|German artillery shelling the Metaxas line, April 1941. Bundesarchiv Bild|
On this day 75 years ago, the Axis invasion land forces capture the Xanthi and Kilkis.
The German advance across the Metaxas defence line had been delayed by the dogged Greek defence of the forts on the Rupel Pass in northern Greece. Fort Hellas was shelled for thirty-six hours by the entire artillery of the German XXX Corps and Fort Ekhinos held out for days in the rear of the German advancing troops.
By the evening of the 8th, the Greek Eastern Macedonian Army begins armistice negotiations with the Germans.
The Australian 16th Brigade has taken up positions guarding the Veria Pass, with the Australian 19th Brigade on the left at Larissa and Tirnavos. With snow falling on the mountains and passes, the Australians could see Thessaloniki and the mountains of Yugoslavia.
Meanwhile, the 4th NZ Brigade arrives at Servia and the 5th and 6th NZ Brigades at the Olympus Pass.
The battle to defend the northern gateway to central Greece lies ahead.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& member of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council