Battle of Crete

Battle of Crete

Battle of Crete
Ian Allan | 2001 | ISBN: 0711027587 | English | 176 Pages | PDF | 76,3 MB

Following the successful German invasion of the Balkans, the Axis powers' attention now switched to the strategic island of Crete. The island was Britain's last foothold in the northeast Mediterranean and was perceived as being pivotal to the ongoing defence of the Middle East and the crucial sea-lanes leading to the Suez Canal. By early 1941, the British position in the Mediterranean was crumbling; in North Africa Rommel's forces were sweeping eastwards and the remaining British positions, such as Malta, were threatened. Against this background, German forces launched an airborne attack against Crete in late May 1941. Churchill had decreed that the defence of the island was paramount, with the result that the defensive garrison had been strengthened. However, despite the strong defence offered by British forces - which was such as to make German commanders contemplate abandoning the invasion - air supremacy and poor British communications resulted in a German victory. The Battle for Crete was a major setback for the British; valuable men and equipment were lost, often in controversial circumstances and yet it was not a wholesale German success either. It was, for example, to be the last time that a German invasion using airborne paratroopers was launched.

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