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To Greece

The German Plans, 13 April

The German Plans, 13 April

Once through the Klidhi Pass the Germans during the night of 12–13 April made their plans3 for two separate thrusts into northern Greece. The SS ‘Adolf Hitler’ Division would send a force south-westwards towards the Klisoura Pass and Kastoria with the intention of destroying 3 Greek Corps headquarters at Koritza and forcing the surrender of the northern section of the Greek army in Albania. Ninth Panzer Division would continue the advance southwards towards Kozani and Larisa. Next morning a mobile force, preceded by a strong reconnaissance patrol and followed by tanks, would hasten through SS ‘Adolf Hitler’ Division, following hard on the heels of the British and giving him ‘no time to prepare any organised resistance.’4

At dawn, however, the forward units beyond the Klidhi Pass were forced to fight a minor engagement with the British rearguard which was holding the Sotir ridge in unexpected strength. It was not until 10 a.m. that the forward elements of 9 Panzer Division were over the ridge and following the now retreating British, who were described in air reports as ‘large motorised columns and an English armoured division’, withdrawing towards Ptolemais and Kozani. Thirty-third Panzer Regiment was hurriedly brought forward and at Proastion there was the second rearguard engagement of the day.

3 See pp. 21819.

4 Appendix 256, 9 Panzer Division war diary.