Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The island of Crete by April 1941
When General Papagos suggested the British withdraw from Greece, he assumed that Crete would be defended. Apparently, by 17 April 1941, Churchill had decided that Crete would be held. Only the day before, the Mediterranean Fleet had been given guidance that their top priority was to interrupt the flow of supplies to Libya. By 18 April, Churchill acknowledged that in fact, the top priority was to withdraw the troops from Greece. With all the conflicting priorities, a new one was forming: a pro-Axis coup in Iraq. Given the chaotic state in the Mediterranean theater, supplying Crete was low on the list. General Wilson arrived at Suda Bay on 27 April. General Wavell immediately asked for his recommendation for defending Crete. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.