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Thread: Insurgency & COIN in Greece (in WW2 and after)

  1. #21
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Within a broader critical review of COIN are these paragraphs on the Greek Civil War, a rare event IMHO:
    One of the host nation victories to have had little exposure is the Greek Civil War (1946-49). The orthodoxy among most Anglo-American historians is that the only reason the Greek armed forces were successful against a Communist insurgency was purely because of training and material assistance provided by the US and Britain. While it is true that financial and material aid under the Marshall Plan proved vital to defeating the Communist insurgency, the Greek armed forces learned while fighting and ultimately developed an indigenous strategy for victory. Indeed, on many occasions, advice provided by the Americans and British was politely disregarded because it bore little relation to Greek realities. Between 1943 and 1949, Greek Communists made three attempts to take power, and what is generally referred to as the ‘Greek Civil War’ comprised the third round between 1946-1949. The first and second bids were prevented mainly because of British intervention, but the third round was characterised by the steady development of the host nation’s capability. After the Second World War, most of the Greek forces had to be rebuilt. The greatest obstacle facing the Greek National Army (GNA) initially was a chronic lack of manpower. By mid-1947, the GNA had 115,000 personnel, but these were spread very thinly throughout Greece. As a consequence, it had difficulty exploiting battles and holding territory gained.
    In the meantime, the Communist insurgency was morphing into a regular army (DSE) after its senior leadership concluded that guerrilla tactics were not working. However, the Communists’ desire to create a regular army sowed the seeds of their ultimate downfall. A regular army called for a large support infrastructure and logistics footprint, and although manpower was always a significant constraint on the GNA’s ability to operate, recruitment was a far more serious problem for the DSE. Even at its height in April 1948, the DSE’s strength was no more than 26,000. Voluntary recruitment gave way to forcible recruitment. Women and children were not spared from frontline duty, and this proved to be a public relations disaster for the Communists. So, while the Communists benefitted from sympathetic northern neighbours (Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria), through which a steady stream of Soviet weaponry flowed, they were never able to replace the losses they increasingly sustained.
    By 1948, the government’s forces totalled 168,000 personnel, with equipment supplied by Britain and the United States. The tide had turned, both militarily and economically, for the Greek state, but it is important to acknowledge that success against the DSE from 1948 onwards was also due to the GNA’s own conceptual work. Prior to this point, planning and execution of operations largely reflected Anglo-American doctrine, with a focus on traditional schemes of manoeuvre. From the beginning of 1948, the GNA started to apply what would be recognised today as a ‘clear, hold, build’ strategy throughout the country, starting in the south of Greece. The first step involved dismantling the Communist ‘eyes and ears’, followed by the destruction or capture of Communist forces. The final function included robust policing, to prevent the regrowth of Communist infrastructure, and the re-education of DSE prisoners and their eventual reintroduction to Greek society. This strategy was underpinned by Marshall aid totalling $273.2 million during the last year of the conflict, but the strategy itself was indigenous in conception.
    British and American training missions remained in Greece for several years after the recognised end of the Civil War as an added insurance policy, but the Communists concluded that they could not match a reformed and re-energised Greek Army. The Greek government had taken ownership of the anti-Communist effort, and succeeded in the long-term.

    Plus two references and the link:http://defenceindepth.co/2015/11/18/...on-of-victory/
    davidbfpo

  2. #22
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The US support for Greece during the Civil War

    What was the US role post-VE Day? An article on a different topic has this, added due to value:
    The United States can do better. Indeed, it has done better. One example is the program to build Greece’s military just after World War II. It was a fragile situation reminiscent of places like Syria today. As Dean Acheson reflected, “Greece was in the position of a semiconscious patient on the critical list where relatives and physicians had been discussing whether his life could be saved.” Its infrastructure was destroyed, more than 300,000 people dead from starvation alone, a ravaged landscape, and a weak military plagued by low morale and overwhelmed by aged soldiers. Greece was losing badly to guerrillas supported by Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, and victory over them was nearly inconceivable.The U.S. approach to Greece was new and different—and in retrospect, rather mind-boggling. Simply put, the United States involved itself in all aspects of Greek military affairs. These include the most sensitive issues for a military, such as defining its mission, reorganizing its structure to align with that mission, and making sure capable military leaders were appointed to the right positions. This latter aspect is particularly provocative: U.S. officials oversaw a complete overhaul of senior Greek military personnel by helping appoint a new chief of staff, compelling all of the army’s lieutenant generals except one to resign, facilitating the promotion and placement of eight major generals, and encouraging the removal of division and corps commanders who were reluctant to or incapable of supporting the broader strategy. To be sure, all was not rosy between the United States and the Greek military. They disagreed over some U.S.-requested personnel changes, the size of the Greek army, and perceived shortcomings of U.S. equipment. But, overall the U.S. push to transform Greece’s military prevailed.


    This story of success does not just focus on the partner military; however, as U.S. officials also prioritized unity of vision and capable personnel on the American side—both in the field and in Washington. When the relationship among senior American officials in Athens grew fraught, President Truman quickly pushed out the U.S. ambassador to Greece to ensure that all American officials in country supported the same vision. The flaccid U.S. defense official who initially ran the military assistance program in Athens was replaced by Lt. Gen. James Van Fleet, a charismatic leader who had both deep experience in strengthening fighting forces and a commitment to transforming the Greek military in accordance with his guidance from Washington. And throughout the program, senior U.S. national security officials regularly assessed it to ensure that its purpose was clear, adjusted it as the situation evolved, and seriously debated the circumstances under which the U.S. military would become a co-combatant.

    Greece’s military prevailed over the communist guerrillas seeking to upend the state. With deep U.S. involvement in sensitive Greek military affairs and unity of vision across the U.S. national security apparatus, the Greek military was able to take advantage of the diminished support that the guerrillas received from antagonistic external actors, resulting in a capable security sector. And thus the first postwar example of the United States building a partner military for internal defense purposes became a triumph. Above all, the American investment in Greece consisted almost entirely of treasure, not blood. U.S. military personnel in Greece suffered four casualties; the program to build the Greek military cost about $350 million.
    Link:https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/201...litary/149180/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:21 PM. Reason: 31,393v
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