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To Greece

No Greek Unit can be Transported from the Metaxas Line

No Greek Unit can be Transported from the Metaxas Line

That evening, 7–8 April, General Wilson had an interview with General Papagos. Just what the latest information was at this time it is now impossible to decide, but it is reasonable to assume that Wilson was told that, although some of the Greek forts in the Rupel Pass were holding out, the Germans were pressing down the Strimon valley. The report from one Greek source was that the Yugoslavs were falling back in disorder. This was quite correct. Second Panzer Division, supported by a motorised Mountain Rifle Battalion, had taken Strumica and then turned south down the Vardar valley to the Greek border at Devdelija and Lake Doiran. Advanced Headquarters W Force had, however, been told that the Yugoslavs were holding the pass at Kosturino between Strumica and Valandovo but needed the assistance of W Force. As the situation stood it was impossible to provide such support.

In any case the Greeks, well aware of the weakness of their position in eastern Macedonia, were now asking for British transport to bring out some of their regiments from the Bulgarian border to join W Force. The position was already hopeless but General Wilson, anxious to make some gesture, gave orders that page 164 fifty motor vehicles from 1 Armoured Brigade should be sent forthwith to assist the Eastern Macedonian Army. ‘This column actually started, but before it had got any distance the advancing Germans had got between them and their destination, and they were turned back.’1 Next morning it was too late; all units of that army were in contact with the enemy and quite unable to pull out of the line.

1 Report on supply and transport services, Greece, para. 27.