Thursday, June 06, 2013

Were the Germans withdrawing? 22 May 1941 on Crete

At Brigadier Hargest's 5th New Zealand Brigade headquarters, there was a suggestion that the Germans might be withdrawing troops by transport aircraft. The suggestion was prompted by thoughts about German troops running to aircraft as they landed at Maleme. Someone had thought that the troops might be running to the Ju-52 transports to board them to be able to leave. The truth seems to be that the aircraft were landing under fire. Brave men were running to the Ju-52 transport aircraft to unload them as quickly as possible, in case that they would be hit by shellfire.

To test out the idea that the Germans were leaving, the New Zealand division commander, Puttick, ordered Brigadier Kippenberger to probe the enemy in the vicinity of the prison. The patrols encountered heavy resistance, indicating that the Germans were in strength, not reducing their forces. The 19th Battalion had also made an attack towards an old Turkish fort, but was rebuffed by a strong German defense. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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