Tuesday, April 02, 2013

21 May 1941 in the morning

General Freyberg first learned of the deteriorating situation near Maleme on the morning of 21 May 1941. He had not realized that the Germans had made good progress pushing the 22nd Battalion off their positions. First thing in the morning, the artillery were keeping the Germans from using the airfield at Maleme, but it almost didn't matter, given the other news. The remainder of the troops defending the airfield were attacked by divebombers starting before 9am. Freyberg was then informed that there were more paratroops being dropped near Maleme. Ju-52 transports were also able to land and take off from the riverbed and beaches to the west. That meant that more troops and equipment were arriving. The intelligence officer, Puttick thought that there were two German regiments, one at Maleme and one near Galatas. Puttick thought that they needed to recapture the airfield as the main priority. At an early morning meeting at the 23rd Battalion, the consensus was that the 23rd Battalion should try and hold their defensive position. The 22nd should try to withdraw into the positions of the 23rd and 21st Battalions. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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