Battle of Crete

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{war, force, army}
{service, military, aircraft}
{ship, engine, design}
{god, call, give}
{island, water, area}
{mi², represent, 1st}
{line, north, south}
{village, small, smallsup}
{car, race, vehicle}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}
{town, population, incorporate}

Greek:
Military:
426 dead[13]
800-850 wounded1
5,255 captured
Civilian:
3,000 dead[14]
Royal Navy:
1,828 dead
183 wounded
9 ships sunk and 18 damaged

Total:
3,990 dead
2,750 wounded
17,090 captured

The Battle of Crete (German: Luftlandeschlacht um Kreta; Greek: Μάχη της Κρήτης) was a battle during World War II on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code-name Unternehmen Merkur ("Operation Mercury"). Greek and Allied forces, along with Cretan civilians, defended the island.[16][17]

After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered appalling casualties and none of their objectives had been achieved. The next day, through miscommunication and the failure of Allied commanders to grasp the situation, Maleme airfield in western Crete fell to the Germans, enabling them to fly in reinforcements and overwhelm the defenders. The battle lasted about 10 days.

The Battle of Crete was unprecedented in three respects: it was the first mainly airborne invasion;[18] the first time the Allies made significant use of intelligence from the deciphered German Enigma code; and the first time invading German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian population. In light of the heavy casualties suffered by the paratroopers, Adolf Hitler forbade further large scale airborne operations. However, the Allies were impressed by the potential of paratroopers and started to build their own airborne divisions. This was the first battle where the Fallschirmjäger ("parachute rangers") were used on a massive scale.

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