Friday, July 05, 2013
The issue about mutilation and reprisals by German troops
The German troops on Crete after 20 May 1941 were quick to react to what they perceived as atrocities or mutilations. Eventually, an investigation was conducted of the alleged incidents during the battle for Crete. The investigation found that British and New Zealand troops always conducted themselves well and when they had German prisoners, protected them from Cretan attacks. There were fewer incidents of actual mutilations than originally were reported. These all seemed to originate with Cretan civilians, not Greek troops. The investigation was conducted in a fair and impartial way to learn the truth of what had happened and was conducted by the Germans. The German troops involved were too quick to resort to reprisals which would likely result in war crimes trials, post-war, if they were pursued. The report was issued by the "Chief Medical Inspector of the Luftwaffe". Clearly, the use of reprisal killings by the German airborne troops was a mistake. This is based on the account in Volume II of the Australian Official History.