Editorial – Crete

24 May 1941

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 24 May 1941


The strategic necessities of the struggle in the Near East made it imperative for the Germans to attempt the occupation of Crete—an undertaking of the greatest difficulty even if we suppose sea-power to be cancelled out by air power, and one of very great interest to the modern military scientist.

In the battle for Crete, the Germans are obliged in the main to rely on direct assault rather than on treachery and infiltration, though it is characteristic of a thoroughly dirty fighter that he attacked with disguised troops even where disguise was patent and pointless.

The Nazi is a cheat not by necessity but by choice. It is too early to look for decisive victory for the Crete garrison, but they appear to have adjusted themselves swiftly to a novel situation and from the first have taken heavy toll of these air-borne invaders. If they can maintain control of the situation—as they should, considering all the favourable factors—the Germans will suffer a defeat here as decisive as their defeat in the battle for Britain, and the repercussions will be as important and widespread. In a prolonged struggle the Germans will be forced to reveal the full technique of air invasion in advance of any attempt on Great Britain and, in view of the far greater difficulty of that supreme undertaking the Crete experience may well daunt the most fanatical shock troops. True, the argument is two-edged and if Crete cannot be held against this form of attack, neither can Cyprus, nor for that matter any zone to which the Germans may penetrate with superior mechanised forces.

But on the face of it, our forces in the Mediterranean should be more than equal to this and to sterner tests. We have entire confidence in the issue of this strange development of a weird war.