The Greek Navy

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The Greek Navy

Post by spiro » 15 Oct 2006 22:19

After the sinking of the ship Elli in the port of Tinos in 15-08-1940 from the Italian submarine Delfino, the Hellenic Navy General Staff decided to move towards the first stages of war. The basic tactic chosen by the navy was the confrontation of every attack made by the enemy until the arrival of the English fleet in the area. The beginning of war found the navy prepared for war actions. Initially the ships were assigned to escort suppliers for the army fighting in Albania . Additionally the Greek submarines took action against sea transportation of the enemy in the Adriatic with bright success. However when Germany initiated the plan Barbarosa the aircrafts of Luftwaffe flying from the Bulgarian Air-bases launched severe attacks against Hellenic battle and commercial ships as well as against land facilities throughout the whole country. The losses for the fleet were tragic. 25 ships sank during 4-25 th April 1941 . the leader of the Hellenic Navy General Staff admiral A. Sakelariou took the decision (following the political leaders of the country) to continue the struggle. Consequently the gradual retreat of the remaining ships began. Initially they headed to Souda of Crete and afterwards to Alexandria .

By the end of April 1941 there were 17 Greek ships (1 battle ship, 6 torpedo ships, 5 submarines and 1 auxiliary) in the bight of Alexandria , the only ones that were united with the English fleet and represented the only liberated Greek land. The Hellenic ships, all of them apart from B. Olga, as they were old and constantly used for war, needed to be preserved so they could be able to correspond to their future role. The ships of the fleet have been repaired in the English shipbuilding bases in Egypt and India and their armor has been replaced by new technology. The basic missions of the ships once again involved escorting of other ships, and patrolling in the Mediterranean as well as in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, aiming mainly to the support of the Soviet Union . At the same time in Egypt , schools operated in order to train old members and newcomers. Missions were sent to England for the receipt of new ships. Furthermore the service that was created for the destruction of mines resulted into the creation of a whole fleet of minesweepers. The Hellenic ships resisted hard with sacrifice in the so-called battle of Alexandria , denying escaping to the red sea, even when the forces of Romel were preparing for a counter-attack. In 1942 the English delivered to the Hellenic navy a whole squad of the latest models of torpedo-boats, which were named Canaris, Miaoylis, Pindos, Andrias, as well as the corvette Sachtoyris and the submarine Matrozos. Many of the damages and the losses of the enemy occurred because of the action of the Hellenic ships, whose crews were full of courage devotion and willing to sacrifice themselves. On the other hand the contact with Greece was not lost. The Hellenic submarines were constantly patrolling the Greek coasts carrying British and Greek commandos as well as war material. They captured or sank enemy vessels, terrorized the Italians in Dodekanisa and caused many casualties to the Germans in the Aegean Sea . In 18-09-43 the B. Olga was a protagonist in all the great victories against the enemy in the Mediterranean .

Together with 2 English torpedo boats it destroyed the German enemy that was ready to unload troops in Dodekanisa. However it was sank after a severe attack of stoykas-type German aircrafts in the port of Leros . While the attacks of the other allied ships were concentrated in dodekanisa, Adrias was at the front line during the bombing of the coasts of Calimnos. The night of 22-10- 1943 its bow exploded after heating a mine. Despite the fire and its damages in his gun power, its wounded captain I. Toumpas ordered the crew to collect the castaways of an English torpedo boat and to return to the port of Alexandria . The ship and its crew were welcomed as heroes. The action of the navy was completed with the initiation of the plan "return of the navy to Greece " which defined the way of the arrival of the fleet and the government of Egypt back home. During the end of the war, the fleets ships were spread to the islands and the ports of the Aegean sea aiming to hunt down the last remaining kernels of the enemy, escort ships with supplies for civilians and the refreshing of old naval services that would in turn contribute to the establishment of the Hellenic governance.


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