Monday, April 08, 2013

When the morning started on 21 May 1941, the remnants of the 22nd Battalion had withdrawn into the defensive positions held by the 21st and 23rd Battalions. They were all part of the 5th New Zealand Brigade. At dawn, stragglers from the Royal Air Force, the gunners for the disabled anti-aircraft guns, and Royal Marine artillery made their way to the New Zealand positions, The brigade was under almost constant air attack and was under attack from the German airborne troops. There had been a machine gun platoon on a height, and these withdrew after they exhausted their ammunition firing at the airfield. At a meeting the plan for 22 May was for the 23rd Battalion to retake the airfield and the surrounding area. By 8:10am, a Ju-52 landed, unloaded, and took off from Maleme airfield. Several aircraft carrying troops landed, unloaded, and took off at the west end of the airfield. Many German paratroops were dropped onto the Maori battalion, who cleared most of the Germans, but not all. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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