April 10, 1941,
Germany army of 40 units opposed to Allies army of 29 units
for a battle of complexity 0.44 at Battalion(II) level
on a 2.5 Km/Hex map
for 10 turns of Half Day each.
by Eugen Pinak submited on 03-12-2002
Rugged-Defense Playing Statistics
The Defence of Florina, and the Monastir Gap
Scenario designer: Eugen Pinak
If you have any notes on this scenario, please feel free to E-mail me at Pinak77@yahoo.com.
Note: this is an adaptation of the "Spearhead" miniature game scenario made by John Moher (Auckland, New Zealand).
Date: 10-14 April 1941
Location: Northern Greece
Map scale: 2,5 km per hex
Time scale: Half-Day turns
Unit Scale: Battalion - Company
Length: 10 Turns
Heer - White/Black on Gray
SS - Black/White on Gray
Luftwaffe - Blue-Gray/Black on Gray
British Commonwealth - White/Red on Khaki
Greece - Blue/White on Khaki
It's midday on the 10 April 1941, and for the last 3 days German, Italian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian forces have
been driving through the heart of Yugoslavia. In the South a poor deployment left the Yugoslavian 3rd Army
defending the entire Bulgarian and Albania frontiers with only 3 Divisions (7th covering Bulgaria, 8th & 9th
covering Albania). Needless to say the Germans quickly penetrated the weak defence, and as in France in
1940 there was no mobile reserve available to counter the penetrations.
Meanwhile German assaults have been going in all along the Bulgarian frontier with North-Eastern Greece, but
not as successfully, the Germans making little impression on the forts and defences along the Greek frontier.
The Greek-Yugoslav plan called for a combined assault on Albania if Germany attacked. It was hoped the
Italians could be "knocked out" for an indefinite period, and this would secure the Yugoslavian rear, and allow
Greece to transfer her best divisions to the north-east. Consequently on the evening of 06 April 1941 General
Papagos (The Greek C-in-C) ordered the Western Macedonian Army to begin it's offensive in Albania, the
Army of Epirus to do likewise as soon as it was able (this would be in approximately 3 days).
On the afternoon of 07 April British reconaissance aircraft identified German troops in Yugoslavia heading
south towards the "Doiran Gap" with no Yugoslavian opposition evident. If not stopped they would drive round
the flank of the Greek frontier defences and on to Salonika which would result in the loss of the Eastern
Macedonian Army (3 Infantry Divisions, 2 Brigades, and the Frontier Garrisons) and the only reasonable port in
Northern Greece. To oppose this advance was the Greek 19th Motorised Division, which had been sent into the
Lake Doiran region for just this reason, but Brigadier Charrington (British 1st Armoured Brigade) had
commented that "It consists of just over 2000 quite untrained recently enlisted garage hands. It has no
prospect of fighting usefully as a mobile force, with its few Bren Carriers, Motorcycles, and small Cars, even if
its commander knew how to employ them!" To the west Papagos had begun transfering the Greek Cavalry
Division to Florina, to protect the Pisoderion Pass and the rear of the two Greek Armies in Albania.
On the 08 April a British patrol north of Monastir in Yugoslavia reported that the 3rd Yugoslavian Army had
collapsed and most resistance had ceased. Further east in the Doiran Gap, the German 2nd Panzer Division
had thrown back the weak Greek 19th Motorised Division and was heading south on the Thessaly Plain, ideal
tank country. By Midday they had been spotted by forward patrols of the 4th Hussars (from the British 1st
Armoured Brigade), who blew bridges on the Axios River and retreated west towards the main "W" Force
(General Wilson's British & Commonwealth) positions. Meanwhile to the west in Albania the Greek offensive
was making little headway, and with the uncertainty over Yugoslavia, General Papagos ordered the cessation of
the offensive. Fearing a penetration through the Monastir Gap he ordered all troops in Albania to make a
limited withdrawal south towards the old Greek-Albanian frontier, and instructed "W" Force to hold a line from
Nimfaion (just south of Florina) east to Mt Olympus. However at 11am that morning Generals Wilson and
Blamey (1st Australian Corps) had already decided that measures must be taken to prevent a "Blitzkrieg"
through the Monastir Gap which would split Greece in two, and trap the two largest Greek Armies in Sourthern
Albania, and the Commonwealth forces in Eastern Greece! To that end Mackay Force (General Mackay - OC
6th Austalian Division) was formed, utilising what troops were available and taking under command several
detachments already in the Perdika-Florina area, to defend the Vevi Gap. That night British Commando's
destroyed the Greek oil stocks in Salonika (without Greek knowledge or approval), and the Commander of the
Eastern Macedonian Army approached the Germans for an armistice.
At 8am on the 09 April the German 2nd Panzer Division entered Salonika, while General Wilson ordered all
Commonwealth forces (except Mackay Force) to begin withdrawing to the Aliakmon River Line, which was
intended to be the main defence line in Eastern Greece. In Yugoslavia British patrols had identified German
Columns 5 miles north of Monastir (where the Crna river bridge had been blown) and in North-Eastern Greece
at 1pm the Greek Eastern Macedonian Army capitulated. Only two Greek Divisions and "W" Force (about 2
Infantry Divisions and 1 weak Armoured Brigade) remained to defend Northern and Eastern Greece! By
4.50pm the patrols withdrew from Monastir, but the Germans had still not entered the town. In central Yugoslavia
5th Panzer Division had been ordered south to reinforce the advance of XXXX Motorised Corps (who had the
9th Panzer and SS "Adolf Hitler" Divisions at Monastir).
As dawn breaks on the 10 April the last of Mackay Force's units reach their designated positions, as elements
of the SS "Adolf Hitler" Division approach Lofoi....
General Stumme you will continue the drive south into Greece. Intelligence reports indicate that a combined
British/Commonwealth Corps awaits you with 3 Infantry Divisions, 1 Armoured Brigade, and Heavy Artillery
Support. They are believed to be deployed on a line running east-west between Katerini and Kozani (roughly
the Aliakmon River) about 50km south of your current positions near Florina. A rapid drive down the wide
Florina Valley to Kozani may allow you to capture Kozani and/or outflank the British position. It will also open the
3 passes to the west (Pisoderion, Klisoura, Siatista) which will allow you to cut off the Greek Armies in Albania.
Your primary objective is to drive south as rapidly as possible, speed is vital.
General Mackay, you must hold the Vevi Gap for as long as possible, to buy time for the Commonwealth forces
to finish deploying on the Aliakmon River Line. You must also cover the withdrawal of the Greek 20th & 12th
Divisions on your eastern flank, while maintaining contact with the Greek Cavalry Division to the west. The
Greeks will require at least 3 nights to complete their withdrawal, so you must hold for that time at Vevi. You
must delay the German advance for as long as possible, but you must also preserve your force intact. Ultimately
the preservation of Commonwealth units must come first. Good Luck!