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The Germans were among the first to raise a parachute force and they used them with tactical success in Belgium and Holland at the outbreak of World War II. The isolated island of Crete seemed to be the perfect place to use them in a large scale operation. The British forces were in disarray on Crete, having just escaped a Dunkirk-like evacuation from Greece.

The Germans committed their entire Fallschrimjager Force to take the island quickly. After a brief period where the battle could have gone either way, the Germans were victorious and occupied the island for the duration of World War II. But the victory was truly a “pyrrhic” one; with huge losses in men and equipment, losses so enormous that Hitler lost confidence in the airborne assault. Never again were the Fallschrimjager committed to battle from the air. This reticence to employ the airborne forces in this manner preserved the island of Malta from German invasion, a “domino effect” which led to the defeat of Rommel in North Africa and the inevitable ejection of Axis forces from all of North Africa.

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