The War Illustrated No 88 Vol 4 May 9th 1941

458 'The War Illustrated Hay 9th, 1941 How Britons and Anzacs Fought in Greece Driven ever backward by the overwhelming hordes of Hitler’s war machine, the Forces of the Empire gave most gallant and resolute support to their Greek allies. Below we give an account of the fierce rearguard actions in which Anzacs and Britons, fighting side by side, wrote fresh and never-to-be-forgotten pages in the Empire’s annals. When the Germans, taking advantage 'of the fatal gap which had developed between the Yugoslavs and the Greeks, pushed south from Monastir across the frontier into Greece, they were opposed by a British armoured force. Although the British were outnumbered by 20 to one, they put up a resolute defence and inflicted the most severe punishment on the Adolf Hitler Division, which constituted the Nazi van. Retreating in good order, they reached a mountain pass to the south of Fiorina here the defence was overtaken by British infantry while the armoured units passed through to the rear. For 27 hours a furious battle raged as the Germans strove to eject the British from their positions. At length, after a tremendous artillery, bombard­ ment—the Germans were now using anew gun of 105 cm.—supported by incessant dive-bombing attacks and an almost con­tinuous onslaught by wave after wave of in battle across the one flat strip of inland World War style, and all the time the German infantry were being mown down in wave after wave, until the Flanders poppies in the field looked dull beside the red earth which these men embraced now.” For four hours the battle raged at the entrance to the Kozani pass, and it continued as the Australians fell back, bitterly contesting every foot of the way. One Australian unit, we are told, hung onto their position in the heights until they were 20 miles behind the German lines yet they fought their way back to their comrades. Then afresh stand was made on abridge over the Haliakmon (Vistritsa), to the west of Mount Olympus.“ I would not have believed it,” said a young Australian machine- gunner to “The Times ”correspondent. “Th&y came up the side of the road like' flies, shouting something. We were giving it to them from all sides, and they went down like you see in the movies. It was just alike movie.” For some days it had been realized that it was impossible to hold the line which rested on the Pindus mountains and Mount Olympus —more particularly when the Germans thrust through the Metsovo pass and took the Greeks holding the left flank in the rear. “In face of increasing pressure by German forces which are daily being reinforced,” said a communique issued by British G.H.Q. in the Middle East on April 18, “Greek and Imperial forces on the northern front are gradually withdrawing to a shorter line of defence.” More detailed was the story given in a bulletin issued by the Greek Press Ministry -on April 20. After stating that along the whole line of the British and Greek fronts the Germans were still attacking fiercely, the bulletin went onto say that the Allied line, although it had been modified at some points at the initiative of the defenders, remained unbroken, and all the. violent efforts by the enemy to force a decisive and immediate issue had failed. “The German losses are enormous. The Nazis are upbringing more and more reinforce­ments of mechanized units, infantry, and aircraft. But in spite of all their efforts, the British and Greeks fight like lions, still holding their posi­tions.” Advancing in waves, the. Germans attempted to force the parses at all costs. They failed, and paid dearly for their failure. In the 'Olympus area the Germans continued to sacrifice the lives of their soldiers by the thousand, Without being able to breakthrough. “The heroic exploits of our allies,” went on the bulletin, “the Australians and New. Zealanders, are weaving new legends round the slopes of Mount Olympus.” But at length the line which pivoted on Olympus had to be abandoned, and the Allies fell back across the plain of Thessaly, and took up new positions south of Larisa. The newline was shorter and easier to hold, Vo!o, above, which the Ger­mans claimed to have reached on April 22,1941, stands anon inlet of the Aegean Sea and is the chief port of Thessaly. Bight, is the pass of Thermopylae, around which Imperial troops put up a heroic re­sistance. Photos, Fox and E.N.A. infantry, the British were compelled to withdraw as far as Kozani, where they again turned at bay. Here the Australians came into action, and from their gun pits cut in the side of the moun­tain played havoc with the enemy hordes. “From the mountains covering the pass,” wrote an Australian corre-spondent in “The Times,” “Australian big guns pounded day and night at the German troops ’transport positions below. Machine-guns were
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