Fred Baker describes the German invasion of Crete

Captain Frederick Baker's account of events on the second day of the German invasion of Crete, 21 May 1941:

We had cleaned up
about 15 Huns & taken about 7 prisoners & had a final position to take
where he had a couple of M.G.s dug in when we were tied down to the ground with
about 20 damned planes who tore over us for about an hour without a rest
letting their guns go if they thought that they saw us. When that was over I
found that I had become separated from my crowd & and that he had dropped
hundreds of parachutists in our Coy area & between there and us – in fact nearly all around us.

I got out on my own plus
a runner – it was about 3 p.m. then. These damned machine guns
got cheeky then of course & gave me no rest (I was only 200 yds from them
then). I got away from them and was taking cover in a drain when he crash
landed troop carriers first on the Drome & then all along the beach not 40
yds from me. However the Artillery got on to them & played merry Hell,
while the Hun fighters poured all the lead they could into the Artillery. It
was a great party & the shrapnel was flying right over us. A lot of Huns
were killed but a lot got out.

Fortunately no bodies of them came our way. I
had decided to wait here till dark (seeing that all my crowd had got away from
me & back in to the hills) but we had to move after a Hun crept up on us
fired a shot at me with a revolver & and called on me to surrender & I
had pulled my revolver & shot him as I rolled on to my back in this little
drain (in best Tom Mix style). We beat it from there then & and soon after
ran into three more. They had a crack at us but I got two with a Hun rifle I
was carrying. The third one bolted. That made four Huns as I had got one on the
first day. We had to beat it in another direction then as they were everywhere.

We hid up in a vineyard till dark then did a very big sneak till we eventually
sneaked almost through the sapper lines before we found anyone. That was about
1:30 am. I gathered up about 15 of my fellows there early next morning &
and moved back with some other troops down the main road. When we got to our
Coy. area it was deserted as after cleaning up the parachutists who landed in
the area the previous afternoon the whole Bn had gone out on the now famous
night attack for about six miles to the Maleme ’drome. We held this area for 24
hrs & with the aid of 12 sappers who came down off the hills at the right
time we took 66 prisoners who were occupying an area about 700 yds from our

From a letter to 'Arnold', dated 24 June 1941, MS-Papers-4299-37, Alexander Turnbull Library. 

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