• The Battle for Crete - WWII Operation Mercury 80th Anniversary (9-16 Oct 2021)

Greece is restarting tourism as on May 14 was the first day of the country's official opening to international visitors who have proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 PCR test, to tour on Crete. With perfect blue skies, balmy waters and temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), the island's golden-sand beaches are open for visitors. In a bid to reassure travelers that Greece is, indeed, a safe destination, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis recently launched Operation Blue Freedom, a campaign that aims to vaccinate all of the country's islands — including the popular resorts of Crete, Rhode, Corfu and Santorini — by early June. "I want to send the clear message: Greece is open again," Greece's prime minister said.

The German Invasion of Crete in 1941 kicks off our WWII 80th Commemorations. 

Operation Mercury is the fascinating story of a high risk operation fought across a stunning Mediterranean landscape. Crete has to be one of the most beautiful Greek islands, and some would argue that there is no other place like it. To the modern mind it is known primarily as a beach holiday destination, however the landscape is wonderfully varied. From beaches and bays, to green coastal plains, imposing mountains and gorges, sleepy hillside villages to bustling, vibrant towns. Not to mention the warm, friendly, hospitable locals, a rich ancient and modern history and culture. Military Historical Tours is happy to work with the extremely well respected The Cultural Experience to provide our clients a chance to participate in this tour as we follow the landings and hard fought actions along the dramatic coast lines, the towns of Chania, Rethymnon and Iraklion, the White Mountains and down to the crystal clear waters of Sfakia.

Operation Mercury was the first and only time in history that a strategic objective has been taken by airborne forces alone. Despite being forewarned by 'Ultra' Luftwaffe intelligence decrypts that an attack was pending, General Freyberg's Commonwealth mix of British, Australian and New Zealand forces, recently evacuated from Greece, was overrun by Hitler's elite Fallschirmjaeger (Parachute) regiments. The tour will examine how successive waves of German parachute, glider and air-landed mountain troops managed to seize the island, vastly outnumbered and in the face of crippling losses.

Tour Leader: Colonel Robert Kershaw joined the Parachute Regiment in 1973 and was the commanding Officer of 10 PARA (10th Parachute Battalion (Volunteers.) He attended the German Staff College, the Fuhrungsakedemie, and served alongside the Bundeswehr. An established historian, he has published twelve books, written many articles in the national press and featured in numerous TV documentaries. Colonel Kershaw is an experienced paratrooper, who has also served with German airborne forces. He wrote “Sky Men” the history of airborne forces and has extensively walked the ground.


Tour Prices:

Basic Tour Price                           $ 3,095
          (Based on double occupancy)
    Single Room Supplement         $   325

Crete Tour Includes:

  • Accommodation in superior 4 star hotels
  • A/C Coach
  • Transfers on arrival & departure by private coach
  • Meals as listed in itinerary 6 Breakfasts/ 6 Dinners
  • Admission fees to all sites, museums and special attractions listed
  • Services of experienced Tour Director and knowledgeable local guides
  • All local sales taxes, Hotel service charges

Not included in tour: Gratuities, trip cancellation, airfare & lunches.

Airfare Not Included: Optional MHT Round-trip economy airfare from your hometown airport to Crete available upon request (price subject to confirmation at time of booking.) Business class is also available.

Daily Itinerary

9 Oct Day 1 - Depart on your overnight flight to Chania, Crete.

10 Oct Day 2 - Arrive at Chania. Check in to our hotel for four nights.

11 Oct Day 3 - Maleme Airfield, Prison Valley and Galatas
We drive to Maleme and visit the German Assault Regiment gliding and parachute landing areas around the Tavronitis Bridge and the RAF Memorial. After climbing up Point 107, the vital high ground, we examine the costly German glider and parachute landings and the subsequent air landings under fire by the Mountain Troops to take the airfield, before visiting the German cemetery. The landings and attacks in Prison Valley and Galatas by the German Gruppe Mitte and the Commonwealth defense is covered from the Oassi Cretan Memorial, Lake Agia and Cemetery Hill. We visit the Allikanou Citizen Memorial to 108 villagers executed during German reprisals, as well as Galatas village and museum.

12 Oct Day 4 - Chania and Souda Bay
The fighting around Chania and Souda Bay is covered with visits to the German Assault Regiment Memorial, 42nd Street and the Commonwealth War Memorial Cemetery. At the Venizelos Memorial we discuss General Freyberg's command on the Island against the German General Student, based in Athens. The afternoon is free to explore Chania or relax at your hotel.

13 Oct Day 5 - The Allied Retreat and Evacuation
We drive the Allied retreat over the White Mountains to Chora Sfakia via the withdrawal route through Megali Horofia, Apterra Stilos, Neo Horia, Vrysses and Askifou. There is an optional walk through the Imbrou Gorge to the memorial which marks the evacuation point (weather permitting).

14 Oct Day 6 –The Battle for Rethymnon
We check out of our hotel and travel to Rethymnon via Frangokastello and the monastery of Prevalli. Near Stavromenos we discuss the 19 Australian Brigade’s fight to repel the landings from German Gruppe Mitte. Afterwards we drive on to Heraklion and check in to our hotel for two nights.

15 Oct Day 7 – The Battle for Heraklion
We visit the Historical Museum of Crete and explore the fighting around the Heraklion area. During the afternoon we will visit the Minoan Palace at Knossos and explore some of old Heraklion. We will also learn the story of the Kidnap of Heinrich Kreipe, a story which was made in to the film Ill Met by Moonlight (1957.)

16 Oct Day 8 – Return. Depart Heraklion to USA.

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The Battle for Crete - WWII Operation Mercury 80th Anniversary (9-16 Oct 2021)

  • Product Code: 2110-EUR-CRE
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $3,095.00

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