Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The German view of the battle for Crete on 23 May 1941

The Australian Official History intersperses information from German sources with the story about the Australian, New Zealand, and British troops fighting the Germans on Crete. On 23 May 1941, when the 5th New Zealand Brigade was withdrawn into reserve after taking heavy losses, the Germans thought that the withdrawal was due to their concentric attack by the Utz group. Ramcke's group, which was know from later in the Western Desert, was following the retreating troops and fought the rearguards. During the night on 23 May, General Ringel sent what we would later call a battle group against Aliakmon and moving towards Suda Bay. He hoped that by outflanking the troops in the Galatas and Suda area that he could cause them trouble and also could ease the pressure on the 2nd Parachute Regiment, which was having difficulties. Because the German focus was on Suda Bay, the air attack concentrated there and let the 5th New Zealand Brigade withdraw without heavy air attack. The German forces at Maleme and the Prison area were able to connect and heavier reinforcements were flowin into Maleme, including airborne armour. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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