„Leibstandarte ϟϟ“ and the Battle of Kleisoura Pass

SS-Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
The SS-Division Leibstandarte SS captured Vevi on April 10 1941. SS-Sturmbannführer Fritz Witt was tasked with clearing the Klidi Pass just south of Vevi, which was strongly defended by Australian, British and New Zealand troops and SS-Sturmbannführer Kurt Meyer's detachment was tasked with clearing resistance from the Kleisoura Pass south-west of Vevi and driving through to the Kastoria area to cut off retreating Greek and British Commonwealth forces. The Greek 20th Division was well entrenched in the heights bordering the pass itself. Meyer organised his battalion into three assault groups, led by himself, SS-Hauptsturmführer Hugo Kraas and Max Wünsche. On the morning of April 12 1941 the Leibstandarte SS launched a frontal assault, and by late afternoon the pass was cleared. According to some accounts, the Waffen-SS were inspired to capture the Kleisoura Pass only after Meyer threw a live grenade at the feet of some of his Grenadiers. By midafternoon the heights had been cleared and the road to Kastoria was open. On April 16 1941, Meyer's battalion penetrated behind the Greek lines and assaulted Kastoria from the south, capturing a further 1,100 prisoners. For these actions, Meyer was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on May 18 1941. Source: GrenadiersImage: Grenadiers of the Leibstandarte SS at the Kleisoura Pass on April 11 1941. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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