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To Greece

The Australian Positions

The Australian Positions

At 1 p.m. Brigadier Allen4 arrived in the area and took command, establishing his headquarters at Makrikhorion. He realised that to hold the wide front for any length of time there should have been twice as many troops and guns, but he also knew that the Germans were almost certain to attack the following morning. The best he could do was to make some slight adjustments in the Australian sector and to place the greater part of 2/3 Battalion, which was now arriving from the Servia sector, in positions to the rear at which the enemy could possibly be held until the brigades from the north and west had passed through Larisa.

The final arrangement saw C Company 2/2 Battalion with one New Zealand anti-tank gun astride the road on the flat just west of Tempe. South of it was A Company (less a platoon) protecting the approaches to Evangelismos; B Company (less a platoon) and Battalion Headquarters were south of that village. The two5 platoons from the companies had been sent to occupy Hill 1005 just south of Ambelakia.

On the extreme left flank, at the suggestion of the Brigadier, D Company was sent to Point 156, the hill feature overlooking the river between Makrikhori and Parapotamos. This reduced the danger of an encircling movement from the west, but left a 3000- yard gap in the FDLs which was covered by the Bren carriers and a patrol, one platoon strong, from D Company. The gap was wide but there was little cover in the flat fields of spring wheat. Nevertheless, it was through this gap that the enemy was to achieve his early success.

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Finally, three guns from 2/1 Australian Anti-Tank Regiment were sited in the area, one with A Company, one in Evangelismos and another with B Company to the south of that village. The guns might have been more useful in the restricted area of the gorge but they had arrived late and some depth in the defence was thought necessary.

In the afternoon 2/3 Battalion arrived. C Company was sent to the left flank to an area west of and overlooking D Company 2/2 Battalion. B and D Companies were placed in reserve astride the highway north and south of Makrikhorion, about four miles south of the rear company of 2/2 Battalion. A Company was sent to patrol the mountain tracks from the east and south-east through Sikourion and Ayia.

4 Allen Force: 2/2 and 2/3 Aust Bns, 21 NZ Bn, 26 Bty 4 NZ Fd Regt, A Tp 5 NZ Fd Regt, L Tp 7 NZ A-Tk Regt, three guns 2/1 Aust A-Tk Regt, seven carriers 2/5 Aust Bn and four carriers 2/11 Aust Bn.

5 One platoon was withdrawn when it was evident that the Germans were attacking across the river on the Australian front.