Wednesday, March 06, 2013
The German plan for Crete in 1941
The proposal for the airborne attack on Crete had only been made on 15 April 1941. There was only time for five weeks of planning and preparation prior to the attack on 20 May 1941. General Lohr had made the pitch to Field Marshal Goering. General Lohr planned to use General Student's XI Air Corps and General von Richthofen's VIII Air Corps for the attack. The units and aircraft were only in place on airfields in Southern Greece by 14 May. The Germans expected to be fighting one division, plus remnants evacuated from Greece in late April. General Student wanted to make four attacks in Crete, but there were insufficient aircraft to provide air cover for more than three simultaneous attacks. The plan then tried to accommodate that by making two attacks int morning and two in the afternoon on 20 May. That immediately handicapped the attacking force and reduced the chances for success. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.