Friday, July 26, 2013

24 May 1941 from the Germans

Air attacks on 24 May 1941 had hit the mixed troops at Kastelli. Some German paratroops had been captured on the first day and had been held prisoner at Kastelli. The air attacks enabled them to escape. They obtained arms and attacked the New Zealand officers who were with the 1st Greek Regiment. They killed or captured several of them. The Greek regiment was really a battalion-sized unit of one thousand men, but they only had some 600 rifles and only had several rounds per rifle. After the air attack, a German mountain engineer battalion attacked and made good progress. The Greeks were able to resist until 26 May, which prevented the Germans from bringing in more reinforcements.

At about this time, a German naval officer was ordered to take two light tanks to Crete to support the attack. He was able to find a wooden lighter and was able to get the two tanks lowered onto the lighter. A small tug boat towed the lighter, but reports of British naval activity caused the German naval commander, Admiral Schuster, to order the tug and lighter to move into the harbor at Kithera. This is based on the account in Walter Ansel's and Peter Schenk's books.

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