Friday, November 23, 2012
The Australian situation on Crete
The Australian troops on the island of Crete in early May 1941 were there due to the fallout from the Greek debacle. The Australians had gone to Greece with their senior officers knowing that the operation was doomed to failure. They would have been better never to have gone into Greece, especially with General Wilson and his staff in command. General Wavell had essentially liked to the Australian commander, General Blamey, and to his Prime Minister to get the Australians into Greece. They were fortunate to get as many men as they did out of Greece. Many were dumped onto Crete at Suda Bay to free up ships for more evacuation trips. When men were pulled out of Greece, they were told to leave their weapons and equipment. That included their great coats. That meant that there were thousands of Australians on Crete out in the weather with no organization or anything else. What order was eventually restored was due to Brigadier Vasey, the senior Australian officer on Crete. There was a rather large brigade group, that commanded by Brigadier Vasey, but he was being pressed to reform another brigade from the unorganized Australians on Crete. Brigadier Vasey was trying to get the Australians who were without equipment and organization transported to Egypt, but his desires were ignored. This is based generally on the information in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.