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

428 — General Freyberg to General Wavell

page 308

General Freyberg to General Wavell

26 May 1941

I regret to have to report that in my opinion the troops under my command here at Suda Bay have reached the limit of endurance. No matter what decision is taken by the Commanders-in-Chief, from a military point of view our position here is hopeless. A small, ill-equipped, and immobile force such as ours cannot stand up against the concentrated bombing that we have been faced with during the last seven days. I feel you should be informed that from an administrative point of view the difficulties of extricating this force in full are now insuperable. A certain proportion of the force might be embarked provided a decision is reached at once. Once this sector has been reduced, the reduction of Retimo and Heraklion by the same methods will only be a matter of time. With the exception of the Welch Regiment and the commando, the troops we have are past any offensive action. If, in view of the whole Middle East position, you decide that hours help, we will carry on. I would have to consider how this would be best achieved. Suda Bay may be under fire within twenty-four hours. Further, our casualties have been heavy and we have lost the majority of our immobile guns.