Διάκος Αλέξανδρος, Υπολοχαγός Πεζικού

Ο πρώτος νεκρός αξιωματικός του ελληνοϊταλικού πολέμου

diakos-yplgosΟ Α­λέ­ξαν­δρος Διά­κος γεν­νή­θη­κε το 1911 στη Χάλ­κη της Ρό­δου. Τό­τε το νη­σί βρι­σκό­ταν υ­πό ι­τα­λική κα­το­χή και ο Α­λέ­ξαν­δρος, α­πό μι­κρό παι­δί γα­λου­χή­θη­κε με τον πό­θο και τα ι­δα­νι­κά της λευ­τε­ριάς.  Την πε­ρί­οδο αυ­τή τα Δω­δε­κά­νη­σα βρί­σκο­νταν υ­πό τον ι­τα­λι­κό ζυ­γό. Ο Α­λέ­ξαν­δρος, γεννή­θη­κε και με­γά­λω­σε με τον πόθο για τη λευ­τε­ριά της ι­διαί­τε­ρης πα­τρί­δας του και την εν­σω­μά­τω­σή της στη Μη­τέρα Ελ­λά­δα. Α­πό μι­κρό παι­δί κιό­λας, μα­θη­τής Γυ­μνα­σί­ου α­ντι­δρού­σε στις ι­τα­λι­κές δια­τα­γές και α­πα­γο­ρεύ­σεις. Χα­ρα­κτη­ρι­στι­κό πα­ρά­δειγ­μα, σε μια ε­πέ­τειο της 25ης Μαρ­τί­ου κα­τέ­βα­σε την ιτα­λι­κή σημαί­α που κυ­μά­τι­ζε στο προ­αύ­λιο του Γυ­μνα­σίου του και ύ­ψω­σε τη Γα­λα­νό­λευ­κη· ή­ταν μια με­γά­λη πρά­ξη, α­πό έ­να μι­κρό παι­δί.

Το 1929 φεύ­γει α­πό το νη­σί και φθά­νει στην Α­θή­να, ό­που και κα­τα­τάσ­σε­ται στην Στρα­τιω­τι­κή Σχο­λή των Ευελ­πί­δων. Α­πό ε­κεί α­πο­φοι­τά και ε­ντάσ­σεται στις τά­ξεις του Ελ­λη­νι­κού Στρα­τού το 1934, ο­νο­μα­ζό­με­νος Αν­θυ­πο­λο­χα­γός Πε­ζι­κού.

Η κή­ρυ­ξη του πο­λέ­μου βρίσκει τον Διά­κο στο βαθ­μό του Υ­πο­λο­χα­γού, να υ­πη­ρε­τεί στην Πίν­δο. Ο ί­διος ζή­τη­σε να με­τα­βεί στο μέ­τω­πο. Ο Α­λέ­ξανδρος πί­στευε πως ήταν η ευ­και­ρί­α να α­πο­δεί­ξει γι’ α­κό­μη μια φο­ρά στον ι­τα­λό κα­τα­κτη­τή, πως «του Έλ­λη­νος ο τρά­χη­λος ζυγό δεν υ­πο­μέ­νει». Ο Διά­κος ο­ρί­ζε­ται διοι­κη­τής του 2ου Λό­χου του 4ου Συ­ντάγ­μα­τος Πε­ζι­κού και ρί­χνε­ται στην πρώ­τη και τε­λευ­ταί­α του μά­χη. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 8 THE CONDUCT OF THE BATTLE – THE COLLAPSE OF THE DEFENCE AND THE EVACUATION OF THE ISLAND OF CRETE

The  German  Preparatory  Bombardments  and  the  Results

  1. The preparation of the German attack with view to the occupation of Crete had essentially begun as of April 16, that is, since the VIII German Airforce Corps had taken action to destroy or impede the movement of the allied vessels sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean. Within the scope of this action, the ports of Souda and Irakleio had already been subjected to air attacks.

As of May l4, however, systematic bombardment commenced, in accordance with the German plan. The main targets were the airfields of Maleme, Rethymno (Pigi), and Irakleio (Rousses), the ports of Souda and Irakleio, the Antiaircraft pill boxes and the towns of Hania, Rethymno and Irakleio. At the same time, aircraft that were constantly patrolling, forbade ships to approach the shores of Crete. From May 14 to 18, merchant ships of 36,000 tons capacity were sunk at sea on their way to Crete, as were the Greek destroyer ‘Leon’ and the British corvette ‘Salvia’.

  1. As a result of this activity, the ships no longer approached or unloaded their cargo in Souda harbour during the day. The ships approached Crete at night only, sailing in the harbour of Souda at midnight to unload and sailing away on the same night. However, in order to achieve this, it was necessary to use ships that would be able to develop a high speed, that is, cruisers and destroyers, so that the demands of the situation could be met (arrival, unloading and departure) within the available limited space of time. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 7 THE PREPARATIONS AND THE PLANS OF OPERATIONS OF THE ADVERSARIES

The  Strategic  Importance  of  the  Island  of  Crete 

  1. The island of Crete lies in the centre of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, on the cross-roads of the air and sea lines of communication, from east to west and from north to south or vice versa. Thus, it constitutes an excellent base for aeronautical operations in every direction and the power that occupies it secures the control of all communications in the Mediterranean. These characteristics lend particular strategic importance to the island.

A natural consequence of this strategic importance was that, since the beginning of the Second World War, Crete was of interest both to the British and Hitler. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 6 – THE BATTLES IN CENTRAL AND WESTERN MACEDONIA-THE WITHDRAWAL AND THE CAPITULATION OF THE EPIRUS ARMY-THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE BRITISH AND THE COMPLETION OF THE OCCUPATION OF GREECE BY THE GERMANS (April 9 – May 8, 1941)

Final Gleams of the Epirus Epopee

(Sketch-map no. 20)

  1. The Greek Army, in the Albanian Theatre of Operations, after its victorious struggles and its advance deep into the northern Epirus territory, was confined, during the months of January and February 1941, to static fighting, mainly due to the extreme severity of the winter. From March 9 to 26, it had confronted the ‘Spring’ attack of the Italians with success and retained the occupied territory.

Despite the fatigue and the hardships of war, the Greek Army preserved its high morale and aimed at new successes.

Since March 27 and until the German attack of April 6, the situation in the Theatre of Operations did not present any significant changes. The war activity was mainly confined to artillery and patrol action, in order to maintain contact. The conduct of a few local operations in the sector of the Western Macedonia Field Army Section (WMFAS) was an exception aiming mainly at the improvement of the occupied positions. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 5 – THE GERMAN ATTACK AGAINST GREECE AND THE FIGHTING IN EASTERN MACEDONIA AND THRACE (April 6 to 9, 1941)

The  German  Threat

  1. Once Hitler decided to turn against Russia, in the summer of 1940, the Balkan Peninsula became of special strategic importance for the Germans. The occupation of the Balkan peninsula constituted a necessary condition for the assumption of this campaign, in order to safeguard the German Armies that would be operating eastwards, from the south.

The occupation of the Balkan Peninsula was also supported by the argument that, the presence of strong German forces would force Turkey to join the Axis or at least to reinforce its neutrality. Furthermore, it would secure the oil-wells of Romania, which were very important for the conduct and spreading of the war, from possible British air raids which would make use of the airfields in Greece for that purpose. What is more, the descent of the Germans to the Balkan peninsula was bound to prevent the unfortunate consequences of a possible failure of the Italian attack against Greece, according to the estimate of the German General Staff. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 4 – THE GREEK ARMY WINTER OPERATIONS AND THE ITALIAN GREAT “PRIMAVERA”(SPRING) ATTACK ( January 7 until March 26, 1941 )

 The General Military Situation in the beginning of 1941 ( Sketch-map no. 13 )

  1. As previously mentioned in the development of operations until this point, on November l4, the Greek forces undertook to launch a general counter-attack throughout the entire Albanian Theatre of Operations. After a two-month hard struggle under extremely adverse weather conditions and despite the stubborn resistance and the continual reinforcement of the enemy with new units, they managed to repulse the Italians far beyond the Greek-Albanian borders, from 30 to 50 kilometres inland, and were able to reach the general line of Himara-Boliena-Tserevonda-Soukagora mountain-Kamia mountain-Pogradetz.

The general disposition of the Greek forces on the evening of January 6, 1941, was the following:

-In the Southern Sector, the A’ Army Corps, with its HQ at Dervitsani, had been set up defensively in the zone from Himara to mount Debelit and had the III, VIII and II Divisions at its disposal in the direction west to east.

-In the Central Sector, the B’ Army Corps, with its HQ at Premeti, continuing its offensive operations, occupied the zone from the valley of Aoos river (included) to Tomoros mountain and had the I, XV and XI Divisions at its disposal in the direction south to north. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 3 – THE GREEK COUNTER-ATTACK AND THE ADVANCE OF THE ARMY ON THE NORTHERN EPIRUS TERRITORY (November 14, 1940 until January 6, 1941)

Intentions of the General Headquarters regarding Future Operations

(Sketch-map no. 8)

  1. During the first period of war and after the containment of the Italian offensive and the favourable outcome of the operations conducted by the Greek Army, the General Headquarters began to examine the question of the line which would have to be occupied and secured before the advent of winter, whereupon serious resupply difficulties were bound to occur. Various solutions were considered to that effect. In the end, the decision taken was to move all Greek forces west of the Pindos mountain bulk and to secure their resupply by using the carriage road of Koritsa-Erseka-Mertzani-Ioannina.

This solution was selected, because it would greatly facilitate the resupply of the forces allocated to the mountainous areas. Moreover, it presented an additional advantage, i.e. the capacity to transport troops from one part of the Theatre of Operations to the other rapidly, as compared to the long stretch of road, used up until then, that travelled through Koritsa-Kastoria-Grevena-Kalambaka-Metsovo-Ioannina-Elea. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 2 – THE SITUATION AND THE PLANS OF ACTION OF THE ADVERSARY FORCES. THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE GREEK – ITALIAN WAR AND THE OPERATIONS IN EPIRUS AND WESTERN MACEDONIA ( 28 October to 13 November 1940 )

Political and Military Situation on the Eve of the Italian Attack

  1. By October l940, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Poland, had already been occupied by the Powers of the Axis.

Britain, which had managed to salvage, after the disaster of Dunkirk, only the manpower of its expeditionary force in France, had been left to fend for itself and the threat of an invasion on its home territory had not been fully averted, despite the resistance and victories of the British Airforce.

In Africa, the Italians were pressing the British. British Somalia had been taken, while, along the borders of Abyssinia and English-Egyptian Sudan, the Italians had recorded important successes.

Furthermore, the entrance of Italy in the war, on the side of Germany, and the capitulation of France, had rendered the Allied transport network towards the Mediterranean both unsafe and awkward.

Neither Russia, nor America had yet got involved in the conflict. On October 12, 1940, President Roosevelt had defined the two fundamental principles of the United States foreign policy. Namely, the protection of the entire Western Hemisphere by American forces and the continuation of all types of aid towards Britain, except for the dispatch of troops. Συνέχεια

ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE GREEK–ITALIAN AND GREEK–GERMAN WAR 1940–1941: 1 – CAUSES AND PRETEXTS FOR WAR-DEFENCE MEASURES IN THE GREEK TERRITORY UNTIL THE EVE OF THE ITALIAN ATTACK

 The  Military  and  Political  Situation  in  the  Balkan Peninsula in  the  Beginning  of 1939 and the Expansionist Aspirations of Italy

  1.  In July, l923, after the Treaty of Lausanne, Greece strove to organise the country and restore it from the ruins of the First World War and the Asia Minor Expedition. The enormous problem of the reception, relief and rehabilitation of approximately one and a half million expatriate refugees from Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor demanded an immediate solution. Furthermore, other vital issues  that needed to be dealt with, were the reorganisation of the army, the economic recovery and the restoration of order in internal political affairs.

The primary concern of the foreign policy was to secure the territorial integrity and to safeguard the national independence. Initially, Greece sought to fulfil this aim within the bounds of the general guarantees, offered by the charter of the League of Nations (LoN). However, when the collective security system and the LoN mechanisms proved powerless to guarantee the right of national inviolability, the rendering of justice and peace to the smaller countries, Greece was forced to resort to the old-fashioned practice of balance of forces and to the direct communication among the countries. Thus, after a five-year diplomatic isolation, Greece began to exercise a policy that sought to broaden the co-operation with its neighbours, in order to solve existing differences and pending issues. These acts led to the reinforcement of the bipartite ties between states and a series of friendship pacts were signed with Balkan and non Balkan states, as follows: Συνέχεια

10 Bloodiest Battles of World War II


From 1939 to 1945, the largest conflict the world has ever known raged on relentlessly. Beginning in Europe, before taking in Asia, Africa, America and the Pacific, World War Two saw over 60 million deaths and countless lives blighted. Bloodshed had never been seen on such a scale before. Even World War I — whose fatalities numbered 35 million — did not witness the same level of sheer destruction, meted out on all sides, throughout the early 1940s. What follows are the bloodiest battles of World War Two — a startling reminder, if one were needed, that war can indeed be hell.

Συνέχεια

Οι Ελληνικές Δυνάμεις στη Μέση Ανατολή

Συγκρότηση Ελληνικών Ένοπλων Δυνάμεων Μ. Ανατολής.

Ή Ελληνική Κυβέρνηση, από των πρώτων ήμερων της αφίξεώς της εις Αίγυπτο, επιδόθηκε εις το έργο της συγκροτήσεως νέου στρατού, με την βοήθεια των Βρετανών συμμάχων, διά την συνέχιση του αγώνος τής Ελλάδος κατά των κατακτητών {15 Ίουν. 1941}. Την δύναμη των Ελληνικών Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων Μ. Ανατολής απετέλεσαν:

α. Τα διασωθέντα εις Αΐγυπτο, μετά τών βρεταννών, τμήματα του Ελληνικού Στρατού μετά την αποχώρηση εκ Κρήτης.

β. Τα διασωθέντα σκάφη του Πολεμικού Ναυτικού.

γ. Το μεταφερθέν εξ Ελλάδος εις Μ. Ανατολή προσωπικό της Πολεμικής Αεροπορίας.

δ. Τα συγκροτηθέντα εις Αΐγυπτον, προ τής αφίξεως τής Ελληνικής Κυβερνήσεως, ένοπλα τμήματα Φάλαγγα Ελλήνων Αιγύπτου και Δωδεκανησιακό Τάγμα, εξ εθελοντών τής πολυαρίθμου εις Αίγυπτο Ελληνικής παροικίας. Συνέχεια

Η πολεμική δράση του αντισυνταγματάρχη Φριζή και η συντριβή της Ιταλικής Μεραρχίας Τζούλια

Η άμυνα του μετώπου Ηπείρου είχε ανατεθεί εξ ολοκλήρου στην 8η Μεραρχία. Η γραμμή αμύνης άρχιζε στα αριστερά από τα παράλια σύνορα Ελλάδος-Αλβανίας και στα δεξιά στηριζόταν στον Σμόλικα.

Η διαταγή της 23ης Σεπτεμβρίου του 1940 καθόριζε ότι η Μεραρχία απεφάσισε να παρασύρει τον αντίπαλο επί της άριστα οργανωμένης τοποθεσίας Ελαία-Καλαμά κι από εκεί με αντεπιθέσεις να τον απορρίψει πέραν των συνόρων. Το σχέδιο όριζε ότι οι μονάδες προκαλύψεως θα εκτελούσαν μαχόμενες υποχωρητικούς ελιγμούς μέχρι την γραμμή αμύνης παρασύροντας στην υποχώρησή τους τον εχθρό. Εκεί, οι μονάδες προκαλύψεως θα περνούσαν στα μετόπισθεν σαν εφεδρείες. Τονίζουμε ότι η την 27η Οκτωβρίου η 8η Μεραρχία ήταν  πανέτοιμη και πλήρως επιστρατευμένη. Μάλιστα δε το 39ο Σύνταγμα Ευζώνων Μεσολογγίου είχε προεπιστρατευθή και επορεύετο προς την Ήπειρο για να ενταχτεί στην 8η Μεραρχία ενώ την 28η Οκτωβρίου ήταν στο Αγρίνιο. Συνέχεια

Short account of the Greek Epopee of 1940

Introduction

Sixty years have gone by since the Second World War (WW II) storm hit Greece in 1940, bringing her untold suffering until her 1944 liberation with the help of her Allies. WW II broke out in Europe on 1 September 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, which she occupied the same month. Austria and Czechoslovakia had previously come under complete German control without resistance.

When on 28 October 1940 Italy attacked Greece, the Battle of Britain was just over and the UK troops had retreated from Europe at Dunkirk. At this time a Peace Agreement was in force between the Soviet Union and Germany. The Battle of Greece, initially against the unprovoked Italian attacks from 28 October 1940 onward and later on the German invasion from 6 April 1941 onward, lasted altogether 216 days. This unexpectedly very long and stanch Greek fight back caused international astonishment, general admiration and praise, manifested in many ways. It was something magnificent and rightly considered as a Greek miracle. Peter Young, in his book «WORLD ALMANAC BOOK OF WW II» reports that the Axis occupied France in 45 days, in spite substantial British military support; Belgium in 18 days; Holland in 5 days, while Denmark submitted in 12 hours and Bulgaria, Rumania and Albania succumbed without a fight. Συνέχεια

WWII Italian offensive ; Greece says «NO»

Αθήνα 1940, οδός Πανεπιστημίου. Παρέλαση στρατιωτών που αναχωρούν στο μέτωπο

Ochi! Greek volunteers marching from Athens to the front. This picture illustrates very well the moods after the Italian invasion.

The Italian fascism saw the Balkans as a natural area of its expansion, either through direct conquest of certain lands (Dalmatia, Ionian Islands) or through their political and economical subordination. However the results of this policy were weak: apart from occupation of Albania closer relations were established only with Hungary. Their basis was in common hostility towards Yugoslavia and in Budapest’s seeking some balance to the III Reich, especially after the annexation of Austria and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. In April 1939 Benito Mussolini, who unlike Adolf Hitler had gained nothing from creation of the Axis Rome-Berlin, and inspired by his foreign minister, count Galeazzo Ciano, decided to annect Albania. Out of Mussolini’s crippled conquests this was probably the most bizarre one. Italian expeditionary forces were created literally hastily. They had no combat experience, no adequate equipment, no precise orders and they almost blundered in face of the chaotic Albanian defence. Only the faint-heartedness of the Albanian king Zog I, as well as corruption and treason among his many ministers and generals, caused, that Albania was eventually occupied. This operetta-style invasion had brought to the Italian king, Victor Emmanuel III, yet another title – the King of Albania, to the Italian industrialists – an opportunity of unlimited exploitation of the country, and to the Italian military – a bridgehead for further conquests. But the real beneficiary was count Ciano, who practically had got his own appanage principality. Συνέχεια

Σύντομο Ιστορικό της Ελληνικής Εποποιίας του 1940

Όταν τον Οκτώβριο του 1940 η Ιταλία επετέθη κατά της Ελλάδας, είχε μόλις τότε τελειώσει η Μάχη της Αγγλίας και τα Βρετανικά Στρατεύματα είχαν υποχωρήσει από την Ευρώπη στην Δουνκέρκη. Μεταξύ Γερμανίας και Σοβιετικής Ενώσεως ίσχυε από το 1939 Σύμφωνο Φιλίας. Η Μάχη της Ελλάδας κατά των απρόκλητων Ιταλικών αρχικά από 28 Οκτωβρίου 1940 επιθέσεων αργότερα δε από και των 6 Απριλίου 1941 Γερμανικών, διήρκεσε συνολικά 216 ημέρες. Αυτό προκάλεσε παγκόσμια κατάπληξη και αιτία πολλαπλού γενικευμένου θαυμασμού και εγκωμίων. Ήταν κάτι το μεγαλειώδες, το οποίο δικαίως θεωρήθηκε ως Ελληνικό θαύμα. Όπως αναφέρει ο Peter Young στο βιβλίο του “WORLD ALMANAC BOOK OF WW II”, για την κατάληψη της Γαλλίας ο Άξονας χρειάστηκε 45 ημέρες, παρά τη στρατιωτική βοήθεια που της εδόθη με την εκεί παρουσία ισχυρών Αγγλικών δυνάμεων, του Βελγίου 185  μέρες, ενώ η Δανία υπέκυψε σε  ώρες και οι Βουλγαρία, Ουγγαρία, Ρουμανία και Αλβανία προσεχώρησαν ή παρεδόθησαν αμαχητί. Συνέχεια