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The Hellenic Army (Greek: Ελληνικός Στρατός) is the land force of Greecemarker. The Army of the modern nation of Greece has a history of nearly 190 years and came to its present form, gradually through those years.

Motto of the Hellenic Army is "Freedom Stems from Valor" (Greek: "Ελεύθερον το Εύψυχον" - Eleftheron To Efpsihon) from Thucydide's History B, 43. The Hellenic Army Emblem is the two-headed eagle with a Greek Cross escutcheon in the centre, representing the links between modern Greecemarker, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Byzantine Empire.


The main mission of the Hellenic Army is the defence of the state’s independence and integrity, the safeguarding of national territory, as well as the decisive contribution to the achievement of the country’s policy objectives.

During peacetime, the Army has the following main objectives:

  • The maintenance of high operational readiness for the prevention and effective confrontation of dangers and threats, as well as the ensuring of rapid response capability.
  • The contribution to international security and peace.
  • The contribution to activities of social aid and the support of state services for the confrontation of emergency situations.


The modern Hellenic Army was formed shorty after the creation of the State in 1828. The first out of eight tactical army regiments was established in February, 1828 after the respective order was given by the first head of state of the independent Greece, Ioannis Capodistrias.This tactical army would replace the irregular military bands of the capetanei (καπεταναίοι - commanders) who had led the revolt against Ottoman Empire in 1821. The new formations were formed firstly in Troizina and were organized according to the ones of the French Army. First commander was appointed the French general Charles Nicolas Fabvier.In addition to the creation of tactical infantry units, Capodistrias proceded in the establishment of various other auxiliary corps, such as the Hellenic Military Academymarker, the first Artillery and Cavalry battalions, the Mechanics Corps and a unit of logistical support, the Army Commissariat.The first combined arms drills were executed in October, 1829 at Megaramarker.

The Hellenic Army has taken part in the following engagements:

Note: During World War II, the Army's equipment included the French Rifle Lebel M1886, the French Machinegun St. Etienne M1907, the French machinegun Hotchkiss M1914, the Belgian Rifle Mauser M1930 the Austrian Machinegun Schwarzlose M1907/12, the French machinegun Hotchkiss M1928, the Austrian Infantry Rifle Mannlicher-Schönauer M1903, and the French Machinegun Chauchat M1915.


General Staff

  • Hellenic National Defense General Staff
    • Hellenic Army General Staff
      Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού (ΓΕΣ)
      • Chief-of-Staff of the Army
        Αρχηγός ΓΕΣ
      • Inspector General of the Army
        Γενικός Επιθεωρητής Στρατού / Διοικητής ΔΙΔΟΕΕ
      • 1st Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Army
        A' Υπαρχηγός ΓΕΣ
      • 2nd Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Army
        Β' Υπαρχηγός ΓΕΣ

Combat and Support Arms

  • Most combat arms are called "Arm" (Όπλον). This term denotes army elements that, more or less, have direct participation in combat.
  • Most support branches are called "Corps" (Σώμα), with some exceptions.

Army Units and Formations

After a major reorganization which occurred in the last decade, which included the transformation of most Infantry formations into Mechanized Brigades and a parallel reduction of personnel, Hellenic Army's higher command is the Hellenic Army General Staff..

There are four major military commands which supervise all army units,

Although divisions still exist, having the role of forward commands, the Army is mainly organized in brigades, that follow the typical NATOmarker standards consisting of five battalions, three maneuver, one artillery, one support and some other company sized formations.According to the latest developments, up to 2015 , all active divisions will dissolve, but all brigades will acquire one more maneuver battalion, largely eliminating the distinction between mechanized and armored formations, thus creating a new type brigade, which will be named Strike Brigade.


There are three classes of personnel in the Hellenic Army, namely professional, volunteer and conscript. Conscript enlisted men and non-commissioned officers wear special rank insignia to differentiate them from volunteers. There are currently 109,266 personnel on active duty. Mobilization strength is 575,000 more.

Most professional officers graduate from the Evelpidon Military Academymarker in Athens (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Ευελπίδων) and the Corps Officers Military Academy in Thessaloniki (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Αξιωματικών Σωμάτων), while the rest graduate from various Military Schools according to their specialization.

In the chain of command, graduates of the two Military Academies in Athensmarker and Thessalonikimarker are considered higher in seniority compared to professional officers of the same rank who graduate from specialized Military Schools. The latter officers are followed in seniority by volunteer and finally conscript staff.


The heavy equipment and weaponry of the Hellenic Army is mostly of foreign manufacture, from Germanmarker, Frenchmarker, Americanmarker, Britishmarker and Russianmarker suppliers. A notable exception is the native-built Leonidas armored fighting vehicle by the Hellenic Vehicles Manufacturer Industry (ELBO).

Equipment runs the gamut from state-of-the art to obsolescent Cold War inventories; the latter are gradually being retired.

Uniforms and Ranks

The structure of Hellenic Army ranks has its roots in British military traditions and follows NATO standard rank scale.The rank of Stratarchis (Στρατάρχης, equivalent to Field Marshal or General of the Army) though, has been historically used, but is no longer extant. It was first awarded to King Constantine I for his leadership in the Balkan Wars. The rank was subsequently assumed by his successors upon accession, until the abolition of the monarchy. The only regular officer to have been awarded the rank was General Alexander Papagos on 28 October 1949.

Photo Gallery

Image:Hellenic Army - Panhard VBL - 7215.jpg|Panhard VBLImage:Hellenic Army - M901 - 7228.jpg|M901 ITV (Improved TOW vehicle)Image:Hellenic Army - HMMWV - 7226.jpg|Humvee (HMMWV)Image:Hellenic Army - LEO2A6HEL - 7231.jpg|Leopard 2A6 HEL


Sources and bibliography

  • Dimitris Michalopoulos, "The evolution of the Greek Army (1828-68)", in War and Society in East Central Europe, vol. XIV, Brooklyn College Press, 1984, pp.317-330. ISBN 0-88033-043-0.

See also

External links

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