Middle East 1930 - 1947:
Crete is a large island in the eastern Mediterranean. It was part of the Ottoman Empire, and became part of Greece in 1900. The islanders, however, remained independent in terms of culture and spirit. The island is about one-hundred miles long and varys in width from seven and half miles to thirty-five miles. The spine of the island is a mountain range, and the best harbours are to be found on the northern coast.
In June 1940, Italy declared war on the Allied nations, and on the 28 October 1940, it invaded Greece from Albania. The next day, the decision was taken to send British troops to Crete to garrison the island, as the resident Greek Division was sent to the Albanian front. The 14 Infantry Brigade (comprising two infantry battalions and some supporting units) was sent from Egypt to Crete, arriving on 6 November 1940. This brigade formed ‘Creforce’.
The 14 Infantry Brigade formed the only garrison until units were evacuated from Greece and sent to Crete. The main reinforcements for Crete came from the New Zealand Division, and the new commanding officer for Creforce was Major General FREYBERG, the General Officer Commanding New Zealand Division. Some Australian units evacuated from Greece were sent to Crete, but, the majority of Australian troops were sent directly to Egypt.
This page is still under construction.
It is intended to cover the battle for Crete in May 1941.
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