Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

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YAN
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Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by YAN » 02 Jun 2009 14:45

Hi, we trying to put together early ww2 wargame senarios and we are now trying to find info on the Yugoslave & Greek armies prior to the invasion by the Axis. at the moment we are concentrating on AFVs, see below.

Greece: Italian L3/33 light tanks (captured 45) & British Bren carriers (supplied 100)
Yugoslavia: Renault -35 light tanks (bought 54) & Skoda T-32 tank destroyers (bought 8)

these are the only vehicles that seen action (as far as we can see) but concerning the Greeks, they must have only capured the L3/33s after stopping the Italians, and when did the British supply the Bren carriers, was it also after they pussed back the Italians, so if we tried to re-fight the Italian invasion of Greece, would it be fair to say that the Greeks had no armour at all to fight the invaders.

Thanks Yan.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by phylo_roadking » 02 Jun 2009 15:33

Apparently they had a small number of FT17's :lol: How many I don't know. They're mentioned once in one of the histories of the invasion of Crete - probably Beevor.

The also ordered 14 Vickers' 6-ton Mk.E's prior to WW2, but these "didn't arrive in time". I'm not sure if this comment refers to not arriving in time for WW2 or the Italian invasion LOL. I know the British seized an order meant for Thailand on the outbreak of the war and used them for training, but I've never heard of this being done to the Greek order.I don't know if they were Type A twin-MG turret or Type B 47mm gun turret.

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by YAN » 02 Jun 2009 15:45

Thanks Phylo, I heard about the ten FT-17s but a source says they were unserviceable, along with two vickers tankettes and two vickers medium tanks.
Yan.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by phylo_roadking » 02 Jun 2009 16:33

The four earlier Vicklers' types had been bought for evaluation around 1935 IIRC. I'm not sure if all the FT's were unserviceable - they wouldn't have made it into contact with the Italians if they were :wink:

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by David Reasoner » 02 Jun 2009 17:10

The Greeks did eventually receive at least 10 of the 14 tanks ordered from the British in the form of Vickers Carden Loyd M1936 'Dutchmen'. The following article was copied from the Tank Museum website:

"Vickers Dutchmen in Greece

A LONG AWAITED ANSWER

Some time ago, a year or more at least, we devoted a page to a mystery created by two photographs that appeared on e-bay. The location, according to Aris Kosionides from Athens, is the Gulf of Orfani in the north of Greece, but what were they doing there? Peter Brown found out:

Dutchmen in Greece

Those who regularly follow these pages may recall the page posted in April 2006 discussing some photos on Ebay of Light Tank IIIB and Carriers. The author of the item thought the photos had been taken in France in 1940, but while Universal Carriers were used in that campaign there is no record of the Light Tank Mark IIIB sent there.

However further research has found that some of these tanks were supplied to Greece and it is most likely that the photos were taken there sometime following the German invasion in April 1941.

How they got there is an involved story, which can be traced from documents in the National Archives at Kew, London. These are in various Foreign Office and War Office files containing letters and memos from 1940 dealing with supplies of all kinds of war materials from chemicals, boots, respirators and bales of leather to rifles, machine guns, assorted artillery and aircraft.

In the area of tanks, in February 1940 the intention was to send “14 Light Tanks with Besa guns and ammunition” at a cost of £96,000 but these would not be sent until early 1941. More letters from April confirm that these would be Light Tank Mk IVc which were then still in production and that deliveries could start in September 1940.

However by November this had changed to 10 Light Tanks MkIIIB, also described as Dutch Light Tanks (Vickers) along with spares for six months plus one month’s reserves. Another file lists 10 Light Tanks (2 man) saying "These are Dutch pattern tanks which are only used for training purposes but should be of value in Greece". It also says these had Besa machine guns which is confusing as they mounted Vickers machine guns.

Also at this time 100 Bren Carriers were allocated to go to Greece.

Detailed listings for ships taking material to Greece dated 24th December 1940 gives among other items -
Clan Cummings - 38 Bren Carriers, 3 Light Tanks
Clan MacDonald - 25 Bren Carriers, 4 Light Tanks
Empire Song - 25 Bren Carriers, 3 Light Tanks
Northern Prince - 12 Bren Carriers

Another memo dated February 1941 says that 4 "light tanks" were being shipped along with stocks of various ammunition, so either more were sent later or one of the shipments was delayed.

As with so much research, this answers some questions and raises others and if anyone can add more to the story of these tanks from British or Greek sources it would be interesting to hear.

Peter Brown for Tank Museum website 24 September 2007

Our thanks to Peter Brown and Aris Kosionidis for their contributions."

Many of the photos in question of captured 'Dutchmen' in Greece can be seen here, on page 2 of this thread:

http://www.mapleleafup.org/forums/showthread.php?t=1896

David

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by Harry Yeide » 03 Jun 2009 09:53


YAN
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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by YAN » 03 Jun 2009 14:27

Many thanks David ane Harry, Do you think that any of the Greek tanks were actually used in combat ?.
Yan.

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by David Reasoner » 03 Jun 2009 18:53

YAN wrote:Do you think that any of the Greek tanks were actually used in combat ?


From Dimitris Christodoulou of the WW2 Greece Yahoo Group:

"The 19th Motorized Division (XIX Mêchanokinêtos Merarchia) was created on 19-1-1941 from two elements. The Combat Tank School (Scholê (h)armatôn machês), which had been organized in Athens since December 1940, and the Motorized Regiment. The Combat Tank School included the 4 tanks that Greece had acquired before the war, namely the 2 6-ton Vickers tanks and the 2 Carden-Lloyd tankettes. These had been briefly formed during 1935-37 in a Tank Battalion (Tagma (h) armatôn), but hadn't been used in combat during 1940. The School was supposed to train a Tank Regiment, but the British did not ship any tanks and this unit was never created. Therefore, the main mission of the School was the training of men in the use of the 100 Bren-Carriers and 185 Austin 8HP 4-seater cars that had been actually given to the Greek Army by the British. The 19th Division was in fact a `mobile' Brigade consisting of the ex-Motorized Regiment units, 77 Bren-Carriers, about 100 Austin MG armed cars and some (very modest) field, anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery support. The integration of the Motorized Regiment with the 19th Motorized Division took place on 17-3-1941 as follows:

The Light Squadron went on to form the 19th Reconnaissance Group (XIX (H)omas Anagnôriseôs);
The 1st Battle Squadron, plus the 1st and 4th MG Troops and the 1st and 4th Mortar Troops, plus the regimental corps transport, went to form the 191st Motorized Regiment (191on Mêchanokinêton Syntagma);
The 2nd Battle Squadron, plus the 2nd MG Troop and the 2nd Mortar Troop, went to form the 192nd Motorized Regiment (192on Mêchanokinêton Syntagma);
The 3rd Battle Squadron, plus the 3rd MG Troop and the 3rd Mortar Troop, went to form the 193rd Motorized Regiment (193on Mêchanokinêton Syntagma);

The 19th Division was finally organized as follows:
- Divisional HQ

- 191st Motorized Regiment, consisting of:
1 HQ Company (Lochos dioikêseôs);
1 Company of Closed Tanks (Lochos kleistôn (h)armatôn), with 9 L3 or Vickers light tanks;
1(1st) Dismounted Battalion (I Tagma Pezomachôn). It consisted of 1 Battle Squadron (same organization as with the Motorized Regiment), 1 81 mm Mortar Troop (2 mortars from the Mot. Rgt.), 1 MG Troop (4 7,92 mm Hotchkiss MGs from the Mot. Rgt.) and 1 MG Squadron (12 7,7 [0,303 in.] British MGs, organised in 6 2-gun squads and carried singly on Austin 8HP 4-seater cars).
1 (2nd) Open Tank Battalion (II Tagma anoiktôn (h)armatôn), with 2 Bren-Carrier Companies (Lochoi (h)armatôn Mpren) (a total of 22 Carriers [11 per Company, organized in 3 3-vehicle troops plus 1 2-vehicle HQ], 4 Boys A/T rifles and 6 2 inch light mortars) and 1 Motorcycle Company (Lochos Motosyklettistôn) (with 48 Norton 16H motorcycles and 6 MG armed Austin 8HP 4-seater cars. 6 of the men were armed with Thomson SMGs);
Also corps transport consisting of 15 trucks (10 of them ¾ ton Ford ones of Canadian manufacture) carrying ammunition, fuel, 2-day rations and the packs of the tank crews.

- 192nd Motorized Regiment (same as above)

- 193rd Motorized Regiment (same as above)

- 19th Reconnaissance Group, consisting of:
1 Light Squadron (same organization as with the old Motorised Regiment);
1 Bren-Carrier Company (11 Bren-Carriers);
1 Motorcyclist troop (equipped with sidecar-combinations – it is not clear if this troop is the same as that in the original Light Squadron or was in addition to it. In my opinion it is the same, so that the Reconnaissance Group had only 2 subunits).
- 19th Motorized Artillery Group (XIX Mêchanokinêtos Moira Pyrobolikou), consisting of:
1 75 mm Skoda portee battery (ex-Cavalry Division – 4 mountain guns carried on trucks);
1 75 mm `English' battery (4 towed guns of English manufacture).
- 19th Anti-aircraft Artillery Group (XIX Moira Antiaeroporikou Pyrobolikou), consisting of:
1 (1st) 37 mm motorized A/A battery (4 guns);
1 (2nd) 20 mm motorized A/A battery (4 guns).
- 19th Signals Company (XIX Lochos Diabibaseôn)
- 19th Sanitary Detachment (XIX (H)ygeionomikon Apospasma)
- 19th Commissariat Detachment (XIX Apospasma Epimelêteias)
- 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Motorized A/T troops of 47 mm guns (Antiarmatikoi mêchanokinêtoi oulamoi tôn 47) – a total of 8 ex-Italian A/T guns.
- 1st and 2nd A/T troops of 20 mm.(Antiarmatikoi oulamoi tôn 20) – a total of 4 ex-Italian 20 mm A/T rifles.
- 1st and 2nd Truck Platoon (Dimoiriai Autokinêtôn)

It is obvious that the original Motorized Regiment wasn't fully integrated with the 3 new regiments, which basically consisted of its subunits (minus the Light Squadron) plus 66 Bren-Carriers, 144 Norton motorcycles and 54 MG armed Austin cars. This is also obvious from the terminology used, with some terms originating from the Cavalry branch (squadron, troop, etc.) and others from the Infantry branch (battalion, company, etc.). The officers and men of the 19th Division originated from the Cavalry: those that did not come from the Motrized Regiment came from surplus personnel from other cavalry units from the Albanian front. No Infantry officers were sent to the Division (despite many applications).

Now some comments on the operations of the units of the 19th Division against the Germans, between 6-4-1941 and 9-4-1941, from the original reports of the Commanding Officers of the Division in the Archives:

Colonel Asêmakopoulos (ex-commander Motorized Regiment, and commander of the 192nd Motorised Regiment):

"The Italian closed tanks (the L3s) were useless and had been abandoned near Thessalonikê (without seeing any action)". "The effective combat strength of the 192nd Motorised Regiment was (only) 295 men (114 in the Bren Tank Battalion and 181 in the Dismounted Battalion)".

Commander of the 19th Recon Group: "I organized the Group into three columns (1st, 2nd and 3rd), each consisting of 1 Bren-Carrier troop, 1 sidecar-combination squad (consisting of 3 motorcycle combinations) and 1 troop from the Light Squadron… The (Boys) anti-tank rifles of the Group immobilized 2 German tanks".

The 2 closed tank companies (L3s) of the 192nd and 193rd Motorised Regiments were detached from their parent Regiments and sent to act as anti-paratroop units in the suburbs of Thessalonica. The tank company of the 191st Regiment stayed with its Regiment but, since that Regiment served as reserve for the Group of Divisions of the East Macedonia Army Section and did not see any action, there is no further mention of it. During the late afternoon of 6-4-1941 the 2nd Bren Tank Battalion of the 192nd Motorised Regiment came under heavy air attack from about 50 Stukas as it was strung along a road near the Greek-Yugoslav border.

The `Tank' Battalion lost 2 Bren-Carriers, 10 Austin cars, 2 Officers KIA and 5 WIA, 15 ORs KIA and 50 WIA. Moreover, another 13 ORs were KIA and 45 WIA belonging to a border Covering Company that was marching along with the Motorised Regiment. As a result of the heavy casualties the 2nd Bren-Carrier Company of the 2nd Battalion was practically destroyed and the Division ordered the personnel of the detached Closed Tank Companies of the 192nd and 193rd Motorised Regiments to abandon their L3s and come near the border to replace the casualties of the 192nd Regiment. These duly abandoned the ex-Italian tanks and arrived in the area of the 192nd Regiment on the morning of the 8-4-1941 and reconstituted the 2nd Bren-Carrier Company of the 192nd Regiment. So the L3s did not see any action after all.

P.S.: The Greek names are transliterated in Latin letters with no regard for the actual pronunciation of the words. ê=êta, ô=ômega, (h) =the daseia/spiritus asper. The form of the words has been kept as in 1940-41 (Greek spelling has been changed since then).

Dimitris Christodoulou"

The answer would appear to be negative, at least as far as use against the Germans is concerned.

David

Edit: Do'h, forgot to include the address for the WW2 Greece Yahoo Group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WW2Greece ... =186201585

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by phylo_roadking » 03 Jun 2009 20:02

Well, what IS interesting from that - for Yan's purposes - is the large number of Austin A/C's the Greeks had :wink:

As an aside - the Greeks ORDERED 14 Vickers' Mk.E's....but RECEIVED ten Vickers' "Dutchmen"...

I wonder what the unit cost of a Mk.E was compared to a "Dutchman"...a USED Dutchman at that! :lol: :lol: Did they get a refund???

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by nuyt » 03 Jun 2009 21:04

And the Dutch East Indies Army (Not Holland!) ordered and paid for over a hundred Vickers lights and Command tanks (40mm gun). The received 20 odd Vickers lights before the British halted their deliveries. In early 1941 they got 49 South African recce cars MK3, without armament (see overvalwagen.com).
During the Tjiater Pass battle on Java the KNIL's Vickers lights carried out a brave assault on the IJA, losing several tanks and men. The cumbersome recce cars, armed on the spot with KNIL weaponries were unfit for the small Java roads, built as they were in a country that designs roads wide enough to turn your 10 beast ox wagon around.

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by David Reasoner » 03 Jun 2009 21:43

phylo_roadking wrote:Well, what IS interesting from that - for Yan's purposes - is the large number of Austin A/C's the Greeks had :wink:


Wouldn't that be Austin U(narmoured)/C's? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Coming up with all those MG-armed Austin 8HP in 20mm scale is one part of building the Greek Army in miniature I don't look forward to... :?

David

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by phylo_roadking » 03 Jun 2009 22:06

Well....the horrible fact is - and it WOULD be horrible, the thought that these might still have been in use in WWII - is that there WAS an "Austin armoured car"...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_Armoured_Car. But remember the British were still using Rolls Royce A/Cs at the start of the war in several locations...

There's also a snippet on the Tanks site that the Greeks bought a number of "Peerless armoured cars" between the wars; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peerless_Armoured_Car - a few of which were again still in use by the British at the start of the war. Given the remarkable overall similarity between it and the Austin....?

Technically - the Austin was more advanced; at least it had pneumatic tyres!!! :lol:

EDIT: Just noticed THIS in that article on the Peerless 8O -

After the war a new design was needed to replace armoured cars that had been worn out. As a result the Peerless Armoured Car design was developed in 1919. It was based on the chassis of the Peerless three ton lorry, with an armoured body built by the Austin Motor Company.

The Peerless lorry was a relatively slow and heavy vehicle but was reckoned to be tough with solid rubber tires and rear wheel chain drive. The armour for the vehicle produced by the Austin company was based on an earlier design created for the Russian Army, which had been used in very limited numbers at the end of the War in France. The original Austin design, however was shorter than the peerless, the resulting combination was awkward and difficult to steer in confined spaces. In order to reduce the problem a duplicate set of driving controls were installed at the rear of the vehicle.


So the "Austins" you mention, David...ARE the Peerless A/Cs that the Tanks! site mentions :wink:

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by David Reasoner » 03 Jun 2009 22:16

phylo_roadking wrote:Well....the horrible fact is - and it WOULD be horrible, the thought that these might still have been in use in WWII - is that there WAS an "Austin armoured car"...


Don't forget the Soviets still had a few almost equally ancient Austin-Putilov A/C left in 1941, some of which had recently been repossessed from the Estonian and Latvian armies, which were still actively using them in 1940.

http://www.primeportal.net/apc/dieter_k ... n-putilov/

David

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by David Reasoner » 03 Jun 2009 22:22

phylo_roadking wrote:So the "Austins" you mention, David...ARE the Peerless A/Cs that the Tanks! site mentions :wink:


Phylo, I think we have a bit of confusion going here. The 185 Greek Austins are actually the 4-seat 8HP touring car armed with a Bren or Lewis LMG in the front passenger seat. They were not AFVs at all:

http://www.alliedforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1868

Sad, but quite true.

David

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Re: Yugoslave & Greek AFVs 1941

Post by phylo_roadking » 03 Jun 2009 22:28

David - not necessarily - the Tanks! site has THIS grotty pic of one of the Peerless'...

Image

(...and describes the turretless, open-top troop-carrying conversion as..."the "Irish" pattern"....even though in Ireland Peerless armoured cars were NEVER converted in this way, it was LANCIA LORRIES that were used as RIC (later RUC) personnel carriers! :lol: )

So the Greeks had Peerless A/C's, with Austin bodywork. I'm aware of the austin Tourer and Tilly types - my father owned a Surplus Tilly for some years...THANKFULLY before I happened along.
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 03 Jun 2009 22:37, edited 1 time in total.

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