Tuesday, January 23, 2024

A final word

 Mainly due to my health, although my age is a factor, my sense is that I have reached the end of the line with blogging on the Panzer Abwehr blog.The blog has kept me writing for this long time. The benefit has been all that I have learned. There is a great deal of material there to read. I have diverse interests, in that I have done an in-depth study of the Dutch navy and ships, particularly the First Anglo-Dutch War. Y have a hard-back book, "Dutch Warships in the Age Of Sail 1600-1714".

Friday, January 12, 2024

Action on 21 May

 OI the Germans in the barracks, most were killed by the men of Captain R olfe's company from the 2/4th Battalion. A German tossed a grenade into the headquarters of the 7th Medium Regiment. The men of the 234th Medium Battery killed 175 Germans. 

By 6:15, Brigadier Chappel ordered an attack on Buttercup Field. All paratroops were gone by 9:30pm. There was some rifle and machine gun fire all night in the east. The Germans kept firing flares to bring their men together. Men from an airforce radio location post were trying to reach a safe position. 

Germans that landed in the Greek area were handled quickly. Some Germans entered the town. There was fighting during the night. Some men from the York and Lancasters came to help the Greeks. 

There some problem areas by morning on 21 May, the British could tell that the German attack was a failure. Many Germans were eliminated before the could be organized. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

German paratroops

 After 5pm on 20 May transport aircraft started to drop paratroops. Over a period of two hours, paratroops were dropped in time periods of twenty minutes. Ju-52 transports dropped some 3,000 paratroops. They were carried in some 240 troop transports. At least 15 transports were shot down by anti-aircraft fire. The paratroops were dropped from an altitude of about 250 feet. Many paratroops were shot as they descended, Most of the paratroops landed near the airfield or west of the town. 

About 200 paratroops were shot in the air or as they landed. The paratroops that landed in areas occupied by infantry were shot before they could collect and find their equipment. After more bombing, paratroops landed beyond the fortress area. The battalions immediately attacked the paratroops. The Black Wztch were able to clear the airfield except for some snipers. Some Germans occupied the barracks. The Scots cleared the East Wadi of Germans.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long

Friday, January 05, 2024

Heraklion defenses

 Heraklion was fortunate enough to have twelve 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns distributed around the airfield. To the southwest of the airfield there was artillery. They had nine 100mm guns and four 75mm guns. Chappel told the ant-aircraft gunners that they could fire "when they saw fit". Everyone else was to stay concealed until German bombing ended. 

Chappel only intended to have the artillery fire on the airfield if German troop-carrying aircraft landed in force or if all the anti-aircraft guns were knocked out. The Leicesters were asked to attack paratroops that landed on the airfield. They were also to attack if paratroops landed in the area bounded by the Charlies and the low ground. There was a heavy tank at the ends of the airfield. The light tanks were located to the southeast. The infantry were to attack as soon as the enemy troops landed. 

Germans bombed Heraklion from May 12th onwards. The bombing was intermittent. Bombers flew over at dawn on 13 May. A Gladiator biplane attacked five bombers. The bombers followed it down but none were shot down. Later that day, one German bomber was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. 

Some 40 German aircraft attacked on 14 May. Two Hurricane fighters had arrived the night before. They both were lost. German aircraft strafed the area on 16 and 18 May. Around this time, a German reconnaissance aircraft was shot down. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

The defenders of Heraklion

 Brigadier Chappel commanded the troops defending Heraklion. He had three regular British battalions as well as the Australian 2/4th Battalion, which had been in Greece. There was also the 7th Medium Regiment which was armed as infantry. There were also three untrained Greek battalions. Chappel was short of artillery. He had 13 old field guns and some 14 ant-aircraft guns. He had six light tanks with two "heavy tanks, which must have been Inf. Mk. II Matildas, although that is just a guess. Chappel was asked to hold the port and airfield at Heraklion. 

The port served the largest settlement in Crete. There was a "saddle" that ran between a high mountain in the west called Ida and a lower mountain in the east called Diete. Heraklion was a town with a wall and with a population of about 36,000. Heraklion was larger than Canea. An ancient Minoan city of Knossos was in ruins. 

An airfield was located some three miles east of the town. The airfield was in the coastal plain. Chappel's men were located in an area about four miles by two miles, with the longer area being from east to west. The 2/Black Watch held the airfield. The Australian 2/4th was around two hills the Auatralians called "the Charlies". That area had many boulders that the Australians would use as protection for fighting. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Germans near Retimo from 27 to 29 May

 The Germans from Suda arrived at Retimo in the afternoon on 29 May. They pushed back police from Crete and Greek infantry. They joined Wiedemann's men at Perivolia. In the evening, the group from Suda was joined by two tanks. On the 30th, they attacked Australians to the east of Perivolia. In the battle, the Germans claimed to have captured about 1,200 Australians. The Germans spoke with Campbell after the battle. Campbell had been intent on surrendering before any more fighting. 

Two German parachute battalions had landed on the positions held by the two Australian battalions. Some 3,000 Greek soldiers and aunit of some 800 police from Crete supported the Australians. The German parachute drop did not go as planned. The Germans were in a confused state on the early part of the second day. Colonel Sturm and his plans were captured. Many of the paratroops were killed or taken prisoner. That left two groups of Germans. The group in the east was on the defensive. The other group was caught between an Australian battalion and the police from Crete. 

The Australian historian suggests that there was a missed opportunity on the afternoon and night on 21 May. The Australians and Greeks might have been able to defeat the Germans at Perivolia. He also suggests that Campbell should have had a brigade headquarters and should have had someone else command his battalion. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

More German action from 21 May

 Men with Colonel Sturm landed among strong Australian positions. They were "completely destroyed". Kroh's group on Hill A was hit by a strong attack that came from the west. They managed to beat the attack back. This was the attack by Channel's men. Moriarity's group attacked at around 9am. Kroh's men were pushed back. They went to the Olive Oil Factory. They were able to hold out against more Australian attacks. They managed to free 56 parachute riflemen who had been taken prisoner. On the other hand, there is no Australian record of such a rescue. Wiedemann's men had been bombed by German aircraft. His men had managed to extend their position at Perivolia. 

The survivors of the III/2nd Battalion were stuck in sturdy houses in Perivolia. The survivors of the I/2nd occupied the strong Olive Oil Factory. A supply depot for the men in the factory was set up in the hills some five miles to the east. The depot had a defensive force to fight off Greek soldiers and guerillas. German records did not mention that Kroh's men were pushed out of the Olive Oil Factory with most of them being taken prisoner.

During the night of 27-28 May, left the Suda bay area, headed towards Retimo. They broke through rearguards on the way. They were slowed until mountain troops took Vamos. 

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long

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