Originally Posted by MontyB
As much as I like a good dig at the Aussies I am not certain that in this case that you are correct, by the end of WW1 Australia had a large well trained professional army I seriously doubt they would have needed to empty the prisons at the start of WW2.
I would also point out once again that the average New Zealand soldier on the island and in fact every where else during WW2 fought as well as any other Allied soldier I am not in any way blaming them for the loss of Crete I am however blaming a small group of piss poor officers Freyberg included for the failure to hold Crete.
As for the Haka, it is not a war dance it is a challenge and had they performed it within eye shot of the Germans I am pretty sure they would have been ducking bullets long before it ended so I have grave doubts as to the authenticity of the claim and tend to think it more an urban legend than a fact.
The Maori were good soldiers, no better than any others there but as with most Kiwi's and Aussies we tend to be a very resilient and "make do" bunch so I have no doubt they performed well.
Not all the entire Australia Army, but a good percentage of those Aussies who were on Crete. They were Criminals and thugs who were arrested during the Balkans Campaign and incarcerated in Crete. Crete held a large Prison complex to bolster the defenders the prison was emptied out. Unfortunely Freyberg failed to defend the Prison so the Germans captured it and used it as the Command HQ.
As for the Haka, that story is actually true. It was done on the 2 day of the battle before dawn in EARSHOT (not EYESHOT, obviously
) of the German Positions. This is mentioned from Beavor himself, I can provide the page if you want.
Remember this was 1941, most Germans had never even seen a Moari, so hearing a screaming and yelping coming from the British Lines just before a battle must have been extremely nerve wracking.