Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II
We went into the Aegean with our eyes open and with the following objects:
to contain the German forces;
to gather what we might from the fall of Italy; and
to retain the islands if possible and to harass the German communications.
In the event the enemy reacted very strongly to the threat, and thus we were unable to hold the islands, though we succeeded in containing superior forces at what was a critical time in Italy and Russia.
From 9 September to 19 November the known enemy naval losses in the Aegean alone amount to at least 30,000 tons. He has lost a substantial part of the shipping available to him in the Mediterranean, and it is estimated that 4000 of his troops must have been drowned.