First shots were fired yet before the midnight on 5 April 1941: German assault groups attacked several object along the Yugoslav borders. At 2:00 a German engineer group took by surprise the Yugoslav side of the Iron Gate and voided the Yugoslav plan to block the shipping on the Danube. At 5:00 German and Italian air forces set off for the action, and at 5:15 started the German attack on Skopje, Veles and Strumica. At 6:30 first aircraft from the German 4th Air Fleet flew over Belgrade. Συνέχεια
In October 1940 the British command happened to withdraw some forces from North Africa to give aid to Greece, a rather moral one. The Greeks though proved to be inflexible beyond expectation, they had fought off advanced Italian divisions, driven them back, and close behind them entered Albania. The general situation in the Balkans was worsening week after week and the reinforcement of British expeditionary forces in Greece was becoming an urgent necessity. To the country of the Hellenes had been sent one of two brigades of the 2nd Armoured Division, two infantry divisions and a considerable part of aviation, 50,000 men altogether. A highland rifles brigade had to join them soon. In command was Gen. Henry Maitland Wilson. Συνέχεια
The Battle of Crete, the subject of this volume, is the final act of the war drama that resulted in the occupation of Greece by the German and Italian forces.
The loss of the Battle of Crete by the British forces which were assembled in the island in a disorganized condition and, in some cases, without weapons after their struggle in mainland Greece, was largely due to total lack of air support and poor means of antiaircraft defense. Lack of coordination in the defense efforts of the British forces, the result of the destruction of the communication means of the British command with its subordinated forces from the very first hours, also contributed greatly to the unfortunate outcome of the battle.
The Greek units, hastily organized, with only very limited arms and equipment, as well as the voluntary participation of the local populace of Crete in the struggle, could not prevent the inevitable, despite their acts of heroism. Συνέχεια
Greek drama. The combat spirit of the Greek army was high, but it had to perish before the technical superiority of the invaders.
While the Army Eastern Macedonia and the forces of the 3rd Military District, deployed on the Bulgarian frontier, were falling apart under the blows of the German 12th Army, the troops commanded by Gen. Henry Maitland Wilson were still organizing defences along the line Aliakmon valley – Vermion mountains – lake Vegoritis – Kajmakcalan. The news about the Yugoslav debacle on the Vardar caused that Gen. Wilson began to worry that the enemy troops could reach the rears of his left wing. Upon an agreement with General Aléxandros Papagos it was decided that the left wing of the Greco-British troops would be evacuated from the sector Vegoritis – Kajmakcalan to the area of the pass Kirli Derven near Klidi, where they would build new defences blocking the northern approaches from Bitola. While the troops were already on the move, the news came that the enemy took Bitola. It meant that the Yugoslav defence in that area was broken, and the German command got an opportunity to engage more forces in Greece. Συνέχεια
Διοικητού οχυρού Νυμφαίας Ταγματάρχου Πεζικού Αναγνωστού Αλεξάνδρου (νυν αντισυνταγματάρχου) επί των, προ της μάχης, κατά τη μάχην και μετά την μάχην του οχυρού Νυμφαίας. Εις αντικατάστασιν της κατά την κατοχήν υποβληθείσης συντόμου εκθέσεως.
… … … … … … … … … … … … …
Ο υπογεγραμμένος διοικητής οχυρού Νυμφαίας ταγματάρχης Πεζικού Αναγνωστός Αλέξανδρος, έχων υπό τας διαταγάς μου τους κάτωθι αξιωματικούς:
- Λοχαγό Πεζικού Δημητριάδη Αντώνιο, διοικητή Α’ Λόχου.
- Λοχαγό Πεζικού Παπαδάκο Κων/νο, διοικητή Β’ Λόχου.
- Λοχαγό Πεζικού Κονδύλη Νικόλαο, διοικητή Λόχου και Υπασπιστή.
- Έφεδρο Υπολοχαγό Τσαλαμπουπούνη Λεωνίδα, διμοιρίτη.
- Ανθυπολοχαγό Πεζικού Κατεχάκη Ζαχαρία, διμοιρίτη.
- Έφεδρο Ανθυπολοχαγό Παθιάκη Αντώνιο, διμοιρίτη.
- Έφεδρο Ανθυπολοχαγό Μαρίνο Αλέξανδρο, διμοιρίτη.
- Έφεδρο Ανθυπολοχαγό Παναγίδη Κων/νο, διμοιρίτη Όλμων.
- Έφεδρο Ανθυπολοχαγό Μηχανικού Μαλάμογλου Νικόλαο, διμοιρίτη Σκαπανέων.
- Έφεδρο Ανθυπασπιστή Μηχανικού Φιλίππου Χρ., Αξιωματικό διαβιβάσεων.
- Ανθυπασπιστή Πεζικού Παχυγιαννάκη Εμμανουήλ, διαχειριστή.
- Ανθυπίατρο Πατρινέλη Γεώργιο, Ιατρό του οχυρού.
- Έφεδρο Ανθυπίατρο Μαλαχία, χειρουργό του οχυρού.
Hitler’s war directive No. 25
Concerning preparations for invasion
27 March 1941
The Führer and the Supreme Commander Führer Headquarters
of the Armed Forces. 27th march 1941.
DIRECTIVE No. 25
1. The military revolt in Yugoslavia has changed the political position in the Balkans. Yugoslavia, even if it makes initial professions of loyalty, must be regarded as an enemy and beaten down as quickly as possible.
- It is my intention to break into Yugoslavia in the general direction of Belgrade and to the south by a concentric operation from the Fiume-Graz area on the one side, and the Sofia area on the other, and to deal an annihilating blow to the Yugoslav forces. Further, the extreme southern region of Yugoslavia will be cut off from the rest of the country and will be occupied as a base from which the German-Italian offensive against Greece can be continued. Συνέχεια
To His Excellency, Adolf Hitler,
Translation of an open letter to Hitler from M. Georges Vlachos, published in the Kathimerini of Saturday, March 8th, 1941.
To His Excellency, Adolf Hitler,
Chancellor of the German Reich
Greece, as you know, wished to keep out of the present war. When it broke out she had barely recovered frim the wounds that she had suffered from various wars and dissensions at home. She had neither the strength nor the intention, nor any reason to take part in a war, the end of which, no doubt, would be of great importance to the whole world, but at the start did not offer any direct threat to her integrity. Let us ignore her declarations on this point, let us ignore the official documents published in the White Book, let us ignore the speeches and articles which bore witness to her permanent desire to keep out of the war. Let us take into account one fact only. When, after the Italian sinking of the Helle in the port if Tenos, Greece found the remains of torpedoes, when she had proof that these torpedoes were Italian, she kept silent. Why? Because if she had disclosed the truth she would have been forced either to declare war, or to see war declared against her. Greece never wished for war with Italy, neither by herself nor with allies, whether these be British or Balkan. She wished only for her small part of the world to live as quietly as possible, because she was exhausted, because she had fought many wars and because her geographical position is such that she could not have as an enemy either the Germans on land or the English on sea. Συνέχεια