Cyprus Navy

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Naval Command of Cyprus
Ναυτική Διοίκηση Κύπρου
Sign Navy.jpg
Cyprus Naval Command Emblem
Active July 1964
Country  Cyprus
Branch Navy
Size about 400 personnel (2008)
Part of Cypriot National Guard
Engagements Battle of Tylliria (Cyprus 1964), Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Commanders
Current
commander
Captain George Pitsiakos
Notable
commanders
Lieutenant Elefterios Tsomakis
Insignia
Ensign Flag of Cyprus.svg
Naval Jack Naval Jack of Cyprus.png

The Cyprus Naval Command (Greek Ναυτική Διοίκηση Κύπρου) (also known as the Cyprus Navy or Cypriot Navy) is the armed sea wing of the Cyprus National Guard. This force does not possess any capital ships or other major warships, but is equipped with patrol boats,[1] landing craft, surface-to-surface missile systems and integrated radar systems, as well as SEALs-type naval underwater demolitions units. The Cyprus Navy has the primary mission of defending the sea borders of the Republic of Cyprus, but is currently unable to access waters around Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus which are controlled by the Turkish Navy since the 1974 conflict.

History[edit]

Combat actions of 1964[edit]

Main article: Battle of Tylliria

On 6 August 1964, Cyprus National Guard forces commenced combat action against the Turkish Cypriot enclave of Kokkina, in the north-west of Cyprus. This operation was regarded by both Cyprus and Greece as a necessary interdiction against a threat by Turkish Cypriot militia, who were using Kokkina as a beachhead by which to land supplies and weapons shipped from Turkey. The Cyprus National Guard forces were under the command of General George Grivas, with the blessing of Athens. A combined land and sea attack was launched against Kokkina using two Cyprus Navy R-151 Group patrol boats, the Phaethon (commander - Second Leuthenant Dimitrios Mytsatsos) and the Arion, manned by Greek navy personnel.[2] Firing 40mm and 20mm shells, the two patrol boats bombarded the enclave for a period of time, in conjunction with land-based 25-pounder artillery.[3]

The battle was well underway on 8 August, when the Turkish Air Force commenced its own attack with fighter aircraft, making numerous strafing passes of Greek Cypriot positions. The vessel Phaethon was struck by rocket fire and burst into flames, forcing the crew to deliberately run it aground near Xeros Harbour. Seven of the crewmembers on Phaethon were killed and several wounded in the attack, and the ship was unsalvagable and later stricken.[3][4]

The second R-151 Group patrol boat, Arion, was attacked by the same Turkish fighter jet formations, and was reportedly struck several times by strafing fire, but escaped to Paphos. During the attack on the Arion, a Turkish F-100 Super Sabre, piloted by Captain Cengiz Topel, was struck by 40mm anti-aircraft fire and shot down. The pilot ejected over land but was promptly captured and lynched by members of the Cyprus National Guard.

Navy Organization in 1970[edit]

MTB's flotilla:

  • First squadron; base - Boghazi; boats: T-4, T-5, T-6
  • Second squadron; base - Kyrenia; boats: T-1, T-2, T-3
  • Patrol Boats squadron; base - Boghazi; boats: Leventis, Dedalos
  • Four radar stations (range of detection 45 nautical miles)
  • Naval stations at Famagusta, Xylophagos, Limassol, Paphos
  • Underwater Demolitions Unit (Boghazi naval base)

Cyprus Navy vessels in 1964-1974[edit]

Country of Origin Vessel Type Class Name Pennant Fate
Germany Group Motor Minesweeper

(R boat)

R-151 Arion (Leventis after 1965) P1 (1964)

15 (1972)

Sunk 14 August 1974 by own crew at Naval Base "Chrysulis"
Germany Group Motor Minesweeper

(R boat)

R-151 Phaethon [5] P2 (1964) Sunk 8 August 1964 near Xeros

in a battle with Turkish airplanes.

Germany Group Motor Minesweeper

(R boat)

R-218 Dedalos [6] Unknown Removed from Navy lists in 1970-71
Soviet Union Motor Torpedo Boat P-4 Skinhead

(Type 123K)

T-1 (Adopted Oct 1964) 20 (1965) Sunk 20 July 1974 North-East of Kyrenia

in a battle with Turkish invasion forces.

Soviet Union Motor Torpedo Boat P-4 Skinhead

(Type 123K)

T-2 (Adopted Oct 1964) 21 (1965) Run aground 21 July 1974 North of Naval Base "Chrysulis".

Later captured by Turkish forces.[7]

Soviet Union Motor Torpedo Boat P-4 Skinhead

(Type 123K)

T-3 (Adopted Oct 1964) 22 (1965) Sunk 20 July 1974 North-East of Kyrenia

in a battle with Turkish invasion forces.

Soviet Union Motor Torpedo Boat P-4 Skinhead

(Type 123K)

T-4 (Adopted Oct 1964) 23 (1965) Sunk 14 August 1974 by own crew at Naval Base "Chrysulis"
Soviet Union Motor Torpedo Boat P-4 Skinhead

(Type 123K)

T-5 (Adopted Feb 1965) 24 (1965) In 1973-74 removed from active service and disarmed.

Destroyed 14 August 1974 at Naval Base "Chrysulis" [7]

Soviet Union Motor Torpedo Boat P-4 Skinhead

(Type 123K)

T-6 (Adopted Feb 1965) 25 (1965) Sunk 14 August 1974 by own crew at Naval Base "Chrysulis"
France Fast Patrol Craft (PCF) Esterel

(Kelefstis Stamou)

Kelefstis Stamou

(Embargoed, purchased by Hellenic Navy)

P28 (1975)

P287 (since 1980)

Still active
France Fast Patrol Craft (PCF) Esterel

(Kelefstis Stamou)

Diopos Antoniou

(Embargoed, purchased by Hellenic Navy)

P29 (1975)

P286 (since 1980)

Still active
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Motor Torpedo Boat Type 108 Unknown (Replaced T-5 by 1974 ) [7][8] Unknown Probably sunk 14 August 1974 by own crew

at Naval Base "Chrysulis"

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Motor Torpedo Boat Type 108 Unknown (Unconfirmed status) [8] Unknown Unknown
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Motor Torpedo Boat Type 108 Unknown (Unconfirmed status) [8] Unknown Unknown

Main armament

Combat actions of 1974[edit]

On 15 July 1974, EOKA-B and elements of the Cyprus National Guard overthrew the legitimate President, Archbishop Makarios and replaced him with Nikos Sampson. Makarios escaped an initial attempt to capture him at the Archbishiporic in Nicosia, and fled to Paphos. A naval patrol vessel, Leventis (pennant number 15) was quickly dispatched to Paphos to begin shelling a radio station there which was being operated by pro-Makarios elements.[9]

On 20 July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus in a surprise-attack, without issuing a declaration of war. A naval force of Turkish vessels was detected by coastal radar at Apostolos Andreas approaching the coast, and a second force of naval vessels was sighted off the coast of Kyrenia during the early hours. The Cyprus National Guard Naval Command quickly ordered its two motor torpedo boats, T-1 (commander - Lieutenant Junior Grade Nicolaos Verikios) and T-3 (commander - Lieutenant Elefterios Tsomakis), (based at Kyrenia) to attack the Turkish flotilla directly. Both vessels were promptly sunk by combined air and sea attack.[9] The rest of the Cyprus Navy vessels were sunk by their own crews at Naval base "Chrysulis" in Boghazi (14.08.1974). After the conflict, two boats were refloated by Turkish troops and transferred to Golcuk Naval Museum, Turkey (on display with pennant numbers 11 and 12).[10]

Developments from 1975 to 2008[edit]

In 1983, the Navy acquired a single Type 32L Esterel fast patrol craft from France.[11] The vessel has been upgraded, and has heavy armament, including two 2-round Mistral-SIMBAD air-defence missile launchers, 1 40mm .70cal OTO-Breda-Bofors AA cannon and 1 20mm .90cal Rheinmetall AA cannon.[12] Later (circa 2006-2008) 40mm .70cal OTO-Breda-Bofors AA cannon was replaced by 20mm .70cal Oerlikon Mk10 AA cannon.

In 1994, Cyprus acquired 24 Aerospatiale MM40 Exocet Block-II anti-ship missiles (reportedly initially intended for Iran) from France, along with 3 coastal defence batteries.[12]

In 2000, the Cyprus Navy received the ex-Hellenic Navy patrol boat "Knossos", which was renamed "Kyrenia", designated P02 and formed the Kyrenia class.[13] This vessel was Greek made, of the Dilos-class, previously designated P269. This vessel is armed with one single 20mm .70cal Oerlikon Mk10 AA cannon and one 2-round Mistral-SIMBAD air-defence missile launcher.[12]

In 2002, the Cyprus Navy acquired two Rodman 55 fast assault boats for the purpose of serving her Special Forces units. These fast craft are named "Agathos" and "Panagos".[12][14]

During 2004-2006, Cyprus took delivery of four FPB 30M type fast patrol craft from manufacturer Cantierre Navale Vittoria of Italy, of which two were intended for the Navy, and two intended for the Marine Police.[15] These vessels were fitted with single 25mm .80cal KBA OTO-Melara automatic cannons and two single 12.7mm machine guns, equipped with radars and Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIRs). The Navy pair were issued the pennant numbers P03 and P04.

2011 Base Disaster and Naval Reconstruction[edit]

On 11 July 2011, the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion resulted in the destruction of much of the infrastructure of the nation's main naval port and loss of the Commander of Cypriot Navy Captain Andreas Ioannides. Reconstruction began immediately on the strength of domestic contracts for buildings and structures.

2013 Reported Acquisition of New Warships[edit]

Following various media reports in 2012 that Cyprus was entertaining offers by Israel and Greece to supply two heavy Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), being far larger and more capable than anything previously operated, it was extensively reported in January 2013 that Cyprus has signed an agreement with France to purchase two large, stealthy and well-armed vessels based upon the GOWIND corvette design. This frenzy of media speculation was bolstered by the otherwise sudden and unexplained visit to Cyprus by the L'Adroit, which some sources interpreted as a demonstration of the ship design, to be held at Limassol port from 24 to 26 January 2013.[16] Further unconfirmed reports by the Cyprus media claim to have it on good authority that a $120 million USD down payment for the vessels is factored into the 2013 fiscal budget,[17] justified against the financial crisis by emergency defense requirements.

Current organizational structure[edit]

OrgChart.png

Current inventory of vessels[edit]

Country of Origin Vessel Type Class Name Pennant
France Fast Patrol Boat (FPB) Type 32L Esterel Salamis P01
Greece Fast Patrol Boat (FPB) Dilos Kyrenia P02
Italy Fast Patrol Boat (FPB) FPB 30M Lieutenant Commander Elefteriou Tsomaki P03
Italy Fast Patrol Boat (FPB) FPB 30M Lieutenant Commander Nicola Georgiou P04
Spain Motor Launch (ML) Rodman 55 Agathos N/A
Spain Motor Launch (ML) Rodman 55 Panagos N/A
Cyprus ? Landing Craft (LCP) Rotork Unknown N/A
Cyprus ? Landing Craft (LCP) Rotork Unknown N/A
Cyprus ? Landing Craft (LCP) Rotork Unknown N/A

Main naval base - Evangelos Florakis, Zygi

Naval stations - Limassol, Pafos

Navy Commanders[edit]

  • 09.2000-10.07.2002 Captain Nicholas Georgiou (killed in air accident)
  • 07.2002-20.08.2008 Captain Evangelos Valvis
  • 20.08.2008-11.07.2011 Captain Andreas Ioannides (killed in Naval base disaster)
  • 11.07.2011-05.11.2011 Captain George Pitsiakos
  • 05.11.2011 Commander Kyriakos Poxanis

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ • Table 23, Republic of Cyprus: Major National Guard Equipment, 1990, Library of Congress (Additional sourcing: Based on information from The Military Balance, 1989- 1990, London, 1989, 85; and Christopher F. Foss, "Cypriot Rearmament Completed," Jane's Defence Weekly [London], 12 March 1988, 445.)
  2. ^ / Unknown bombardment of Patrol boat "Phaethon" in Cyprus 1964, in Greek
  3. ^ a b Cyprus, 1955-1973 By Tom Cooper, www.acig.org
  4. ^ Cyprus 100 Years Alex Efthyvoulou, Laiki Cultural Bank Archive
  5. ^ Erich Gröner "Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945", Band 2, Munchen, 1983; p.197
  6. ^ Erich Gröner "Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945", Band 2, Munchen, 1983; p.199
  7. ^ a b c Georgiou P.Sergi - "Battle for Cyprus. July–August 1974", Athens 1999 (in Greek)
  8. ^ a b c Conway’s all the World's Fighting Ships 1946-1995, US Naval Institute Press 1996
  9. ^ a b Cyprus 1974 - The Greek coup and the Turkish invasion, Makarios Drousiotis, Hellenic Distribution Agency
  10. ^ http://www.turkishnavy.info/thumbnails.php?album=12
  11. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships 2004-2005; ISBN 0-7106-2623-1; p.167
  12. ^ a b c d The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems By Eric Wertheim Published by Naval Institute Press, 2007 ISBN 1-59114-955-X, 9781591149552
  13. ^ / Greek Embassy Website
  14. ^ Original research from photos posted on www.militaryphotos.net, accessed 07/12/08
  15. ^ http://www.vittoria.biz/en/c382.php
  16. ^ http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/french-navy-ship-due-thursday/20130122. Accessed 15/02/2013
  17. ^ http://www.sigmalive.com/news/local/26401. Accessed 15/02/2013

External links[edit]