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The Greek Army 1940-41

J Forsey
The Greek Army, or Hellenic Land Army astounded the world when it successfully resisted an
Italian Invasion in October 1940, not only arresting the Italian Assault, but driving a more
modern and better equipped (though poorly led) opponent back into Italian Occupied Albania
and maintaining a Stalemate until Greece ultimately fell to a German led offensive (Operation
Marita) in 1941 which broke through the defences of the exhausted Greek Army and bundled
the inadequate and overstretched allied expeditionary force out of the Greek mainland.
The Greek Army was given warning of the Italian Assault and was assisted by Bulgarian
neutrality and extremely poor Italian military leadership, but credit must also go to the Greeks
themselves and their ability to make the most of the excellent terrain available to them to
minimise the deficiencies of their outmoded equipment.
The Greek army came to consist of over Twenty Infantry Divisions, most raised from Brigade
cadres, supported by cavalry units and independent brigades and frontier units. Divisions were
lightly equipped and often under strength, with no organic AT or AA capability. Most were
grouped into Corps formations which had additional artillery and AA resources, but even with
captured equipment, Greek formations continued to suffer from inadequate material and
supplies.
Efforts were made to form a mechanised formation, the 19th Division, which had truck borne
Infantry supported by captured L3 Tankettes (all of these were concentrated for this formation)
and possibly British supplied Carriers and MkVIB Light tanks (sources differ as to whether these
were available). This formation also had limited numbers of captured Italian 47mm AT guns,
20mm AA guns, 20mm Solothurn AT rifles and Italian Field guns, either captured by the Greeks
themselves, or provided by the British from stocks captured in the Desert in 1940. The list set
out below can be easily modified to depict this formation, but as the bulk of the Greek Army was
infantry, I have chosen to depict an Infantry formation as being more representative.
Details of orders of battle, organisation and equipment and deployment are to be found in the
websites and other material listed below.

Intelligence Briefing on Early War Greek Infantry Division (1940-41)


Greek Company Choices
You can base your Greek force on:
An Infantry Company
Motivation and Experience
The Greek forces are Confident Trained.
Special Rules
Local Knowledge
The Greek Army made expert use of techniques of mountain fighting and encirclement to defeat
and drive back Italian forces in 1940 and to resist the German Invasion. Any Greek army may
have an additional platoon in ambush (using the ambush special rules) to those allowed in any
scenario where ambush troops can be deployed.
Mountain Men
The Greek Army was equipped and trained to use the mountains of their country to defy
invaders. Greek infantry teams count any hill or high feature as concealing terrain, without the
need for additional cover such as scrub or woods.
Ghosts
Italian opponents related that fighting the Greeks was like fighting Ghosts. Greek infantry teams
count as Gone to Ground while concealed, even while moving, provided they remain in
concealing terrain for their entire movement. All teams in a platoon must be so concealed in
order to benefit.
Air Support
The Elleniki Vassiliki Aeroporia (Royal Hellenic Air Force) provided limited ground support to
front line forces, operating a wide variety of mainly obsolescent 2 seat biplane aircraft in the close
support role.
Greek players may request sporadic air support at a cost of 50 points. Sporadic air support will
provide supporting ground attack aircraft and fighters on a roll of 6+.
One of the more common types was the Breguet XIX or the Henschel HS 126B, though
Potez25A and some Fairey Battle& Blenheim IV types were also used. Fighters were a mixture
of Polish and French types, with some ex RAF Gladiators and Hurricanes added late in the piece.
Aircraft
Hs 126
Breguet XIX

Weapons
Bombs
Bombs

Range
4/10cm
4/10cm

ROF
-

Infantry Company
What is in a Greek Infantry Company?
A force based around an Infantry Company must contain:
A Company HQ, and
At least 2 Infantry Platoons.
Weapons Platoons available to an Infantry Company are:
A Machine Gun Platoon,
Support Platoons for an Infantry Company can be:
A Regimental Gun Platoon,
A Mortar Platoon,
A Reconnaissance Platoon, or

Anti-tank
4
4

Firepower
1+
1+

Light Anti-aircraft, Artillery, Captured Tank or Reconnaissance Patrols from Divisional


or Corps Troops.
You may have up to two Support Platoons attached to your company for each Infantry Platoon
you are fielding.

Motivation and Experience

The Infantry Company is rated as Confident Trained.


Headquarters Platoon
1 Company HQ.
A Company HQ under a (Captain) has a Command Rifle/MG team and a 2ic Command
Rifle/MG team. 20 Points.
Combat Platoons
2 to 4 Infantry Platoons
An Infantry Platoon under a (Lieutenant) has a command Rifle/MG team, two VB teams and
three squads, each commanded by a (Sergeant) and comprising two Rifle/MG teams. 140 Points
full strength, 105 with 2 squads.
Weapons Platoons
0 to 1 Machine Gun Platoon
Composed of a Command Rifle team and two sections, each comprising two St Etienne M1907
HMG teams. 105 Points full strength, 55 with 1 section.
Support Platoons
0 to 1 Regimental Gun Platoon
Composed of a Command Rifle team and an observer and two 65mm Infantry Guns and two
rifle ammo bearer/muleteer teams . 100 Points.
0 to 1 Mortar Platoon
Composed of a Command Rifle team plus an observer and two sections each of two 81mm
Mortars. 130 points full strength, 70 with one section.
0 to 1 Reconnaissance Patrol
A reconnaissance patrol consists of a rifle command team and three rifle teams. All teams are
reconnaissance troops and use the special rules for these troops. All teams may be mounted on
horses at no extra cost. 50 points.
0 to 1 Light Anti- Aircraft Platoon
Composed of a Command Rifle team and two sections each of a captured Italian 20mm AA gun
transported by a light truck. The command team rides in one of the trucks. 80 Points full
strength, 45 Points one section.
0 to 1 Captured Tank Platoon
The Greek Army captured significant quantities of Italian light tanks and used them against the
Axis Forces. The platoon has up to four L3-35 tankettes. Because of the nature of the platoon,
a single vehicle or a pair of vehicles can be fielded.
Artillery Batteries
Composed of a Rifle Command team, a Staff team, an observer team and two sections of two
Skoda 75mm L19 Field Guns towed by Horse teams.
Greek Forces in Flames of War

Tanks - Confident Trained


Name
L3-35

pts mobility
30 Half-track

Front/side/top
1
/0
/1

Equip & notes


Twin MG

Guns & Vehicle Weapons


Name
81mm mortar

Pts
-

40/100cm

Range

ROF
-

AT
1

FP
3+

20/65 gun

30

24/60cm

5+

Notes
Mortar, Smoke, manpacked
Turntable, AA

65/17 gun

25

16/40cm

6/2

3+

75/19 gun

55

24/60cm

8/2

3+

105/19 gun

85

24/60cm

9/3

2+

16/40cm

Range
16/40cm
8/20cm

ROF
1
2

AT
2
1

FP
6
5+

Rifle/MG team

16/40cm

HMG team

24/60cm

10

16/40cm

20
10

Twin MG

Artillery, small gun,


light gun
Gun Shield, Artillery,
Smoke
Gun Shield, Artillery,
Smoke, Immobile

Infantry
Name
Rifle team
VB team

Command Rifle
team
Observer team
Staff team

Pts
10

Weapons & notes


MS M1903/14 rifle
MS M1903/14 rifle and
VB Launcher
MS M1903/14 rifle,
Hotchkiss LMG
St. Etienne M1907
machine-gun
MS M1903/14 rifle
Moves & fights as gun
team

All notes as per published Flames of War Rules or relevant handbook.

Bibliography
Mollo, Andrew The Armed Forces of WW II Orbis 1981
Packer, Edwin Italian Fiasco: The Attack on Greece Purnell History WW2
Web sites:
http://www.geocities.com/ww2greece/02.html (most comprehensive with a good selection of
TOEs and black and white contemporary photographs and colour re-enactment photographs
showing uniform details. Note that for some parts, the l is missing from html and needs to
be added to access the information)
http://www.orbat.com/site/history/historical/greece/greece1940.html (note that the Neihorster
link does not work)
http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/027_greece/__greece.htm (Niehorster site)
http://members.aol.com/balkandave/greece40.htm (good history)
useful bibliography:
http://books.stonebooks.com/cgi-bin/foxweb.exe/base/subjects?1000025
And
http://books.stonebooks.com/cgi-bin/foxweb.exe/base/subjects?1000177
discussion group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greece1940/
There is more information available on the Commonwealth forces that participated in the brief
and unsuccessful campaign to stem the German Assault and occupation. A useful source is the

official histories of the NZ Division units that participated. Battalion histories and support
histories are already available and the Volume To Greece should be available free on line in
January 2005 at http://www.nzetc.org/corpora/WH2.html
Modeling the Greek Army for Flames of War
Greek infantry can be most conveniently depicted by using the Battlefront Italian Fucileri figures.
The outbreak of war saw Greek uniforms in transition from using the British style rimmed
helmet to one closely modeled on the Italian. The uniform was also modeled on the Italian
continental pattern. British supplied and older Brown Khaki uniforms continued to be worn
by some units, while others had the new type of a more greenish hue. See the Mollo book listed
above and the ww2greece web site for examples. The old Adrian style helmet did not appear
to be used except possibly by reserve formations.
Infantry small arms: The basic rifle was the Mannlicher-Schonauer 6.5mm M1903/14 and the
LMG the Hotchkiss 8mm, (or captured Breda LMG) with the Medium MG the St.Etienne
M1907 (a failed modification of the French Hotchkiss). All can be readily depicted using the
Italian infantry range, though note that the Hotchkiss LMG used a Soviet style top drum
magazine, so including some Russian figures is an option. VB launchers can be easily modified.
Note that SMGs were not issued.
For heavier weapons, the Italian 81mm Mortar, 65mm Infantry Gun (no shield), 20mm AA and
75mm Field gun can all be readily used.