Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

One aspect the Germans didn't realise at the time was the Churchill's hill-climbing capability. That was perhaps its one saving grace.
But with the poor tracks it had until just after the Raid, there wouldn't be much of that, with tracklife issues of under 200 miles. all early war UK tanks had that issue.
Big thing they missed was the transaxle, to neutral steer.
But you do that with iffy tracks, they will break.
Not like the postwar tanks, do a high rpm neutral steer that would dig a tank sized hole
 
But with the poor tracks it had until just after the Raid, there wouldn't be much of that, with tracklife issues of under 200 miles. all early war UK tanks had that issue.
Big thing they missed was the transaxle, to neutral steer.
But you do that with iffy tracks, they will break.
Not like the postwar tanks, do a high rpm neutral steer that would dig a tank sized hole
The video mentions that the German accounts of tank breakage might have missed the environmental factors when the issue or 'brittle tracks' was called.
 
The video mentions that the German accounts of tank breakage might have missed the environmental factors when the issue or 'brittle tracks' was called.
But the Nazis had trouble with all the UK armor they captured in 1940, to the extent that they modified some to run with Panzer I and II tracks
They didn't have to do that with any other armor they reused.
British changed the metallurgy in 1942 to avoid breaking blocks and snapping pins. It was an across the board problem
 
But the Nazis had trouble with all the UK armor they captured in 1940, to the extent that they modified some to run with Panzer I and II tracks
They didn't have to do that with any other armor they reused.
British changed the metallurgy in 1942 to avoid breaking blocks and snapping pins. It was an across the board problem
IIRC the metallurgy change was moved up to prewar by stealing the formula from visiting Czechs.
 
IIRC the metallurgy change was moved up to prewar by stealing the formula from visiting Czechs.
every nation got decent alloy tracks in the late '20s, early '30s
Except the US and UK.
The UK decided to live with short life, while the US went to the live rubber track that gave exceptional life
The alloy is nothing special, in fact the UK introduced a similar alloy in the 1870s for railroad equipment, like frogs/switchpoints
 
every nation got decent alloy tracks in the late '20s, early '30s
Except the US and UK.
The UK decided to live with short life, while the US went to the live rubber track that gave exceptional life
The alloy is nothing special, in fact the UK introduced a similar alloy in the 1870s for railroad equipment, like frogs/switchpoints
True enough. Canada had their own version of the US tracks that dispensed with the rubber.

I meant ITTL. The British tracks should be a fair ways more reliable than IOTL.
 
11 April 1941. Florina Valley, Greece.
11 April 1941. Florina Valley, Greece.

The 3rd Hussars, (with elements of 2nd Support Group) had been in action for much of the day. The three Squadrons had been leapfrogging one another back from the Yugoslav/Greek border since the first Germans had appeared. It was only about fifteen miles from the abandoned border posts back to the main line that the Australian 19th Brigade and Kings Dragoon Guards were holding in the Klidi pass beyond Vevi.

The British tank crews had had plenty of time to reconnoitre the area they would be working in. There were plenty of olive groves and a patchwork of fields and vineyards where the tanks could conceal themselves. The Royal Engineers had prepared demolitions and mines which added to the difficulty of the German advance. The A13 tanks’ 2-pdr gun and co-axial machine gun had proven itself effective against the spearhead of the German advance. Although a few British tanks and infantry had been lost, the Hussars were pleased with the way their delaying action was going.

Behind them the Greeks, Australians and New Zealanders were setting themselves up along the Olympus/Aliakmon Line, improving their positions and preparing for the eventual onslaught that was coming. As had happened in France, the arrival of the Luftwaffe’s dive bombers had caused a degree of difficulty, but it was becoming clear that they weren’t the entirely formidable weapon of propaganda. While their presence and noise were debilitating, especially the first few times, in reality, the men had worked out that the odds of being struck by a bomb were low. The real problem was the interference with the work of the Royal Artillery further back, the Medium Regiment and one of the Field Regiments had suffered losses. The lack of integrated and mobile anti-aircraft guns was one of the big problems that still hadn’t been fixed. The men knew that the RAF had their work cut out further back protecting the Lines of Communication, so there was little or no possibility of air cover over the front line.

The role that the 3rd Hussars were playing was something that the cavalry men knew well. Their job was to engage, make the Germans deploy, allowing the Royal Artillery observers to bring down fire on the German positions, then disengage and do it all again, trading ground for time. At first the British tank commanders couldn’t quite believe their luck. It seemed that the Germans in the vanguard of the attack were undisciplined or under-trained. They would drive up in their lorries, and debus in full view of the British. A good number of burning trucks and machine-gunned infantry seemed to have cured them of this habit as the day progressed. A couple of the Germans had been captured and they turned out to be from the ‘Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler’. By early evening two of the Hussars’ three Squadrons had passed through the Klidi pass back to Aymntaio where they could refuel, rearm and rest. The third squadron had a bit more difficulty in disengaging, and were in a running fight until, the anti-tank guns of the Australian 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment were to cover the withdrawal through the pass. C Squadron arrived at Aymntaio short of half their number, but the German advanced units had suffered even more heavily.
 
How does this compare to OTL? I'd guess better, but I don't know enough to really have any proof.
Somewhat better I think. Also beating up on Hitler's own bodyguard will go down well. The Fuhrer is going to be pissed. Thankfully mostly with his own men, cue an epic Hitler rant.
 
11 April 1941. Florina Valley, Greece.

The 3rd Hussars, (with elements of 2nd Support Group) had been in action for much of the day. The three Squadrons had been leapfrogging one another back from the Yugoslav/Greek border since the first Germans had appeared. It was only about fifteen miles from the abandoned border posts back to the main line that the Australian 19th Brigade and Kings Dragoon Guards were holding in the Klidi pass beyond Vevi.

The British tank crews had had plenty of time to reconnoitre the area they would be working in. There were plenty of olive groves and a patchwork of fields and vineyards where the tanks could conceal themselves. The Royal Engineers had prepared demolitions and mines which added to the difficulty of the German advance. The A13 tanks’ 2-pdr gun and co-axial machine gun had proven itself effective against the spearhead of the German advance. Although a few British tanks and infantry had been lost, the Hussars were pleased with the way their delaying action was going.

Behind them the Greeks, Australians and New Zealanders were setting themselves up along the Olympus/Aliakmon Line, improving their positions and preparing for the eventual onslaught that was coming. As had happened in France, the arrival of the Luftwaffe’s dive bombers had caused a degree of difficulty, but it was becoming clear that they weren’t the entirely formidable weapon of propaganda. While their presence and noise were debilitating, especially the first few times, in reality, the men had worked out that the odds of being struck by a bomb were low. The real problem was the interference with the work of the Royal Artillery further back, the Medium Regiment and one of the Field Regiments had suffered losses. The lack of integrated and mobile anti-aircraft guns was one of the big problems that still hadn’t been fixed. The men knew that the RAF had their work cut out further back protecting the Lines of Communication, so there was little or no possibility of air cover over the front line.

The role that the 3rd Hussars were playing was something that the cavalry men knew well. Their job was to engage, make the Germans deploy, allowing the Royal Artillery observers to bring down fire on the German positions, then disengage and do it all again, trading ground for time. At first the British tank commanders couldn’t quite believe their luck. It seemed that the Germans in the vanguard of the attack were undisciplined or under-trained. They would drive up in their lorries, and debus in full view of the British. A good number of burning trucks and machine-gunned infantry seemed to have cured them of this habit as the day progressed. A couple of the Germans had been captured and they turned out to be from the ‘Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler’. By early evening two of the Hussars’ three Squadrons had passed through the Klidi pass back to Aymntaio where they could refuel, rearm and rest. The third squadron had a bit more difficulty in disengaging, and were in a running fight until, the anti-tank guns of the Australian 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment were to cover the withdrawal through the pass. C Squadron arrived at Aymntaio short of half their number, but the German advanced units had suffered even more heavily.
good story missing threadmark
 
OTL LSSAH covered itself in glory during the Greek campaign - and generally got away with its aggressive, some would say amateurish, use of its motor transport, in driving almost up to the forward edge of battle into observation range of the Allied infantry and supporting arms at Klidi pass.

Here it looks like the 3rd Hussars have punished them for it and imposed serious delay and we are far more unlikely to see the SS Brigade take Klidi pass beyond Vevi as quickly as OTL and therefore allow the Greek Epirus army more time to disengage before the Metsoven pass can be captured trapping them - which OTL resulted in the whole army being surrendered to Dietrich (the LSSAH's Brigades commander).

Big POD for this campaign.
 
How does this compare to OTL? I'd guess better, but I don't know enough to really have any proof.
It basically puts the Germans a day behind OTL schedule. Their arrival at Vevi and initial assault the Australians took place on 11th. Having been slowed down by the Hussars, they won't be in position for initial assault until 12th. The OTL problems for the Aussies (they dug in above the snow line and suffered from cold and exhaustion) still affect them, but they have an extra day to prepare. The OTL order to withdraw was timed for 04:00hrs on the 13th and was done, but under extraordinary pressure, leading to casualties and captures that should be lessened TTL.
 
How does this compare to OTL? I'd guess better, but I don't know enough to really have any proof.
This based on my own understanding of the battle. @Lascaris or someone else with a more detailed understanding can correct me if they see any mistakes:
1621516636002.png

(https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Greece)
As you can see from this map the Germans attacked Eastern Thrace with their Second Army. In spite of ferocious resistance from the Greeks in many of the fortresses further east the Germans were able to push past the Greeks in the West and make it to Thessalonica by 9 April, meaning the 4 and a half divisions of the East Macedonian Army Detachment were out of the picture. This left the Commonwealth W Force on the Vermion-Olympus line facing Second Army directly.

1621516015216.png

(https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/...g-the-battle-of-vevi-10-13-april-1941-part-i/)
At the same time, 40 Korps which " included two panzer divisions, the mechanised SS Leibstandarte Brigade, and the 72 Infantrie Division" was sent to push through Southern Yugoslavia and outflank the Commonwealth line by pushing through the Monastir gap into the Florina valley in Northern Greece. They were there by 8 April.

1621517771721.png

( https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/2h4gwa You can see the mountainous line W force was trying to hold and the valley behind it that the Germans got into through the Florina Gap)

British intelligence had anticipated the plan, and Wilson sent an add hock blocking force to hold them at the mouth of the Klidi pass just south of Vevi, called Mackay force after its commander. This was just meant to slow the Germans down. In the mean time the Greeks divisions of the Central Macedonian Army Detachment (12th and 20th Division, C.M.A on the above map) and W force would Fall back and take up positions on the Aliakmon River, anchored on Mount Olympus in the East. AFAIK IOTL there was no harassment of the German forces as they travelled south. The first Contact was on 11 April against static Australian and Greek positions. There was an armoured formation in the Mackay force but it was used to screen the Northern Kozani Valley (further south) while demolitions were set before being put in reserve with Mackays force. Its infantry and artillery forces were stripped to be added to the static forces near Vevi. At least one squadron was apparently later used to investigate a false alarm of German tanks outflanking the defenses, and succeeded only in losing 6 tanks to broken tracks.

The Germans took several important points from the defense on 12 April, often by using Stug IIIs to climb to areas that neither side had thought accessible and shelling the allied positions. This, combined with infantry and artillery coordination, forced the Australian and Greek forces to evacuate by end of day 12 April in most cases. Many of the units had been heavily whittled down and some of them had even thrown away their light weapons to retreat faster.

I have seen it referenced that Mackay had orders to pull back at 1730 on 12 April anyway, but perhaps that was just to a position further back. As @Lascaris pointed out earlier, the Greek divisions retreating to defensive positions further in the rear seemed to be expecting Mackay's force to buy them more time, at any rate, though I don't know if this was agreed to or simply expected. Regardless, the 12th and 20th Greek divisions lost a lot of their strength caught before they could make it to their next defensive line and the Germans were able to cut the line of retreat for the West Macedonian Army Detatchment (W.M.A in the map above). This formation then had to retreat in Epirus along with the Epirus army which slowed down the (already pretty glacial) movement of Greek troops south from Albania.

ITTL there seems to be the following advantages over OTL:
1. W force seems to already be deployed along their Aliakmon river line, though I am not sure if this applies to C.M.A as well.
2. The Cavalry forces are better armed (I believe they had Marmon-Harrington's IOTL)and are harassing the Germans well before they reach the Vevi defensive line, increasing German casualties and giving the Allies advance warning
3. The Allies were fairly nervous about facing the Germans IOTL. Apparently on the night of 11 April/Morning of 12 April, any sound or movement in the area was met with artillery fire. One battery apparently spent much of the night shelling an empty hillside because of the report of German tanks. With more success against the Axis in General and the Germans in particular during earlier engagements this tendency may be lessened.
4. If the cruiser tank units are better able to deploy in support they may be able to catch the Pz1's and Stug III's that were apparently the Germans only armoured support and do some damage at some point. Those armoured units were useful to the Germans later, so taking them out of commission as early as possible is definitely helpful.
5. The Germans are a day behind their OTL schedule. This means at least another day for the W.M.A to withdraw from Albania. In addition to possibly saving 12th and 20th divisions of the C.M.A to allow them to withdraw along with the British @Lascaris has already mentioned that the Cavalry division and possibly a good part of 13th division of the W.M.A may also be able to get out as well. Possibly more depending on how long the Germans can be delayed. This gives the Greeks more forces for the fighting in Central Greece, and may marginally speed up the retreat in Epirus.
 
Can anyone speak to the equipment and tactics of the Greek Army? I'm just curious if with more support from British Forces if they would become exponentially more effective at defending mountain terrain with narrow road or passes?
 
Can anyone speak to the equipment and tactics of the Greek Army? I'm just curious if with more support from British Forces if they would become exponentially more effective at defending mountain terrain with narrow road or passes?
I believe they were on the verge of collapse due to an absence of virtually everything (food, uniforms, boots, ammunition, weapons).

Sure they could be rebuilt given time but not in the middle of a massive German invasion.
 
Can anyone speak to the equipment and tactics of the Greek Army? I'm just curious if with more support from British Forces if they would become exponentially more effective at defending mountain terrain with narrow road or passes?

That depends on the unit. XII and XX divisions were second line formations that had been recently formed by any odds and ends that could be found. Older reservists, navy reservists, recovered wounded, volunteers from the Italian Dodecanese and so on. They were rather underequiped even by the relatively sparse Greek TOE of the era and not having the full 3 regiments they were supposed to have either. They still fought quite tenaciously. XIX motorised was for every practical purpose the size of an understrength brigade. If it has not been wasted trying to hold back 2nd Panzer TTL it will still be useful.

The divisions in the Albanian front, are veteran formations, much better equipped, though nowhere near German or British levels, they are particularly deficient in AT guns though they have quite a few 75mm mountain pieces used on the role including ammunition locally produced for it. At this point they are probably some of the best /most experienced mountain infantry in the world as proven in the last 6 months of fighting, the campaign has been fought almost exclusively over mountains after all. On the down side they have been almost constantly on the line since November and have suffered quite heavily for it. In OTL we have two cases were they fought the Germans. The first at Pisoderi where the German 73rd infantry division attacked the positions of the Greek cavalry division. Both attacks failed and a Greek counterattack mauled one German battalion caught in the open, the Germans did not make further attacks in the sector. The second when lead elements of the Greek XIII infantry fought at Argos Orestikon Leibstandarte. The Germans did prevail bertween superior numbers and massed air support but it wasn't an easy fight, a few week later Dietriech was supposedly rather miffed when he was told that he had faced less than three understrength battalions and not a numerically superior foe as he claimed.

The problem is getting any of said divisions out of Albania in one piece and dug in on the Olympus or Thermopylae...
 
14 -15 April 1941. Amyntaio, Greece.
14 -15 April 1941. Amyntaio, Greece.

The 1st Kings Dragoon Guards had taken over the role played previously by the 3rd Hussars. The two Battalions of Australians had been successfully pulled out of their positions around Vevi in the early hours of 14 April. They had successfully repulsed a number of attacks the previous day, but had taken casualties, the 2/8th Battalion suffering worst, effectively losing a Company. The Greek Dodecanese Regiment and 21st Greek Regiments had also been withdrawn, with the help of the Australian Brigade’s transport. The 1st Rangers and the Dragoons, once more with elements of the 2nd Support Group, began just after dawn to engage elements of the German advance troops as they cleared their way through the cratered road and landslips caused by the liberal use of explosives by the Royal Engineers.

The Australians had noted that among the German forces that they had engaged were ‘odd looking tanks’ and now the Dragoons managed to get a look at them too. The chassis looked very much like a Panzer III, but there was no turret, just the same kind of short barrelled gun normally seen on a Panzer IV. It was a relatively difficult shape for the British gunners to hit effectively, and it looked like the armour on it much have been thicker than the Panzer III, because the 2-pdr shells struggled to penetrate, except at fairly close range, or more easily from the side.

The A13 tanks were vulnerable to German fire and the Dragoons knew it. As with the Hussars, the men of the Dragoons had familiarised themselves with the area between Klidi and Amyntaio, they only had six miles to pull back to a ridge that ran from Lake Vegorritis to marshland near Rodona. The 2/4th Australian Battalion had dug in along that ridge, and the three Artillery Regiments had deployed once again to support the Dragoons as they slowed the German advance. The Australian’s had kept their lorries close at hand, their role wasn’t to hold in place for too long, simply to allow the Dragoons and Rangers to have time to refuel and rearm at Lakkia. Once the tanks were again in contact, the Australians and artillery would leapfrog past the next position at Proasteion, where the 2/8th Battalion were currently preparing their positions.

The forward element of 9th Panzer Division found the British tactics worrisome. There was a growing loss of mechanised and wheeled vehicles, and while most of these would be recovered and some repaired, it constantly blunted their efforts to make the kind of progress they wanted. They enjoyed some successes, the British Cruiser tanks were quite vulnerable even to the 37mm guns, but the British never stood firm to let the Germans get to grips with them. The British artillery seemed to be well prepared to fire on prearranged positions, and by the time the German artillery got into position, the British had moved again.

Part of the job the Dragoons were trying to achieve was to buy time for the Greeks to reinforce the passes at Vlasti and Klesoura, which was where the Dodecanese Regiment had been lifted to support the rest of the Greek 20th Division. Once the British were back at Proasteion, then the route to the Klesoura pass would be open. During the night of 14/15 April, the Dragoons were given time to rest and regroup at Lakkia by the Australian Battalion, which withdrew in good order, before dawn on 15 April.

The situation for both the British and Germans continued as it had the day before, the Dragoons attempting to ambush from concealed positions, pulling back behind the cover of the anti-tank battery and infantry, which then leapfrogged the tanks to the next position. The Luftwaffe put in a couple of appearances but made little impression on the British fighting withdrawal.

The next test for the Royal Dragoon Guards came at Proasteion. The main position, a road through a steep gorge, manned primarily by the 2/8th Australian Battalion, came under fire in the late morning. The German 9th Panzer Division also attempted to make a flanking attack by sending some thirty tanks via the village of Asvestopetra towards Mavropigi, where the Dragoons were refuelling and rearming. As soon as B and C Squadrons were ready, they took up positions overlooking the village, finding whatever cover they could. Various support units in and near the Dragoon’s replenishment dump were quickly roped in to take up defensive positions, and were joined by a battery of 2-pdr guns of the 102nd Anti-Tank Regiment from the main defensive position.

The main German attack was made with mostly Panzer IIs, with a some Panzer IIIs. The 2-pdr guns on the British A13 tanks dealt easily with the Panzer IIs, whose 20mm cannons had a limited capability against the tanks. The Panzer IIIs were the more dangerous foe, their 37mm gun well capable of penetrating the British armour. After the fall of France, most Panzer IIIs had an extra 30mm of armour plate welded onto the existing 30mm armour. This caused the British gunners some degree of difficulty, but between the hull down positions taken by the British tanks, and strength in numbers as the Panzer IIs were whittled down, the German tanks began to retreat as they found the British position too strong for them. The arrival of A Squadron, which managed to find the German flank, was the final straw. Five A13 tanks had been knocked out, for the loss of eighteen panzers. Once again, these disabled panzers would eventually be recovered and some repaired. The British tanks, where necessary, were completely destroyed by demolition charges, none of them were judged recoverable by the Light Aid Detachment.

Brigadier Charrington, came forward to consult with Lt Colonel Donald McCorquodale, Officer Commanding the Kings Dragoon Guards, and Lt Colonel Mitchell of the Australian 2/8th Battalion. The situation was still fluid, but McCorquodale felt that his unit had given the German panzers a bloody nose, and they’d be much more careful pressing forward. Mitchell acknowledged that his men were exhausted, but were in good heart. Their position was secure enough, but he was conscious that the attack around the flank could have been disastrous. Charrington agreed, and was of a mind to pull the force back immediately. McCorquodale however believed that the Germans would probably have to spend the rest of the day licking their wounds and bringing up their artillery to have another attempt at forcing their way through the gorge. He suggested that the both his tanks and the elements of the 2nd Support Group would remain in place, and let the Australians begin to thin out their positions and be ready to withdraw under the cover of darkness. The Australians could then cross back over the river Aliakmon, and his own force would follow on, as they had been doing, leapfrogging back, to Kozani, where the 2/4th Battalion were preparing positions. With the need to give the Greeks as much time as possible, delaying the Germans for another day would benefit everyone. Brigadier Charrington agreed, but he emphasised the need for the Dragoons to get back across the river with enough time to blow the crossings.
Greece1.gif

The map is from the Australian official history found here, marked as dispositions on 10 April 1941.
The Germans are still a day behind OTL schedule and the 2/8th Battalion are better off than they were OTL.
 
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