In October 1940, when the Italian army invaded from Albania, the Greek army had four first-line divisions on the Albanian frontier. The Greek army fought well against the Italians; in its counterattack, it expelled the Italian army from Greece and penetrated into Albania. The Greeks were overwhelmed when the German army entered the fighting in April 1941, however. During the 1940–1941 campaign, the Greek army sustained 13,408 killed and 42,485 wounded. Some 9,000 soldiers were evacuated to Crete, and others escaped through Turkey to Egypt. Ultimately, the Greeks formed the 18,500-man Royal Hellenic Army, which fought under British command in the Middle East. It consisted of three infantry brigades, an armored-car regiment, an artillery regiment, and the Greek Sacred Regiment composed entirely of officers.
One brigade of the Royal Hellenic Army fought in the Battle of El Alamein, but most of the force saw little action, the consequence of political infighting. A mutiny in 1944 led to the internment of much of the army, although part of it was used in nonoperational duties. A newly formed unit, the 2,500-man Third Mountain Brigade, did fight with distinction in the Italian Campaign, where it was known as the Rimini Brigade.
Spencer C. Tucker
Bitzes, John G. Greece in World War II to April 1941. Manhattan, KS: Sunflower Press, 1989.; Dear, I. C. B., and M. R. D. Foot. The Oxford Companion to World War II. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.; Higham, Robin, and T. Veremis, eds. The Metaxas Dictatorship: Aspects of Greece, 1936–1940. Athens: Hellenic Foundation for Defense and Foreign Policy, 1993.; Montanari, Mario. L'Esercito Italiano nella campagna di Grecia. 2d ed. Rome: Ufficio Storico, 1991.; Spyopoulos, Evangelos. The Greek Military (1909–1947) and the Greek Mutiny in the Middle East (1941–1944). New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.