Volume II – Greece, Crete and Syria (1st edition, 1953)

Author: Long, Gavin Merrick

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This second volume of the army series of the official history of Australia in the war of 1939-1945 describes the campaigns in Greece, Crete and Syria in 1941. In Greece the main British force in the field was the Anzac Corps, commanded by Sir Thomas Blamey and including the 6th Australian Division, the New Zealand Division, and a British brigade. A number of Australian units took part in the fight for Crete in May 1941. The 7th Australian Division and some units of the 6th fought in Syria as part of the I Australian Corps commanded by General Lavarack. Examination of German and French documents has made it possible now to tell what was happening on “the other side of the hill” in these operations. It is now possible to examine the decision to send all available forces to the aid of Greece and the decision to invade Vichy–French Syria with full knowledge of the plans and deployment of the enemy forces.

These campaings raised new problems of wartime cooperation and consultation between the British Government and the Australian Government, and in this period Australian Ministers and Australian commanders were required to take greater strategical and tactical responisbilities than at any earlier time.