Tuesday, May 07, 2013
The Australians on Crete during 21 and 22 May 1941
The commanders on Crete were playing the same sort of games that they played in the Western Desert later in 1941 and during the first part of 1942. They were breaking up brigades, rather than use them as a substantial combat unit. Instead, they took individual battalions and ordered them around, often without support so that they were either depleted or overrun. At least on Crete, the issue was the relative lack of forces to defend the island and the perceived need to provide a fighting force at all the remote points. That practice left the Australian Brigadier Vasey without any fighting battalions. He requested to be given command of the area where the two Australian battalions, the 2/7th and the 2/8th, were located. That only happened late on 22 May 1941. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.