Operation Kreuzotter (ii)


'Kreuzotter' (ii) was the German initial preparation for offensive operations by Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm List’s 12th Army, later in collaboration with Bulgarian forces, to advance to the south from Bulgaria into north-eastern Greece along the north coast of the Aegean Sea within the context of 'Marita' and 'Unternehmen 25' (12 November 1940).

Operating largely to the east of the Axios river, whichs flow into the northern part of the Aegean Sea just to the west of Thessaloníki, in April 1941 the 12th Army deployed Generalleutnant Bruno Bieler’s 73rd Division of General Georg Stumme’s XL Corps (mot.) on the right to attack though south-eastern Yugoslavia to reach the upper reaches of the Axios river and follow this waterway downstream, Generalleutnant Hermann Ritter von Speck’s XVIII Corps (Generalleutnant Helge Auleb’s 6th Division, Generalmajor Karl Allmendinger’s 5th Division and Generalleutnant Philipp Müller-Gebhard’s 72nd Division) in the centre against Antistrátegos Konstantinos Bakopoulos’s Greek 2nd Army (Yperstrategos Leonidas Stergiopulos’s 18th Division, Yperstrategos Konstantinos Papakonstantinou’s 14th Division and Yperstrategos Chritos Zoiopoulos’s 7th Division) and Generalleutnant Eugen Ott’s XXX Corps (Generalleutnant Josef Folttmann’s 164th Division and Generalleutnant Karl-Adolf Hollidt’s 50th Division) on the left against Syntagmatarches Kalis’s Nestos Brigade along the line of the Nestos river.