Sunday, December 25, 2005
The plan for the embarkation from Greece in April 1941
The plan was to embark as many British troops as possible from Greece in April 1941. They would take their personal weapons and valuable, but light equipment, such as sights and other optics. Stores and equipment that might be useful "to the Greek people would be given to them". The rest would be destroyed, if possible, or at least rendered useless. The troops would be embarked in boats from " widely scattered beaches". The fast Glen Line ships and destroyers would take troops to Crete. The rest would be taken to Alexandria. The covering force would be limited to cruisers and their escorts: "the cruisers Orion, Ajax, Phoebe, and Perth; the anti-aircraft cruisers Calcutta, Coventry and Carlisle; about twenty destroyers and three sloops; the infantry assault ships Glenearn and Glengyle", 19 troop ships, four "A-lighters--an early type of tank landing craft", as well as a few other vessels. There were also some locally-acquired smallcraft thought to be suitable for the planned operation. The available beaches were surveyed and chosen. There needed to be deep water and they must be accessible to the retreating troops. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.