Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Naval forces involved with the battle for Crete in May 1941
The naval battle for Crete in May 1941 was a case of ships fighting air attacks. The ships were in place to intercept the expected attack from the sea where small vessels would transport German troops to land on Crete. At the start of the battle on 20 May 1941, there was the 15th Cruiser Squadron positioned to the east of the island. The ships included the cruisers Naiad and Perth. They were accompanied by the destroyers Kandahar, Nubian, Kingston, and Juno. The Nubian was the oldest of the destroyers being a Tribal class ship. The others were J and K class, recently built. The ships to the west included the cruisers Dido, Ajax, and Orion. They had destroyers Janus, Kimberley, Hasty, and Hereward. There was also a reserve group consisting of the cruisers Gloucester and Fiji with two destroyers. The battleships were further to the west, ready to intervene if heavier Italian surface forces appeared. This is based on the account in the book A Midshipman's War: A Young Man in the Mediterranean Naval War, 1941-1943 by Frank Wade.