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cardboard_killer

[80 Years Ago Today] "
• Approximately half of the British air strength in Egypt is ordered sent to Greece. Eventually there will be two squadrons of Hurricanes, two of Gladiators, one of Lysanders, five of Blenheims, and one of Wellingtons. The Fleet Air Arm will have detachments of Sea Gladiators, Fulmars, and Swordfish on Crete, along with a Coastal Command detachment of Sunderlands. "

 

1807708394_BlenheimMk-IatParamythiaGreece.jpg.aadaf04a59f31461a362b92bab4e12e1.jpg

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "- Three Greek Bréguet-19s observation planes bomb elements of 3ª Divisione Alpina Julia during the fighting for Vovoússa. They are intercepted by CR-42 fighters, with one Bré-19 being shot down and another crash landing on return to base.

 

1192128320_GreekBrguet19s.jpg.ff546f0b1e2954f5fb87f609cd1f4834.jpg

 

• During an Italian air raid on Thessaloniki, Anthyposminagos (Pilot Officer) Marinos Mitralexis shoots down a Savoia-Marchetti SM-79 with his PZL-24C. He attacks a second but is unable to bring it down before running out of ammunition, so he dives on it and chews its rudder off with his propeller, forcing both aircraft down. He then takes the Italian crew prisoner with his pistol.

- Mitralexis will be promoted and awarded the Gold Cross for Valour. After the fall of Greece he will fly with RAF No 335 (Greek) Squadron in North Africa, initially equipped with Hurricanes."

 

1792221839_GreekPZLP-24s.jpg.f37455c8e71f46e99ad0bc414a9cb2d3.jpg

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3 hours ago, cardboard_killer said:

[During an Italian air raid on Thessaloniki, Anthyposminagos (Pilot Officer) Marinos Mitralexis shoots down a Savoia-Marchetti SM-79 with his PZL-24C. He attacks a second but is unable to bring it down before running out of ammunition, so he dives on it and chews its rudder off with his propeller, forcing both aircraft down. He then takes the Italian crew prisoner with his pistol.

 

:o:

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I've been banging on about this scenario since Il2-46. I'd love to see the Epirus campaign in Great Battles. I really want to fly a Blenheim into Paramythia - the Valley of the Fairy Tales - like the pic in Killer's post.

 

 

 

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Polemikí Aeroporía Potez-633 bombers raid Vlorë in Italian Albania, sinking coastal steamer Ardita IV. {RAF Blenheims will sink sistership Ardita II off Italian Somaliland two days from now}"

 

884740689_GreekcrewposewhilebombingupaPotez-633B.jpg.996aadcccc1863685ddba68e1c2fad6e.jpg

 

Potez_63.11.JPG

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cardboard_killer

"• Heavy combat continues along the heights of the Morava mountains, with Greek and Italian forces tenaciously fighting for control of the summits."

772367268_FormacindebombarderositalianasobreGrecia.jpg.5e3e317ded98a5e12b9ab6bb5696d00a.jpg

 

[edit: lest we forget what the war is really about: 80 years ago today while the Greeks were tenaciously defending their country from Italian invasion: ]"• German authorities execute a Polish man in Warsaw for throwing bread over the wall into the Jewish ghetto. "

Edited by cardboard_killer
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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Both sides are providing maximum air support for the Greek counter-offensive, with the smaller Polemikí Aeroporía trying to disrupt the Regia Aeronautica. Attrition is getting critical as the two dozen remaining Polish made PZLs are whittled down, and the RAF transfers seven Gloster Gladiators to the Greeks as replacement aircraft."

 

1682585940_DownedGreekPZL-24inNovember1940.jpg.d1fabfb41f70c6ba564c8af87cde53a0.jpg

 

CantZ1007bisDownedByGreekAirforce.jpg.c8c2654df83d854278c6775d7f9ae255.jpg

 

1735358357_GladiatorsinHaifaPalestinepreppedforloadingaboardshipboundforGreece.jpg.e3f251ab6ae067e4443d1714638104bc.jpg

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cardboard_killer

• Aircraft from HMS Illustrious raid the Italian seaplane base at Port Lakki, Leros, in the Aegean. One Swordfish is lost.

HMS_ILLUSTRIOUS,_1940._FL2425.jpg

 

Port Lakki, Leros today.

 

Lakki.jpg

 

• HMS Eagle is detached from escorting convoy MF-4 (three empty ships returning to Alexandria from Malta as part of Operation MB 6, which resulted in the Battle of Cape Passero) and launches a night raid on Tripoli, then turns back for Alexandria.

 

HMS_Eagle_underway_1930s.jpeg

 

[Normally I try to keep photos to the air war, but this was dramatic and I've never seen it before]. The Italian destroyer RN Artigliere is sunk by torpedoes from HMS York the morning after the battle. Her aft magazine blows up.

 

691px-RN_Artigliere_destroyed.jpg

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] 'Despite the success of Operation Compass, Churchill is becoming disgruntled with General Wavell, who is vigorously resisting diversion of more assets from North Africa to Greece. Wavell telegraphs. “Your proposals would impel us to disperse our forces in Middle East and to stop our advance in Libya. Nothing, repeat nothing, we can do from here is likely to be in time to stop a German advance (in Greece) if one is really intended.” '

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] • The Italian 7ª Divisione fanteria “Lupi di Toscana” (Wolves of Tuscany) and remnants of 3ª Divisione alpina “Julia” Division launch a counterattack on Klisura Pass, captured yesterday after a five day assault by the Greek 1st, 5th, and 11th Divisions. The Toscanas were forced to march for 24 hours before immediately launching their attack and the exhausted men are beaten back with heavy casualties.

 

1447366017_SM-79soverGreeceorAlbaniaJanuary1941.jpg.a57ad0f22d1bf33e1ca3714c73f50a4e.jpg

 

Greek troops near Kleisoura Jan 1941

 

1291039845_GreektroopsnearKleisouraJan1941.jpg.f2265ea102e1d330fb53cc29e6de9033.jpg

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ITAF_Artiglio
And I think back to the phrase that Mussolini said, 
we will break Greece's back ...
If only that idiot had thought that
part of southern Italy was the daughter of Greece,
perhaps he would not have made that wicked choice ...
Edited by ITAFArtiglio_
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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today]  "• General Sir Archibald Wavell and Air Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore arrive in Athens for talks with Prime Minister Metaxas and the Greek Commander in Chief, Alexandros Papagos. The Greeks ask for nine divisions and a substantial air component to be sent to support their forces. This is more than Wavell has available in the entire theatre. Longmore announces the transfer of an additional squadron of Gladiators and one of Blenheims from Egypt to Greece. "

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cardboard_killer

[80 Years ago today] "• During an air raid on Thessaloniki, a Greek MB-151 downs a CANT Z-1007 bomber. After months of slow attrition, the Polemikí Aeroporía has only three or four of the French fighters still in operation. "

 

MB-151.jpg.d725a13690ade4dc5f7b7ffddec53275.jpg

 

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 Years ago today] "• Italian G.50 fighters conduct a sweep over Katsikas airfield. Two Greek pilots scramble with their Gladiators. One is knocked out while taking off and the other shot down while trying to gain altitude."

 

1157510998_FiatG-50.jpg.7ce5aa2d8f2647e8c02c0a95ecd1b5e1.jpg

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Swordfish of Fleet Air Arm No. 815 Squadron, operating from Paramythia, Greece, conduct a night torpedo attack on the Albanian port of Vlorë (Valona). Sunk are the Italian 7,300 ton hospital ship Po and 3,500 ton steamer Santa Maria. The hospital ship was unlit in order to prevent illumination of the other ships and facilities. The Squadron Leader’s Swordfish is shot down but the crewmen survive to be taken prisoner. "

 

X-Ray Mag: International Diving Magazine

“The Countess shipwrecked right on this beach,” an Albanian friend tells me. “Italian soldiers arrived, they got her into a truck and took her away." The countess was Edda Ciano Mussolini, the daughter of the Italian dictator who was travelling on the hospital ship Po as a Red Cross nurse. The Po was one of the 22 white ships used to repatriate sick, shipwrecked and wounded during the Second World War.
The Po arrived in the Bay of Valona on the evening of 14 March 1941 and moored about a mile from the mouth of the River Secco, quite close to the coast. This was to facilitate the next day's transfer of the wounded on board to ambulances and trucks from the barracks of military hospital no. 403, which was located on the hill behind us. By order of the Command of Marina di Valona, the hospital ship was not illuminated during the night, as the lights would have made it possible for British reconnaissance planes to identify the other ships moored in the bay.
Shortly after 11 o'clock that night, five British torpedo airplanes from a base on the Greek island of Paramythia made it across the Karaburuni Peninsula mountain range on the other side of the Bay of Valona without being intercepted. As it reached the sea, a torpedo was unleashed from a Swordfish torpedo bomber under the command of Lieutenant Michael Torrens-Spence. It hit the hospital ship on the starboard side. In the matter of a few minutes, the Po began to tilt, so the order was given to abandon ship and launch the lifeboats. During the ensuing turmoil, a lifeboat capsized, drowning two Red Cross nurses while a third lost her life trying to save them. Ten minutes after the torpedo struck, the ship sank, leaving only the main mast, which for years indicated the exact point of sinking, above water.
2_Nave_ospedale_Po_fonte_collezione_Rast
PO_6_Mauro_Pazzi.jpg
PO_1_Mauro_Pazzi.jpg
PO_8_Mauro_Pazzi.jpg
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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "

  • Battle of Cape Matapan

• An Italian Ro-43 floatplane from Vittorio Veneto locates Allied light cruisers Ajax, Gloucester, Orion, and Perth with several destroyers south of Crete. Italian cruisers under Ammiraglio di Squadra Luigi Sansonnetti move to engage and a long range gunnery duel ensues with no damage on either side. Vittorio Veneto moves up and opens fire on the Allied cruisers, which retire with the Italians in pursuit. Vice Admiral Henry Pridham-Whippell commanding the cruisers hopes to lure the sole Italian battleship into range of Warspite, Barham, and Valiant, which are only ninety miles away.

 

Vittoriofiring.jpg.3d770dc6e851750b2d3f914510c326a0.jpg

RN Vittorio Veneto firing at Allied cruisers. Her fire is accurate but dispersion is high, and eleven of her 15” shells jam in the barrels. Several of the Allied ships suffer splinter damage.

 


- As pre-arranged in case of major Italian sortie, seven Greek destroyers had gotten underway the night before and transited to the vicinity of Kephalonia, where they can get between the Italians and their base. They transmit to Admiral Cunningham that they are “Awaiting orders”. A decryption error aboard the British flagship causes the message to read that they are “Awaiting oilers”. Since no oilers are available, they are told to return to port.

- Around noon, Swordfish and Albacore torpedo planes from HMS Formidable attack the Italian fleet. They miss but the maneuvering throws the Italian fleet into disarray. With the promised German air support not showing up, Ammiraglio Iachino breaks off the pursuit of the Allied ships.

- In a second airstrike at 3pm, an Albacore (which is shot down by AA fire) hits Vittorio Veneto on her outer port propeller, causing her to take on 4,000 tons of water. After an hour she gets underway again, making 19 knots for Taranto.

Vittoriodown.thumb.jpg.b7184f14a1ecae0ba9959ca46415cba5.jpg

RN Vittorio Veneto retiring, down at the stern.

 

- A third airstrike in the evening manages to get a single torpedo into the heavy cruiser Pola, and within minutes she is dead in the water without power.

 

torpedodrop.jpg.5a881726a602946956b20635ad685a99.jpg

This image is often reported as the torpedo launch that hits and dooms Pola, but is a different launch earlier the same day against heavy cruiser Bolzano.

 

- The British battleships race to engage the Italians. HMS Warspite’s Swordfish float plane had been up for five hours flying over the Italian fleet and constantly reporting Iachinos position. Rather than stop to pick it up, Captain Douglas Fisher orders the pilot to taxi at eighteen knots ahead of the battleship. In a harrowing maneuver with the plane tossed by the battleship’s bow wave, the Swordfish’s observer is able to snag Warspite’s crane hook to the plane's ring bolt and get snatched out of the water.

 

swordfishtaxiing.jpg.ef8768d7135463e9b9bf7c0096296ab5.jpg

 


- As darkness falls, Iachino, unaware of British battleships in the area, sends the cruisers Zara and Fiume with four destroyers back to help the Pola and tow her home if needed. The British possession of radar (which the Italians don’t have) allows Warspite, Barham, and Valiant to close to 3,800 yards before opening fire. Haze from the sirocco winds in the gloomy darkness blinds the Italians. Allied destroyers illuminate the targets with searchlights. Some British gunners report seeing the cruisers’ main turrets popping up dozens of metres into the air. After just three minutes, two Italian heavy cruisers - Fiume and Zara - are destroyed. Two Italian destroyers, Vittorio Alfieri and Giosué Carducci, are sunk in the first five minutes. The other two destroyers, Vincenzo Gioberti and Alfredo Oriani, manage to escape, the former with heavy damage. The British have no casualties and only some minor splinter damage. The Italians lose over 2,300 men."

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Greek (former Austro-Hungarian) torpedo boat Proussa is sunk at Corfu by Italian Ju-87 Pichiatelli of 97º Gruppo. The 930 ton steamer Souzana is also sunk."

 

1139697889_97GruppoPicchiatelliovertheBalkansin1941.jpg.4f9f4decb7ae24b7678196af19fb7136.jpg

97º Gruppo Picchiatelli over the Balkans in 1941

 

826272569_SouzanaafterbeinghitbyPicchiatello.jpg.40163a0dece1f85ed4ccd426f3b66e69.jpg

Souzana after being hit by Picchiatello

 

270803135_RHSProussaaftertheattack.jpg.55d6b598f5b854a2641c39afce829805.jpg

RHS Proussa after the attack

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• The Regia Aeronautica attacks the RAF base at Paramythia, near the Greek/Albanian border, destroying several British and Yugoslav aircraft on the ground.

• In Greece, Luftwaffe bombs RAF airstrip at Larisa at dawn, destroying ten Blenheims on the ground. The Axis have command of the air and RAF aircraft are withdrawn to Athens.

 

647387977_AbandonedRAFfieldinGreece.jpg.1bde24aaa72d654a118f3f0ba56e240a.jpg

Abandoned RAF field in Greece

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• The Luftwaffe sends nearly 200 Bf-109 and Bf-110 fighters to escort a large raid over Athens. Fifteen Hurricanes and fewer than half a dozen Greek PZL-24 and MB-151 fighters are available to oppose it. Greek losses are uncertain but seven Hurricanes are lost including one piloted by Marmaduke “Pat” Pattle, who is considered to be the top scoring RAF pilot of the war. Pattle flew despite being officially grounded with a high temperature, and downed one Ju-88, one Bf-110, and two Bf-109s before being shot down and killed by two Bf-110s. Irish ace Timber Woods is also shot down and killed.

 

33_Squadron_RAF_Hurricane_pilots_Greece_WWII_IWM_ME(RAF)_1200.jpg.e08f18817ba9674a3ffd605526efed7e.jpg

Six of these pilots are killed over Greece and one shot down and captured. Woods is first on left and Pattle is fifth from the left, both sitting. "

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TWC_Sp00k

Finished reading Pat Pattles biography just recently. Amazing story.  It speaks of Greece also.

Edited by TWC_Sp00k
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Monksilver
On 3/28/2021 at 4:17 PM, cardboard_killer said:

[80 years ago today] "

  • Battle of Cape Matapan

• An Italian Ro-43 floatplane from Vittorio Veneto locates Allied light cruisers Ajax, Gloucester, Orion, and Perth with several destroyers south of Crete. Italian cruisers under Ammiraglio di Squadra Luigi Sansonnetti move to engage and a long range gunnery duel ensues with no damage on either side. Vittorio Veneto moves up and opens fire on the Allied cruisers, which retire with the Italians in pursuit. Vice Admiral Henry Pridham-Whippell commanding the cruisers hopes to lure the sole Italian battleship into range of Warspite, Barham, and Valiant, which are only ninety miles away.

 

 

 The British battleships race to engage the Italians. HMS Warspite’s Swordfish float plane had been up for five hours flying over the Italian fleet and constantly reporting Iachinos position. Rather than stop to pick it up, Captain Douglas Fisher orders the pilot to taxi at eighteen knots ahead of the battleship. In a harrowing maneuver with the plane tossed by the battleship’s bow wave, the Swordfish’s observer is able to snag Warspite’s crane hook to the plane's ring bolt and get snatched out of the water.

 


- As darkness falls, Iachino, unaware of British battleships in the area, sends the cruisers Zara and Fiume with four destroyers back to help the Pola and tow her home if needed. The British possession of radar (which the Italians don’t have) allows Warspite, Barham, and Valiant to close to 3,800 yards before opening fire. Haze from the sirocco winds in the gloomy darkness blinds the Italians. Allied destroyers illuminate the targets with searchlights. Some British gunners report seeing the cruisers’ main turrets popping up dozens of metres into the air. After just three minutes, two Italian heavy cruisers - Fiume and Zara - are destroyed. Two Italian destroyers, Vittorio Alfieri and Giosué Carducci, are sunk in the first five minutes. The other two destroyers, Vincenzo Gioberti and Alfredo Oriani, manage to escape, the former with heavy damage. The British have no casualties and only some minor splinter damage. The Italians lose over 2,300 men."

 

According to one source the midshipman on HMS Valiant had been in control of the searchlights as the ship battled an Italian cruiser when he spotted an unexpected second enemy vessel nearby. He survived unscathed amid his shattered lights as enemy cannon shell ripped into his position. His commanding officer said: “Thanks to his alertness and appreciation of the situation, we were able to sink in five minutes two 8in gun Italian cruisers.” 

 

In later years the midshipman (as he was at the time of the battle and was mentioned in dispatches for it) said this about the incident.

 'I seem to remember that I reported I had a target in sight, and was ordered to “open shutter”. The beam lit up a stationary cruiser, but we were so close by then that the beam only lit up half the ship.

'At this point all hell broke loose, as all our eight 15-inch guns, plus those of the flagship and Barham's started firing at the stationary cruiser, which disappeared in an explosion and a cloud of smoke.

'I was then ordered to "train left" and lit up another Italian cruiser, which was given the same treatment.

 

That midshipman was none other than the late Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. RIP

Edited by Monksilver
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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] • German reinforcements rush towards Thermopylae. The ANZAC held bottleneck is threatening plans to bag the entire expeditionary force. German and Italian aircraft pound RAF air bases around Athens, forcing the withdrawal of the remaining Hurricanes to Argos in the Peloponnesus.

• Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga departs mainland Greece with King Geórgios II and the government. The destroyer safely arrives at Suda Bay.

• Greek minelayer Aliakmon, destroyer Hydra, torpedo boats Kios and Thyella, and two Greek hospital ships are crippled or sunk by Italian and German aircraft. Dozens of Greek merchant ships will be sunk over the next week.

 

85712459_RHSHydra.jpg.1294c167a9667dc2ea4328728a4c605b.jpg

RHS Hydra

 

451609181_RHSThyellain1907.jpg.16b2c361fc38ba21c2cf9b2a8782001e.jpg

RHS Thyella (1907)

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• The Greek Army of Epirus, already surrendered to the Germans against orders, surrenders to the Italians.

• King Geórgios II, now on Crete, orders the contents of his wine cellar to be distributed to the Allied troops, one bottle per soldier and two per officer.

• Luftwaffe raids destroy fifteen Hurricanes on the ground at Argos, resulting in the withdrawal of all aircraft to Crete. Pre-dreadnought battleships Lemnos and Kilkis are sunk by dive bombing. This is reported as a great naval victory even though the former USS Idaho and USS Mississippi (commissioned in 1908) have been placed in the inactive reserve since 1932, with several guns and sections of armor plating removed for use ashore. They have been used as floating barracks. Torpedo boat Kios, hospital ship Polikos and minelayer Nestos are also sunk. Disabled destroyer Vasilefs Georgios is in floating drydock next to Kilkis, and although not hit, the Greeks will scuttle the drydock with the destroyer inside.

 

1788146718_KilkisandVasilefsGeorgiosunderattack.jpg.625c729ee0d515c8b6e3e558aa03cb66.jpg

 

945498115_Kilkiswreck.jpg.70afc2c1ab32bca11d598a68bdb68d34.jpg945498115_Kilkiswreck.jpg.70afc2c1ab32bca11d598a68bdb68d34.jpg

527566532_KilkisandLemnosaftertheattacks.jpg.89ddffb7a4020a4a02f4920ed5d843c4.jpg

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "
• After Ju-87s and Bf-110s suppress AA defenses, 270 Ju-52s carry German paratroopers of 2. Fallschirmjäger Regiment which land on both sides of the bridge over the Corinth Canal and Fallschirmpionere assault engineers who land by glider. They overrun the remaining AA batteries and seize the bridge but British demolition charges then detonate, killing many of the Germans. A temporary span will be erected quickly to allow infantry to cross but vehicles and heavy weapons will be delayed for several days."

 

1522582155_Luftwaffereconaissancephoto.jpg.8f2a25262ba282a7bc213b628ef12d55.jpg

 

889308789_GermanparatroopsandsuppliesdescendingonCorinth.jpg.993a14fe42278e7a48c6f3493c13a579.jpg

 

1186794367_FallschirmjgeronthebridgeofCorinthshortlybeforebeingkilledalongwiththephotographer.jpg.e3943d29671b9f267e64212d398374f0.jpg

Fallschirmjäger on the bridge of Corinth shortly before being killed along with the photographer

 

157744942_CorinthCanalbridgedemolition.jpg.26f1ee47e657340fb18c330151bacf61.jpg

 

 

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No105_Swoose

Very interesting.  Hope you'll do a thread commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of Operation Barbarossa in a little less than two months.

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cardboard_killer
2 hours ago, No105_Swoose said:

Very interesting.  Hope you'll do a thread commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of Operation Barbarossa in a little less than two months.

 

I intend to, but I am really cribbing from a man I know who does all facets of the war, but mainly is a naval historian so focuses on that part of the war. I repost things from his postings (with permission) that I think flight sim people would be more interested in. I think the opening of The Great Patriotic War is not a problem, but once the Japanese attack, I think his focus will be the PTO's naval battles, so we may see my postings drop significantly after 7-Dec.

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Overnight, 4,170 Allied troops are evacuated from the Peloponnese peninsula. Units of the 5. Panzer Division drive into the port of Kalamata and capture the quay, causing the Royal Navy warships to sail back to sea, having embarked only 322 men. The Allied troops are exhausted and not under any unified command, but there are several independent small group actions. Sergeant Jack Hinton of the 2nd New Zealand Division wins the Victoria Cross for leading an attack to retake the quay, clearing out 3 machine-gun nests and a mortar with grenades and capturing a 15cm gun. He is shot in the stomach and ultimately taken prisoner. He will receive his medal from King George VI at Buckingham Palace in 1945, after his release. Allied forces recapture the quay, but it is too late, the warships are gone.

 

1891918969_SunderlandflyingboatsevacuatingRAFpersonnelfromKalamataGreece.jpg.8087b66c66e5a62be48d34105a3464b9.jpg

Sunderlands evacuating personnel from Kalamata

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Allied resistance on mainland Greece effectively ends when Commonwealth, Greek, and Yugoslav troops surrender at Kalamata. The evacuation is over, although men will be collected from various small Greek islands over the next few days. The Germans take 6,508 British, 2,030 Australian, 1,614 New Zealand 1,112 Cypriot and 2,696 Palestinian troops prisoner. Greece has lost around 15,000 killed or missing, and 270,000 taken prisoner.

- Around 50,000 Allied troops were successfully evacuated. Many Italians are liberated from Greek PoW camps."

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• At 8 AM, German parachutists from Ju-52 troop-carriers and glider-borne troops land between Suda Bay and Maleme airfield on the North coast of Crete, establishing positions in a dry river bed near the airfield. A second wave of paratroops lands around Rethimnon and Heraklion airfields in the afternoon. 1,856 Germans are killed or captured in the air or on landing by Allied troops (and Cretan civilians wielding primitive weapons, some of which were last used against the Turks), with many wounded. The German practice of dropping with only sidearms leaves them extremely vulnerable until they can find a separately dropped weapons canister. Major General Freyberg, still expecting the main assault to come from amphibious landings, holds back artillery & reserve troops. Overnight, amid confusion about who controls Maleme airfield, New Zealand defenders fall back to regroup for an attack in the morning (their planned reinforcements will not arrive). Overnight, British destroyers Jervis, Nizam & Ilex bombard a German airfield on the Greek island of Karpathos, trying to reduce the threat to Navy ships from German air attack.

 

187154814_AirattacksonSudaBay.jpg.810430b78ae6700932a213c3f6fbf5ba.jpg

Air attacks on Suda Bay

 

1003700376_GermanspreparingglidersfortheinvasionofCrete.jpg.658517c286068c998f78b95cb473ec07.jpg

Germans preparing gliders for the invasion of Crete

 

2132108031_GermanparachutistslandingonCrete.jpg.c310e16d64688816899df62f1a10f132.jpg

German parachutists landing on Crete"

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• A cruiser group southeast of Crete heading to attack the Axis convoys is attacked by five Italian CANT Z.1007 Alcione bombers of 50° Gruppo. Modern destroyer Juno is struck by three bombs and blown in half, sinking in less than three minutes with 116 killed. Light cruiser Ajax is damaged by near misses, reducing her speed.

 

Juno.jpg.e210918273cc80d2328cc1b34ce2acc2.jpg

Sinking of HMS Juno printed in an Italian newspaper"

CANT_Z.1007.jpg

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "
• King Geórgios II and members of the Greek government evacuate from Crete aboard HMS Decoy.

• Three destroyers of the 5th Flotilla under Lord Mountbatten enter Canea Bay, shell Maleme airfield, and sink two caiques before coming under air attack. Kashmir and Kelly are sunk with the survivors, including Mountbatten, swimming ashore. HMS Kipling rescues 279 survivors from the two ships early the next day and is damaged by running over Kelly’s wreck.

• After significant delay, the 20th New Zealand and 28th New Zealand (Māori) Battalions attack Maleme, gaining 3,000 yards before bogging down. In the face of the growing enemy strength and complete Axis air superiority, Major General Freyberg cancels further attacks and orders a withdrawal instead.

 

1725975322_MalemeAirfieldwithwreckedJu-52s.jpg.a7c9ee5ce132196077ca70dc98986b42.jpg

Maleme Airfield with wrecked Ju-52s"

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Force C under Rear-Admiral Edward King attacks another reinforcement convoy heading for Crete. It is carrying 4,000 men of 5. Gebirgs Division. Once again, a single Italian torpedo boat, under Tenente di vascello Giuseppe Fulgosi, holds off four light cruisers and three destroyers by high speed maneuvering, laying smoke screens, and torpedo attacks. RN Sagittario is damaged but prevents all but one caïque from being sunk. Rear Admiral King will be harshly criticized for his lack of aggression, but not relieved of his command as he is able to cite Axis air superiority (see below) and his own ammunition shortage. After his tour ends he will be assigned ashore as Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (U-boat and Trade), and retire in 1944. Fulgosi will receive the Medaglia d'oro al valor militare.

 

• Heavy cruiser HMS York, disabled at Suda Bay by Italian special forces two months ago, is finally abandoned.

• The Luftwaffe deploys Bf-109 fighters to Maleme airfield, while transports fly in 100. Gebirgsregiment.

• Italian floatplanes and MAS boats are combing the seas between Greece and Crete, rescuing survivors of caïques and steamers sunk trying to bring German troops to Crete.

• Much of the Mediterranean Fleet comes under sustained day-long air attack by an estimated 730 Italian and German aircraft. The Fleet is operating close to Axis airbases, permitting multiple sorties including by Bf-109s armed with bombs. Of the retiring Force C, light cruiser Naiad is damaged by near misses while HMS Carlisle is hit by a bomb and badly damaged. Destroyer Kingston is also damaged, while destroyer Greyhound is hit by three bombs and sunk.

 

- Reports from the initial aircraft on scene prompt additional airstrikes. Level bombers damage battleships Warspite and Valiant. Admiral Cunningham signals all ships:
 
  • STICK IT OUT. KEEP IN V/S TOUCH. MUST NOT LET DOWN THE ARMY IN CRETE. IT IS ESSENTIAL NO SEABORNE ENEMY FORCE LANDS ON CRETE

- Light cruiser Gloucester is sunk by Axis air attack with the loss of 805 men. Captain Peveril Barton Reibey Wallop William-Powlett of HMS Fiji reports the air over Gloucester to be “black with planes”. Fiji continues on until she runs out of AA ammunition and a near-miss brings her to a stop. Helpless, she is also bombed and sunk with the loss of 241 men. Once darkness falls, destroyers Kandahar and Kingston will pick up 523 men from Fiji but are unable to locate those from Gloucester. 85 survivors from Gloucester will be picked up by German and Italian small craft.

- Overnight, after being briefed on ammunition states, Cunningham will order all warships to withdraw to Alexandria.

 

1796259035_HMSGloucesterunderattack.jpg.83f5f6074d4076b087268f74ca38f4f4.jpg

HMS Gloucester under attack

1804211632_HMSGloucestersinking.jpg.6d48b57af26dfadcad7e59a5144d22d9.jpg

HMS Gloucester sinking

1937320410_HMSFijisinking.jpg.5821c25ac6a45e6602b066d50e7379ae.jpg

HMS Fiji sinking"

 

 

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Six Albacores from HMS Formidable bomb the Italian airfield at Scarpanto. She is counterattacked and hit by two bombs while retiring to Alexandria.

 

1443433961_HMSFormidablehitby500kgbomb.jpg.969e92a703c0becb64c3643a8682e982.jpg

HMS Formidable hit by 500 kg bomb. After emergency repairs, Formidable will depart Alexandria for Norfolk, Virginia. Repairs and upgrades will be complete in December 1941. "


- Escorting destroyer Nubian is hit by a bomb that destroys her stern above the waterline, but she is able to reach Alexandria under her own power.

 

1963407650_HMSNubiandamage.jpg.585bf2a579af188e2111f4218dab519b.jpg

Stern of HMS Nubian. She will be repaired in India, returning to service in late 1942.

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• The Mayor of Canea, Crete refuses to surrender his town until a disheveled Hauptmann Friedrich-August Johannes Wilhelm Ludwig Alfons Maria Freiherr von der Heydte cleans himself up.

• Italian reinforcements including L3/35 tankettes arrive on Crete and quickly begin a drive on the southern coast port of Ierapetra.

• 4,700 Commonwealth troops are evacuated from Sphakia and Heraklion. HMS Ajax is torpedoed by an Italian SM-84 but survives. Destroyer HMS Imperial is damaged by bombing. Battleship Barham is hit on Y turret by a bomb and will be repaired in South Africa.

 

Savoia-Marchetti_SM-84_torpedo.jpg.59ad9b37ac8fc7bde2dd0313fd8d38c5.jpg

 

421020404_02-10AjaxLaidUpRiverFal.JPG.87f8c3c71d1cca1130f2523e287acfa3.JPG

HMS Ajax in Crete

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No105_Swoose
Posted (edited)

Still amazing to me how the Allies and Germans took away totally different lessons learned about the value of airborne/air land operations as employed in the Battle of Crete.  As a docent at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia USA, I use the Museum's Ju-52 (the only flyable Ju-52 in North America) to tell visitors how the Germans used them in their successful, but costly, invasion of Crete.

Edited by No105_Swoose
Add note about Military Aviation Museum Ju-52
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335th_grFirdimigdi

What they didn't quite factor in was that the local populace, mostly women and old people at that time, would bash their brains in with hoes. My grandmother used to tell me about the bloated paratrooper corpses in ditches and the effort to smuggle New Zealanders to the south. Understandably, she never could stand to listen to someone speaking German for the rest of her life - I still remember the first time German tourists showed up at her doorstep one day, poor kids; morbidly, I wouldn't be around if they hadn't executed her first fiancee (during these https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alikianos_executions).

 

I'll just leave these here as they tie in to the whole story:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Kondomari

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razing_of_Kandanos

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Light cruiser HMS Calcutta is proceeding northward about 100 nm north of Alexandria to provide cover for ships (many of them damaged) returning from Crete with troops aboard. She is attacked by Ju-88 bombers and hit with two bombs, sinking with about 116 killed and 255 rescued.

1043934771_HMSCalcuttasinking.jpg.767526c681f221e15adbb23b2aa114c8.jpg

HMS Calcutta going down

• A final 3,700 men are evacuated from Crete, leaving three times that number behind to be captured, though a few dozen will go into hiding with the help of civilians and make their way out over the next few months on Greek small craft. New Zealand soldier R. H. Thompson describes waiting for the Germans in his book “Captive Kiwi”:
 

“The British Navy, and some of the British Army, left the island of Crete – but I didn’t. Nor did several thousand other dejected lads. Sunday, June the first, was a black day indeed for many assorted British huddled in valleys back from the beach at Sphakia, a small village on the south coast. They were faced with the alternative of swimming two hundred and fifty miles to Egypt, or of just waiting. So they just waited – quietly, reflectively, unhappily. No one even spoke. Everybody was too dispirited.”

 

“We all knew we should not have been in this plight. Although we didn’t have nearly enough gear to match the German’s airborne equipment, we did have the human qualities needed to outlast any enemy soldiers, crack Austrian alpine troops though they be. We hadn’t come ten thousand miles just to be discarded as obsolete; German High Command-for the use of-or misuse of. They just couldn’t do this to us. But they had.”

 

“I have never felt so terribly as I did at that moment. In fact, I don’t think that I had ever really felt at all till then. Any troubles I had had in the past were mere ripples compared with this tidal wave. I was disgusted; I was deeply disappointed; I felt frustrated and shamed – above all, ashamed.”

 

- German physician Dr Friedrich Meythaler will conduct experiments on several Australian PoWs at Rethymno hospital on Crete, injecting them with the blood of hepatitis-infected German soldiers. Meythaler, a bacteriologist, is attempting to establish how jaundice and hepatitis are transmitted.

• Both sides take stock:

- Out of an assault force of just over 22,000 men, the Germans suffered some 6,700 casualties, of which 4,041 were killed. The Allies suffered almost 3,500 casualties (of which just over 1,700 were killed) and 11,800 were taken prisoner. The Royal Navy suffered one aircraft carrier, two battleships, six cruisers and seven destroyers damaged and another three cruisers and six destroyers sunk with the loss of over 2,000 men. Exactly how many Greek soldiers and Cretan civilians died during and after the fighting will never be known.

- Churchill’s coalition government is criticized for being thrown off the continent yet again, but the victory in Iraq and sinking of the battleship Bismarck effectively counter it.

- With the conclusion of the Crete campaign, the only undamaged ships in the Mediterranean fleet are light cruiser Phoebe, AA cruiser Coventry, and ten destroyers.

- Despite the victory at Crete, Hitler is dismayed by the heavy casualties including the loss of large numbers of Ju-52 aircraft, and forbids any further large scale airborne operations. Potential operations against Malta and Cyprus will never occur. The British will have the opposite reaction, and plan to beef up their fledgling airborne arm by expanding the three parachute battalions into the 1st Parachute Brigade and form the 1st Airlanding Brigade, with plans to expand to division size in 1942.

 

315349003_NavalOperationsaroundCrete.thumb.jpg.4aee2818f85e66de6390726143a0f02f.jpg

 

 

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cardboard_killer
Posted (edited)

[80 years ago today] "• Indignant that Cretan civilians had fought alongside the Allied troops, Luftwaffe Generaloberst Kurt Student issued orders for reprisal against Cretan villages. The reprisals are to be carried out rapidly, omitting formalities or trials and by the same units who had been confronted by the locals.


- Today, Oberleutnant Horst Trebes with four lorries of Fallschirmjäger surrounds the village of Kondomari. Men, women and children are forced to gather in the village square. A number of hostages are selected among the men while women and children are released. The hostages are led to the surrounding olive groves and shot in cold blood. According to German records, a total of 23 men are killed. The whole operation is captured on film by Franz-Peter Weixler, then serving as a war correspondent for the Wehrmacht.

- Similar reprisals are carried out at the villages of Alikianos, Agia, and Kyrtomado.

- Trebes will be awarded a Ritterkreuz for “valor” on Crete. He will be killed in action in Normandy.

- Weixler, disgusted, will complain and be dismissed for political reasons. He will later be arrested by the Gestapo for insulting the honor of the Wehrmacht, which is punishable by death. His trial will be delayed due to the burning of Gestapo records in an air raid on Berlin, and he will survive to testify at Nuremberg. Photographs of other massacres on Crete will be destroyed by the Germans before the war ends, but Weixler hid copies of his.

- Student will be tried for mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war by his forces on Crete, but not for crimes against civilians. He will be found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison, but serve only two. A Greek request to have him extradited will be denied. Kurt Student will live in West Germany until his death in 1978 at the age of 88.
 
1324572508_GreekvillagersbeingherdedatKondomari.jpg.d8062b758b675e2af0a5f698b100eb8c.jpg
Greek villagers being herded at Kondomari
 
1279536210_GermansselectingwhotoexecuteatKondomari-OberleutnantTrebesatfarleft.jpg.8f2b7f6ce3a965482d205154b6e89fd6.jpg
Germans selecting who to execute at Kondomari - Oberleutnant Trebes at far left
 
230487235_Victimsshortlybeforetheirexecutions.jpg.3a133a4ef41e9de2a1c4ef625474a99d.jpg
Victims shortly before their executions
 
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German paratroopers preparing to fire
 
Aftermath.jpg.6912c256313ffded17528d0dbdcfb516.jpg
Aftermath
 
1260570490_KondomariMemorialwithphotosofthemassacre.jpg.58ae2877e1bc483409d40cd298606c31.jpg
Kondomari Memorial with photos of the massacre
 
 

 

 

 

 

Quote

Weixler, disgusted, will complain and be dismissed for political reasons. He will later be arrested by the Gestapo for insulting the honor of the Wehrmacht, which is punishable by death.

 

BTW, anyone who would kill over "insulted honor" is deranged, whether the object of insult is a country, an institution, or a religious figure.

Edited by cardboard_killer
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Heliopause

Little sidenote: a year before during the fighting at Rotterdam during surrender talks of that city on May 14th Student got wounded in the head by a stray German bullet.

Dutch doctor Van Staveren carried out succesfull surgery after a short thought of "having a good poke around in the patients brain".

Afterwards Student apparently donated 300 guilders to the hospital.

 

Student 40.png

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