Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 15 April 2016


Travelling further south today we left Kozani and proceeded to the Aliakmon River Bridge that allowed us to cross the lake, the lake is post war as there was a 3 strand bridge over the original river path in 1941 that our engineers blew after our force had crossed, to then enter the village of Servia.

Servia is at the Northern end of the Servia Pass, one of the longest passes in Greece and our force was there to defend the Pass and block German movement south. A very strong position with 2 Australian and 1 NZ Brigade there supported by 2/3 Australian Field Regt, 2/1 NZ Machine Gun Battalion, 6 NZ Field Regt and a British Medium Regt plus a Troop. The German attack came onto the position but was repelled with heavy casualties. After this firefight the units began withdrawing to Thermopylae where the next major defensive line was being established. The Field Regiments and Brigadier Charrington's Armoured Brigade covered the withdrawal through Elasson.

After we emerged from the Pass we proceeded to Elasson for a coffee stop. It was here that a forward Field Ambulance was set up in the town square but was never bombed by the German planes even though much bombing was carried out on the ridges around the town. There is in this ancient town a mediaeval bridge and a very important Monastery. One of the photos here shows the Monastery in the background as 3 of our group are preparing to cross to the coach.

As Don became a grandfather today, we gathered near the river to toast Mother and Son in the local ouzo. Licking our lips we returned to the Katerini Elasson Road junction and started our journey to the coast through the pass to the north of Mount Olympus.

At the eastern end of the pass we discussed the action by the NZ 5th Brigade before it also withdrew to the Thermopylae Line.

We continued on to the Aegean, had lunch by the shore and then proceeded to our hotel where we will be staying for 2 nights. Tomorrow, Pinios Gorge.



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