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"Greek article on fortifications 1921-1922" Topic

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KTravlos Inactive Member26 Oct 2012 3:16 a.m. PST

An interesting article in a generally nationalistic website about the Greek fortification policy during the Asian Minor Cmapiagn-Turkish War of Independence.

In greek, but the gist is that the Greek army did not really practice serious fortification and the pictures will be of use to people interested in the era.


With Respect

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2012 4:16 a.m. PST

Interesting photos! My Greek is more or less at the transliterate level, but it looks like some of the photos are meant to be comparative: here's how the Turks/Bulgarians/Germans did trenches, while the lead photo shows a pretty minimalistic Greek trench (and a Greek Chauchat LMG--cool!). I also noticed the stone walls--sangars, as Colonial wargamers would say.

Does the text say why the Greeks weren't serious about fortification? I would think that places where you can build sangars are not going to be good places to dig trenches.

There's a Tony Curtis/Chares Bronson film, You Can't Win 'Em All, set against the background of the war in Asia Minor, which makes me think this could be a great background for a '20s pulp game.

Thanks, KTravlos!


Monophagos26 Oct 2012 5:33 a.m. PST

You Can't Win 'Em All is likely one of the worst films either actor ever made, and considering the genocidal/ethnic cleansing aspects of the war culminating with the Archbishop of Smyrna being torn apart by a mob and Smyrna itself being torched, the producers of the film had about as much sensitivity as making a musical comedy about Mai-Lai, or a caper movie about the siege of Leningrad, cannibalism and all – what a hoot!

KTravlos Inactive Member26 Oct 2012 5:51 a.m. PST

Hey Grelber

The article seemed to make the point that the greek army never really bothered with serious fortifications due to a lack of institutional learning and a culture of offensive. They pretty much fought the Asia Minor Campaign (Turkish War of Independence) as they fought the Balkan Wars, were the greek army tended to prefer cold steel attacks against fortified positions.

Now you are right a lot of the ground was not really suitable for deep trenches, however this does not excuse a) the decisions to place defensive lines on such ground (and he discusses that a lot) b) the decision to build sangars (tambouria) in areas were digging was possible. He does a good job of contrasting the serious of the Turks in preparing their defensive positions with the indifference of the Greek command. There is a nice document in the articles that recites a exchange between a lieutenant and a sergeant during Sangarrio, after their company stormed a Turkish trench, where the sergeant tells the lieutenant that we will lose. The lieutenant tells him not to say such things and that we are winning, and the sergeant tells him to look to the hill opposite the one they stormed and see the Turkish troops they just evicted working like ants building new fortifications.

Pretty interesting story.

I know about the movie but have not watched it. My feeling was that the scenario was really transportable to any region of Eastern Europe/Middle East in the 1917-1923 period. Another source for ideas are the Corto Maltese books " The Gilded House of Smarakand"

Monophagos26 Oct 2012 5:57 a.m. PST

Considering the CinC was insane (he thought his legs were made of glass!) it is a testament to the determination and courage of the ordinary poor bloody infantry that the Greeks advanced so far. As so often in wars, the troops were badly let down by the High Command and political leadership (not to mention 'allies' who happily supplied the Turks with arms and material).

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