World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hellenic Army

Article Id: WHEBN0000425895
Reproduction Date:

Title: Hellenic Army  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hellenic Military Academy, Military of Greece, Evzones, Hellenic Force in Cyprus, 16th Mechanized Infantry Division (Greece)
Collection: 1828 Establishments in Greece, Hellenic Army
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hellenic Army

Hellenic Army
Ελληνικός Στρατός
Hellenic Army Seal
Hellenic Army Seal
Country  Greece
Allegiance The Hellenic Republic
Type Land Forces
Role National Defence

standard numbers in peacetime:
nominal 90,000 personnel
(88,262 as of 2011[1])
(86,150 as of 2013[2])

wartime strength:

Part of Hellenic Armed Forces
Formations Formations of the Hellenic Army
Patron Saint George
Motto Ἐλεύθερον τὸ Εὔψυχον
"Freedom Stems from Valour"
Colors Blue-gray, Khaki & Olive             
Equipment 1,913 MBTs, 4,209 IFVs & APCs, and 4,840 artillery pieces
Engagements Greek War of Independence
Greco-Turkish War of 1897
Balkan Wars
World War I
Allied Expedition to the Ukraine
Greco-Turkish War of 1919–22
World War II
Greek Civil War
Korean War
Turkish Invasion of Cyprus
Gulf War
War in Afghanistan
War on Terrorism
Chief of the Army General Staff Lt. Gen. Vassilios Tellidis
King Constantine I
Lt. Gen. Panagiotis Danglis
Lt. Gen. Ioannis Metaxas
Lt. Gen. Nikolaos Plastiras
Lt. Gen. Georgios Kondylis
Lt. Gen. Konstantinos Ventiris
Fld. Marshal Alexander Papagos
Lt. Gen. Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos
(see list of generals)
Identification marking ΕΣ
Regimental War Flag

The Hellenic Army (Greek: Ελληνικός Στρατός, Ellinikós Stratós), formed in 1828, is the land force of Greece. Along with the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) and the Hellenic Navy (HN), it makes up the Hellenic Armed Forces. It is currently the largest branch of the three. The army is headed by the chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff (HAGS), which in turn is under the command of Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS).

The motto of the Hellenic Army is Ἐλεύθερον τὸ Εὔψυχον (Eleútheron tò Eúpsychon), "Freedom Stems from Valour", from Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War (2.43.4). The Hellenic Army Emblem is the two-headed eagle with a Greek Cross escutcheon in the centre, representing the links between modern Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Byzantine Empire.

The Hellenic Army, apart from being the largest component participating in it, is also leading the Balkan Battle Group (otherwise known as "HELBROC" (an acronym for HELlas, Bulgaria, ROmania and Cyprus)), which is the largest military formation of NATO in Southeast Europe.[3]


  • Mission 1
  • History 2
    • Early history: the 19th century 2.1
    • Decade of wars: 1912–1922 2.2
  • Structure 3
    • General Staff 3.1
    • Combat and support arms 3.2
  • Army units and formations 4
  • Personnel 5
  • Equipment 6
  • Uniforms and ranks 7
  • Gallery 8
  • References 9
    • Inline citations 9.1
    • Other sources 9.2
  • External links 10


The main missions of the Hellenic Army are the defence of the state’s independence and integrity, the safeguarding of national territory, and the decisive contribution to the achievement of the country’s policy objectives.[4]

During peacetime, the Army has the following main objectives:

  • The maintenance of high operational readiness for the prevention and effective confrontation of dangers and threats, as well as the ensuring of rapid response capability.
  • The contribution to international security and peace.
  • The contribution to activities of social aid and the support of state services for the confrontation of emergency situations.


Early history: the 19th century

Demetrios Ypsilantis was commander of the tactical Greek forces during the Battle of Petra, final battle of the Greek War of Independence

The Hellenic Army traces its origin to the Hellenic Army Academy were created, the Army engineering corps was founded (28 July 1829), and a concerted effort was made to reform the various irregular forces into regular light infantry battalions. Throughout these early years, French influence pervaded the Greek regular army, in tactics as well as appearance, as most of the instructors were French–at first Philhellenes, and later serving officers of General Maison's Expeditionary Corps.[5]

After Kapodistrias' assassination in 1831 and in the subsequent internal turmoil over the next two years, however, the regular army all but ceased to exist. The first king of the newly independent Greek kingdom, the Bavarian prince

  • Hellenic Ministry of Defense – Official Site
  • Hellenic National Defense General Staff – Official Site
  • Hellenic Army General Staff – Official Site

External links

  • Michalopoulos, Dimitris. "The Evolution of the Greek Army (1828–68)". War and Society in East Central Europe, Vol. XIV, Brooklyn College Press, 1984, pp. 317–330, ISBN 0-88033-043-0.
  • Η ιστορία της οργάνωσης του Ελληνικού Στρατού, 1821–1954 [The history of the organization of the Hellenic Army, 1821–1954] (in Ελληνικά). Hellenic Army Historical Directorate. 2005.  

Other sources

  1. ^ a b Ελληνική Άμυνα και Τεχνολογία, Ετήσια Ανασκόπηση, Ισορροπία Δυνάμεων 2011–2012, Εκδόσεις Δυρός
  2. ^ The International Institute For Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2013, page 140
  3. ^ Official Greek Defence Staff PR (18MB).
  4. ^ Υπουργείο Εθνικής 'Αμυνας (2004) – Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις.
  5. ^ Οι πρώτες προσπάθειες οργάνωσης τακτικού Στρατού (1821-1831) [The first efforts towards organizing a regular Army (1821-1831)] (PDF) (in Greek). Hellenic Army General Staff. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Ο Στρατός επί της βασιλείας του Όθωνα (1833-1863) [The Army during the reign of Otto (1833-1863)] (PDF) (in Greek). Hellenic Army General Staff. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Ο Ελληνικός Στρατός από το 1864 μέχρι τον Ελληνοτουρκικό Πόλεμο του 1897 [The Hellenic Army from 1864 until the Greco-Turkish War of 1897] (PDF) (in Greek). Hellenic Army General Staff. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Tsoukalas, Konstantinos (1977). "Η ανορθωτική προσπάθεια του Χαριλάου Τρικούπη 1882-1895" [The recovery effort of Charilaos Trikoupis 1882-1895]. Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους, Τόμος ΙΔ′: Νεώτερος Ελληνισμός από το 1881 ως το 1913 [History of the Greek Nation, Volume XIV: Modern Hellenism from 1881 to 1913] (in Greek). Ekdotiki Athinon. pp. 8–87. 
  9. ^ Erickson (2003), pp. 14–15
  10. ^ Pikros, Ioannis (1977). "Ο Ελληνοτουρκικός Πόλεμος του 1897" [The Greco-Turkish War of 1897]. Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους, Τόμος ΙΔ′: Νεώτερος Ελληνισμός από το 1881 ως το 1913 [History of the Greek Nation, Volume XIV: Modern Hellenism from 1881 to 1913] (in Greek). Ekdotiki Athinon. pp. 125–160. 
  11. ^ Η αναδιοργάνωση του Στρατού μετά το 1897 και η μεγάλη εθνική εξόρμηση 1912-13 [The reorganization of the Army after 1897 and the great national assault 1912-13] (PDF) (in Greek). Hellenic Army General Staff. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Oikonomou, Nikolaos (1977). "Η αναδιοργάνωση του στρατού από την κυβέρνηση Θεοτόκη" [Reorganization of the army by the Theotokis government]. Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους, Τόμος ΙΔ′: Νεώτερος Ελληνισμός από το 1881 ως το 1913 [History of the Greek Nation, Volume XIV: Modern Hellenism from 1881 to 1913] (in Greek). Ekdotiki Athinon. pp. 186–192. 
  13. ^ Erickson (2003), p. 70
  14. ^ Fotakis (2005), p. 42
  15. ^
  16. ^ , Ιούλιος 2008, pp. 118–121ΣΤΡΑΤΗΓΙΚΗ: ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΑΣΦΑΛΕΙΑΙωάννη Α. Ραγιέ. "ΣΤΡΑΤΗΓΙΚΟ ΔΟΓΜΑ – Προς ένα ρεαλιστικό αποτρεπτικό δόγμα". .
  17. ^ Army

Inline citations



The structure of Hellenic Army ranks has its roots in British military traditions and follows NATO standard rank scale. The rank of Stratarchis (Στρατάρχης, equivalent to Field Marshal or General of the Army) though, has been historically used, but is no longer extant. It was first awarded to King Constantine I for his leadership in the Balkan Wars. The rank was subsequently assumed by his successors upon accession, until the abolition of the monarchy. The only regular officer to have been awarded the rank was General Alexander Papagos on 28 October 1949.

Uniforms and ranks

Equipment runs the gamut from state-of-the art to obsolete Cold War inventories; the latter are gradually being retired.

The heavy equipment and weaponry of the Hellenic Army is mostly of foreign manufacture, from German, French, American, British and Russian suppliers. A notable exception is the indigenous Leonidas armoured personnel carrier which was built by the Hellenic Vehicles Manufacturer Industry ELVO.


During war, the Hellenic army battalions are commanded by either a ranking officer major general or if in a combat mission by another state which in agreement with the Greek state will be commanded by a ranking General of their own.

In the chain of command, graduates of the two military academies in Athens and Thessaloniki are considered higher in seniority compared to professional officers of the same rank who graduate from specialized military schools. The latter officers are followed in seniority by volunteer and finally conscript staff.

Most professional officers graduate from the Evelpidon Military Academy in Athens (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Ευελπίδων) and the Corps Officers Military Academy in Thessaloniki (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Αξιωματικών Σωμάτων), while the rest graduate from various Military Schools according to their specialization.

Conscript enlisted men and non-commissioned officers wear special rank insignia to differentiate them from volunteers.

There are three classes of personnel in the Hellenic Army, namely professional, volunteer and conscript. There are currently 90,000 personnel on active duty, of which 30,000 are conscripted. As of 2012, the Hellenic Republic has mandatory military service (conscription) of 9 months for all males between the ages of 18 and 45. Citizens discharged from active service are normally placed in the Reserve and are subject to periodic recall of 1–10 days at irregular intervals. Greek males between the age of 18 and 60 who live in strategically sensitive areas may also be required to serve part-time in the National Guard. During a mobilization the amount of conscripts may exceed 180,000.[17]

Honour Guard
Military band


Although brigades, that follow the typical NATO standards consisting of five battalions, three manoeuvre, one artillery, one support and some other company sized formations. According to the latest developments, up to 2015, all active divisions will dissolve, but all brigades will acquire one more manoeuvre battalion, largely eliminating the distinction between mechanized and armoured formations, thus creating a new type brigade, which will be named Strike Brigade.[16]

There are four major military commands which supervise all army units,

After a major reorganization which occurred in the last decade, which included the transformation of most Infantry formations into Mechanized Brigades and a parallel reduction of personnel, the Hellenic Army's higher command is the Hellenic Army General Staff.

Army units and formations

  • Most combat arms are called "Arm" (Όπλον). This term denotes army elements that, more or less, have direct participation in combat.
  • Most support branches are called "Corps" (Σώμα), with some exceptions.

Combat and support arms

  • Hellenic National Defence General Staff
    • Hellenic Army General Staff
      Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού (ΓΕΣ)
      • Chief-of-Staff of the Army
        Αρχηγός ΓΕΣ
      • Inspector General of the Army
        Γενικός Επιθεωρητής Στρατού / Διοικητής ΔΙΔΟΕΕ
      • 1st Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Army
        A' Υπαρχηγός ΓΕΣ
      • 2nd Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Army
        Β' Υπαρχηγός ΓΕΣ

General Staff

Hellenic Army major combat unit locations
Key: red – infantry, green – mech, gold – armour, purple – aviation
large pin – division, small pin – brigade


The Hellenic Army has taken part in the following engagements:


The dismal performance of the Hellenic Army in the war of 1897 led to a major reform programme under the administration of 75 mm Schneider-Danglis 06/09 gun) and of the Mannlicher–Schönauer rifle were made, and a new, khaki field uniform was introduced in 1908.[11][12] Reform was accelerated after the Goudi coup of 1909; the new government under Eleftherios Venizelos brought a French military mission to train the Hellenic Army. Under its supervision, the Greeks had adopted the triangular infantry division as their main formation, but more importantly, the overhaul of the mobilization system allowed the country to field and equip a far greater number of troops than it had in 1897: while foreign observers estimated a mobilized force of approximately 50,000 men, the Army eventually fielded 125,000, with another 140,000 in the National Guard and reserves.[13][14]

Greek infantry marches through the steppe during the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22)
Units in the World War I Victory Parade in Paris (1919)
Greek infantry preparing to launch an attack at the Battle of Bizani (1913)

Decade of wars: 1912–1922


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.