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To Greece

The New Zealanders and Australians Continue to Prepare Their Positions

The New Zealanders and Australians Continue to Prepare Their Positions

There were few other movements forward that day, 7 April, from the lines of W Force. All units were too busy preparing their positions. Headquarters New Zealand Division issued no orders for the withdrawal of the brigades from the plain, but particular attention was given to the positions of 5 Brigade about Mount Olympus. No. 4 Section 19 Army Troops Company was sent to work on the road within the pass, Headquarters New Zealand Artillery continued to reconnoitre alternative positions within the area and 7 Field Company New Zealand Engineers, when it arrived at Katerini, was immediately sent back through the mountains to assist in the preparation of the road from Kokkinoplos to the rear of 23 Battalion.

Farther north 16 Australian Brigade was beginning to move into the Veroia Pass sector. The battalions, straight from their campaign in the Western Desert, had now to adjust themselves to the rocks and snow of positions astride the mountain road which edged its way over the 3000-foot pass.

Still farther north on the plain to the east of the Edhessa Gap, 1 Armoured Brigade waited for the advancing German columns and consequently was eager to obtain information of any enemy movements. The attached troops (Lieutenant A. C. Atchison) from the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry2 were therefore patrolling east of Edhessa to the Axios River and as far north as Apsalos.

On the other side of the mountains in the Amindaion sector along the border of Yugoslavia the detachment commanded by Brigadier Lee was preparing alternative defences. Sixty-fourth Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, had new positions near Filotas, 27 NZ (Machine Gun) Battalion was still in the Palaistra-Lofoi area, but since the German advance on 6 April reconnaissances had been made of gun positions some ten miles to the south. And reinforcements were on their way: 580 Army Troops Company, page 165 Royal Engineers, was coming up from Athens; 1 Australian Anti- Tank Regiment (less a battery south of Kozani) was under orders to go to Amindaion.

2 See pp. 1401.