Monday, October 18, 2010
During World War II the Greek island of Crete acquired a strategic significance because of the German determination to capture it and the Allied decision to defend it. Through ULTRA, the Axis plan to drop paratroopers and seize the airfield became known to the New Zealanders who were preparing to resist an amphibious assault, but they were still overwhelmed and there was a disorderly evacuation. In 1943 a daring operation was undertaken in Crete to abduct a senior German officer and bring him to Egypt for interrogation. The operation was carried out by Billy Moss and Paddy Leigh-Fermor. The hapless victim was Gen. Karl-Heinrich Kreipe, who was not the intended target and had only recently arrived.