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Crete – Operation Mercury

Prices start from:

£399

per person

5 Days
World War 2
Greece
12 - 200 travellers

Overview

On 20th May 1940 the Germans launched a daring airborne assault to capture the Greek island of Crete, having successfully pushed the Allies out of mainland Greece. The attack, known as ‘Operation Mercury’ involved 14,000 Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers), 15,000 Gebirgsjäger (mountain troops) and was supported by over 1,000 aircraft of all types.  The seaborne phase of the assault was disrupted by the Royal Navy.

The island, measuring 3,200 square miles, was defended by over 11,000 Greek troops supported by 15,000 British and almost 14,000 Australian and New Zealand troops. The attack was part of Hitler’s plan to occupy Greek territory and allow the Luftwaffe to use the airfields on the island as bases, from where German aircraft could bomb Allied positions in North Africa to support the Afrika Korps and also to deny the Allies the opportunity to strike the Ploestri oilfields in the North.

For eleven days the fighting raged across the island with German troops being landed by gliders and dropped by parachute. Allied positions were bombed and attacked forcing them to realise that the island could not be held. The decision to evacuate as many troops as possible was taken and the last of these left on the 1st June, the Royal Navy had managed to take some 18,600 men off the island before it fell.

It had been a fierce battle during which the Allies lost around 4,000 killed with over 17,000 taken prisoner. The cost to the Germans was high, almost 6,700 killed and thousands more wounded, along with 284 aircraft destroyed and hundreds more badly damaged. After the operation Hitler decreed that no more such airborne operations would be mounted.

What’s included

Full services of an executive coach for the duration of your tour in Crete
Full services of a local Battlefield Guide for days 2 - 4
Bed and Breakfast accommodation at a hotel in Chania
Entrance to the Askifou Museum
Tailormade itinerary
Full administration and booking service
24 hours on call Duty Manager whilst tour is operating

Not included

Flights
Meals other than those shown
Entrance to additional museums and attractions
Items not clearly shown as included
Travel Insurance

Itinerary

Below is a sample itinerary for a 5 day tour, all tours are personalised and once your tour is booked your expert guide will get in touch to start working with you to produce an itinerary for your bespoke tour.
Day 1:
On arrival at Chania/Heraklion, you will be met by our local representative who will escort you to your coach for the transfer to your hotel.
Day 2:
Maleme airfield was captured by German paratroopers and is our first stop today. From here to Tavronitis Bridge which was the site of fierce fighting as the gliders landed and the New Zealanders fought to hold it and we will hear the story of Lt Col Leslie Andrew and what took place at Hill 107 during the battle. Next to the RAF Memorial, which is dedicated to the airmen that fell, followed by a visit to the German Cemetery with its stunning views.
Day 3:
Today we travel to Agia, where we learn more about the fighting here and the Greek 8th Regiment and their resistance. Moving to the Civilian Memorial, our guide will tell us about the German assault plan through Prison Valley and the occupation of the prison. At Cemetery Hill we look at the Allied Commanders tactical failures and reluctance to reinforce and identify key terrain from this viewpoint. Our final stop today is the village of Galatas, where we will examine the decisive phase of the battle and the attack on Galatas and heroic defence by the New Zealand Maori Battalion.
Day 4:
This morning we will walk through the Imbros Gorge to Komitades, the Gorge witnessed the evacuation of thousands of soldiers and we will follow in their footsteps. Our coach will collect us and take us to Sfakia, where we will enjoy lunch and our guide will tell us about the locals who helped the Australian and New Zealand troops escape the Germans. From here we travel to Askifou Museum which contains a private collection of items from the battle before finishing our day at a Cretan vineyard, where you will enjoy a tasting before heading back to our hotel in Chania.
Day 5:
This morning we travel to Golgotha and see the Resistance Memorial, which consists of one of the original execution posts used to execute men, women and some children. Next to Souda Bay and the CWGC Cemetery where we pay our respects before heading back to Chania to enjoy some free time before we transfer you to the airport for your return flight.

All our tours and itineraries are tailormade and put together to match your requirements, please get in touch to discuss your tour.

Pricing options

People

Days

Price per person

40
5
from £399 pp

Our sample prices are per person, based on the number of passengers shown (sharing twin/double rooms) and are provided to show you what a tour of this type could cost with our company. All prices are subject to availability and prices may vary depending on your bespoke package, what is included and the number of people travelling.

Prices start from:

£399

per person

All our tours and itineraries are bespoke and put together to match your requirements, please get in touch to discuss your tour.

Why travel with us
Got a question?

We would be happy to talk to you about your tour requirements, please get in touch to talk to an expert.

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