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Enemy Air-Borne Forces, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 7, December 2, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


One feature of the Balkan Campaign of 1941 was a German air-borne attack in the vicinity of Corinth, Greece. On the morning of April 26, 1941, when the attack began, only a few Allied officers and men were defending the important bridge over the Corinth Canal, a ship canal which cuts through a narrow point of the rocky Grecian peninsula. The bridge had been prepared for demolition, but was being reserved intact so that withdrawing Allied troops might cross safely from the northern to the southern bank of the cut.

At 0700 the German Air Force began an intensive low-level bombing assault, directed mainly against British antiaircraft defenses over an area a mile in radius from either side of the bridge. This action was supplemented at 0720 by extremely heavy low-level machine-gun and cannon attack from fighter aircraft. At 0740, Ju-52 troop-carrying planes, some as low as 200 feet, appeared, and parachutes began to drop. Several hundred parachutists--the exact number is somewhat uncertain--followed by parachuted containers and unparachuted containers, were dropped over the canal area in previously selected positions in a matter of 30 minutes. To prevent aid from being sent from Nablion-Argos, 20 to 30 miles south of Corinth, German fighters prohibited movement on the Corinth road, and kept up their strafing and machine-gunning intensively after the parachutists had landed.

The defenders of the bridge fired with some effect, but it was soon evident that the parachutists were taking up stations to cover each end of the bridge and thus deny its use to the British. At this juncture a British officer succeeded in setting off the prepared charge, and the bridge was destroyed. But though the Germans were balked in their attempt to seize the bridge, the site of the crossing remained in their hands.

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