Thursday, December 28, 2023

Germans near Retimo from 27 to 29 May

 The Germans from Suda arrived at Retimo in the afternoon on 29 May. They pushed back police from Crete and Greek infantry. They joined Wiedemann's men at Perivolia. In the evening, the group from Suda was joined by two tanks. On the 30th, they attacked Australians to the east of Perivolia. In the battle, the Germans claimed to have captured about 1,200 Australians. The Germans spoke with Campbell after the battle. Campbell had been intent on surrendering before any more fighting. 

Two German parachute battalions had landed on the positions held by the two Australian battalions. Some 3,000 Greek soldiers and aunit of some 800 police from Crete supported the Australians. The German parachute drop did not go as planned. The Germans were in a confused state on the early part of the second day. Colonel Sturm and his plans were captured. Many of the paratroops were killed or taken prisoner. That left two groups of Germans. The group in the east was on the defensive. The other group was caught between an Australian battalion and the police from Crete. 

The Australian historian suggests that there was a missed opportunity on the afternoon and night on 21 May. The Australians and Greeks might have been able to defeat the Germans at Perivolia. He also suggests that Campbell should have had a brigade headquarters and should have had someone else command his battalion. 

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

More German action from 21 May

 Men with Colonel Sturm landed among strong Australian positions. They were "completely destroyed". Kroh's group on Hill A was hit by a strong attack that came from the west. They managed to beat the attack back. This was the attack by Channel's men. Moriarity's group attacked at around 9am. Kroh's men were pushed back. They went to the Olive Oil Factory. They were able to hold out against more Australian attacks. They managed to free 56 parachute riflemen who had been taken prisoner. On the other hand, there is no Australian record of such a rescue. Wiedemann's men had been bombed by German aircraft. His men had managed to extend their position at Perivolia. 

The survivors of the III/2nd Battalion were stuck in sturdy houses in Perivolia. The survivors of the I/2nd occupied the strong Olive Oil Factory. A supply depot for the men in the factory was set up in the hills some five miles to the east. The depot had a defensive force to fight off Greek soldiers and guerillas. German records did not mention that Kroh's men were pushed out of the Olive Oil Factory with most of them being taken prisoner.

During the night of 27-28 May, left the Suda bay area, headed towards Retimo. They broke through rearguards on the way. They were slowed until mountain troops took Vamos. 

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

Thursday, December 21, 2023

The German situation as of 29 May

 Colonel Sturm was a 52 year old had commanded the 2nd parachute Regiment during the attack on Corinth. The regiment had three groups. Major Koch was to land to the east side of the airfield. His assignment was to capture the airfield. Colonel Sturm planned to land in between the airfield and the Wadi Platanes. Capitain Wiedemann "would come down in between the Wadi Platanes and Perivolia". His assignment was to take Retimo. 

The Germans did not land as planned. Major Koch's group landed east of the airfield. Major Koch and his immediate companions were landed some three miles east on very rocky ground. Many men were injured on landing. One group that landed close to the airfield. Australians on Hill A fired on these Germans. One company lost all their officers. The group took heavy losses before the had gotten their weapons. The men of this group had landed in strong enemy positions. Major Koch joined them and was in place on Hill A. He hoped to stage an attack against the airfield by the next day. of Wiedemann's group, two companies with the artillery crews and the heavy weapons landed as planned. Wiedemann pulled what he had together and moved west. He took Perivolia and reached the edge of Retimo. He held a perimeter around Perivolia. The police from Crete kept the Germans in Perivolia. 

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Events at Retimo after men left the 2/11th battalion area

 Wen Captain Honner's group jponed the lager group from the battalion, they found that Honner had the only map, a Greek map. It was a good thing, because they used the map as they traveled during the next three months. Lt. Murray joined the group with his pioneer platoon. When he saw the German attack, he led his men over the hills until he joined the battalion group. Murray had heard from a naval officer about landing craft being at Ayla Galini, which was on "the south coast". 

Sandover passed out money along with a few biscuits. The battalion was divided into two groups. WSandover leed one group and Honner led the other group. 

Campbell was still intent on surrendering, seems strange, because the Australians were typically energetic and were not given ti giving up. Campbell was on Hill D. Campbell had a white flag made and sent runners to the various groups, telling them that he intended to surrender. They were to go to the "north-west corner of the airfield and show white flags. The Australians turned their some 500 German prisoners loose. The Australians lost about 120 men killed. They had buried about 550 dead Germans. 

The Australians had captured the German commander, Colonel Sturm. They heard that they had been attacked by the 2nd Parachute Rifle Regiment, which had just two battalions. 

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

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Captain Honner's fight late on 29 May

 Captain Honner's company was very weak. He had a little more than forty men. He was reinforced by the men of the anti-aircraft platoon. He was told to move into place on the west ridge. Sandover told Honner to retreat if they were attacked by a large force of Germans. Honner still had men in the Platanes wadi with a Bren gun. They in place to protect Honner's "line of withdrawal". Honner took the rest of is men and occupied houses on the ridge in positions between the ridge and the sea. After an hour, German infantry and tanks attacked. The Australians waied  while the tanks got close and then opened fire with the Bren gun. The heavy Bren gun fire caused the tanks to drive onto the hill on the south side. There were already men with machine guns on motor cycles there. The Germans then drove south of the road in the direction of the wadi Platanes. Honner ordered his men to withdraw to keep from being cut-off. Honner ahd his headquaters men and the antiaircraft platoon away, along the beach. Honner ordered Corporal Cunningham with his twelve men to rejoin the main part of the company. Cunningham leap-frogged while firing at Germans that were south of the road on the hill.  

After Cunningham and his men arrived at the Wadi Platanes, Honner' company pulled out towards Sandover's battalion headquarters. Sandover had just called Campbell and told him that he wanted to take his men to the hills. Sandover told his men that they could surrener or move into the hills. Sandover led a group of officers and enlisted men. There first move was to a gully that was behind the Greeks. 

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The situation at Retimo as of 29 May

 As of 29 May at Retimo, they only had a day of food left. Campbell had men patrolling the geach at night. The patrol was to signal the letter A, presumably in Morse code. This was to get the attention of any British ships. So far, they had never gotten a reply. In the morning, Honner reported that he could hear many motorcycles "warming up" past Perivolia. The ridge where Honner's company was located was taking mortar and artillery fire. At 9:30, they saw three tanks with about thirty motorcycles behind them. This group had some light field guns with them. Later, Campbell was told that there were German tanks in back of the 2/11th Battalion. There were also German tanks "in the valley behind Hill D."

Campbell decided that given what was happening, they would only be able to protect the Retimo airfield for another hour. Campbell thought that since the navy Lt. Haig was ordered to Sfalia, that Sfakia must be where they would be evacuated. It would take three days to reach Sfakia. The men at Retimo could not travel to Sfakia. They could not just move into the mountains and expect Crete villagers to feed them. 

Campbell decided that they should surrender. Campbell called Sandover and told him what he thought. Sandover did not want to surrender. He would tell his men to destroy theie weapons and take to the hills.

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

Thursday, December 07, 2023

From 29 May

 Major Hooper had been with the Greek forces. He informed Campbell that the Greeks were reporting that there was a large German group approaching from the east. They seemed to be coming from Heraklion. The Greks heard that the Germans had occupied Maleme and Heraklion. There were four Greek battalions seeking refuge in the mountains. Campbell still believed that he was to keep protecting the airfield at Retimo. Campbell told the whole 2/11th Battalion to occupy the positions where the 4th Greek had been. Sandover asked that Honner's company be ale to stay where they were, looking down at the Germans in Perivolia. He wanted to keep the artillery where they were on Hill B. During late afternoon, the Germans had started firing at the road junction at Platanes road junction, to get the range. By midnight, the Greeks reported that Germans were coming from the west. Some 300 Germans on motorcycles were now in Retimo.

Campbell was reduced to listening to the BBC for news about events in Crete. The BBC characterized that Crete was shakey. There was only enough food at Retimo for one day.

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

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Events from the night of 27 to 28 May

 Lt. Haig arrived with a lighter that carried "two days rations for Retimo". Haig had left Suda before he had gotten Freyberg's message to Campbell. The message was about the pending withdrawal of the entire force. They plan was to leave Crete during the night of 28 to 29 May. Small groups would provide cover for the withdrawal and try to mislead the Germans. The men should move at night and lay still during the day. The men should embark from the east end of Plakias Bay during the night of 31 May to 1 June (the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland). The location should be hidden from the enemy. The men need to arrive at "firat light" on 31 May and need to take cover. They needed to figure out to handle the wounded men. They were to give their prisoners to the Greeks. Freyberg had decided that the German air superiority meant that they needed to leave Crete.

Food and ammunition were dropped at Retimo from the air. They may have dropped Freyberg's message, but it was not seen. A message was dropped at Retimo on the 29th, probably in the dark. The message used Australian slang, trying to be secure if the Germans found the message. The message told the men at Retimo to fight their way down to the coast in the south. The men at Retimo never saw that message or a  second message. 

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Jackson's company withdraws

 Jackson's company moved out at 9pm. They carried one wounded man on a stretcher. Other wounded men were walking along in the group, in the middle. They managed to reach the beach without being seen. The Gerans were using a wrecked aircraft for cover for machine guns. Two machine guns started firing at the Australians. The men lay in the water behind "a slight bank". 

After fifteen minutes, the machine guns stopped firing. Jackson realized that they could not keep moving east because of the machine guns. He decided to back through the German rear. They walked to the west until they reachedv the edge of Retimo. By now, the men were very tired. The entered a substantial villa and spent the night there. Two wounded men who could not travel were left in the villa "with a medical orderly". 

The rest of the men crossed the road. They moved up into the foothills. They crossed behind the Germans. They rejoined their battalion on the middle of 29 May.About seventy men had attacked the Germans. Of those, some twelve men were wounded. 

Campbell decided they were not strong enough to make another attack. They needed to cocentrate on defendin the airfield at Retimo.

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Action on 28 to 29 May

 By the time that the Australians moved into houses, the Germans had withdrawn from them. After dawn, they had captued a German who ran into one of the houses. The Germans fired an anti-tank gun at one house. That caused the Australian platoon to move to another house. By early afternoon, the Germans bombed one house but did not attack it. 

The Germans constantly fired machine guns at the houses from the church and from the side towards the sea. No one was hit, but the houses had many bullet-holes. That created a good deal of dust. Jackson planned to pull out that night. They would follow the wadi to the beach. Once they were on the beach, they would push through the enemy line to the east. 

Jackson had no way of sending a message to battalion headquarters. He thought that the headquaters would know where they were by the gunfire. The battalion commander, Sandover, Sandover thought Jackson would try to breakout during the night, under cover of the darkness. He had the artillery fire on the German positions as soon as darkness fell. The Australian artillery fired most of their ammunition at that time. 

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

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The attack on 28 May

 Captain Wood's company would try and take the houses. These were to the east from where the rads joined. A platoon was to follow Wood and cover their left. The companies of Honner and Gook were to send out patrols and stage attacks on German machine guns. Those companies were to withdraw at dawn.

Jackson's company moved forward at 3:29 under cover of darkness. Despite a request not to shoot while the Australians moved forward, the Greeks fired at St.George's. The Australians faced heavy German fire.  They took the crossroads and followed the Wadi in the direction of the sea. Wood's company moved forward and fired mortars at the houses. They ran into grenades and mortar fire. Wood and two platoon commanders were wounded. Wood was mortally wounded. At Wood's direction, Lt. Scott fired the Very light signal that they would withdraw. 

The Australian companies east of Perivolia were taking German machine gun fire. The companies were able to withdraw before dawn, but Wood's company had only 43 men left. 

Men from Jackson's company had seen the Very lights, Jackson and his officer's had not seen the signal. He decided to move into houses in Perivolia, which were in German occupied territory. There were no Germans there, and the Australians would stay in the houses during the cday on 28 May.

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thinking about attacking Perivolia from 27 to 28 May

 Captain Honner decided to personally take a message to Campbell and to receive new orders. He had a written message stuck in his waist. He had two men follow him, about five minutes apart. If he was hit, one of them could carry the message to Campbell. Honner essentially crawled across the half mile where there was no cover. Germans in Perivolia were firing at him. Honner was not hit, but both men following him were hit. 

They had no smoke available to provide cover. medical officer Ryan spoke with Sandover. Flying a red cross flag, the medical officer took stretcher bearers with him. The used German wheeled stretchers. Ryan was worried about getting so close to the German positions to retrieve their casualties. Willoughby's men were all dead. The Germans were pointing their machine guns at them and they motioned for them to move away. They were able to bring back the Australian wounded.

Since they had lost both tanks and had little artillery ammunition, Campbell ordered them to attack Perivolia at night. It would be the next night.

Another factor was that the 2/11th Battalion had run out of mortar bombs. Many Australians were using captured German weapons. Sandover's plan was to send two companies along the road into Perivolia. Sandover wanted Captain Jackson's company to take the crossroads and then push to the sea.

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The attack at Perivolia on 27 May

 Honner decided that they could not afford to wait, even though he expected to lose men. Honner sent a section of nine men to a low stone wall, about 50 yards forward. The wall surrounded a well. The wall was about 25 yards from the Germans. They had a Bren gun to cover the larger attack across an open area. The section men moved along a hedge towards the wall. The leader was shot right before reaching the wall. The man with the Bren gun was also shot. When a man carrying the Bren gun was shot, another man would pick it up. The last man with the Bren gun was shot short of the wall. A strecher bearer went out and went to the first man shot. that man was dead and the stretcher bearer thought that they were all probably dead. The stretcher bearer stayed low and waited to be rescued, which was about an hour later. Honner's men then were going to try "the other side". Lt. Bayly led a group forward along a dich leading to the main ditch. Everone but Bayly in the front group was hit by fire. Capt. Gook's runner "was also hit". He told them that Roberts and his men were lying low at he end of the ditch. There were snipers in houses. It seemed to be too difficult to leave the ditch, but if they stayed there, they could wait indefinitely.

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Action at Retimo on 27 May

 On 27 May, at dawn, the two tanks arrived at the scene. Each of the tanks had an Australian infantry officer as commander. As the left tank approached the German position, a shell hit the tank and set it on fire. The men in the other tank did not know that Australian infantry had crawled to the farthest ditch, and the tank fired on them "causing two casualties". The infantry waved to the tank, showing themselves to the Germans. After driving forward some thirty yards the tank hit a land mine. The exploding mine caused the tank to lose a track. After moving forward a few more yards, the tank was stuck in sand. A mortar bomb hit opened the turret hatch. Another mortar bomb hit blew the fingers off the tank commander's hand as he tried to close the turret hatch. Another mortar bomb hit "disabled his guns". The commander and one crew member, both with wounds, crawled to a safe position. The commander and crew of the other tank stayed in the tank until it was night. 

Honner decided that with both tanks disabled, he did not want to attack. Captain Gook reached Honner and told him that he could not find his most forward platoon. Gook looked around and decided that his forward platoon must have attacked and had gotten into Perivolia.Honner decided that he needed to attack and rescue Roberts' platoon or tack advantage of his success.

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

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Continued action at Retimo from 26 May

 At Retimo, the Australians had some 500 German prisoners. The were penned in a cage on the south side of Hill D. 

One major issue was the lack of ciphers at Retimo. Freyberg had to send unencrypted messages by radio. If they needed to send sensitive information they would need to use some other means of communication. The main possibility was news about loading the men at Retimo on ships for a withdrawal. One major event on 26 May was the arrival at Retimo of Lergessner. He came from Canea and told about the failed action by the Rangers. He told Campbell that they were not talking about a withdrawal as of yet.

Another major accomplishment was that they got the second tank working. Campbell took the second tank to Sandover. They planned another attack on Perivolia. This attack would be made by two companies. Honner's company was reduced to 60 men, but they planned to give him some transport drivers as reinforcements. They managed to sneak forward to "the farthest ditch". They were abot 75 yards from the German positions. 

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

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Action at Retimo from 26 May

 On the morning of 26 May, the tank was moving towards the St. Georges Church. As it advanced, the tank turret was hit by a German shell. The turret was jammed and the tank commander was "stunned". That caused the church attack to be cancelled. 

The 2.1st Battalion had a captured German mortar. Using that mortar they fired on the house at the right and caused the thirty German occupants to leave. The nearby Greeks were happy to see the Germans leave and the Greeks moved into the house. The Germans near the olive oil factory were "well-arned" and kept firing on the Australians. 

Early on 26 May, Campbell sent a tank and a platoon out, as he heard the firing slow. He wanted themto scout in that area. The infantry reached the edge of Stavromenos. The men had support from the tank and from 75mm gun fire from Hill A. Captain Embrey decided to attack the factory, since he had so easily moved forward. The Australians captured some 42 wounded and 40 unwounded Germans. From the prisoners, they heard that three German officers along with 30 men had moved to the east. 

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The action from 24 May and onwards near Retimo

 The Australians were able to move back onto Hill A and onto the coastal plain. Because of that, they were ble to take possession of the two tanks. The 2/1st Battalion had men who were accustomed to driving tracked vehicles. These men were the crews of the carrier. They had one tank that they found early on 24 May. The tank was undamaged and they figured out how to drive the tank. Lt. Mason of "the Royal Army Ordnance Corps" was instrumental in recovering that tank. They used that tank to drive to the Olive Oil Factory and look it over. Some time later, they drove the tank past the factory to a house occupied by Germans where Germans were arriving. The Germans were using the house to provvide them cover and they stayed in the house. 

That night, Campbell sent the tank down the road to the road junction past Hill B. Campbell provided the tank to Sandover. Sandover would have the tank so he could use it in an attack on Perivolia. As there was light, the tank moved foeward. The driver was inexperience and when a British Blenheim bomber flew low over the tank, the driver was frightened so he accidentally drove over a culvert and ended up in a creek. They quickly provided "camouflage" to keep aircraft from seeing the tank. That evening, they recovered the tank. 

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

Thursday, October 26, 2023

More events from 23 May near Retimo

 There was a truce proposed so that wounded from Hill A and the factory could be collected. In a while, a German officer from the factory demanded that the Australians surrender. Campbell refused and when the truce ended, the Australians fired artillery at the factory. 

The Greeks on the left told Sandover that they would take the St. Georges Church, During the morning, yhe Australians afred a caotured anti-tank gun at the church and caused the Germans to leave the church. The Greeks did not take yhe church, despite what thy had said. 

Dueing the afternoonm some fifty German aircraft attacked the area between Perivolia and Platanes. The attack lasted for about five hours. Jackson's company was happy tp lose only nine casualties. Honners company akobg with the mortar platoon had three killed but as many as 27 men wounded. Two men manned a Bren gun where the action was hottest. At one pont, aircraft flew around and set fire to houses and nearby crops. 

As the sun set, Germans attacked from Perivolia. The Germans took heavy losses from the frontal attack. After this fight, Honners men were replaced, The reolacements were McCaskill;s company. '

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

From 23 May and beyond near Retimo

 Campbell ordered the two companies to stay in place. The Greeks planned to attack the church of St. George. Campbell thought that the attack was unlikely to succeed. He expected a frontal attack moving over open ground. They could hear sound from Perivolia. The Australians thought that the Gtreeks probably captued some Germans and then pulled back. 

Campbell received a positive message frum Freyberg. Somewhat later they heard that a Rangers company from Canea to try and clear Perivolia. Before this news, Campbell sent a captain to Suda. The captain also took a mule train so they could collect food. The hills were so steep, the mules cold not go that way. The captain visited Retimo where he met the Rangers. He tried to convince the Rangers not to attack, but he failed. 

While clearing the area east from the airfield, the captured the German "medical aid post". The Australian medical officer met with the German medical officers. They wanted them to move their wounded to the Australian aid station at Adhele. After that, the German and Australian medical personnel worked together.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2023

More action near Retimo on 22 May 1941

 Honner was sent along the road to the west. He was to keep blocking the road as the moved forward to the fork in the road at Perivolia. Honner's men had a captured German mortar as well as a mortar they had. Honner's company captured houses on a ridge that was half of the way to where they were headed. There was a downward slope beyond the houses. If they moved forward, they would be vulnerable to German fire from a position about a thousand yards ahead. The Germans were in buildings and in the St. George Church. They were also positioned behind stone walls. This was at the beginning of Perivolia. Honner's men were fired on by "mortars, mchine gus, and light artillery". Honner had about a hundred men. 

A runner arrived late in the afternoon with news that Captain Jackson's company coming to support Honner. In the 2/11th Battalion, Honner was the most senior company commander. given that news, Honner wanted to mount an attack after dark, using leap-frog tactics. "The two companies would stay between the road and the coast".  Between the road and the coast were three ditches that were about ywo feet deep. As darkness fell, Jackson's company moved forward to the second ditch.

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

How the attack played out at Retimo on 22 May

The attack by the forty men did not go well, Many of the men were hit. The few survivors sheltered behind a bank. The bank was about forty yards from the factory. Campbell was on the scene. He ordered the survivors to stay where they were. Campbell decided not to attack any more. The Greeks should not move forward, but should keep shooting at the factory. After dark, the Australians were able to pull back. 

Campbell sent his two Australian companies to their previous positions looking down on the airfield. Yhhe Greeks would block the Germans at the Olive Oil Factory. 

On the left, small groups of Germans behind the 2/11th Battalion pulled back during the night. By afternoon, Honner's company on the left moved forward, They passed through Cesmes to the wadi that oassed through Plantanes. They took fire from Germans in houses. The houses were to the west. 

Earlier, the Australians had used German signal system to issue misleading messages to the Germans. Now, they laid a signal asking for Perivolia to be bombed. The Germans did bomb Perivolia as requested. 

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The real situation around Retimo

 Despite what Campbell told General Freyberg, there were still two groups of Germans with considerable strength. One was near the Olive Oil Factory in the east. They were blocking the road to Hweraklion. The other group was at Perivlia, blocking the road to Suda. Campbell wanted to push those two groups out on 22 May. The 2/11th Battalion was supposed to move towards Perivolia. Also on the 21st, two companies from the 2/1t Battalion would travel east in the direction of the Olive Oil Factory. 

The 2/1st Battalion was joined by Greeks from the south as they approached the factory. They found the Germans occupying strong buildings. Moriarity's company was able to move along the ridges. Camobell ordered them to attack at about 10am, if 15 minutes of field artillery fire seemed to be having an effect. The guns were located on Hill A. The guns fired the ammunition that they could afford to use. While scouting, a German rifleman shot and killed Moriarity. Lt. Savage, the other officer in the company was wounded. The attack was called off, given what had happened. 

After this, Campbell planned another attack at 6pm. Multiple groups would converge on an objective. Some 200 Greeks would move under cover in the Wadi. About 40 Australians would be crawling through another Wadi. They would then charge Germans. 

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

More about 21 to 22 May 1941 near Retimo on Crete

 The 2/11th Battalion captured Colonel Sturm, the commander of the entire German paratrooper group. They read Col. Sturm's orders. He had some 1,500 men in two battalions. They wanted land one battalion east of the air field and one on the west side. Two companies were supposed t land on the west side of Hill B ended up on the east side of Hill A.

One Greek battalion was ordered to each flank. Major Ford was with one Greek battalion. They arrived at the ridge on the south side of Perivolia at nightfall on 21 May. There were many Germans near Perivolia. The Germans faced the 2/11th Battalion on Hill B. To the south were Greeks. About 800 Cretan police had cleared all Germans from Retimo. They were blocking the road from Retimo to Perivolia. The Australians did not know that the Greeks were to move west. Because of that an Australian platoon and some Greeks exchanged fire. The other Greeks cleared Germans from the village that was south of the Olive Oil factory. They had not progressed to the ridge crest. If they had, they could have been able to attack the Germans on the coast plain. Campbell had replaced one company with another. The Australian artillerymen were with their field guns. They were also well-suppled with German weapons. Campbell sent a message to Freyberg telling him that the situation in Retimo was in good shape,

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

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Fighting on Hill A and nearby areas at Retimo on 21 May

 On 21 May, one platoon commanded by a lieutenant moved north to the road. In the center, four platoons moved and occupied positions on Hill A.  They recovered the 75mm guns that had been lost. On the left, a platoon moved around the terrace and joined up with the other platoon on the road. They managed to capture 34 Germans as prisoners. Yhe group that had been in the Wadi Bardia were able to arrive on the main road. Some Germans managed to reach the beach. 

It was now 18 hours after paratroops had landed. A group that had reached a position looking down on the airfield had been beaten back. There was the coastal plane from Perivolia to Hill A that covered about six miles. Only small groups of paratroopers were left there, but some of those men were causing trouble. One group of 20 men captured the dressing station at Adhele. They left the dressing station and moved north towards the 2/11th Battalion. The Australians captured the Germans. Two Germans tried to change into Greek uniforms, but were killed. Other Germans moved through Pigi and then moved down the road towards the airfield. 

Some Germans captured Lt. Willmot who had been sent to stir the Greeks into action. Lt. Willmot was freed by Australian engineers and a transport section.

During the day on 21 May, the Australian battalions cleared the Germans from the coastal plane. This was an area between Hill A and Hill B.

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

Monday, October 02, 2023

Fighting at the airfield at Retimo on 21 May

 Moriarity notified Camobell's headquarters that the situation had become "desperate".. Campbell responded by leading one of the com[anies still in existence. He led them across a sheltered route across the Wadi Bardia. Camobell left part of his group in the wadi and took the rest forward. Campbell met Moriarity at about 7am. Campbell told Moiarity to maneuver to get the Germans off of Hill A. He needed to do it "as soon as posssible". It was about this time that the Australians watched a bomber drop six bombs on the German positiom. This was a German plane bombing Germans. The attack hit the German position on the narrow part of Hill A. 

Moriarity organized the men he had, which included men from four companies. That gave him four groups. He led an attack to the north at about 8am. The attack was well-led "with dash". The attack was very successful. On the right, Lt. Rogrts attacked with four platoons, including the pioneers along with the crews of the carriers. They moved forward along the eastern psrt of Hill A. They then turned to the east and moved down the slope. They caotured some 25 German prisoners and oved on to the hill to the east of Hill A. 

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

Thursday, September 28, 2023

From the night of 20-21 May at Retimo

The Germans on Hill A expected that the Australians might attack, so they went after the few Australian posts. They over ran part of one group. The remainder moved into the company headquarters, The Germans moved onto the Retimo airfield. They took the crews of the disabled tanks prisoner. Most of the Germans eft the airfield by dawn, but about forty men sheltered behind the bank at the beach. At dawn, there was one section from Channel's company still holding on. They were surroundedm but the Germans seemed to have overlooked them. They were on the forward slope of Hill A. Channel's company was reinforced by two platoons. They occupied the narrow part of Hill A.

Channel led the men in an attack at dawn. The Germans seemed to attack at the same time with a mortar barrage, Channel planned to go around the sides of Hill A as well as over the top. While under fire, Channel's men moved forward some sixty to 100 yards. Channel and a lieutenant were wounded,  Channel's men were pushed back until they held a line on the western edge of the narrow part of Hill A. 

Moriarity's company and the carrier platoon, without their carriers appeared at 6am. They came from Hill D. They learned that the dawn attack had failed. They arrived at the narrow part of Hill A. Moriarity took command of the men left, which was a lttle less than half of Campbell's unit. 

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Reinforcements were needed at Retimo on 20 May

 The 2/11th Battalion withdrew all of its men into the wired perimeter for the night. They did send patrols out to prevent the Germans moving in the direction of Retimo. At 10:30pm, the Australians had taken 84 prisoners and a great number of arms. The Australians had trouble finding Germans hiding in the dark. The 2/11th Battalion commander, Sandover, spoke German, so he questioned prisoners. Sandover also translated German codes, so the Australians were able ask for more mortar bombs, which were delivered by air. 

Overnight, Campbell asked Freyberg for reinforcements. Campbell gave orders for attacks in the morning. He wanted the 2/1st Battalion to eliminate Germans from Hill A. He ordered the 2/11th Battalion to get rid of Germans from Hill A and the sea. The Australian battalions would attack tpwards the north with help from Greek battalions. They would be attacking the southern side of the German forces that were in combat with the Australians. Campbell sent Major Hooper with the Greek battalion on the east. He sent Major Ford from the Welch Regiment with the Greeks on the West. Major Ford was already a liaison to the Greeks.

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

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Further fighting on 20 May

 Campbell ordered a platoon to Hill A. They were supposed to clear out the vineyards. They were located on the northwest of Hill A. At 6:30, platoon first went to Campbell's headquarters. The paratroops firing kept the Australians from moving over the northwest slopes. Since the paratroops were mixed with Australians, German aircraft were not attacking, 

 Campbell sent the two tanks down the Wadi Pigi. The tanks were supposed to go across the airfield and turn to move along the road so as to attack Germans on the east side of Hill A. Both tanks had mishaps that stopped them. 

Some paratroops landed on the left, in front of the 2/1st Battalion and the 4th Greek Battalion where they were all killed or made prisoner. The same thing happened to paratroops that landed, the 2/11th Battalion wire on Hill B. In one case, a group of paratroops were killed while they were still in the air. There were other groups of paratroops, totaling as many as 599 men, yhat were advancing on Perivolia. 

Sandover ordered his men to move forward to the north to get rid of Germans who were on the lower ground. He wanted that done before it became dark. 

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

German paratroop action at Retimo on 20 May

 A second group of German paratroops landed along the coast from yhe west end of the atr field up to the town of Retimo. The landing was finished in 35 minutes. The transport aircraft were an obvious target or the British force on the ground. Seven troop carrying aircraft along with two other aircraft were shot down. Most of the aircraft that were shot down crashed near Perivolia. 

Many paratroopers landed on Hill A. The hill was about 200 by 300 yards. One company of infantry occupied Hill A. There were six field guns and four machine guns. There were a series of intense fights between units of Australians and the small numbers of paratroops that were able to be organized. At the east end, paratroops landed on an infantry platoon and the machine guns and field guns. The crews were killed while mortar fire disabled the guns. Surviving gunners moved up the hill to the battery headquarters. The gunners only had pistols, but they were able to capture some weapons. They kept fighting until the Germans overran them at 9pm. The Australians were taking losses. Three posts held out on the northern slope. The remainder of the defending company was stretched across the narrow part of the hill. The Germans has most of the top and east part of Hill A. The Germans could not move out from the vineyards, Campbell had sent reinforcements to help contain the Germans.

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

Thursday, September 14, 2023

May 20 at Retimo

 14 German transport aircraft flew towards Retimo, but they turned towards Canea. This was at 9am on 20 May. This was apparently the start of the attack on Retimo. At noon, 20 Gernan troop-carrying aircraft fkew towards Heraklion. At 4pm, some 20 German fighters and bombers attacked positions around the airfield. British camouflage was proving very effective against air attacks. The 4th Greek battalion started to move back up the ridge, even though they had not been attacked from the air. Australiin NCOs were sent to the Greeks. The were a steadying factor, and they led the Greeks back to theie positions. One Australian corporal took a Greek patrol to the main road, where they took some 20 prisoners. 

After the strafing ended, about 24 troop-carrying Ferman aircraft flew from the north. They flew towards Refuge Point, which lay to the east. Once there, they turned west, and flew along the coast. More troop transports came along until they saw 161. One group of paratroops jumped east of the airfeld. The landed in an area that was three miles long and a half mile wide. This was east of the olive oil factory and to the east end of the airfield. 

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

19 May at Retimo

 The 2/11th Battalion was positioned on the ridge from the Wadi Adhele to Hill B Three of the battalions companied were "forward". The original plan was for the 2/11th Battalion to act as a reserve for the 2/1st Battalion. Their mission was to defend the Retimo airfield. One company from the 2/11th Battalion was in the rear, ready to reinforce the 2/1st Battalion. The reserve for the 2/11th Battalion was its transport platoon. Hill B stuck out towards the sea. Hill B had two 100mm guns and one platoon of machine guns except for one section located at the Wadi Adhele. There were two tanks sitting in the olive trees by theWadi Pigi. The tanks would be used if Germans were in position on the landing field. Infantry were located in "weaon pits" in the olive trees. They were hidden from view from either air or ground. 

A German reconnaissance aircraft crashed on 16 May. There were photographs dated 8 May that showed that the Germans had only seen one of the defenders' positions, After seeing the photographs, the positions were altered.  

Campbell ordered the men to stay out of Retimo, because some men had become drunk from the local wine. Campbell wanted to have a good relationship with the local residents, Provosts were positioned in Retimo and in the villages to enforce the ban on British soldiers. 

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

Thursday, September 07, 2023

More about Retimo on 29 May

 The two Australian battalions defending the airfield at Retimo were the 2/1st and the 2/11th Battalions. The situation was such that the battalions communicated using runners. There was a lot of barbed wire so the airfield and battalion fronts were covered by barbed wire. 

There had been rations for ten days, but four days supply had been moved to the road that led to Mesi. The men were able to by from the local inhabitants. They were able to buy pigs, eggs, and goats milk. Thr men of the 2/11th Battalions were used to having goats, so they "hired milking goats" and kept them in their positions.

Olive trees masked fields of fire from the ridge, the ield guns and most of the medim machine guns were put on hills A and B.  Two machine guns were put on the ridge above Hill B. One company of field artillery was put on Hill A. They had 2-100mm and 4-75mm guns with a platoon of machine guns. The rest of the field artillery battalion was on Hill B and on the slopes above the airfield from the south. The field artillery headquarters operated as a rifle company. Canpbell put his headquarters on a spur of Hill D so he had a good view. There was also a Greek battalion, the 4th, on the ridge that ran between the Wadi Pigi and the Wadi Adhele. There were three Greek battalios in reserve in olive trees south of the Pigi village. 

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Fighting at Retimo

 Australians had reached Retimo on 30 April. They were in the 2/1st Battalion with Lt-Col. Ian Campbell in command. The Australians were to defend the airfield. The airfield had been defended by Greek forces orior to the arrival of the Australians. More men had arrived until by 18 May there was a brigade strength present. The Australians were equipped with small arms but they were short of ammunition. They had rifles, ant-tank rifles, four 3-inch mortars, and some Vickers medium machine guns.  Their uniforms and boots were worn, and they were not replaced as long as the men were in Crete. 

Unlike at the other airfields, there were no ant-aircraft guns at Retimo. The defenders also had no armor-piercing ammunition. That meant that German fighters and bombers could fly low over the battle ground because their armor could not be defeated by the small arms ammunition. Only the transport aircraft were vulnerable to small arms gunfire. The 2/1st Battalion had no wireless communication equipment. They only had telephones connected by wire that had been supplied by the gunners. Campbell could talk by telephone from his headquarters with Hills A and B. The 2/11th Battalion had a telehone for each company but they had little cable. 

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

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Fighting on 27 May

 At 10am on 27 May, the 3rd Parachute Regiment had reached the wireless station. By 2pm, the had taken Canea, along with the 100th Mountain Regiment and Ramcke's unit. They had captured about 40 guns and some 1,000 prisoners. By the evening, the 85th Regiment of mountain troops had advanced to the heights to the west of Stilos. During the 27th, the 5h Mountain Division commander and a battalion from yhe 6th Mountain Division landed at the Maleme airfield. 

The British rearguard consiste of the 5th and 19th Brigades and the commands of Layforce were lucky to have arrived at the road over the mountains that led to Sfakia. They were now sitting alomg the road that led from Stilos to Bbali Inn. They were ready to protect the column that stretched to the South. We will eventualy write about the "retreat and embarkation of the Maleme-Suda force", we will describe the events involving Retimo and Heraklion.

Near Retimo, the mountain slope down to the sea. The coastal shelf varied from 100 to 800 yards in width. The mountains have gullies that occur every mile or so. An airfield lay about five miles east of Retimp. The town of Retimo had about ten thousand people. The airfield paralleled the beach and was about 100 yards from the beach. 

The commander at Retimo of the men defending the airfield was Lt-Colonel Ian Campbell. A ridge ran along next to the airfield. There was a "spur" called "Hill A" by the Australians. About a thousand yards to the east of Hill A was a village named Stavromno. The min building there was an olive oil factory. The factory had a chimney that was 50 feet tall. We will continue this discussion later. 

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Alleged British atrocities

A German thought that 121 casulties were more than would have been killed in the battle. He thought that the British must have shot or stabbed all the wounded men. There were about 20 dead Australian and New Zealand soldiers and none had bayonet wounds or injuries from a rifle butt. 

LieutennantWalker replied to the charges o atrocities in 1952. He wsaid that the Germans had grought forward large numbers of automatic weapons. The British had captured many of these and had turned them on the Germans. The fighting took place in olive  trees. At close range the captured automatic weapons had killed many Germans.The British had capture three wounded Germans and it is likely that many wounded Germans had reached the German lines. Walker stated that no wounded. No wounded German offering to surrender or unwounded German offering to surrender was shot. 

Walker spoke about an incident where Germans were shot at a wall. The Germans were unarmed. Walker thought that the men were running away, and were delayed by the wall. If someone did not offer to surrender, it was acceptable to shoot them. 

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

Friday, August 25, 2023

More action on 27 and 28 May on Crete

 The German plan on 27 May was to complete encircling Canae and then send multiple columns towards Retimo. One of the columns would move east along the coast. The regiment of Jais  was the unit that fought the intense battle at 42nd Street that was very costly. It was at 6:45am that they were ordered to move to the head of Suda Bay with the intent to block any British retreat. I Battalion was in the lead. From 11am and for another half an hour, they heard nothing from the leading battalion. Jais thought that the lead battalion must have been dispersed, so he halted the following III Battalion until they could learn more about the situation. It was about 2:30pm when the I Battalion commander arrived at Jais' headquarters. He reported that they had been surprised to run into British positions some 2.5 kilometers to the west of the Suda Village. This was in the middle of very thick olive country. The leading company of the I Battalion had run onto a minefield and had incurred heavy losses. It looked like the english might surround the battalion, so yje "fighting troops were pulled back" and lost more men in the process. Most of the officers and other men were killed or wounded. The I Battalion was withdrawn to the west on the high ground. 

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Evacuate Crete?

 The first step seemed to be to withdraw to Sfakia. The Greeks situation was difficult and their forces were at the point of disintegration. Wavell finally ordered Freyberg to evacuate his men  from Crete. They were not able to tell Colonel  not able to tell Colonel Campbell because they did not have ciphers at Retimo. Navy Lieutenant Haig was going to Retimo with ten tons of rations, Haig left without knowing about the order to withdraw from Crete. Freyberg was traveling to Sfakaia and didn't  know that Haig did not know about the evacuation order. Freyberg then asked the Cairo headquarters to dro a message to Campbell from an aircraft. 

The Germans were having  great deal of success on 26 and 27 May. the assault regiment had moved towithin two kilometers west of Canea. The 196th Mountain Regiment had captured Karatsos. From the Prison Valley, the 3rd Parachute Regiment had captured Perivolia. Still, the Germans were tired and had taken heavy losses. The 3rd Parachute Regiment had the strength of a weak battalion. During the day reinforcement landed at Maleme. 

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

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Weston personally inspected the withdrawal route

 Weston travelled south to see the withdrawal route. He found that the traffic along the road to the mountains made the route impassible, The traffic was from Suda, including gunners, base troops, men and from "improvised" infantry units that had been near Suda. While there were units with their weapons marching as units, the traffic was mostly a disorganized mass of men who qite often had disgarded their weapons. There were many thousands of unarmed men, including Cypriots and Palestinians. Freyberg seems to have been shocked by the complete disorganization. 

Lieutenant Stephanides wrote later that it was obvious that he was in a retreat. He thought that it bordered on being a route. There were discarded rifles and uniform pieces along the road. You could see open boxes with rifle ammunition and even grenades. Occasionally you would see officer valises and a few open suitcases. 

Eventually, Cairo replied to Freyberg's message about the situation being hopeless. The message from Cairo said that Major-General Evetts would be arriving to function as a liaison. They suggested that the units fron the Suda-Maleme area should moce to Retimo with the plan being to hold the eastern prt of Crete. Freyberg thought that the Cairo group had no idea of the situation on Crete.

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Weston out of touch on 27 May

 While Weston was to command the rearguard, communication had failed. Neither Vasey nor Hargest ever received any orders from Weston on the 27th. Given that, Vasey and Hargest worked together to cooperate on executing the withdrawal. That day, a battalion commander of commandos from Layforce met with Vasey and Hargest. Weston had ordered this commando battalion to take up a holding position on the road to Sfakia. After this, Casey and Hargest decided that their units would travel to Neo Khorion. This was south of Stilos. They thought that they would be protected by Layforce in this position. They decided to move the 5th Brigade to Stilos. The 19th Brigade would take position in Neo Khorion. The 2.8th Battalion would sit at the connection of the road to Kalives and the 2/7th would connect with the New Zealand force in Stilos. It was at 9pm that the rearguard at 42nd Street would move to Stilos. Stilos was 14 miles away. The front of the column reached Stilos by 3:30am which was now on 28 May. 

Meanwhile, Weston ordered Laycock to occupy a position at Babali Inn more to the south and to act as a rearguard. Laycock would use his D Battalion. Laycock had just landed from a ship. 

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

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Continued actionon 27 May

 The New Zealand charge may have begun before the Australian charge. The Australian charge carried them forward for about a mile. The New Zealand charge included the Maoris, the 21st Battalion to the right  and the 18th Battalion to the left. The New Zealand force moved forward some 600 yards. Most Germans were in flight from yhe location. The Maoris thought that about 80 dead Germans on their front.  The Australians counted about 200 dead Germans while the Australians too three German prisoners. The Australian casualties included ten killed and 28 wounded in the 2/7th Battalion. 14 of the Maoris were hit by gunfire. 

The Australians were stopped when there was no cover from air attack. Lt. Bolton brought forward a Vickers machine gun. He fured on the Germans as they ran. He fired with some good results. The Germabs were shocked by the charge. The Germans didn't attack on the 27th, although they stayed "in contact" with the Australian and New Zealand units. During the day, they could see "hundreds of Germans" movig akong the hills to the south. They seemd to be trying to suuround the Australian and New Zealand units.

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

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Further events on 27 May

 That night, General Freyberg paid a visit to the Australians. He was impressed by their confidence. After that, Freyberg watched 80 tons of supplies being unloaded at Suda Bay. 

The commander of the Maoris was visited by other battalion commanders, namely Colonels Walker and Allen, He told them if the Maoris were attacked by Germans, his men would open fire and charge. Walker and Allen told the Maori commander, Colonel Dittmer that they would cooperate with the Maoris. 

The Australians observed some 400 Germans moving along the Suda Bay road. The Australian 2/7th Battalion was sitting with two companies ay the front. The company on the right sent out a patrol to watch the Germans. They were planning a counterattack. He informed the commander of the company on the left of his plan and invited him to join the attack. He also sent a runner to inform his battalion commander.

The Germans were going into an abandoned supply depot. They were surprised and ran, The two companies charged the Germans who were running away. Yhere was eventually a bayonet charge. A private came up and fired a submachine gun. He chased away some Germans who had been in a wadi. The Germans threw away their weapons and ran.  

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

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Action from 27 May

 Duncan, the commander of the Welch, chose to move to the Kladhisos Creek. When the Germans tried to "encircle" the left flank of the Welch, the two rear companies were ordered to go to the west side of Suda to provide cover to the rest of the battalion. That group could hear a heavy fight at 42nd Street. 42nd Street was some five miles behind their original position. The two rear companies of the Welch were commanded by Major Gibson. They managed to travel to Suda. A small group from the Welch held a position on the coast until the morning on 28 May. That was when the Germans learned that a small group had held a position for 18 hours against a strong German force. 

When the Australian and New Zealand forces reached 42nd Street, General Weston was not there. Since Weston was not there, Puttick and Vasey chose positions for their brigades along 42nd Street, a straight dirt road that ran through the olive groves. Holding the line were the Australian 2/8th Battalion (on the main road) and the 2/7th Battalion, and 21st, 28th, 19th, and 22nd New Zealand Battalions. The line was dense, with the 28th Battalion with a 250 yard front. The weak 21st Battalion covered a very short front. 

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

More about 26 May to 27 May and events

 The Suda Brigade with drew after the 5th and 19th Brigades. The "Suda Brigade" was actually the S Battalion of the Royal Marines,  the Australian 2/2nd Field Regiment, the "Royal Perivolians", and the 106th Royal Horse Artillery. The Composite Brigade had been ordered to advance had been ordered to move forward to a spot about a mile west of Canea. 

During the night, the 5th and 19th Brigades moved back to a position just to the west of Suda. The A Battalion of Layforce was located naer the "Suda village". While on the move, withdrawing, the Australians looked for the British brigade that was supposed to be the rearguard and did not see it. The British must have been traveling along the coast road. The Australians were moving along the inland road. Also, during the night, you had the 4th Brigade miving to Stilos. Since Brigadier Inglis could not find the Composite Brigade, he reverted to being 4th Brigade commander while Kippenberger was 29th Brigade commander.

At around 1am, Weston realized that the Welch were in danger, so he ordered the Welch to withdraw. The Welch didn't receive the order on time. The Germans launched an attack at dawn. By 9a, one forward company had been surrounded while another had heavy losses. 

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Plans for 26 May on Crete

 Freyberg tpl Puttick that Wesyon would be giving him orders Puttick checked with the Australian Vasey and that was when he decided on the move we already mentioned to move tp the head pf Suda Bay. Puttick had told Weston about this move. The 5th Brigade would be in position on the left side. They would send the 4yh Brigade to Stilos along the road to Sfakia. The orders were given at 10:30. Vasey ordered his men to withdraw. Vasey tol the Greeks and nearby British of the planned moves. 

Freyberg and Weston met twice. That was at 7:30pm and 10:15pm. In the earlier meeting, Weston informed Freyberg that the New Zealand Division would not be able to hold their positions for one more night. Freyberg then ordered the Composite Brigade to relace the New Zealand Division. The Comosite Brigade was told to be ready to move by 8:30pm. Weston gave inaccurate information about the Australians. Hs said that the Australians were pulling back, which was wrong. Freybergordered Vasey to hold avposition in the wadi until nightfall on 27 May. Vasey received thev order too late, He had already ordered a withdrawal. H learned that the New Zealand Division had not been ordered to hold and the division was moving back. Vase decided that his units would be captured if they did not also pull back. 

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Events on 26 May

 The New Zealand Division was to proceed to a position along the creek that was located something like 1.5 miles to the west of Canea. the 21st Battalion group would be on the right side of the line. The center was held by the 19th Battalion. The left end was held by the 28th (Maori) Battalion. They would connect with the 19th Brigade, which was just a battalion and a half. The boundary between brigades would be the Prison Road. The 5th Brigade was on the new line by dawn. By then, yhe men were saidvto be "tired, hungry, and jaded". There were many small groups of stragglers. With men concealed by the olive groves and hiding from air attack, getting organized was nearly impossible. 

There were base unit men moving along the roads from Suda. They were joined by the large numbers of stragglers. By 9:30am, there was a meeting that included Freyberg, senior nval, irf force, and army officers. Freyberg sent Wavell a message indicating that he beloeved had been pressed to the limit of their endurance. Freyberg wrote that the situation was hopeless. He thought that Germans would be firing on Suda Bay as soon as in 24 hours. 

When Weston returned to Canea, he had to leave due to the heavy bombing that Canea was enduring, Plans were made and were being executed to withdraw to the "head" of Suda Bay.

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

Thursday, July 20, 2023

New Zealand fighting on 25 to 26 May

 While the Greeks were doing well against Germans, the New Zealand Division was not doing so well. The Greeks had forced the Utz Group from the area around Aliakianon. The Greeks had also out-fought the mountain regiment commanded by Krakau. General Student landed in Crete on 25 May. Airborne troops took the "heights" to the southwest of Galatas. German mountain troops actually took Galatas. More German units landed at Maleme on 25 May.  

It was 25 May that Puttick informed Freyberg that the Germans had penetrated the line at Galatas. Puttick said that he was trying to form a new line "running north to south" from the right side of the 19th Brigade.  Puttick expressed doubts that he woud be able to "hold" the Germans on 26 May. During the night, a liaison officer to the Greeks told Freyberg that the Greeks could be ready to break. 

At around 1am on 26 May, an order was issued that the New Zealand Division might be ready to withdraw. The division would move to a position along a creek west of Canea by a mile-end-a-half. The 21st Battalion would be on the right with a cavalry detachment., with an engineer company, along with a company from the 21st Battalion. 

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

More action on 25 May

 The 19th Brigade was the next unit on the left of the line. The 19th Brigade was not attacked on 25 May. There had been a plan for the Australian 2/8th Battalion to move forward about a thousand yards, The success of the New Zealand operation meant that the proposed Austrlian move was not needed. Men from the New Zealand 4th and 5th Brigades were mixed into the front line. Both Brigades had taken heavy losses. The men were very tired because the pace of the action had left little time for sleep. As we had mentioned, the constant air attacke wore down the men's spirits. 

Puttick decided that they would benefit by shortening the line. This would involve withdrawing from the area  around Galatas. They would move to a line through Karatsos, the line running north to south "from the right flank of the 19th Brigade". 

Fortunately, the 8th Greek Regiment was holding their position. The New Zealanders did not realize that the Greeks were reinforced by men from the villages. They were holding on against an attack by men from the 85th German Mountain Regiment. The Germans wanted to surround the British forces. The Greeks had also had sucess against German airborne troops. 

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

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Kippenberger's plan on 25 May

 The 23rd Battalion had just reached the critical area. Kippenberger ordered two companies from thc 23rd Battalion to recapture Galatas. The companies would move forward, one om each side of the road. Two light tanks would be in the lead. The tanks drove forward, followed by the infantry, now including groups from other units, The infantry "cheered and shouted". They arrived at the narrow, cobble-stoned area of the tow. They could see traces coming from Galatas, and there were mortar bombs fired as weel. One tank lost a tread, but the other continued forwaed. Some Germans threw grenades feom window in upper stories. The infantry oved forward to the town square. The front tank was disabled while there was an intense hand-to-hand fight in the square, The infntry were firing their rifle and Thompson sub-machine guns "from the hip". It waas the sort of fighting where rifle butts and cayoneta were used.  The Germans were forced back, which stopped their advance decisively.

The 19th Brigade was located on the left. They were not attacked on 25 May.  An advance by the Australian 2/8th Battalion was considered, but this was cancelled after the New Zealand attack had been successful. Even so, the situation still seemed serious. They had increasing casualtes hile the men were very tired. The scale of the German air attacks sapped the men's spirits.

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

The situation seems desperate

 Kippenbergersent his brigade major to see Brigadier Inlis. Kippenberger had sent a request for help. &he regimental aid station had almost 200 wounded. Two trucks were busy transporting wounded men to the Advancecd Dressing Station. There were many men with serious wounds. Men were hard-pressed and were abandoning positions without orders. An example was Wheat Hill abandoned without authorization. The abandonment of Wheat Hill left the center company of the 18th Brigade without support so they dropped back.

Suddenly many men were moving to the rear. There signs of paic among the men. Kippenberger walked among the men, asking them to "Stand for New Zealand" and other words of encouragement, as he thought of them. Kippenberger plugged the gaps with the men semt by Inglis. The 4th Brigade Band lined up along a wall. The defensive linev was extended on the right side by the 20th Brigade Pioneers and the Kiwi Concert Party. One company from the 20th Brigade extended the line further to the right. The main part of the 20th Brigade were told to move back and line up with the other groups. 

The 23rd Battalion had just arrived in the area that was threatened. Kippenberger thought that patching the line would not help. They needed to attack the enemy. 

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

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Attack on May 24

 On the morning of May 24, The enemy was gathering in front of the 18th Battalion.  This was on the west side of the New Zealand position. The 18th Battalion was involved in heavy fighting. The company on the right was overrun while the cebyer company was surrounded. Colonel Fray, the battalion commander led a group from his headquarters to try and restore the battalion position, but the German attackers were too strong. 

Brigadier Inglis sent two 20th Battalion companies to help the 18th Battalion. Howard Kippenberger was in charge of the men in the forward area. He ordered the two companies to the right on the ridge next to the Composite Battalion. When they reached their assigned position, the Composite Battalion "was nearly all gone". The two companies managed to stop the Germans from moving through the gap on the right. The Germans were now oushing along the Prison-Galatas Road.

The situation was now seeming very difficult, Kippenberger kept a diary that later used to write about the battle. There were numbers of men leaving the fighting and heading to the rear.

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

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Events on 24 May, including at headquarters

 Freyberg thought that Blamey "must be officiating", based on the last communication Freyberg had received. Blamey had shown in Greece that he was more capable than you might have thought, based on his "resume". Freyberg described the communication as "clear and direct".  Headquarters was working to help the forces in Crete. Freyberg heard that the Rangers had failed to clear the road. He also learned that German paratroops had landed "west of Heraklion" and blocked the Argylls from coming from Timbakion. On the plus side, three destroyers had set sail from Alexandria with two commando battalions. The first commando battalion ("Layforce") had already landed at Suda from the fast minelayer Abdiel.

The New Zealand Division now faced two German airborne regiments and one mountain regiment,  Another mountain regiment was travelling over hills towards Suds Bay. The Germans on the north were organized into three groups. More German units were flown into Maleme. 

The New Zealand Division expected that the German attack that started on 24 May would peak on 25 May. Inglis was granted authority to pull in the reserves, the remnants of the four weak battalions of the 5th Brigade. They had been reduced to less than 1,400 men. 

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

Friday, June 30, 2023

Action on 24 May

 The Germans from Maleme reached the force near the prison. On the 23rd, more units had landed at Maleme. They were "two mountain artillery units, one mountain armored unit and most of a motor cycled battalion". 

The British force on Crete was situated with the west end located in an arc to the southwest of Canea. It was a circle with a radius of about three miles. They faced a German a German group from Maleme and from near thye prison. More German mountain troops were moving to the east over the hills towards Suda Bay, moving north. They hoped to encircle the British. The 8th Greek Regiment was in front of this German group. The Greeks had been isolated when the German paratroops had landed near the prison. 

In the afternoon of 24 May, patrols of Germans investigated the 4th Brigade position. The Germans seemed to be getting ready to attack the 4th Brigade. Arpund 4pm, a strong attack hit the 18th Battalion. They were initially pushed back, but they regained their position with a counter attack. Ther was more back and forth action at dusk. During the afternoon, Canea was heavily bombed, as if to try and level the town. 

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

23 to 24 May and earlier news on Crete with reinforcements

 Two infantry tanks arrived at Heraklion on 23 May after being landed at Timbakion. They also told  that the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were travelling to Heraklion. Those tanks, wiyh one that had been at Heraklion, were loaded on a lighter (presumsably a landing craft) which took the tanks and two 75mm guns to Suda. 

There were more attempts to send help to Crete. Glenroy had been sent, but turned back, probably to Alexandria. The fast minelayer Abdiel departed from Alexandria with a commando unit (soon to be called "Layforce). Abdiel also brought supplies and ammunition. 

The German staff attributed the British pull back to the move by "the Utz Group" to envelope the British force, The Ramcke group followed the British pull back and fought the rearguard troops. General Ringel sent the 85th Mountain Regiment east through Alikianon, traveling through mountains in the direction of Suda Bay. They hoped to "outflank the British in the Galatas-Suda area" The plan was to continue on to Retimo. 

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

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Action on Crete from 23 to 24 May

 During the night, the soldiers in the Platanias area withdrew to the area behind the 4th Brigade. The uninjured infantry were on foot. What vehicles that were available carried the wounded and towed heavy weapons. 

The units at Retimo lacked ciphers,so messages from Freyberg were sent in the clear. The ciphers at Heraklion were destroyed because of the paratroop landing on 20 May. There was a submarine cable which allowed secret communication. 

Freyberg ordered a 1/Rangers company, with two anti-tank guns, to travel east from Suda. They were ordered to open the road to the Retimo airfield. They arrived at Retimo by 8pm. Captain Lergessner met them when they reached the town of Retimo. Colonel Campbell ordered Captain Lergessner to go to Suda to pass information to Freyberg and to ask for instructions. When Captain Lergessner  heard that the Rangers were coming, he tried to convince them to not attack the Germans. The Rangers company attacked without success. Captain Lergessner then travelled to Suda, eventually followed by the remains of the Rangers unit. 

The two ninfantry tanks that had been landed at Timbakion arrived at Heraklion during the night of 19-20 May. 

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

More action against Germans from 23 May

 12 British bombers attacked the Maleme air field. There were some 130 German transport aircraft sittimg on the field. Six transports were seen burning after the British bomber attack. The 5th New Zealand Brigade was being pressed by Germans from the "Prison area". A group of about 150 Germans at Stalos, had been sitting on the heights since 6am. They were commanded by Major Heilmann. They were attacked by a patrol from the New Zealand Army Service Corps. 15 Germans were killed in the attack. A platoon from the 18th Battalion then attacked the German group. Tey took all the German post except one. The New Zealand company commander mistakenly recalled the platoon, because he thought that the heights were stronger tan they actually were.  

The New Zealand Division had moved into a defensive position after they had given up trying to prevent the Germans from taking Maleme. There were  good reasons to pull back so as to shrink the area to defend. Puttick met with Freyberg at aboutt 11am. The decided that the 5th Breigade should be moved into reserve. The 4th Brigade, commanded by Inglis, would absorb the 1oth Brigade units. Inglis would be in charge of the right side of the front line. Asey, with the Australian 19th Brigade, would be in position west of Perivolia.

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

Thursday, June 15, 2023

More action from 23 May on Crete

 On 23 May, the Maori Battalion was back in the position where they had been. The New Zealand 23rd Battalion looked to the north. They were next to the Maori Battalion and the Ayia Marina. The remains of the 21st, 22nd Battalions, ann the New Zealand Engineers also looked north. They were the connection between the 23rd Battalion and the 4th Brigade. Everyone was in their position by 10am. Air attacks were not much of a factor. 

German aircraft were active against roads from Canea to Suda and against Canea. Freyberg commented on the "viscious bombing". The 27th Battery had only been able to withdraw two French 75mm guns. When they arrived in their new spot, they had 8-75mm guns from the 27th Battery and from the Australian 2/3rd Fielf Regiment. They also had two Bofors 40mm and teo 2-pounders. 

The Germans pressed against the withdrawing units. There was heavy fighting along the road near the bridge that crossed the Platanias River. The artiilery was able to shell the attackers and managed to knock out the German light guns.

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

from 23 May near the olive oil factory

 General Freyberg  sent Campbell a message that praised his group. Later, Campbell was told that a company from the 1/Rangers were moving forward from Canea. They would try to clear the road through Perivolia. Berfore this, Campbell had sent Capt. Lergessner towards Suda.. He was to drive a mule train to Retimo to collect food. He was unable to get the mules over the hills, as the hills were too steep. Captain Lergessner was able to reach Retimo. He tried to talk the Rangers out of attacking, but failed. 

East of the airort, the Australians had taken the German medical post. Australian and German medical fficers and orderlies worked together. The Australians told the Germans to move their wounded to the Australian dressing station in the valley. They proposed a three hour truce shat both groups culd collect wounded.

They were surprised to see a blindfolded German officer from the factory, demanding that the Australians surrender. Campbell refused to surrender and had their artillery fire on the factory after the truce ended.

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

Thursday, June 08, 2023

22 to 23 May on Crete

 The afternoon of May, the left Australian company moved forward past Cesmes, without having to fight. They made it to the wadi that passed through Platanes. Germans in houses to the west fired on the Australians. The West Australians had access to German signals,  so they asked for German aircraft to bomb Perivolia., which was done. Sandover told Capt. Honner to move forward, blocking the road. Honner's men had a German and Australian mortar. They attacked the houses "on the small ridge" and took them. Past the houses, the ground sloped down, so they could not go further without being exposed to enemy fire. There were Germans in buildings near Perivolia. The Germans were also in the "Church of St. George", which had a stone wall that provided cover. 

In late afternoon, Capt. Jackson's company moved forward to support Honner. As it became dark, Jackson's men moved forward to the second of three ditches. Honner's men followed, as Sandover arrived on the scene. Sandover had the two companies to stop and dig in. They could hear a firefight around Perivolia. It seemed that the Greeks had attacked Perivolia in the night. They took some Germans as prisoners and then pulled back. 

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

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

An attack was planned on the olive oil factory

 Moriarity's company moved along the ridges towards the olive oil factory. Campbell ordered an attack at 10am. The plan was for an artillery bombardment. The attack would be made if the bombardment seemed to be effective. Captain Killey decided "how much ammunition" the could afford to fire. 

While moving forward, Moriarity was shot and killed by a German rifleman. Lt. Savage was wounded while moving forward. Because of those reasons, there was no attack at 10am.

Campbell's next plan was for an attack at 5pm. The attack would be made after an artillery and mortar barrage. They would send some 200 Greeks down one wadi. At the same, about forty Australians would move down another wadi. Once in place the two groups would charge. The rest of Capt. Travers' company, on the heights, would fire on the factory at a range of 100 t0 200 yards. 

The Greek troops did not move when they were supposed to. The Australians ran forward from the wadi. Many were hit. Those not hit sheltered behind a bank some forty yards from the factory. Campbell was near to the Australians, and he told them not to move.

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

Thursday, June 01, 2023

the situation in the balance on late 21 May

 The Australians of the 2/11th Battalion did not know that the Greeks would be travelling to the west. Because of that, some Greeks and Australians fired at each other. The other Greeks to the right chased small groups of Germans out of the village, to the south of the olive oil factory. By night, the Greeks stll had not reached "the crest of the ridge". 

Campbell sent Capt. Embrey's company to replace Channel's company on Hill A. The field gunners were able to return to their guns. The gunners were now well- supplied with German small arms. Campbell thought that the situatin was better and messaged Freyberg to say that opinion. 

The truth was that there were two strong groups of Germans. One group was in the east, near the olive oil factory. The second group was ar Perivolia, blocking the road to Suda Bay. Campbell ordered that both groups needed to be attacked and should be driven out. The attacks were to happen on 22 May. The 2/11th Battalion was to push west to Perivolia. Two companies from the 2/1st were to push east to the olive oil factory. Greeks joined the 2/1st companies attacking towaeds the factory. They found Germans in strong positions in the strong buildings at the factory. 

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Fighting Germans from 21 May

 Some German groups got into the Australian rear. One group of 20 Germans captured the dressing station at Adhele. They told everyone to surrender and then headed north towards the 2/11th. They ended up being captured by Australians. Two of these Germans were seen changing into Greek uniforms, and were shot. Other Germans headed East. They moved through Pigi and then on the road towards the air field. They took Lt. Wilmott as a prisoner. This group of Germans were ambushed and captured. they rescued Lt. Wilmott. 

During the 21st, the 2/1st and 2/11th Battalions Got brid of the remaining Germans in the Coastal Plain between Hills A and B. These Germans had been pinned down by Australian machine gun fire. The 2/11th had captured Colonel Sturm, The German commander of the attacking force. They had gotten his orders and saw the plan. They had wanted to land battalions east and west of the airfield. They would have had some 1,500 men. They seem to have been planned to be paratroops. 

Greek battalions were on the flanks. The battalion with Major Ford had pushed to the ridge to the south of Perivolia by the time that night fell on 21 May. There was a considerable German group near Perivolia. The Germans faced by the 2/11th Battalion on Hil B, and a strong group of Police from Crete. They had driven all Germans out of Retimo. They blocked the road between Retimo and Perivolia.

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

Friday, May 26, 2023

Attack at about 8am

 Captain Moriarity had a mixed group under his command. They were platoons from four different companies. He made them into four groups. At around 8am, he led an attack to the north. They were well-led, and had success. On the right, they moved forward "along the eastern slope of the hill". They then moved east, and went down the slope. They took 25 Germans prisoner and went to the hill to the east of Hill A. One platoon pushed north to the road. The center, with four platoos, moved forward and took possession of "the eastern and northern face of Hill A." They took possession of the 75mm guns that had been lost. 

At the left, Lt. Mann took his men around the west side of the hill, on the terrace. They took 34 Germans as prisoners. The reached the road and joined with Savage's men. Lt. Craig, from the Wadi Bardia, led his men to the main road. The surviving Germans escaped to the beach. 

Of the paratroops who had landed, there were only small groups left on the coastal plain. Some of those that remained were "enterprising and aggressive". 

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Attack at Dawn on Hill A

 The Australians attacked the Germans at dawn. They hoped to move over the hilltop and around the sides. The Australians thought that the Germans attacked at the same time as the Australians, with a heavy mortar barrage. The Australians moved forward some 60 to a 100 yards. The officers were wounded while the company was pushed gack , leaving them defending on the west edge of the "neck of the hill". 

Another Australian company with a carrier platoon that lacked carriers arrived in support at about 6am. They had come from Hill D and saw that the attack "had failed". At 6:15am, Australians were on "the neck of Hill A". Captain Moriarity had taken command of the force that was present. Almost half of Campbell's battalion was there. They were being hard-pressed by the Germans. Moriarity called Campbell's headquarters to let then know that they were "desperate".

Campbell led a force past the Wadi Bardia. They left some men at the Wadi and took the rest onwards. They reached ?Moriarity at about 7am. Campbell ordered Moriarity to "maneuver the enemy off of Hill A as soon as possible". Soon after, the Australians watched a German bomber dropping bombs on the front of the German line. 

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

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Late on 20 May and beyond

 The commander at Retimo did not what the situation was on Crete. He sent a wireless message to General Freyberg requesting reinforcements for Retimo. He also ordered attacks at dawn. The 2/1st Battalion would attempt to rid Hill A of Germans. The 2/11th would attack Germans in the area between Hill A and the sea. Greek battalions would help the Australians. Campbell, the Australian commander at Retimo, sent Major Hooper with the Greek battalion on the east side. Major Ford, from the Welch Regiment, would be with the group on the west side. 

The Germans on Hill A attacked the Australian posts during the night. They overran part of the "isolated platoon". The rest traveled to the company headquarters. The Germans pushed onto the airfield at Retimo.

Tthey captured the men from the stranded tanks. Most Germans pulled back by dawn, but forty soldiers were sheltering behind the "bank of the beach". By dawn, when the Australians had planned to attack, there was only one section still "holding out". 

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Fighting in the afternoon of 20 May

 Germans were located on Hill A, on the top and east. The Germans were unable to leave the vineyards and move down the slopes because Australians were bringing accurate fire on the Germans. German paratroops had landed in Australian positions, so German aircraft had to be careful not to attack their own men. 

The Australian battalion commander sent two tanks forward, but they were soon out of action. Towards tyhe left, the 2/1st and the 4th Greek Battalion had killed or captured paratroops that were near by, as well as the paratroops in the 2/11th Battalion on Hill B. 

There were some German paratroops, perhaps 500 or more, traveling to the west towards Perivolia. They were beyond the range of Australian machine guns. Before it became dark, Australians tried to finish off the Germans nearby. By 10:30pm, the Australians took 84 prisoners and took a considerable supply of German weapons. 

Sandover, an Australian officer, could speak German, and he interrogated the prisoners. Sandover also translated coded messages, so they were able to tell aircraft to drop mortar bombs.

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The attack began on 20 May

 German aircraft carrying troops flew over Retimo and turned towards Canea. This was at 9am on 20 May. At noon some 20 more transports flew overin the direction of Heraklion. At 4pm, a German air attack hit Retimo near the air field. The defenders had excellent camouflage, so the attackers hit only two or three men. The almost untrained 4th Greek Battalion started back up the ridge although they had not been attacked. Some Australian NCO's were sent from the two battalions to "steady the Greeks". The moved the Greeks back to the starting position and stayed there to reassure the Greeks. One Australian cporporal led a Greek patrol to themain road, where they took some 20 prisoners. 

After the air attack, about 24 transport aircraft were seen. Eventually, they saw as many as 161 transports. They flew south and then flew east. Some paratroops jumped east of the airfield. They landed in an area from the olive oil factory to the east end of the airfield. A second group landed along the coast from the west end of the air field to the edge of Retimo. The paratroops all had landed in 35 minutes. 7 troop transports and two other aircraft were shot down by ground fire. There were some intense fights between Australians and German paratroops. The Germans took most of Hill A. The German paratroops were under cover from the "vines and terraces".

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

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

The situation at Retimo

 The other airfields had ant-aircraft guns , both heavy and light. They also had no armor-piercing capability. Cerman aircraft could fly low over Retimo fairly safely. They could shoot at German soft vehicles. The Australian 2/1st Battalion had no wireless and only had three telephones. Tgeir cables were supplied by the gunners. Campbell used the telephones to connect with hills A and B. Some signallers were used to run the telephones and as runners. The rest became riflemen. The other Australian battalion, the 2/11th, had telephones for each company, but had very little cable. The two Australian battalions communicated by runner. They were well-equipped with barbed wire, so they had barbed wire for the whole front and the airfield.

Food could be an issue. Tthey had enough fot ten days, but enough for four days had been sent to Mesi at the end of the road. If the Germans took the ridge above the airfield, they would withdraw to Mesi. The soldiers also bought food locally, such as pigs, eggs, goats milk, and vegetables. Aswe mentioned, the 2/11th Battalion hired goats to milk and kept them in their positions. 

Because olive trees blocked the slopes of the ridges, the field guns and most machine guns were positioned on hills A and B so they were able to fire to the north, east,and west. Two medium machine guns were sitting on the ridge above Hill B. 

Hill A had a company from the 2/1st along with 2-100mm, 4-75mm, with one platoon "of machine gunners". 

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

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The terrain at Retimo

 The area near Retimo  had olive trees with many leaves. This gave the defenders good cover. The sides of the hills were terraced with the steps being as high as 20 feet, Someone higher up would notbe able to see men "moving around". The 2/1st Battalion had arrived at Retimo on 30 April. The took the place of Greek soldiers, More British soldiers arrived over time. On 19 May, the defense of Retimo was equivalent to a brigade group. The Australians were equipped with "small arms" but they were short of ammunition. They had about five rounds per anti-tank rifle and some 80 mortar bombs per 3-inch mortars. Tthe Vickers machine guns were limied o 16-belts of ammunition per machine gun. Uniforms and boots wee showing wear. There were no anti-aircdaft guns at Retimo. They also lacked armor-piercing ammunition for small arms.

The 2/1st Battalion had but three telephones and some cable that the gunners had brought to Retimo. The 2/11th Battalion had a telephone for each company but little cable. Communication relied on runners. They had about ten days of food. The 2/11th Battalion relied on goats milk from goats they had hired. . The men were Weat Australians. so they were apparently used to living that way and kept goats in their positions. The also bought "pigs, vegetables, and goat's milk from nearby farms and villages, 

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Defending Retimo from 19 May

 Retimo had an airfield. Retimo was a town of some ten thousand population. The airfield was about five miles to the east and ran along the beach. behid the air field was a ridge that varied from 100 to 200 feet. 

Lt. Col. Ian Campbell had been appointed the commander of the soldiers defending Retimo. What the Australians had named "Hill A" ran from the ridge to within 100 yards from the sea. "From one thousand yards east of Hill A lay "a small village named Stavromenos". Stavromenos was home to an olive oil factory with a tall chimney. Between the ridge and the mountains was a valley. The valley had the villages Pigi and Adhele. To the west, the ridge ended at the village Platanes. To the east, the ridge joined the mountains. At Platanes, the roaqd that ran from Kirianna through Adhele connected to the coast road. 

On the south, Hill D overlooked the air field. Hill D lay "between the Wadi Bardia on the east and the Wadi Pigi on the west. The ridge continued on from the Wadi Pigi and another wadi, the Wadi Adhele. Hill B was past the Wadi Adhele. Hill B was wider at the west and overlooked Platanes. 

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

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Continued German action on 27 May

 A German soldier climed that ever German wounded soldier ha]d been killed by being shot or stabbed. There was a report that some German dead had been stabbed or had "broken skulls". A German officer had reported not seeing any Australian or New Zealand soldiers that had been stabbed or hit in the head by a rifle butt. 

Lt-Col. Walker wrote about this incident in 1952. He said tat the Germans had a large number of "automatic weapons forward.".These were overrun and captured and used against the Germans.  There had been a wall that been rushed by Germans who were not able to climb the wall, but they were running away and did not surrender. Col. Walker thought that could be an explanation.

There was "close fighting in the olive trees". Any machine gun fire would be fatal as would bayonet wounds. The New Zealanders only captured three German soldiers. You would imagine that many wounded Germans escaped to the German lines. Cpl. Walker said that no wounded German soldiers or unwounded Germans trying to surrender were shot. 

At 10am on 27 May, the 3rd Parachute Regiment had reached the "wireless station". The entered Canea at 2pm, along with 100th Mountain Regiment, along with Ramcke's unit. They captured some 40 guns and a thousand prisoners.

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

German plans on 27 May

 General Ringel lntended to keep trying to surround Canea. After that, they would push east towards Retimo. There wee now five German columns moving East. One column that was the furthest south was moving towards the Ayia Marina. Tis was to the south of 42nd Street. The 141t Mountain Regiment was the next column to the north. North of that was the 3rd Parachute Regiment. North of that was the 100th Mountain Regiment. Finally, on the coast, was Ramcke's group. 

The 141t Mountain Regiment "had fought the 19th Brigade in Greece", which had been acting as a rearguard. This was at Brallos. in Greece. They were also the unit which had been engaged at 42nd Street. At 6:45am, they were ordered to move to "the head of Suda Bay". The idea was to block the British retreat. J Battalion had been at the front. After 11am, the commander had the impression that the lead battalion had been scattered by a counter-attack. The  commander ordered the following battalion to stop. 

The 1st Battalion commander came to the regiment headquarters and reported that had been surprised by British soldiers some 2.5km west of the village at Suda. WThis was in a rather thick olive area. The Germans had run into a minefield and had taken casualties.The British were close to surrounding the battalion.He ordered the German soldiers to pull back.

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

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Freyberg reacts to advice from Cairo

 Freyberg sent a message to Wavell about the real situation. He informed Wavell that Retimo was almost out of food. Retimo was almost out of ammunition. They had lost all the guns from Suda and Maleme because they had no gun tractors. They desperately needed food. Freyberg asked food to be sent to Sfakia at once. They needed to send the fighting force to Sfakia so it could be withdrawn. The Greek army commander sent a message to Freyberg saying that the Greek army was starting to "disintegrate". 

In the afternoon, Wavell ordered Freyberg to "abandon Crete". That morning, Wavell had asked the commanders in London for guidance, but had not received any by 3:50pm. At that point, Wavell tld Freyberg to leave Crete. Some hours later, the commanders in London agreed with that plan. Colonel Campbell at Retimo was without ciphers, and an alternate plan failed. They were forced to ask Cairo to have a plane drop the message to Campbell. 

Freyberg moved his headquarters to Sfakia. He only learned later that his attempts to communicate had failed.

From another source, we were under the impression that Freyberg was exhausted after leaving Greece, but he seems to have done well as was possible in Crete. 

The Germans were having a lot of success on 26 and 27 May. The Assault Regiment reached a point about 2 km to the west of Canea. The 100th Mountain Regiment captured Karatsos while the 3rd Parachute Regiment captured Perivolia. The Germans flew in reinforcements to replace some of their losses.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The move to the south a retreat or a rout

 General Freyberg described the situation. There were units of soldiers that stayed to gether and marched with their guns. They were from composite groups that withdrawn from the line. Mostly it was a mass movement of men not organized imto units. They dominated the ruad and slowly moved to the south. 

There were thousands of unarmed soldiers on the road to the south. They were very diverse, as there were Cypriots and Palestinians. There were no leaders and they were without discipline. They largely were untrained as soldiers. Men had heard Sfakia mentioned and that gave them direction. Lt. Stephanides later wrote that he was aware that they were part of a retreat. He thought that it bordered on a rout. Soldiers moved quickly along the road. Many soldiers had dropped their rifles. The road and ditches had items abandoned by their owners. You would occasionally see officers valises and open suit cases.

Someone Cairo replied to Freyberg's pessimistic message from 26 May. Yhe reply said that General Evetts would arrive to function as a liaison officer. Te reply suggested that force from Suda and Maleme should travel to Retimo with the aim of holding the eastern end of Crete.

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

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Continuing events on 27 and 28 May

 During the 27th, Hargest and Vasey had met with one of Laycock's battalion commanders, as we had already said. That was when Hargest and Vasey had decided to move toNeo Khorion during the night. They hoped that the commandos of Layorce would cover them. They decided to send the 5th New Zealand Brigade to Stilos. They would send the Australian 19th Brigade to Neo Khorion, alon with the 2/8th Battalion to occupy the road junction at Kalives with the 2/7th Battalion in contact with the New Zealand force at Stilos. At the 42nd Street, the rearguard was supposed to pull out and start the march to Stilos. At 9pm, it was light,so they waited until 10pm. The lead soldiers had marched the 14 miles to arrive at Stilos. They reached Stilos at 3:30am on May 28th. 

Weston ordered Laycock and his D Battalion to the Babali Innin the south. They would function as a rearguard. Laycock had only recently landed. added two infantry tanks along with three carriers. 

It seems that General Weston had traveled south to see the route that they would use to withdraw. Weston had tried to turn back, but the route was crowded by vehicles, soldiers, and civilians moving along the road towards the mountains at Sfakia.

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

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