Wednesday 8 July 2009
Beware of Greeks bearing 14" Guns........
At last the Greek contingent of the Balkan Fleets has been completed! It is smaller in scale than the Turkish aspirations but significant nonetheless. The only only vessel of the batch that was never laid down was the Vasilefs Konstantinos which would have been a straight copy of a French Bretagne class dreadnought. The Salamis was laid down (she was being built in Germany) but never completed and the cruiser Antinauarkos Kondouriotis was requisitioned and became the RN HMS Birkenhead, sister to HMS Chester. The DDs Chios, Lesbos, Kriti and Samos were HMS Melampus, Medusa, Medea and Melpomene respectively.
Of the ships the Greeks actually received I have the two ex US battleships Idaho and Mississippi which became the Kilkis and Limnos (sometimes spelt Lemnos). Both sported the very distinctive lattice masts painted black and both were sunk by the Germans in 1941. The small cruiser Helle was purchased in 1914 from the Chinese whilst building in the US and was to have been called the Fei-Hung.
I am quite pleased with the way these have come overall and am now pressing on with the Black Sea Russians. There are a couple of vessels I need to add to both the Greek and Turkish Fleets but this is not urgent and can wait for another time.
The reference to 14" guns in the title was the provisional armament of the Salamis.