Thursday, January 16, 2014

The bombing attack on Heraklion on 24 May 1941

As we saw, the British took over the defense of the town of Heraklion on 23 May 1941 after ordering the civilians to leave. The Greeks were no longer responsible for the defense of the town. The surviving Greek troops were organized into two one thousand man battalions. They were positioned around Arkhania. They were to protect the hospital at Knossos and hold the road and keep that open for traffic. Note that Arkhania is to the south of Heraklion, on the way to the south coast.

The bombing attack on Heraklion started early in the day and continued. That morning, more paratroops and supplies were dropped to the west by forty transport aircraft. They were caught in a battle between the 1/Argyll and Sutherland and Germans that were occupying the road. The British troops had taken losses and were forced to retreat. Still, during the day, a British truck convoy succeeded in passing to the south towards Ayia Deka where they were to build a landing ground for aircraft. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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