German paratroops land on Crete

20 May 1941

Painting of the German airborne invasion of Crete, 1941 (Archives New Zealand, AAAC 898 NCWA 16)

New Zealand, British, Australian and Greek forces defending the Mediterranean island of Crete fought desperately to repel a huge airborne assault by German paratroopers.

The Battle for Crete raged for 12 days before the Allies were driven off the island. Casualties were high on both sides. More than 650 New Zealanders were killed and 2000 taken prisoner. Read more...