Operation Mercury: The German Invasion of Crete, 20 May-1 June 1941

A German patrol during the invasion of Crete.

A German patrol during the invasion of Crete.

Return to Invasion of Crete

Additional photos courtesy of the website Battle for Crete, 1941. The origin of these photos were unclear and so we fully acknowledge the copyright of the owner whoever they may be.

Crete, 1941: Germany's Lightning Airborne Assault, Peter Antill, Operation Mercury, the German airborne assault on the island of Crete in May 1941, was the first strategic use of airborne forces in history. The assault began on 20 May, with landings near the island's key airports, and reinforcements the next day allowed the German forces to capture one end of the runway at Maleme. By 24 May the Germans were being reinforced by air on a huge scale and on 1 June Crete surrendered. This book describes how desperately close the battle had been, and explains how German losses so shocked the Fuhrer that he never again authorised a major airborne operation.
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