Tuesday, August 02, 2022

The troops and aircraft at Crete

 At some time in May 1941, General Wilson came to Crete. That made him senior officer present and reporting to General Wavell. The Australian General was at Crete for a short time. He departed for Egypt on 29 April  believing that most of his division was in Egypt. 

Most of the 14th Brigade was near Suda Bay, although the 2/Black Watch was at Heraklion. There was a small group of military aircraft at Crete. There were four squadrons that had been in Greece. There were 6-8 Blenheims from Greece. There were also six Hurricanes. Another squadron had six Gladiators. One squadron from Egypt had nine Blenheims. There was also a Fleet Air Arm squadron at Maleme. 

General Wilson thought there was little chance of a German attack any time soon from both air and sea. 

Wilson thought that holding Crete was a commitment beyond what was possible with the forces currently available. There were problems with lack of equipment and the difficulties in supplying the island. The civilian population of Crete that was greater than 400,000 needed to be supplied with food. 

Supply ships would have to travel to unsuitable harbors on the north coast. 

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

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