th Brigade would have a rearguard in position. The planned to be there long enough to allow the Rangers to have passed that point. 

The Rangers pulled back their company by the crossing. They then blew charges on the bridge. 

On 23 Aprl, British medium guns were attacked from the air by dive bombers. They also fired back at German guns near Lamia. During the evening of 23 April, New Zealand infantry stopped a German attempt to reach the Sperkhios Bridge. 

Thia ia ased on the account in Gavin Long's volume, "Greece, Crete, and Syria".

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

The 6th New Zealand Brigade situation on 22 and 23 Aprl 1941

 Carriers from were to patrol the "flats" on the north side of the road at night. Durng the night of 22 April, the 5th Brigade was ordered to move to Ayia Konstantinos. The 4th Brigade was also to relocate. In their case, they were to travel to Erithrai, "the covering position". 

The 6th Australan Divsion also had tasks. The 2/2 Field Regiment "rear guns" were to continue firing at the Sperkhios bridge. During the day on 22 April, Germans had occupied "high ground" on the west side of the road. "The Germans were in position that had them looking down on New Zealand inantry. 

Vasey did not le how his posts were separated. He had his men pull back about two miles. That left them North of Brallos. There was a problem with vehicles. As a result, the 2/11th Battalon had to climb back up to where they had been, not long before. On 21 and 22 April, the men moved into postons in thr Thermopylae line. The men had to stand up to an air attack. A sapper, known to be a good shot, held a Bren gun, and shot down a German reconnaissance plane. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long. 

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