From the Battle of Crete

20 May 1941 was a glorious spring day for Crete. But when the sun set everything was plunged in flames and destruction.
At 6:30 the Air Supervision Stations reported the approach of many aircraft. The 'Ermis' plan had been put into effect, unleashing all its violence. Its prelude was the horrible, mass attack that Richthoffen had launched against the area of Chania-Maleme. It was the first target that would pave the way for the 'Komitis' to drop onto.
The German bombardment that morning was unprecedented. Successive waves of bombers and fighters attacked every defensive installation. They flooded Chania with massed fire and hit everything, living or dead, in the streets and the fields, including oxen and sheep. However, while the debris from the last explosions of 1,000 kilo bombs filled the air, and even before the officers and civilians could catch their breath, they faced an unprecedented, stunning and terrible spectacle:
'Junkers 22' aircraft towing 2 to 3 monoplanes each. A constant stream of them arrived, landed and inundated the positions taken up by the 10th New Zealand division, unloading strong army units. At the same time troop-carriers were flooding the area with masses of parachutists and heavy equipment. The Parachute Assault Regiment of General Meindl, the 'Komitis', completed their massive drop. Greek and British fighters were astounded.
They very quickly recovered and began their counter-offensive. Soon the entire area around Maleme was the backdrop to a series of violent clashes, big and small. The parachutists were trying to occupy their appointed targets and the New Zealanders and the Greeks were striving to exterminate them.
Very quickly reserves from both sides joined the battle, causing it to spread like fire. The parachutists were the toughest elements of the German army, but the defenders were fighting with desperate courage, despite their lack of arms.

(From: S. Grigoriadis, Istoria tis Synchronis Elladas 1941-1974, v. 1 Katochi-Antistasi, Athens, Kapopoulos, n.d., p. 62.)

The hard-pressed militia was spontaneously formed 'from beneath' in the heat of battle. Some received their call-ups, postponed due to lack of arms, while many other Cretans formed themselves into scratch units, armed with whatever they could lay their hands on [...] and threw themselves into the fighting. [...] At Kandanos, Lakkoi, Phourne, Skine, Vatolakkos, Alikianos, Galatas, Mournies, Therissos, Perivolia, Latzimas and Nida, groups came together and were thrown in to fight hand to hand with the parachutists. Their losses were heavy, but from the booty they took they managed to arm themselves to a considerable degree. And at night after the first day of the battle they were ready, with blazing morale, to fight on the next day. Crete was making the best of the fighting spirit of its people. At least 300 groups containing from 3 to 80 men were formed all over the island that wild day.

(From: S. Grigoriadis, Istoria tis Synchronis Elladas 1941-1974, v. 1 Katochi-Antistasi, Athens, Kapopoulos, n.d., pp. 65-66.)

With the cease-fire, the German administration launched a wave of reprisals all over the island to set an example. People who had participated in the battle were rounded up, their villages burnt down, and many men were shot. [...] The fate of Kandanos is characteristic: it was razed to the ground on 13 June. Throughout the whole Occupation an inscription in Greek and German, marking where the destroyed village formerly stood, read: Kandanos was destroyed as a reprisal for the murder of German Soldiers from behind by armed citizens, both Men and Women.

(From: S. Grigoriadis, Istoria tis Synchronis Elladas 1941-1974, v. 1 Katochi-Antistasi, Athens, Kapopoulos, n.d., pp. 75-76).