Crete: The Battle and the Resistance

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Crete 1941

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The Battle Of Crete: Turning Point Of World War II

Communication by boat with Egypt was established as a means of evacuating British and Dominion soldiers who had been trapped on Crete and for bringing in supplies and men to liaise with Cretan resistance fighters. He approached a young high school student named George Doundoulakis after observing his keen knowledge as a Greek interpreter in Archanes during the Battle of Crete. He asked him to support the SOE in hiding and assisting British and Dominion soldiers who were unable to be evacuated. Doundoulakis formed an underground organisation under the auspices of the SOE, along with his brother, Helias Doundoulakis.

After the war, George Doundoulakis was awarded the King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom from Great Britain for his services and assisting in the evacuation and safety of British and Dominion stragglers from Crete. Leigh Fermor has said of the Cretan resistance that if it had not been for their resolve, the Battle of Crete would have been over more quickly and the SOE's operations greatly curtailed.

It was solely due to their cohesiveness, not found anywhere else in Europe, that the SOE was able to move about the island essentially at will:.

Crete - The Battle and the Resistance (e-bok) | ARK Bokhandel

When the Germans invaded Crete, their armies had just defeated the whole of Europe, except — thanks, perhaps, to the fluke of the Channel's existence — England. Logically the civilian population could have been expected to remain inactive while the professionals — the British Commonwealth and a small number of Greek troops — fought it out with the invaders.

But to the great astonishment of both sides, all over the island bodies of Cretans — villagers, shepherds, old men, boys, monks and priests and even women, without any collusion between them or master plan or arms or guidance from the official combatants — rose up at once and threw themselves on the invaders with as little hesitation as if the German war machine were a Pasha's primitive expedition of Janissaries armed with long guns and scimitars.

They had not a second doubt about what they should do The Cretan rebels, particularly in the region of Mount Kedros along with the rest of the rebels in the Amari plateau and the village of Anogeia near Rethymnon , were responsible for most of the German reprisals.

The Battle for Crete, How Not To Use Paratroopers (Feat OSP)

German interventions into those regions were undertaken against civilians as a result of their well-renowned penchant for insurrection:. The German reasons for their onslaught were that these villages were all hotbeds of bandits, the haunts of the British, hiding places of terrorists, refuges for commandos attacking aerodromes and supply dumps, the hiding places for unnumbered weapons, and the supply point for hundreds of bad men Cretans and the Cretan resistance worked closely with the British, firstly when they aided the British and Dominion forces in escaping from Crete, and secondly, when they worked together on acts of sabotage when Crete became a launching pad for German operations in Africa.

The British formed a large number of isolated cells scattered throughout the mountains, with good communications, using runners, between them. One such runner was George Psychoundakis. Leigh Fermor's description of Psychoundakis epitomized Cretan resistance:. Dick Barne's messenger, when he arrived, turned out to be George Psychoundakis, who had first been Xan Fielding's guide and runner for a long time, then mine when I had taken over Xan's area in the west for several months. This youthful, Kim-like figure was a great favourite of everyone's, for his humour, high spirits, pluck and imagination and above all the tireless zest with which he threw himself into the task.

If anybody could put a girdle round Crete in forty minutes, he could. George, who was a shepherd boy from Asi Gonia , later wrote of the occupation and the resistance movement.


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I translated it from his manuscript and it was published, under the title The Cretan Runner Most cells had a radio for communicating with Egypt through which information could be passed and requests made for parachute drops of food, clothing, supplies, and weapons. German troops constantly tried to locate the radio transmissions, which resulted in the requirement to change location regularly.

Nazi Germany expected its airborne attack on Crete in to be a textbook victory based on tactical surprise. Little did they know that the British, using Ultra intercepts, had already laid a careful trap. It should have been the first German defeat of the war when a fatal misunderstanding turned the battle around. Prize-winning historian and bestselling author Antony Beevor lends his gift for storytelling to this important conflict, showing not only how the situation turned bad for Allied forces, but also how ferocious Cretan freedom fighters mounted a heroic resistance.

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