By George Forty
Following the winning German invasion of the Balkans and the seize of mainland Greece, the Axis powers' focussed their attentions upon the strategic island of Crete. The island was once Britain's final foothold within the northeast Mediterranean and used to be perceived as being pivotal to the continued defence of the center East and the the most important sea-lanes resulting in the Suez Canal. through early 1941 the British place within the Mediterranean was once wavering; in North Africa Rommel's forces have been sweeping in the direction of Egypt, and the remainder British fortresses reminiscent of Malta have been threatened. by contrast history, German forces introduced an airborne assault opposed to Crete in past due might 1941. Drawing upon a major collection of modern pictures, allied with first-hand memories from those that fought,'Battle of Crete' examines the most bitterly contested engagements of the early struggle years. Uniquely acknowledged from the perspective of the person struggling with soldier, sailor and airman, this well timed exam of an enormous yet usually missed conflict may be crucial studying for all historians of worldwide warfare 2.
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Additional info for Battle of Crete
REKATA BAY 500km Seaplane base Air base American CORAL SEA THE SLOT Vella Lavella I. New Georgia Bougainville Buin Shortland I. Solomon Sea New Britain Gasmata Rabaul New Ireland Kaiveng Buna NEW Salamaua GUINEA Lae Admiralty Is. Truk (820 miles from Rabaul) O C E A N P A C I F I C S O U T H Gilbert Is. Fiji Is. Suva Ellice Is. American and Japanese bases in the South Pacific, September–October 1942 Cruz Islands. This would place the Americans at the edge of the range of land-based air support from Espiritu Santo, so Halsey ordered the carriers to search aggressively for Japanese forces.
Naval History and Heritage Command) RIGHT A Type 99 carrier bomber shot down directly over Enterprise on August 24. Only eight of the 27 dive-bombers that attacked TF-16 during the battle returned to their carriers. com LEFT Enterprise is hit by Japanese dive-bombers. The view is from heavy cruiser Portland. (Naval History and Heritage Command) RIGHT This spectacular shot is the third bomb to hit Enterprise during the battle of the Eastern Solomons. The bomb was a 532-pound high-explosive bomb which probably rendered only a low-order detonation.
This was the most controversial decision of the battle. Though his original plan called for the sweep north of the Santa Cruz Islands to be executed only in the absence of enemy carriers, Halsey did not cancel the movement now that he had solid information that Nagumo was in the area. Instead of keeping the carriers south of Guadalcanal able to react to direct threats to the Marines, Halsey sent them into an operation at the edge of land-based air support. The reasons for this remain unclear. Halsey was confident, perhaps overconfident, of the capabilities of the American carriers to handle their Japanese counterparts.