Monday, May 06, 2013

Australians on 21 May 1941 on Crete

The plan was for a counter-attack on the Germans at Maleme airfield on the night of 21/22 May 1941. One player in the scheme, the 2./7 Battalion (an Australian unit) had fought at Bardia in the route of the Italians in January. In February and March, they had been positioned at Mersa Brega and had been attacked by air and by Rommel's forces. From there, they had gone to Greece in the ill-fated venture. They were well-enough led that they had not suffered much loss from any of the air attacks. Brigadier Vasey had planned to use the 2/7th to clear the road to Retimo. Instead, higher command had decided to use them elsewhere. The 2/7th would replace the New Zealand 20th Battalion. The problem was that the plan was ill-conceived and didn't allow enough time for the 2/7th to travel and relieve the 20th Battalion. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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