What is the price? Póso kostízei? Πόσο κοστίζει?

What is the price? Póso kostízei? Πόσο κοστίζει?
During the War of 1940-41(Greco-Italian) a Greek private soldier's pay, was approximately 45 drachmas per month while a 2nd lieutenant's pay was 2,000 drs.
The soldiers' wages were complemented with various sums of money received from relatives and friends.
The equivalence of the Greek drachma of that era was:
1 Egyptian Pound = 544 drachmas
1 British Pound = 530 drachmas
1 US Dollar = 150 drachmas
1 German Reichsmark = 42 drachmas
1 Swiss Franc = 35 drachmas
Albanians and of Northern Epirus residents of Greek origin, were proven worthy bankers, exchanging and selling goods at two rates, Greek and Italian.

A note on the weight unit of the era:
The Δράμι/Drámi was a weight measurement unit used in Greece until 1959.
One Drámi was equivalent to 3,203 grams and 400 Drámia equivalent to one Oká. The word derived from the arabic dirham, which comes from the ancient δραχμή/drachma/drachmí̱.
Prices, quite clearly, were affected by the distance from the Greek border. Soldiers complete their diet and needs by buying food and basic items from the residents of areas where billeting, e.g.

1 oká of bread in Central Greece =16 drs
100 drams of honey and one κουραμάνα/kouramána (a kind of specially made bread for the Army) =25 drs
A newspaper in Central Greece(often free in the Greek Albanian front)= 2 drs
1 oká of milk in Central Greece =2 drs
1 oká of milk at the Greek frontier =10 drs
1 oká of milk at the Greco-Albanian front =35 drs
A canteen full of milk =20 drs
1 oká of nuts in Central Greece =5 drs
1 oká of nuts in the Greco-Albanian front =25 drs
Overnight accommodation in a Central Greece hotel =41 drs
Overnight accommodation in a hut mired in mud in Greco-Albanian front =100 drs
A dish of trachanás* in Central Greece =3 drs
A dish of trachanás* in the Greek frontier =8 drs
2 eggs and a handful of trachanás in the Greek-Albanian front =50 drs
(* Τραχανάς/ trachanás is an old traditional dish of chopped pasta consisting of eggs and milk, boiled in milk or water).
A roast lamb head and a piece of 100 drams lamb meat in Central Greece =30 drs
A 10 okádes roast lamb at the Greco-Albanian front =300 drs
An Army blanket at the Greco-Albanian front =One canteen full of corn!...

...or a military court!!

"Συν Αθηνά και χείρα κίνει..."

"Συν Αθηνά και χείρα κίνει..."
"Apart from [invoking to] Athena, move your hands" which roughly means “invoking for divine help or fortune is not enough, but efforts are required too [put some muscle to it]”
During the Greco Italian War of 1940-41, several Greek NCOs and plain soldiers, struggled to protect them selves from the Italian bullets during the battle the best they could. Particularly, in the area of Ioannina city, the main supply point for the troops fighting in the Greek-Albanian border (Ioannina was also an important metal-working center), very large numbers of craftsmen were manufacturing 4 mm thick iron plates aiming to provide extra protection to the fighters, to be carried fitted in the pockets of their tunics. Those plates were painted black, usually bearing the image of the image of Virgin Mary and a prayer for the protection of the wearer, glued on both sides. The unofficial price was 120 drs.
Khaki Depot tested in the shooting range, the three main Italian ammunition calibre used against the Greek soldiers in 1940-41.
- 9×17mm Corto
- 10.4mm black pounder Ordinanza Italiana
- 6.5X52mm M/C

 In the shooting range we tested the three main Italian ammunition calibre used against the Greek soldiers.
- 9×17mm Corto with m/v 229 m/s, chambered in the Beretta M34 automatic pistol.
- 10.4mm black pounder Ordinanza Italiana chambered in the Glisenti m1889 revolver.
- 6.5X52mm 162 gr. m/v 700 m/s chambered in the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.

 The 6.5X52mm, 162 gr. m/v 700 m/s, Mannlicher-Carcano, entrance and exit points at 60m. The full-jacketed bullet proved to be of outstanding penetration at this distance.

 The 10.4mm, 177grs. black powder Ordinanza Italiana bullet couldn’t penetrate the metal plate at 25m. That lead bullet, proved to be inadequate in gaining penetration capacity at this distance, but results a very "painful" deformation on the wearer plate...

The 9×17mm Corto with m/v 229 m/s, proved inadequate in gaining penetration capacity at a distance of 25m, this cartridge was less powerful than most other military service pistol cartridges, such as the 9mm Parabellum or .45 ACP.

Greek Army 1st Ski Battalion, Greco-Italian Front 1940-41 a reenactment.

Greek Army 1st Ski Battalion, Greco-Italian Front 1940-41
a reenactment.

The cut of the special ski uniform of the Greek Army Ski Battalion during the 2nd WW, resembled the typical ones of its time. The jacket was cut shorter to provide extra comfort, while the trousers were cut in the Norwegian style (which likely refers to the tapering at the ankle). Warm wool sweaters and underwear used to be a popular combination at the time. Skiers wore various models of France made mod. 1926-28 boots, German-Skischuhe and Italian mod.1937 ski boots. The soles were made of rubber while some (those of German origin) of wood. Note the green sun goggles attached to the special made mountain cap by means of an elasticated adjustable headband.

This volunteer Greek Army χιονοδρόμος-chionodrómos=skier wears a lightweight pullover garment imitating the basic lines of the Anorak of the era. The garment lacked any insulation value but provides two large breast pockets, built-in hood and sleeves fastened with cloth tapes. Resting on the soldiers left shoulder are his skis and the ski poles. The skis were made from wood featured the usual footplate in the centre to which the wearers mountain boots could be firmly attached.

The white clothing, the sole purpose of which was to help the soldier blend in with snow covered terrain rather than providing any additional warmth was first used by the Greek Army in the early days of the Greco-Italian War of 1940-41. Although the one piece white long-cut sleeveless snow coverall (worn by the foot soldiers over the basic field uniform and fastened with cloth tapes at hood, chest and waist level) was in production, the Greek Army skiers chosen a two piece lightweight snow suit of an advanced (for the time) design.

The hood was worn over the steel helmet but despite its large size made it restrictive for the lateral vision.

This photograph shows a skier, in his element-mountains of rock and ice-with the high-mountain clothing and equipment typically used by the Greek Army 1st Ski Battalion. Over his special made wool uniform wear the two piece snow suit. His skis are secured on his special made rucksack. Slung round his neck is a Steyr-Solothurn S1-100 smg used by the skiers even thaw the main armament of the skiers were the reliable Mannlicher-Shoenauer rifle. The white painted ammo bandoliers contained except carton boxes of the 9X23 Steyr ammo, Italian grenades and were worn according the.. skiers way

The rucksack was made of a lightweight canvas duck approximates the size of a Bergen. The main compartment has a series of large eyelets around the opening which is closed by means of a draw cord. The main compartment is covered by a large flap closed by a quick release buckle. Two large deep pockets are placed at the sides covered by flaps that have central quick release buckles. The shoulder straps used to secure the skis during marches.

The two piece snow suit allowed the ski-soldier to literally blend into a snow covered mountain.

Skiers materials were not in use in the prewar Greek army, the volunteers skiers had brought with them their own material.The skis were made from wood featured the usual footplate in the centre to which the wearers mountain boots could be firmly attached. The skis poles were mainly made of bamboo.
The History of the 1st Greek Alpine Battalion
and the Khaki Depot impression 
Skiing was a privilege of the upper and the highest class of the prewar Greece, before it was introduced to the middle class in 1930-31 by the Greek Alpine Club - Elli̱nikós Oreivatikós Sýllogos (Greek-Ελληνικός Ορειβατικός Σύλλογος-ΕΟΣ) and its local branches in Greek towns. 


St. Moritz, Switzerland, 1939: Princess Alexandra of Greece (25 March 1921 – 30 January 1993, Queen of Yugoslavia as the wife of the last King of Yugoslavia), escorted by David Michael Mountbatten, 3rd Marquees of Milford Haven OBE, DSC. They are both shown wearing a mixture of hiking and skiing outfits.

Few days after the Italian invasion through the Greco-Albanian frontier(28th October 1940), the Greek Army High Command issued an order to set up the 1st Ski Battalion.
The Battalion personnel, were either volunteers, skiers from the "Σ.Ε.Ο.", already serving in other military units(Royal Hellenic Navy even or the Royal Hellenic Air Force), or were members of the Greek Alpine Club who volunteered too, with Alexandros Vouksinos (17 years old) its youngest member.
After the appeal, 130 experienced skiers(bringing their own skis, batons and ski boots) formed the 1st Coy. After a short period of military training at Metsovo, its men were sent to the front, at the highest point(2100 metres high) of Mount Kamia, Mní̱ma ti̱s Griás in Greek ("Μνήμα της Γριάς" - "Old Woman's Tomb").
The 2nd and the 3rd Coy, were formed from conscripts from five mountainous divisions. Each division sent 50 fusiliers for ski and alpine conditions training by 6 men from the 1st Coy.
Their equipment was donated by the ΕΟΣ and individuals. Artillery Major Ioannis Paparrodou, himself a cross-country skier champion, was appointed as C.O. of the Battalion.

 Peristeri, January 1941:
A team of the Greek Army 1st Alpine Battalion during mountain skiing training on Mount Barnous/Βαρνούς, known also by its highest peak named "Peristeri" (Greek for pigeon).
Peristeri is a mountain massif located in the prefecture of Florina (south of the town of Metsovo) that streches across the border in FYROM. It's maximum height within the Greek territory is top Despotiko or Kicevo (2.334 meters) at the Greek-FYROM frontier. It is the fifteenth highest mountain in Greece.

The cut of the special ski uniform of the Greek Army Alpine Battalion resembled the typical ones of its time. The jacket was cut shorter to provide extra comfort, while the trousers were cut in the Norwegian style(which likely refers to the tapering at the ankle).
  In order to fight the winter freezing weather conditions sufficiently, natural materials like wool, were of the greatest importance winter clothing manufacturing. Although at that time the tread recommended the use of gabardine or tricot to minimize the snow from sticking to the garment, the lack of those materials forced the Greek Army to produce ski uniforms from the standard 'khaki-green' wool fabric used then, that provided high moisture-resistance.Warm wool sweaters and underwear used to be a popular combination at the time.
  The biggest problem that the Greek Army in the Albanian mountains had to deal with, was the frostbite at the toes and heels. The men of the 1st Coy had no such problem, even though the men actually lived in the snow, because of the enhanced equipment, training and experience in alpine conditions.
Major Paparrodou’s plans for the immediate future were, until more experienced skiers were available, as well as a short period of ski-training, to introduce snow-boots for the 2nd and 3rd Coy's. No extensive special training was required for proper use of those boots, that provided better stability when carrying loads and weapons.

The men of the 1st Coy were equipped with sleeping bags and, instead of heavy military overcoats, with special made ski outfits and white covers for camouflage.

 The leather boots followed the standard design with square toe, double lacing and contoured heel for the attachments. Some specimens come with additional buckles attached. Skiers wore various models of France made mod. 1926-28, German-Skischuhe and Italian mod.1937 ski boots.
The soles were made of rubber while some (those of German origin) of wood.

Ioannis Paparrodou (Greek: Ιωάννης Παπαρρόδου, 1904–1941) was born in central Greek town of Lamia in 1904.He was a Greek Army Regular Officer that graduated from the (Army) Evelpidon Military Academy as a Second Lieutenant of the Artillery in 1923.
 Shown here in the officer version of the innovative ski uniform of the Greek Alpine Battalion.
Image courtesy of Nikos Panos https://www.behance.net/NikosPanos 

Paparrodou was also a winter sports athlete and champion at the Panhellenic Games of 1935. An Artillery Major by the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War in October 28, 1940, and the successful penetration of the counterattacking Greek Army deep into the Albanian territory, he commanded the 21st Mountain Artillery Company positioned in Pogradec, southern Albania. Because of his previous experience in winter sports, Paparrodou was appointed commander of the first Alpine Battalion of the Greek Army. In April 1941, when Nazi Germany attacked Greece through the Greek-Bulgarian frontier, Paparrodou was ordered to defend strategic positions at the Kleisoura pass, near Kastoria, Western Macedonia. At the battle that followed, he resisted against the vastly superior German forces and died fighting on April 13.
 The Khaki Depot impression of the 1st Greek Alpine Battalion special uniform.

WW2 Greek Ski Battalion and the Steyr-Solothurn S1-100 SMG
The Rheinmetall (Steyr_Solothurn ) SMG, was the most elaborate of the German machine pistols. Restrictions on the armaments manufacture within the 1919 Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany from manufacturing certain types of weapons, such as light automatic firearms (designated as SMGs with barrels in excess of four inches (102 mm) and magazines holding more than eight rounds). To circumvent the Treaty, Rheinmetall acquired the Swiss company Waffenfabrik Solothurn in 1929 and began secret production of the Louis Stange prototype. What was to become the MP34 was originally designated as ‘S1-100’ using the company’s standard naming convention. Due to the Solothurn Company being unsuited for mass production, Rheinmetall took a controlling interest in Waffenfabrik Steyr, an established arms manufacturer in Austria. Weapons manufactured by Steyr were sold via the Zurich-based trade company Steyr-Solothurn Waffen AG to both the commercial and military markets. The MP34 was manufactured from the very best materials available and finished to the highest possible standard. It was so well manufactured that it has often been nicknamed the "Rolls Royce of submachine guns".
Steyr was the first submachine gun that was accepted in Greece. In 1937, the then Deputy Minister K. Maniadakis of the State Security of the I. Metaxas dictatorship ordered from the Austrian company Steyr undetermined number of such weapons to equip special branches of the Gendarmerie and the Police (notably the mechanized Gendarmerie in 9 x 23 Steyr calibre). The smg bears on the butt the seal of the Greek national emblem and the inscription "Deputy Ministry of Public Security", while on the left side of the base of the slide, next to the magazine well was strangely engraved with the letters EΣ=Ελληνικός Στρατός=Greek Army instead of EX=Ελληνική Χωροφυλακή=Greek Gendarmerie.
Following the beginning of the 1940-1941 War, the Deputy Ministry of Public Security ordered the establishment of Military Police Detachments granted each of them with one tricycle and two Steyr submachine guns with 3,000 rounds.
Also with Steyr smg’s were equipped 20 motorcycle drivers of the Police that there sent to the front to perform Military Police tasks.
Finally, a number of such smg’s granted to the Greek Ski Battalion, which moved to Peristeri Mountain in January 1941 and later took part to the guarding of the Μνήμα της Γριάς-Mní̱ma ti̱s Griás-Old Woman Grave Pass at an altitude of 2,120 m., which was the most advanced outpost of the Greek Italian War.
In the picture, except the weapon, can be seen the special skiers cap and the white tunic cover, both KD made.

Wilhelm Thöny and the Grieche Venizeloskämpfer
Wilhelm Thöny was born in Graz February 10, 1888 and died in New York City May 1, 1949. He was an Austrian painter, graphic artist, engraver and illustrator. Thöny first attended the State Art School in Graz, and then he studied from 1908 to 1912 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, where Angelo Jank and Gabriel von Hackl were his teachers. He also learned singing and playing the piano. During his studies Thöny was one of the first founding members of the Munich New Secession-Münchener Neuen Secession.
In the second year of the First World War in 1915 Thöny enlisted as one-year volunteer to the Grazer Rifle Regiment Nr. 3a, and in 1916 attended in the Reserve Officers School in Mürzzuschlag were he was promoted on 1917 to Reserve Lieutenant. During his stay in Berlin in 1916 he was co-operate in the under the patronage of the German emperor book "The enemies of Germany and its allies-Die Feinde Deutschlands und seiner Verbündeten" and thus was allowed in the same year to visit the POW camp of Braunau in Bohemia, Kleinmünchen and Mauthausen and make portrait studies of captured Greek, Italian, Albanian and Romanian soldiers.

Mod.38 Greek ammo pouches and cartridge clips for M/S rifle.
Although the double pouches were designed so that five clips of 5 cartridges (5x5 = 25 cartridges) could fit in each of the compartments, most of the pouches, could in fact carry to carry 3 to 4 clips maximum. Also visible are a drill ammo-clip for M/S dry practice (middle), a ΕΠΚ paper box for Lebel 8mm cartridges (low left) and an Italian paper box for M/C cartridges (low right).

Athens 1938
Memorial of the Unknown Soldier
at the site, in front of the House of Parliament, Syntagma Sq.
The Honour Detachment is shown leaving from the ceremony. The men armed with M/S rifles with short bayonets fixed. They all wear the 'new type' Greek helmets. Leather Y-straps (for supporting their ammo pouches) are omitted, a common practice of the prewar years.
Also visible on their tunics, are the bright red collar patches (denoting infantry) and the Regimental number patches stitched on both their upper sleeves. Some of the members of the detachment, are trainees non-commissioned officers(NCO aspirants). Their status is signified by the horizontal stripes on their sleeves.
The commanding officer, an infantry 2nd lieutenant, wears a black mourning armband on his left sleeve.

Asia Minor, 1920.
Βullets, memories and currency.

 After the landing of the Greek Army in Smyrna in 1919, (commissioned by the Great Powers) quickly became clear that somehow officers and soldiers had to be paid with an exchangeable currency in the Turkish mainland. The Bank of Greece has decided to issue a monthly bulletin with the exchange value between the Greek drachma and the Ottoman lira.
Lira was introduced as the main unit of currency in 1844, with the former currency, kuruş, remaining as a 1/100 subdivision remained in circulation until the end of 1927.

 From 1912, the Ministry of Finance of the Ottoman Empire issued also paper money, produced in denominations of 5 and 20 kuruş (piastres) , ¼, ½, 1 and 5 lira, followed the next year by 1 and 2½ kuruş, 2½, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 lira. The metal para it was 1/40th of a kuruş. The notes bore texts in Turkish and French. 1000 lira notes were introduced in 1914. In 1917, postage stamp money was issued in the form of 5 and 10 para stamps affixed to card along with the metal coins.
 The daily war costs for Greece was 2.8 million drachmas in 1919, 3.5 million in 1920, 6.8 million in 1921 and 8 million in 1922.

The Philippides Rifle

Philippos A. Philippides was a Greek weapons inventor of the very early 20th century.
Philippides was born in 1884 and by the time he was 21 yars old, developed a rifle based on an earlier model of the Austrian manufacturer Mannlicher.
The bolt consisted of 7 parts (compared to the 10 pieces that formed the Mauser and 11 for the Manlincher) with a simpler and reliable loading and feeding mechanism.
The Greek Army had chosen the Mannlicher-Schönauer design, instead of the Greek-designed "Philippides gun" ('Οπλον Φιλιππίδου), after intense lobbying against the Greek design in 1905. This caused a serious political crisis, with accusations about "national treason" were heard in the Greek Parliament. The Philippides gun was officially approved for the 1925 order, but, again, the Mannlicher–Schönauer was produced (by Breda in Italy), due to (reportedly) late submission of the Greek designs to the Italian manufacturer and/or… cost factors. 

The photocaption reads:"Ph. A. Philippides. The young inventor of the homonymous weapon"

 Section along the axis of the barrel. Arrangement of the cartridges and the clip for 6 cartridges.
The Filippides rifle and the longitudinal section of the mechanism.
Longitudinal section of the mechanism of the Mannlicher-Schönauer rifle.