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Forgotten Anzacs - the campaign in Greece, 1941

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Forgotten Anzacs - the campaign in Greece, 1941

Peter Ewer

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This 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 1941, 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. 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.

In this revised edition, based on fresh archival research, and containing a collection of previously unpublished photos, the truth finally emerges as to how the Australian, Greek, and New Zealand Governments were misled over key decisions that would define the campaign.

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