Greek guns



In 1912 at the beginning of war against Turkey, the Greek Army had only four Infantry Divisions, which were gradually increased to ten during the war. Another Infantry Division was formed in 1913, after the war against Bulgaria.

According with CRAWFURD PRICE, The Balkan Cockpit, p. 342, during the Balkan War the Greek Army captured from the Bulgarians:

-    7 900 magazine rifles and carbines,

-    9 machine guns,

-    84 guns,

-    215 ammunition wagons,

-    7,910 shells,

-    589 smokeless charges,

-    1,200,000 cartridges.

As for the artillery, these numbers are different from those published in 1914 in several newspapers and taken from a report of the Bulgarian Inspector of Artillery, maj. gen. Panteley Tzenov. His report stated that the Greeks captured only 20 QF and 47 not QF field guns, 2 QF field howitzers and 2 120mm L/28 heavy guns. Most probably some fortress guns were not taken into account, since at least 2 QF 105mm L/30 fortress guns were destroyed and left by their crews at Rupel defile.


In 1914 the structure of Greek Army was radically changed. Army Corps were introduced and the number of Infantry Divisions rose to fourteen. Field Artillery was assigned to Army Corps, while Infantry Division received only a pack artillery division (two batteries each). However due to lack of mountain artillery, some Infantry Division had only one battery. Beside them there were also : a division of Horse Artillery in Athens, a fortress artillery regiment in Salonika and a of fortress artillery battalion in Ioannina (Epirus).


At the beginning of the World War Greek Army had:

-      168 field guns (Schneider-Creusot 75mm QF L/31.4 M. 1906 and ex Turkish Krupp 75mm L/30 QF M. 1904)

-      98 mountain guns (Schneider-Danglis 75mm L/16.7 QF M. 1906, Schneider-Canet M. 1910 and ex Turkish Krupp 75mm L/14 QF mod. 1904)

-      about one hundred heavy and siege guns of various calibres and pattern (105mm, 150mm, 170mm guns, 150mm mortars), mostly old.

Some not quick-firing field and mountain guns of little value were in reserve. After the Balkan Wars Greece had ordered further 12 field battery (48 Schneider-Creusot 75mm guns), but they were seized by French Army at the beginning of the world War, in September 1914.


In September 1916 Greek Army Corps D based in Eastern Macedonia, with its HQ in Kavala, was forced to surrender. It had three Infantry Divisions (5th, 6th and 7th) and some minor units, among them 7th Field Artillery Regiment. Before the capitulation, on 12th September 1916, the guns and vehicles of the 7th Field Artillery Regiment (with ten artillery batteries) were loaded onto the troop ship Ares, that sailed to Volos. Thus they were not taken over by Bulgarian Army. During the voyage the Ares  was forced by a French destroyer to sail to Salonika. So the guns and vehicles escaped from Bulgarians had to surrender to Greek Army of National Defence, that supported the Etente. The rest of Army Corps D was massed in Drama, where Bulgarians ordered that its guns and machine guns were stored in separate buildings. But these weapons too were not captured by the Bulgarian Army. Between 15 and 27 September Army Corps D (with 16 mountain guns) was transported by rail from Drama to the Silesian city of Görlitz in Germany, where it was interned.


In 1917 the Greek army was reorganized by a French Military Mission, composed by 60 officers under command of the French Military attaché, général de brigade Paul Braquet. On 27 September with a Royal decree signed by king Alexandros of Greece he was appointed major general and Deputy chief of Staff of the Greek Army. He was assisted by two staff officers, the French commandant Revol and the Greek colonel Raktivan. On 19 Novembrer another Royal Decree abolished the charge of Chief of Staff, and appointed gen. Braquet General Inspector of the Greek Army, assisted by the Intendant Bonnier, charged to organize the supply of weapons and equipments. At the beginning of January general Braquet was replaced by general Joseph Bourdeaux, who was succeeded by général de division Gramat on 18 June 1918. As for artillery, in order to make a total of ten divisions complete, and to enable them to be moved to the front, the French Staff estimated that, the Greek Army needed another 56 field and 20 mountain guns in addition to the already existing 160 field and 100 mountain ones. In particular Greek Army had no modern heavy artillery.

It was decided that every Greek Infantry Division would include two mountain artillery battalions with two batteries each and a trench artillery battalion with eight 58mm Batignolles trench mortars, while every Army Corps should have a field artillery regiment with 9 four-guns batteries. At the disposal of the Army Command should be one horse artillery battery attached to the cavalry brigade and two heavy artillery regiments, each of 9 four-guns batteries.

One of these regiments was armed by France with De Bange 120mm M. 1878 L heavy guns, the other by Great Britain with tractor-drawn 6 inch howitzers. Since the British were unable to provide the Greeks with modern long range 26 cwt. howitzers, they supplied them with 40 old 30 cwt. howitzers, with an effective range of less than 5500 m. Each nation carried out the training of the regiment armed with its own weapons. But until the end of the war the Greek artillery was never fully mobile, owing to shortage of horses and tractors.


In autumn 1918 Greek Army had:

-      128 mountain guns (Schneider-Danglis 75mm QF M. 1906 and Schneider-Ducrest 65mm M. 1906 QF);

-      72 Schneider-Creusot 75mm QF M. 1906 QF field guns;

-      36 De Bange 120mm M. 1878 L heavy guns;

-      36 British 6 inch howitzers 30 cwt.




Braquet and other French officiers

From left to right: gen. Regnault (Commander of the Armée Française d’Orient), gen. Sarrail (High Commander of the Armée d’Orient), gen. Braquet (the third officer in the second row), admiral Gueydon (Commander of French Fleet in Eastern Mediterranean Sea), Monsieur Jonnart (a French senator, allied high commissioner).