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To Greece

The Withdrawal of 6 Brigade to Elasson

The Withdrawal of 6 Brigade to Elasson

In the meantime there had been further movements from the Mount Olympus sector. On 11 April, after the withdrawal of 6 Brigade from the anti-tank ditch to the crest of the pass, Brigadier Barrowclough had been told that until the situation was more definite his brigade must remain in reserve. Arrangements were therefore made for 24 and 25 Battalions to repair the roads to the rear of the pass, the former at Livadhion, the latter at Kokkinoplos. On 13 April, however, several moves had to be made. In response to a request for reinforcements 26 Battalion was sent to support 19 Australian Brigade in the rough country to the west of Servia Pass. The other battalions were made responsible for the sector between the western flank of 5 Brigade and the eastern end of the page 238 Titarion ridge, to which 16 Australian Brigade was now moving. Twenty-fourth Battalion would close the gap between the brigades and 25 Battalion would return from Kokkinoplos to a reserve position near Ay Dhimitrios. The move was simple enough for 25 Battalion but 24 Battalion, after hurriedly collecting mules and donkeys from the Greeks, had to start off at nightfall on 14 April carrying full packs, extra ammunition and two days' rations. At midnight, after the men had climbed 1000 feet and reached the beech forest above the Ay Nikolaos stream, orders arrived for their return to the pass.

The withdrawal of W Force to Thermopylae was now under way. Sixth Brigade, less 26 Battalion, and 4 Field Regiment, less 25 Battery,1 were to establish at Elasson the rearguard position through which the brigades would withdraw from Servia and Mount Olympus. Fourth Field Regiment2 and 25 Battalion went back that night to the foot of the pass; 24 Battalion joined them during the day. The move was continued after dusk and by 16 April the brigade group was preparing positions three miles south of the town on the southern edge of the small plain across which were the two roads to Larisa.

1 See p. 222.

2 See p. 259.