Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

To Greece

The Situation by Nightfall, 12–13 April

The Situation by Nightfall, 12–13 April

Thus by nightfall the Allies were away from the Klidhi Pass and covered by a rearguard that had assembled along the Sotir ridge some six miles from the southern exit. Twenty-first Greek Brigade to the west of Mackay Force had fought stubbornly and then withdrawn to join 20 and 12 Divisions in the line of the passes: Klisoura–Vlasti–Siatista. The withdrawal of the Dodecanese Regiment from the eastern side of the Klidhi Pass had been hastened by the use of Australian trucks,2 but 20 and 12 Divisions, moving on foot and using only pack animals, were not yet in position. This was the reason for a complaint3 made later by General Papagos that W Force had given insufficient protection during the withdrawal of his Central Macedonian Army. Yet it is difficult to see what could have been done to assist it. Time was a vital factor, but the Greeks had virtually no transport and the problems of liaison between the Allies had been too great.

Mackay Force had suffered severely, not so much in the fighting about the pass but in the withdrawal to the waiting transport. The 2/8 Battalion after a long march to the Rodhonas area had only 250 men, many with no weapons; 2/4 Battalion had lost one of its three4 companies; 1 Australian Anti-Tank Regiment had lost sixteen guns, ten of them when a demolition had isolated eighty officers and men, and five when the Rangers had withdrawn from the Klidhi Pass; 2/3 Field Regiment had destroyed two guns when they were bogged in soft ground. The British losses were also serious. The Rangers had lost heavily, both in men and equipment, page 210 102 Anti-Tank Regiment had been forced to destroy a troop of guns on the east flank and 64 Medium Regiment had been forced to leave a gun.

The New Zealand losses were difficult to estimate but twenty men were missing, of whom twelve1 were believed to be killed. Two Vickers guns had been lost to the German raiders on the night of 11–12 April, and one had been destroyed when the eight transport vehicles had been left in the open country near Xynon Neron.

The German losses are difficult to estimate but they were relatively low. The assault unit, I Battalion SS ‘Adolf Hitler’ Division, had 37 killed, 98 wounded, and 2 missing, a small price to pay for what was described as a bold attack which opened the door ‘to the heart of Greece’ and ‘paved the way to final victory.’2

2 See p. 204.

3 Papagos, p. 372.

4 One company was on duty at Volos.

1 One man was killed, 11 were captured and 8 later rejoined their unit.

2 Battle report Leibstandarte SS ‘Adolf Hitler’, April 1941.