Tuesday, 26 April 2011

(1923-1938) Gloster Mars

Gloster 'Mars' VI NighthawkIn 1922, to address the serious lack of available interceptor planes during the Asia Minor campaign, a number of Gloster Mars interceptors were ordered from Great Britain. They were delivered shortly after the end of the war and by April 1923 they had already equipped the 5th Fighter Squadron, which was especially created for them.
They were distributed between the Army (Tatoi/Dekeleia) and the Navy (Faliro). The Gloster Mars remained in active service as the only Greek interceptor until 1934, from when on it was used for advanced training by the Air Force Academy in Tatoi.

Operational History
1922 - First batch ordered from Great Britain.
January 1923 - First aircraft arrive in Greece.
April 1923 - They equip the newly formed 5th Fighter Squadron and are used as interceptors. They will remain as the only interceptors in Greek service until 1935.
1925-26 - Venizelos orders 25 aircraft of the VI type as part of a large airforce reorganisation programme. Only 13 will arrive.
1934 - Withdrawn from the interceptor role and are now used as advanced trainers for the next four years.

Gloster "Mars" VI Nighthawk

Length: 5.50 m
Height: 2.74 m
Wingspan: 8.54 m
Wing Area: 26 sq. m
Weight: (max) 1,006 kg, (empty) 824 kg
Engine: 1 Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar II (325 hp)
Speed: 241 km/h
Armament: 2 x 7.7mm Vickers MG
Crew: 1

For Gamers and Game designers
The first Greek pilots trying the Gloster Mars aircraft claimed that if they had been received a year earlier, the result of the Asia Minor Campaign would have been different. It is an exaggerated claim, of course, but it illustrates how well-liked they were by the pilots. It is not surprising that the Greeks used them as their sole interceptors for over ten years.

For Modellers
The Gloster Mars aircraft took the serial numbers 1-13.

A Kit from Blue Rider

Destroyed by the Germans. Photo taken April 1941, possibly in SEDES.

Additional photos
One of the first Gloster Mars delivered. It overturned during landing, Drama airfield. Photos shows Evripidis Skazikis (left) and Xenophon Oikonomou (right) Photo taken late 1930s, when it was used as advanced trainer Photo taken after 1929

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

(1936-1940s) Stokes-Brandt 81mm mortar

81mm Brandt-Stokes mortar used in the Albanian Front in 1940Following the disaster of the Asia Minor campaign, the Greek army was in disarray, lacking direction and equipment. In 1930, the purchase of mortars was limited to only ten 81mm mortars with 25 shells each. When Metaxas took over in 1936, he launched a large rearmament programme, which included 315 Stokes-Brandt 81mm mortars from France. The well-trained Greek mortarmen made good use of them during the Greco-Italian war.

Operational History

1930 - Greece purchases 10 81mm mortars. The type is unclear.
1936 or later - During Metaxas's premiership, Greece requests a large number of 81mm Stokes-Brandt mortars from France. With their factories fully occupied with their own critical needs for equipment, the French agree on a smaller order of 315 mortars.
28 Oct. 1940 - When Italy invades, Greece has 325 81mm mortars, 6 in every infantry regiment and 4 in every cavalry regiment.
post-war - Realistically, any remaining Stokes-Brandt mortars must have been captured by the Germans in 1941. However, Greece continues using for decades the M1 81mm mortar, which is the U.S. version of the same mortar.

81mm Stokes-Brandt mortar M.1927/31

Weight: 56 kg
Barrel Length: 1.26 m
Crew: 3
Caliber: 81mm
Rate of Fire: 18 rounds per minute
Effective Range: 1,000 - 1,900m

For gamers and game designers
General Prasca, who led the initial offensive in the Greco-Italian war, was impressed by the efficiency of the Greek mortars and expressed the opinion that they were using special ammunition. Of course, this was not true.

For modellers
81mm Brandt Mle27 mortar

Monday, 4 April 2011

(1930-1942) Y-6 Glafkos

Y-6 Glafkos in the 1930sBeing one of four Loire-Simonot type submarines in the Greek Navy, Glafkos was a sister of Y-3 Proteus and similar to the earlier Katsonis class. Glafkos was undergoing major repairs and did not participate in any patrols during the Greco-Italian war. She escaped to Alexandria and carried two war patrols under Cdr. Arslanoglou. In 1942, she was sunk by German bombers while stationed for repairs in the port of Malta.

Operational History

1928 - Launched. It is the only submarine of the class that is built in the Chantiers Navals Francais (Blainville, France). The other three were built in the Chantiers de la Loire.
Y-6 Glafkos being built, July 1928
17 Nov. 1930 - Commissioned.
1 Dec. 1930 - Received by A. Zangas and G. Labrinopoulos
1935 - Damaged during the political upheavals of 1935. It is possibly because of these damages that Glafkos is undergoing repairs and is out of action during the Greco-Italian war.
1940 - The new commander of Glafkos is Vaker.
1941 - The new commander of Glafkos is D. Zeppos.
19-23 Apr. 1941 - Glafkos escapes to Alexandria. New commander is V. Arslanoglou.
12 Jul. 1941 - Begins first wartime patrol in the Dodecannese.
21 Jul. 1941 - Sinks the Italian sailing vessel San Nicola (21 GRT) with gunfire 4 miles NW of Rhodes.
22 Jul. 1941 - Sinks a sailing vessel with gunfire off Castelorizzo.
27 Jul. 1941 - Returns from first patrol after a total of 216 hours submerged and 138 hours surfaced.
5 Nov. 1941 - Begins second wartime patrol north of Crete.
10 Nov. 1941 - On the way to Malta for engine repairs, Glafkos V. Arslanogloutorpedoes and damages the German merchant Norburg (2392 GRT) off Suda Bay, Crete.
19 Nov. 1941 - Due to urgent need for repair, Glafkos arrives in Malta ending the second patrol after a total of 158 hours submerged and 169 hours surfaced.
1 Dec. 1941 - One of Glafkos's crew, Vasilios Merlin, loses his life while in training with British submarine HMS Perseus which sinks off Otranto.
27 Feb. 1942 - V. Arslanoglou and Ioannis Kostakos are the two casualties of a German bombing of the harbour of La Valetta, where Glafkos undergoes repairs. A. Daniolos takes command of the submarine.
4 Apr. 1942 - Sinks by German bombers in the Harbour of La Valetta. No casualties. The crew is transfered to Alexandria aboard Y-3 Proteus.

Map showing the three successes and the location of the sinking of Glafkos

Y-6 Glafkos submarine of the Proteus class

Cost: £119,000 each submarine of the 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
Max. Dive: 80 m
Speed: (Surf.) 14 knots, (Subm.) 9.5 knots
Range: (Surf.) 4,000 nm @ 10 knots, (Subm.) 100 nm @ 5 knots
Fuel: 105 tons of oil
Armament: 100mm gun at the forward end of the conning tower, at casing level (150 shells) and one 40mm. No external tubes. 8x 533mm torpedo tubes (6 bow, 2 stern; 8 torpedoes)

For gamers and game designers
With only two wartime patrols, Glafkos was the least active of the four Proteus-class submarines. In 1941, it was obsolete by the standards of the major powers, but still dangerous with the 8 torpedo tubes.

For modellers