Monday, June 10, 2013

Late on 22 May 1941 in the Prison Valley on Crete

Starting at about 3pm on 22 May 1941, the New Zealand 19th Battalion had attacked towards an old Turkish fort in the Prison Valley on Crete. They were repulsed with the loss of 12 men. In return, the Germans launched counter-attack towards Galatas at about 7pm. Kippenberger's troops immediately attacked the group. Some Greeks that were nearby, commanded by Captain Forrester, charged towards the Germans, yelling and screaming. That broke the German advance and they withdrew.

In the vicinity of the Maleme airfield, an attack had been planned, but when the New Zealand Division commander realized that there was a German group holding the coast road between the 4th and 5th New Zealand Brigades, he changed his mind. That evening, the decision was made to withdraw from the area near the Maleme airfield and to cede the ground to the Germans. The Australian Official History says that this was in recognition that the battle for Crete was lost. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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