East german paratrooper

The German invasion of Crete, in May 1941, stands as possibly the defining moment for the Fallschirmjäger during World War Two. [28] The German airborne forces would perform its last strategic parachute and glider performance of the war. [29] The Fallschirmjäger captured a critical bridge that crossed the canal in the Isthmus of Corinth so German forces could pursue Allied forces further in the Greek mainland. [30] The operation did not go smoothly due to heavy enemy ground fire. [31] Demolition charges were also accidentally detonated, due to carelessness, leading to damage to the bridge and heavy casualties. [32] One group of paratroopers were accidentally dropped into the sea where they all drowned. [33] The Fallschirmjäger did manage to capture British anti aircraft positions which forced the surrender of the local town. [34] 12,000 Commonwealth and Greek troops were also captured. [35] The Fallschirmjäger suffered 63 killed and 174 wounded. [36] The Fallschirmjäger would suffer further heavy losses during the Battle of Crete especially during Operation Merkur which would be the end of large scale airborne and glider operations for the Fallschirmjäger. [37] The Germans used 22,000 airborne soldiers but in only nine days 3,250 of them were killed or missing with another 3,400 wounded. [38] It was said that Chancellor of Germany Adolf Hitler was horrified at these losses incurred and that he would no longer sanction large scale airborne operations. [39]

East german paratrooper

east german paratrooper


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