Reported military losses during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus

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On 20 July 1974, the armed forces of Turkey invaded the northern portion of the Republic of Cyprus in response to the Greek military junta-backed 1974 Cypriot coup d'état that took place on the island against the country's democratically elected President, Archbishop Makarios III. The initial phase of the Turkish invasion, commonly referred to as "Attila-1", lasted until 24 July 1974, after which the offensive faltered and a ground war ensued.

On 14 August 1974, the Turkish armed forces in northern Cyprus had been sufficiently reinforced to the extent that they were able to launch a second major offensive, "Attila-2", which expanded the area under its control to approximately 38% of the land mass by 18 August 1974 and the end of hostilities by cease fire.

Attila 1 Offensive (20–23 July 1974)[edit]

20 July 1974[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Motor Torpedo Boat P-4 Skinhead Cyprus Navy Kyrenia Squadron North of Kyrenia 2 The vessels T-1 and T-3 were dispatched to engage the first Turkish flotilla as it approached Kyrenia. One vessel was destroyed by air attack, and the other by artillery from a Turkish destroyer.[1]
Artillery 25-pounder Cyprus National Guard 182 Artillery Battalion Lapithou-Kyrenia highway 2 This battalion lost two artillery pieces in a road accident whilst moving to their firing positions in the opening hour of the invasion.[1]
Medium Tank T-34/85 Cyprus National Guard 251 Infantry Battalion Five Mile Beach (Pentemili) in Kyrenia 5 Five vehicles were seconded to the 251 Infantry battalion from the 23 Medium Tank Battalion prior to 15 July 1974 to support the aspects of the coup in Kyrenia and guard against a Turkish landing there. All five were lost in an assault on the Turkish beachhead (four were destroyed by infantry-portable light anti-tank weapons, the fifth was abandoned with mechanical failure).[2]
Armoured Personnel Carrier M113 Turkish Army 230 Mechanised Infantry Regiment (28 Division) Five Mile Beach (Pentemili) in Kyrenia 2 20 M113 APCs of the 230 Mechanised Infantry Regiment (minus one battalion) were landed in the initial amphibious assault on Pentemili. With the Turkish tanks unable to wade ashore, a Greek Cypriot attack with tanks forced the M113s to attempt to support a confrontation. Consequently, the T-34 tanks destroyed two of the M113s with shots of 85mm HVAP ammunition.[2]
Anti-Tank Weapons Recoilless Rifles Turkish Army "Cakmak" Special Strike Force Five Mile Beach (Pentemili) in Kyrenia 2 A heavy initial attack by Greek Cypriot T-34s with infantry support inflicted the destruction of two crew-served recoilless rifle nests - one an M40A1 106mm and the other an M18A1 57mm.[3]
Medium Tank T-34/85 Cyprus National Guard Boufas Battle Group Morphou-Kyrenia road, Kyrenia 1 A battle group (task force) led by Lt.Col Kostantinos Boufas included 3 T-34/85s sent from Morphou (23 Medium Tank Battalion). During the initial engagement with the Turkish western flank, one of the tanks was knocked out by a LAW light anti-tank weapon.[3]
Medium Tank T-34/85 Cyprus National Guard Geunyeli Battle Group Geunyeli Enclave, Nicosia 3 In a major coordinated attack on the Geunyeli fortifications, the 23 Medium Tank Battalion contributed 19 tanks to prevent a Turkish bridgehead from Kyrenia to Geunyeli. Two T-34s were destroyed by Turkish air attack, and a third became trapped in obstacles and was abandoned. The example was captured intact by Turkish forces.
Armoured Personnel Carrier BTR-152V1 Cyprus National Guard 286 Mechanised Infantry Battalion Kontemnos, Nicosia 6 In an attempt to circumnavigate the Geunyeli highway junction to Kyrenia, a 286 battalion convoy of armoured vehicles attempted to pass through Kontemnos village. Six BTR-152 vehicles were strafed and rocketed by Turkish fighter jets, causing them to burst into flames.
Artillery 25-pounder Cyprus National Guard 181 Artillery Battalion Syhari Village, Nicosia 1 One gun was immobilised after its wheels were destroyed by gunfire from a Turkish air attack. It was abandoned at Syhari as it could not be moved.[4]
Artillery Quad .50cal A/A Cyprus National Guard 181 Artillery Battalion Syhari Village, Nicosia 1 An anti-aircraft gun of the M55A4 type was destroyed by air-attack at Syhari at 10.30hrs.[4]
General purpose vehicle Bedford Cyprus National Guard 181 Artillery Battalion Syhari Village, Nicosia 2 Two general purpose vehicles were destroyed in the 10.30hrs air-attack at Syhari village.[4]
Artillery 25-pounder Cyprus National Guard 185 Artillery Battalion Camp Andrew Karvos, Athalassas 5 A Turkish air attack was launched against this National Guard base in Nicosia at 05.20hrs. Rockets and napalm resulted in the destruction of five guns and most of the ammunition, as well as the loss of six personnel.[4]
Artillery 25-pounder Cyprus National Guard 187 Artillery Battalion Camp Dimitri Christodolou, Athalassas 8 A massive Turkish air-raid on this camp in the early hours caught the battalion while it was still preparing to mobilise. Eight of the 12 artillery guns were destroyed and six personnel were killed.[4]
Transport aircraft Various Turkish Air Force Various Northern Cyprus 3 During the first day of the Turkish air campaign, three transport planes - C-47 No.6035, a C-130 of 222.Filo and a C-160 of 221.Filo were damaged by Greek Cypriot anti-aircraft fire. All three salvaged, but played no further part in the conflict.
Fighter aircraft F-100 Super Sabre Turkish Air Force Various Northern Cyprus 2 During the first day of the conflict, F-100D 55-3756 of 171.Filo and F-100C 54-2042 of 132.Filo were shot down by A/A flak.
Fighter aircraft RF-84F Turkish Air Force 184 Filo Northern Cyprus 1 During the first day of the conflict, an RF-84F reconnaissance aircraft of 184 Filo was shot down by Greek Cypriot A/A flak.
Aircraft Dornier Do-28D Turkish Air Force Unknown Northern Cyprus 1 During the first day of the conflict, a Dornier Do-28D of the Turkish Air Force was shot down north-west of Nicosia.

21 July 1974[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Warship D-354 Kocatepe Turkish Navy Unknown North West of Cyprus 1 The Turkish destroyer D-354 Kocatepe was erroneously attacked by Turkish fighter aircraft, resulting in the vessel being sunk with the loss of 54 crew.
Warship D-353 Adatepe Turkish Navy Unknown North West of Cyprus 1 The Turkish destroyer D-353 Adatepe was erroneously attacked and damaged by Turkish fighter aircraft. Casualties unknown. The vessel returned to port.
Warship D-355 Tinaztepe Turkish Navy Unknown North West of Cyprus 1 The Turkish destroyer D-355 Tinaztepe was erroneously attacked and damaged by Turkish fighter aircraft. Casualties unknown. The vessel returned to port.
Fighter aircraft F-104G Turkish Air Force 191 Filo North West of Cyprus 1 Aircraft 64-17783 was lost in action on 21 July 1974.
Fighter aircraft F-100C/D Turkish Air Force Various Cyprus 2 F-100D 55-2825 of 111. Filo and 54-2083 of 112.Filo were both lost in action during the daytime air campaign on 21 July.
Motor torpedo boat P-4 Skinhead Cyprus Navy Boghazi Squadron Boghazi 1 The motor patrol boat T-2 accidentally ran aground at Boghazi and was abandoned. It was later captured on 18 August when Turkish forces captured the base.

22 July 1974[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Main Battle Tank M47 Turkish Army 39th Divisional Tank Battalion Nicosia Airport 5 Five Turkish M47 Patton tanks were lost along the western approach to Kyrenia during the day action as Turkish forces advanced on the city along the Five Mile Beach highway. 23 Casualties.
Armoured vehicle ATS-712 Cyprus National Guard 241 Infantry Battalion Kyrenia 5? A number of locally assembled ATS-712 or "TS" armoured vehicles were lost in action during the defence of the western flank of Kyrenia.
Fighter aircraft F-100D Turkish Air Force Various North Cyprus 2 Turkish F-100D Super Sabres 54-2238 of 172 Filo and 54-22?? of 171 Filo were lost in action on 22 July over Cyprus due to enemy fire.
Fighter aircraft F-100C Turkish Air Force 171 Filo Turkey 1 A Turkish F-100C of 171 Filo was lost in a landing accident after returning from a combat sortie over Cyprus. Serial unknown.
Transport aircraft Noratlas Hellenic Air Force Various Nicosia Airport 2 Two aircraft (53-234 and 52-144) were accidentally damaged by Greek Cypriot anti-aircraft fire. They managed to land safely in Crete but played no further part in the conflict.[5]

23 July 1974[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number lost Notes
Main battle tank M47 Turkish Army 39th Divisional Tank Battalion Nicosia Airport 2 Two Turkish M47 tanks were lost during a failed diversionary manoeuvre to the east side of the main terminal, where they were engaged by a two-man M20 Super Bazooka crew of the 21 EAN and destroyed.[6]
Artillery 75 mm Cyprus National Guard 191 POP Artillery Company Bellapais, Kyrenia 4 The entire company was encircled and eventually destroyed along with the 181 Artillery Battalion after being ambushed by Turkish forces at their firing positions at Bellapais.[4]
Artillery 12.7 mm Cyprus National Guard 191 POP Artillery Company Bellapais, Kyrenia 3 These guns were amongst those lost when the 191 POP was ambushed.[4]
Artillery 25-pounder Cyprus National Guard 181 Artillery Battalion Bellapais, Kyrenia 12 The entire 181 Artillery Battalion was annihilated, with the loss of all personnel, after Turkish forces disregarded the 22 July 1974 ceasefire truce and ambushed the firing positions of the 181 battalion and 191 company. The battalion refused to surrender its guns and was wiped out.

Clashes from 24 July to 13 August[edit]

1 August[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Main battle tank M47 Turkish Army Unknown Karavas 1 A single M47 tank was destroyed by a shot from a 3M6 Snapper anti-tank weapon just north of Karavas village, Kyrenia district. The tank was most likely of the 28th Divisional Tank Battalion.

2 August[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Main Battle Tank M47 Turkish Army 28th Divisional Tank Battalion Kornos Hill, Kyrenia 2 Two M47 Patton tanks were lost in an ambush executed by sappers of the 316 TE. One of the vehicles was captured intact.[7]
APC M113 Turkish Army 230th Mechanised Infantry Regiment Kornos Hill, Kyrenia 2 Two M113 APCs were lost in an ambush executed by sappers of the 316 TE on a narrow mountain dirt track at Kornos Hill. One was captured intact along with an M47 Patton.[7]

6 August[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Main Battle Tank M47 Turkish Army 28th Divisional Tank Battalion Vassilia, Kyrenia 2 Two M47 main battle tanks were lost in action during a battle at the village of Vassilia on 6 August. The tanks were supporting a manoeuvre by the Turkish 61st Infantry regiment.

Attila 2 Offensive (14–18 August 1974)[edit]

14 August[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Artillery Six-Pounder Cyprus National Guard 173rd Anti-Tank Battalion Mia Millia 9 The 173 Battalion was contacted at its defensive positions at Mia Millia at 10.00hrs whilst supporting the 399 infantry battalion, and its lines were overrun by 10.30hrs. High Command (GEEF) ordered a retreat at 10.55hrs, and 9 of the 12 guns were lost at their firing positions.[4]
Motor torpedo boat P-4 Skinhead Cyprus Navy Boghazi Squadron Boghazi 3 The T4, T5 and T6 vessels were scuttled by their own crews on 14 August as Turkish forces approached the naval base, with no fuel re-supply available to let the vessels escape.[8]
Patrol boat R-151 Cyprus Navy Boghazi Squadron Boghazi 1 The Leventis (pennant 15) was scuttled by her own crew at Chrysulis naval base, Boghazi.[8]

15 August[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Medium Tank T-34/85 Cyprus National Guard 23 EMA (attached to 341 Battalion) Famagusta 3 At 14:00 the Greek-Cypriot 341st contacted Turkish tanks and the Turkish 14th Infantry Regiment. Realizing it was abandoned and isolated, the command of the 341st ordered retreat at 17:00, covered by the T-34 tanks. The T-34 tanks, were then abandoned, and their crews taken into custody by the UN staff at Famagusta.
Artillery Six-Pounder Cyprus National Guard 341 Battalion Famagusta 6 Abandoned at 17.00hrs after the defences of Famagusta collapse.
Main Battle Tank M47 Turkish Army 28th Divisional Tank Battalion Lapithos 1 One M47 tank was captured intact during an ambush by the 231 Battalion near Lapithos. The tank was used to shell the enemy, but could not be recovered and was consequently destroyed by its Greek Cypriot crew.[2]

16 August[edit]

Type Equipment Owner Unit Location Number Lost Notes
Main Battle Tank M47 / M48 Turkish Army 28 Divisional Tank Battalion Nicosia 5 A total of five Turkish main battle tanks were lost in action during the assault on the Greek ELDYK camp in western Nicosia. Four vehicles were hit by light anti-tank weapons, and a fifth was destroyed by an artillery strike.[2]
Main Battle Tank M47 Turkish Army Unknown Nicosia 1 A single M47 tank was lost in action during an engagement with dug-in T-34s in the north of Nicosia in the afternoon.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cyprus 1974 – The Greek coup and the Turkish invasion, Makarios Drousiotis, Hellenic Distribution Agency
  2. ^ a b c d Armour in Cyprus, Evolution and Action. Ioannis Mamounidakis. 2008. ISBN 978-960-88355-4-2
  3. ^ a b Savvas D. Vlassis, O Aporritos Attilas, Athens 2004 ISBN 960-630-211-3
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.pyrovolitis.org (Accessed 5 December 2010) (National Guard Artillery Website)
  5. ^ a b OPERATION "NIKI" 1974 – A Suicide Mission to Cyprus. (Mihail Solanakis).
  6. ^ Battle of Nicosia International Airport – Cyprus 1974 by a Greek Commando, Published Istoria (History), 1993
  7. ^ a b The Action of the Captured M47 in Attila II in The Unknown Soldier of Cyprus (Savvas Vlassis)
  8. ^ a b Georgiou P.Sergi - "Battle for Cyprus. July–August 1974", Athens 1999 (in Greek)
  9. ^ Karkaletsis 2005