Monday, October 22, 2012

Plans for defending Crete in April and May 1941

Because the operations in Greece collapsed, the island of Crete was left as the nearest position to the Germans in the Balkans. Except Churchill and his leadership team, the Greek campaign was seen as being a likely failure by key participants. Only by late April were the leadership team acknowledging that they would have to withdraw from Greece after having failed to stop the Germans. The commander in Crete, General Weston, suggested that with the failure in Greece that Crete would be exposed to an invasion by sea. The commanders in Britain and the Middle East must have had access to decrypted German communications that indicated that they would attempt an airborne invasion. By 24 April, General Wavell and his staff projected that the Germans would use airborne troops to attack Crete. They would need three brigades, but for now, they would bring the garrison up to two brigades. They wanted to send troops from Greece to Egypt, but that did not happen. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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