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Lt. Marinos Mitralexis: The first kamikaze of WWII

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elias_the_great #1 Posted 26 October 2019 - 11:37 AM

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In 28th of Octomber, we -the Greeks- celebrate our entrance in the Second World War because of the Invasion of Epirus (North-Western part of Greek Mainland) from Fasist Italy. It is beleived that Greece was attacked before the negative answer to the italian ultimatum was given to Musolini himself by his embasator and war had just began for Greece... in land,sea and the Skies. Italy thought that the Invasion of Greece was "a walk in the park", they believed that a strike force of 380 total aircraft would be more than enough to criple both aerial and ground targets and the small Royal Hellenic Airforce, consisting of-not more than-80 planes would be crushed within days.However, Italians were terribly wrong about everything, and faced humiliation to the small,poor Balkan Nation, and this is where our story begins.

 

Marinos Mitralexis, graduated from Ikarus Academy (Air Force Academy) as Second Lieutenant in the summer of 1940 and he was posted to the 22nd Pursuit Squadron, based on the airfield of Thessaloniki. (second largest city of Greece).

 

On November 2, a squadron of 15 Italian CANT Z.1007 bombers, with Fiat CR.72 fighter escorts, headed towards Thessaloniki. Soon they were spotted and intercepted by Greek PLZ P.24 fighters of the 22nd Squadron. During the dogfights, three of the bombers were shot down, while the rest reached their targets, and then started to return to their base in Albania. Mitralexis, who had already shot down one bomber, was now out of ammunition, so he aimed the nose of his PZL P. 24 right into an enemy bomber's tail, smashing the rudder and sending the bomber out of control. 

 

 

 

But here is how this kamikaze is different from the japanese ones... Mitralexis didnt die from the ram nor the landing but..

 

 

 

...he had to make an emergency landing near the crashed bomber. Having landed, Mitralexis captured the four surviving crew members of the enemy aircraft using his pistol !!!

 

For this extraordinary feat, Mitralexis was promoted and awarded a number of medals, including Greece's highest award for bravery, the Gold Cross of Valor. He was the only Air Force officer to be awarded it during the war. When Greece capitulated to Germany (April 1941) he and the rest of the surviving Greek Air Force personnel and aircraft escaped to North Africa to join the Allied forces there.

 

He survived the war, but he died in 1948 during a routine training flight in an Airspeed Oxford.

 

After the capitulation of Greece, almost its entire Airforce (its aircraft,not personel) was wiped out by the Luftwaffe, loosing only 24 planes to the Italians during the Greco-Italian War, while Greek fighter pilots claimed to have achieved 64 confirmed kills and 24 probables, around two-thirds of which were bombers plus 4 more Luftwaffe planes.No Greek PLZ P.24s survived the War.

 

Mitralexis is the second most known Greek hero of the Second World War.

 

 


Edited by elias_the_great, 26 October 2019 - 11:40 AM.


Frateras #2 Posted 26 October 2019 - 02:11 PM

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The Greece were very tough warriors at all. The reports of the Wehrmacht were full of their heroism. Lots of German soldiers had to fight there instead to go to Russia as originally designated. One of the reasons while Moscow did not fall. 

Edited by Frateras, 26 October 2019 - 02:30 PM.


GonerNL #3 Posted 27 October 2019 - 11:10 AM

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Yep, the Germans had to come and save the Italians, because the invasion failed on all fronts. 

elias_the_great #4 Posted 27 October 2019 - 12:37 PM

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View PostFrateras, on 26 October 2019 - 02:11 PM, said:

The Greece were very tough warriors at all. The reports of the Wehrmacht were full of their heroism. Lots of German soldiers had to fight there instead to go to Russia as originally designated. One of the reasons while Moscow did not fall. 

The most known Greek Hero of the Second World War was Dimitris Itsios:

 

He was accompanied by two soldiers which they were from the same village and stayed behind in a Metaxa Line(Maginot Line made in Greece) MG bunker to form a last stand against the Germans, to buy enough time to the retreating Greek army to flee from Thessaloniki to Athens and then to the island of Crete. He suprised the german army and he killed 250 German soldiers. He only stopped when he fired all 38.000 rounds that had on his disposal and he was captured after fierce fight.All three men were brought to the German officer in charge and the following conversation happened between the two men (in Greek):

 

Officer: - Where is the rest of the division we were fighting and where is your commanding officer?

Itsios: - We are and i am in charge here

Officer: - You are?

Itsios:- Yes i am

Officer:- Congrats privarte, you lived up to your ancestors fighting spirit

Itsios:- I only did my duty

Officer:- Now, i have to do mine, you cost me more than 200 men... Execute him!

 

 

Out of three Greek soldiers, only Itsios was executed by the officer while the other two accomapaning him were set free...

View PostGonerNL, on 27 October 2019 - 11:10 AM, said:

Yep, the Germans had to come and save the Italians, because the invasion failed on all fronts. 

 

So yeah we were tough. But what makes me sad is that modern (historian) society around the globe blame the Italian army ineffectiveness for the dissaster that the Greco-Italian War was for the Axis and dont praise the Greek heroism/ courage that we showed! And because tommorow is the aniversary for the beging of the War i though it would be nice to say a few worlds for these Heroes!


Edited by elias_the_great, 27 October 2019 - 12:38 PM.





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