Battle of Crete airfield question

Discussions on WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean. Hosted by Andy H
User avatar
Simon K
Member
Posts: 1425
Joined: 19 Jul 2008 19:25
Location: London U.K

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Simon K » 18 Jan 2009 06:00

I love the Valentine. Its beautiful. Its Valentines day. :D

The only other resemblance is to a Souma S35 Now that would be strange.
Last edited by Simon K on 18 Jan 2009 06:04, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
The_Enigma
Member
Posts: 2270
Joined: 14 Oct 2007 14:59
Location: Cheshire, England

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by The_Enigma » 18 Jan 2009 06:03

Simon K wrote:Its a Valentine. look at the wheel arrangement.
images val.jpg
Val road wheels are quite small and have the characteristic small "bolts" or indentations like the photo.

Also its quite boxy. Like the side on view given.
Here are the 4 i count, where are the two other wheels? I cant see them.

I prefer the looks of the Crusader over the Val :P

User avatar
Simon K
Member
Posts: 1425
Joined: 19 Jul 2008 19:25
Location: London U.K

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Simon K » 18 Jan 2009 06:07

The two missing are obscured for some reason. They are there somewhere. Also look at the gun mantlet. Just visible.

User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Peter H » 18 Jan 2009 06:13

Here's a AWM photo of one of the Retimo Matildas taken in 1945.Another photo shows a second one missing its turret.

This link here also mentions this:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=51992
..6 Matilda II tanks that the British had on Crete were captured during the invasion of Crete in 1941 and taken over by the Panzer Unit 212, which was organized there. In mid-1943 the vehicles were still reported among the unit's equipment
That would leave 3 Matildas/Heavy tanks unaccounted for.Most likely 3 were unservicable as indicated by the one missing its turret.Unless there were 8 Matildas(6 used by Germans,2 wrecks) and the other disputed tank I posted a photo of.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Simon K
Member
Posts: 1425
Joined: 19 Jul 2008 19:25
Location: London U.K

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Simon K » 18 Jan 2009 06:16

How different is that? :) radically different. Even the height of the body is wrong. The Val is much more low slung.

Could that have been a turret from the earliest production type? The turret looks like that from an A9 or an A10. Now they had been sent to Greece.

We have a Valentine at Crete. I think.

User avatar
Simon K
Member
Posts: 1425
Joined: 19 Jul 2008 19:25
Location: London U.K

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Simon K » 18 Jan 2009 06:43

images a9.jpg
No its an A9 tank. Its not a Val :(
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Michael Emrys
Member
Posts: 6002
Joined: 13 Jan 2005 18:44
Location: USA

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Michael Emrys » 18 Jan 2009 11:53

phylo_roadking wrote:The Cretan landscape was very hard (literally) to dig into...
In which case, it would have required the use of such equipment as jack hammers and/or blasting. Only specialized engineers would have the equipment and training to do that kind of work, normally ordinary infantry would not. Also, it they are having to avoid aerial reconnaissance, it would have to get built quickly and camouflaged quickly. Under the circumstances of May, 1941, there would not have been the necessary organizations or resources on the island to accomplish that in the time allowed. The pity is that such work was not done earlier in the year when the necessary resources might have been made available and the work could have been achieved at a more leisurely pace. But I don't expect that anyone was thinking of the actual battle ahead.

Michael
Incoming fire has the right of way.

User avatar
The_Enigma
Member
Posts: 2270
Joined: 14 Oct 2007 14:59
Location: Cheshire, England

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by The_Enigma » 18 Jan 2009 14:13

Simon K wrote:
images a9.jpg
No its an A9 tank. Its not a Val :(
I told you it wasnt a val! :P

I cant remember, where the front machine gun turrets of the A9 removeable?

It also raises the point of either the author was wrong on the location of the tank or the British deployed cruisers to Crete that havent been recorded.

As an intresting note Thomas Jentz notes that during Operation Brevity elements of the Panzer battalion in the forward area refused to attack the 2RTR as they misidentified their cruisers as Matildas.

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4387
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Urmel » 18 Jan 2009 15:30

Simon K wrote:Its a Valentine. look at the wheel arrangement.
images val.jpg
Val road wheels are quite small and have the characteristic small "bolts" or indentations like the photo.

Also its quite boxy. Like the side on view given.
It's not a Val. Look at the turret front, that makes it clear. It is an early cruiser tank, probably A10, since I can not see the machine-gun turrets.

I don't think the turrets could be removed, but according to Joly the MGs often were because they did not have enough crew to service them, and used the space for stowage instead.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

User avatar
The_Enigma
Member
Posts: 2270
Joined: 14 Oct 2007 14:59
Location: Cheshire, England

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by The_Enigma » 18 Jan 2009 16:52


User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4387
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Urmel » 18 Jan 2009 16:56

Looks quite similar to me, check the track protection on the top which the A10 has, but not the A9.

Image

A9 picture from Wikipedia
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4387
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Urmel » 18 Jan 2009 16:58

Peter H wrote:German photo from Jean-Yves Nasse's book of disabled Matilda near Tavronitis Bridge, Maleme
I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is not a picture from Crete, but one from mainland Greece instead. Tank is not correctly identified in any case, which raises doubts about the accuracy of the rest of the description.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17489
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by phylo_roadking » 18 Jan 2009 17:04

...also the "turret" was VERY cramped and alomost unuseable, as on most multi-turreted designs.
The pity is that such work was not done earlier in the year when the necessary resources might have been made available and the work could have been achieved at a more leisurely pace. But I don't expect that anyone was thinking of the actual battle ahead
...and also regarding the comment about turning the island into a fortress; yes, it WAS intended to do so, but a fortress for the ROYAl NAVY! :wink: Suda Bay was THE finest anchoage in the East Med. So the development from the end of 1940 forward was about developing the area as an fortified advance base for the RN as a way station enroute to the proposed 100,000-man Allied commitment into Greece, NOT Commonwealth ground forces actually ON the island. Instead, while Britsh AA units and the MNBDO were landed and began SLOWLY working up Suda Bay as a defended anchorage, it was argued with the Greeks that another Greek division should be raised ON the island, as the "Cretan" 5th division had been sent to Salonika, but the Greek goernment threw up howls of protest...they'd recently spent a year in 1938 disarming the islanders, as Crete was a hotbed of violent Republicanism!

Regarding the tanks again - actually, the presence of the Cruiser (to me it looks like a MkIII, I can seen four BIG road wheels with the wider break between two and three...and the driver's "box" rather than the hull-wide box of the A10. And rudimentary sandguards) WOULD rewrite the mainline histories! I've NEVER seen reference to any Cruisers on the island before! However...dating of the pic may indeed be an issue; Cruisers WERE left in Greece, and it's not impossible the Germans brought it over! Functioning Cruisers actually ON the island during the invasion would have been invaluable, their suspension would have been far better suited to the terrain than Matildas!!!

So, Urmel, I'll go with your locality misidentification idea, on the basis of Occam's Razor; we have NEVER heard of Cruisers on Crete, and a functioning Cruiser on the Maleme side of the Tavronitis would have turned the battle at the first wave. The ONLY heavy tanks ever mentioned at Maleme are the two Matildas; even a broken-down A13 would have dominated the DZ!!!

Regarding the discrepancy between the numbers of Matildas deployed there, and the numbers the Germans reused - remember the parable of the two used in the counterattack at Maleme; one badly-fitting turret and one breech that wouldn't work from new! I know a number of Matildas fell into German hands after Dunkirk, and a small number in Greece, but they'd have been perilously short of spares. By 1941 - a YEAR later - they'd have been keeping the Dunkirk beutepanzers going by cannibalisation only, and the same process I'm sure had to apply on Crete. Interestingly, in that pic of the Matilda the gun barrel has been salvaged...but the already-worn-when-the-battle-began tracks appear to be still laying there on the ground, fore and aft :lol:

User avatar
The_Enigma
Member
Posts: 2270
Joined: 14 Oct 2007 14:59
Location: Cheshire, England

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by The_Enigma » 18 Jan 2009 17:10

Urmel wrote:Looks quite similar to me, check the track protection on the top which the A10 has, but not the A9.
Well the A10 was an extended version of the A9 iirc intended for infantry support - although the photo could have been just another A9, but it doesnt appear to have the MG turrets and has more roadwheels than the A13.
...and also regarding the comment about turning the island into a fortress; yes, it WAS intended to do so, but a fortress for the ROYAl NAVY!
However already discovered and put into action by the Home and Med Fleets was that the fleet could not operate unless protected by ground based fighters. If it was to be turned into anything for the RN, then surely it would have had to have not only its AA defences brought up to scratch but had the airfields sorted out etc
Last edited by The_Enigma on 18 Jan 2009 17:16, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4387
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Battle of Crete airfield question

Post by Urmel » 18 Jan 2009 17:16

The_Enigma wrote:
Urmel wrote:Looks quite similar to me, check the track protection on the top which the A10 has, but not the A9.
Well the A10 was an extended version of the A9 iirc intended for infantry support - although the photo could have been just another A9, but it doesnt appear to have the MG turrets and has more roadwheels than the A13.
The A9, A10, and A13 were cruiser tanks, not meant for infantry support. The picture definitely does not show an A13, since that one introduced the Christie style suspension familiar from the Crusader tank.

http://www.wwiivehicles.com/unitedkingd ... ii-a13.asp

So it can only be an A9 or A10 (A11 apparently was the Matilda, A12 the Matilda II).

As I said, my money is on an A10, lost in Greece.

Image

A10 lost in Greece, from Wikipedia
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

Return to “WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean”