Crete 1941. Deployment: Heraklion

I have made a start with the deployment of allied troops on Crete. I am working one sector at a time as defined in the Avalon Hill board game, starting at the east end of the island with Heraklion.

Just like the high command in 1941 I have little idea what to expect or how to deploy against it, so I have made a tentative stab at it, trying to guard the airfield and the road bridges. Here is the result:

Allied deployment around Heraklion

White on red indicates British units, Black on red are ANZACs and black on pink are Greeks. The font sizes represent the strengths of each unit. Using Microsoft Excel as the management tool, the statistics for each unit can be displayed as a comment when the cursor is passed over the cell. I use Excel as the preferred tool because I can move units using copy-paste or drag and drop, each unit’s statistics are easily visible and I can show the unit locations in tabular form. In addition, routine tasks can be automated using Visual Basic “macros”.

The units deployed in the Heraklion sector are: HQ 14 Bde, 2nd Leics, 2nd Yorks & Lancs., 2nd Black Watch, 2nd Med Arty. (Inf) [note 1], 234 Rgt RA, 2/4th Australians, 7th AA Bn RA, 3rd Greeks, 7th Greeks, Heraklion Garrison.

My next task is to prepare the German view of the sector based on information from reconnaissance flights and spies.

Meanwhile, for background information, I am reading Anthony Beevor’s book on Crete and listening to an appallingly over-simplified and inaccurate American audio-book that claims to tell me everything I need to know about the battle. Thus far I have learned that the Allied soldiers never “groused” and that the Matilda 1 had a 40mm gun. The reader’s pronunciation of even the most basic German words leaves much to be desired [note 2]. Starting with “Aydolf Hitler” and “looftwaff” he moves on to more complex words like “Gebirgsjaeger”, which he renders as something like “jibber-jabber”. This book will receive a very low rating. I don’t believe I could learn everything in 80 minutes, even at his speed of delivery.

1. Several artillery regiments that had left their guns in Greece were redeployed as what was colloquially known as “Infantillery”.

2. When I started to learn German at school my teacher prepared us for German complex nouns by writing on the blackboard (showing my age) “Aliceinwonderland”. He said: “That’s not hard, is it? You can read long German words in the same way. Just imagine the spaces.” A useful and remembered lesson when learning any foreign tongue.

2a. Incidentally the longest German noun that I remember is “der “Donaudampfschifffahrtskompaniekapitaensjackenknopf”, meaning “the Danube Steam Ship Travel Company Captain’s jacket button.” There is probably a word for the thread that holds it on and another for the seamstress who sewed it, but we are heading into the realms of “The noses on the faces of the ladies of the harem of the court of King Charactacus”

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General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

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