An official issue of the Australia at War Series from the Royal Australian Mint, the 2015 50c Crete Cu-Ni Unc honours the valiant efforts of the Allies to hold Crete during the early days of the Second World War.
The battle began on 20 May 1941, when Germany launched a largely airborne invasion of the island – at that point, the largest of its kind in the history of warfare. The Allies initially held firm, and inflicted significant losses upon the invaders. Germany’s capture of Crete’s Maleme airfield was decisive, however, as they were able to fly in reinforcements and overwhelm the Allied defenders. Both sides suffered significant casualties, with the number of German paratroopers killed leading Adolf Hitler to ban further large-scale airborne missions.