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.