|Thermopylae, April 1941. NZ|
The defenders at Thermopylae in 1941 were the New Zealand 24th and 25th Battalions, with the 26th Battalion in reserve. The two battalions were supported by a medium regiment, four field regiments (three New Zealand, one Royal Horse Artillery), two anti-tank regiments and a light anti-aircraft battery .
The battle began at 2pm with German infantry, tanks, motor cyclists and cyclists approaching the defenders. By 5pm the Allied artillery had destroyed many tanks.Despite this success, towards the end of the day penetration to the rear of the 25th Battalion became threatening. After dark, drivers drove boldly along the road past the destroyed German tanks and picked up the gallant crews of those guns that were now in front of the infantry. During the day enemy air attack had little effect on the fighting, though it made movement difficult behind the front.
The gun positions of the Australian 2/2nd Regiment were severely attacked by German aircraft on this day. The commanding officer, Colonel Cremor, ordered that the guns be moved at night to new positions to the rear, but that camouflage nets be left over the old pits. These pits were in the area now occupied by the Australian 2/11th Battalion,
Meanwhile on the left flank, high in the hills, the Australian 19th Brigade had also felt the weight of the German attack. The Australian 2/11th Battalion, 2/1st Battalion, 2/4th Battalion and a group of one officer and 48 men of the Australian 2/8th Battalion now were in position to defend the valleys and passes around the Brallos area, to the east of road leading through the pass, including the tracks leading through Kalothronion to the right rear of the Australian 2/1th Battalion's position.
One company of the Australian 2/1st Battalion under Captain Embrey, was detached to cover demolitions in the defile at Gravia through which ran a road from Amfissa, towards which German troops from Epirus were reported to be advancing. The Australian 2/4th Battalion was in position astride the road five miles south of Brallos.
Australian Unit Locations - 23nd April
16th Brigade HQ - Brallos
17th Brigade HQ - Thermopylae
19th Brigade HQ - North of Brallos
2/1st Battalion - Thermopylae
2/2nd Battalion - Kanlini
2/3rd Battalion -Amficklia
2/4th Battalion - Brallos
2/5th Battalion - Brallos
2/6th Battalion - Thermopylae
2/7th Battalion - Brallos
2/8th Battalion - Amfiklia
2/11th Battalion - Megara
2/1st Machine Gun Battalion - Levadia
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