Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The situation at Retimo, on Crete, starting from 19 May 1941

Retimo, and the airfield about five miles to the east, were still in the western half of the island of Crete. Retimo was on the north shore, a ways east of Suda Bay. The land near Retimo was very mountainous, and sloped down to the sea. The town of Retimo had a population of about 10,000. Due to the difficulty of the terrain, the town was concentrated. The airfield was dominated by the ridge to the south. The airfield was almost on the beach and ran parallel to the shoreline. The 2/1st Australian Battalion arrived on 30 April 1941. They relieved the previous Greek defenders. The hills were terraced and had vineyards. Additional men arrived at Retimo between 30 April and 19 May so that the force grew to brigade group size. They had four 3 inch mortars, but only 80 mortar bombs for each. They had some anti-tank rifles, but only had five rounds each. Overall, they were short of ammunition, so they started the campaign with difficulties. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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