Greece's participation in the landing in Normandy

The crew of 155 Greeks who took part in the historic battle of World War II

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The ground for its invasion Turkey in Syria was prepared and on Wednesday 9/10 we saw the first military operations for the "Source of Peace", as the Turks called the attack.

Reactions to Turkey's energy have been numerous around the world, but in these difficult situations the great powers are always the ones who can move the threads and launch developments or even put an end to hostilities.

In the first days of the Turkish attack on the border with the northeast Syria, everyone was waiting for the announcements from his side Donald Trump. The American president -as usual- managed to surprise everyone again with a single attack.

"We like the Kurds, but they did not help us in Normandy", were among the words of Donald Trump which provoked reactions. At least unfortunate is the statement of the American president, not only for historical reasons but because through this dribble he tried to distance the USA from the specific events in the Middle East.

Only Normandy knows how important Normandy is to President Trump and his historical concerns. However, historically, in the landing and the battle of the summer of 1944, with the great success of the Allies, Greece also played an important role.

Landing in Normandy: Operation Overlord and the contribution of Greece

One of the landmark moments they judged at its outcome World War II was the landing off the coast of Normandy, with the diary writing June 6, 1944.

The Allies had been preparing for Operation Sovereign since January, with the aim of moving troops from Britain to France to "strike" Nazi forces. Hitler.

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The operation was crowned with success, and then there was the battle of the same name with the end of the military operations coming on August 19th. The Allies crossed the Seine before reaching the German border, with the countdown to the defeat of the Nazi to have started.

United Kingdom, USA, Canada, France, Poland, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Czechoslovakia and Greece took part in the landing and in the battle of the French coast in Normandy.

Greece has been under occupation since 1941, but this has not been able to prevent it Hellenic Royal Navy to participate and assist the Allies in this historic event that changed the course of the war.

Two Greek ships, the corvettes "Tombazis" and "Kriezis", undertook to accompany the amphibious forces in Normandy, through the English Channel in which the Germans had set up sea mines.

The landing operation had begun, with the ships of the Greek Royal Navy remaining open for cover. The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) launched an air strike, but without any loss to the two Greek warships.

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The mission of the Greek ships was not completed with a new escort and the return of the empty commercial and passenger ships to England.

The Greek crew with 155 men

The Greek fleet was based in Egypt due to the German occupation and in addition to the two corvettes, in Invasion of Normandy, even four merchant ships participated in strengthening the Allies.

The captain of the "Kriezis" corvette was Dimitrios Kiosses, who in fact became Admiral and Chief of the General Staff of the Navy, while the commander of "Tombazis" was Captain George Panagiotopoulos.

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Tombazis F-89: Built in 1941 at Fleming & Ferguson Shipyards in Northern Ireland and rebuilt on the pier. He returned to the British Navy in 1959.

The ships were manned by Greeks of all walks of life and professions, such as accountants, lawyers, students, fishermen and merchants, something that Admiral Kiosses mentions in his memoirs.

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Kriezis F-49: Received in November 1943 in Chatham, England by P. D. Kiosse and returned to the British Navy in September 1951.

The descriptions, in fact, of Admiral Grigoris Pavlakis who "passed away" in January 2017 at the age of 96, are shocking in the meeting that Greek survivors had organized for the 57 years since the landing,

Grigoris Pavlakis was a member of "Kriezis" and had initially described in his statements: "Our only hope was the joy that if the business succeeded, Greece would come out of slavery. "We were all very young and we had left our family behind."

As for the moments of the operation, in his words the late Admiral put us "inside" the corvettes and what the crew members lived through: "On day D, we had to accompany 12 barges carrying selected parts of the famous British Northumberland division. who took part in the first wave of the landing. Approaching the coast of France, in the darkness, the fog, in the temporary recession of bad weather, a British cruiser came next to us and sent us a signal. His governor was a liaison in Greece during the Greek-Italian war and he wanted to greet us.

We arrived at our destination at 7 in the morning and the first soldiers disembarked. Much later, the fog left for a while and we saw the ruin. There were thousands of boats all around us along the entire visible length of 80 km of the landing shore. The governor Dimitris Kiosses as soon as he was informed about the positive development of the landing, shouted Christ Resurrected and the whole crew cried with joy. "Finally, we would go back to a freer Greece."