The Greek Islands.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Tankiebootneckdad, Aug 12, 2010.

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  1. Hello all, I don't know if this is the correct section , but hope some kind soul can point me in the right direction.

    For the past few years Mrs TBND and I have spent our holidays on various Greek Islands, and apart from sunning ourselves, on the beach, have taken a look around the areas. One recurring thought of mine has been, "what happened here during the war?"

    Does anyone know of a definitive history of the war in the Greek islands and where could I get hold of a copy? There must be an ametuer history buff as sad as me out there.

    Many thanks in anticipation.

    Incidentally, I don't think we shall be going out that way in a hurry; Our Greek friends seem to think the best way out of a financial crisis is to put the prices up. As a consequence, everything is hideously expensive and is already putting people off.
  2. I think travel or military history thread mat be more suitable. I have a copy of Crete 1941 - The Battle at sea by David A Thomas but have you tried looking on amazon. Have you been to the quirky little WWII museum near Chania? It is a man's house - he rememebrss the German paratroopers landing and has a scar on his head from where he was grazed by a German bullet
    edited to add -my copy has "MJ Orr 10 November 1972 Sandhurst" written on it - does anyone know him? is he a poster on here?
  3. JINGO

    JINGO War Hero Book Reviewer

    There are some interesting references to the Island campaigns in Finest Years,Churchill as a Warlord by Max Hastings (I think the mans a twat personally, Hastings that is not Winston but the book is actually quite good). It does not make comfortable reading to be honest a catalogue of British incompetence and German military efficiency.
  4. AAGF


    According to Captain Takis (a mercantile Metaxa mate from Lindos), the cliffs around St. Paul's Bay were used in the making of The Guns of Navarone. Hope this helps ;*}
  5. Oh joy. Guess who's going to a Greek Island in a few weeks! So I have to take a second mortgage out to pay for the privilege of visiting warmer climes.
  6. Make sure you also book with some cheapo bucket seat company and you could be paying twice and spending a few days extra sleeping in the departure lounge when they go under, if you're really lucky :highfive:
  7. Hey I've already bypassed that, couldn't face paying for the privilege of breathing on the flight! Wondered why I got such a good late deal...nice looking villa with swimming pool at the place/island I wanted to stay with a weeks car hire thrown in. Now I know and it aint comforting...
  8. Rhodes Island. It was indeed one of the locations for filming the Guns of navarone. It was also where R-M fcuked his neck after getting p1ssed on holiday after GW 1 (The ex -missus decided I needed some sun and sand :)). There is also an Anthony Quinn BaY near Faliraki.
  9. JINGO

    JINGO War Hero Book Reviewer

    Ah Lindos one of my favourite places on the planet. Great on the piss and very few chavs.I apparently got married in St Pauls bay. I actually remember some of the early parts.
  10. Don’t want much then? In a nutshell, I don’t believe there is because there are several significant perspectives to view them from.

    Crete is the popular thumbnail for the region in the same vein as Cassino for Italy, Normandy for France, Dunkerque for Belgium etc. Of course a great deal more went on which becomes quite complex at times.

    You need to be specific to an island or perhaps island group. The protagonists were Britain (Commonwealth), Germany, Italy and of course Greece, but then Greece of divided factions being Communist and non Communist. America and France have lesser involvement, America chiefly through the OSS and France due to the undeclared Anglo-French war centring in Syria.

    Britain had given/gave various undertakings to the Greek Royals to preserve monarchy in Greece in the face of a popular Communist movement irrespective of Italian or German incursions. In Anglo-French pre-hostility contingency planning, France had a number of responsibilities for defence in that part of the Med, including Crete. Ergo, we appeared/were ill-planned to defend the island as this had been a French responsibility. Rhodes came on and off the menu as the war developed. Cyprus we garrisoned though didn’t suffer a Crete style invasion of.

    Early on, Greek islands were garrisoned (to varying amounts) by Italians and Germans, then latterly Germans after the Italian armistice and the resultant imbalanced split it produced. A few served with Germany, the majority varied between capitulation and belligerence – e.g. the novel/film of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

    For much of the middle war, Cunningham used what he had, when available, to maintain pressure on the islands. Numerous small island raids were made, many by the SBS, plus naval ‘piracy’ on the seas. Cunningham did attempt a ‘Combined Ops’ landing using the Middle East Cdos which only showed it was something he had no grasp of/talent for.

    At the same time SOE ran missions with, later, involvement of OSS. After the Allied invasion of Italy, SOE ‘Cairo’ moved it’s centre of operations to Italy, ‘Force 133’, and successfully pressed for Army support across the Adriatic. Initially this entailed mostly No.2 Cdo in Yugoslavia and Albania, but later, when it was decided the Germans would have to withdraw from Greece, a full scale force started to be assembled. As a vanguard, No.9 Cdo was deployed as the bulk of Foxforce to island-hop Greece and eventually embark on the mainland as and when. No.9 found themselves mainly occupied with Greek militant politicos rather than German remnants, as became the main task of most Allied forces deployed – e.g. No.40 Cdo RM on Corfu. There were German remnants on some islands, some in considerable strength, and various became deployed to deal with these. Some German garrisons held out till the end of the war.

    So, whose war do you want to follow? The RN Med Fleet, SOE, SBS, Cdos, OSS, RN Cdos, SAS, LRDG, Italian, German, Greek Communists, Greek Royalists, Greek Republicans?