Sunday, October 30, 2011

Operation Mercury - Part 6

24 May
The Allies are starting to run short on supplies.  The Germans are faced with low supply in the Retimo and Heraklion sectors and are buoyed by the Luftwaffe’s continued interdiction to slow the Allies down.

The main Luftwaffe force goes after the Royal Navy and in Almivos Bay and the DD Kipling is sunk.  Two German convoys are headed for Retimo and in the early morning one gets through unscathed while the other is shot up losing a lot of its heavy equipment.  The amphibious landing is successful and the Germans at Retimo now have significant reinforcements and the battle for the airfield continues.

At Heraklion the Germans succeed in air landing some reinforcements as well.  The subsequent fighting is not so successful, but things have tipped in their favour. 
At Suda the Allies continue a fighting withdrawal to avoid being outflanked.
In the afternoon, the Allies, short on supply and even low in some sectors (except Suda which has its own problems), with the Germans holding Maleme airfield, a strong grasp on the Heraklion airfield and fighting for the last airfield at Retimo, having suffered excessive losses (well over 70 steps) beginning thinking of evacuation.
The Luftwaffe launch a massive attack on the RN as it attempts to interfere with the German naval landing in Almivos Bay, but are driven off by heavy AA fire.  The RN sink the German convoys, but it is too late as the bulk of the German reinforcements were already ashore.
The Germans drop some more reinforcements into Heraklion and airland troops at Maleme.
The Allies start to withdraw.  During the night the Germans start to follow up, but the Allied retreat has now commenced.

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