Monday, October 15, 2012
The Island of Crete in May 1941
The island of Crete was populated along the livable areas in the north. In the northwest was Suda Bay, near the capital city of Canea. About 30 miles east of Canea was Retimo. The largest seaport was at Heraklion, perhaps two-thirds of the length of the island to the east. Each of these towns had an airfield located nearby. The northern shore had a road that ran the length of the island. At times, the road ran further inland to minimize the distance traveled. There were also five roads that ran north and south. Suda Bay was the only port that could accommodate large ships, and it only had a quay without a large crane. In late 1940, the British talked about increasing their garrison on the island. By February 1941, the 14th Brigade had three battalions. What was disruptive, is that the island garrison commander changed many times during early 1941. At the same time, by April 1941, the higher command decided to make Suda Bay a major fleet base. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.