The Battle for Hill 107, Maleme, Crete (20th-23rd May 1941)

Wednesday 22nd February 2023

St John’s Place, Lower Road, Bemerton, SP2 9NP


Hill 107 is an unremarkable feature 351 feet high overlooking the point where the Tavronitis river estuary flows into the Mediterranean on the northwest coast of the island of Crete. The height overlooked a kilometre long by half-kilometre wide primitive red-clay dirt landing strip, which was Maleme aerodrome, situated just west of the capital Chania.

Only rarely is it possible to positively identify the decisive point of a battle in modern warfare. Hill 107 was one of these during the night of the 20th/21st May 1941. Its capture decided the eventual outcome of the German airborne invasion of Crete.

When the Germans jumped on the morning of the 20th May, they had never lost a battle thus far in the war. The New Zealanders, after fighting a succession of desperate rearguards during the evacuation of mainland Greece in April 1941, had never won one.

Robert Kershaw will tell the story of what happened over a fateful three days that decided the outcome of the fight on Hill 107.

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A graduate of Reading University, Robert Kershaw joined the Parachute Regiment in 1973. He served numerous regimental appointments until selected to command the 10th Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He attended German Staff College, spending a further two years with the Bundeswehr as an infantry, airborne and arctic warfare instructor. He speaks fluent German and has extensive experience with NATO and multinational operations. His active service included several tours in Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War and Bosnia. His final army appointment was with the Intelligence Division at Headquarters NATO in Brussels, Belgium. On leaving the British Army in 2006, he became a full-time author of military history as well as a consultant military analyst. He has been interviewed for numerous TV documentaries and has written frequent magazine and newspaper articles for publications including The Times, The Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and Daily Telegraph. Two of his books have been serialised in the Daily Mail and Daily Express.