Britain decided to defend Crete at any cost, so at this time, British Air Force aircraft from Egypt appeared over the island again, focusing on the attack on Malim airport.
Hurricane fighter with auxiliary fuel tank landed at iraklin airport.
However, these efforts had little effect, mainly because the Germans had already transferred their fighters to Malim airport on the same night.
On the night of May 22, 1941, general ringer took over command of the Malim area.
He reorganized his troops and began sweeping the western part of the island to prevent threats to his base from the West and south.
On May 25, Castry fell.
As he drove toward Ganya and Suda Bay in the east of Crete, linger divided his troops into two brigades.
One was composed of mountain troops, whose task was to fan out to the South and advance on the rugged mountains, and the other was composed of paratroopers, whose task was to advance along the coast.
The mountain troops joined the central brigade west of Ganya on the evening of May 23.
For the first time, the German army defeated the defenders with a large-scale encirclement maneuver on the right.
In the days after May 24, the German army orderly transferred more reinforcements into the brigade commanded by general linger, enabling him to realize his operational intention.
How much reinforcements he can get depends on the number of existing transport planes and the amount of supplies required by other combat brigades on the island.
The only way to reduce the heavy burden of the air transport brigade and import heavy weapons such as tanks is still sea transportation, which requires a strong air escort fleet to cover in the daytime and conduct thorough reconnaissance of the entire sea area involved.
The first success of German Maritime Transportation was achieved after strengthening the air defense against Melos and kisila.
On 28 May, a tugboat towed two barges carrying four tanks into Malim.
In general, the British Navy did play a role in preventing the Germans from importing their reinforcements and supplies from the sea into Crete during the key days of the battle of Crete.
At night, the British navy had complete control of the waters around Crete.
If the Luftwaffe did not keep a close watch on the movements of all ships during the day and respond quickly as soon as it found the situation, general linger’s forces moving across the mountains could give the British an opportunity to import significant reinforcements into Suda Bay.
The situation at that time was that only the fastest British warships could make a round-trip voyage to Suda bay at night, and only part of their voyage was outside the flight radius of the German air force.
There are few ships like Britain, and even if there are, they can only carry hundreds of people.
On May 24, the attack of linger brigade was blocked in galatass, where the British Army built a strong position.
On the Highlands west of Ganya, general Freiburg gathered all the troops in the Suda Bay area.
The last battle for Crete was fought here.
On May 25, the British air force entered the war again, and its bombers and long-range fighters launched an attack on Malim airport from Egypt.
However, the momentum of the air raid on the German base, which has become an important base on the island, is too weak and has little effect.
The most important thing is that it is too late to reverse the failure.
Similarly, the situation of the German army in Malim was not good.
The aircraft crashed continuously when landing at the narrow airport.
The limited space available on the airport runway became narrower and narrower due to the continuous accumulation of aircraft debris.
However, the landing team equipped with captured British tanks removed the obstacles very quickly.
With the efforts of the landing team, it is possible to import reinforcements to the mountain division.
On May 26, another regiment of the German 6th mountain division landed at the airport.
Since then, the battle aimed at crushing the British resistance proceeded smoothly as planned.
After the Eighth Air Force launched a large-scale attack on Ganya, the German army broke through the position west of the city.
The next day, the British resistance in Ganya was completely smashed, and the German army occupied the city.
On May 28, the German army occupied Suda Bay.
The next day, they occupied reximnon and joined the eastern brigade stationed around iraklin.
On May 22, the Italians judged the situation on Crete and believed that the situation was very conducive to their participation in the war to conquer the island, so they proposed to provide an armored company.
The expeditionary force, which is equivalent to a reinforced regiment, landed in sitya on May 28 and then pushed towards yarapitra without encountering any resistance.
The purpose of the Italian army is to make it impossible for the British army to withdraw to the east of Crete and withdraw a large number of troops from there.
The landing did nothing to the end of the battle of Crete.
By the morning of May 26, general Freiburg had clearly realized that the fall of Crete was only a matter of time.
He reported his ideas to the commander-in-chief of the Middle East force, general Vivier, and told him that the British forces on Crete had reached the end of their tether in the past few days of continuous fighting and concentrated bombing attacks.
If the immediate withdrawal is allowed, it is possible to rescue some troops participating in the war.
Freiburg also said that of course, if he believes that every hour on the island is important to the situation in the Middle East, he will continue to do his best to command the war.
That’s true, replied Mr.
He asked for instructions.
Churchill still insisted that the victory of the battle of Crete was absolutely necessary, and asked Wavell to provide assistance to Crete to ensure victory.
The harsh will is not the transfer of reality.
When London’s reply to this question came, Vivier learned that another transport fleet bound for Crete had been forced to turn its course and return to Egypt after being violently attacked by the German air force.
On Crete, the situation of the garrison deteriorated sharply on May 26.
The next day, general Freiburg ordered to withdraw from the small port of Sfakia on the south coast of the island.
On the night of May 26-27, two assault battalions led by Colonel lecock landed in Suda Bay.
The new force played tenaciously in the guard task, enabling the surviving defenders to withdraw from Malim and Ganya to the South Bank of Crete.
At the same time, the advance of the German army to the East dispelled all the ideas of the defenders to withdraw to raisimnon and iraklin.
During the night of May 28-29, the garrison withdrew about 40 troops from the port on the north bank00 people.
To cover the retreat, the British Navy lost the destroyers “herriward” and “empire”, and nearly 300 people were killed.
Both warships were sunk while trying to cross the Strait of casos.
At the same time, the Ajax, Orion and Dido were also wounded, leaving the only way for the defenders to escape from the South Bank of Crete.
The retreat was assembled in a small fishing village at the foot of a nearly vertical cliff in sfarkia.
The cliff is about 100 meters high, and only a dangerous sheep intestines path can pass through.
People waiting for evacuation in the daytime must hide as much as possible to avoid being attacked by the German air force.
At the same time, on the mountain behind them, the guard force and the German mountain force are fighting fiercely.
The fighting took place along a difficult road in the south.
Later, general Freiburg called this road the “tragic road” of the British army.
The evacuation operation began during the night of May 28-29.
A fleet of British cruisers, destroyers and merchant ships withdrew about 17000 people in four nights.
It was indeed a feat for Britain to withdraw half of its expeditionary forces from the open beach in a few short hours at night.
From the beginning of the retreat, the British set the night from May 31 to June 1 as the final date of the retreat.
They felt that any loss and damage would be unbearable for the Mediterranean fleet.
The cruiser “Perth” and three destroyers were damaged, and the air defense cruiser “Calcutta” was sunk by a junker-88 bomber 100 nautical miles away from the port, which really aggravated the losses suffered by the British navy to ensure the withdrawal from the village of Sfakia.
Air force lieutenant general Ted used the three British Air Force fighter squadrons left in Egypt to carry out escort and cover missions in the daytime, which avoided more serious losses.
People usually estimate the number of British troops killed, injured and captured at 15000, but a more reliable report believes that there are nearly 750 more than this number.
At the same time, the Navy also lost more than 2000 people.
Now, it is possible to make a reliable estimate of the losses of the German army in the battle on Crete.
This figure is far lower than Churchill’s original estimate of “killing more than 5000 paratroopers” and killing and wounding 15000 German troops.
After careful study of all official and unofficial data, of the 22000 German troops who participated in the battle, only more than 6500 were killed, injured and missing.
Although the figure we mentioned is far lower than Churchill’s estimate, it is higher than the total number of German casualties in the whole Balkan War.
In the Balkan War, the total number of German soldiers killed, injured and missing was more than 5600.
In the battle of Crete, the German army won a rare victory at a small cost.
This victory made the German landing operation seem invincible.
Without sea supremacy, the German army had to rely on its air superiority and the unique and powerful paratrooper airborne force to carry out this campaign, which was the only offensive campaign mainly carried out by airborne forces in the world.
However, due to the early preparation of the allies, the possible “glory” finally turned Crete into a cemetery for German Paratroopers.
In terms of its impact on history, the airborne battle of Crete had a great impact on the West.
The military authorities of the United States and Britain believe that the dramatic airborne operation on Crete has bold and novel operational ideas and high imagination, which is the first time in history.
The United States and Britain thus concluded that air mobility was absolutely necessary for the allies to defeat the powerful German military machine.
From then on, the United States and Britain accelerated the construction of airborne troops.