Saturday, September 24, 2011

Operation Mercury - Part 2

20 May PM and Night

On the afternoon of 20 May the Luftwaffe very successfully heavily interdicted all sectors.  The drop on Retimo saw the loss of three companies with the bulk of the rest of the paratroops dispersed.  The Germans captured the Maleme airfield after eliminating the supporting NZ troops in the vicinity.  Their attacks elsewhere in the sector were halted or ineffectual, while at Heraklion the Germans didn’t even try to attack.

The remaining NZ troops started to pull back towards Suda and during the night the Germans press home more attacks inflicting heavy casualties as on the NZ force around Galatas.  The Australians start to hurry towards Retimo, but too late to save the 11th Australian Battalion which is wiped out in a vicious night attack by the Germans.

At Heraklion the Germans launch a night attack that captures a hill overlooking the airfield.  However the Allies fight back and wipe out two companies of paratroops that had been surrounded in the morning.

The Royal Navy had tried twice to bombard the Germans moving into engage them in all sectors but with no luck.

The maps are the situation as dawn breaks on 21 May, Maleme, Retimo and Hearklion sectors in that order and the naval situation map.

The Germans plan to drop some more paratroops around Retimo, air land troops at Maleme while trying to cut off the NZ forces from Suda, send the Luftwaffe after the Royal Navy and hang on around Heraklion.

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