Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Kalamata convoy
On 27 April 1941, the ships carrying troops from Kalamata were under orders for Alexandria, rather than being anchored at Suda Bay. The situation meant that the ships were attacked from the air while they were under way, instead of being at anchor in the bay. When the troops realized that the ships were under attack, they quickly moved to the upper deck. They carried weapons that were mounted and fired at the aircraft. The guns included Vickers machine guns, Bren guns, Hotchkiss machine guns, and anti-tank rifles. During the morning, there were multiple attacks, but there were no hits on the ships. In return, there were seven German aircraft shot down. In the afternoon, an aircraft caught the Costa Rica, a transport, by surprise, and dropped a bomb that disabled the machinery. The Costa Rics, a Dutch ship, started taking on water and slowly listed. Destroyers came alongside and took off the troops. Right before the ship sank, the Dutch crew and the remaining soldiers were able to jump to the destroyer Hero. The crew and troops on the transport Slamat were not so lucky. When the Slamat was bombed and sunk, almost the entire crew and passengers were lost. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.