Forgotten Anzacs: The Campaign in Greece, 1941

Forgotten Anzacs: The Campaign in Greece, 1941

by Peter Ewer


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Forgotten Anzacs: The Campaign in Greece, 1941 by Peter Ewer

Every School Child in Australia and New Zealand is brought up on the legend of the Anzacs. This, though, is the largely unknown story of another Anzac force which fought not at Gallipoli, but in Greece during World War II.

Desperately outnumbered, and fighting in deeply inhospitable conditions, these Anzacs found themselves engaging in a long retreat through Greece, under constant air attack. Most of the Anzac Corps was evacuated by the end of April, but many men got only as far as Crete. Fighting a German paratroop invasion there in May, large numbers were taken captive and spent four long years as prisoners of the Nazis.

The campaign in Greece turned out to have uncanny parallels to the original Gallipoli operation: both were inspired by Winston Churchill, both were badly planned by British military leaders, and both ended in defeat and evacuation. British bungling at Gallipoli was one thing; but in Greece, Churchill authorised his commanders to leave the Anzacs to their fate if their rescue compromised wider British interests.

Just as Gallipoli provided military academies the world over with lessons in how not to conduct a complex feat of arms, Churchill's Greek adventure reinforced fundamental lessons in modern warfare-heavy tanks could not be stopped by men armed with rifles, and Stuka dive-bombers would not be deflected by promises of air support from London that were never honoured.

Until now, there has been no history on the campaign in Greece and Crete written from a truly Anzac perspective. Based on rarely accessed archives and more than 30 interviews with Australian, Greek, and New Zealand veterans, this superb book gives overdue recognition to the brave,forgotten Anzacs of 1941.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781921372759
Publisher: Scribe Publications Party Limited
Publication date: 02/01/2010
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Peter Ewer is an official in the Victorian Department of Justice and has published in local and international history journals. He is the coauthor of Unions and the Future of Manufacturing and the coeditor of Visions for Victoria.

Table of Contents

List of Maps vi

Preface to 75th anniversary edition vii

Prologue 1

1 For King and Country … and the paid adventure 7

2 The Tracks They Travelled 33

3 An American Abroad 72

4 Building a Balkan Front 98

5 Blocking a Blitzkrieg: the Battle of Vevi, 10-13 April 1941 118

6 At the Feet of Zeus They Fought 154

7 Disaster Averted: the Battle of Pinios Gorge, 17-18 April 1941 186

8 Of Rearguards and Treachery 221

9 An Anzac Dunkirk 256

10 The Battle of Crete: 20 May-1 June 1941 299

11 Legacies 362

Epilogue 385

Acknowledgements 387

References 389

Notes 399

Index 421

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