Excerpt from Ten Days of Destiny: The Battle for Crete, 1941 by G.C.Kiriakopoulos:
On May 26, 1941, one week after the German airborne invasion of Crete began, the commander of German invasion forces, General Kurt Student, received a cable from Adolf Hitler. It read:
"FRANCE FELL IN EIGHT DAYS, WHY IS CRETE STILL RESISTING?"
Part of the reason was because of small hard fought engagements throughout the island such as the one on Cemetery Hill, a key defensive position manned by the New Zealand Nineteenth Batalion and elements of the Sixth Greek Regiment. It become the focus of German attempts to breakout out of the area around Maleme airfield:
"Captain H.M. Smith, whose men had just repulsed the first assault, warned his men to remain on the alert, his intuition telling him that the Germans would attack again. If they attacked on his front, he held no fears: the earlier attack had cost him only a few casualties and the rest were in good spirits. But Smith did have one concern, his right flank.
That section of the hill defense was protected by the remnants of the Sixth Greek regiment. Many of the poorly armed Greeks had been scattered by the earlier German attacks but the Sixth company was still holding its own on the rise of ground to the right of Smith's 19th Battalion. If the Germans pressed their attack on the Greek position and succeeded in penetrating their defenses the New Zealand flank would be turned and the whole hill defense would be lost.
When the men of Major Derpas' 2nd Parachute Batallion aimed the thrust of their second attack at the Greek positions, Smith's worst fears were realized. He had no men to spare and the New Zealander's ammunition did not fit the Greeks pre-war Styr rifles. All he could do was to send an officer to the Greek company commander, Capt. Athanasios Emorfopoulos beseeching him to "hold the line at all costs."
"We shall," replied Capt "E."
From behind the olive trees, the Germans emerged at a trot, charging directly up the slope toward the positions of the Greek company. Capt Smith ordered his men to commence firing into the attacker's flank but realizing that the undulating terrain sent the New Zelander's fire well over the heads of the charging paratroopers, he had to rescind the order.
The Germans gathered momentum as they charged up and over the crest of Cemetery Hill, pressing the attack as they approached the village cemetery wall at the top of the rise. Above the crack of rifles and the rattle of machine guns there now arose a new sound from the Greek position, a heart stopping human cry going over the defense positions as it passed from man-to-man, each Greek repeating it louder and louder as it crescendoed over the hillside, smothering the roar of the German attack. The New Zealanders had heard the call before. It was "Aera," the rallying battle cry of the immortal Evzones and to the Greeks it had one meaning: "Attack!"
The New Zealanders watched in awe. Capt. Smith uttered to no one in particular, "Why those bloody crazy Greeks!" They had no more bullets, but they still had their bayonets. and down the hill they charged screaming "Aera" at the top of their lungs, the gleam of their bayonets reflecting the midday sun.
For a moment the Germans, froze in disbelief.
With snarling fury, the Greeks met the Germans head on, halfway down the rise. They slashed and butted, and they bayoneted, German after German falling to their piercing stabs. In the lead, Capt "E" and Lieutenait Kritakis. at his side.
There was a brief moment when the two forces swayed in furious hand to hand combat and then the Germans broke and ran, the Greeks in hot pursuit.
Capt Smith shook his head, admiring the heroism with which these gallant Greek soldiers had shattered the German attack. The Second Paratroop Batalion had ceased to exist as a fighting force."