Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Assessment of the German attack on Heraklion from 21 May to 29 May 1941

The German attack on Heraklion was based on a series of errors, both by the German High Command, and by the local commander. Heraklion was another case where paratroops were dropped onto a strongly defended area with trained troops waiting for the assault. That was an error by the High Command that happened in most paratroop attacks in Crete. The High Command also seriously underestimated the strength of the defending force. They also did not realize the danger to transport aircraft by ground fire, mostly from 40mm Bofors light anti-aircraft guns at Heraklion, but also 3 inch anti-aircraft guns. That caused heavy losses of transports in the first wave and caused the following waves to be understrength and delivered in small groups. The plan was also flawed in that the force was given too many objectives: the communications stie at Gurnes, the town of Heraklion, the airfield, and the protection on the west side. There was also the problem that Colonel Brauer did not concentrate his force and attack at a single point. Even after being reinforced, he was struggling to even concentrate his force. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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