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.

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