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Τρίτη, 15 Αυγούστου 2017 10:19

The rebellion of Averoff through the legendary warship's diary

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(For the first time the original Averoff marks, and the list of crew names on the night of rebellion and excerpts through the ship's log)


"Of course, one must always be able to give a clear answer, perhaps to be justified, for a great basic decision for his later life, when the two different roads were opened in front of him and waited for his election.
Two were what could be done:
a) To leave the ship and following the chief to request a clearer command from the Fleet Chief or the Ministry.
b) To leave with the ship sharing his precarious fortune, without an incentive and only motivation for his desire for freedom .... "
Archbishop G. Drossinos. (bearer at Battleship Averoff, 1940-1941)


A few days ago, Battleship Averoff, after three-month maintenance repairs, returned to his anchor at Flisvos. Bright and polished will continue to welcome more than 60,000 visitors every year who will want to see a bit of the modern history of Greece. Averoff took part in the Balkans and in two world wars. What many do not know is that for Averoff to be in Flisvos today and not to be a deer on the bottom of the Saronic Gulf, this is due to some twenty courageous officers (many of whom have just graduated from the school) and a resolute flotilla , who in April 1941 took over the responsibility to oppose the ministry's mandate to sink the ship in order not to fall into the hands of the Nazis and led through mines and German submarines in Alexandria.
The story of Averoff's rebellion is known as an event to the "initiates," but beyond the historical event, the whole business and what preceded it hides a thriller for strong nerves where officers collide with officers, and a rebellion eventually reaches the point of being legalized by official state with the ultimate effect of saving the ship. We present today the development of rebellion through the personal notes of the Averof figurine, George Drosinos, through the log of the ship and through Averoff's original signals in his communication with the GEN that are coming for the first time.

We are on the night of April 17, 1941. The front of defense of the Greek army in Macedonia had collapsed and the Germans headed for Athens while at the same time the English were leaving Greece. In three days Tsolakoglu was going to hand over the country and typically to Nazi Germany. The Greek government and the ministry of seafarers had given orders to destroy the shuttles of Averoff's guns and to sink in the open of Psitaleia in order not to fall into the hands of the conquerors. From the testimony of the officers attending the ship and with what Stylianos Haratis records in his book "1023 officers and 22 movements", most of the ship's officers were not happy with the decision at all.
In the rebellion, there are two priests and one priest. Alexandros Diamantis engineer of the ship, P. Eliomarkakis and the military priest D. Papanikolopoulos.
The day before, as Diamantis had already broke out, he opened the ship's arsenal and handed weapons to the sailors by disseminating the idea that the ship would leave despite the risk of such a decision and head for Alexandria to join the Allied fleet. Heliomarkakis briefs floater Pottis Damilatis, the director of the artillery, for the intention of a portion of the officers to save the ship, even with violence. Governor Vlachopoulos and Papavasilios was not in the ship at that time, and Damiantis as the senior in the hierarchy was responsible for the ship. Damiantis was in a difficult position because he could not make the decision and tried to reassure his officers. Chaos prevails and Eliomarkakis suggests to those who want to leave and return to their families. The war for Greece was over. The crew, however, upset begins shouting "to save Averoff." However, warfare in time of war means the least executive quote.

Damiantis leans on the decision to leave the ship and Eliomarkakis informs him that at 2300, Papavassiliou will return to the final orders of the Marine Ministry. Many officers, however, aware of the difficulty of the undertaking and given that the order until that time was to sink the ship, come into conflict with the rebels.
According to the testimonies recorded in his book by Haratsis, the chief engineer M. Chronopoulos, who was also the senior engineer, puts the voices saying that these are irregular actions and can not sail the ship without order. He even threatens to sabotage the boilers so that the machines can not work and attacked Damianitis by accusing him of conspiring with the two flagmen. Eliomarkakis then tells Diamantis to take over the machines and prepare them for sailing. The revolt has already erupted in an atmosphere of indiscipline and uncertainty and with the vast majority of officers being bearers, ie young men of whom many have just been out of school without experience in such crises and de facto little, what we are saying, "Barrot smoked."
For the Averoff officers, however, there was no dilemma left to them to leave or sink the ship. If the ship was sinking some people thought they might stay on the deck until the end.

The log of the ship also reveals that the story is repeated over and over again. It reveals how Greek officers and political leadership saw their English allies, whom they had no confidence in as they had been fooling them repeatedly.

In his personal notes, the Averof bearer Georgios Drosinos, regarding the possibility of sinking the ship, wrote:
"Personally, I consider cowardice the act of self-immolation of a ship, all the more so, from all sides.
However, the issue of personnel was born, which would largely follow the fate of the ship in the event of its destruction. But this issue could be solved by the crew's voluntary stay on board. "

Time 21:00
The nerves on Averoff are already stretched and Damiantis makes a general crew call asking one after midnight for the ship to be ready for sailing and waiting for orders as well as boarding the senior officers. The crew shouts and asks for the ship to leave quickly to avoid falling into either the enemy's hands or the officers opposed to rebellion.

Drosinos records the atmosphere of those moments:
"The ship, seemingly without a ruler - had already gone his way following the unfortunate ruler who had believed in the words of those who wanted to make it impossible for him to leave - without any sort of order being made natural by what he immediately ordered, faithful to his promise, he returned to the ship at the time he had said. There, a wretched crew waited for him, without any discipline, and driven by malicious dissensions, by a large majority in favor of direct deportation and descent to Alexandria "

Shocking is the description of the moments in the log of the ship.

Ship's log
at 23.15

The deputy, the deputy commander, Papavassiliou, who called the officers, said: "I was just a short time at a ministry store and I know that the governor will board the Destruction of Jerusalem, leaving us to understand that our governor has abandoned us . Then he drank for the fate of the ship and said that there had been two solutions to a previous discussion with Captain Chafos and Antonopoulos in a navy ministry. A) The ship to sail, which considers it unnecessary and unnecessary to sacrifice 1000 people for no purpose, since the probability of safe sailing is 1%.

They invoked officers who said that the ship was going to sail with an English convoy and that it was possible to flee an English convoy because it was noticed that a number of merchant ships in Elefsina abandoned their anchorages and that the commander of the English drug dealer asked us if we were ready to leave. In answer to the above, he said that no English convoy was about to leave the evening because our British Allies desecrated us repeatedly because, amongst other things, we were informed that two days ago a convoy would be co-sponsored in the "Averof" this convoy did not take place and that this convoy would probably be formed after two days because the government took the decision that the ship was sunk by the crew of tomorrow the early outpost of Psittalia because the state did not trust has to the allies as they have repeatedly made us alive.

All the officers have told their own decision and the crew as the ship sails the fastest, even unaccompanied, and that everybody favors to die honestly on the ship that our fathers have called us rather than sabotage the ship and
to be delivered as captives, as the leader to the Germans. Afterwards he accepted that all the non-commissioned officers and then the crew were summoned, and to declare who wished to follow the ship's proposed fortune.

The non-commissioned officers were summoned by the fact that after the events were fairly pessimistic and almost with his proposal for the abandonment of the ship, which gave rise to the lively dialogue between existing and present officers, the following non-commissioned officers were presented with the decision to abandon the ship : .... "

"Most of them will follow the fate of the ship remaining on board, then it has been said, since safe sailing is impossible, it can not take the decision itself, and it wants to land on the dry fiber, competently, let it be understood that it is abandoning the ship.

This impression was formed by responding to the fact that it was suggested to the existing person to consult competently either by telephone or by radio.
This was categorically rejected. The crew was then bewailing and allowed to leave those who did not want to remain in the ship to emphasize to them that their energy was not at all disrespecting and acting like men
From the crew, they declared that they were unwilling to join in the boats the following sailors and abandoned the ship: .....

The crew erupted when he learned that his master abandoned them and tried to abuse him, but this was avoided because the deceived person of the crew commanded "In the order of rebuke" and at the same time abandoned the ship together after the cowardly officers and sailors. These perceived things of the fully disciplined crew waved him through the phrases "Out the traitors and the cowards." The ship's command, under the credibility of the crew, was assumed by the shipowner Damiantis "

The rebellion is underway with the ship ready to leave, under the weight of both the limited time the crew had to take out of the bay of Elefsina and the suicide mission that he had before, and under the burden of thinking that participants were now rebels in a time of war with what it might mean for their later life.

Ship's log

hour 00.55
In order of rebuke. We solved a buoy. Elefsini was abandoned by a boat, a boat, a crate and a shield of an anchor due to the acceleration of ship movements
hour 00.58
Stand by. We direct narrow Leros - Kyras.
hour 01.28
Crossing a large nautical.
hour 01.55
She hides an out-of-doors barrier of Psittalia-Cynosargos. We expect a barrier to survive. Request requested did not take place. A decision was made that the dam was opened by the means of the ship.
at 02.05
Uncovering. Reaction door rebound operation.



The news has arrived at the Navy General Staff who panicked trying to keep the ship in the bay and begins a dramatic communication in a lasting attempt to avoid deportation. The crew, however, is determined to continue. Averoff's signals in his communication with the GEN that we are presenting for the first time in the photos accompanying the text reveal the dramatic hours of crew and crew lives.

18-4-1941

02.45
From AGEN to Averoff
"In the name of a country in danger, I am exorcised by subordination and we are seeking fleet transport to Alexandria. Your unilateral action is an obvious risk of destroying a ship from enemies, perhaps, of friends. Anchored "
02.57
From Averoff to AGEN
"Everyone in the ship wishes to continue sailing. Please allow "
03.03
From Averoff to AGEN
"Everyone in the ship wishes a poor minister and AGEN."
03.07
From AGEN to Averoff
"Flightless, unskilled staff. Be sure to become the target of the allies' guns. Your destruction certainly unescorted by not consulting with allies. I am exorcised and anchored. I send a governor "
03.15
From AGEN to Averoff
"You stayed. Shipboard skipper Vlachopoulos "

GEN executives understand that there is no way to stop the ship and the crew that has essentially made a rebellion because it wants to fight. In order to be in control of the situation, as far as it can, the GEN is required to send a commander to the ship by legally legitimizing but essentially crew movement.

03.51
From Averoff to AGEN
"We walk between Venus-Aries waiting for order"
04.10
From AGEN to Averoff
"Prime Minister Averoff's wish not to get rid of"

Ship's log
at 4:30
Commander Vlachopoulos rushed under the lively acclamation of the men's crew. We are heading to Zurvan nowadays.


04.45
mark from Averoff to AGEN
"Your signal 04.40 you ordered us to rejoin. Reborn Worse dangerous perhaps due to mines. Averoff disciplines your order. "
Plotarch Damiantis.

07.45
from Averoff to AGEN
"Everyone disciplines. We sail Argolic where we look for you.

08.55
From AGEN to Averoff
"God be with you. I deal with allies for your voyage. Indicate the position, time, speed and from which channels of Crete you will sail to the south to alert allies. "

Averoff arrives at Souda the next day at seven o'clock, where he will join the rest of the Greek and English fleets and continue his journey to Alexandria.

19-4-1941
21.14
from Averoff to Fleet Headquarters, Admiral Sakellari
"We all express our joy and worship a great purpose with the help of God"

20-4-1941
01.46
From Fleet Headquarters to Averoff
"You submitted a detailed report on deportation events. I am particularly interested in the direction and character that each has indicated "

Published on CNN Greece August,15th, 2017

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