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Air Battle over Crete
A Bf 109E-7 flown by the Gruppe adjutant of I./JG27 is escorting a Ju 87 B from St.G 2 in the Mediterranean circa 1941. By the time of the Balkan (Apr 1941) and Crete offensives (May 1941), most of the Bf 109s were E-7, F-1, and F-2 while the Stuka Gruppen were equipped with Ju 87B-1 and B-2.
The Battles of France and Britain demonstrated the Ju 87 required air superiority or close escort, but contrary to the myth, the Stuka continued delivering painful blows to the Allied armed forces until 1943.
When the Wehrmacht launched its Balkan offensive, the German bomber formations fought under conditions of air supremacy. Small scale encounters between aircraft and ships had been fought within days of the start of WW II, but during April and June 1941, the first large scale battle between an air force (Luftwaffe) and a naval force (Royal Navy) revealed that air power prevailed.
The capture of the island of Crete by Luftwaffe paratroopers is well known, as are the severe losses of the parachutist (about 4000 KIA according to some sources).
Less well known are the ghastly casualties that the Royal Navy and the merchant marine suffered during the battle. The Luftwaffe probably killed around 4000 British troops (incl. the army and 2261 navy KIA/MIA) during the clashes at the sea, excluding the land battle. The number of civilians killed from the merchant fleets has not been systematically recorded, but it probably included a few thousand as well.
For example, on 27 April 1941, A Dutch troopship, the Slamat, evacuated some 500 British army troops. The destroyers Diamond and Wryneck protected the ship, but attacks from St.G 77 (Ju 87) and other units promptly sank the three of them. The loss of life reached nearly 1000 men, including almost all the army troops onboard the Slamat, and almost all the crew of the troopship and the destroyers.

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