Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Invasion of Crete

On May 20th, 1941, Nazi German paratroopers (or "Fallschirmjager") attacked and took the British held island of Crete in the Mediterranean sea by airborne assault. The Nazi paratroopers, landing on an enemy held island and capturing it by suprise (despite being outnumbered by the British and Greek defenders), proved to the world that airborne assaults were indeed successful against a numerically superior foe.

Two German paratroopers recover a crate full of ammunition and guns that was dropped by parachute on Crete.

After recovering the weapons, the Nazis head torwards the allied airfields to secure them. This denied the British the ability to send in re-enforcements by plane.

A German Officer.

The soldier in the foreground is wearing a unique style of German helmet, specially designed for paratroopers: it does not have the signature ear protection on the side that German helmets are known for. The blue-ish colored cloth belt he wears on his front is a ammunition bandolier.

The battle of Crete was a German victory; but a costly one. The surviving British and Greek troops were evacuated by ship, and as for the Germans, their losses were so costly that for the rest of the war they would be fighting as ground troops, like regular infantry, rather than jumping out of airplanes behind enemy lines.