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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Air Attack

Air Attack

From 1 to 12 May the enemy air force had concentrated on shipping to and from Crete and on the port of Suda Bay. Then, on 13 May and onwards, with the completion of new airfields in Greece and on the island of Milos, the Germans increased the scale of their attack to include the airfields at Heraklion and Maleme. The enemy had a preponderance of fighter aircraft, which either carried out low-flying attacks or provided a heavy escort for the bombers and dive-bombers. Eventually our air force was gradually eliminated, and on 19 May the few remaining pilots and planes were withdrawn from the unequal struggle and returned to Egypt.

At dusk on 13 May enemy aircraft heavily “blitzed” the aerodrome at Maleme for an hour, and that evening several casualties were admitted to 5 MDS. Again next morning, from 5.30 a.m., further air attacks were made on the same area and two Hurricanes and one Gloucester were lost. The expected invasion was drawing steadily nearer.