Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The British withdrawal from Greece in 1941

 British organizational failures were excused by blaming the Greeks. The Australian historian credits the Greek army with fighting well against the Italians and Germans. An example of General Wilson's failures was the delayed planning of the withdrawal and loading onto ships. A contributing factor was that Wilson had ordered two commanders and their staffs that could have helped "plan and control" the "withdrawal and embarkation of British soldiers". Base troops that should have been withdrawn were instead left in Greece. 

When there has been a failure of command there will be recriminations. That is what happened in Cairo after "the evacuation". The air force and army each blamed the other for the failure in Greece. There was also a tendency to blame German air attacks for failures. In fact, the German air force in Greece largely failed to be a major factor in the outcome. 

After the withdrawal from Greece, there was a discussion about British equipment quality. The opinion of the Australian historian was that British and German equipment quality was comparable. "British" infantry performed well, at times functioning as improvised mountain troops, performing creditably against specialist German mountain troops.

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

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