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

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