Axis turn of December 20th, 1940
In order to make of Europe a fortress, OKW decided a few months ago that it needed to occupy Greece. Both Italy and Bulgaria agreed to join in the invasion of the country in exchange for land grabs. The invasion was planed for Spring 1941. It would have involved two amphibious assaults (one in Crete by Italians, one in the Peloponnese by Germans to encircle Athens), and three paratrooper corps (including one Italian) trapping the bulk of the Greek army at the border while Panzers would rush toward Athens unopposed.
However, it was decided at the uppermost level that Greece had to be taken as soon as possible, despite possible bad weather, in order to free all Panzer corps by early March. General Manstein, in charge of the operation, was told that all the Panzer and PanzerGrenadier corps, and most air support, would have to be redeployed North late February at the latest. If necessary, OKH will then provide extra infantry corps to finish the job. No reasons were given for now. General Manstein’s chief of staff mentioned that his boss tried to hide a smile when reading the request.
The rushed plan was therefore reduced to a single Italian landing in Crete. Only a single, German, paratrooper would be used to replace the landing the Peloponnese. However, this latest operation was latter postponed when General Student insisted his troops were not ready as they were preparing for a Spring operation. This corps will therefore remain in reserve in case the British make a move toward Kalamata.
On land the initial operation easily pushed aside Greek troops at the border. The only failure of the early part of the operation was that attacks by three axis bomber groups did not manage to do any serious damage to the Greek navy in Athens. It is expected it will run for British protection in Egypt. At sea, three Italian submarine flotillas deployed to screen any British attempts to come to help.