British Commonwealth Aide to Greece
There is alot of missed information;
Britain was bound to assist Greece by the declaration of 1939, which stated that in the event of a threat to Greek or Romanian independence, "His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Greek or Romanian Government […] all the support in their power.
General Alexandros Papagos, Commander-in-Chief of the Hellenic Army, asked Britain for nine fully-equipped divisions and corresponding air support. This was in defense of Italian invaders, and not to provoke the German army.
The first help from Britain and the Commonwealth came in the form of RAF squadrons commanded by John d'Albiac, which were sent in November 1940.
In August 1940 General Metaxis requested Military, financial aide from Britain. And still maintaining Greek Neutrality. Churchill sent Metaxas a personal message, saying that
Britain expected shortly to be stronger in the Mediterranean.
September Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary, reaffirmed the 1939 Anglo-French guarantee, in spite of the fact that France had fallen.
November 2, Approximate Greece military strength; The four tanks in the Greek
army consisted. of 2 obsolete Vickers and 2 ancient Carden-Lloyds used at
the training schools. As for antitank weapons, they had 22 .55-inch
antitank rifles plus 19 sent by the British from the Middle East; they hoped
for 22 more, with 60,000 rounds of ammunition from the British and 5,000
rounds from the Turks. Seventeen hundred antitank rifles and 120 guns
had been on order from France for more than a year but, like other prewar
purchases, had not been delivered
The Greek shopping list, part of
which was cabled by the military attache in Athens, while a full copy was
sent to London by air from Cairo. Basically what the Greeks needed was
artillery-pack, mechanized, and AlA. They needed 100,000 boots,
helmets, 150,000 rifles of 7.92 caliber, 70,000 pistols, 1,000 motorcycles
with sidecars, and a like number of ambulances, tires and tubes, binoculars, 60 fighter aircraft, 24 Blenheims, spares for the Fairey Battles
already delivered, parachutes, petrol and lubricants, and medical supplies and beds for a 5,000-bed hospital. The navy needed mainly ammunition in a variety of calibers.
The Britsh War Cabinet agreed to the Greek requests for guns, aircraft and
supplies that could come from the United States, but at the same time the
Prime Minister insisted that Greece be given more British help by land
and air. So two more Blenheim squadrons and two Gladiator squadrons
were ordered to be sent, even though this left the Middle East dangerously weak.
Italian ultimatum given to Greece;
At three o'clock on
Monday morning, 28 October, he was roused by the Italian ambassador,
Count Emmanuel Grazzi, who handed him an ultimatum, properly
couched in diplomatic French, which demanded the right of the Italians
to occupy certain strategic positions within Greece.
The Greeks had anticipated an Italian attack on the Epirus front since 3 October and had been
partially mobilized.2 Metaxas dismissed the ambassador, called the king,
got into his car, and drove straight to the British legation, where at 3:30 he
handed the Italian note to the minister, Sir Michael Palairet. Palairet later
wrote of the ultimatum, "It would be difficult to find a better specimen of
lying effrontery even among the numerous similar productions of the
October 29, Metaxas was delighted that the flagship
had already used Suda Bay and said that all Greek bases were entirely at
the British navy's disposal.
November 2, Both king and Metaxas, Gambier-Parry Both urged the
need for maximum British air action in Albania to protect the Greek field
army. Metaxas suggested that fully armed RAF
bombers should fly to Greece to be refueled and briefed, and then attack
the enemy. Further, the Royal Navy should occupy Suda Bay and operate
from there to prevent an Italian landing behind the Greek lines in the
In November 1940, British infantry brigade group was landed in Crete, and abou t
4,200 anti-aircraft gunners, air force ground staff and depot troops were
sent to Athens.
October 31, Wavell signaled that he was sending Major-General M.D.
Gambier-Parry to join the military mission in Athens
Another Interesting Read from the Germans;
In Athens the Germans told Metaxas that they would not regard the
RAF in Greece as a casus belli unless the RAF were given airfields in the
Greece purchased Military/Material aide through Anglo/French purchasing Commision
Oct 1940 The first British troops arrived at Suda Bay, Crete in Greece; meanwhile, a fleet of 4 battleships, 2 carriers, and 19 destroyers departed from the British naval base at Alexandria, Egypt for Crete