Monday, October 07, 2013

The night of 20/21 May 1941 and the morning of 21 May at Retimo airfield

We need remember that Lt-Col. Campbell, the commander at the Retimo airfield, was a very new battalion commander who now commanded a brigade-sized force at the Retimo airfield. He had almost no staff, because he did not want to take officers from the fighting units. By the first evening of the attack on Crete, Campbell was left with no information about what was happening elsewhere on Crete. This was largely due to the abysmal British communications equipment and the scarcity of what they had. Campbell had sent a wireless message to General Freyberg asking for reinforcements. He also planned attacks in the morning at Hill A and to clear the enemy from the low ground near the sea. He planned attacks with the Australian battalions paired with Greek battalions. The Greek battalions had officers with them to help. In one case, it was the Australian Major Hooper and the other case a Welch Regiment officer. During the night, the Germans tried to overrun the remaining Australians. This was when they captured the crews of the two stranded tanks near the airfield. Only one section, commanded by Corporal Johnston, was still holding out on Hill A. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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