Interrogation Report
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The following is an extract from a report in WO 231/3 in the National Archives.  It was titled "Data collected by interrogation of prisoners, and general observation."  I have not commented on parts of the report, some do not ring true, but this is as the report was submitted.

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1. Parachutists.
a)      PWs state that they left from many different aerodromes in Greece, among others TOPOLIA, BLEUSIS, CORINTH, SCARAMONGA and TATOI.  They were fetched by train from their respective depots two or at most, three days before leaving for CRETE.  The majority were told that they were leaving for Crete one or two hours before the actual departure.  Others were only informed after taking off, having thought they were destined for Malta or elsewhere.  They received no orders and many, even on the ground, were unaware of the name of the town they were to attack.  W.Os were supplied with marked maps and a rough outline of what tactics to adopt.  They were informed that their objectives should be taken and exploited within 40 minutes of landing, taking the British garrison, which was oddly underestimated in numbers, by surprise, and profiting by this, carry all before them by shock tactics.  It is interesting to note how the map accompanying this report and captured from the Germans, defined the exact sphere of operations.
b)      Enemy troops landed amount, by all accounts, to 2 Regiments, that is to say, 6000 men.  There is some doubt about this, many greater figures being quoted, but none less.  It is thought by P.W.s that no more parachute troops will be sent.  One or two say that no more available parachute troops are left.  They were trained all over Germany at various depots: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Brunswick, Dresden, Tangemunde, Saltzweder and especially Stendhal.  All had done 5 or 6 practice jumps at their depots, but none of the ones interviewed had ever done it on active service.  Maps show that the plan was roughly to take the aerodrome and barracks, the power station, the port, and another point approximately 1 km. West of the harbour, probably as a second beach for landing sea borne troops, preventing egress from the west of the town by investing the Western wall and gates.  Contact was to be maintained by flares, and their positions and situation reports to be told to recce planes by flares and ground strips.  Large swastika flags spread out on the ground secure immunity for them from their own aircraft.  Only comparatively few of the ground strip keys have been found, so their distribution was probably limited to officers and senior W.Os.  A considerable number of W/T sets were landed: each set appeared to have a crew of one Sgt. Major and 6 or 7 men.
c)      Parachute troopers consist of two distinct types: young men of 18 to 20 who are fresh from several years’ intensive propaganda in the Hitler Youth Movement, and regular soldiers who for some reason wanted to change their normal units.  There were several cases of men who had had enough of the army, and have a grievance against it, usually for excessive punishments inflicted by court martial for trifling offences, e.g. half a year’s imprisonment for a very minor security offence, one and a half years for 12 hours absence without leave.  These embittered cases are not rare.  The remainder consist of young peasants probably brought up in rural districts away from political influences and who feel great disappointment at the length of the war in general and their own mishaps in particular.  All parachutists are volunteers.  There is little doubt that they are kept in ignorance of the danger of their work and are launched in masses in the hope that, if large enough, the objective will be attained in spite of very heavy losses.  Their morale was extremely shaken by the reception they got from our A.A. fire and they reached the ground in a state of complete disorganization.  The whole plan of attack was put out of joint; men were separated from their officers and N.C.Os and wandered about with nor orders or inkling of what to do.  The result was that the morale of the detached bodies broke, and most of them sought the first opportunity to give themselves up.  Many were shaken by bad landings and unnerved by the sight of their comrades landing on telephone wires or being shot on landing, a possibility they had not reckoned with.  Most of the prisoners examined were in a state of inertia and despair, and above all, of self pity; many were drugged.  Many declared they did not care about the outcome of the war, as long as it ended quickly and permitted them to rejoin their families.  Others said that if Germany did not win by December, she had lost the war.
d)  On an average, 16 parachutes were discharged from each plane.  12 would be personnel and four carriers with equipment.  Field and A/Tk guns were landed with two or three parachutes.  It was hard to get firm facts as to the object of the various coloured parachutes.  Medical were definitely pink, stores generally white, and personnel white or part-coloured.  Many prisoners asserted that the parachute colours had no object other than camouflage, e.g. parachutists landing on sand would have yellow parachutes, green for grassland, red-brown for soil, white in a town consisting of modern buildings, etc., to make a less conspicuous target.
2.  German attitude as to the Cretans.
Parachutists were told that they would be welcomed with open arms.  They were horrified at the opposition put up by the local civilians.  The latter, men, women and children, turned out to deal with the invader.  Undoubtedly their behaviour as ‘franc tireurs’ will lead to severe reprisals.  In this connection, copies of pamphlets dropped from the air on 25th and 26th May are attached in original (one copy only to G.H.Q. Middle East).
3.  Violations of International Law by the Germans.

a)      a)     Use of civilians and prisoners as shields to advancing troops.

On 21st May, the Germans advanced against the town with Cretan men and women in front of their troops.  The local Greek Comd. Sent an ultimatum by a prisoner that all German prisoners would be shot unless this practice ceased, and women and children were released.  This was done.  On May 21st the Germans entered the town.  They shot many unarmed men of No. 1017 Docks Coy. and used the others as a shield in an attack against a post on the mole.

On 26th May, they advanced against a position held by A & S.H. with a body of British prisoners in front: later they shot the prisoners.

d)      Shooting of prisoners.
On 26th May, a few wounded of 2 Leicester Regt., who had shammed dead, reported that the Germans had machine gunned other prisoners, after disarming them.  This statement is borne out by the large proportion of dead to wounded in that particular attack.
4. Medical
a)      German doctors, who passed through our hospital at KNOSSOS on 26th May, were surprised that we had not advertised its presence by a large Red Cross.  They could not understand why we preferred concealment to reliance on the Red Cross.  They stated that parachutists always had to rely on enemy hospitals for treatment in the early stages.  Actually a large proportion of doctors seem to have been landed, local German R.A.Ps were often established, medical equipment landed was good and most useful to us.
b)  It is hard to reconcile the above attitude of German doctors, and the fact that our wounded were still allowed to be despatched to KNOSSOS, with the mortar and machine gun attack on the hospital on the 28th May.
This latter may, or may not have been due to their feeling that the accuracy of our arty. Fire was due to an O.P. in the hospital.  It was actually due to a report by a returning lorry driver, while the W/T set in the hospital had received orders that it was only to be used for medical work.
In 'Crete Eyewitnessed David Hunt commented on his interviews of paratroops; "I interrogated several German prisoners in Crete.  They were fit and well trained but did not differ from the other German prisoners that I had met at the Western Desert.  They had all been stunned by the resistance they had encountered on the island.  Before the invasion they had been told that there were very few allied forces on Crete.  This was not concocted to encourage them but rather what the German Military Administration really believed.  The German Information Service was really terribly uninformed."  This is also backed up in 'Sandy' Thomas's book where he says that "the few parachutists that we took alive expressed their astonishment at our presence.  They told us that they had expected to land unmolested, form up and advance as a unit to the aerodrome.  They even dropped the Quartermaster and the unit clerks, so sure were they that there would be no fighting initially."