Sunday, 25 April 2010

(1946-1962) Centaur Mk.I

The original caption of this photo reads: 'Demonstration of the Centaur capabilities to the citizens of Amyndaion' (1957)The first tank that the Greek army acquired after World War 2 was the Centaur Mk.I. In May 1946, 52 such tanks were offered from Britain to the Greek government as part of the British commitment to help fight the communists during the Greek Civil War. For over two years, these tanks remained inactive as their crew were being trained and waiting for British technical support. They became operational in the summer of 1948.

The Greek Centaurs had considerable differences between them. For example, some had a 57 mm 6pdr quick firing Mk.V gun, some had different (type A or B) hulls and some were fitted with a Browning M2 machine gun mounted on the turret for Anti-aircraft purposes. Some had the older Liberty engine.

Operational History
May 1946 - The Greek Government receives 52 British Centaur Mk.I tanks.
1947 - Greek officers sent to England to be trained on Centaurs.
1948 - The officers return from training and three regiments are formed (II, IX and XI). They play significant role in operations against the communists.
January 1949 - The three regiments are renamed as 381, 382 and 383.
October 1949 - They form 391 "Kentavros" (Centaur) Regiment
1962 - Phased out. Gradually replaced by the newer M-47 Patton tank.

A27L Centaur Mk.I

Crew: 5 Turret of a Centaur, from the National War Museum, Athens, Greece
Weight: 27.5 tons
Length: 20 ft 10 in
Width: 9 ft 6 in
Height: 8 ft 2 in
Engine: Liberty 395 hp
Speed: 27 m/h
Armour: 20/76 mm
Armament: 1x 6-pdr (57mm) main gun with 64 rounds and 1x 7.92mm Besa MG

For gamers and game designers
Centaur MkI tanks were used only for training in the British Army. In the Greek army, they faced only the significantly inferior Communist forces during the Civil War.

For modellers
Centaur MkI Greek (profile)

1:35 model of the Centaur by Raw Shooter of
Centaur 1:35 top view Centaur 1:35 side view
A scale model from the National War Museum, Athens:
Centaur scale model from the National War Museum, Athens

Saturday, 3 April 2010

(1927-1940) Submarine Y-3 "Proteus"

Y-3 Proteus next to Y-2 PapanikolisA Loire-Simonot type submarine, similar to the earlier Katsonis class, Y-3 Proteus was the first Greek submarine to be lost in World War 2. It was built in Nantes, at the At. and Ch. De La Loire, at a cost of 119,000 francs for the Greeks.
Having sunk early, Proteus was the only submarine of her class that didn't serve under the control of the Royal Navy during the war.

Y-3 Proteus - location of sinking

Operational History

24 Oct. 1927 - Launched
31 Aug 1929 - Commissioned.
30 Oct. 1940 - 5 Nov. 1940 - First patrol. Patraikos Gulf. 152 hours (56 subm./96 surf.)
15 Nov. 1940 - 24 Nov. 1940 - Second patrol. Adriatic. 214 hours (98 Subm./116 surf.)
25 Dec. 1940 - 29 Dec. 1940 - Third patrol. Adriatic. 51 hours (20 Subm./31 surf.)
19 Dec. 1940 - Locates Italian convoy. Torpedoes and sinks Italian cargo ship "Sardegna" (11,452 GRT). Very quickly, Proteus is spotted by the Italian Y-3 Proteus next to Y-2 Papanikolis in Salaminatorpedoboat Antares. Antares drops 11 depth charges on Proteus, forces it to surface and rams it 40 miles East of Brindisi (40º31'N, 19º02'E). All hands lost.
10 Jan. 1941 - At 09:25, the Italian radio announces that a Greek submarine was sunk three weeks ago. On 19 Dec. 1940 Greek steamboat "Ionia" had intercepted the SSS distess signal of "Sardegna". As a result the Greeks were aware of the success of Proteus, but not of its fate until the Italian radio announcement.

Y-3 ProteusY-3 Proteus submarine of the Proteus class

Displacement: Surfaced 750 tons, Submerged 960 tons
Length: 68.6 m
Beam: 5.73 m
Draft: 4.18 m
Propulsion: 2-shaft Sulzer diesels plus 2 electric motors, 1420bhp/1200shp
Complement: 41 - 45
Max. Dive: 80 m
Speed: (Surf.) 14 knots, (Subm.) 9.5 knots
Range: (Surf.) 4,000 nm @ 10 knots, (Subm.) 100 nm @ 5 knots
Armament: 100mm gun at the forward end of the conning tower, at casing level (150 shells). No external tubes. 8x 533mm torpedo tubes (6 bow, 2 stern; 8 torpedoes)

The crew, when sunk Captain of Y-3, Michail Chatzikonstantis (colourised photo)
Michail Chatzikonstantis (top photo - Born 1906, Piraeus, father: Antonios)

Georgios Maridakis (second photo - Born 1910, Chania)

Andreas Tournas (third photo - Born 1912, Tripoli, father: Konstantinos)

Theodoros Konidis (bottom photo - Born 1913, Konstantinoi Messinias, father: Antonios)

Kyriakos Nikolarakos
Dionysios Tilemaxos
Antonios Kafetzis
Ioannis Kyriazis
Thrasyvoulos Tsatsas
Anastasios Ntontos Officer of Y-3, Georgios Maridakis
Vasilios Georgiou
Achilleus Toulis
Theodoros Sanoudos
Dimitrios Giannelis
Anastasios Anastasopoulos
Georgios Tsalikis
Panagiotis Sklavos
Ilias Katsouranis
Napoleon Anthis
Dionysios Anninos
Nikolaos Armenis
Spyridonas Vlachos
Pantelis Voutsinas
Spyridon Gialypsos
Stamatios Giatrakos
Charalampos Delis
Konstantinos Dimitrakopoulos Officer of Y-3, Andreas Tournas
Christos Zafiris
Panagiotis Theodosis
Georgios Kapsos
Emmanuil Levantis
Georgios Liatsis
Panagiotis Minas
Georgios Morianos
Stavros Mousoulis
Dimitrios Orfanios
Zacharias Pantaleon
Michail Panagis
Panagiotis Parasxis
Eleftherios Perdikouris
Apostolos Skarakis
Georgios Tilemaxos
Aristidis Tousas
Panagiotis Fourikis Captain of Y-3, Theodoros Konidis
Petros Chatzidimitriou
Konstantinos Cheliotis
Georgios Chrysanthopoulos
Petros Psyllas

For gamers and game designers
In 1940, Proteus was already an aged submarine. On paper, it was marginally better than Papanikolis and Katsonis.

For modellers
Proteus has been included in the Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures game (1:1800 scale). It comes originally in light grey colour. The photo below shows my repainted black Proteus.
My repainted Proteus from the Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures game (1:1800 scale)

The photo below is from the Hellenic Maritime Museum in Athens.

Y-3 Proteus model from the Hellenic Maritime Museum in Greece