|Australian soldier, possibly of the 2/2nd Battalion, near Kozani, April 1941. AWM|
On this day 75 years ago, the Anzacs and other Allied forces deploy across northern Greece following the withdrawal from Vevi and Sotir.
By early morning the British 1st Armoured Brigade began its withdrawal after the battle of Ptolemais the previou day.The depleted brigade retired through Kozani and thence along the mountain road to Grevena .A small rearguard stood astride the road at Mavrodendri until 1.30 am on the 14th April.
They are joined by elements of the Australian 17th Brigade under Savige, who deploy between Kalabaka and Grevena, while some of its component troops are still arriving in Athens.
The Australian 19th Brigade under Vasey deployed to Farsala, while the New Zealand 6th Brigade deploys to Tirnavos.
The Germans continued to press the Greek forces defending the Kleisoura Pass, the attack commencing at 4.00am and continuing throughout the day. Eventually, the Greek defenders withdrew. The Greek casualties were heavy, the 80th Regiment being effectively destroyed. The failure to hold the pass had grave consequences for the Greeks, as the German advance directly threatened the main retreat route from the Albania front of the Greek Army of Western Macedonia. Although the Greek Army would attempt again to stop the Germans on 15 April east of the road, this time they would fight on open terrain less favorable than the Kleisoura pass.
The day ends with the Germans capturing Kozani and units of the 9th Panzer Division successfully cross the Aliakmon River, breaching the Allied defence line.
Australian Unit Locations - 14th April
17th Brigade HQ - Daphne
19th Brigade HQ - Farsala
2/1st Battalion - Mishiotori
2/2nd Battalion - Moshokhori
2/3rd Battalion - Velvendos
2/5th Battalion - Graunia
2/4th Battalion - Mikravalton
2/7th Battalion - Dhomokos
2/11th Battalion - Kalabaka
2/1st Machine Gun Battalion - Kalabaka
Thanks to Paul Sougleris of Greek Anzacs for his information on unit locations drawn from the official unit dairies.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& Member, Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council