Greek Artillery 1941

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nuyt
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by nuyt » 16 Oct 2009 10:49

It appears Sir Basil Zaharoff, the Greek owner of Vickers, was a close friend of Venizelos. I would still go for the Vickers option: an under the table deal between Sir Basil and the Greek govt for second hand weaponry.

Idomeneas
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 16 Oct 2009 13:05

Thank you Edge and nuyt for your answers.

I would go for the Vickers option too. I was just wondering if there was any source or indication that a forum member could share with us.
I tend to reject the Italian option, just because by that time, Italy was hostile to Greece and openly supplied mass war material to the Kemalist Army. The sales of Pavesi and MS came later when Italy was trying to create an axis with Greece and Turkey.

Regarding the second hand 75mm Skoda mountain guns that The Edge mentioned, I ‘ve read in a newspaper article of 1922, that at least one order came from austrian factories. Did ever Austria manufactured those guns under licence, or the Austrian Army (1921) had in its inventory some units, that sold to Greece?

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by nuyt » 16 Oct 2009 13:17

It would have been illegal for the Austrian Army to export their weapons, but not impossible.
There were post WW1 in the new state of Austria afaik just two weapon factories: Staatsfabrik Wien and Boehler. The last one illegally produced 200 of their 8 cm field guns for the Hungarian Army in the early 20s.
The Staatsfabrik may not have been capable of series production of artillery weapons.
There was also the Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik, involved in various illegal deals.

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 21 Oct 2009 13:57

OK, now I found another source, stating that Greece ordered Skoda 75mm mountain guns during 1921 from Czechoslovakia. Does anybody know if Czechoslovakia did really possesed such guns, or her army?

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The Edge
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 21 Oct 2009 14:03

Idomeneas wrote:OK, now I found another source, stating that Greece ordered Skoda 75mm mountain guns during 1921 from Czechoslovakia. Does anybody know if Czechoslovakia did really possesed such guns, or her army?
Idomeneas
Definitely YES. :D Skoda re-opened the production of M.15 mountain guns ("7.5 cm horský kanon vz. 15" in Czech Army) for its mountain units. Some newly made guns were also exported late in 1920s to Columbia and maybe China. This Greece info (1921) is quite a surprising one! 8O

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 22 Oct 2009 17:43

Dear The Edge,
It seems that it was a secret sale of a battalion of 75mm Skoda mountain guns from Czechoslovakia, at the beginning of 1921. The guns were transported to Romania, and they sailed to greek hands, in a commercial ship, full of cows that were the cover story for the ship.

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 27 Oct 2009 09:49

Great story! :D (Worty an episode in spy-novel)
Idomeneas wrote: ...from Czechoslovakia, at the beginning of 1921. The guns were transported to Romania, and they sailed to greek hands, in a commercial ship, full of cows that were the cover story for the ship.
Hmm, route from some Romanian Black Sea port to Salonika or Athens means passing the Straights. Both a good cover story & "cover material" :lol: was indeed necessary. Mountain (pack) guns feature - to be disassembeled for transport - also helped a lot. (I can imagine the crates situated on the cargo floor, then covered with straw and cows standing above :lol: Btw, in similar cases - arms hidden on Turkish-held territory - Serbs used pigs)

Some migth wander why in 1921 Greek didn't opted for all-lend (railway) route over allied countries (Czechoslovakia-Romania-Yugoslavia-Greece), to avoid smuggling complications, but at that time Yugoslavia & Greece had a dispute over Salonika Pier lease, so cooperation from this side was not to be expected.

Btw, any photo of Skoda vz. 15 in Greek service? :roll:

Idomeneas
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 27 Oct 2009 19:59

Yes my friend Edge, in fact the ship transported the 75mm Skoda mountain guns from Romania, waw halted outside Constantinople from French authorities for an inspection. In order to prevent this, the greek side informed the British authorities in order to took the responsibility of the ship from the French, something that was actually happened. So the ship continued the route to the south. Unfortunately there are is no info about the destination of the ship or the date, or the number of the guns.
Unfortunatelly I do not have any photo from Skoda guns in greek service. But I can post a photo from one piece exhibited in the War Museum in Athens.

http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/3484/dsc05549.jpg

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 28 Oct 2009 09:03

Nice photo, but thanks to our friend Nuyt, this piece is already known item. :D
(Lack of shield indicates Italian used gun, by Guardia alla Frontiera units - later probably taken by Germans)

M.15 Skodas were so numerous and intermingled - and that situation haven't changed even today.
For example, one M.15 Skoda in Belgrade Military Museum have Italian markings, whilst one I saw in Italian museum has Yugoslav ones! (So I wander what could be read on this Athens piece or the one in Bucuresti)
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 28 Oct 2009 14:38

Ok Edge, this is the plate attached on the barrel of the specific gun.
http://img688.imageshack.us/img688/8896/dsc05215.jpg
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by The Edge » 28 Oct 2009 15:36

Hmm... museum info plate - boring stuff :?
However, this one had interesting statement: Greek Skoda M.15 were "spoils of war with Turkey" :lol:
(Couple of days (or few posts on this topic) away I would believe this info is valid for the whole number of guns! :D )

Interesting stuff on guns are manufacturer's markings and various identification markings / plates put by armies which used them (like this below - the Yugoslav gun in Italian museum I mentioned - photo group at the end of http://www.landships.freeservers.com/7. ... ne_m15.htm )
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 28 Oct 2009 15:52

I agree with you, Edge about the plate. As we know, according to the official army sources all Skoda guns in greek service were captured by the Turks, but the research shows that this is not true.
In my next visit to the War Museum in Athens, I 'll try to check about any other original plate.

Idomeneas

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Stoly01 » 15 Nov 2009 01:40

Hello everyone.....I am a new member, and its my first time posting on this forum. I joined a couple of months ago and was a little hesitant in posting anything, until I could put together some sensible questions (and hopefully contribute to some discussions too).

I have been researching Greek military history as a hobby interest, and came across the topic of Greek artillery. I have read through the recent posts and wanted to say that I have enjoyed all of them. I am unsure about a few things on Greek AA defences during WW2 and wanted to ask a few questions, as i am struggling on a few points. I have about 5 questions to ask. I hope that is ok.

Oh, by the way...my name is Stavros.

Here are the following points.

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Question 1: The Mexaxas Line - AA defences had a total of 19 x 20mm guns (type I don't know) - excluding heavier calibres. The Greek Army also had 18 x 20mm Oerlikons. Does anyone know where they were employed. Is it possible the 20mm Oerlikons were placed on the Metaxas Line? Im unsure?

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Question 2: Does anyone know whether Skrofa Height (Araxos Coastal Fort) had any AA defences. I have come across some points discussed referring to 6 x 37mm Flak18 or 1 x 37mm Flak18 or none. I would think that an important position like the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth, would warrant the placement of AA defences at Skrofa Height. Any suggestions.

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Question 3: The Greek Navy also owned 3 x 37mm Flak36. Is this right? Do you think they may have been placed for Coastal Fort AA defence? There are some Coastal defence areas that don't seem to have any AA defences, like Touzla Battery (Thermaic Gulf, Thessaloniki) and South Euboea Coastal Fort. I cant seem to find any specific references on this.

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Question 4: The Greek Army had 25mm Hotckiss M1939 AA. I haven't come across any references as to where they were employed?

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Question 5: Greece had 20mm Flak30/38 in their inventory. I am unsure about the Flak38. If Greece had them, do you think they may have been employed in their Corps Artillery Batteries? and whether the 1st Cav.Div/ 19th Mot.Div employed them in their Divisional Motorised AA battery. I am a little confused about whether Greece owned them, whether the Greek Army was using 20mm Flak38 and whether they were GebFlak or Flak (for their Motorised AA units). My understanding is that the GebFlak were a lighter version (also lacking tow feature) of the Flak and that they were ideal for mobile mounted units.

To summarise: Were the Greek Motorised 20mm AA Flak units, GebFlak or Flak and if so, were they model 1938. Any thoughts would be very helpful.

Regards, Stavros

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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Idomeneas » 16 Nov 2009 20:13

Welcome to the forum, dear Stavre (Stoly01).

I can't say I am an expert on the greek artillery during WW II, but I have an interest on this issue. I am afraid I can't reply in all of your questions, but let's start with some points.

Regarding the AA defence of the Metaxas Line, according to the Mobilisation Plan 1939B of the December 5th, 1939, 2 37mm and 16 20mm AA guns were allocated. Of course by the time of the german invasion in April 1941, some of them were dispatched to the troops fighting the Italians in the North Epirus front. This is referred to official army archives and sources. What is your source on this issues.
The Hellenic Army did not have any Oerlikon AA guns. I think the Hellenic Navy had a number of theses AA guns, but I am not sure if they were deployed on ships or in land basis.
According to a report dated on September 16th, 1939, the Araxos Coastal Fort had 6 R 37/60 (as they reffered) AA guns. It is obvious that some changes during the months until October 1940 when the italian invasion, or April 1941 when the german invasion, may have took place. The fact that some coastal defence areas don't seem to have any AA defence, is explained by the fact that in the greek inventory, there were not enough AA guns to cover all needs. The main concern was to cover the Athens-Pireus area, the Naval Station at Salamis and the Dekelia airport, along with the Salonica city.
According to the above report of September 16th, 1939, the coastal forts were equipped with 16 R 37/60 ΑΑ guns, but there were also 10 T 40/30 AA guns and 2 3'' AA british guns. In other areas were the Hellenic Navy deployed AA guns (Athens, Pireus, Salamis Naval Station, Chalkida, Volos) were reported 15 88mm, 6 76mm, 14 T40/39, 4 R37/60.
The Hellenic Army, did not had 25mm AA guns. In fact Greece asked from France to provide 200 units of such guns, during 1939, but with no result.
About the 20mm AA guns. The Hellenic Army had 108 of such guns in 2 different versions. One with a lighter chassis, and one heavier. When you are talking about GebFlak, you mean SP halftracks? I have no such evidence.

Idomeneas

Stoly01
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Re: Greek Artillery 1941

Post by Stoly01 » 19 Nov 2009 10:45

Hey Idomeneas, thanks for welcoming me and for getting back to me so soon.

I am no expert either on artillery (or Greek Artillery), but it is an interest that I would like to explore further. Regarding the 20mm AA defences of "Grammi Metaxas" and Greece, the sources i have relied on are mostly secondary, but i have made an effort to cross reference all the information that I read. In saying this, some of the sources i have relied on are as follows:

Websites: Fortifications.gr/ Roupel.gr/ ellgerm.php.net (H MAXH TΩN ΩXYPΩN)/ Wikipedia/ this & other websites.
Books/ Articles: "Ta ochyra tis grammis enakatevastiko thavma" (article) by; Demetrios Gedeon, Ypostrategos/Maj.General
"Fortress Europe" European Fortifications of World War II by; J.E Kaufmann & R.M Jurga

Getting back to the questions. I know there is a mistake on my part with the AA numbers at a couple of locations - probably Lisse or one of three others that i was unsure about. The article written by Maj.Gen Gedeon confirms a similar number to yours, also confirming what you are saying; "that 3 x AA guns from Nestos & Beles sector were sent to Albanian front at the start of the war (there may have been more sent, i don't know).

In this article (in greek), Maj.Gen Gedeon states that the AA defences of Roupelios were mostly destroyed in the first day (or days) of the attack on Fort Roupel, and only one survived the battle. This remaining AA gun had knocked out 6 aircraft during the fight (as per article; see ref above).

No wonder i couldn't find anything on the 20mm Oerlikons. The Army didn't have any. Thats good enough for me.

I was confused about the Gebflak/ standard flak as discussed. I wanted to understand whether the truck mounted AA units used in the 19th Motorised Division's (Motorised AA Battalion), and also in the Corps Artillery Regiments, had the GebirgsFlak type of 20mm AA (which is a lighter version Model 1938). It doesn't seem so. I wasn't referring to halftracks, only the AA type 20mm Model 1938 (I hope i am understanding the word Gebirgsflak correctly - i understand it as mounted light flak).

So the Rheinmetall 20mm Model 1930 were the only ones used by the Greek Army and; (I am now assuming) the ones with a lighter chassis were used on trucks.

I'll try and find out more about Navy inventory if i can. My next post might cross over to Fortifications & Artillery seeing that I am dealing with both topics.

Thanks Idomeneas.

Regards, Stavros

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