Portal:Military of Greece

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Coat of arms of Greece military variant.svg

The Military of Greece consists of the Hellenic Army, the Hellenic Navy (HN) and the Hellenic Air Force (HAF), with the Ministry of National Defence being the government authority. Greece has around 177,600 active soldiers as well as around 2,000,000 reservists due to the compulsory conscription in Greece.

The military history of Greece stretches back more than 2,500 years. Between 499 BC to 449 BC, the Greek city-states defeated the Persians in the Persian Wars. Towards the end of the century the two major powers, Athens and Sparta, clashed in the Peloponnesian War, which ended in Spartan victory. Around seventy years later, most of Greece was occupied by the Macedonians under the command of King Philip II of Macedon. His son, Alexander the Great, led a Greek army in the conquest of the Persian Empire, reaching as far as India. On Alexander's death, his empire split into many small successor kingdoms, the last of which, Ptolemaic Egypt, became a Roman province in 30 BC after the death of Cleopatra.

The Greeks stayed under Roman control for around 400 years until the division of the Roman Empire, after which they became part of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire, in which Greeks and Greek culture played a dominant role. After the Fourth Crusade took the imperial capital of Constantinople in 1204, Byzantium was fatally weakened, and its lands divided between western ("Latin") principalities and Greek Byzantine successor states. Eventually, most of these were conquered by the emerging Ottoman Empire, which in 1453 took Constantinople. The Greeks lived under Ottoman Turkish rule for around 400 years, until the revolt of 1821. The ensuing Greek War of Independence lasted until 1829, and in 1832 the Kingdom of Greece was founded.

Since then Greece has fought in many wars, among them the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, the First Balkan War, the Second Balkan War, World War I, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, World War II, the Korean War and more recently the War in Afghanistan. Template:/box-footer

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German paratroopers jumping From Ju 52s over Crete.jpg

The Battle of Crete (German Luftlandeschlacht um Kreta; Greek Μάχη της Κρήτης) was a battle during World War II on the Greek island of Crete. The battle began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code-name Unternehmen Merkur ("Operation Mercury"). Allied forces defended the island.

After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered appalling casualties and none of their objectives had been achieved. The next day, through miscommunication and the failure of Allied commanders to grasp the situation, Maleme airfield in western Crete fell to the Germans, enabling them to fly in reinforcements and overwhelm the Allied forces.

The Battle of Crete was unique in three respects: it was the first-ever mainly airborne invasion; it was the first time the Allies made significant use of intelligence from the deciphered German Enigma code; and it was the first time invading German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian population. In light of the heavy casualties suffered by the parachutists, Adolf Hitler forbade further large scale airborne operations. However, the Allies were impressed by the potential of paratroopers, and started to build their own airborne divisions. (Read more...)

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Greek troops in Smyrna following its occupation by Greece in 1919.

Photo credit: Photograph for Cumhuriyet, source unknown.

Selected biography


Attalus I Soter (Greek: "Savior"; 269 BCE – 197 BCE) Livy says that Attalus died in the consulship of Cornelius and Minucius (197 BCE) at the age of 72, having reigned 44 years. Polybius also says that he lived 72 and reigned 44 years. Strabo says that he reigned 43 years. He ruled Pergamon, a Greek polis in what is now Turkey, from 241 BCE to 197 BCE. He was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I. Strabo says that he was the cousin of Eumenes. Pausanias, probably following Strabo, says the same. But modern writers have concluded that Strabo had skipped a generation; whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king.

Attalus won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon, famous for its Dying Gaul, and the liberation from the Gallic "terror" which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of "Soter", and the title of "king."

A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second, twice narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Philip. (Read more...)

Selected quotes

  • Greek: Μολών Λαβέ
  • English: Come and get them.

These famous words where said by King Leonidas I of Sparta at the Battle of Thermopylae when asked by a herald of King Xerxes I of Persia for Leonidas and the Spartans to give up their arms.


Events People
Archaic Greece
Persian Wars
Sicilian Wars and Conflicts of Magna Graecia
First Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
Corinthian War
4th century BC Greek conflicts
Wars of Alexander the Great
Hellenistic Greece
Pyrrhic War
Byzantine Greece
Ottoman Greece
Greek War of Independence
Balkan Wars
Greco-Turkish Conflicts

World War I and aftermath
World War II and aftermath

Athens and the Delian League




Later leaders

Byzantine leaders

Greek War of Independence

Modern Greece

Units and formations Weapons and technology


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