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Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

Interesting diversion would be the use of the German airborne forces to turn a position - may make any invasion of Crete a moot point if they are roughly handled.
 
21 April 1941. Larissa, Greece.
21 April 1941. Larissa, Greece.

The arrival of 2nd Panzer Division in Larissa, had been long delayed coming over the Pinios Gorge. First by the New Zealand 5th Brigade, and the demolitions of much of the road, finally by some sharp engagements with tanks from 3rd Hussars. The Germans were too late to prevent the capture of the New Zealand 6th Brigade and elements of 1st Armoured Brigade. These pulled back from the delaying positions around Elasson during the night, and were a few hours ahead of the German spearhead. All the delays in the previous days had allowed the German supply columns to catch up with the forward units, so when the Germans entered the town, and found it deserted and all the remaining British stockpiles in flames, they were not too upset. There would no need to capture enemy petrol or food to keep the momentum of the chase up.

What the Luftwaffe reconnaissance missions were telling the German commanders was that the Greeks seemed to be streaming back towards Lamia from the direction of Trikkala, while the British forces now seemed mostly to the south of that Lamia, though there was a column of vehicles moving from Volos towards Lamia. The commander of 2nd Panzer Division was therefore ordered to proceed as quickly as possible to Lamia, some 80km south of Larissa. The 9th Panzer Division with the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, which were cut off from Larissa by the destruction of the bridges over the river Pineos, were to move westwards towards Trikkala to stop the Greek army escaping.

The leading elements of the Luftwaffe ground staff arrived at the former British airfields looking to put them under new management. What they found was a systematic attempt to put the fields beyond use. All the runways were cratered, mines had been sown liberally, and the only remaining sign of the Royal Air Force were the wreckage of numerous aircraft destroyed on the ground. It would not be as easy a task as they had hoped.

As the 2nd Panzer Division began to move southwards, they found themselves once more hampered by demolitions and the occasional ambush. The main force of Australian 17th Brigade, with 1st Armoured Brigade’s tanks, were strengthening positions at Dhomokos, on the road to Lamia, but had prepared a few surprises for the Germans as they crossed the plain. The ubiquitous Luftwaffe were on hand to play the role of reconnaissance, the arrival of a Storch aircraft was usually the first sign that the Germans were on their way. While the majority of Luftwaffe sorties were to hamper the withdrawal of the Greek and Empire forces further south, there were still enough to support the German advance.

In Athens, General Wavell had come to consult with Generals Wilson and Blamey, and with the Greek King, President of the Council, Alexandros Koryzis and General Papagos. The Thermopylae Line, with large numbers of Greek soldiers having been brought down the railway line from Kalabaka, was looking reasonably strong. General Papagos however reiterated his suggestion that the British might have to think about escaping by sea.

The judgment of General Blamey, who had just returned from a tour of the defensive line, was of the opinion that it could be held, but not indefinitely. With the loss of much of Greece, the King was conscious that just feeding his people would rely almost entirely on the British. Not only would the British need to support their own forces, but the Greek army and the civilian population as well. The fact that the Luftwaffe were running amok, meant that the Royal Navy would have to support Greece as well as Malta, under great pressure. The Greeks were in agreement that the battle was fundamentally lost. A stand at Thermopylae would, like the Spartans of old, be a last chance to show the world that the birthplace of Democracy would stand against expansionist dictators. Then, retiring to Crete, the Greek Government and people would continue to resist, until they were strong enough to win back the rest of the country.

Wavell’s naval liaison noted that it would be few days before the Royal Navy would be in a position to start an evacuation. The Greek navy and merchant marine were already mobilised, and General Papagos said that he would start planning to evacuate as much of the armed forces that would be needed to rebuild. General Wilson’s staff had already been working on the possibility of an evacuation, and he offered some support to help the Greeks work out who and how best to plan for that.

The Greek King, George II, expressed his gratitude for the support the British had given to Greece, and gave his blessing to Wavell to plan for the embarkation of his force. The British delegates were moved by the King’s supportive intervention, and promised to do their best to support him, and the Greek people in the days ahead.
 
Just to note that Alexandros Koryzis in OTL committed suicide on 18 April. The fact that he is still alive is partly to do with how much better the withdrawal from Albania has gone ITTL. It could be argued that the decision to evacuate, taken on 21 April, might have been done quicker here because the Government was still in being. However, I think that it would have followed much the same process as here. Also, note that the 2nd Panzer Division is resupplied. One of their problems was that when they got to Larissa, their supply situation was so poor, that they stopped for almost 48hrs. The butterfly of holding the Aliakmon line for a few extra days allows the logistics to catch up.
 
A stand at Thermopylae would, like the Spartans of old, be a last chance to show the world that the birthplace of Democracy would stand against expansionist dictators
I am afraid that that stand will have to be mostly Commonwealth with a symbolic greek force. I doubt the men escaping south with barely their rifles can be combat ready. If I am guessing correctly, the Greeks were trying to evacute men rather than equipment south.

The last complete and functioning unit is the Reserve Officers’ College Battalion. This unit can be send to cover the left flank of the Allied position. Perhaps a Euzone (Light Infantry) battalion can be added, if one managed to retreat with its equipment.

If the Allies send more than the two OTL brigades in Thermopylae they can hold the position for a few days at least. For example according to "Swastika over the Acropolis" just 2 australian 25pdrs covered the destroyed bridges of Sperchios River for a whole day (22nd of April). They hold the high ground despite Stukas and german superiority. The OTL Italian Campaign showed what utilizing terrain can do in defence. The Allies basically need an additional artillery regiment and a couple more infantry battalions at Brallos Pass and perhaps a squadron of A13s at Molos.

The map of the Battle of Thermopylae is from "The Swastika over the Acropolis".
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22 April 1941. Dhomokos, Greece.
22 April 1941. Dhomokos, Greece.

Brigadier Savige’s men had attempted to create as complete a blocking position as possible. Lt Colonel Donald McCorquodale, Officer Commanding the Kings Dragoon Guards, and Lt Colonel Mitchell of the Australian 2/8th Battalion had passed through the previous evening, updating Savige on the strength of the enemy approaching. The two units had been acting as the delaying force, pulling back from Larisa. Small units, typically, a platoon of Australian troops and a troop of tanks, would stay within range of each demolition, trying to hamper the German efforts to clear the obstacles. Some local Greeks had been helping by showing some tracks and other routes not on maps, but known to the locals. This had allowed the vast majority of the tanks and the troops’ lorries to get clear, once the ambush had been sprung. Losses however had been incurred, and the much-reduced Kings Dragoon Guards and 2/8th Battalion were ordered back to Lavadia, where they could rest for a while.

The first German approaches towards the Australian positions at Dhomokos had occurred the previous evening, but once again, it seemed that the Germans tended to avoid night actions. Savige wanted to hold the Germans back until the night of 22/23 April, allowing the line at Thermopylae to be further strengthened.

For much of the previous few days the roads had been clogged by the retiring 6th Australian Division and the 2nd New Zealand Division. Alongside them were columns of Greek troops, who hadn’t been able to move by train from Paleofarsalos. Seeing the tanks and guns of the Australian and British had been a boost to the Greek troops, and wherever possible, the Australians had shared their rations (not much to Greek taste, but nonetheless welcome). Brigadier Savige had ordered ambulances to go forward to pick up those who were too weary to march, or indeed lightly wounded.

From bitter experience, the Australians had prepared their positions with great thought to how they would look from the air, and sure enough, not long after dawn the Luftwaffe arrived, firstly in the form of a Storch, followed shortly by some thirty Stukas. The Germans had obviously spent the night bringing up some artillery and almost as soon as the last Stuka pulled out of its dive, the pass came under artillery fire. The Australian 2/1st Field Regiment’s 25-pdrs, also well hidden, then began to answer, their Observation Post Officer, attempting to provide the gunners with corrections to their fire.

Under the cover of the artillery a column of German panzers began to make their way up the road, and the Australian artillery were ordered to shift their fire to the road. The accurate, sustained fire of the Australian guns caused casualties very quickly among the Germans. The positions that the Australians had chosen were deliberately set so that such a column wouldn’t have too much room to spread out. They had also planted mines and other demolitions to funnel the German vehicles into the kill zone. A battery of 2-pdr anti-tank guns opened up as the lead panzers came into range, and knocking out two Panzer IIs, effectively blocked the road. Attempts by German infantry to find a flank were met with fire from the Vickers HMGs of B Company of the 2/1st Machine Gun Battalion, along with the rifles and Bren guns of the infantry. The withdrawal of the initial German attack, was followed up mid-morning by another visit from the Luftwaffe.

The rest of the day followed much of the same pattern with the Germans gradually pushing the Australian companies back, especially when the Luftwaffe caused the Australian gunners to take cover, with two guns being destroyed. The German 6th Mountain Division, which would have been capable of flanking the Australian positions was back at Larisa, as 2nd Panzer Division had priority. Despite the best efforts of the German commanders and troops, they found that that pass was a very difficult position to force the Australians out.

As evening approached, Brigadier Savage gave the order to fall back. More demolitions were set off, and two Companies plus two troops of A13 tanks provided the rear-guard while the rest of the men boarded their lorries and moved through the main Australian position at Brallos. General Mackay, CO 6th Australian Division was on hand to congratulate Savige’s men as they passed through towards Lavadia where they would go into reserve. The demolitions, which even the engineers thought were excessive, were enough to give the rear-guard plenty of time to make their way back before dawn, across the Sperkhios River, the bridges being destroyed after they passed, through Lamia and up the road to Brallos.
 
This will delay the germans even more and the more that Greece can frustrate them thr better. It also helps that the Commonwealth forces are falling back in good order
As evening approached, Brigadier Savage gave the order to fall back. More demolitions were set off, and two Companies plus two troops of A13 tanks provided the rear-guard while the rest of the men boarded their lorries and moved through the main Australian position at Brallos. General Mackay, CO 6th Australian Division was on hand to congratulate Savige’s men as
Though going off the above did you mean that General MacKay Congratulated Savage?
 
So with the escape route open till the evening of the 21st how much of the Greek army made it out? Now just need to find shipping for them all.
 
Even if few Greeks passed Dhomokos on foot, it means that the evacuation of the Greek Army is perhaps better than I hoped. I had in mind trains and lorries carrying men. If the Dhomokos pass is open until the night of 22nd then I believe that the Cavalry Division and the 12th, 13th, 20th Divisions of the WMAS are behind Thermopylae. The same goes for the 5th "Cretan" division as well. In the case of the 12th and 20th divisions it will be remnants as in OTL. Now, it will depend on which units were stationed to hold the line so that the some of the rest can escape (perhaps 1 or 2 more divisions). I sincerely hope that the 11th Division that included the jewish regiments is one of the evacuated units. To have a kernel of Salonica Jews escaping the Holocaust. I also find very plausible what Lascaris said about the 1st "Iron" Division under general Vrachnos: it was a unit with the cohesiveness to escape. If not via the Metsovo Pass, then through the long trek in the Arta-Naupactus axis. The Germans need to get the surrender of the Epirus Army first and only then to start a hunt via mountain roads. I think there is more than enough time for a single division to reach Peloponnese this way.
 
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The more delays and more organised withdrawls the better it is for the Allies, and if they can get to Crete then there's going to be enough troops there to make any air assaults verrrry risky.
 
The more delays and more organised withdrawls the better it is for the Allies, and if they can get to Crete then there's going to be enough troops there to make any air assaults verrrry risky.
That is kind of an understatement on the very risky bit. Probably suicidal at worst.
 
That is kind of an understatement on the very risky bit. Probably suicidal at worst.

True but its a case of will those troops that get evacced have supplies etc or will they have just their rifles. The battle of Crete could have been swung if the Colonel at the airbase the Nazi's captured had moved his command post up to the top of Point 107, preventing its capture by a handful of troops led by a bored doctor.
 
One slight issue




Surely there is no such thing...........

I speak as the Son of a Royal Engineer.......
From a Combat Engineer I know, he could calculate what would be needed to cut span or make a crater to the kilogram, but would then double it, just to be sure, and round up.
Besides, he said on exercises, there was too much paperwork to return a partially used spool of Primacord or crate of C4, so use it up in the field. Bonus was less stuff to haul back and inventory.
 
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