Operation Koronis

Operation Koronis (Greek: Επιχείρηση «Κορωνίς», "crown" in Greek) was a military campaign launched by the royalist government in Athens against the main stronghold of the communist forces during the Greek Civil War. The communist defenses were two lines of fortifications with minefields and concealed bunkers. Initial air attacks used small-sized bombs and inaccurate targeting, but eventually, the frequency of attacks was more than tripled. After neutralizing the minefields by forcing herds of animals to walk over them, the government army launched simultaneous attacks from two sides. In the southwest, the hill of Kleftis changed hands repeatedly. With heavier casualties against a numerically superior opponent, the communists had their wounded and artillery moved across the border to the People's Republic of Albania, while the remaining 8,000 retreated to Mount Vitsi.

Operation Koronis
DateJune 14/16 - August 20/21, 1948 (sources differ)
Location
Grammos, border of Ioannina and Kastoria, Epirus, northwestern Greece
Result tactical Hellenic Army victory
strategically inconclusive, failure to encircle the communist forces
Belligerents
Greece Provisional Democratic Government (Democratic Army of Greece) Greece Kingdom of Greece (National Army)
Commanders and leaders
Greece Markos Vafiadis Greece Ioannis Kitrilakis (2nd Corps)
Greece Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos (1st Corps)
Strength
12,500
50 artillery
40,000-70,000 (6 divisions)
Casualties and losses
3,128 killed
589 captured
603 deserted
801 killed
31 captured/missing

AftermathEdit

Although the Hellenic Army failed to completely defeat the communists, the latter realized the lack of assistance they received from the Soviet Union, and the royalist government became stronger with assistance from the United States (Truman Doctrine). During the campaign, the Tito–Stalin Split developed between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union which would eventually split the Greek communists into separate factions.

BibliographyEdit

  • A Military History of the Cold War, 1944–1962 By Jonathan M. House
  • Encyclopedia of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: A New Era of Modern Warfare edited by Spencer C. Tucker