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1940-41 AIR FORCE

The Greek Air Force in Spearhead

by John Moher


Greek Air Force - 1940-41

GROUND SUPPORT
1st SQUADRON (Unknown):
2-Breuget XIX.
2nd SQUADRON (Unknown):
2-Breuget XIX.
3rd SQUADRON (Unknown):
4-Henschel Hs 126B.
4th SQUADRON (Unknown):
4-Potez 25A.

NAVAL CO-OPERATION
11th SQUADRON (Valtoudi):
2-Fairey Swordfish III.
12th SQUADRON (Peloukia):
3-Dornier Do 22G Flying Boat.
13th SQUADRON (Unknown):
2-Avro Anson I.

FIGHTERS (INTERCEPTORS)
21st SQUADRON (Kalampaka):
3-PZL-24.
22nd SQUADRON (Salonika):
3-PZL-24.
23rd SQUADRON (Larissa):
3-PZL-24.
24th SQUADRON (Eleusis):
1-Bloch MB-151.

BOMBERS
31st SQUADRON (Niamata):
2-Potez 63.
32nd SQUADRON (Larissa):
3-Bristol Blenheim IV.
33rd SQUADRON (Kouklania):
2-Fairey Battle.

MISCELLANEOUS & TRAINING AIRCRAFT
TRAINERS/OBSERVATION (Unknown):
5-Avro 621 2-seat Trainers.
5-Avro 626 Trainers.
MISCELLANEOUS FLIGHT (Unknown):
1-Hawker Horsley II.
MISCELLANEOUS FLIGHT (Unknown):
1-Avia B534.
MISCELLANEOUS FLIGHT (Unknown):
-Gloster Gladiator.


Notes:

The Greek Air Force as such did not exist, and was actually two seperate entities; the Army Air Service and the Navy Air Service. However both were controlled by the Greek Air Ministry and so are presented as a single organisation here.

By December the Air Force virtually ceased to exist (it had suffered over 50% losses - principally fighters and bombers), the Greeks had committed to a policy of forward defence which although of excellent morale value had little effect on the actual outcome of events in Albania. Fighters were often sent up against attacking forces ten times their numbers, while bombers and ground supports were used against enemy troops in the front line rather than supply and communication centres to the rear. This resulted in a battle of attrition, which although they performed well, eventually destroyed the air force. Since the air force had large numbers of Polish, French, and German aircraft there was no ready supply of spare parts either!

From late November British air units began to arrive to take over responsibility for air defence as the bulk of the Greek Air Force was no longer operational due to losses and maintenance problems (By January the Greeks had virtually no operational combat aircraft).

A small number of Hurricane I's were received (2 Spearhead stands) from the British in March 1941.

By the time the Germans invaded (06 April) 1941, even with aircraft supplied by Britain, the Greek Air Force still had only 41 (about 10 "Spearhead") operational combat aircraft.

Author:John Moher

Sources and/or Recommended Reading:

  1. Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece, and Crete 1940-41 - Christopher Shores, Brian Cull, and Nicola Malizia.
  2. The Armed Forces of World War II - Andrew Mollo.
  3. The Royal Airforce in the World War, Vol 3 (The Mediterranean) 1940-45 - Captain Norman MacMillan.
  4. Greek OOB Lists - George F Nafziger (unfortunately these are not very accurate).

The SPEARHEAD Website is edited and maintained by John Moher. SPEARHEAD is © 1995-2000 Arty Conliffe. The contents of these pages are © 1997-2000 John Moher, Arty Conliffe, Hans Johannsen, John Kovalic, and/or the appropriate Authors and Contributors.