Sunday, November 18, 2012
Troops on Greece in early May 1941
None of the important commanders in Britain and Egypt had any real idea about the troops on Crete in early May 1941. There was a British infantry brigade, the 14th Brigade, along with other troops from the garrison before troops arrived from Greece. There was most of the New Zealand Division, but not all, along with Australian units that had been transported from Greece. There was also part of the 1st Armoured Brigade and other British units from Greece. The approximately ten thousand recruits from the population of Crete were almost untrained and useless. There were seven New Zealand battalions along with most of the New Zealand Division division troops. The brigades were the 4th and 5th New Zealand brigades. The battalions were the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 28th battalions, of which the last were Maori. The 6th New Zealand Brigade had been sent on to Egypt on orders of the navy. The senior Australian officer, Brigadier Vasey, commanded some 8,500 Australian troops, despite nominally only commanding a brigade group. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.