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.
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.
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.
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.
Historically, two Panzer IIs made it ashore. By sheer perseverance , Gen Meindl achieved the same result in the game.
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.
- Due to my awesome Photoshopping skills, it is hard to tell who took the photo and was added afterwards. Thanks Richard!