Greek Summer Offensive (1920)

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Greek Summer Offensive 1920
Part of the Greco-Turkish War
Ermoscharge.JPG
Greek soldiers charging
Date June – September 1920
Location Western Anatolia, southern coast of the Sea of Marmara
Result Greek and British victory
Belligerents
Kingdom of Greece Greece
United Kingdom United Kingdom Ottoman Empire Kuva-yi Inzibatiye
Ottoman Empire GGNA
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Greece Leonidas Paraskevopoulos
United Kingdom General Milne
Ottoman Empire Süleyman Şefik Pasha
Ottoman Empire Mustafa Kemal Pasha
Ottoman Empire Ali Fuat Pasha
Strength
Kingdom of Greece 101,625 men[1][2]
United Kingdom 30,000 men[3]
Ottoman Empire 2,000 men[4]
10,200 men[5]

The Greek Summer Offensive of 1920 was an offensive by the Greek army, assisted by British forces, to capture the southern region of the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Region from the Kuva-yi Milliye (National Forces) of the provisional Turkish national movement government in Ankara. Additionally, the Greek and British forces were supported by the Kuva-yi Inzibatiye (Forces of Order) of the Ottoman government in Constantinople, which sought to crush the Turkish nationalist forces. The offensive was part of the Greco-Turkish War and was one of several engagements where British troops assisted the advancing Greek army. British troops actively took part in invading coastal towns of the Sea of Marmara. With the approval of the Allies, the Greeks started their offensive on 22 June 1920 and crossed the 'Milne Line'.[6][7] The 'Milne Line' was the demarcation line between Greece and Turkey, laid down in Paris.[8] Resistance by the Turks was limited, as they had few and ill-equipped troops in western Anatolia.[8] They were also busy on the eastern and southern fronts with their limited number of troops.[6][8] After offering some opposition, they retreated to Eskişehir on Mustafa Kemal Pasha's order.[8]

Prelude[edit]

In May 1920, the Kuva-yi Inzibatiye, backed by the British, had been sent to seize the area of Geyve and İzmit, but they were repelled by the Turkish irregular forces. Subsequently British aeroplanes bombed the Turkish positions in İzmit with little outcome.[9] 3 regiments from the Kuva-yi Inzibatiye entrenched themselves at the outsirts of İzmit. Behind them were 2-3 British battalions and furthermore they were backed up by several British battleships from the sea.[9] On 15 June, the Turks tried to advance towards the Ottoman and British positions, but they made little progress, as British battleships and planes started to bomb them on 16–17 June.[9] On this occasion, the British 15 inch naval guns saw their first action by bombing Turkish positions.[10][11]

Map showing the advance of the Greek army in Eastern Thrace and Anatolia during the Summer of 1920.

Offensive[edit]

The situation was a stalemate, therefore the British decided to bring in the Greek army for assistance and to punish the attacks on their troops.[9] The Greeks, meanwhile, were eager to conquer their historical homeland. The British military staff together with the Greek military staff planned the offensive for the southern coastal area of the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Region.[9] With these plans the Greek army started its offensive on 22 June 1920.

During the offensive, British and Greek troops jointly captured the following towns, some of these towns were invaded by naval landing forces:[12][13] Akhisar (22 June); Kırkağaç, Soma and Salihli (24 June); Alaşehir (25 June); Kula (28 June); Balıkesir (30 June); Bandırma, Kırmesti and Karacabey (2 July); Nazilli (3 July); Gemlik and Mudanya (6 July); Bursa (8 July); Karamürsel (11 July); İznik (12 July); Gediz and Ulubey (28 August); Uşak (29 August); Simav (3 September). During the offensive against these areas, several clashes occurred between the advancing British-Greek troops and the defending Turkish irregular forces. For example Mudanya had been tried to be captured as early as 25 June by naval landing forces, but stubborn Turkish resistance inflicted casualties on British forces and forced them to withdraw. On 6 July a British fleet of 12 ships bombed the town for three hours which killed 25 Turkish soldiers during the bombardment. After the bombardment British troops landed and took control of the town. There were many instances of successful delaying operations of small Turkish irregular forces against numerical superior enemy troops. Such as in Savaştepe when a Turkish irregular unit of 200 men delayed a Greek division of 10,000 men for one day.[14]

By reaching Uşak on 29 June, the Greek army had advanced some 125 miles (200 km).[15] Apart from these major settlements, several other smaller settlements were captured during the offensive.

Aftermath[edit]

The Turks started a small counter-attack in the area of Gediz, but it had limited success.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nilüfer Erdem: Yunan tarihçiliğinin gözüyle Anadolu harekatı 1919-1923 (engl.: The Anatolian operation 1919-1923 according to Greek historiography), Derlem Yayınları, 2010, ISBN 6058853613, page 242. (=3,443 officers and 98,182 soldiers) (Turkish)
  2. ^ Bilge Umar: Yunanlıların ve Anadolu Rumlarının anlatımıyla İzmir savaşı (engl.: The Izmir battle according to the narrations of the Greeks and the Anatolian Greeks), İnkılâp, 2002, ISBN 9789751018267, page 62. (=3,443 officers and 98,182 soldiers) (Turkish)
  3. ^ BRITISH IN TURKEY MAY BE INCREASED, New York Times, 19 June 1920.
  4. ^ Sinan Meydan, 2010, page 217.
  5. ^ O. Zeki Avralıoğlu: Buldan ve yöresinin tarihçesi, 1997, page 119. (Turkish)
  6. ^ a b Stanley Sandler: Ground Warfare: H-Q, ABC-CLIO, 2002, ISBN 1576073440, page 337.
  7. ^ Olivier Roy: Turkey Today: A European Country?, ISBN 1843311720, page 123.
  8. ^ a b c d Michael Brecher: Study of Crisis, ISBN 0472108069, University of Michigan Press, 1997, page 363.
  9. ^ a b c d e Sinan Meydan, 2010, pages 342-344
  10. ^ BRITISH USE 15-INCH GUNS, The Mercury, 22 June 1920.
  11. ^ British 15-inch Naval Guns - Imperial War Museum, Lambeth, London, UK, waymarking.com
  12. ^ Ahmet Nural Öztürk: Kula, Katakekaumene (Yanık yöre): 2000 yıl önce Strabon'un adını koyduğu yöre, Öğrenci Basimevi, page 137-138. (Turkish)
  13. ^ Münir Sayhan: Milli Mücadele'de Çivril, (1919-1922), Kitsan, 2006, ISBN 9758833227, pages 15-18.
  14. ^ Nurettin Türsan, Burhan Göksel: Birinci Askeri Tarih Semineri: bildiriler, 1983, page 42.
  15. ^ Geoffrey Jukes, Peter Simkins, Michael Hickey: The First World War: The Mediterranean Front 1914-1923, Osprey Publishing, 2002, ISBN 9781841763736, page 13.

External links[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Sinan Meydan: Cumhuriyet Tarihi yalanları: Yoksa siz de mi kandırıldınız?..., İnkılâp, 2010, ISBN 9751030544, pages 332-352. (Turkish)