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. 

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