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.

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