In May 1941, 14,000 German paratroopers supported by nearly a thousand aircraft were dropped on the island in a unique blitzkrieg operation. An airborne invasion of this scale would never be repeated. Several thousand elite paratroopers, the pride of the Nazi Luftwaffe strikeforce, were killed and hundreds of planes lost in 10 days of fierce fighting. Despite the huge cost, the Germans defeated 30,000 British, Australian and New Zealand troops supported by Greek partisans. The Allies had few heavy weapons and no air cover. The loss of the island was controversial. We examine claims that the New Zealand commanders made tactical blunders that lost control of a key airport in the second day of the battle, allowing the German forces to gain a crucial foothold on the island.