Monday, March 25, 2013

The West Group attack on 20 May 1941

Glider-borne troops were a key part of the West Group attack in Crete on 20 May 1941. The gliders were able to land where they were intended. They had three initial assignments: capture the camp near the airfield, capture the anti-aircraft guns "at the mouth of the Tavronitis", and also capture the bridge. The bridge was across the river, where the anti-aircraft guns were positioned. The III Battalion, which was to capture the airfield, was landed in the wrong place. They landed in the hills instead, as the aircraft commanders did not want to risk landing the men in the sea. Because of this, 400 of the 600 men were killed. The IV Battalion was planned to land west of the bridge. General Meindl landed with the IV Battalion and organized the attack on the airfield. The General had planned and executed an attack on the bridge, but was soon wounded. A major then took command of the leading troops. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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