When Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas rejected
Italy’s rather vague demands for submission
in late October 1940, he did so from a very
weak military position, at least on paper.
The worldwide economic depression of the 1930s
had hit Greece especially hard, and the armed
forces disposed of very little modern equipment.
Italian forces invaded Greece from Italian-occupied
Albania on 28 October 1940, but were hampered
by poor logistical planning and worse leadership.
The Greek Army had to divide its forces between
the Albanian front and the border facing Bulgaria,
long known to be very hostile to Greece. The
“Army of Western Macedonia” holding
the eastern half of the frontier had one division
and one brigade, plus a number of independent
mountain infantry units, the famous skirt-wearing
“Evzones.” The Epirus Detachment
covering the western part of the line also
had just one division and one brigade. Against
them the Italian sent only one armored, one
mountain and four infantry divisions, somewhat
better equipped but smaller than the Greek
units (Italian “divisions” were
about the size of other armies’ brigades).
Greek gunners and a 65mm mountain gun,
Unable to score a quick victory, though
Italian Alpini made a gallant advance deep
into the Greek lines, the Italians had given
the Greeks time for mobilization. By early
November Greek forces on the Albanian frontier
were up to seven divisions and two brigades;
after the Greeks determined that Bulgaria
would not join the attack their forces there
rose to 12 infantry divisions, four brigades
plus a cavalry division.
At maximum strength, the Ellinikos Stratos,
or Royal Hellenic Army, numbered 19 infantry
divisions, one cavalry division, one motorized
division and one tank brigade. Even that strength
is deceiving: several of the divisions were
no more than re-designated infantry brigades.
Artillery was weak even by the standards of
1914, with most divisions having only 32 guns
on paper, 24 of them 75mm pieces, and fewer
than that in reality. The infantry brigades
often had no artillery at all beyond a handful
of Italian-made 65mm mountain guns suitable
for nothing more than direct-fire support.
Evzones mobilize for war, September 1940.
The “motorized” division moved
its infantry in requisitioned buses and its
artillery and supplies with captured Italian
trucks. The tank “brigade” had
but six Italian
Fiat 3000B machines and four Vickers Type
E (very similar to the Soviet T-26); 40 Carden-Lloyd
light tanks ordered by the Dutch but cancelled
due to their utter uselessness had been picked
up by the Greeks but not delivered before
Greece fell to German attack in April 1941.
Greece had paid some attention to anti-aircraft
defense and possessed a better range of anti-aircraft
weapons than most of Eastern Europe’s
bayonet armies, including several dozen of
the fearsome Rheinmetall-Borsig 88mm anti-aircraft
gun. But financial hardship made ammunition
short, and the German Afrika Korps had not
yet taught the world what those guns could
do to tanks.
In Third Reich we represented those
forces with three 2-3 infantry units, with two
1-3 infantry available to be built. In the Player’s
Guide we recommended that all five Greek
infantry pieces begin the game in play, and
this seems a good adjustment.
Greek infantry in the Pindos Mountains,
Greece variant calls for larger Greek
forces, but we did not provide new pieces
for it, instead relying on those from Kevin
Byzantine Panzer Variant. Which has the
misfortune of coming from a very addled perspective.
available here adds one 3-3 infantry,
labeled EV (Evzone). The tough Evzones never
approached corps or even division strength,
and Greece’s military standing does
not justify an elite unit without substantial
materiel assistance that did not actually
As a variant to the standard game, replace
one 2-3 INF with the 3-3 INF once Greece has
been an ally of a major power and at war with
another major power for at least 2 turns.
Thus its not likely to be used unless Greece
is both lucky and good. This represents the
addition of modern weapons, especially artillery,
to the Greek order of battle.
Greek cavalrymen advance into Albania,
Greece deployed six submarines during the
war, which performed gallantly both during
the Italian invasion and afterwards from exile.
Add 1 SUB to the Greek “At Start”
forces in the standard game.
For the Greater Greece variant, initial
Greek forces should be as follows:
- 1 x 3-3 INF
- 3 x 2-3 INF
- 6 x 1-3 INF
- 2 x TAC
- 1 x 9 SURF
- 4 x SUB
The Force Pool should contain: