Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Greek Cruiser Georgios Averof, 100 Years of Liberation of Thessaloniki

 Date of Issue: October 26, 2012

Hellenic Post issued set of 4 stamps to commemorate 100 years of Liberation of Thessaloniki on October 26, 2012. One of the stamp, 0,85 Euros depicts the Pisa-Class armored cruiser Georgios Averof and other ships, which participated in the First Balkan War (October 2012 - May 2013).

Georgios Averof  is a Greek warship which served as the flagship of the Royal Hellenic Navy during most of the first half of the 20th Century. Although popularly known as a battleship, it is in fact an armored cruiser,  the only one of its type worldwide still in existence.

With the outbreak of the First Balkan War, Kountouriotis was named Rear Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Hellenic Royal Navy. Averof, under Captain Sofoklis Dousmanis, served as the flagship of the fleet, and she took part in the takeover of the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean. During the naval battles at Elli (December 3, 1912) and Lemnos (January 5, 1913) against the Ottoman Navy, she almost single-handedly secured victory and the undisputed control of the Aegean Sea for Greece. In both battles, due to her superior speed, armor and armament, she left the battle line and pursued the Turkish Fleet alone. During the Battle of Elli, Kountouriotis, frustrated by the slow speed of the three older Greek battleships, hoisted the Flag Signal for the letter Z which stood for "Independent Action", and sailed forward alone, with a speed of 20 knots against the Turkish fleet. Averof succeeded in crossing the Turkish fleet's "T" and concentrated her fire against the Ottoman flagship, thus forcing the Ottoman fleet to retreat in disorder. Likewise, during the Battle of Lemnos, when the older battleships failed to follow up with Averof, Kountouriotis did not hesitate to pursue independent action.

During both battles, the ship suffered only slight damage, while inflicting severe damage to several Turkish ships. These exploits propelled the ship and her Admiral to legendary status in Greece. After Lemnos, the crew of the Averof affectionately nicknamed her "Lucky Uncle George". It is a notable fact that, due to the aforementioned delays in the delivery of ammunition, Averof fired her guns for the first time during the Battle of Elli.

Many thanks to friend, Spyros Soulimiotis for sending this stamp on envelope addressed to me.

Click here to see Georgios Averof depicted in stamp of 1927.

Source: Wikipedia

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