Sir Thomas Blamey and the Greece Campaign

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Sir Thomas Blamey and the Greece Campaign

By | March 2007
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In March of 1941 Sir Thomas Blamey was sent by Field Marshall Lord Wavell to lead the Allied troops into Greece to protect it from invasion by the Germans. Blamey felt from the outset that the protection of Greece was a lost cause and that the Allies should concentrate on the defense of Crete. However, Wavell sent him and several units, which included Australians and New Zealanders, to Greece. Blamey believed that the Nazis would be upon Greece to0 quickly for the Allies to mount a successful defense. He was right and the expedition into Greece was a complete failure.

Blamey and his staff arrived in Greece in late March shortly before Hitler began attacking Yugoslavia and Greece on April 6. The blitzkrieg knocked Yugoslavia out of the war quickly leaving the New South Wales native staring directly at the Nazi forces. To make matters worse Wavell could not send all of the troops he had promised because Rommel was pushing the British forces back into Egypt. Already Blamey's fears were being realized. Not only was Blamey shortchanged on ground troops his lack of air support was pitiful, his men were subjected to uncontested air bombings by the Luftwaffe. Adding to the troubles were the terrible communications between Greece and Cairo. Often Blamey was notified of troop movement after it had already happened. Also in possibly the worst communications error of the entire Greek Campaign Blamey was not notified about the fall of Yugoslavia until two days after the fact. This combined with the never ending air raids and the destruction of transportation routes forced the Allies to reexamine the Greek Campaign. Field Marshall Wavell arrived on midnight of the 20th and made the decision to evacuate Greece. Blamey's retreat had begun. Fortunately for the men of the newly formed Anzac Corps and the other Allied Troops Blamey had foreseen this disaster and had created an exit strategy. The Allied retreat began in the middle of April and fortunately it was not a rout....

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