Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Freyberg's assessment from 23 May 1941

Later on 23 May 1941, General Freyberg received a message from Churchill that talked about what a splendid battle they were fighting and that "the whole world watches". Freyberg knew that the situation was deteriorating fast and that there was no "splendid battle". Freyberg only wanted to do what would be best for the defenders. Freyberg sent a message to General Wavell where he tried to portray just how desperate their situation was and tried to give a true picture of the situation. They were down to about 150 cwt trucks along with 117 other vehicles that could carry a load. There were troops who were cut off near Maleme. The Germans had troops blocking the road that went from Suda to Retimo. They lacked any vehicles at Retimo. He ordered the Argylls and Sutherlands to concentrate at Heraklion prior to attempting to push to Suda by road, if possible. Freyberg hoped to withdraw to within defensible lines to give the troops some rest and to better be able to withstand attack. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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