Wednesday, October 31, 2012
General Freyberg in command on Crete
When General Freyberg was appointed commander of the defence of the island of Crete in late April and early May 1941, he had almost no information about the situation. He wrote later that he knew nothing about the island, the troops that he commanded, nor the maintenance situation, nor the size of the expected attack force. In fact, General Freyberg urged that if there were not sufficient air and naval strength available to support the defenders, that they should evacuate the island. General Freyberg used his connection to the New Zealand Prime Minister to pass on his assessment and asked him to pressure the British government to either bring the necessary forces needed to defend the island or to evacuate those troops that were presently on the island. General Wavell responded with a disingenuous note about how the estimate of the German attack scale were exaggerated that in the end, the needed naval support would be available. The latter was true, as the navy responded and for their bother, expended a large number of valuable warships sunk and damaged. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.