Battle of Spilia Casualties

#1
After glancing at a wikipedia page here, I thought it a little unusual that this particular battle wasn't known to me considering the stated amount of casualties on the British side. I did a little bit more research and found that Georgios Grivas claimed the British lost 50 men, whereas the British claimed to have only had 3 casualties. Any idea on what actually happened here? There does seem to be an element of propaganda going on, but it would be interesting to know what actually happened.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Greek Cypriots ran the best brothels during ww2 i recall reading a few times .
 
#6
http://www.soliacy.com/en/spilia/articlesspilia/239-machi

Claims
there were 15 British casualties as a result of friendly fire.

What's interesting, besides the differing figures, is that particular British units aren't mentioned at all, maybe due to most of these sources seemingly being written by Cypriots.

http://www.sasccomrades.org.uk/Portals/0/ManAtArms/2014/SECTION_3_14.pdf

This is from a British source but it seems to just be copied from the Wikipedia entry. The Wikipedia entry cites Georgios Grivas' memoirs as a reference.

According to the following links, the Middlesex Regiment, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, South Staffordshire Regiment, Norfolk Regiment, Royal Scots and Gordon Highlanders were posted to Cyprus in 1955.

http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/infantry/middlesex-regiment.html

http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/infantry/king-s-own-yorkshire-light-infantry.html

http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/infantry/south-staffordshire-regiment.html

http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/infantry/royal-norfolk-regiment.html

http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/infantry/royal-scots.html

http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/infantry/gordon-highlanders.html

I assume one or more of these regiments had an involvement in the battle.
 
#8
And from that we find the Op name
And then more Google fu
...
Capt. D. Michell was Z Troop Commander in operations on Cyprus, based at PARALIMNI, south east Cyprus, mainly amphibious operations. searching coastal area as far as LARNACA.
11th Dec. 1955 Z Troop took part in Op. Foxhunter in and around the villages of SPILIA and KHANDRIA, where the brother of the Bishop of Kyrenia bolted away from a cordon ignoring shouts to stop and was shot and hit in the shoulder by the Unit Provost Sgt.
 
#9
Thanks @Spode, it looks as if RM and RE were part of the main battlegroup, although the book doesn't reference the actual battle, just the lead up.

It seems Major Coombe got the GM after his tour.

http://commerce.wazeedigital.com//license/clip/48050453_5400.do

Brave guy.

http://ermis.lib.ucy.ac.cy/gsdl/cgi...0&a=d&cl=CL1.3&d=HASHd1c128f808c2ebf1a3d64f.7

These references say that Coombe's actions took place on Dec 15, is it possible the battle's date is a bit muddled? Wikipedia says Dec12. The entry does specifically point out to a certain event that seemed to have taken place one night.
 

Attachments

#12
And here is where the confusion reigns..
"
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ODkgAAAAMAAJ
David Young - 1972 - ‎Snippet view - ‎More editions
the story of 45 Commando, Royal Marines, 1943-1971 David Young ... Grivas later claimed, in the same book, that his position had been attacked by 700 men; Four Five had suffered fifty casualties, and the resultant chaos ... The Commando Battle Diary lists casualties during 'Operation Foxhunter' as two slightly wounded."
 
#13
@Spode, I'm finding it slightly hard to follow. Does the 45 book by David Young say that 45 Cdo suffered both 50 casualties and 2 casualties in the operation?
 
#14
No, the Greeks said they were 700 British involved with 50 casualties
The battle diary of 45 Commando for 11 December says two minor wounded with a combined force of 70

I for one don't think the entirety of 45 Commando would be deployed on this..

I think the book is hinting at this
 
#15
It seems somebody has been crayoning all over the web to big up the Greeks.
Take this from wikipedias friendly fire entry
"
  • December 12, 1955: On the Troodos mountains near the village of Spilia during the Battle of Spilia, British units from the north and ones from the south, unable to see the fog and in the belief that they were surrounded by EOKA fighters, engaged each other in an eight hour firefight involving airstrikes, artillery bombardments, and heavy weapons.[citation needed] This firefight caused over 250 casualties, making it the deadliest friendly fire incident of the war.
"
Easy enough to dispel because if we look at RM casualty lists for December 1955 they seem to be rather light
http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1955.htm
 
#16
Easy enough to dispel because if we look at RM casualty lists for December 1955 they seem to be rather light
http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1955.htm
According to that, the closest fatalities would have been on the 5th and 19th of December. Possibly the 700-strong force figure was from the unit stationed nearby? And not the actual force deployed?

250 casualties without any fatalities seems incredibly rare and particularly suspect...
 
#17
I think the 700 is misinformation
And the friendly fire incident is actually from the Suez crisis in 1956, where 45 Commando where attached by friendly aircraft.

Lots of disinformation out there about this.
 
#18
Right, so there was unlikely to have been air support?

I guess you have to wonder now, did it even occur? Or was it just a convenient pinpoint to reference the wider Foxhunter Operation
 
#19
I think the 700 is misinformation
And the friendly fire incident is actually from the Suez crisis in 1956, where 45 Commando where attached by friendly aircraft.

Lots of disinformation out there about this.
That Wikipedia article needs some drastic editing, or possibly a deletion...
 
#20
What's also interesting is that someone on Wikipedia in 2013 had the bright idea of bumping the '50 casualties' to '250 casualties' without any references :roll:
 

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