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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

408 — General Freyberg to General Wavell

page 299

General Freyberg to General Wavell

20 May 1941

Today has been a hard one.1 We have been hard pressed. I believe that so far we hold the aerodromes at Maleme, Heraklion, and Retimo and the two harbours. The margin by which we hold them is a bare one and it would be wrong of me to paint an optimistic picture. The fighting has been heavy and large numbers of Germans have been killed. Communications are most difficult. The scale of air attack upon us has been severe. Everybody here realises the vital issue and we will fight it out.

Later: A German operation order with most ambitious objectives, all of which failed, has just been captured.

1 A situation report from Creforce to GHQ, Middle East, at 9 a.m. on 20 May read: ‘Attack started. Troops landed by parachute and glider. Estimate approximately 500 parachutists south-west of Canea. Approximately 50 troop-carrying aircraft. More now approaching. Situation obscure.’