Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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

The Attack on Cos

The Attack on Cos

Immediately the threat in the Aegean was perceived, the enemy transferred more squadrons, of which some came from the Russian and Western fronts, to the Eastern Mediterranean, bringing the total to about 35 per cent of the air strength in the whole theatre. With these reinforcements he was able to neutralise our airfield at Cos with heavy air attacks escorted by short-range fighters and, after a short struggle, to render our air defence inoperative. He was then able to assault and overwhelm the land garrison on 3 October.

The opposing British and German forces were about equal in numbers, but the enemy had effective air superiority over its sea and air communications. After the airfield at Cos had been neutralised this local superiority could only be challenged by long-range Beaufighters which had to fly from our nearest base at Cyprus, some 350 miles away, and were of a type unable to influence the situation much in the face of the enemy short-range fighters. The 4000 Italian troops offered no assistance to our troops.