Monday, May 19, 2014

The focus shifts to Syria after the battle for Crete

The effect of the failed adventure in Greece and then the decision to defend Crete was to reduce the division-sized formations in the middle east from ten to five. The divisions available in March 1941 were the 2nd Armoured Division, 1st Cavalry Division, the British 6th Division, the 6th, 7th, and 9th Australian Divisions, the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions, the New Zealand Division, and the 1st South African Division. Many of the divisions had been split into their components to allow them to be spread across the many calls for the use of force. Then in North Africa, the 9th Australian Division had been left to hold Tobruk in the face of Rommel's attack. They were isolated and had to have been a source of concern to the Australian Government. The navy had also taken heavy losses, particularly in the battle of for Crete, although the cruise York had been torpedoed in Suda Bay before that battle had started. The air situation was also pretty desperate, with only about 200 aircraft left in the theater, including many obsolescent types. This is based on the account in Volume II of the Australian Official History.

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