'Rearguard action on Crete'

Date commenced: 
Monday, May 26, 1941

Location

Suda Bay
Island of Crete
Greece
35° 29' 13.0272" N, 24° 5' 7.6704" E

26th - 31st May 1941. The Commandos were No. 7 (U.K.), and Middle East Commando, formed by the amalgamation of No. 50 and 52 (M.E.) Commandos.

These two units landed in Crete at SUDA BAY on May 26th, 1941. Withdrawal from the island had already been decided upon. The Commandos, together with 2/8 Australian Infantry Battalion, were given the task of covering the withdrawal of the main body - the N.Z. Division - from the area CANEA - SUDA BAY, to an embarkation port at SPHAKIA, on the south coast of the island. The route followed the road from SUDA BAY on the north coast through STYLOS - BABALI HANI and ASKIFOU to SPHAKIA on the south. Distance roughly 40 miles by road.

During the withdrawal the main Commando actions both took place on May 28th. Early in the morning, near STYLOS, counter attacks by 7 Commando beat off determined German attempts to cut the road of retreat and allowed the tail of the main body to get clear.

Later at BABALI HANI, some 5 miles further south, M.E. Commando which had taken up a defensive position astride the main road, repulsed two separate German attacks at noon and later about 15.00 hours. The Commando held this position until dark, when it withdrew under orders about 20.00.

Source
Commando Association Newsletter 83 of September 1986. Account of a visit by Veterans.
 

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