Sunday, December 02, 2012
The Crete garrison plan on 8 May 1941
Many authorities were anxious to reduce the unwanted troops in Crete from what they were. There had been some 5,300 troops in Crete and then 25,300 more were brought from Greece. The plan on 8 May 1941 was to increase the garrison to 5,800 men and reduce the other men to 4,500 New Zealanders, 3,500 Australians, and 2,000 other British troops. The problem was that the navy had suffered such great losses in evacuating Greece that they could not move the desired troops to North Africa. As time passed, the air attacks on Suda Bay increased and it became obvious that the surplus manpower was stuck on Crete. They did succeed in moving to Egypt 3,200 British (many Palestinian and Cypriot workers), about 2,500 Australian troops, and 1,300 0f the New Zealand division. By 17 May 1941, there were about 15,000 British troops, 7,750 New Zealand troops, 6,500 Australian and 10,200 Greek troops. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.