Island of Crete Surrenders to Germany
Of course, General you know that after Crete we shall never do another Airborne operation. The parachute arm is one that relies entirely on surprise. That surprise factor has now exhausted itself...the day of the Paratroops is over”— Adolf Hitler
Meanwhile, Colonel Campbell, the commander at Heraklion, was also forced to surrender his contingent. Rethimno fell as well, and on the night of 30 May, German motorcycle troops linked up with Italian troops who had landed that day on the Gulf of Mirabella. The Italian commander in the Dodecanese had volunteered the services of his men as early as 21 May, but the request had to pass through German channels to Hermann Göring, who finally authorized the move when it became clear that the German effort was not moving ahead as quickly as planned.
On 1 June, the remaining 5,000 defenders at Sphakia surrendered, although many took to the hills and caused the German occupation problems for years. By 1941, an estimated 500 British Commonwealth troops remained at large, to say nothing of the Greeks, who were more easily able to blend in with the native population.
It must have been a bitter pill for the British to learn that they lost the battle against German elite troops, many of whom had been taken prisoner during the earlier invasion of the Netherlands. Because the British were only able to transport about 1,200 captured German paratroopers before the Dutch capitulation to Germany, the majority of the paratroopers were freed.
The Battle for Crete