Monday, March 10, 2014

The plan for the Sfakia withdrawal from Crete

Major-General Evetts, who Wavell wanted to oversea the final withdrawal from Sfakia, flew from Alexandria to Cairo to meet with Wavell. General Cunningham had wanted to use the Glen ships and cruisers for the withdrawal, but Wavell insisted that only destroyers be used to remove the men. We can suppose that Wavell was concerned about the mounting naval losses from air attack. As it was, the Glengyle didn't receive the message in time, and Admiral Cunningham decided that the ship should continue towards Sfakia. Admiral Cunnningham sent another three destroyers, these being the Stuart, Jaguar, and Defender to Sfakia. The Royal Marine, General Weston, was still involved. He ordered the 4th New Zealand Brigade to the beaches from Askilou, where they had been in a rear-guard position. The plan was for Vasey's 19th Australian Brigade to hold a rear-guard position in the hills over Sfakia, with the two Australian Battalions, the 2/7th and 2/8th, along with the Royal Marine battalion, two guns from the 2/3rd Australian Field Regiment, and three light tanks from the 3rd Hussars. There were also three carriers from the 2/8th Battalion. This is based on the account from Volume II of the Australian Official History.

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