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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Move to the Line

Move to the Line

From Hymettus Camp, near Athens, in the last two weeks of March a steady stream of New Zealanders, including the medical units, went forward to positions in the Aliakmon line, north of Katerini. This line the Division prepared to hold, while forward of the new Olympus positions preparations were made for demolitions of roads and bridges. While the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry maintained patrols along the line of the Aliakmon River north of Katerini, 4 and 6 Brigades took over the Aliakmon line from the Greeks south of the river and 5 Brigade worked on the defensive positions astride Olympus Pass. The Division was spread over an enormous front, no continuous defence line being possible, and the Aliakmon line itself was destined not to be held because the Germans outflanked it at Monastir when Yugoslav resistance collapsed.

Most of the men travelled the distance of 300 miles from Athens by rail, but all vehicles, except tracked ones, were driven along the narrow, winding roads. Nearly all units were in the forward areas by 3 April.