Greek Artillery 1941

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The Edge
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 02 Oct 2009 10:42

About the Hotchkiss Hv. MG:

Greece was one of first customer of this weapon; its model is also unique because it uses „dual purpose mount“, easily adjusted for both AA / ground (AT) fire. Photo bellow is French advertising one:
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 02 Oct 2009 10:44

Next – Hotchkiss M1930 HvMG in Greek use – distinctive „dual purpose mount“ details are easy to observe:
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by YAN » 02 Oct 2009 11:37

It is one of my favourite light AA weapons, used also by Italy and Japan I Believe.
Thanks Edge, Yan.

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 03 Oct 2009 15:11

Hello my friedns,

Regarding various questions raised by YAN:
The Hellenic Artillery during the Greco-Italian war, certainly deployed FOOs and definitely had telephone devices in order to communicate with Infantry for fire support (but for its internal communication also). The Hellenic Army used Mangen(?) blazoners as optic devices for communication, that it was possible to include artillery units also.

About the question of motorized towing of the artillery, it is interesting to notice that during ‘30s, the Skoda 150mm heavy guns, were modified, so that their towing by horses be possible.

According to http://www.wargamer.gr/gr_vehicles1.htm the Hellenic Artillery had 224 Pavesi P4 55hp tractors (this model was in production in Italian factories between 1936 to 1924) ordered in 1935, along with 78 Pavesi L/40 Reconnaissance Vehicles for artillery.
But I have found, that an order for 135 Pavesi P.4 35hp of them was placed in late 1926 (so their production was reported by that year). I do not know if this order was cancelled, and was followed by a new one in 1935. Furthermore the 1926 order included 46 Pavesi Reconnaissance Vehicles for artillery and 15 crane lorries.

Regarding the AT defence of the Hellenic Army during the Greco-Italian war, before the initiation of hostilities, 24 Pak 36 37mm were ordered, with 43,020 shells (35,000 armor piercing, 7,000 HE, 1,020 training). They were to be used in the Metaxas Line fortifications. There was an attempt to acquire 36 more units of these Paks, but without success.
During the preparations for war, 10,000 75mm artillery shells were modified to antitank role, for use with the mountain and field guns, while 40,000 various artillery shells were modified to antitank mines and deployed successfully in Metaxas Line front, during the German invasion.
Early 1939, there were plans for ordering:
• 26,000 37mm AA shells, with 10% of them to be armor piercing (for AT use),
• 142,000 20mm AA shells, with 10% of them to be armor piercing (for AT use),
• 15,000 13.2mm shells for Hotchkiss heavy machine guns, with 50% of them to be armor piercing (for AT use),
• 400,000 8mm shells for Saint-Etienne machine guns, armor piercing (for AT use).
It is not known if these orders were finally materialized, but it is a good indication of the planning, Hellenic Army had in mind, in order to cover the AT operational needs.

During the Greco-Italian war the British sent to Greece the following captured Italian guns, from the N. Africa front:
21 65mm mountain guns
18 75mm field guns
50 76mm Krupp field guns
30 47mm AT guns
15 20mm AT guns
Some of these guns were not fully operational and repairs were necessary.

Furthermore the following captured Italian guns released or shipped by the British, but not arrived in Greece:
12 65mm mountain guns
32 75mm field guns
8 77mm field guns
5 76mm Krupp field guns
15 100mm Skoda heavy guns

From the 110 Boys (13,97mm) AT rifles, the British sent during the war, only 100 arrived in Greece.

During the Greco-Italian war the Hellenic Army captured the following Italian guns, in the N. Epirus front:
42 65mm mountain guns
33 75mm Skoda mountain guns
7 149mm Skoda heavy guns
15 100mm Skoda heavy guns
23 47mm AT guns
From these, not all of them were operational, due to luck of bolts or optical sights.

Finally the USA released or offered the following guns, that none of them arrived Greece:
60 155mm heavy guns
50 75mm field guns (new model)
24 75mm field guns (old model)

Now, some info about the 85mm heavy gun. When the first battery was delivered to the Hellenic Army, the committee formed for their acceptance, proposed their rejection, due to the weight and the small fire power of their heavy HE shell. Furthermore the light HE shell displayed insufficient range of fire. After the intervention of the French Military Mission in Athens, the Greek side accepted their delivery and entered in service. Besides that during the Greco-Italian war, corrosions were noticed in some spare barrels of these guns.

Idomeneas

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by nuyt » 03 Oct 2009 15:33

Yasses Idomenias!

The old US 75 mm gun M17 was delivered to Greece after all. I found some photographic evidence:
viewtopic.php?f=114&t=152807&start=15

Kind regards,


PS did you ever find anything about the Siderius order?

Idomeneas
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 03 Oct 2009 20:36

Yia sou nuyt,

Regarding the old US 75mm gun, I am afraid that they never entered in service with the Hellenic Army. Those in the pictures you are posted are obvious of the British troops landed in Greece, in order to assist in a possible German attack.
The first British troops arrived in Greece on 7 March 1941, while the Lend & Lease Act (according to which 50 75mm field guns were offered to Greece), was set in action on 11 March 1941. There was simply no time for arriving them in due time in Greece, before the German attack (6 April 1941).

More specifically, the liason officer that Greece sent to USA for purchases of war material, after the outbreak of the Greco-Italian war (28 October 1940) wrote a book, where he states the following:
On June 1940, the USA offered 940 75mm field guns to Great Britain.
After the Lend & Lease Act, the USA released 50 75mm field guns for Greece and 60 155mm howitzers. After a request for increasing the number of 75mm field guns to 100 units, London agreed to offer 25 more from those destined for UK.
The first 28 75mm field guns sailed for Greece on 18 April 1941 (when the organized resistance of the Hellenic Army against the Germans was actually ended).The rest of 22 75mm field guns sailed for Greece on 30 May 1941 (when the battle of Crete was actually over). So from the above information it is clear the Hellenic Army never received these guns.
Finally 30 out of the 60 155mm howitzers where sent to N. Africa for delivery to the Hellenic Army but they actually were set at the disposal of the British Marshal according to a letter dated 9 May 1941.

I would suggest you to try and search in any turkish document, or archive, because according to some sources the war material that the USA offered to Greece and never received, was actually received by the British and they in turn offered it to Turkey.

About the Siderius project, I have bad and good news. The good news is that I found the time to visit the Directorate of History of the Army in Athens and take a look on their archives. The bad news is that I found nothing. The situation is a little bit chaotic there and even if I was able to search eletronically in scanned documents, the filing method is not helping the searcher, while the personell is not in position to really help on such "sophisticated" issues. According to my experience you need to visit systematically their offices for a period of 1 month, before you have a chance to locate something about this issue. You remember I asked yo if you had any info about the mutual exchange of 8 guns between Greece and Turkey? I also found nothing on this issue.

In any case, I intent to repeat my visit there, and be sure that you will be the first to inform about, in case of a succesfull search.

Idomeneas

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 05 Oct 2009 11:07

Great info, Idomeneas! :D

Only I few unclear types (red letters)


Idomeneas wrote:
During the Greco-Italian war the British sent to Greece the following captured Italian guns, from the N. Africa front:
21 65mm mountain guns
18 75mm field guns (what type?)
50 76mm Krupp field guns (Italian M.06 type? If so, why "76mm"? )
30 47mm AT guns
15 20mm AT guns (Solothurn S-1000/1100? :roll: or Breda M.35 AA/AT)
Some of these guns were not fully operational and repairs were necessary.

Furthermore the following captured Italian guns released or shipped by the British, but not arrived in Greece:
12 65mm mountain guns
32 75mm field guns (what type?)
8 77mm field guns (Skoda M.05/08 in Italian use - Canone da 77/27 :roll: )
5 76mm Krupp field guns (Italian M.06 type?)
15 100mm Skoda heavy guns (make them "light howizers" - Obice da 100/17 and 100/22)

From the 110 Boys (13,97mm) AT rifles, the British sent during the war, only 100 arrived in Greece.

During the Greco-Italian war the Hellenic Army captured the following Italian guns, in the N. Epirus front:
42 65mm mountain guns
33 75mm Skoda mountain guns
7 149mm Skoda heavy guns
15 100mm Skoda heavy guns (make them "light howizers" - Obice da 100/17 and 100/22 )
23 47mm AT guns
From these, not all of them were operational, due to luck of bolts or optical sights.

Finally the USA released or offered the following guns, that none of them arrived Greece:
60 155mm heavy guns (make them "medium howizers" - M.1917/18)
50 75mm field guns (new model) "M.1917 Betlehem" :roll:
24 75mm field guns (old model) M.1897 ? :roll:

Now, some info about the 85mm heavy gun. When the first battery was delivered to the Hellenic Army, the committee formed for their acceptance, proposed their rejection, due to the weight and the small fire power of their heavy HE shell. Furthermore the light HE shell displayed insufficient range of fire. After the intervention of the French Military Mission in Athens, the Greek side accepted their delivery and entered in service. Besides that during the Greco-Italian war, corrosions were noticed in some spare barrels of these guns.

Idomeneas

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 05 Oct 2009 11:32

Idomeneas wrote:After the Lend & Lease Act, the USA released 50 75mm field guns for Greece and 60 155mm howitzers. After a request for increasing the number of 75mm field guns to 100 units, London agreed to offer 25 more from those destined for UK.
The first 28 75mm field guns sailed for Greece on 18 April 1941 (when the organized resistance of the Hellenic Army against the Germans was actually ended).The rest of 22 75mm field guns sailed for Greece on 30 May 1941 (when the battle of Crete was actually over). So from the above information it is clear the Hellenic Army never received these guns.


How do you explain http://members.cox.net/oddessa_ss/267_G.JPG :roll: (Curtesy of EPOCH3)

My theory: found at Crete. I remember once reading about British troops using 75mm field guns at the Battle of Crete in emergency, lacking their own models. Story was that these were "previously taken from Greeks" and they were "Mle 1897" model. (Very strange info - I can't imagine British troops depriving Greek ones of their guns, plus Hellenic Army didn't used the Mle 1897 model). So, guns from 18 April 1941 shipment were probably re-routed to Crete, for the British own use. (Why Germans labelled them as "(g)" guns - that's another story :? )

How about 18 pcs of Bofors 40mm AA guns, allegedly given by British to Greeks? :roll:

Cheers, Edge

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 05 Oct 2009 11:42

Data for Hotchkiss 13.2mm Ammo (French data mostly from David Lechmann texts)

Ammunition:
- Cartouche Mle1935 (heavy ball)
- Cartouche Mle1935 T (tracer)
- Cartouche Mle1935 PT (AP-T) - in German service: Pzgr 823(f)
Weight of projectile: 0.052 kg (includes tungsten in the core)
Length of projectile: 62mm
- Cartouche Mle1935 P (AP) - in German service: Pzgr 821(f)
Weight of projectile: 0.052 kg (includes tungsten in the core)
Length of projectile: 62mm

Mle 1935 P penetration: (i.e. "avec la cartouche perforante modèle 1935")
25 mm à 100 m sous 25°
20 mm à 200 m sous 25°
15 mm à 400 m sous 25°

Same AP round: (other data)
29mm /0° at 100m,
20mm /0° at 500m,
15mm /0° at 1000m,
12mm /0° at 2000m

I also found 75mm AP round performance for:
74 mm @ 0° at 100 m - Schneider-Canet 75mm P.D. (L/31.4) - Yugoslavia & Greece
59mm @ 0° at 100 m - Schneider de Cavalerie 75mm Mle 1912 (L/25.4) - Yugoslavia
with “Obus de rupture Mle1910M” (APHE)
All good things in life are either illegal, or immoral, or make you fat.

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 05 Oct 2009 18:13

My friend Edge the archives I was able to study about the material transferred by the British, are not accurate naming the type of guns. Other times they referred to field guns 75mm, other just to 75mm guns etc.
The only indication besides the systems are the caliber:
Guns 65/17, 75/27, 77/28, 105/25, howitzers 100/17.
About the Krupp you are right. It was a typing error.
About the 20mm ATR there is no indication of the type. The Italians used it in N. Africa. In one document there is a note the 15 ATRs were along 30 magazines of them, another documents states "ammunition tapes". I'm not an expert in armaments so I do not know if both Solothurn or Breda had a similar feeding system.
I used the "heavy guns" term, like the terminology used by that time in greek documents.

Regarding the Bofors AA guns, I found a document, stating that delivery of 18 of them took place on 23 January 1941. The same date 16 94mm AA guns were delivered also. Unfortunatelly there is no standarization in the documents recording the delivery of armaments, in terms of description. So I found another document dated 13 January 1941, stating that 6 40mm "Mobile AA Guns" were delivered, while there is one more with date 14 January 1941, referring a delivery of 13 AA guns.

Regarding the US 75mm field guns captured by the Germans in the greek mainland or Crete, I believe that those captured in the mainland are guns offered by the USA to Great Britain directly, while those on Crete maybe are from the 18 April 1941 shipment , destined for Greece, that finally reached Crete and delivered to the Commonwealth troops that were trained on their use. In any way it seems that the Hellenic Army never accepted or used such guns in service.

Idomeneas

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 06 Oct 2009 08:58

As before, great info! :D

75/27 could be three types of Italian guns:
Mod. 06 (Krupp)
Mod. 12 (Cavalry Krupp)
Mod. 11 (Deport)
All three types could be captured by Greeks; Mod. 11 were not used by Italians in N. Africa, so the British "75/27" guns could be only the first two models.

77/28 is Skoda M.05/08 field gun (War booty from WWI - actual caliber 76.5mm - used by Italian Colonial Troops in Africa)

105/28 is right designation.

Based on "tapes" info, I believe 20mm guns were Breda M.35s. They use 12-round metal-strip magazines (could be described as "metal tape"). Solothurn use 5 to 10-round box-magazines. (It would be interesting to know what is a Greek expression for strip-magazines of their St. Etienne & Hotchkiss MGs - something like "tape"? :roll: )

Cheers, Edge

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by YAN » 06 Oct 2009 10:20

Hi guys, was St Etienne 07/16 a bad weapon prone to jamming, are these the same guns that the French sold to the Americans in WW1.

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by YAN » 06 Oct 2009 11:29

Hello Edge, found another gun in the 80 to 90 calibre range the 85mm 8 staal (German / Krupp M.1881) I think the Dutch used them in 1940.
Yan.

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 06 Oct 2009 14:48

YAN wrote:Hi guys, was St Etienne 07/16 a bad weapon prone to jamming, are these the same guns that the French sold to the Americans in WW1.


AFIK French keep this junk for themselves, but were also very kind-hearted to abandon a lot of them to Serbs & Greeks :? (who had to bother with them still in 1941). Americans were more priviledged - with Hotchkiss Mle 14 machine guns (a very good gun by all accounts), given to them at the expense of many French troops, who countinued to use St. Etienne ones.

(Always remember the "Golden Rule" - The one who have the gold makes the rules :idea: )

Dutch gun:
http://www.waroverholland.nl/index.php? ... un-8-staal

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by YAN » 06 Oct 2009 15:16

Thanks Edge, spoken like a true trooper.
Yan.

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