Crete Battlefield Study Trip with the 1st Battalion

During the same week eighty-one years ago, in the Second World War, Operation Mercury was launched, the German invasion of Crete. The Officers’ Mess, Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants Mess and Corporals Mess were able to conduct a Battlefield Study delving into what happened. This opportunity allowed commanders within the Battalion to develop conceptual ideas, tactical understanding as well as learn from each other’s experiences during their career.

For those that do not know, the German invasion of Crete in May 1941 resulted in the fourth naval evacuation of British forces in the Second World War as well as the creation of the RAF Regiment and the growth of our own Airborne forces. The invasion was mainly conducted by the Fallschirmjager, the Germans Airborne forces and resulted in the same number of casualties as the total amount of German casualties to date in the war. For the British, it was yet another defeat.

The Battlefield Study was conducted over three days covering the main action around the airfield in Maleme. The Battalion focussed on key lessons in how to conduct defensive battles, looking at the role of information advantage, the principles of defence and of course leadership. These main themes were underlined with debate in how new and modern technology could be used to enhance our current doctrine and tactics; important subjects for an Infantry battalion constantly looking to enhance its fighting power.