Friday, October 21, 2011

Operation Mercury - Part 5

23 May
The Germans are now short on supply in the Retimo and Heraklion sectors, but the Luftwaffe do their best to pin down the allies in these areas. The Luftwaffe’s main focus is the Royal Navy, but they were unlucky in attacking a RN task force in Almivos Bay.  However a German convoy was able to elude the RN and land troops in Candida Bay near the contested airfield.  These fresh troops drive the allies from the remaining parts of the airfield. (It is at this stage that I realise I have been conducting attacks with more than six stacking points, but I’m not sure it would have made a big difference and so decide to continue).
The Germans are closing in for a kill at Retimo, while at Suda they decide to work around the allies left flank, but it is slow going.
In the afternoon the Luftwaffe return and this time in Candida Bay the Stukas brave a lot of AA and sink the Calcutta and damage the Coventry and Jarvis. There is then a surface battle in which all the Italian forces are sunk, but with another RN ship going down, the Jaguar.
The Germans fight desperately to clear the area around the Heraklion airfield.  At Retimo their attacks go nowhere and the Australian counter attack is as equally ineffective as is a British attack at Heraklion.  The war of attrition at Suda goes in favour of the Germans.
German night attacks fail to make any progress and are driven off with heavy losses at both Retimo and Heraklion.   But at Suda the Germans are able to swing round the allied left.
An uncoordinated attack by the newly arrive Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders suffers heavy losses at Heraklion, but at Retimo the Australians break through and reunite with the troops holding the airfield.  The allies start to withdraw from Suda.

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