The Spirit of Salamis- A Short Allied Victory in Crete TL

Prologue: The Genesis of Operation Mercury and the Creation of the Creforce
A few years ago I started this thread: We had a good discussion and I toyed with the idea of making something more out of it. With a thread on the same subject going up recently and with social isolation still in the portrait I decided to give it a go :)

The Spirit of Salamis- A Short Allied Victory in Crete TL


Prologue: The Genesis of Operation Mercury and the Creation of the Creforce

When studying World War II as a whole a scholar might be forgiven to first look for the origins of Operation Mercury (the German attack on Crete) in the military situation as a whole and to look for Germans' motivations in how a successfull attack on Crete might have helped the Afrikakorps of the upcoming Operation Barbarossa, or more simply in a desire to finish expulsing the allies from the Balkans. While these factors indeed played a role in Nazi Germany's decision to attack the island we must nonetheless look elsewhere, mainly in the incessant feuds of the different factions and organisations inside the Nazi state, to understand the origins of Case Merkury.

The Kriegsmarine proved to be the greatest champion of the operation, hoping to see it repeated in Malta, Cyprus and/or Gibraltar, and therefore possibly heralding the rise of the Medditerannean strategy championned by its commander's, Admiral Raeder. Moreover, Mercury also enjoyed the support of the Luftwaffe: as a result of the success on the Raid of Taranto and the British victory at Cape Matapan only the Fallschirmjäger (1), as well as the Luftwaffe's domination of the skies of Crete, could serve as the backbone of a German invasion. Mercury was therefore seen by Goering and his subordinates as a way for the Luftwaffe to regain some of the prestige lost over the skies of Britain a year before. The number two of the Nazi regime therefore threw his still considerable political weight behind the operation. The Heer and the OKH, on the other hand, strongly opposed the planned invasion, believing that even in victory the Luftwaffe and the Fallschirmjäger would suffer several looses that would hinder their ability to properly support the ground forces during the upcoming invasion of the USSR and pointing the inherent risks of Mercury, as conducting a major offensive with mainly airborne power had never been attempted before. The invasion of Crete was thus characterised by its opponents as a dangerous distraction. In the end it was Hitler himself who ended the debate in favour of Mercury, the Nazi dictator deeming it a usefull diversion to distract Stalin's attention from Barbarossa's preparations.

Similarly, some doubts were raising on the british camp as to whether Crete should, or could, be defended. Lead by the CnC Middle-East, General Archibald Wavell, some argued that, with operations Battleaxe (the british counter attack against Rommel and the Italians in Lybia) and Brevity (the assault on Vichy France-held Syria and Lebanon) set to soon begin, while the German-friendly Iraqi government of Rachid Ali and the Italian forces continued to resist, the forces needed to defend Crete were simply not available in the vicinity. Winston Churchill himself put an end to such talks, however: a Crete in German hands would threaten the medditeranean sea lanes to Alexandria and the political consequences of abandonning the island to its fate could not be overstated. Crete would be defended. To do so a ragtag and disparate group of units were gathered. The Creforce, as it was dubbed, was assembled around the 2nd New Zealand Division (its commander, General Freyberg, also commanded the Creforce as a whole), the equivalent of another, small, division in greek troops evacuated from the continent, a british brigade, a few Australian brigades having suffered during the Greece campaign, and a few small tanks and marines units. When all was said the Creforce could pass for the equivalent of an army corps, and therefore be able to oppose the German paratroopers on, if not equal footing at least something aproximating it.

As May 1941 entered its second half ULTRA informed the allies in general, and General Freyberg in particular, that the invasion was soon to come. As the outcome of the battle would rest on Germany's ability to supply and reinforce its patratroopers the fighting was bound to center around the military airfields of Malemme, Rethymon and Heraklion airports and, to a lesser degree, the harbours of Chania and Suda some voices in the headquarter of the Creforce rose to demand that the airfields be disabled but Freyberg firmly vetoed the idea, fearing that to do so would allow the germans to deduce that their code had been deciphered. For General Freyberg the last days before the beginning of Mercury were spent preparing the defense of these five key points, sending the last air forces still on the island away (as they could not hope to compete with Germany's air superiority) as well as to decide who was to replace Brigadier Hargest at the head of the 5th New Zealand Brigade, following his sudden death by a heart attack (2).

In the early morning of May 20 1941 the first german gliders where spotted by the Creforce, the Battle of Crete was about to begin.

Excerpt of Crete 1941: Germany's First Defeat on Land.


Generals Freyberg and Student, commanders of the Allied and Axis forces during the Battle of Crete

(1) The German airborne corps.
(2) The POD.
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This looks awesome. Watched.
good start, I'll be keeping an eye on this one
Thank you! I will do my best to not disappoint :)

Will TTL have a chapter called Student learns the hard way?
Lol, maybe ;)

TBH you could make a case for a chapter of a history of the OTL Battle of Crete to get that name as well.

The German victory in Crete was costly, and a big part of it was due to luck and Commonwealth mistakes (as we will see latter).

Even so, despite ultimately prevailing it did spook the Germans enough for similar plans against Malta and Gibraltar to be put on the backburner (even tough they will only be officially cancelled latter). That result alone was sufficient to make defending the island worth it IMO.

The first real chapter is currently in production.
May 20-21: The First Day

The German Assault on May 20, 1941 Please Ignore the Arrows Indicating Further Developments in OTL.

May 20-21: The First Day

Few events in recent times have ilustrated the inherent vulnerability of airborne forces during the first moments of their deployment, and therefore the inherent risk to rely on them to conduct a major strategic offensive, then the opening hours of the Battle of Crete. Large, slow moving and hard to manoeuver the gliders carrying the first wave of german paratroopers could not escape the eyes of the Creforce, undistracted by any combat on the ground as she was, and proved to be easy targets for, not only its anti-aircraft guns, but also its mortars. Many of the men supposed to conquer Crete were corpses before they even left their glidders. Even if a glidder managed to reach its drop zone without incidents its passangers were nevertheless doomed to remain easy targets for dangerous minutes still, as a paratrooper was defenseless and unable to fight back during his long descent toward the ground allowing many units of the Creforce, famously including the inmates of the local military prison, freed to fight the ennemy, to inflict heavy casualties in what the veterans of the battle would nickname ''the Great Cretan's Turkeys Shot''. Even touching the ground was often not the end of the tribulations of a german paratrooper, however, as many who found themselves landing too far from their comrades were quickly spotted by the Cretans themselves, who either warned the allied troops in the vicinity or dealt with them themselves. Nearly 2,000 german paratroopers died or suffered grievous injuries during the first moments of the assaults on the three airfields.

Some latter day historians have tried to exhonorate Student and his officers by putting the share of the blame on the appaling failure of German's inteligence, who had lead the patratrooper commander and his subordinate to believe that the Cretans would, at worst, adopt a benevolent neutrality due to their hostility to the monarchy, while in reality the Venizelist beliefs that motivated said hostility instead ensured that they would fight tooth and nail against fascist invaders. They also like to point out that the size of the allied garrison was, likewise, drastically underestimated. While such considerations did, indeed, play a role in the results of Case Merkury they must not be used to avoid holding Student and his subordinates responsible for a fundementaly flawed operational concept...

Excerpt of
Paras: An History of the Airborne Weapon

As they were embarking in their gliders the large forces sent to attack the town of Heraklion and its airfield had high hopes for a quick victory. The decision to wait until latter in the day to launch the assault on the sector, so as to be able to comprehensively from the air beforehand, proved the undoing of the men it was supposed to protect, however. Well dugged in the valiant Greek defenders of Heraklion, alongside their british allies of the 14th Brigade guarding the airfield, only suffered minimal looses. Moreover, when the attack came at last, at 17:00, the dust created by the bombardment hindered the Luftwaffe's capacity to support it during those few crucial hours before darkness came. Approximatively a thousand german paratrooper managed to enter Heraklion's defensive perimeter on May 20. By midnight only a pocket a hundred strong remained close to the airfield, bound to be destroyed by the allies on the following day. The fight for Heraklion had ended in a decisive victory for its defenders.

Many historians and analysts studying the Battle of Crete have concentrated their attention to the far more dramatic events who took place around the Maleme and Rethymon airfields, mentionning the fight for Heraklion only in passing. Nevertheless any impartial student of the Battle of Crete could do nothing else but salute the valliance of the defenders of Heraklion and the excellence of their officers.

Excerpt of
The Official Greek History of the Battle of Crete


The defense of Heraklion and its Immediate Surrounding, Early May 20 (Photo by

As news of the calamitous beginning of the assault on Maleme began to trickle down back to Athens some voices in the Fallschirmjäger began to demand that the assault on Rethymon be cancelled and the troops assigned to it be redirected toward Malemme. Student himself vetoed the idea, tough, as the airfield had been deemed by German intelligence to be poorly, if at all, defended. The assault was to take place during the beginning of the afternoon, as previously planned. Moreover, and while underestimated by the germans, Rethymon's garrison remained the less well defended of the three airfields, with only the equivalent of a small brigade standing guard, lead by Brigadier Ian's Campbell.

Despite severe looses taken during the first moments of the attacks, both because of the danger of large airbornes drops and of the difficult terrain, the assault on Rethymon did meet with some success, most notably taking Hill A and threatening the airfield itself. While a timely counterattack by Campbell's only armored reserve, 7th British Tank Regiment, managed to stop their offensive. Still, at the end of May 20 the Germans assault on Rethymon had fared better then its counterparts on Maleme and Heraklion. The Battle of Rethymon had only just began

Excerpt of Blood of the Minotaur: The Battle of Rethymon


The defense of Rethymon and its Immediate Surrounding, Early May 20 (Photo by

The main trust of Case Merkury, the assault on Malemme airfield and the harbour of Suda, began about as badly as it could have. In addition to the difficulties experimented by the forces sent to attack Heraklion and Rethymon. The man supposed to command the attack, Colonel Braun, was killed alongside the other passengers of his glider. Worse, the originally-planned pincer attack on the airfield, between some german paratrooperslanding at the mouth of the Tavronitis river and others near Kondomari, became a simple attack on one front when the latter group of soldiers unknowingly tried to land in the middle of two New Zealand batallions, leading to their rapid slaughter.

Any hopes Creforce's headquarters might have held to see the events around Malemme take a similar course to those Heraklion quickly vanished, however, as the germans forces having landed to the west of the airfield fought more efficiently then any other Axis forces during the Battle of Crete. A bridge over the Tavronitis was quickly taken and the 5th New Zealand Brigade, as well as the smaller units attached to it, soon found themselves fighting tooth and nail to defend the immediate surroundings of Malemme airfield itself. As the german attack grew more and more promising some of the german reinforcements originally destined to Rethymon and Heraklion were instead sent to Malemme and as the day whent by the pressure on Acting Brigadier F.D Leckie's men grew and grew. As the afternoon unfolded it became evident that the main weight of the German attack was concentraded on the 22nd New Zealand Battalion, guarding the airfield's southern flank. Hill 107, in which their positions were situated, had become the most important piece of real estate in Crete. At 5pm the situation of the 22nd Batalion had grown critical enough for his commander, Colonel Leslie Andrews, to request either a counterattack or the authorisation to retreat. Upon receiving Andrew's message Acting Brigadier F.D Leckie immediately answered with:

''Retreat forbidden under any circumstances. Hill 107 must hold for Maleme airfield to as well. Immediate counterattack impossible due to german air superiority. Counterattack to be launched at dusk. (1)''

The Battle of Crete was entering its most delicate moment.


The defense of Malemme and its Immediate Surrounding, Early May 20 (Photo by

Excerpt of Fighting Kiwis: A Short History of the New Zealand Armed Forces

A good officer must take responsibility for the outcome of battle, and therefore he must be ready to impose his authority over his subordinates. Nevertheless, a good officer must also listen their concerns and take them into considerations, for they are his eyes and ears.

When Acting Brigadier Leckie phone Creforce headquarter, urgently requesting that some of my strategic reserves be released to launch a counterattack at Maleme I was originally reluctant to grant his request as the danger of a sea landing remained ever present. Further events would show that my concerns were entirely warranted. And yet, Leckie's arguments were sound, the importance of the 22nd Batallion for the defense of Maleme clear and the need to save the airfield equally so. I approved the release of the C Squadron of the 3rd Hussars and of the 1st Batallion of the Welch regiment.

Excerpt of
For Freedom and New Zealand!: The Memoirs of Field Marshal Freyberg, Viscount of Chania.

Their faces covered with black gew to prevent their ennemies to easily spot them the Maori Batallion made its way toward the german lines, accompagnied by forces of the 21st, 23rd and 1st Welch batallion, who had provided one compagnie apiece for the counterattack. As the moment of truth was coming the words of their commanders were still ringing in their ears:

''According to the racial doctrine of their master you are not men, you are sub human, barely better then animals and arguably worst. Tonight it is your most sacred duty, to your people and to the world, to prove him wrong!''

As they approached the german position they yelled ''Ake! Ake! Kia Kaha E!'' (2) before charging forth, bayonets at the end of their barils and quickly followed by their brother at arms. We will dispense with the minutes by minutes account of the fighting. For our purposes it is sufficient to say that, tired, battle weary and not well trained to fight in the dark, the german forces around Maleme proved unable to withstand the decided assault of the Maori batallion and the forces sent to support it. Quickly put on their collective backfooth, the men threatening Maleme airfield retreated soon after the arrival of the tanks of C Squadron. By midnight the Maleme defensive Perimeter had been cleared of all ennemy forces.

Excerpt of Haka: The History of the Maori Batallion

By all accounts the results of the first day of the Battle of Crete stunned both sides as even the most optimistics in the Allied camp, or the more pessimistic among the Germans, had expected the Fallschirmjäger to be the victim of the kind of one sided beating the Wermacht was more accustomed to give then to receive at this side of the war.

In the regional headquarter of the Wermacht in Athens morale was extraordinarily low. According to the reports of the men on the ground the size of the allied garrison of the island had been drastically underestimed, with several units who were presumed to already be in Egypt still on the island. Moreover, the doctrine of the german airborne force had demanded that all of its main objectives be captured in the first 40 minutes following their landing. As of the end of May 20 none had. Worse, appart from those tasked with capturing Rethymon, all German forces had been forced to retreat further inland. The naysayers inside the OKH and the Heer had been more then vindicated and, even at this stage, loud voices began to rise to demand Student's replacement by General Julius Ringel (3).

Like in many other occurences during the latter years of the war, German reverses attracted the wrath of their dictator on the officers deemed responsible. After suffering an hitlerian tantrum (the role of played by the Maori Batallion, in particular, aroused the anger of the Nazi dictator) Student and his supporters only barely managed to avoid seeing their master unilateraly order the end of Merkury and the abandonment of all german soldiers in Crete. It was also during the night of May 20-21 that emerged the division that would cost so much to the Axis forces engaged in the battle: some officiers, around Student, strongly advocated to turn the main effort of the German attack against Rethymon, as it was the only sector in which the offensives of the first day had given somewhat promising results. Others, surrounding Ringel, instead advocated to renew the attack on Maleme and, as importantly, the harbour of Suda, to allow for the German forces on the island to be supplied and reinforced by the sea. A few crucial days would be needed to solve the debate, and only temporarily.

In the headquarter of Creforce at Chania, on the other hand, optimism reigned. General Freyberg had concluded his last reports to the CnC Middle East, General Archibadl Wavell with ''I believe we will give a good account of ourselves'', not even daring to name the victory that now seemed tantasingly close. Nonetheless, some disagreements did emerge as to the proper course of action going forward. Freyberg, and most of the high ranking officers of the Creforce, advocated a prudent strategy, designed to allow the Allied forces of the island to react in force against an amphibious landing or another large scale airbone assault. A vocal minority, tough staunchly by the current resident of 10 Downing Street, instead argue for a more energetic response: a series of attacks designated to quickly destroy the german forces still alive on Crete. By the early hours of May 21 a compromise had emerged: the Creforce would not hunt all the paratroopers having retreated inland but it would strike back against the German forces still threatening Rethymon airfield and push those german forces still close to Heraklion further away from the airfield, as well as clean the last german pocket close to the town...

Excerpt of Crete 1941: Germany's First Defeat on Land.

(1) This is were the butterflies became significant. In OTL Hargest hesitated to launch a counterattack and formally order Andrews to stay put. When he finally did the latter the result was simply too disorganised, not powerfull enough and lacking in purpose. Here you have a clearer, more energetic and more sudden response to Andrew's pleas then in OTL.
(2) Upwards, upwards, be strong! The moto of the Maori Batallion. According to the testimony of a veteran of Crete I read the batallion had a reputation for being especially good at night fighting, which make them well suited to lead the counterattack at Maleme ITTL.
(3) Commander of the Fifth German Mountain Infantry Division, assigned to be transported to Crete to support the assault when possible.


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I'm really liking the TL, there really isn't much focus on Crete.
Hope to see more!
Thank you,

I hope to not disapoint :)

And there was me thinking there'd been an update.

No promises but I do plan to do allot of writing this weekend...

In the meantime, I wanted to open the floor, so to speak, to suggestions and constructive criticisms:

What are peoples thinking about the format? Is there aspects of the situation you would like to hear more about it? Do you find the first butterflies believable, that short of things :)

EDIT: In the meantime I tought this might help peoples better follow along:

Replace Hargest by Leckie and it is more or less still accurare to ITTL at this point in time, for land forces aniway... ;) (even tough some germans formations, and the 22nd New Zealand batallion, don't account to much in reality after the looses of the first day)
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May 21-24: Maleme or Rethymon?


German Paratroopers attempting to gather after their landing

May 21-24: Maleme or Rethymon?

As Colonel Sturm, commander of the german forces in the Rethymon sector, was expecting significant reinforcements in the morning hours May 21 plans had been drawn for capitalising on the conquest of Hill A and reversing the failures of the first day. A wrench was thrown in the german offensive before it could even began, however, as a powerfull detachment of Australian troops quickly retook Hill A, leading Sturm to deem retaking it is first, and absolute, priority.Thus began the bloody of tale of the Four Days of Rethymon, 96 hours of brutal fighting around the airfield and centered around Hills A and B, as well as the villages of Perivolia and Stravomenos. Times and times again these positions would shift hands, most often then not following the comings and goings of the sun. In no places would the fighting be fiercer then on Hill A, soon nicknamed by both sides Hell Hill.

Young men who once had all the time in the world fell by droves. Future doctors, lawyers, businessman, teachers, enginner, politicians or other valuable members of society were turned into more corpses, their time on this world cut short at a rythm comparable to the first bloody moments of Mercury and the most terrible hours of Ares. As we will see, neither side will prove both willing and able to bring their full strenght to bear, the Germans being plagued by their divisions between those who believed the key to victory was to be found at Rethymon and those who still saw Malemme as the main theater of war and the allies' capacity to reinforce Rethymon being undermined by the need to keep large garrisons around Maleme and Heraklion, as well as by the Luftwaffe's mastery of the air.

As a result, when the sun of May 24 disapeared neither side could truly pretend to have won the Battle of Rhethymon...

Excerpt of Blood of the Minotaur: The Battle of Rethymon


General Freyberg inspecting the front

In many ways the surroundings of Heraklion where the theater of a mummer show for the rest of the Battle of Crete. The Germans had no intention to truly push toward the airfield before Maleme and Rethymon had fallen while the allies felt the need maintain a sizable garrison to guard what was, after all, the capital of Fighting Greece. After the allied offensive of the night of May 21-22, in which the last German pocket in the defensive perimeter was destroyed and the other German forces were forced further inland, the fighting in the sector devolved into periodic skirmishes until Operation Athena was launched by the Creforce.

As a result many who have studied the battles have simply ommited these reperations from their recountings of events but, as men fought and died in these engagements, we believe it is right to recount them in some details...

Excerpt of The Official Greek History of the Battle of Crete

By all accounts the german operations around Maleme during the second phase of the Battle of Crete were the worst of both worlds. Student still holding command, even tough his hold was slipping, and imposing Rethymon as a priority, they lacked the means to ever truly hope to break the Creforce's defenses. Whether from the west accross the Stavronis, the east toward Platanias or the south toward Modhion or Kondomri they all faced the implacable defenses of Acting Brigadier's Leckie and his men and achieved nothing of note.

Nevertheless, by their very existence they did much to shape the outcome of the Battle of Crete, for they deprived the Germans fighting at Rethymon of crucial reinforcements during some of its most critical moments...

Excerpt of From the Minoans to Fighting Greece: An History of Crete


Cretan Partisans

As May 24 was coming to an end it had become clear that Case Merkury had failed. The assaults of the first day had undoutebly been utter and complete failure and while the subsequent efforts made to capture Rethymon had, on May 24, finally managed to gain a foothold on the airfield itself it had become abondantly clear that the slow and grueling fighting that would be necessary to hope to conquer it would see it devastated and give the Creforce plenty of time to sabotage it, negated its strategic value for the Fallschirmjäger. Worse, 7th Flieger Division and the Luftlande Regiment had both greatly suffered during the first four days of combat. The 22nd Luftlande division, called in reserve, was retained more strenght but its ranks had been significantly diminished nevertheless. The airborne assaults regiments, on whose shoulders most of the weight of the German attacks had to rest until an airfield or a port was taken, had being particularly badly mauled while looses in the air were rising. The german airborne arm was showing its limits.

It could have been the end, or the end save for mop up operations, of the matter had the Nazi dictator not decided otherwise. While he had initially threatened to abandon the german forces in Crete to their fate after the catastrophic, for the germans, first day of the battle Hitler had become determined to see Battle of Crete end in a victorious conclusion for Wermacht. His fears of eventually seeing the Allies use the island as a base to bombard the oilfields of Ploeisti, who had already played a key role in the tyrant's decision to support the attack, had turned to obsession. Similarly, concerns regarding the effects on German prestige of a defeat began to take more and more place in the mind of the German dictator, making Crete the first instance of the infamous unwillingness to accept defeats and retreats he will show the three last years of the war. As a result the attention of the Berlin Chancellery turned to the only other alternative to accepting defeat: Case Ares.

Conceived following the German failures of the first day of the battle and prepared since then, it called for a double amphibious, airborne and land based assault on Maleme and Suda, in the hope of capturing both. Naturally, such a plan could not be executed without massive italian assistance. Extremely reluctant to risk what was left of the Regia Merina east of the Adriatic, Mussolini nevertheless was eventually compeled to do so, for the leverage Germany possessed over him after saving Italy's positions in the Balkans and in North Africa was simply too strong for Italy to resist a concerted and determined effort from Berlin, tough the relationship from the two fascists countries did suffer as a result (1).

As the Italian squadron heading east had been spotted by scout planes, and last minute movements by german paratroopers further east had been reported further east, the Creforce was well aware that the landing General Freyberg had feared since the beginning of the battle would soon be attempted and orders were given to fievrously further fortify Suda and Maleme while what troop that could be brought from Rethymon and Heraklion were ordered to head west. Any hopes the Germans might have had to achieve in vain proved mere fantasies.

A call for aid was also sent to the Medditerannean fleet and in Alexandria many hesitated to answer it, fearing the damages the German bombers might inflict on their ships. Admiral Cunningham himself ended such talks, however, by famously declaring:

''Gentlemen, it takes three years to build a ship but it takes three hundred to establish a tradition. We will sail North! (2)''

As the ships of the convoy destined to carry elements of the Gebirgs and Cuneo mountain infantry divisions as making its last preparations in the ports of the Peloponesus Cunningham and his men were setting sail from the harbour of Alexandria and Student's replacement by general Ringle was announced in Athens, tough the troops on the ground would be kept in the dark for morale's sake. The stage was set for Operation Ares and, for the first time in world history and in an ery foreshadowing to the Pacific War, battle will be joined all at once on sea, land and air.

Excerpt of Crete 1941: Germany's First Defeat on Land.

(1) In OTL Mussoloni simply refused to engage the Regia Marina and the situation of the Germans in Crete was strong enough that he had the excuses needed to make it stick. Obviously ITTL it isn't the case.
(2) He more or less said the same thing when some wanted to put a premature end to the evacuation of Crete in OTL.
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Minor nitpick. The capital of free Greece was Chania not Heraklion. The capital of Crete was moved to Heraklion only in 1971.
Wow that doesn't seem good for the Italians. Good.
*Walks off humming Rule Britannia*
(replace german flag with italian one)
TBF, both fleets are taking risks here, as the British have to sail up in area where German have overwhelming air superiority, but yeah: while the Regia Marina is not a joke by any means at this point of the war it is inferior to the Royal Navy in the Med Sea in pretty much every respect.

Enjoying this! You realise that one of the 'British soldiers' is Freyberg? Several photos from Crete and Greece available on the NZ official history online.
Thanks :) And yes, I did. I tought about putting a ''Freyberg inspect the front'' caption but decided against it since it is not immediately obvious it is him in the picture so I tried to recycle it, so to speak :p

Obviously if peoples do notice it so quickly I was wrong so I'll go back to my first idea :)

Thanks for the link, I am sure it will be very helpfull going forward :)

Minor nitpick. The capital of free Greece was Chania not Heraklion. The capital of Crete was moved to Heraklion only in 1971.

Would you happen to have a source on the former point? Not that I am saying you are wrong but I remember reading in Beevor's book on the Battle of Crete and the latter days resistance movement that it was Heraklion and he is usually pretty solid as an historian.
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TBF, both fleets are taking risks here, as the British have to sail up in area where German have overwhelming air superiority, but yeah: while the Regia Marina is not a joke by any means at this point of the war it is inferior to the Medditeranean fleet in pretty much every respect.

Thanks :) And yes, I did. I tought about putting a ''Freyberg inspect the front'' caption but decided against it since it is not immediately obvious it is him in the picture so I tried to recycle it, so to speak :p

Obviously if peoples do notice it so quickly I was wrong so I'll go back to my first idea :)

Thanks for the link, I am sure it will be very helpfull going forward :)


Would you happen to have a source on the former point? Not that I am saying you are wrong but I remember reading in Beevor's book on the Battle of Crete and the latter days resistance movement that it was Heraklion and he is usually pretty solid as an historian.

Chania was the capital between 1851 and 1971. Here's one of the local papers on the subject, in Greek of course, needless to say the locals to this day aren't very happy with the change...έ-6/