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

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