Waiting for the 'spring' attack of the Italians

The Italians' big spring attack, the attack of 10 March as we called it, that they had so jubilantly announced in advance a long time ago and on which they were pinning their last hopes, was under way - it was really terrible. They had plenty of war equipment and they were dropping it unstintingly. Ours was scanty, broken, cantankerous, but in every Greek breast a dumb irrevocable decision had taken root: 'They shall not pass.'
For two to three hours now behind the first lines, the clamour of the incessant fighting came as a heavy, constant, non-stop, continuous rumble. Behind the mountain explosions dazzlingly lit up the dark-clouded night sky, and the night air raids against us and the street beneath us where all our convoys were passing never ceased for a moment.
But from the confidential information we were continuously picking up through our tapping devices from their radiotelephones and cables, we could easily monitor and comprehend their state: Their desperate appeals for help, their immediate need for stretcher-bearers, sanitary services and military equipment, their pretexts about the fog preventing visibility, the unceasing swapping and replacing of their commanders, the dead, the injured, and their hasty, agonized appeals for mortars! mortars! mortars! and for more intense, continuous, incessant and especially more effective artillery action. And attention! For God's sake attention! - in many cases it was hitting their own forces!
The calls I was receiving from our own side that night contained all the drama of the last decision that had been taken through clenched teeth: They were looking everywhere for 'Equipment! Equipment! We're running out of everything, convoys are insufficient, there are units that will soon use up their last cartridge.' And then came the urgent commands to take all cars without exception from every unit no matter where it was, no matter what they were - artillery, engineer, airforce, artillery park - not a single one should be left, no matter what it was, no matter what kind of a crock, they should all go to Yannena to get loaded up and set off immediately, by any means possible, towards the north.
Every night, when dusk came, there arrived from the mill where they were unloaded plenty of reserve infantry officers who until now had been serving in the rear, and were now showing up in ones and twos and threes in Office I which immediately gave them a travel warrant for their new unit. They had to leave immediately and get to their destination as soon as possible, to fill the vacancies in our lines. They were all in a daze, still uninformed, loaded with all their provisions - they would take the warrant, salute, fold it into four, put it in their breast pocket, move towards our low green door that kept opening and shutting spasmodically - and become lost in the night.
Telephones, orders, reports, requests didn't cease for a moment. All the liaison staff were busy, and Dalthanassis just had time to shout at me 'Hello, Beratis' and to wink at me, with a strange smile on his face. Despite the raids there was no more fear or, if there was, nobody would budge from his place where he was needed every moment. The great joy for all of us was the evening, when all the reports were gathered in from our units, laconically sanctioning our every belief and hope. No, they shall not pass. The losses of the enemy were heavy.

(Yannis Beratis, To platy potami, Athens, Ermis, 1992, pp. 124-126)