Monday, August 05, 2013

The situation in front of Canea turns nasty on 25 May 1941

Lt-Col John Russell commanded the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry in front of Canea. He reported to Howard Kippenberger that there were many men in retreat coming past his unit. The cavalry itself was being pressed by the Germans. Kippenberger sent his brigade major to tell Brigadier Inglis about the situation and to ask for help. Many men were being wounded and were taken by truck to the aid station. The situation worsened when Wheat Hill, just west of Galatas, was abandoned without orders. They were under attack by German mountain troops. The retreat was increasing and could easily have turned into a rout. Kippenberger tried to rally the men, shouting whatever he could think of to try and halt the retreat. Brigadier Inglis was sending reinforcements, and Kippenberger sent them into the weak spots in the line. When the 23rd Battalion arrived, Howard Kippenberger thought that they needed to retake Galatas if they were going to stop the Germans. He sent the 23rd off with two light tanks against Galatas. The attack succeeded in driving the Germans from Galatas. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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