Thursday, September 29, 2011

Operation Mercury - Part 3

21 May

Luftwaffe interdictions were not so absolute over Maleme and Heraklion and a morning strike against the Royal Navy in Candia Bay was easily driven off.  The Germans attacked the retreating New Zelanders around Palatanus and vicious fighting occurred around Galatas as the Germans attempted to cut off the NZ retreat.
Fighting at Heraklion airfield saw the Royal Navy successfully bombard the Germans, but in the afternoon the Luftwaffe returned and sunk the Gloucester and damaged the Fiji.  The Germans renewed their attack and captured half of the Heraklion airfield.

The Germans made no progress at Retimo and their attack on Galatas was bloodily repulsed, but they did destroy the Maori battalion which was positioned close by.
The British launched a counterattack at Heraklion even using armour.  However their attack was uncoordinated.  The fighting was desperate and the Germans were very badly mauled, but just managed to hang on.
More bloody fighting at Galatas, but the New Zealanders were able to slip away to regroup at Suda Bay.  Meanwhile the Australians commenced to counterattack at Retimo. 
The plan for 22 May is for the German’s to reinforce Heraklion as the situation is dire.

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