THE CHRONICLE OF THE BATTLE OF CRETE
The occupation period was officially ended on May 10, 1945, when the German Commandant of Crete signed at Knossos the surrender of his forces, in presence of Greek and Allied officers.
- October 28, 1940
Declaration of the Greek -Italian war.
- November 1940
The defence of Crete is taken over by the British. The V Cretan Division is transported to Athens.
- April 15, 1941
After successive meetings, the Germans decide on the occupation of Crete.
The transport of Greek and British forces from mainland Greece to Crete is scheduled for the second fortnight of April.
- April 23, 1941
The Greek government resorts to Crete.
- April 25, 1941
Landing in Crete of the New Zealand allies.
- April 28, 1941
The Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. E. Tsouderos, chairs a meeting at Chania between the leaders of the Greek forces and British officers. The meeting concluded with the issue of a reinforcement request to strengthen the defence of the island,
- April 29, 1941
The Commander of the New Zealand Division General Freyberg, arrives in Crete and the day after resumes command of allied forces on the island.
- May 14, 1941
Military targets on Crete are systematically bombarded, thus commences the great assault on the island.
- May 18-19,1941
German aircraft land on airfields of Attica and Northern Greece to prepare for the attack.
- May 20, 1941
German attack on the island begins at 6.30 a.m. The Germans subject the towns of Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion to severe bombardment prior to dropping their elite parachutists. Local confrontations take place between German paratroopers and allied forces reinforced by the local population.
- May 21, 1941
The German concentrate their attack on Maleme airport. German aircrafts land at Maleme in the evening, carrying significant forces and material for the attack. The British fleet in the Mediterranean strikes a German convoy heading for Crete. Fifteen requisitioned vessels are sunk; their losses are unknown.
- May 22, 1941
The Germans manage to finally occupy Maleme airport. Allied efforts to retake it are fruitless.
- May 23, 1941
Greek political leadership abandons Crete on destroyer «Decoy». Churchill sends the following message to the Headquarters: «The Battle of Crete must be won».
- May 24, 1941
The bombardment of Cretan towns goes on. At Chania, the Germans gained the movement initiative. The allied forces at Rethymnon and Heraklion are determined «to fight to the end».
- May 25, 1941
The Germans occupy Kandanos. The resolute and unexpected resistance of! the defenders infuriate the Germans who resort to brutal reprisals -mass' executions, arson, and other serious destruction.
- May 26, 1941
Galatas is occupied. Allied forces are desperately trying to defend Chania. General Freyberg notes the dire circumstances the allied forces are in.
- May 27,1941
The Commander-in-chief of the Middle East, Wayvel, orders the allied forces to evacuate the island. Vessels of the British fleet take over the mission of safe evacuation of the allies. Chania falls in the hands of the invaders.
- May 28, 1941
Evacuation and retreat of the allies to Sfakia commences. The British, with- out notifying the Greek authorities, evacuate Heraklion at night to embark on vessels which had called in to the local port for that purpose. Italian troops from Dodecanese land in Sitia and occupy the prefecture of Lassithi.
- May 29,1941
The Germans occupy Rethymnon and Heraklion.
- May 30, 1941
General Freyberg departs from Crete.
- May 31, 1941
The last British vessel picks up only part of the allied forces. Approximately 5.500 allies miss final embarkation on the vessels. Later, they were either captured, surrendered or sought refuge to the Cretan mountains. The German swastika is now waving on the island. Occupation is a harsh reality but the resolute resistance of the Cretan people is destined to become one of the most glorious in modern history.
The blood price Crete paid since the German invasion was 6.593 men, 1.113 women and 869 children.