Greek Infantry units in North Africa

Discussion in 'Allied Units - Others' started by DavidW, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Was the Middle East War Establishment of the Greek Battalions of the 1st Greek Infantry Brigade any different to that of the British Battalions in theatre during 1941/2?
  2. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Hi guys.

    Just thought I would "bump" this topic.
  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello David,

    The 1st Greek Infantry Brigade was temporarily attached to the 50th (Northumbrian) Division a month or so after the latter lost 150th Infantry Brigade at Gazala. Indeed, it served with 50 Div during the 2nd Battle of El Alamein. That said, I know very little about it and nothing at all about its war establishment.

    I have found some useful background information about the Greek Brigades and their Orbat, but alas nothing yet on their war establishment; see link:

    I'll research further!


  4. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Thanks Steve.
  5. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member


    Try sending a pm to member Badger2 on here.

    He sent me a load of useful info a while back regarding an officer i was researching who was with the 1st Greek Brigade for a time.

    Included in the info he sent was a few of pages from the War Diary & Field Returns for the 1st Greek Brigade (& 210 British Miilitary Mission) for March & April 1943.

    I know he was having difficulty researching his dad, who he believed served under as alias with the 1st Greek Brigade, so it's likely he may have all the war diaries & field returns for that period, and an excellent understanding of the Greek Brigades.


    DavidW likes this.
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Asfar as the Canadians were concerned - the Greek Bde was a "bloody nuisance" - they were attached to the Cdn Corps after the heavy fighting at the Coriano Ridge

    and Cdn 1st Bde was asked to step aside in order to allow Greeks to enter Rimini for the big Victory - that really rankled…

  7. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Hi Tom

    From the bits of the war diary i received, it looks like they were a bit more than a 'nuisance' in North Africa in March 1943. It appears that there was an ongoing Full General Enquiry over the death/murder of an MP, and they had just had 36 officers and 3 OR's dismissed/released.

  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello David,

    There is a book: "The Greek Army in the Middle East" (Hellenic Army-History Directorate, Hellenic Army General Staff edition, 1995), that may contain the information you require.

    There is a link here to the Hellenic Army-History Directorate: If you scroll down to indent VII, titled 'The Greek Army During World War II' - (Volumes 9), and scroll down again to 'Hellenic Forces in the Middle East (El Alamein–Rimini–Aegean Sea) - 1941 - 1945', I believe this may be the aforementioned book. It looks like it is available for purchase at Euro 2.64 plus 40%.

    That said, I don't know if it is available in English; what's your 'Greek' like?

    I first found mention of the book in this website: The originator of the first message 'valtrex' appears to be the author, his English appears good and maybe a valuable source of information for you.

    Good luck with your search!


  9. stephen cazilas

    stephen cazilas New Member

    I am posting these photos that belonged to my father in hopes someone will be able to give me any further information; my father John Cazilas (dark haired mustachioed man, pictured) served in the Greek Sacred Regiment in Northern Africa. He was a paratrooper. I do not know any details about his time there or if there is anyone is still around who served in his regiment. I have also posted the backs of photos: one is a postcard that has some sort of Hebrew looking writing stamped on it and the words 'PHOTO-SONIA-HEDERA', other backs of photos read 'APPROVED MILITARY PHOTOGRAPHER No.57' and 'No.31'. Additionally, I have posted a letter written in English and Greek saying my father was entitled to wear 'the Bage of the Greek Sacred Regiment for the valour, endurance, and eagerness shown during the War for Liberty' sadly I do not possess this badge. Again I am looking for any information about this regiment or suggestions of what steps I could take next to find out information about my father's time in the military there.

    Attached Files:

    Tom OBrien and Chris C like this.
  10. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Thank you for posting. The Greek forces in WWII don't get a lot of attention on English language sites.

    I don't know a lot myself, but the Sacred Squadron was a reconnaissance unit. It formed part of the 1st Greek Brigade, which was attached to 50th (Northumbrian) Division and saw combat at Second Alamein. The 1st Greek Brigade was by reputation very good at patrolling and very fierce towards the Germans and Italians--some of the Greeks supposedly liked to collect Axis ears. There was a second Greek brigade in training in the Middle East at that time but it did not fight at Alamein. The Greek brigades were partly recruited from Greeks resident in Egypt, some of whom were not happy about that. The Greek forces as a whole were constantly troubled by internal political disputes and I believe that one of the two brigades eventually mutinied and had to be disbanded.
    stephen cazilas likes this.
  11. stephen cazilas

    stephen cazilas New Member

    Thank you I greatly appreciate the information.
  12. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    From notes I made some years ago...
    1st Greek Infantry Brigade formed 24th June 1941 in Palestine with 1st & 2nd Battalions (later a 3rd Battalion and 1st Artillery Regiment formed)
    2nd Greek Infantry Brigade formed 27th July 1942 in Egypt with 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions
    4th and 8th Greek Infantry Battalions formed August 1942 for garrison duties
    Sacred Squadron formed (September 1942?) with best officers from both brigades

    Now then:
    1st Brigade with 50th British Division from September 1942
    2nd Brigade to Syria in December 1942
    1st Brigade to Syria in January 1943 to join 2nd Brigade
    Both brigades mutinied at the end of February/beginning of March 1943 (communist agitators? lack of officers after Sacred Squadron?) and two battalions on 2nd Brigade were disbanded
    2nd Brigade mutinied again in July 1943 and was disbanded. 1st Brigade heavily retrained
    1st Brigade mutinied in the Delta in April 1944 and had to be suppressed by British troops
    Loyal elements of the brigade were formed into 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade on 4th June 1944 and later fought in Italy

  13. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    The 1st Greek Infantry Brigade was first placed under orders of 50th (Northumbrian) Division at the end of July 1942. As well as the aforementioned units, namely, the three Infantry Battalions, Artillery Battalion and Recce, there was also:

    1st Greek Machine-Gun Company
    1st Greek Engineer Company
    1st Greek Field Ambulance


  14. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    3rd Greek Mountain (Rimini) Brigade Group Order of Battle - Italy/Greece 1944.

    HQ 3rd Greek Mountain (Rimini) Brigade Group
    HQ Greek Mountain Brigade Defence Platoon
    1st Battalion, Greek Mountain Brigade
    2nd Battalion, Greek Mountain Brigade
    3rd Battalion, Greek Mountain Brigade
    3rd Greek Field Regiment
    3rd Greek Field Regiment Signals
    3rd Greek Field Regiment Light Aid Detachment
    3rd Greek Mountain Brigade Signals
    3rd Greek Mountain Brigade Ordnance Field Park
    3rd Greek Mountain Brigade Workshop
    3rd Greek Mountain Brigade Light Aid Detachment
    3rd Greek Mountain Provost Unit
    3rd Greek Mountain Postal Unit
    1 Greek General Hospital (Including Field Surgical Unit)
    1 Greek Field Surgical Unit)
    3rd Greek Field Ambulance
    3rd Greek Field Hygiene Section

    The organisation for the other Brigades shouldn't have been that much different.

    Hope this helps


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