In 1941, Germany turned its ire towards the Balkans, quickly rolling through Yugoslavia and Greece. With them the whole time were the Stukas, hitting enemy bridges, tanks, strongpoints, and ships. Nowhere would the Stuka become more feared than in the skies over the island of Crete. The Royal Navy operated unchallenged in the Mediterranean at that time, establishing a protective steel ring around the island, thwarting Axis plans to control the Aegean Sea...or so they thought. Junkers Ju 52s appeared in large numbers overhead on the 20th of May, dropping thousands of paratroopers on the Greek island. While also supporting the Fallschirmjäger on the ground, the Stukas also sought out targets at sea, striking at the Royal Navy with near impunity, the Royal Air Force unable to contest the skies over Crete. As the hard-fought battle for Crete shifted in favor of the Germans, the Royal Navy soon began a desperate rescue mission, evacuating the surviving Allied troops from the island. The Stukas would once again make themselves known, striking at the British cruisers and destroyers fleeing the island. Some ships were heavily damaged, limping into Alexandria many hours after the ordeal, but others were not so lucky taking their crews and soldiers to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The profile above depicts a Ju 187 Wiking (former French V-187-F2 Viking) of Sturzkampfgeschwader 3 as it appeared during the devastating attacks on HMS Dido and HMS Orion on May 29th, 1941.
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