Wednesday, August 07, 2013

General Freyberg basically gave up on 26 May 1941

We can only guess that during the night of 25/26 May 1941, that Brigadier Puttick and General Freyberg had a mistaken idea of what was actually happening on the ground in front of Canea. We know that Howard Kippenberger had led the troops and had successfully recapatured Galatas. The Greek troops were doing well. So what did the higher level command think? On 25 May, Brigadier Puttick had told General Freyberg that the line at Galatas was "obviously broken", which seems to have not been the case. An order arrived at 1am on 26 May that agreed with the Puttick's decision to pull the New Zealand Division back to a line closer to Canea. A liaison officer to the Greeks had reported that the Greeks were close to breaking, which also seems to be not the case. The 21st Battalion would now be the unit on the right, with some of the cavalry, some engineers, and one company of the 29th Battalion. To their left was the 19th Battalion. To their left were the Maori's (the 28th Battalion). By the dawn, the 5th New Zealand Brigade was in the new position. The Australian 19th Brigade was to their left. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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