April-May, 1941 – Australian, New Zealand and British troops fight a brave but ultimately hopeless campaign against a far larger German force for the possession of Greece.
After launching an invasion in early April, the Germans quickly sweep through the Greek mainland, forcing the Allies into a fighting retreat.
By early May the Allied force abandons the mainland and redeploys on Crete. But the Germans press their advantage by sending in paratroops to capture Crete’s vital airfields. The initial attack is a disaster, and the Allied defenders inflict staggering losses on the German paratroops. But constant German attacks eventually capture the airfields, and force the Allies into a long overland retreat.
Although 15,000 Allied troops are eventually evacuated, more than 12,000 are left behind, including 3000 Australians. These men would see out the war in German POW camps.
Visit the Greek battlefields on our Crete Anniversary Tour.