They struggled to make much headway across the beach with 3 platoons pinned down as soon as they landed.
A platoon from ‘A’ company at the southern end of the beach came under intense fire from the nearby pillbox and troops situated within Faliraki. They were mowed down as soon as they left their landing craft and became the first casualty on the beach.
With just the HQ, a 2″ mortar and a rifle platoon left clinging onto the beach, the second wave cannot come soon enough. With real concern mounting among the British High Command that the landings may fail, the para battalion holding Lindos a short distance along the coast were called up to engage the Germans holding Faliraki providing they themselves are not under attack.
The British second wave benefitted from German attention being focussed on the hapless first wave with all landing craft safely arriving at the beach. The whole of ‘C’ company along with two Shermans landed. German firepower proved less effective allowing the new arrivals to make quick progress.
Most notable being the assault on a German platoon dug in on the edge of Faliraki. A Sherman tank lead the charge breaking through the barbed wire. Two rifle platoons along with the 2″ mortar section joined in the attack. The defending Germans had been suppressed by machine gun fire from the landing craft and they quickly succumbed to the combined attack.
The German counter-attack was swift. 3 PzIV’s poured shells into the Sherman utterly destroying it before swinging towards the beach.
British hopes for a decisive breakthough rested on an LCT of the 3rd wave transporting two armoured squadrons.
A significant breakthrough for the British is delivered by the HQ platoon of ‘A’ company, 2nd Infantry. In the initiative phase it charges into close combat with a PzIV. The 2″ mortar section joins in but is suppressed from defensive fire form the tank. It was not needed however as the infantry platoon defeated the PzIV causing it to retreat suppressed.
In the command phase the platoon entered into close combat with the PzII HQ tank destroying it comprehensively.
It did not end there. With a double ‘1’ thrown it was awarded two actions. The first was to overrun the Panzer Grenadier battalion HQ and the second to launch itself into the suppressed PzIV that it had beaten earlier. This time it finished the job desroying the PzIV. A consolidation move left the platoon in the position in the photo having single-handedly cleared much of the opposition.
The Sherman tank fired a superbly accurate shot into another PzIV causing it to brew up.
Looking down from the heights above Faliraki, the German position was suddenly looking precarious.
The first units of the 1st Infantry battalion land from the ‘Westbury’. Once again the British infantry struggle to get off the beach as they are suppressed by intense fire from the pillbox and German troops in Faliraki.
With the Shermans still on the beach, the Churchill squadron forge inland brewing up the last of the PzIV’s before turning towards the south side of Faliraki.
Two platoons of the newly arrived 1st Infantry ‘A’ company join survivors of the 2nd Infantry assaulting the pillbox finally putting the MG34 out of action. In the centre of the photo, the HQ platoon of ‘A’ company, 2nd Infantry finish off the 50mm anti-tank gun eliminating the last of the German units in the north side of Faliraki.
The Germans managed to finish off a platoon of the 1st infantry but it was clear their position in the south side of Faliraki was becoming untenable.
Looking down from the heights it was obvious that Faliraki was lost and therefore the German CO gave the last of the garrison the order to withdraw.
The last two German platoons mounted up their halftracks, and along with the HQ Sdkfz 251/10 made their withdrawal onto the heights. Here the last of the Faliraki garrison along with the German CO decide their next move.
On seeing the collection of British troops and vehicles amassing in Faliraki, the FAC excitedly gets through to the airfield to call for an air strike. A single Stuka arrives only to be promptly shot down!
The German CO decides there is little point in trying to hold Faliraki any longer and orders a withdrawal to Rhodes Town. The British have at last gained their first objective, Faliraki.