The Greeks suffered during the Italian and German invasion with a very poorly equipped air force and with support from the RAF which was also poorly equipped because first priority went to British home defence and then to Egypt, leaving little that could be sent to Greece.
NAME: On Spartan Wings
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
AUTHOR: John Carr
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, 1939-1945, Second World War, Balkan Campaign, Greek Air Force
DESCRIPTION: The Greeks suffered during the Italian and German invasion with a very poorly equipped air force and with support from the RAF which was also poorly equipped because first priority went to British home defence and then to Egypt, leaving little that could be sent to Greece. Of the 128 battle-worthy Greek aircraft available, most were obsolete and the rest obsolescent. Of these aircraft only five British supplied Avro Ansons escaped intact to Egypt. The author tells the story of the Greek defeat and the development of a new Greek air force in Egypt that grew to three full squadrons equipped with modern British aircraft and returned to Greece after liberation to confront the communist rebels that were attempting to take over Greece. The small size of the Royal Hellenic Air Force and its location in the Eastern Mediterranean may explain the neglect of this force by historians. The photographic section is in black & white showing some of the aircraft and pilots of the RHAF during this period. The Greeks had acquired Polish PZL24 and French Bloch MB151 fighters in small numbers, together with French Potez 63 bombers. In one photo, Greek desperation can be seen in the form of a German Do22 floatplane converted to land operation. British built Fairy IIIF seaplanes were still in use and the most modern equipment was the handful of Avro Ansons equipping 13 Mira and a few Fairy Battle light bombers. Once evacuated to Egypt, the RHAF expanded on modern Hurricane and Spitfire fighters and equipped with Blenheim and Baltimore bombers, making an important contribution to the fighting at El Alamein. This is a valuable account of Greek fortunes during WWII but it also adds to the under told story of the Greek civil war that followed liberation where the RHAF proved a stabilizing force against the communists.