Central Foothills South of RETHYMNON 21MAY1941 0100h
Confused minor actions continued through the night as dispersed groups of Fallschirmjäger attempted to form up, Cretan local forces pounced on isolated groups, and allied battalions looked to their perimeters or mopped up local incursions.
Kriegsmarine 21MAY1941 0500h
The Royal Navy was still patrolling aggressively overnight, and suffering as daylight revealed skies full of the Luftwaffe. Cunningham might have been horrified at the losses his ships were taking, but his nerve remained steady. Historically, the Gebirgsjäger only managed one attempt at the crossing, but Meindl (Phil S) wanted to keep trying. With each attempt, Kriegsmarine losses mounted.
Wave 3 HERAKLION Airfield 21MAY1941 0800h
On the morning of the 21st, the third wave dropped over HERAKLION. Oberst Bauer (Steven C) took an aggressive line with his battalions that resulted in one being dropped into the sea, but the remaining three bracketing the airfield. Allied AA fire continued to be sub par but Brig Chappel’s (Will W) troops steeled themselves for the inevitable onslaught, and the air assault was not unscathed.
Downed Ju 52 off HERAKLION
By now the allied air strength had suffered severe attrition in fierce air battles over the airfields and in protecting the task forces. Historically, the air squadrons stationed on CRETE had flown out on the 19th, but for the game, the RAF was available for use against the German air or sea assets, and was fought off on the 20th and 21st in sudden-death die rolls that inflicted similar levels of damage on the Luftwaffe. Once cleared, the marauding Stukas had free rein over their targets of choice.
Previously, Drop Music for MALEME had been lost in the general merriment of watching paper gliders misbehave, so I substituted this as a more appropriate representation. For the third wave though, things were getting tense at landing zones further west, and the transport strength of the Ju-52 fleet had been severely whittled down by anti-aircraft fire. There was only one track that would do, and it was the totally cheesy Deathstars’ Last Ammunition!¹
SUDA Bombed as the Transports fly in to reinforce MALEME
Meindl (aka YesthatPhil) had been instrumental in switching Kamfgruppe Komet from its original target of MALEME to HERAKLION, with the larger Kamfgruppe Orion landing earlier at MALEME (I thought that this was both feasible and a valid decision).
By now, it was clear to me that I had over-egged the pudding for the local Greek Forces’ durability and under cooked the Commonwealth forces. The effect was broadly neutral though , so it didn’t need any in-game balancing.
A vicious battle was being fought between the Fallschirmjäger on the airfield at HERAKLION and the Black Watch. For the last drop of the day, the Luftwaffe had begun to drop ammunition to the sorely pressed RETHYMNON bridgehead.
MALEME Foothill Battle 21may1941 0900h
Almost unnoticed, Kippenberger (Tim M), had succeeded in eliminating the last enemy at MALEME.
The Last Outlying Fallschirmjäger Battalion is overwhelmed at MALEME
RETHYMNON Airfield 21MAY1941 0800h
The battle for RETHYMNON reached a peak during the afternoon and evening of the 21st. Waves of Fallschirmjäger hurled themselves at the defences on the airfield.
RETHYMNON Airfield 20MAY1941 1400h
Freyberg was having none of this and took a personal hand in the defence of the airfield. As the battle raged, the Luftwaffe was dropping ammunition to their beleaguered comrades on the ground, who were resorting to picking up captured weapons and ammunition from positions they had overrun.
Trebian Takes Control
It was not enough, and by late evening, the allies were mopping up on the airfield and pushing reserves west to HERAKLION to aid Brig Chappel (Will W), who was being pressed hard by the desperate attackers.
- A bit of a personal favourite after a beer or two.