Monday, January 14, 2013
Crete, right before the German attack in 1941
General Freyberg made a tour of the defences for Crete on 16 May 1941 and was pleased with the arrangements that had been made and in the spirit of the defenders. He sent a cable that indicated that there were 45 field guns with ammunition ready. At each airfield, there were two infantry tanks (probably Matildas). General Freyberg thought that with the help of the Royal Navy, they could hold Crete against German attack. Churchill promised that the Royal Navy would do everything it could to aid the defenders. The weak spot was air defence. The remaining fighter aircraft on Crete were reduced to four Hawker Hurricanes, three Gloster Gladiators, and two Fairey Fulmars. While they could have mined all airfields, they did not so that the fighter aircraft could safely land. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.