Greece and Yugoslavia

After the early capture of Sicily and the landings in Italy, allied Forces put further pressure on German resources with the Invasion of Greece and operations in Yugoslavia with the partisans of Tito. A mixed force from the Levant and Italy, Bucket Force, landed on the Peloponnese, with the intention of seizing the airhead at Araxos.

Otter light reconnaissance cars enter Salonika, Greece
Otter light reconnaissance cars enter Salonika, Greece

The regiment component was 1321 Wing with 2 field and 2 LAA squadrons, 2908 Squadron landing with the SBS, Long Range Desert Group and others. 41 members of the Regiment, specially trained in mine clearance also landed. The group drove forward to secure Patras the major port where they harassed the German rearguard with some brisk action in which one of the 6-pounders of 2908 Squadron’s Support Weapons Flight sank a German E Boat.

Crossing into mainland Greece 2908 entered Athens on the 14th of October 1944. The Squadron then split with one half going south to pacify Sparta and one to cut off German forces trying to retreat through Albania. The liberation of Greece saw a political battle between the countries Communist and the Greek Government in exile erupt. The communist ELAS staged a huge uprising in early December, which resulted in the capture of Air Headquarters in Athens, despite the Commander having been advised that the position was untenable for defence. A relief column was dispatched, arriving 4 hours late to find the defenders – after keeping over 1000 partisans at bay for 48 hours – had surrendered because they had run out of ammunition. 1321 Wing HQ and 2928 Squadron were marched into the mountains where they suffered many deprivations at the hands of ELAS with many casualties. The RAF Regiment units operated in Yugoslavia because Tito had refused British Army help, so enterprising RAF Commanders brought their own help. The Balkan Air Force had is HQ in Bari and Regiment units operated as part of the Special Forces Raiding Force in the Adriatic. The pressure from Tito because of the continuing success of the squadrons proved to be enough for the units to be withdrawn to Austria in early 1945.