Clash of Armor, The Road to Kozani, 13 April, 1941


In the early afternoon of 13 April, 1941, the main body of the 9th Panzerdivision – the 33rd Panzer Regiment – entered Ptolmais, a town between the villages of Vivi and Kozani. As the Germans began to push south out of Ptolmais, they encountered blown bridges, water-filled anti-tank ditches, swamps, and other rough terrain. German patrols scouted the vicinity of the main road and discovered a way around these obstacles. The German forces were able to swing several miles west around the flank of the Commonwealth forces through a swampy area, but passable enough for vehicles. While under constant artillery, anti-tank and tank fire, 9th Panzer moved slowly through the swampy area. As the Germans moved closer into range, they began returning fire and reportedly knocked out several vehicles.
After crossing the swamp successfully (they left seven tanks in the swamp), the German armor reorganized and began their attack. It was late in the day and the Germans needed to strike quickly. As elements of the 33rd Panzer Regiment and their support infantry began their flank attack, they were greeted by artillery and anti-tank fire by Commonwealth forces. The panzers were met by tanks from the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment and elements of the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade. A bloody and violent engagement ensued leaving both sides with knocked-out tanks and plenty of casualties. However, as night fall began, the British reportedly withdrew, leaving the field to the Germans. The first and only tank battle of the Greek campaign was over.
Historical Outcome
After this action, the British withdrew to Kozani to await the expected German advance. The 9th Panzerdivision may have driven the Commonwealth forces off the field, but they failed to meet their goal of taking the strategic town of Kozani that evening. The Germans, low on ammunition and fuel, halted to wait for re-supply. They renewed their advance the next morning, finding the Commonwealth forces waiting for them on the hills surrounding Kozani.

By Mario Sposito and Stephen Keyer, μodified for Flames of War v3 by Greg Horner

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