Tuesday, December 04, 2012

British air strength on Crete on 30 April 1941

The British air strength on Crete at the end of April 1941 was very modest. They were based mainly at Maleme, although one squadron was at Heraklion. The extra RAF personnel were flown to Egypt, consistent with the idea that only defenders should be kept on Crete. Everyone was agreed that Crete should not be allowed to be taken without a fight. The problem was that there were inadequate forces available. The air strength was as follows:

At Heraklion: No. 112 Squadron RAF with 12 Gladiator fighters
At Maleme:    No. 30 Squadron RAF with 12 Blenheim day bombers
              No. 33/80 Squadron RAF with 6 Hurricane fighters
              No. 805 Fleet Air Arm Squadron with 6 Gladiator and Fulmer fighters
When you realize that this modest force would be facing Bf 109 fighters and Ju-88 bombers, you can see that this small air contingent was inadequate to resist a strong air attack in support of an airborne invasion.

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