In October 1940 Italy invaded Greece from Albania but the Greeks forced them back; in early 1941 the Italians failed in a further counterattack so Germany intervened. As German forces gathered in Bulgaria, the Allies realized that a Greek invasion seemed likely. Under the declaration of 1939, Britain was bound to support Greece in the event of an unprovoked attack. Around 62,000 Commonwealth troops (mainly Australian and New Zealand) arrived in March 1941, and were positioned at the Haliacmon Line, while the Greek army occupied the Metaxas Line. On 6 April 1941, Germany invaded Greece (and Yugoslavia), outnumbering and overwhelming the badly positioned Allied and Greek troops. Tricky terrain, primitive roads and poor communication further hindered Allied efforts to slow the German advance. On 23 April the Greek army surrendered, and the following day the evacuation of Allied forces began with some 50,000 British, Australian and New Zealand troops taken to Crete, and some to Egypt. On 27 April, Athens fell.
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