Monday, July 08, 2013
Wavell and his staff make unrealistic suggestions late on 22 May 1941
General Freyberg received a message from General Wavell in the night of 22 May 1941 that showed just how out of touch Wavell was with the situation on Crete. The purpose was to inform Freyberg that reinforcements could not be landed at Suda Bay. Wavell expressed the hope that the Germans would not be able to stick with the attack much longer. There were plans to land commandos on the south coast who would then move north to assist the defenders. Wavell thought that if the "situation at Maleme is really serious hope to arrange for R.A.F. to send fighters to strafe enemy tomorrow until ammunition and petrol exhausted and then land within your protection." Wavell had suggested major troop movements that were highly impractical due to lack of transport and would involve major moves on foot. General Freyberg sent a message on 23 May that tried to portray the situation in a way that gave Wavell an idea of just how desperate their situation was at this point. Freyberg expected that they would have to fight to the end without any hope of relief, from a reading of what he told Wavell. Wavell's performance during the first half of 1941 is why he ultimately was sacked by Churchill. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.