Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Retimo attacked on 20 May 1941

The attack on the airfield at Retimo started at 4pm when bombers and fighters strafed and bombed. The Greek 4th Battalion was not attacked, but they responded by moving back up the ridge overlooking the airfield. Australian senior enlisted were sent to them and led them back to their original positions and encouraged them in the initial battle. The initial attack came from 24 troop carriers dropping paratroops. Eventually, there were 161 troop transports (Ju-52's presumably). There were four areas with German paratroops. One was at Perivolia, just east of Retimo. Another, smaller group, was at Platanes to the east of the first. A third and larger group landed overlapping the 2/11th Battalion and the 4th Greek Battalion on the airfield. The fourth, and largest group of paratroops landed overlapping the 2/1st Battalion area and east to the olive oil factory. The troop transports dropped their paratroops from about 400 feet as they flew parallel to the coast. The drop was completed in 35 minutes. They counted seven troop transports shot down along with two other aircraft. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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