Battle of Crete

1941 battle during WWII on the Greek island of Crete

The Battle of Crete was a battle fought in World War 2 between the Nazis and British Commonwealth soldiers with Greek support. It was fought from 20 May to 1 June 1941. The battle began in the morning of 20 May when German paratroopers began Operation Mercury. The battle was fought on the Greek island of Crete.

The Battle of Crete

On the first day of fighting, the German paratroopers suffered heavy losses due to heavy anti-aircraft warfare and fierce ground fighting, but the British were confident that they would destroy the German invasion. Due to miscommunication and bad decisions, the Germans were able to capture an airfield, allowing them to transport supplies and reinforcements to Crete, and destroy the Allied forces defending the island.

This battle was the first time Hitler used paratroopers on a massive scale, and the first big airborne invasion in Military history, and the first time the Allies made significant use of intelligence from the German Enigma code, and the first time German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian population. That was common later in the war. Losses were so great, that Hitler decided not to make any more big paratroop assaults.