Map of Galatas area, 20 May 1941

Responsibility for the defence of the Galatas area lay with the 10th (NZ) Brigade, led by Colonel Howard Kippenberger. The brigade comprised the 6th and 8th Greek Regiments; a Composite Battalion; and New Zealand Divisional Cavalry.

The 6th Greek Regiment was stationed along the Prison–Galatas road and across the valley from a Turkish fort. Poorly armed and with little ammunition, they were forced back to 19th Battalion’s position following a concerted attack by the Germans.

The 8th Greek Regiment, stationed in the area around Alikianou, was initially cut off from other units and threatened by the Germans. They held on all day, inflicting severe casualties on the German paratroops in their area. Most of the New Zealanders attached to the regiment were captured.

The Composite Battalion consisted of three main groups. The Reserve Mechanical Transport Group was between the coast and the northern slopes of Red Hill. Two companies of gunners from the 4th New Zealand Field Regiment and men from the Divisional Supply Company were stationed on Red Hill and Ruin Hill. Few Germans landed in this area on 20 May and these groups spent most of the day patrolling. The third group was a mixture of men from the 5th New Zealand Field Regiment on Wheat Hill and the Divisional Petrol Company stationed on Pink Hill. This group was poorly armed and the men, mainly drivers and technicians, had little infantry experience. After bravely fighting off several heavy attacks they were forced to withdraw to Wheat Hill late in the afternoon.

New Zealand Divisional Cavalry, whose initial position was isolated, were moved just before dusk to fill in the gap between Pink Hill and Cemetery Hill. This redeployment filled a weak spot in the defences and ensured that the worst crisis of the day was over.

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