This World War II German newsreel was retrieved from a U.S. Navy archive, and is now part of the Periscope Film collection. Made for propaganda purposes during the war by the German newsreel company Degeto Weltspiegel and sold to the home market in Germany, these newsreels provide a fascinating look at the German military. These German newsreels were seized by the U.S. government following the war, and ended up in the collection of the U.S. government.
The Battle of Crete was a battle fought 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.
After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered very heavy casualties and the Allied troops were confident that they would prevail against the German invasion. 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 not only the first battle where German paratroops (Fallschirmjäger) were used on a massive scale, but also the first mainly airborne invasion in military history, 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. Because 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 formations.