Thursday, March 30, 2023

Action during the night on 27b May

 Some 80 tons of supplies were unloaded on the pier at Suda. The Maori battalion was commanded by Col. Dittmer. He spoke with Col. Walker and Col. Allen. Col. Dittmer told them that if the Germans came in close, his men would fire on the Germans and charge them. Allen and Walker agreed to support the Maoris. 

  GThe Australians saw about 400 Germans moving forward on the Suda Bay road. The 2/7th Battalion had two companies in front. The company on the right sent a patrol forward to watch the Germans. Gthey were planning an attack. Major Miller was moving forward when gunfire started. Two platoons came up next to the patrol. The Germans were intent on looting a unmanned depot, so the Germans were surprised.

After a few minutes fight, the Germans "broke and ran". The two companies charged the escaping Germans. The Germans were pushed out of the depot. On the left, a charging private armed with a sub-machine gun, Caused Germans in a wadi to run. Gthe Germans threw away their guns as they ran. GThe Australians were able to move forward more than a mile. 

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The battle continuing on 27 May

 The Gernans attacked the Welch, starting at dawn. Of the two front companies, one had been surrounded while the second had heavy losses. Lt-Col. Duncan decided to withdraw the Welch to the KIadhisos Creek. He ordered the two companies at the rear to move to the west of Suda to provide cover to the rest of the battalion. From there, they could hear "heavy firing" near 42nd Street. This was some five miles back from their original location. The two rear companies commanded by Major Gibson were successful in reaching Suda. A snall group from the Welch, commanded by a sergeant, managed to hold out until the morning on the 28th. When the Germans realized what a small group they were, they were captured.

When the Australian and New Zealand soldiers arrived at 42nd Street, General Weston was not there. Outtick and Vasey decided where to position their brigades along 42nd Street. 42nd Street was a dirt road than ran straight through the olive groves. The line was held by Australian and New Zealand soldiers. The Australians included the 2/7th and 2/8th Battalions. The New Zealand battalions included the 19th, 21st, 22nd, and 28th. Fretberg paid a visit to the Australians overnight, and saw they were in good spirts.

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The battle from 27 May

 The Composite Brigade seems to have been commnded by Lt-Col Duncan of the Welch. He did not know that the Suda Brigade had pulled out and had left them with no one on the left. During the night, the 5th and 19th Brigades past the wreckage in Canea. They were now just to the west of Suda Bay, One battalion of Layforce was nrar Suda village, As the Australians withdrew, they saw mothing of the British brigade which was supposed to be the rearguard. "It seemed that the British had been on the coast road while the Australians had been on the inland road". In the nght, the 4th Brigade travelled to Stilos. Inglis was not able to find the Composite Brigade, he decided to go back to commanding the 4th Brigade. Howard Kippenberger was back to commanding the 20th Battalion. 

By 1am, Weston realized that tht Welches' position was in danger, so Weston ordered Lt-Col Duncan to withdraw. By the time Duncan got the order, it was too late. The Welch were on the left with the Rangers and the Northumberland Hussars. The Germans attacked at dawn and surrounded one company while an n another company took losses, 

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The withdrawal from early 27 May 1941

 The older commanders seem to have a more negative view of the situation than the men in thr battalions. Weston had said that he had forces on the new line and did not want Hargest and Vasey's brigades in that line. Puttick then informed Weston that his brigades would hold the "new line" until Weston ordered them to leave. At thes point, communications were difficult and moving slowly. The command structure was making things worse, because if the need to ask permission. Apparently, orders went from Freyberg to Weston, and then to Puttick and then to Vasey. 

Weston had gone from Puttick at 6:10pm. By 11:15pm, Puttick got an order from Weston. Weston sent an order to Vasey with out tellinf Puttick. seven hours passed where Puttick had ordered a withdrawal without informing Weston. That withdrawal was carried out while the men in the rear areas were shaken. When the 5th and 19th Brigades were known to have withdrawn, the Suda Brigade was ordered to withdraw. The Suda Brigade had "S Battalion from the Royal Marines, the 2/2nd Field Regiment, the Royal Perivolians, and the 106th Royal Horse Artillery". They had been in reserve at Mournies. At the same time, the Composite Brigade was moving to a new spot something like a mile to the west from Canea. 

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

26 to 27 May on Crete

 Freyberg seems to actually have been in charge on 26 May. Freyberg and Weston had met twice in thr evning, at 7:30 and 10:15. At the earlier meeting, Weston told Freyberg that the New Zealand Division could not hold any longer. Freyberg ordered the Composite Brigade to move in. At 830, the composite Brigade were told to be ready to move. 

At this time, Weston told Freyberg wrong information. He said that the New Zealand troops were holding their position but that the Australians were moving out. Freyberg responded by sending the Australian Vasey a message saying that he needed to keep holding a line some one thousand yards to the east in the wadi in the morning where they had been until it was dark on 27 May. . 

Vasey on learned this by 11pm, after he had ordered his men to withdraw. When Vasey contacted Puttick, he found that they had not gotten orders to hold. Puttick had ordered the New Zealand Division to withdraw. Vasey had just two battalions. With the Greeks in disarray and the New Zealand Division gone on the right, his battalions would be taken. Vasey contacted Puttick, who approved his withdrawal. Vasey learned that the 2/7th Battalion had started to move back with Germans following. 

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

Monday, March 13, 2023

Action late on 26 May

" Weston had returned to Canea, heavy bombing forced him out of the town. Puttick had expected to hear from Weston. When time had passed withot any communications frum Weston, Puttick tried contacting Freyberg's headquarters. 

Finally at 10:10, Puttick received a message from Freyberg saying Weston would be giving him orders. After that, Puttick talked Vasey. Puttick then decided that they should move to a position to defend at the "head of Suda Bay" as he had suggested to Weston. The Australian 19th Brigade would be ro the right and the 5th New Zealand Brigade would be to the left. He would have the 4th Brigade move to Stilos, which was on the way to Sfakia. 

Puttick issued orders that included all these actions. Puttick sent an officer to inform Freyberg and Weston. In response, Vasey ordered his battalions to pull back and informed the nearby Greeks and British.

We are left with the impression that there was a political explanation for Freyberg wanting Weston to issue orders. Weston seems tolack the information and the expertise neededfor him to be acting as commander.

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

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

The situation is worsening on 26 May

 Puttick's trip to Freyberg's headquarters and back took about three hours. The Germans continued to move around the left. While Puttick was still traveling, Vasey went to see Hargest. Vasey told Hargest that Germans were surrounding his left flank. There were German machine guns to his rear, firing at his position from behind. Vasey asked Hargest when he thought that he would need to withdraw. Vasey expected that he would also need to withdraw. Puttick joined them quite soon. Puttick considered that the situation was getting worse. They had talked about Inglis providing relief, but that now seemed not possible. Puttick decided to meet with Weston to discuss the situation. Puttick suggested that the Welch provide cover in position from Kristos to Tsikalaria. The commandos would add to the line to the south at Ayia Marina. At about 6pm, Weston visited Puttick. Weston wanted to talk with Freyberg before allowing a withdrawal. At 6:10, Weston left to visit Freyberg. 

When Weston arrived at Canea, German bombing caused him to abandon the town. Puttick had expected to hear from Weston, but he heard nothing. Given that, Puttick sent messages to Freyberg. Freyberg replied that uttick would receive orders from Weston.

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

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

More action from 26 May

 Puttick's New Zealand Division headquarters was moving to a position about a mile south of Canea. While the headquarters was moving, Puttick got a letter from Freyberg saying that he and Weston were to have a joint headquarters. Somewhat later sent Inglis a message appointing him as commander of a "Composite Brigade". Te new brigade would have 1/Welch, the Northumberland Hussars, and the 1/Rangers. These had all been commanded by Weston. After dark, the Composite Brigade would replace the 5th New Zealand Brigade. Puttick expected that the 5th Brigade would be forced to withdraw before there was time for the replacement, Puttick thought that the men were close to being worn out. The battalions had taken losses that left them as company size. They were now under constant air attack. Vehicles that tried to drive on the road were strafed. They had no working communications. Puttick walked over to talk with Freyberg. At 3:15pm, Freyberg told 

puttck that they had to hold teir positions, because there were two destroyers heading to Suda Bay that  night carrying commandos and some 80 tons "of food and ammunition". With the New Zealand Division near Canea and Suda Bay, they would be under commad of Weston. 

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

26 May while the situation deteriorates

 Engineers and cavalry were used to help hold the line. The Germans succeeded in pushing back the engineers with the 21st Battalion. They were able to counter-attack and retakethe ground that had been lost. The Germans continued to attack. The 21st Battalion lost 80 men

The 19th Battalion was hard-pressed. Two platoons had to pull back. A new line was formed about 150 yards back. They were abe to retake posts that had been lost by 5pm. The 28th Maori Battalion was able to hold their position. Starting at 10:30 German infantry attacked the Australians on the left and made a gap and pushed into the gap between the Australians and the 2nd Greek Regiment. 

Two Australian platoons were forced to pull back a ways towards Perivolia. The were able to hold in this new position. During the afternoon, the battle became more intense. The Australian 2/8th Battalion was ordered to move to its previous position near Mournies. The 2/7th Battalion got similar instructions. At 5pm, they moved to Mournies and joined Royal Marines near Mournies. 

On the morning of 26 May, Vasey felt sure that his line could hold both on the 26th and 27th. By 5pm, he changed his mind and thought that the condition of the left was at a critical point. 

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

26 May the updated situation

 After a meeting about the situation at Suda Bay General Freyberg sent a message to General Wavell. The commander had told Freyberg that the situation at Suda Bay was untenable. If the were given permission at least part of the troops at Suda Bay coulbe embarked. Once this has happened, similar moves needed to be made at Retimo and Heraklion. At Suda the only effective combat troops were the Welch Regiment and Commandos. If the overall situation in the Middle East required that they continue to defend Suda Bay the defenders will keep fighting. They would need to see what to do to be able to keep fighting. The commander expected that within 24 hours the Germans would be firing on Suda Bay. The defenders have taken heavy casualties. Most of the defenders static guns had been lost. 

At this point, General freyberg met with Inglis. He told Inglis that they must stabilize the line. Inglis would be appointed to command the Reserve. They needed to move to "Relieve the New Zealand Division". Kippenberger would take command of the 4th Brigade (which had just two battalions). 

Both brigades closest to the Germans had been fighting. The 5th Brigade had five weak battalions. The battalions had been reduced to company size. 

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

Monday, February 20, 2023

More from 25 to 26 May 1941

 Puttick told Freyberg on 25 May that the line at Galatas had been broken. Puttick wanted to form a new line that would "rn north and south on the right of the 19th Brigade. Puttick tld Freyberg that did not expect to hold a defensive position on 26 May. Late on 25 May, a liaison officer told Freyberg that the "Greeks were about to break."

Around 1am on 26 May the New Zealand Division needed to pull back to a new line. The new line was next to a creek that lay west of Canea. The creek was about a mile-and-a-half west of Canea. The new line would have the 21st Battalion on the right. They would also have some of the cavalry, some engineers along withone company from the 20th Battalion. The center of the new line would have the 19th Battalion. The Maori Battalion would hold the left. They would connect with the 19th Brigade which was very weak. The prison road would divide the two brigades. 

By dawn, the 5th Brigade was in position. The men were very tired. There were many groups of men in the olive trees. The air attacks didn't help. There was little chance of any re-grouping. Men from base units from Suda Bay had been ordered to make their way to the south coast. Scattered combat soldiers joined the movement on the road towards the south. This is based on the account in "Greece Crete and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

During the night of 25-26 May the situation worsened

 During the night, the defenders were taking more casualties. The men were getting more tired. They were becoming dispirited due to the contant air attacks. One result of the way the battle played out was that the units of the 4th and 5th Brigades were in a mixed line. Both brigades had taken heavy losses. Puttick wanted to shorten his line. He thought he could do that by leaving Galatas and moving to a new line that would include Karatsos. /the new line would run north and south and would touch the 19th Brigade on the right. 

Fortunately the Greek 8th Regiment was holding their ground. The regiment was actually strengthened by villagers. The regiment was holding on while fighting a German mountain regiment. That regiment was trying to surround the British group. Over the most recent few days, the Greeks had driven out "the Utz Group of airborne soldiers from the area near Alikianon. That group had formed a line to the south of the reservoir. They were causing trouble for the German mountain regiment that was moving over the hills southwest from the current position. The German airborne commander, General Student, reached Crete on 25 May. The II and IV Battalions of the Assault Regiment were able to capture the high ground on the northwest of Galatea. It was the 100th Mountain Regiment that finally took Galatea. On that day, reinforcements landed at Maleme. The reinforcements were two mountain battalions and one motor cycle company.

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The situation 25 May

 An order was sent to the 20th Battalion to pull back and line  up on the right of the other groups that were present. The 23rd Battalion was just arriving at the battle scene. Kippenberger thought that needed to strike the Germansnnot just keep adding units to the line. He sent two companies from the 23rd Battalion to retake Galatas. The companies would advance on both sides of the road. Two light tanks would lead the advance. The infantry followed the advance with the men giving cheers and shouts. The men advancing could see flares and tracers. The streets of Galatas had cobble stones. The front tank lost a track. The other tank kept moving forward. Germans in second stories threw grenades. The attacking men reached the city center. In the square, the leading tank was disabled. The attackers were in an intense battle with hand-to-hand fighting and shooting from rifles and submachine guns. The were able to drive out the Germans. The Germans retreated into olive groves west of Galatea. 

The 19th Brigade was just to the west. There were no attacks against them that day. The Australian 2/8th Battalion were to move forward as much as a thousand yards. This was cancelled since the New Zealand attack seemed to be successful. The situation seemed worse during the night. 

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

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

The fight on 25 May

 Kippenberger was present and in command. John Russell was the leader on the spot, reporting to Kippenberger. They were all New Zealand soldiers. Russell reported that the Germans were pressing hard. There were a line of stragglers moving past. This was when Kippenberger had sent his brigade major to let Inglis know that they were outmatched by the Germans. Casualties were mounting. The Regimental Aid Post had some 200 wounded. The had two trucks carrying men to the Advanced Dressing Station. This is when things got worse because the defenders of Wheat Hill without permission. This put Lynch's company in the center of the 18th Battalion line. They were forced to fall back, but were putting up a good fight. In a sudden change, there were now a large stream of stragglers, many almost in a panic. Kippenberger tried to stop the stragglers, saying "Stand for New Zealand" and other words of encouragement.

Kippenberger filled in new men as men sent by Inglis arrived.. The 4th Brigade Band manned a wall about 100 yards in front of his headquarters.

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

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

New Zealanders fighting

 The 18th Battalion was very hard-pressed. The company on the right was over-powered. The centr company was taking fire from all sides. The battalion commander was carrying his rifle with the bayonette fixed. He yelled "no surrender". With men from his headquarters, he tried to restore the line, but the Germans were too strong for them. 

Brigidier Inglis tried to help by sending two 20th Battalion companies. Howard Kippenberger commanded soldiers in the "forward area". He ordered them to head to the ridge held by the composite battalion. The composite battalion was just about destroyed, but the new men succeeded in stopping the enemy forward movement. 2nd Lt. Upham showed great courage. The Germans were now pushing forward along the Prison-Galatas Road. Kippenberger later wrote that the situation seemed critical. There were now men retreating past Kippenberger. Kippenberger sent his brigade major to tell Inglis that he needed help. Wounded were transported by truck to the Advanced Dressing Station. The situation deteriorated further when men abandoned the Wheat Hill without orders.

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Commandos landed at Suda Bay

 It was at about 930am on 24 May that commzndos were landed at Suda Bay. They were brought by three British destroyers from Alexandria. More of the commandos arrived at Suda Bay on the fast minelayer Abdiel. As we had  already mentioned, the New Zealanders expected that the German movements started on 24 May would result in attacks by 25 May. The New Zealanders noticed  the build up near the 18th Battalion. The afternoon saw a GGerman dive bomber attack  against the 4th Brigade, This was followed by an infantry attack covered by strong mortar and machine gun fire. The 18th Battalion was engaged in an intense fight. The company on the right collapsed under the strong pressure. The company in the ceter was fired upon from all sides. The company commander led a group that attempted to restore the situation, but the Germans proved to be too strong. Brigadier Inglis sent in two 20th Battalion companies. Kippenberger provided guidance to soldiers in the ront. The men were sent to the ridge occupied by the composite battalion. They succeeded in stopping the enemy from moving forward.

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

Monday, January 30, 2023

More action from 24 May

 By 24 May there were three German regiments in position against the New Zealand Division. One of those was a mountain regiment and two were airborne. Ther was another mountain regiment moving towards Suda Bay. This was moving south through hilly country. The Germans in the north consisted of three groups getting ready to attack the Galatas area. The assault regiment was to attack on the northwest of the Galatas area. There was also the 100th Mountain Regiment that would directly attack Galatas. After Galatas was captured, the 3rd Parachute Rifle Regiment would movr onto the Alikianon-Canea Road. More units landed at Maleme on 24 May. 

The New Zealand Division thought that the attack launched on 24 May would hit a peak on 25 May. Inglis would be able to call on the reserves. The reserve consisted of four weak battalions of the 5th Brigade. The 5th Brigade at this pont had fewer tan 1400 men. In the morning they were hit by air attacks as well as well as fire from mortars and machine guns. They could see Germans in position to attack the 18th Battalion near the coast. During the afternoon the wholeth Brigade was bombed. After the bombing was over machine gun and mortar fire covered an advance by German infantry. There was intense fighting aimed at the18th Battalion.

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

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The situation on Crete deteriorates from 24 May

 The defenders of Crete were pressed hard by the combination Germans from Maleme and the prison. There was also a group of German mountain troops moving over the hills against Suda Bay moving north. The goal was to form a circle around the defending orce. The Greek 8th Regiment was the only unit in the path of the advancing Germans. The Greek regiment had been isolated since paratroops had landed near the prison. 

During the afternoon of 24 May, Germans had tested the 4th Brigade front. The expectation was that the Germans were getting ready for a major attack. At about 4pm, an attack hit the 18th Battalion. Some forward positions were pushed back, but the were restored by a counter-attack. Around dusk some posts were pushed back but were retaken. The Germans launched a substantial air attack on Canea. It seemed that they were intending to flatten the town. 

The cable received by Freyberg on 24 May seemed to indicate that General Blamey was in charge. They thought that theGermans were having difficulties. Thedefenders of Cretewere being praised. n the 24th Freyberg learned that the Rangers had failed "to clear the road to Retimo". Greece Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

German thoughts about British operations

 The Germans thought that the British pulled back in response to movements of the Utz Group. Ramcke's Group was chasing the withdrawing British forces They fighting the British rearguards. The Germans respected how well the British rearguards were fighting. During the night mountain troops were sent through Alikianon going through the mountains towards Suda Bay. They hoped to outflank the forces in the area near Galatas and Suda Bay. They wanted to reach Retimo to help the 2nd Parachute Rifle Regiment. The Germans seem to be focusing on Suda Bay. German air units were targeting Suda Bay. This reduced the pressure on the 5th New Zealand Brigade. 

Major Heilmann's force was strengthened by a mountain battalion. A group fron Maleme was part of a concentration near the prison. During the day more units were flown into Maleme.

Early on 24 May, the western end of the forces defending Crete ("Creforce") formed a curve around Canea. The curve radius was about three miles. The defenders were pressed by a strong force at Maleme and the prison. 

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

Friday, January 20, 2023

Reinforcements for Crete

 The Rangers company arrived at Retimo on the 23rd. Captain Lerggessner met them at Retimo. Captain Lergessner had been sent by Coloneel Campbell . He had been told to travel through the foothills to Retimo. He was supposed to go to Suda Bay and pass on information to Freyberg. He was supposed to ask for instructions. 

Captain Lergessner knew how strong the Germans were on the road. He tried to persuade the Rangers from attacking. He spent the night with the Rangers and then witnessed their unsuccessful attack. The captain moved to Suda Bay. He was followed by the remaining men of the Rangers company. 

Two infantry tanks had been trported to Heraklionon 23 May. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were also moving to Heraklion. The newly arrived infantry tanks with one survivor were taken to Suda Bay on a "lighter" (which could be a landing craft. They also took two 75mm guns. 

They continued to try and send reinforcements to Crete. The Glenroy had turned back, but the fast minelayer Abdiel left Alexandra with commandoes of "Layforce". 

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

23 May on Crete

All hope of holding the airfield at Maleme was given up. Once that had been decided, the men of the New Zealand Division had moved into a defensive posture. Freyberg and Puttick met at 11am. They decided that the 5th Brigade would be in reserve. The 4th Brigade would have the units of the 10th Brigade. They would now hold the right oh the new lime. The Australians of the 19th Brigade would hold the left of the line. They would be west of Perivolia. In the aternoon, the 2/8th Battalion move forward to the creek on the west of Perivolia. The 2/7th was there already. The 2nd Greek held a line to the southwest. They were the left flank. 

All the soldiers near Platanias pulled back behind the 4th New Zealand Brigade. The few vehicles carried the hravy weapons and the wounded. The isolated force at Retimo were handicapped by the lack of ciphers. The ciphers at Heraklion had been destroyed on 20 May. On 23 May, Freyberg ordered one company of the 1st Randers to take two anti-tank guns to the road to Retimo. That did not work well because there was a strong group of Germans on the road. 

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

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Crete from 22 to 23 May

 You might almost say that Freyberg received a typical message from Churchill. Churchill was writing from his fantasy world. Feeyberg wrote that the reality was that the situation in Maleme was getting worse all the time. The Maori's were back in position. The 23rd Batting to the North. alion were in their position. They occupied high ground in between the Maori's and the Ayaia Marina. The 21st and 22nd Battalions were greatly reduced. You had the New Zealand engineers also faced to the northgade." . They linked "the 23rd Battalion and the 4th Brigade.

The units were all in their positions by 10am. So far, air attacks had been fairly light. German air attacks focused on Canea and the roads from Canea to Suda Bay. Freyberg wote that the bombing was viscious. The 27th Battery was only able to withdraw two French 75's. In the new spot, they only had 8-75mm guns. The guns were from the 27th Battery and the Australian 2/3rd Field Regiment. For an-aircraft, they had 2-Bofors and 2-3pdr. 

The Germans stayed close to the withdrawal. There was intense fighting  near where the roads crossed the Platanias River. The British artillery were able to bring accurate fire on the Germans and knocked out the German light guns.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Rapidly deteriorating situation at Maleme

 During the night of 22 May Wavell sent a message that indicated that Wavell was out of touch with the current situation. That was due in part to Freyberg's messages but also to a lack of understanding at the Cairo headquarters. 

One issue with Crete was there were not enough vehicles to transport large groups of men. Freyberg wrote that the enemy held the roads from Suda to Retimo and probably the road from Retimo to Heraklion. Freyberg wrote to Wavell that there were no vehicles at Retimo. Freyberg had ordered the Argyll and Sutherland to put the infantry and tanks at Heraklion with the aim if reinforcind Suda by road. Freyberg let Wavell know that the soldiers at Maleme were isolated. They needed to reorganize their position so it was more defensible. Freyberg wrote that he could not keep risking rear areas and coastline. The men will need to be able to rest, They will need to adjust the line to reduce the area needing to be defended. This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

from 22 to 23 May 1941

 By 23 May 1941, there were only wrecked or disabled ships remaining in Suda Bat, Back on 26 March an Italian MTB had torpedoed HMS York a small heavy cruiser. By 23 May, there were the York, there were "two destroyers, perhaps six merchant ships, 0 to 12 other vessels."

On 22 May, several more German mountain battalions wew floen into  Maleme. The airfield had wrecked aircraft which the cleared with British tanks used as tractor. General Ringel, now in command on Crete, had orders to clear Maleme, clear Suda Bay, help the troops in Retimo, move forward to Heraklion take the entire island of Vrete.  The immediate priority was to move on Canea. The British attacked towards Maleme with tanks. A German counter attack, the British were ushed back tnto Pirgos. 

The Germans were attacked by Greek snipers, who were accused of atrocities. The situation was escalated by German reprisals. A New Zealand officer guarded German prisoners. It seems that all mutilations were done by radical civilians. British and New Zealand soldiers protected Germans from mobs. 

The incidents tended to be exaggerated, the reprisals were bad, Australians and New Zealand soldiers were later accused. We would have to judge events in light of wahring the night of 22 May, General Wavell sent a messdae to General Freyberg that it was nt possible to land solgiers at Suda Bay. The defenders would have to stick it out. They were going to send Commano's to the south coast. 

Wavell suggested sending soldiers from Retimo to Canea. 

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

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

At sea 23 to 23 May

 A cruiswe-destroyer force sank a Caique loadrd with soldiers. The fight took place between Hof Milos.eraklion and the island of Milos. Admiral King ordered his force to withdraw. Weston persuaded the civilians togo to the hills. During Colonel Campbell's men attacked the enemy on the road to the east and west. They heard that the Germans were on the road to Timbakion, an ideal location to land troops. 

On 22 May, Ships were low on antiaircraft ammunition. Heavy air attacks sank the cruisers Fiji and Gloucester. A mistaken report made the battleships seem to be low on low on light ant-aircraft ammunition. 

on 23 May Lord Louis Mountbatten's destroyers were withdrawing to Alexandria when divebombers attacked them. Kashmir and Kelly were both sunk. Kipling rescued survivors. 

During the night of 22-23 May, two destroyers unloaded ammunition at Suda Bay.Fast minelayers were also carrying supplies annd ammunition to Crete. 

While protecting Crete, many ships were damaged. 

This is based on the account in "Greecen Crete, and Syria".

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