Crete – The Battle for Heraklion 1941

The campaign revealed through Allied and Axis accounts by Yannis Prekatsounakis

Many books have been written over the years about the world’s first campaign-sized assault on the island of Crete in May 1941. The major battles have been well covered with the exception of the Battle for Heraklion which has generally been overlooked. Passions still run high with regard to German occupation of the island and I am very pleased to see that this book has been penned by Yannis Prekatsounakis who was actually born in Heraklion.

First impressions of this substantial book are of quality and bulging content. There are over 400 black and white photographs, approx 17 colour photographs, 27 black and white maps and a single colour one. Very easy to dip into, the books eight chapters include the initial invasion, drops on Gournes and the Battle of Kopsas Hill, the Battle at the airfield (present day main airport) and Blücher and the attack on the town. Despite Cretan passions, the book is incredibly well-balanced and features a large number of personal stories from the German forces, British and Greek soldiers who were involved not to mention the locals. Being a serviceman, Prekatsounakis had the luxury of access to Greek military records which gives further perspective to what occurred on the island in 1941.

I have read several books about Crete during the Second World War and have been lucky enough to visit the island as well. The battlefields and various locations in this book can virtually all be visited thanks to the area being relatively unspoilt compared to other ‘holiday’ destinations. This book certainly puts flesh on the bone with regard to the Battle of Heraklion and can certainly be described as the most authoritative account to date which will be hard to surpass. 

Thanks to Tom Bonnington at Casemate for our review copy which is available from


ISBN: 978-1-91106-33-7

Price: £29.95

Pages: 294

Format: hardback – 297mm x 210mm

Publisher: Helion and Company Ltd.