Second World War
(The first time invading German troops encountered mass
resistance from a civilian population)
resistance from a civilian population)
The ships have libraries....
Now, reading my diaries,
I remembered that there,
with a table and a chair,
I spent countless hours
reading about wars in the country that is ours...
Two powerful nations attack while,
my ancestors with the ancient Spartans style,
fight and defend our land.
they do not bend, they withstand…
German warplanes "Stuka" attack,
and hurt the British fleet, the future is black.
The road to the island of Crete is free ...
The drama comes, no one disagree.
The major offensive began….
Civilians vowed to do everything they can.
Thousands of paratroopers hide the sun.
Reaching the ground are killed one after one,
with the knife, the Cretan gun,
with stones, shovels and rakes,
by women and old men, that's the difference it makes.
German machine guns spit fire, and red
stained the soil, many are dead….
Hands of defenders began to tire…..
Enslaved the island, the entire….
Countless Cretans killed by tanks,
whether fans of Adam Smith or Marx...
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//
On 28 October 1940, after Greek government rejected an Italian ultimatum demanding the occupation of Greek territory, Italian forces invaded Greece. The Greek army counterattacked and forced the Italians to retreat. By mid-December, the Greeks occupied nearly a quarter of Albania, tying down 530,000 Italian troops. In March 1941, a major Italian counterattack failed, humiliating Italian military pretensions. On 6 April 1941, coming to the
aid of Italy, Nazi Germany invaded Greece through Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
The Battle of Crete was a battle fought on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code name (Operation
Mercury). Greek and Allied forces, along with Cretan civilians, defended the island.
It was the first battle where German paratroops were used on a massive scale, but also the first mainly airborne invasion in military history, and the first time invading German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian
A large number of civilians were killed in the crossfire or died fighting as partisans. Many Cretans were shot by the
Germans in reprisals, both during the battle and in the occupation that followed. One Cretan source puts the
number of Cretans killed by German action during the war at 6,593 men, 1,113 women and 869 children. German records put the number of Cretans executed by firing squad as 3,474, and at least a further 1,000 civilians were
killed in massacres late in 1944.
Winston Churchill claimed that the Germans must have suffered well over 15,000 casualties,
The Luftwaffe also lost heavily in the battle; 220 aircraft were destroyed outright and another 64 were written off
due to damage, a total of 284 aircraft lost, with several hundred more damaged to varying degrees.
The major loss of transport aircraft would later seriously affect attempts to re-supply German forces in Stalingrad.
Attacks by German planes, mainly Ju-87s and Ju-88s, destroyed three British cruisers (HMS Gloucester, Fiji, and Calcutta) and six destroyers (HMS Kelly, Greyhound, Kashmir, Hereward, Imperial, and Juno). Damage to the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, the battleships HMS Warspite and Barham, the cruisers HMS Ajax, Dido, Orion, and HMAS Perth, the destroyers HMS Kelvin and Nubian, kept these ships out of action for months. While at anchor in Suda Bay, northern Crete, the heavy cruiser HMS York was badly damaged by Italian explosive motor boats andbeached on 26 March 1941. She was later wrecked by demolition charges and abandoned when Crete was evacuated in May. By 1 June the effective eastern Mediterranean strength of the Royal Navy had been reduced to
two battleships and three cruisers to oppose the four battleships and eleven cruisers of the Italian Navy.
Royal Navy shipborne AA claims for the period of 15–27 May amounted to: "Twenty enemy aircraft ... shot down for certain, with 11 probables. At least 15 aircraft appeared to have been damaged ..."; from 28 May – 1 June, another two aircraft were claimed shot shot down and six more damaged, for a total of 22 claimed destroyed, 11 probably
destroyed and 21 damaged, during the entire campaign.