Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Developments at Heraklion on 21 May 1941

Part of the I/1st Battalion, commanded by Lt. Count Bluecher, arrived at the eastern edge of the airfield at Heraklion shortly after midnight on 20/21 May 1941 and found that the airfield was still under British control. They had assumed that the plan had worked and that a parachute battalion would be in control. The regimental commander, Col. Brauer, had decided to attack the airfield from east and west on 21 May. The attack was made in small pieces and failed. Count Bluecher held a position on the eastern side of the airfield. Count Bluecher was killed and the Germans withdrew to the edge of a ridge. Col. Brauer sent a radio message to Major Schulz did not get the message, but did hear that an air attack was planned on the town of Heraklion from 9am to 10am. The Germans succeeded in penetrating the town, but were pushed out. The Greeks had been ready to surrender but were forced by the British to no surrender. By the morning of 22 May, the British were still in control, but Brigadier Chappel had concerns about the strong German position on the ridge to the east. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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