Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Issues with Crete in May 1941

 One odd feature of the situation in Crete was that the Greeks had some 14,000 Italian prisoners captured in Albania. The Greeks were concerned that if the Italians were given to the British, they might violate international law. In the event, the Italians were still on Crete when the Germans attacked.

There were some small amounts of soldiers, equipment, and supplies arrived in Crete. As part of the naval base force, about 2,200 marines arrived. They had coast-defense artillery and anti-aircraft guns. Some 3.7in mountain guns and the artillery unit arrived. There were also 16 light tanks and 6 infantry tanks. Two infantry battalions arrived. They were intended to form a reserve at Retimo and Heraklion.

By 2 May, Wavell had mentioned that there was no field artillery in Crete, as all there had been had been left in Greece. General Blamey sent a message to the Australian government abut this situation. Churchill told the New Zealand prime minister that they would work to send equipment for theNew Zealand division. 

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

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