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To Greece

The Germans occupy the Peloponnese, 28–29 April

The Germans occupy the Peloponnese, 28–29 April

ON 28 April there had been two German forces moving south into the Peloponnese: III Battalion SS ‘Adolf Hitler’ Division from Patrai and 5 Panzer Division from Corinth. The former, having withdrawn the two trains it had sent to Corinth, went down the west coast to Pirgos and on 29 April, when the railway line was found to be undamaged, a reinforced company was sent to Kalamata. It arrived to find, as was the case at Corinth, that elements of 5 Panzer Division were already established in the area.

No unit records describing the movements of 5 Panzer Division on 28 April are now available but one brief report1 states that the unit, with two companies of paratroopers under command, pursued the British through Argos and Tripolis to Navplion and Kalamata. At 6.10 p.m., according to messages from the Luftwaffe, the advanced guard had entered Miloi. A detachment from it was, almost certainly, the force which dealt with the British and Australian troops who had not been evacuated from the nearby ports of Navplion and Tolos. The main body hastened south and later in the day was beyond Tripolis and past the side road along which 6 New Zealand Brigade had gone to Monemvasia. As the Luftwaffe did not observe2 any movement in that area, the troops were left to embark undisturbed. But it meant that the forward company of 5 Panzer Division, when it reached Kalamata that evening, was in time to prevent the embarkation of 7000 men.

1 Appendix 118 to XXXX Corps diary, April 1941.

2 See p. 444.