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

414 — General Wavell to General Freyberg

General Wavell to General Freyberg

22 May 1941

The matter has been closely examined with the Navy but I regret that it is impossible to land reinforcements at Suda Bay at present. Your gallant troops must stick it. I have great hopes that the enemy cannot stay the pace much longer. You will be relieved as soon as the situation permits.

I am trying to arrange for a special service commando to land in the south of the island and cross the hills to your assistance,3

If you report that the situation at Maleme is really serious, I hope to arrange for the Royal Air Force to send fighters to strafe the enemy early tomorrow till their ammunition and petrol are exhausted and then land within your protection.

Your magnificent effort is having a great effect and the enemy is in serious difficulties by land and sea. Well done.

3 This commando (800 all ranks) known as ‘Layforce’, under the command of Colonel R. E. Laycock (Chief of Combined Operations, 1943–47, with the rank of Major-General; CB, DSO) arrived in Crete on the nights of 24 and 26 May.