Crete – D+2 22nd May 1941

Relief Collumn setsout for HERAKLION from RETHYMNON Airfield 22MAY1941 0800h

Relief Column sets out for HERAKLION from RETHYMNON Airfield 22MAY1941 0800h General Süssman is somewhere under the explosion

As light dawned on the 22nd of May 1941 General Freyberg had sent his mobile reserve from CANEA down the coast road to HERAKLION. En-route, they had fought a brisk action at the RETHYMNON bridges with a battalion of Fallschirmjäger that had dropped fortuitously off course, but close to the bridges, and had been rallied by General Süssman.

Sussman's Last Stand at RETHYMNON 22MAY1941 0500h

Sussman’s Last Stand at RETHYMNON 22MAY1941 0500h

The last troops of Kampfgruppe Mars on the RETHYMNON airfield were rounded up overnight. Süssman was last seen rallying his command staff on the perimeter of the field, trying to find a boat to escape back to GREECE, or it might have been in a bar in RETHYMNON – accounts differ!

The morning of the 22nd saw the relief column fight its way eastward down the coast road,  despite continual harassment from the air, to arrive at about the same time as heavy weapons were landing on the airstrip at HERAKLION.  Ju 52s were landing, accepting damage and casualties, to reinforce the hard-pressed spearhead on the ground.

HERAKLION Airfield 22MAY1941 0800h

HERAKLION Airfield 22MAY1941 0800h

The Greeks, who had conducted such a determined defence, had reached their limit by midday, and too few of the relieving column had survived to dislodge the Germans from the airstrip. Accepting the inevitable, Freyberg ordered a fighting withdrawal to the ports of SUDA and the south of the island.

heraklion-airfield-22may1941-1200h

HERAKLION Airfield 22may1941 1200h

The game had lasted from 10:00 to 16:00 with an hour off for a relaxed lunch at Chateau Trebian. Each move had taken about an hour, with the land, sea and air phases each taking about 20 minutes.

A Famous Victory Completed

A Famous Victory Completed – The Cast from L-R comprised Chris Kemp (Umpire), Will Whyler (Brig Chappel), Tim Merry (Brig Kippenberger), Graham Evans (Gen Freyberg), Steven Churchus (Oberst Bauer), Phil Steele (Gen Meindl) and, rescued from a watery grave, Richard Lindley (Gen Süssman)¹, all sans Chapeax this time.

Historically, two Panzer IIs made it ashore. By sheer perseverance , Gen Meindl achieved the same result in the game.

5 Panzer finally makes it ashore on 22MAY1941 1200h5 Panzer finally makes it ashore on 22MAY1941 1200h

Thanks to Graham Evans for hosting the event at Shedquarters, and to the participants, who were all kind enough to profess to enjoying the game.

  1. Due to my awesome Photoshopping skills, it is hard to tell who took the photo and was added afterwards. Thanks Richard!

4 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, CRETE, WWII

4 responses to “Crete – D+2 22nd May 1941

  1. Thanks for the running reports, Chris! Sounds (and looks) like it was good fun! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks like it was a great game.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was fun to run, Pete. The first moves took longer than normal as players planned what they wanted to do, and got to grips with the scenario, but it cracked along at a brisk pace once the drops took place.

      Regards, Chris

      Like

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