Military Review

The Battle of Crete as a Pyrrhic Victory of the German Airborne

In the summer of 1941, during the attack of fascist Germany on the USSR, many military experts noticed that the German command practically excluded the widespread use of its airborne troops on the Eastern Front. Units and units of the German Airborne Forces fought mainly as infantry, sometimes as assault troops, yes, the German air assault forces were used, but only as part of small units, and then only in the rear units of the Red Army, mainly to capture or destroy particularly important individual objects and nothing more.

The Battle of Crete as a Pyrrhic Victory of the German Airborne
A wounded German Junkers U-52 transport plane falls to the ground during a landing on Crete. The second plane (in the background) successfully dropped paratroopers, the opened parachutes of which are visible on the left.

What are the reasons for such caution of the Germans? For example, their tank on the contrary, units and formations rushed forward only, not paying attention to their open flanks and lagging rear areas, in fact, German tankers replaced the Airborne Forces, as they acted decisively, impudently, assertively and initiatively, and the German Airborne units on the battlefield modestly followed them as ordinary motorized infantry.

The reason for such “modesty” of the German Airborne Forces, it turns out, was the personal order of the Führer, which prohibited the use of German airborne troops in special large-scale amphibious operations, this order was based on the operation to capture Fr. Crete, conducted by the German Air Force and Airborne in May 1941.

Why did the Germans need to seize this island in the eastern Mediterranean, and literally on the eve of the beginning of a big and serious war against the Soviet Union?

Many researchers believe that the Germans seriously feared that, using Crete as a base and a kind of unsinkable aircraft carrier, the Allies would begin bombing the Romanian oil fields, which were of great strategic importance to Germany, because without Romanian oil it was almost impossible to wage war against the USSR, so that the seizure of Crete was the key to the successful non-stop advancement of German tanks on the future Eastern Front.

German paratroopers parachuted to Crete under enemy fire

From various data it is known that by the beginning of the operation, the garrison of Crete numbered about 40 thousand Greek and British soldiers, the figure seems at first glance impressive, but the Greek troops had only 14 thousand soldiers in combat positions and they were practically without heavy weapons and had an extremely limited amount of ammunition. Thus, it was not easy for this grouping of the Allied forces to confront not only German paratroopers, the real German military elite, but even ordinary Wehrmacht infantry.

The British were well aware that poorly armed Greek troops could not defend for a long time and therefore the main forces that formed the basis of Crete’s anti-amphibious defense were mainly their best-trained personnel infantry regiments of Leicester, Argyle and Sutherland, which even light tanks had in service. The lack of transport was also a weakness in the defense of the island, so it was impossible to quickly transfer troops from one threatened direction to another, and the defenders also did not have enough artillery and ammunition for them. On the armament of air defense, in order to cover at least the most important objects, anti-aircraft guns were no more than half the required amount.

Apparently, the British command was counting mainly on its naval forces, since their warships almost completely controlled all the coastal waters of Crete. All this, as it seemed to them, made the island practically inaccessible for the traditional at that time naval assault, but the Germans struck where they were least expected - from the air.

The Germans created a special airborne grouping to invade Crete, which included: 11th aviation the corps, which was involved to directly land on the island, and the 8th air corps, which was supposed to cover all the operations of the landing on the ground. German aviation corps totaled 430 bombers and 180 fighters, more than 500 transport aircraft and 80 gliders. The Germans had complete air supremacy. The command of the entire operation was carried out by the Goering-Luftwaffe department, the German Airborne Forces at that time were part of the Air Force, as well as the air defense as they said, everything that flew was subordinated to the Hog-Goering.

German paratrooper killed while airborne in Crete

To capture Crete, the German command allocated the 7 th parachute and 5 th mountain rifle divisions. In addition to these main parts, part of the landing also included part of the gain. The Germans planned to parachute the parachute division with parachutes, and the mountain rifle division - with gliders and transport aircraft.

In total, about the landing force, including the parts that were supposed to be delivered by sea, included about 23 000 people. Despite the overwhelming air superiority, the assault of Crete was still a very risky and adventurous event, as the Luftwaffe intended to seize the island, located almost 100 miles from mainland Greece, virtually without naval forces, that is, using only one aircraft and paratroopers. It turned out that the number of invading forces was almost half as much as the defenders of the island. The Germans were in a hurry and, as subsequent events showed, this rush in preparation for such a serious operation almost led their best troops to a real tragedy and complete collapse.

And so the day "D" came, the operation to capture Fr. Crete called "Mercury" began exactly in 8.00 20 May 1941 of the year. Hundreds of German combat aircraft filled the sky over the island, attack aircraft hit exactly the previously identified targets, literally during the first minutes of attack and bombing raids, most of the positions of the Greeks and British were destroyed, and many anti-aircraft calculations were destroyed or for a short time neutralized, that is, simply panic fled.

Burnt German paratrooper. Nearby is an English soldier with a captured gun R.08 "Luger". Operation "Mercury" (the landing of the German troops in Crete)

The German aces acted clearly according to the plan of the operation, initially most of the enemy’s air defense weapons were neutralized, then the main roads of the island, ports and many other objects defended were still attacked when they were shocked and confused when hundreds of them appeared right over their heads German transport workers Yu-52, and thousands of German paratroopers fell down like peas, then dozens of gliders appeared in the sky with mountain arrows on board. The spectacle was really impressive.

As a result, the total number of troops transported by the Germans by air was almost 23 500 people, in addition, the aircraft were delivered 353 guns, 771 motorcycle (the main vehicle of the German paratroopers), 5358 amphibious containers with weapons and gear and 1090 tons of various goods.

It seemed that everything started well and powerfully for the Germans, it seemed that it was almost impossible to stop such power, but it only seemed, then everything went clearly against the plans developed in the cozy Berlin headquarters.

Many of us have seen how modern airborne troops are parachuted, a paratrooper with him has not only personal small arms and grenade launchers, but also a stock of ammunition, food, etc., that is, a modern paratrooper can land and free from parachute lines to engage in combat. and effectively destroy not only enemy infantry, but also many armored targets.

German paratroopers in a trench in Crete

In the German Airborne in 1941g. when landing on Crete, the main drawback was that the parachutists during the landing had only knives and pistols with them. The main weapons and equipment were dumped separately in special containers. This was due, primarily, to flaws in the design of parachutes and fears that the lines could catch on protruding items of equipment.

Such tactics would be fully justified if they were dropped in deserted areas, but on Crete the landing took place almost at the enemy’s position. As a result, after landing, German paratroopers died in dozens, or even hundreds, as they faced the enemy with virtually unarmed, the Greeks and the British simply shot them with impunity, preventing them from reaching the containers with personal weapons.

As a result, the first wave of the landing of the German troops from the 7PD suffered major, mostly unjustified losses. But the British anti-aircraft artillery finally came to its senses and opened heavy barrage against German transport workers and paratroopers. Sometimes the surroundings were watched by scary pictures - this was when the wounded German planes broke apart right in the air, the parachutists poured out of them like potatoes from a bag and died, unable to open the parachute using an exhaust ring. Since the construction of the then German parachute did not allow to change the flight path in any way, so in the parachute case, as Crete showed, the Germans were clearly lagging behind, many losses among the paratroopers could have been avoided, having more advanced landing equipment.

German soldiers and officer in Crete

By the evening of the first day, after many hours of focal fighting, most of the Germans' planned plan failed. Parachutist attacks in many directions were repulsed. German troops landed on gliders in the area of ​​Kan'i had to fight hard, many gliders crashed together with people aboard them. An attempt to land a naval assault force and that failed, all the transports on which the Italians, the German allies tried to transfer the landing forces to the island were sunk or driven away by British warships. The entire island was littered with wreckage of gliders abandoned by German parachutes, containers and a multitude of corpses, mostly from the German military elite.

But the Germans managed to cling to the island through inhuman efforts, and the British realized that this enemy would simply not let them finish it off completely, that the struggle for Crete was still ahead.

The commander and chief creator of the German Airborne Forces, General Student realized the real threat of a complete failure of the operation, however, despite pressure from the main command, the general resolutely rejected the proposal to stop the invasion of Crete, in this case you would have to leave to the real death, and simply leave to the mercy several thousand selected German assault troops, at the cost of tremendous effort and loss of bridgeheads and even entrenched around some English airfields.

size = 1] German paratroopers in positions with the MG-34 machine gun

After a brief meeting, due to the absence of large reserves from the parachute units, since the entire 7 PD was in combat on the island, he decided to send the third echelon of assault forces as part of mountain riflemen to Crete. The order was given, regardless of the real state of things, since by that time there was not a single airfield completely under their control in the hands of the Germans, so the first wave aircraft had to land on a small mountain airfield, which was actually in the hands of the enemy.

And during the 22 in May, the German transport aircraft, despite the enemy’s dense anti-aircraft fire, managed to deliver two infantry battalions from the 5-th mining and infantry division, engineering battalion and parachute artillery battery to one of the mountain airfields called Maleme. The Germans had to clear the landing strip of burning and padded aircraft with the help of captured British tanks. According to eyewitnesses of those events, during the landing, such catastrophic pictures worthy of modern Hollywood blockbusters were not rarely observed, this is when a transport worker loaded all the way with mountain shooters during landing encountered another U-52 trying to take off, an explosion was heard, a flame was burning alive right before the eyes of those who were lucky, who had managed to disembark before them, the field of the airfield of Maleme, after the end of hostilities in Crete, became a real cemetery of German transport aviation.

The British, realizing that Maleme was the key to victory for the Germans and, in general, to master Crete, attacked this airfield all day long without interruption, but the Germans stood to death, they had nowhere to retreat, and they withstood. Soon all the attacks of the British were repulsed, and they were forced to retreat.

Finally, May 25, on the sixth day of the battle, was a turning point in the battle in favor of the Germans. General Student flew from Athens in Maleme with his headquarters, where he personally led his troops on the spot.

And soon, on May 27, the British realized that they had lost, their command issued an order to begin evacuation to Egypt, and in the evening on May 28, evacuation of exhausted and demoralized British troops to Egypt began. On the same day, May 28 from the sea successfully landed the main forces of the naval assault detachment of Italian troops consisting of almost 6 thousand people, which finally consolidated the success of the German paratroopers.

Victory to the Germans went to a very expensive price; they achieved success in the battles for Crete primarily due to the extensive personal training of German paratroopers and mountain shooters, their ability to fight in any terrain conditions and in any situation.

Yes, the German command was able to bring Operation Mercury to its logical conclusion, Crete was conquered as a result, but the victory turned out to be a real Pyrrhic for two weeks of fighting, their airborne units lost only about 4 thousands of people, almost 3400 the man was injured. The losses of military transport aviation are also catastrophic; of the 500 military transport aircraft that took part in the operation, only 185 units remained in the ranks, after Crete the Germans remained practically without their transport aircraft.

After the end of Operation Mercury, General Student was summoned to the Führer, Hitler found out about the losses, was furious, and from the vast office of the Reich Chancellery there were shouts and reproaches addressed to the Student, as a result, Hitler prohibited to continue to conduct large-scale landing operations with with the participation of the Airborne Forces, it was possible that the Germans were right to do so, since in the future the experience of the Second World War in general showed that large-scale operations of the airborne troops were too costly and risky activities, such as Airborne ation conducted by the Red Army in 1943g. on the Dnieper and our allies in 1944g. in Holland, which did not lead to great success, but the losses in people and technology were quite significant.

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  1. Follow us
    Follow us 11 July 2012 08: 48
    The Germans are sick full head! No wonder only the Russians could stop them smile
  2. Vito
    Vito 11 July 2012 08: 56
    It was a risky operation, but in my opinion the game was still worth the candle. I was most struck by the fact of the landing of German paratroopers with pistols and bayonet-knives on the enemy’s heads! This is really a serious puncture of the German command and purely humanly these RESISTANT warriors, even what a pity! But losses, by and large, for all countries involved in the war, they have just begun. THANKS for an interesting article! drinks
    1. Tirpitz
      Tirpitz 11 July 2012 10: 27
      You are right, landing without a weapon is something. it was after the military exercises in Ukraine in 1933. German generals invited as guests to the USSR were struck by the landing of Soviet paratroopers. the next day, an order was issued to form such units in Germany.
      1. Vito
        Vito 11 July 2012 11: 23
        Tirpitz drinks WE ARE YOU FRIEND!
        That's what interests me. Where did the Germans land tactics without weapons come from? According to the chronicle of those years, our fighters like armed jumped? Or maybe I'm wrong?
        Margelovets! WHO ON THE SITE EXPLAIN!
        1. Poppy
          Poppy 11 July 2012 12: 32
          The problem is in German parachutes. They were of unsuccessful design: too much speed of descent and inability to control it. Therefore, they could not jump with the load.
          This problem is strange because German pilots had normal parachutes.
          Our parachutes were allowed to jump with weapons and ammunition.
          1. Bosk
            Bosk 16 July 2012 23: 01
            Our jumped with minimal ammunition, the main ammunition dropped in packs.
        2. prispek
          prispek 11 July 2012 20: 51
          I'm certainly not a Margelope. He served in the 80s, in my opinion, Sukhorukov was the commander of the Airborne Forces. For me, too, news that the Germans were armed with such parachutes. I ask you not to kick all patriots of Rezun for mentioning the enemy, but he wrote that we bought parachute technology from the Americans. In my time, the D-4 and D-5 parachutes were in service. The first parachute is not steerable, it was also called "oak", the second - semi-steerable, had two control lines and allowed to turn in the wind. For experienced skydivers (over 50 jumps), there was an opportunity to make the D-5 fully controllable. (use sliding in all directions and even accelerated descent in a spiral) The total weight of the airborne is not more than 120 kg. They landed with AKS-74, RPKS-74, RPG-16Dyu, walkie-talkies, cartridges in zinks and gas masks. True, there were no shots for the RPG. AKS-74U moored in two ways; for marching and combat. The second method made it possible to fire in the air until landing. Of course, there was the possibility of both forced opening - the ring, and automatic - the device. The PPK-U device made it possible to vary the opening of the dome both in time and in height, and AD-3UD only in time. In general, the dome of this system is a masterpiece
    2. Fidain
      Fidain 11 July 2012 22: 42
      Soglasen polnostyu s taboi, i boicov zhalko atborni desant.No General Student molodec, ne kazhdi general otvazhilsa s takimi pespektivami yeshcho bolshe desantnikov poselat.Ras nachel idi do konca.
      No posle uxoda anglichan Krit yeshcho soprativlyalsa, tam narod gordi i razvernuli partezanskuyu voinu v plot do osvobozhdenia.I sichas v Grecie, Kritikosi (tak nazivayut v grecie) eto samie bez bashenie lyudi.y to tam po prezhnemu yest krovnie vragi, ne tak posmotrish na ix zhenshin i ubit mogut.
  3. AK-74-1
    AK-74-1 11 July 2012 09: 14
    A worthy adversary is the Germans. Win the battle of such soldiers is honorable and respected!
    The insoles, having a numerical superiority, were deceived and pulled off the island like rats. Only with the Papuans know how to fight.
    1. Vito
      Vito 11 July 2012 09: 34
      Quote: AK-74-1
      The insoles, having a numerical superiority, were deceived and pulled off the island like rats. Only with the Papuans know how to fight.

      Britons against the Germans have always tried to resist in various coalitions. They didn’t have enough strength or fighting spirit, with one-on-one chances to fight!
      1. Evgan
        Evgan 11 July 2012 13: 43
        What nonsense are you writing? The Britons always fought in a coalition not with the same Hans, but with the same coalition. Do not misinterpret the facts of history at least.
        1. Vito
          Vito 11 July 2012 17: 36
          EvganI agree with you on the part. In Europe, conflicting countries have always always tried to find allies for themselves. But according to the history of wars, the Britons were not suitable for the Germans, they had luck in military affairs always with a numerical and technical advantage.
          1. Poppy
            Poppy 11 July 2012 17: 50
            So the Britons, in principle, have always sought to fight in the wrong hands. Their army was always small.
  4. JonnyT
    JonnyT 11 July 2012 09: 27
    Good article!!! Fighting with a knife and a pistol with superior enemy forces is worthy of respect. Although the Germans had a saying, "Better to land 100 times in Crete than spend 1 day at Stalingrad!"
  5. leon-iv
    leon-iv 11 July 2012 09: 43
    Here it is the depravity of the Airborne Forces.
    For with an unsuppressed air defense, landing is expensive.
    And in the modern army with its saturation MANPADS?
    1. Vito
      Vito 11 July 2012 09: 55
      leon-iv (1)Hello.
      Quote: leon-iv
      And in the modern army with its saturation MANPADS?
      I agree with you that doing all these operations becomes more and more difficult and risky every decade!
      But we have the Airborne Forces the most combat-ready units, WE WITHOUT them without them! drinks
    2. AK-74-1
      AK-74-1 11 July 2012 11: 24
      In the sense of perversity. The depravity of having to complete a task? Try to say this to one of the veterans of the guardsmen Rodimtsev or Lyudikov, or the marine corps from the 9 special corps, or to veterans of the NKVD units who have passed the mountains of the Caucasus and Elbrus, or border guards on the Kola Peninsula.
      Tasks must be completed, no matter how difficult they are. In everything you can look for the negative.
      Border guards, Airborne Forces, MPs and Special Forces are those units that knowingly risk their lives. Even then, when they enter the service.
      1. leon-iv
        leon-iv 11 July 2012 11: 29
        In the sense of perversity.
        Inadequacy of results to spent resources.
        Border guards, Airborne Forces, MPs and Special Forces are those units that knowingly risk their lives. Even then, when they enter the service.
        The risk must be justified.
        Now let me solve the task.
        How to secure the ejection of the regiment VDD with added strength. For example, from MANPADS on the landing site.
        + What outfit of forces and means is necessary for covering from the air and the subsequent supply of these parts?
        1. AK-74-1
          AK-74-1 11 July 2012 11: 49
          You ask questions based on today's understanding.
          If we consider separately the operation, for example, the Rzhev offensive or the Finnish war. There are indeed victims. But it is necessary to assess the situation not only of a specific area, but of the entire theater of operations. In this regard, the film "Battalions are asking for fire" is very realistic.
          You can discuss another example. Chechnya, 6 Airborne Company. The guys had the opportunity to leave. There was obvious stupidity in the organization, for the company had to be supported by heavy artillery and attack aircraft.
          You can make a lot of assumptions, but the landing operations are very effective.
          1. leon-iv
            leon-iv 11 July 2012 11: 57
            You can make a lot of assumptions, but the landing operations are very effective.
            You answer my question along with the forces. And how to secure the landing?
            1. AK-74-1
              AK-74-1 11 July 2012 13: 15
              You yourself can answer your question. I immediately say that the question is absolutely incorrect, because there is a lot of necessary information about the time and place of the release. On the composition of enemy units, on the air defense system, on the units of army air defense, etc.
              The main thing in any landing operation is surprise and mobility. It is necessary to discuss the situation based on specific conditions, and not abstractly.
              1. leon-iv
                leon-iv 11 July 2012 13: 58
                The main thing in any landing operation is surprise and mobility.
                If you take on the fly then airborne assault is not needed there because there is no point.
                And it will be nepopuasami ZGRLS and DRLOiU and IA and interceptions.

                Mobility and here you need to talk
                Airborne in the form that we know became irrelevant back in the 70-80s. Airborne in the form that we know appeared as the brainchild of the Cold War as well as BMP. That is, troops could be deployed through the air through infection zones after nuclear weapons. And there already carry out their tasks. But as the armies of the world saturate with MANPADS and anti-tank systems, the situation changed.
                Even our well-armed airborne regiment with reinforcements, the enemy’s heavy brigade rolls into a shallow pancake quickly enough. And about foreign overseas landing and there’s no point in talking.
                And there already carry out their task
                1. AK-74-1
                  AK-74-1 11 July 2012 16: 59
                  The fact is that in a stupid flight in an airplane 1000 miles away without fighter and bombing support is suicide. But I also calculate such operations taking into account the local underground, when sabotage groups on enemy territory are tasked with pinning down the enemy, for example, an airfield (the amusing films "In the zone of special attention" and "Return move" partially describe such events). Several tactical groups are dropped out at the same time, and then the main landing is carried out. Maybe something has changed since 1991. I am ready to discuss this topic with you in another place and at another time. I suppose that our highly artistic conversation will generate a lot of interest.
                  1. Chaplain
                    Chaplain 11 July 2012 22: 17
                    I agree with the AK-74-1, the landing is necessary and not replaceable, but this is a specific type of troops, this is not motorized infantry. The paratroopers (be it sea or air) have their own tasks, their own ways of solving them. which side to look at. Quotation from the book: "The goal is rare, but justifies the means, it sucks when this means itself"
            2. Vyalik
              Vyalik 11 July 2012 13: 18
              One friend of mine served in the Marine Corps, so he said that we would only land normally, and then let them try to tuck us out of the bridgehead. The landing is probably the most difficult during landing operations. A landing in the air or sea is more vulnerable than on land .When my father escorted me to serve in the Soviet army, he went through three years of World War II, said do not be lazy, dig in the ground as soon as possible, let the trench be small, but for the first time come down. And never when you part with a shovel and spoon, because digging the ground with them is better than with your hands.
              1. Alf
                Alf 11 July 2012 22: 58
                Even in theory, in military science, the most dangerous and unpredictable moment is, in fact, the moment of landing.
                1. Bosk
                  Bosk 16 July 2012 23: 08
                  Well, it’s clear the stump, jumping on bayonets at night is the most safe way to have fun.
    3. Alf
      Alf 11 July 2012 20: 10
      What does viciousness have to do with it? According to the charter, a landing is possible only under the condition of FULL LENGTH in the air in the landing area. In the modern FULL-WAR, it is unlikely that it will come to the landing of large formations. In addition, attack aircraft always accompany transport aircraft, which will ensure a quiet landing mode, and no one will drop paratroopers on the front line of enemy defense.
      1. prispek
        prispek 11 July 2012 21: 32
        Leon-iv, AK-74-1, Alf

        If you do not mind, let me express my opinion. I consider massive parachute landing, and even more so with equipment that is permissible only in peacetime as a psychological weapon. What will happen in wartime, with opposition from the enemy, I think clearly. The landing on Crete is proof of this. Even with the complete domination of the air and the lack of air defense systems of the enemy, the operation was on the verge of failure. And this is with the transfer of troops only 100 miles. The Germans were saved by the highest training of personnel and the same fighting spirit. What will happen to our airborne forces when trying to land by parachute is scary to imagine. We will not have any superiority in the air or a smooth interaction between aviation and the airborne forces. Yes. for our generals, the loss of a quarter of the composition of the troops is not critical and the task of the Airborne Forces will be fulfilled, but I’m afraid we won’t even be allowed to reach the landing site. I outlined my view on future airborne forces earlier, you can see them in comments
        1. Bosk
          Bosk 16 July 2012 23: 13
  6. posad636
    posad636 11 July 2012 10: 09
    As the saying goes: "It was smooth on paper ....". When planning operations, the situation is assessed from the amount of available information, planning is carried out on the basis of their available funds. But a number of previously unknown circumstances always interfere with the development of the situation. Suffice it to recall the attempt to free American diplomats in Iran. Beckwith is already a professional, but his Majesty's chance canceled out all his efforts.
    The German operation in Crete impresses and teaches a lot.
    "Chauffeur Brotherhood"
    1. byrnas
      11 July 2012 10: 19
      Quote: posad636
      Suffice it to recall the attempt to free American diplomats in Iran.

      This American operation was even more adventurous than the German one to capture Crete, the Germans at least reached the final goal, and the Americans were completely embarrassed ...................
  7. Tirpitz
    Tirpitz 11 July 2012 10: 22
    One of the ideal operations of the German Airborne Forces was the landing and capture of the impregnable fort Eban-Emaal in Holland before the start of the offensive. If anyone is interested, I can post an article.
    1. Poppy
      Poppy 11 July 2012 16: 21
      Only Eben-Emael, otherwise you turned his name into something indecent.
      Although the Germans were slightly lucky there, this was the beginning of the war and the fort was not ready for it.
    2. prispek
      prispek 11 July 2012 22: 05
      Eben-Emael, a classic example of a successful operation of the paratroopers. Only 84 fighters, even temporarily left without a commander, completed the task. The operation to capture Crete, in my opinion, is the result of dizziness from success. And here the Germans were really lucky - luck is on the side of the brave. But after this luck it became clear that the task of airborne assault tactical and sabotage operations. We did not understand this and are still engaged in mass parachute landing, and even with equipment
  8. fern
    fern 11 July 2012 10: 26
    It seems that it was after this operation that the FG-42 began to be developed. Especially for paratroopers, so that not only with a knife and a gun jump out
  9. eSid
    eSid 11 July 2012 11: 09
    Quote: AK-74-1
    A worthy adversary is the Germans. Win the battle of such soldiers is honorable and respected!
    The insoles, having a numerical superiority, were deceived and pulled off the island like rats. Only with the Papuans know how to fight.

    Well, why is it so - won, Market Garden was carried out the same :) With full air superiority, technology, resources, what is the result? ;)
    1. byrnas
      11 July 2012 11: 43
      Quote: eSid
      Well, why is it so - won, Market Garden was carried out the same :) With full air superiority, technology, resources, what is the result? ;)

      According to the results of Crete, the Germans were probably the first to come to the disappointing conclusion that the use of large airborne forces using large-scale airborne assault forces was extremely inefficient due to large losses of personnel, the allies came to this conclusion much later than the Germans, the last were the French who landed a large landing force at Dienbyenfu in Vietnam in 1954., this landing was almost completely destroyed even in the air ............
      1. eSid
        eSid 11 July 2012 12: 03
        Just guided by the landing on Crete, nefig was to conduct MG.
      2. Poppy
        Poppy 11 July 2012 12: 35
        Ours, in my opinion, has not come to this conclusion so far: in our doctrine, mass parachute landings are still.
      3. Vyalik
        Vyalik 11 July 2012 13: 21
        It is difficult to withstand a knife and a gun against infantry armed with rifles.
    2. Alf
      Alf 11 July 2012 22: 55
      Market Garden, I believe, summed up 2 reasons:
      1. Neglect of intelligence intelligence-overslept SS tank division.
      2. Lack of normal communication and coordination with the actions of ground forces.
      Also, Big Politics intervened in the actions of the military, however, armies of all countries and peoples always suffered from it.
  10. Syrdon
    Syrdon 11 July 2012 11: 14
    With a knife and a gun on the enemy, it must be a very strong spirit warrior. I respect, despite the fact that they were our enemies.
    1. tverskoi77
      tverskoi77 11 July 2012 16: 01
      Yes, they are real warriors. As we are!
  11. Poppy
    Poppy 11 July 2012 12: 34
    In general, losses of 4 thousand to capture such an island as Crete (I was there, it is big) are small. Here are a lot of aircraft lost, yes.
    Just then the Germans were not yet accustomed to losses, the Second World War was just ahead, and in the west there were almost no losses.
  12. apro
    apro 11 July 2012 12: 35
    Well written are the only ones who used the paratroopers and defeated the Germans. Today, using their big question
  13. 8 company
    8 company 11 July 2012 12: 37
    On the whole, the operation brought the Germans very tangible strategic advantages: the British fleet was actually locked in Alexandria. To go west, the British now had to overcome what they called the "bomb alley." The Junkers from Crete ruled there and the Royal Fleet suffered significant losses. The Mediterranean is no longer English. Accordingly, the supply of the British grouping in North Africa became sharply difficult. Well, the losses ... Not all the carnival for the cat ...
  14. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 11 July 2012 12: 55
    I would like to know where the author got his inspiration from?
    By and large, the capture of Crete is the ONLY successful landing operation of such a scale! There was nothing like that anymore! And the losses for such an event are not very large, and there is no war without losses, it’s only in the movies that enemies are killed in packs, and they only scratch their own ...
    Do not consider it as an attack on the Airborne Forces, but personally I do not know an example of some smoothly conducted large operation in the entire history of their existence! All large-scale operations most often ended in zilch! A particularly illustrative example is the use of the Allied airborne army when they could not overtake the ground forces and once landed troops in the rear of their own troops!
    1. AK-74-1
      AK-74-1 11 July 2012 13: 57
      I don’t quite agree. There were very interesting operations. The liberation of the Kuril Islands. Kerch-Theodosia offensive operation 1941-1942 of the year.
      There were landings in the rear of the Kwantung group, etc.
      The most difficult part is the approach to the landing site. At this point, both the landing and the delivery vehicles are the most vulnerable.
      1. Brother Sarych
        Brother Sarych 11 July 2012 18: 13
        The Kuril Islands were liberated by amphibious assault forces, and in fact Japan has already announced its readiness to surrender ...
        I don’t remember the big airborne assault in Crimea ...
        In the rear of the Kwantung Army there were landing landings at airfields to accept the surrender of the Japanese, there was no resistance ...
  15. FIMUK
    FIMUK 11 July 2012 14: 31
    the fact that the Germans knew how to count and value their soldiers and drew conclusions after the crisis; there was not a single major landing operation.
    The failures in Crete are connected first with Goering's extreme arrogance, inspired by the success of the landing of small groups in Belgium of Holapndia + the influence on Hitler (Hitler believed and listened to him), the result was excessive losses ..
    As an example of Luftwaffe’s failures, the operation is a sea lion (but here it’s like 50 to 50), the topic is long,
    The boiler near Stalingrad, when Goering assured Adolf in a wholly-owned air bridge to the besieged city, and the Germans decided not to withdraw the troops.
    In all subsequent operations, the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe acted exclusively together without various kinds of scams from the point of view of the domination of one or another group of troops, i.e., the backlashes occupied the Wehrmacht sky with earth.
    According to the parachute of the German paratroopers, the paradox of the pilots and saboteurs was that they had normal parachutes, i.e. with a ring and, so to speak, controlled reduction of the paratroopers, the parachute was forcibly pulled out, attached on the back, which made it impossible to control the presentation, but there is an opinion that this landing scheme Allowed to make flares from low altitudes, and not be exposed to air defense hazards .... probably for small groups such a doctrine is acceptable ... there is absolutely no crit on the scale of this example.
  16. Andrei
    Andrei 11 July 2012 15: 15
    It would be nice to start by returning the paratroopers necessary aviation and introducing at least a couple more regiments of attack aircraft so that it would not be necessary to coordinate with other branches of the army and ask for their help when there is no time for all this red tape, and if necessary the commander will know what there is to do quick immediate help to the troops ... you need to change the application strategy ... abandon the landing of large landings (well, or reduce the time for practicing such actions in favor of others) (regiment, brigade of the division) and devote more time to practicing actions in the battalion, company, platoon ... initially paratroopers had to carry out sabotage, disrupt communications, etc. they must be mobile so that, as soon as possible, if necessary, they could escape from enemy fire and begin active actions ... and it’s hard for me to imagine how many planes will be in the sky at the same time when landing a regiment .. I don’t even speak about the division and brigade and it’s unlikely that the planes will be typed on the regiment .... it will be a very noticeable goal e, even if the fighters reliably protect the transporters from air attacks, they will suffer heavy losses from the ground ... it’s better to land several battalions separately so that they divert to part of the enemy’s forces and then, together with other troops, carry out an offensive ... and in cases such as the capture of Crete, when there is no way to support the soldiers, you need to support them with fire and ammunition and bring in more troops who know the medical business at least at the nurse’s level to the paratrooper’s units so that the soldiers they didn’t die of not very serious injuries simply because they had no one to give honey. help. And you need to pay more attention to individual training, as often paratroopers scatters at a great distance from each other and they have to act relying only on ourselves.
    1. FIMUK
      FIMUK 11 July 2012 18: 24
      let's look at this angle, like the Russian Airborne Forces, they were planned and used for operational actions behind enemy lines or in vast territories of the country for the operational support / change of a given situation. This is the whole point of the airborne forces and its number in the Russian (Soviet) army .... so to speak, the specificity of territorial interests obliges us to have such forces.
      Airborne forces in other countries do not have such a development (numerical). for that in other countries there is the Marine Corps, etc. Well, you understand what I mean. And why do they have everything that you listed, and because they are constantly fighting, we do not.
      Airborne forces without the support of combined arms and ground forces will not last long. An example of a landing in the ardennes of an Anglo-American landing ... 2-3 days and the scribe is either destroyed or surrendered.
  17. Captain45
    Captain45 11 July 2012 18: 49
    It must be taken into account that for the Germans, and indeed it was the first experience of major airborne operations, separate episodes with a landing, but rather sabotage groups in Belgium when seizing bridges did not count. For successful operations and minimization of losses, the Germans would have to initially capture one or two airfields, and then already land the landing method. Example Prague in the 1968 year, first they landed a special forces group under the guise of athletes who captured the airport, and then began to land the Vitebsk Airborne Division in a landing way. Moreover, the first plane to land, duplicating the work of airfield equipment - beacons, a drive, etc., and then the main forces went. It was not for nothing that Otto Skorzeny recognized the landing operation to be brilliant, and he, I think, understood that. In the Red Army there were also not very successful landing operations carried out by large formations. So at the beginning of the 1942 year near Vyazma a large parachute assault was thrown in the composition, it seems 2 brigades, but as a result of the artillery of air defense, enemy fighter aircraft, the landing was not entirely in the given area over a large area, as a result, communication was broken, there were many losses of materiel and l / s, however, the paratroopers managed to organize a large number of centers of resistance, some units served as the basis for the formation of pairs of the Tizan detachments. In short, after three months, no more than 30% l / s came to the location of our troops. the task was to disrupt communications in the rear of the enemy, even the dispersal of the landing force over a large area during landing, contributed to a wider coverage of the territory of the paratroopers. Therefore, the assessment of this operation is controversial - on the one hand, the purpose of the landing was achieved, on the other hand, large losses of personnel. Towards the end of the war, landing was practiced in a landing manner, the unit was usually thrown out to capture the airfield, and then l / s and equipment were planted in a landing way, as in Port Arthur and other landing sites in Manchuria.
  18. Geokingxnumx
    Geokingxnumx 11 July 2012 19: 37
    Quote: Siga
    No wonder only the Russians could stop them

  19. loc.bejenari
    loc.bejenari 11 July 2012 19: 47
    honestly, I can’t understand the logic, why a 3 kilogram rifle could interfere with the landing
    Well, because of the size
    but so was MP 40

    is it really so dimensional (with the stock folded) that its size and as much as 4 kilograms will interfere with normal landing?
    the impression is that idiots in the headquarters were not only in the army
    to drop paratroopers with machine guns on machine guns is worse than an order to pick up a rifle from a deceased comrade
    1. fern
      fern 11 July 2012 21: 13
      MP-40s were also used. But mp-40 was 1 in the infantry squad (for land, for sure, I don’t know how). And he will not completely replace the rifle. And as I wrote above, that’s why they developed the Fg-42 automatic rifle. Great weapon. Combined everything
    2. prispek
      prispek 11 July 2012 22: 52
      Quote: loc.bejenari
      the impression is that idiots in the headquarters were not only in the army

      So it is known - "At Hitler's headquarters, everyone is low-handed" (Hero of Burkov In the movie They fought for the Motherland). But seriously, we don't understand a lot. For instance; we land in the wind (falling forward, the ability to pull the front straps of the harness to extinguish the canopy), and NATO paratroopers land against the wind - falling on our back and hitting the ground with the back of the head. wassat See the chronicle. We jump from a plane in a group, and the Germans jumped as if they were filming a movie; beautifully stretched out and bent, arms apart, well, just gymnasts in the circus.
      1. 8 company
        8 company 12 July 2012 11: 59
        Quote: prispek
        We jump from a plane in a group, and the Germans jumped as if they were filming a movie; beautifully stretched out and bent, arms apart, well, just gymnasts in the circus.

        Inexperienced paratroopers jump out of the group, because they do not know how to control the body in free fall, they can be turned over at the moment the dome opens, they will entangle the slings and put out the dome. To stabilize their fall, a small exhaust parachute is used. And experienced jump out usually imitating a planning bird, or in general - as they wander into their heads.
        1. prispek
          prispek 12 July 2012 17: 48
          Hello Andrey
          Quote: Company 8
          Inexperienced paratroopers jump out of a group,

          During the massive landing on the D-5s, both inexperienced parachutists - soldiers and experienced ones - officers, who had several hundred jumps, jumped in groups. When stabilizing, a gliding bird cannot be imitated, it chatters strongly. Although there were always assholes. There was such a stupid tradition; perform the "demobilization cross" in the last jump. That is, jump out stretched out, bending over and arms to the sides. Sometimes it rolled, and it happened that the hand was whipped with a stabilizer, and then as luck would have it. But athletes on sports canopies without stabilization really jump as they come to their heads
          1. 8 company
            8 company 12 July 2012 18: 44
            Quote: prispek
            Hello Andrey

            Greetings, Vladimir! To blame, I began to explain to you the common truths of paratroopers, and you were in the subject smile
  20. Nuar
    Nuar 12 July 2012 12: 44
    In any article devoted to the landing on Crete, for some reason they always forget that it was an airborne operation, and not an airborne landing.

    We can now outline the German plan of attack that we learned after the war. ... Almost 16 thousand people, mainly paratroopers, were supposed to be thrown by air and 7 thousand by sea.

    for some reason they always forget about the amphibious assault (and quite significant) ...

    Quote: prispek
    however, the Greek troops, in combat positions, included a total of no more than 14 thousand soldiers, and they were practically without heavy weapons and had an extremely limited amount of ammunition

    oops. and the Germans probably parachuted with mortars in their hands ... but no, then it is written "with a knife and a pistol." In general, a parachutist is a light infantryman with only a very large MPH.

    With the balance of power, the table would indicate the parts of the allied reinforcement:
    Our air defense was equipped with 16 heavy anti-aircraft guns (3,7-inch caliber), 36 light anti-aircraft guns (Bofors) and 24 searchlights. There was only 9 partially worn infantry tanksallocated to aerodromes, and 16 light tanks. On May 9, a part of the mobile naval base arrived, including heavy and light anti-aircraft batteries, which were placed to better protect the Gulf of the Court. In total, about 2 thousand soldiers and officers of this detachment landed in Crete ...

    well, and it would be nice to remember how many warships the British had who shot through the island even across, even diagonally. It would also be nice to remember that the German paratroopers "with a knife and a pistol" did drown two cruisers and three destroyers (okay, let the aircraft drown, but it sounds cooler with paratroopers). You also need to remember that the British are those soldiers who were evacuated from Greece, i.e. people with real combat experience, and not a gang of farmers who were opposed by "selected German soldiers" ...

    So it is necessary to understand that the capture of Crete by the Airborne Forces was the result of accidents and planning errors, and was not in any way planned as "an awesome success of parachutists."

    Jean Mabir "In the white hell"
  21. Argonaut
    Argonaut 12 July 2012 16: 53
    Heroic battle - both the Germans and the Hello Greeks sailed from the heart.
  22. SenyaYa
    SenyaYa 12 July 2012 18: 40
    The Germans shook up smaller forces ... they suffered losses in 4 thousand people and consideredx unacceptable .... that would be Soviet leadership so related to human resources