Monday, November 05, 2012
What forces were on Crete? Early May 1941
After sending what had to be false information to General Freyberg, General Wavell sent a letter to General Dill, the CIGS. General Wavell thought that the brigade groups and a larger number of anti-aircraft guns would be adequate to hold Crete against an airborne attack. This was in early May 1941. He estimated that there were eleven battalions on the island, although the ones from Greece were understrength and without artillery. The implication was that if the required equipment were sent to Crete, that the island could be defended. The actual number of units on Crete was larger than Wavell knew. There were seven New Zealand battalions, plus part of a machine gun battalion. There were also four-and-a half Australian infantry battalions, and a machine gun battalion. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.