Battle of Crete

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Sgt Hawk, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. ethan

    ethan Member

    Waugh's semi-autobiographical novel 'Men at Arms' deals in some detail with crete, and the Spaniards, the cave, the food and the boat all feature in slightly fictionalised version.

    Not sure if anyon'e mentioned it, but Pendlebury was executed by Fallschirmjager, he had been wounded late on in the fighting, was being sheltered by greeks (and wearing a greek civilian shirt) in a house. The nazis found him, dragged him outside and put him up against the nearest wall.

    Beevor's book on Crete is pretty good.
  2. geoff41

    geoff41 Junior Member


    For some reason I only just saw your 8th October post yesterday re the TNA papers relating to the evacuation of Greece so apologies for taking so long to respond. Its very interesting and thank you for sharing. According to the 64th Med Regiment diary (papers of Lt Col Hunt) the 64th landed at Souda Bay on 27th April at 2100. My Father wrote a very vivid account of the journey from Marathon beach on HMS Carlisle - there are some very amusing observations about the naval officers he met who treated him with extreme courtesy, sharing their gin and happy to give up their beds. I've got this section typed up so if you'd like to read it perhaps send me your email address and I'll pass it on - you might even be able to identify someone.

  3. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  4. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Geoff, have you tried looking for the records/diaries of Kimberley and Nizam for those periods?

    Just had a look, it doesn't seem either of those two has their records available at TNA?

    All the best

  5. jospp

    jospp Junior Member

    Back to Pendlebury, maybe a bit late, but here's a photo I took of his grave at Suda Bay.

    Attached Files:

  6. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    "Until now we would say that the Greeks fight like heroes. From now on we will say that heroes fight like Greeks” – Winston Churchill

    “I forbid the Press to underestimate the Greeks, to defame them.... The Führer admires the bravery of Greeks” – Josef Goebbels, The Goebbels Diaries

    "The Greek soldier in particular fought with boldness and highest disrespect for death. Capitulated only when further resistance was impossible and useless” – Adolf Hitler’s speech to Reichstag, 1941

    "The unbelievably strong resistance of the Greeks delayed by two or more vital months the German attack against Russia if we did not have this long delay the outcome of the war would have been different in the eastern front and in the war in general and others would be sitting here today" - Hitler's Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel at The Nuremberg Trials

    “If the Russian Peoples succeeded in raising their tired bodies in front of the gates of Moscow to contain and set back the German torrent they owe it to the Greek People that delayed the German Divisions all the time needed. The gigantomachy of Crete was the climax of the Greek contribution” – Soviet Field Marshal Zhukov

    Ahem, notwithstanding the bravery of many greek individuals, you shouldn't overstate their "heroism".

    1) The mountainous areas with its many gorges and passes are EASY defensable against landbased agressors.
    Panzers and outflanking manouvres with mechanised units, and use of artillery in the shadow of high mountains are ineffective if not impossible.
    Even aerial bombardment (stukas?!) manoeuvring is difficult between high mountain peaks and narrow slopes. So it came down to infantry and light artillery/mortars to advance/defend. the end the germans did it and overran Greece within a month, whereas the allies in 43/44/45 couldn't get the germans to kick to the Alps during the Italian (mountains! and two coast roads) campaign. THREE years.
    So, rather than how good the Greek infantry was, it really was how bad was the terrain.
    ((I have higher regard for the poor soldier with an old rusty 1900 rifle, in flanders open fields who gets machine gunned, mortared, overran by tanks left and right, whilst bombarded by 100-eds of Stukas , without any hiding ...than the greek soldier hidden between the mountain rocks having to deal only with german infantry in ambush situations)... also note that Greece then was something similar to a "junta": a lot of military (and lots of military spending...vis a vis arch enemy Turkey)).

    2) " delayed by two or more vital months the German attack against Russia"..
    Here we go again; the myth.
    The greek (mainland)campaign which involved the germans took twenty-three (23!) DAYS!
    So how does this delay the attack on Russia by TWO months?

    And do you really think that ALL the germans on the Russian frontline were moved to Greece and had then to be returned to the russian border ?

    3) And if so there has been a delay...wouldn't the Yuguslavs (inlcuding the macedonians ;)) have a right for this CREDIT as well ?
    And weren't there , whatdayacallthem? , oh yes, british forces (incl. small tanks and artillery, and planes, and ships) active in Greece ?
    They simply stood by doing ... nothing ?

    4) the only thing that helped save the Russians (in Moscow) was the early autumns rain and consequent winter (and the german turn south from Smolensk, and not preparing winter gear, and, and ,and...).

    We often get stupified when we learn how in todays history school books in Japan (and russia, and turkey, and also a bit Spain) the truth is raped by its official institutions.
    It looks like Greece is no exception , hein?

    And for what ? only to appear great for ... who?

    PS battle of Norway in 1940 lasted...62 days..also mountainous..and a LOT LESS Norwegian soldiers...
    If Greeks are heroes, the Norsk men are demi-Gods ?

    Extra note on Stalin/Churchill quotes: Why weren't such appraisals for Norwegians? Belgians ? Dutch ? Poles ?French ? Yugoslavs? for their actions in 1940-41 (which..effectively all helped hinder an invasion of UK and consequently halted the Nazi advance to moscow ..muhaha).
    Answer: because it was political ! Remember the 50%-50% division of influence between communists and democrats agreed between Churchill and Stalin ?
    Meaning, there was an awareness that Greek society WAS split between communists and democrats.
    So how, as a world leader, do you entice the people of Greece to join your faction (at the end of the war) ?
    By wooing them !
    Stalin: OOooeh the Greeks are so heroic communists and helped to save us poor mother russia from those evil fascists. We are brothers!
    Churchill: Ooooeh we remember the Greek classics and the Greeks today are more heroic than the likes of Achilles and Agamemnon and together with SOE which was set up by a western democratic nation, it is thanks to that powerful cooperation that the greeks and western allies freed themselves of the Nazis.
    We are brothers!
  7. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    It's a great book about a remarkable man. He was described by Paddy Leigh-Fermor as having a "Handsome face, his single sparkling eye, his slung guerrilla’s rifle and bandolier and his famous swordstick brought a stimulating flash of romance and fun into that khaki gloom”.

    I paid my respects by his grave last month.


  8. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    JimHerriot likes this.
  9. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Fallschirmjager in Crete, 1941. An eclectic selection of headwear.


    Owen likes this.
  10. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Heraklion 1941.
    As this fine forums administrator commented earlier, "Looks like a renaissance painting."

    Owen and von Poop like this.
  11. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Superb 'then and nows' of Crete from the 'Remnants' website by Nikos Valasiadis.

    Then & Now
    andy007 and JimHerriot like this.
  12. cheekyphil

    cheekyphil Junior Member

    My grandfather was a Spaniard in D batt Layforce, ended up speneding 11 month hiding on Crete
    JimHerriot likes this.
  13. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member


    Pen and Sword has this book due out in Sept 2021. The book description mentions the service of Spanish Republicans in the Med with the British as a topic covered.
    andy007 and JimHerriot like this.

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