The western end of the forces defending Crete stretched out about three miles to the southwest of Canea on 24 May 1941. The troops near the sea were from the 5th New Zealand Brigade. This also included the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry. The 4th New Zealand Brigade was behind them in reserve. To their southeast were the Australians and Greeks. Behind them were forces commanded by General Weston, the Royal Marine. Called the Reserve Position, it was held by the "Royal Perivolians" and the Suda Brigade. The Royal Perivolians were the unit that included Royal Marines and the Australian 2/2 Field Regiment, fighting as infantry.
There was a strong German force moving through the hills, intent on cutting off the defenders around Suda Bay. They spent 24 May just making probing attacks against the 4th New Zealand Brigade. A stronger attack was launched at 4pm against the 18th New Zealand Battalion. They were pushed back, but counter-attacked to restore the line. The Germans staged air attacks all afternoon that seemed to be designed to wreck Canea. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.