Monday, December 30, 2013
German intelligence failure or British deception success?
General Student and others had complained after the capture of Crete that their intelligence about the defenders greatly underestimated their strength. This was especially true of Heraklion. There, the defenders included the 14th Infantry Brigade, consisting of three regular British infantry battalions, one Australian battalion of about 500 men, the 7th Medium Regiment fighting as infantry, and three Greek battalions with many untrained men. The commander of the 14th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Chappel, was in overall command at Heraklion. Brigadier Chappel's plan was to have his men dug in with overhead cover. This not only concealed their presence, but also protected them during the bombing attacks. At this time, the Germans assumed that bombing infantry would automatically disrupt or destroy them, although this was not the case. Given that the German information about the troops on Crete, including Heraklion, was from aerial reconnaissance, the effective concealment was probably the reason for the German intelligence failure. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.