The Battle of Crete began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany began an airborne invasion of Crete. Greek forces and other Allied forces, along with Cretan civilians, defended the island.
After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered heavy casualties and the Allied troops were confident that they would defeat the invasion.
The next day, through communication failures, Allied tactical hesitation and German offensive operations, Maleme airfield in western Crete fell, enabling the Germans to land reinforcements and overwhelm the defensive positions on the north of the island.
Allied forces withdrew to the south coast. Over half were evacuated by the British Royal Navy; the remainder surrendered or joined the Cretan resistance.
The 76th anniversary of The Battle of Crete is marked in Chania, Maleme and the Allied Forces Cemetery and actoss Crete over the weekend. Representatives from Britain, Australia and New Zealand take part in the commemoration ceremonies.
The anniversary is also marked in Wellington,NZ, and Australia.