Chronicle Of The Battle Of Crete
This month-by-month chronicle of the Battle of Crete has been based
on a leaflet of the City of Heraklion for the exhibition of
historical documents from the Battle of Crete at the Saint Marcus
Basilica in May 2005.
0CTOBER 28, 1940
Declaration of the Greek - Italian war.
NOVEMBER 1940: The defense of Crete is taken over
by the British. The V Cretan Division is
transported to Athens.
After successive meetings, the Germans decide on the occupation
of Crete. The transport of Greek and British forces from mainland
Greece is scheduled for the second fortnight of April.
The Greek government resorts to Crete.
Landing in Crete of the New Zealand allies.
APRIL 28, 1941 The Prime Minister
of Greece, Mr. Tsouderos, chairs a meeting at Chania between the
leaders of the Greek forces and British officers. The meeting concluded
with the issue of a reinforcement request to strengthen the defense
of the island.
APRI1 29, 1941
The commander of the Hew Zealand Division, General Prey Berg,
arrives in Crete.
MAY 18-19, 1941
German aircrafts land on airfields of Attica and Northern Greece
to prepare for the
MAY 20, 1941
German attack on Crete begins at 6:3O a.m. The Germans subject
the towns of Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion to severe bombardment
prior to dropping their elite parachutists. Local confrontations
take place between German paratroopers and allied forces reinforced
by the local population.
MAY 21, 1941
The German concentrate their attack on Maleme airfield. German
airfield land at Maleme in the evening carrying significant forces
and material for the attack. The British fleet in the Mediterranean strikes
a German convoy heading for Crete. Fifteen requisitioned vessels
were sunk; their losses are still unknown.
MAY 22, 1941 The Germans manage to finally occupy
the airfield of Maleme. Allied efforts to retake the airfield are
MAY 23, 1941 Greek political leadership abandons Crete on destroyer "Decoy".
Churchill sends the following message to the Headquarters: "The
Battle of Crete must be won".
MAY 24, 1941 The bombardment of the towns of Crete
goes on. At Chania, the Germans gained the initiative. The allied
forces at Rethymnon and Heraklion are determined "to
fight to the end".
MAY 25, 1941 The Germans occupy Kandanos in south-west
Crete. The resolute and unexpected resistance of the defenders infuriates
the Germans who resort to Brutal reprisals: mass executions, arson,
and other serious destruction.
Galatas is occupied. Allied forces are desperately trying to
defend Chania. Freyberg notes the dire circumstances the allied
forces are in Crete.
MAY 27,1941 The Commander-in-chief of the Middle
East, Wayvel, orders the allied forces to
evacuate Crete. Tassels of the British fleet take over
the mission of safe
evacuation of the allies.
Chania falls in the hands of the invaders. It was the beginning
of the end.
By May 31st the total occupation of Crete was
a fact and the withdrawal of the
majority of the ally forces to Egypt marked the end of the Battle