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Timeline - Greece
Timeline - Crete


Personalities 1941

Timeline of ANZACs in Crete

20th May
Maleme and Canea Early in the morning of the same day a large force of bombers and fighters attack round Maleme and Canea. Transport planes - some towing gliders landed west of Maleme while others spilled out paratroops. Many paratroops were shot down before they reached the ground. Two pockets of German troops captured the vital area around Maleme airfield west and south in the hills.

Rethymno or Retimo - in the afternoon of the same day the planned German landing at Retimo took place. Most of the paratroopers were overcome but at the end of the day one group had a strong hold on the ridge south-east of the airfield and others were astride the road leading west.

Heraklion – paratroopers were killed or captured, except small parties, but some Germans gained a foothold in the town itself.
21st May
Maleme- western flank of New Zealand Division held its ground under heavy attack but control of the airfield had been lost and that afternoon German aircraft began landing in a steady stream bringing a battalion of the mountain division. At the end of the second day of fighting the Germans had achieved their main objective. Late in the afternoon Freyberg decided to conduct a two-battalion attack on Maleme that evening, once the New Zealand battalion was replaced with one of Vasey’s battalions from Georgioupolis so it could participate in the attack. Although the New Zealanders temporarily gained some ground that night, they failed to achieve the main objective of recapturing the airfield.

The German plan was now to send the mountain troops on a wide outflanking move over the hills south of the New Zealanders. That evening the Germans in the hills attached north but were driven back by heavy fighting. The airfield was now believed to be lost so the New Zealanders withdrew the western flank to the a creek some two miles to the east.

At Retimo that day 2/1st Battalion dislodged the Germans from the heights south-east of the airfield but a group remained astride the roads both west to Chania and east to Heraklion.

At Heraklion the Germans had gained no vital ground round the airfield but again were astride the coast road both east and west.
22nd May
Although Campbell’s forces attacked both east and west they failed to open the roads.
23rd May
The New Zealanders carried out their withdrawal with the Germans following closely. That night there was a further withdrawal. A further withdrawal occurred that night. The line covering Canea and Suda Bay was now held by the 4th Brigade on the right and the 19th (2/7th and 2/8th Battalions) on the left.
24th May
Two British commando units reached Suda Bay. Germans probed forward and at length began an attack on the New Zealanders which seemed likely to grow in intensity the next day. There were two airborne regiments and a mountain regiment concentrated against the weary New Zealand Division and a second mountain regiment moving towards Suda Bay through the hills where a Greek regiment was offering sturdy resistance.
25th May
Hard fighting on the New Zealand front but in the evening a counter-attack decisively halted the Germans. Puttick doubted, however whether his line would hold another day and that night a further withdrawal was made.
26th May
That morning, Freyberg informes Wavell that his position was hopeless. The Germans pressed hard all day. The mountain regiment in the hills was encircling the inland flank. At night a withdrawal was made past Canea to a new line at the head of Suda Bay, the Australians on the right and the New Zealanders on the left.
27th May
The Germans followed fast and by 11am on the 27th May were nearing the new line, where 2/7th Battalion (Lieut-Colonel T. G. Walker), which had not yet been heavily engaged made a spirited charge in which the Maori Battalion and other joined. Perhaps 200 Germans were killed and the rest fled; the enemy made no further attack that day. On the afternoon
28th May
British Brigadier Chappel in charge of the defence of Heraklion sector informs his own troops of the order to evacuate but does not inform the Greeks.

2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion fights a fierce final battle at Prevolia.

Lieutenant Haig returns to Rethymnon with no message for Campbell from General Freyberg to retreat.
29th May
Evening , commanders of the 4th and 5th Greek Regiments are informed that the defence of Western Crete has collapsed and the German forces are approaching from Chania.

German motorised detachment under the command of Major Witman seize Rethymnon without resistance.

5th Greek regiment is disbanded and those who are locals return to their villages.

4th Greek Regiment are order to surrender to the Germans by their commander.
30th May
Midday, Lieutenant Colonel Campbell in charge of Retimo force, unaware that the order to evacuate had been issued, is encircled from all directions and surrenders his forces to the Germans.