Author Topic: Heraklion Crete, Late Afternoon, May 20, 1941  (Read 576 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MengJiao

  • Landsknecht
  • *******
  • Posts: 4400
Heraklion Crete, Late Afternoon, May 20, 1941
« on: September 18, 2020, 08:34:13 PM »

   I purchased a very sat-upon and somewhat used copy of the GTS Operation Mercury and idly took an easy (if somewhat unusual -- battalion-level activation -- usually the formations in GTS are around Brigade size) scenario to run through.  The scene is the northern port and airfield of Heraklion.  The Germans had two notions of how to do the initial parachute/glider/transport-plane-into-the-beach attacks: 1) sprinkle troops all over to maximize confusion or 2) Drop everybody on one airfield.  Goering intervened with a compromise -- drop everybody on one airfield in the morning and attack some other places in the afternoon.  The bonus afternoon attacks included Heraklion, which was actually a reasonable target since it had a port and an airfield right next to each other in the middle of the island's north coast.  Heraklion was such a reasonable target that the 14th Brigade had been posted there before any other positions got brigade defenses.  Heraklion also had more tanks (5 or 6), AA and artillery (7 guns) per capita (and even some coast defense guns) than any other position.  Still, I wasn't expecting much drama -- if you've seen one heap of Crete you've seen 'em all.
But...thanks to chit-pulls, airstrikes and what not, things heated up right away.  One FJ company dropped more or less right into Heraklion, wiped out a company of medium artillerymen equiped as infantry and then was wiped out in turn by company D of the Yorkshire and Lancastershire's 2nd battalion.

And now, as the FJs hurry to find their weapon canisters, the 2nd Leichesters are marching in column into the bloody fray:




 

Offline MengJiao

  • Landsknecht
  • *******
  • Posts: 4400
Re: Heraklion Crete, Late Afternoon, May 20, 1941
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2020, 07:51:51 PM »

And now, as the FJs hurry to find their weapon canisters, the 2nd Leichesters are marching in column into the bloody fray:

  Historically, the 14th Brigade held Heraklion until it was decided to evacuate Crete.  The 14th Brigade got its own separate hazardous evacuation on the night of the 28th or 29th and 800 of the 4000 troops in the brigade were drowned, injured, blown up or captured.  Still, up to that point the brigade had not done too badly.  The climax of the attack was on the 24th, but I've assumed the Germans were quicker to make a major effort at Heraklion and I've put in all the reinforcements so that the climax is on the morning of the 21st to avoid the 3 days of chasing the Germans around who survived the first drops (which seem to have been where the parachutists sustained about 40% of their total KIA for the whole battle, dropping right onto the airfield in the middle of the afternoon where the 14th brigade had been waiting for days for parachutists to drop right on the airfield).  Anyway, here is the scene at 9 am as the climactic attacks get underway: