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Book Review For Ill Met By Moonlight Ill Met By

1664 words - 7 pages

Book Review for Ill Met by MoonlightIll Met by Moonlight, an actual account of W. Stanley Moss' escapades in Crete took place in 1944. Prior to this, the allies controlled the small island off the coast of Greece. The German plan, Operation Mercury, was to capture Crete with airborne troops with a glider regiment and a parachute regiment to land at Maleme and Carea on May 20, 1941. These troops were followed by two parachute battalions at Retimo and four at Heraklion. Additional troops came form a mountain division which was to be partly landed on captured airfields, with the remainder taken to Crete by sea. The ensuing fighting was bloody and vicious with the initially dropped Germans suffering severe losses. In fact, so severe was the loss on Hitler's men that his paratroopers were never again used in such a large-scale operation. However, further landings in the open country in the west provided sufficient forces for the Germans to capture Maleme airfield. This was essential to the success of the German operation who were able to retain it despite strong New Zealand counter-attacks. The loss of Maleme airfield threatened the whole allied position in Crete since the Germans, with air-superiority, were able to bring in reinforcements and supplies. Despite Australian success at Retimo and Heraklion, German pressure continued to rise, and on May 27, 1941, General Wavell ordered the allied forces to abandon the island. The 24th Australian Battalion at Heraklion was to leave first. During the 350-mile trip, the ships they were trying to escape on were under constant attack from waves of German Stukas. About 600 men were killed. After that, the naval authorities decided there was no hope of lifting troops from Canea, Suda Bay, and Retimo. The forces were ordered to fight their way out of the towns and strike across the island to the village of Sfakia where the navy would meet them. About 15,000 men were embarked from Sfakia and Heraklion with about 12,000 being taken as prisoner. The Germans lost some 4,000 men killed and 2,500 wounded on Crete. This Nazi occupied Crete is the setting of the book.Ill Met by Moonlight is an actual account by W. Stanley Moss of his adventures in Crete. He and his good friend Patrick Leigh-Fermor (Paddy) were both serving with the Special Forces Unit in the Middle East when they decided to kidnap the German General Kreipe, Commander of the Sevastapol Division in Crete, and bring him back to allied occupied Cairo in an attempt to lower German morale. The first step in the plan was for Moss to get onto the island without being spotted and killed by the Germans. After twelve airborne attempts, Moss finally arrived on the island by sea. He met up with Paddy and began to make plans for the kidnapping. Together, they made their way through the mountainous terrain on foot, meeting up with a cast of characters who would help them in executing their plan. The group relied upon the Cretan hatred of the Germans; for the locals...

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