Monday, July 15, 2013

The New Zealand withdrawal on 23 May 1941

As the battalions of the 5th New Zealand Brigade withdrew on 23 May 1941, the Germans came along behind and there was fighting. They fought on the road where the Platanias river was bridged. The New Zealand artillery contributed by putting the German light pieces out of action. The men watched 12 British bombers raid the Maleme airfield, where there were some 130 Ju-52 transports. They could see six of them burning after the raid. The 5th Brigade was now under attack by men from the prison area, attacking from the south. 150 Germans were on the heights at Stalos. The position was attacked several times and might have been dislodged, but the company commander mistakenly thought that there were more German troops than there actually were. There were changes coming, as Brigadier Puttick met with General Freyberg at 11am and they decided to pull the 5th Brigade back into reserve and replace them with the 4th Brigade. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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