Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The situation Crete deteriorates during late 22 May and early 23 May 1941

Once the commanders could clearly see that the attack on the airfield at Maleme by the New Zealand troops had failed, there was no other choice but to withdraw to the east. Freyberg wanted another attack on the airfield later in the afternoon, but when they realized that the Germans were attacking the 10th Brigade, that plan was dropped. Not only was there the threat to the 10th Brigade, but they learned that German troops had split the 4th and 5th New Zealand brigades by putting troops across the coast road. That evening, they made the decision to move the 5th Brigade to Platanias, perhaps 2-1/2 miles to the east. The 23rd Battalion received their orders at dawn on 23 May. The 28th Maori Battalion provided the rearguard and they had pulled out by 6:30am. At this point, Canea and Suda were still safe from German attack. The few Germans in the area were captured by the 1/Welch during the day. Brigadier Vasey now had troops to command and had moved forward and came under the New Zealand division command. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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