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To Greece

The Germans cross the Mountain to Gonnos, 17 April

The Germans cross the Mountain to Gonnos, 17 April

North of the gorge 6 Mountain Division, using the high mountain tracks through Skotina and Kallipevki, had been moving towards Gonnos. In his orders General Schoerner had described this as the most difficult task the division had ever had. All officers were instructed ‘to throw themselves heart and soul into making the task a success’ and, if necessary, ‘to act with the utmost severity.’3 Food would be dropped by aircraft and every means would be used to bring up supplies, but the problem would never really be solved until the Germans took Larisa. As it happened, food was sometimes acquired on the way, and in one village the inhabitants were ordered to bake bread for the troops.

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The advanced guard from 143 Mountain Regiment and 1/118 Artillery Regiment reached Gonnos about noon on 17 April. Some what to their surprise they had approached the village without any opposition. From there the force had to make the first moves to break the defences, occupy Larisa and cut the Allied line of withdrawal from the north and west. That night the General issued his orders for an attack across the river on 18 April.

3 6 Mountain Division war diary.