17 Temmuz 2018 Salı

TNT History Mini-Series: Greek Commander in Turkish War Rebukes Rival (1922)/Part VI

//Ed. Note: Herewith TNT resumes this story with the 
second half of Gen. Papoulas's book, as the General circles
back to his initial appointment as Commander of the Army
of Asia Minor in November 1920, decrying the related 
actions and comments of his bitter rival Gen. Stratigos.//

Prime Minister Gounaris, seated right, and Gen. Papoulas
and others in Izmir, Easter 1921.

How I Conducted My Command

Mr. Stratigos writes in his articles published in Politika newspaper: “I did not
mention General Papoulas because I forgot him, but rather because the 
aforementioned individual never comprehended the enormous job he was 
performing mechanically, blindly, with just the shape of his signature, which is 
why at the time of the calamity he appeared to be so spiritless.  I was never fooled 
regarding Mr. Papoulas’s military value, as I was fooled about the soundness of a 
great many other former colleagues, with regard to their ideas and opinions.”

general xenophon stratigos ile ilgili görsel sonucu
Gen. Stratigos, right front, with Prime Minister Venizelos, top hat, left.
(probably 1920)

The successful job was accomplished not with the shape of my signature, but
rather, as I hope will be understood with the following explanation, by means of
my decisive personal initiative.  Let us follow the evolution of the events:

          1 – In November, 1920, after Mr. Venizelos was deposed, I was released
 from Avarof Prison on 4 November.   On the seventh day of the same month, I
appeared in person at the Ministry of Justice at the invitation of the government. 
After repeated telegrams from General Paraskevopoulos insisting on the change, 
it was announced with a decree that I had been appointed as commander of the 
Army of Asia Minor.  I accepted this duty and when I asked Mr. Pallis to become
my chief of staff he accepted this duty, as well.

The following day, when my movement to Izmir was decided upon I went to see 
Prime Minister Rallis and informed him of my ideas and opinions about the army 
command.    At that time, I said these words to Mr. Rallis:

          I am certain that you know that the duty you have placed upon me is quite 
heavy.  And if one takes note of the existing political divisions within the army, 
then this increases the difficulty of this duty tenfold.  Consequently, in order to 
command the army, besides forceful discipline, efforts will have to be made to 
engender harmony and understanding between the officers, whose judgments
have been completely confused and whose ideas have been turned upside down.  
I believe  that only in this way will we be successful in reinforcing the discipline 
and morale of the army.  Everyone must know and understand that the army 
command is truly impartial and just.  I request that on this matter you assure me 
that I have the government’s support.

 After listening to me, the Prime Minister lightly slapped his hands on my 
shoulders and said this:   I absolutely agree with you on this matter; I wish you 
a pleasant journey and great success.

A while later I repeated these same words to the late Gounaris, who agreed with
me and who added these words:

          General, I am in complete agreement with you.  Upon your arrival in Izmir, I 
ask that you inform me by telegram of the situation and whether or not there is any 
need for me to go there personally.

Nevertheless, Mr. Stratigos, denying that the initiative on this matter came from me
 (saying that he preceded me in proclaiming this issue), claims that I received clear 
orders to command the army in an impartial manner.  The evening of the same day,
 together with Mr. Pallis, I departed for Izmir, where I was met with excited ovations
 from both the army and the public.

          As General Paraskevopoulos handed over command to me he said these words:

          My General, let me confess that your appointment to the command of the Army 
of Asia Minor is a success for the government; because you are the only one suitable 
for this position.

general paraskevopoulos ile ilgili görsel sonucu
                            Gen. Papoulas, third from left.

          Mr. Stratigos would never think that this was the thinking of the then-chief 
commander.  But General Paraskevopoulos knew me very well; because we worked 
together many times during the 1912 war.  Yet Mr. Stratigos never worked with me; as 
is known, while others were at war the aforementioned individual  was busy 
promulgating and minutely examining pedantic theories.
          The evening of the same day, I informed Mr. Gounaris by telegram that there 
was no need for him to come to Izmir at that time.  I also related to all detachments 
and organizations that I had been appointed to command the army. The following day 
I received many congratulatory telegrams from the various army corps, division and 
regimental commanders; at the same time, Mssrs. Nider, Tesimilalis, Gargalidis, 
Marta, Terikupis and others announced that they wanted to remain under my command.

          I must admit that these developments encouraged me; because I was afraid that 
these officers would leave the army based on their political feelings.  At this time, with
 an order-of-the-day, I informed all detachments and organizations under my
command of my decision to conduct my command duties in an impartial manner; 
in this order, I recommended that all political arguments be abandoned, that discipline
be obeyed and that everyone exhibit fervent devotion to the job at hand.  I also called
 attention to matters related to my intention to reward those who worked and to act 
harshly toward those who, through political agitation, would diminish army morale
 and disturb discipline.

          Subsequently, after investigating the army’s situation and requirements, I asked 
the government to fill the vacancies in the detachments and to ameliorate the observed 
deficiencies.  Presented below is the report concerning the amelioration of vacancies 
in the fighting units.

anastasios papulas ile ilgili görsel sonucu
         General Papoulas in Kütahya, 1921.

Command of the Army of Asia Minor                                                       Izmir
General Staff Office: 1                                                                 21 November 1920

                                                To the Ministry of War
                                  (To the Army General Staff Office) Secret

          I have the honor to inform you that because of the discharge of the 1915 class, 
there has been a significant decrease in the strength of the infantry divisions.

          Below is a proposal for matters related to the reinforcement of the main force:

1.Re-transport of the Kydonia infantry division to Asia Minor.  This infantry
division, together with two regiments of the Crete infantry division (which 
in any case is an element of the Kydonia division), will form a regularized 
complete infantry division.                                                                        

2. All soldiers currently in country (in Greece), (the 4th infantry division
 and soldiers attached to separate regiments)  should be sent at the same 

3. Units of the Army of Thrace, which has been reduced to peacetime 
strength, should be brought to a basic level sufficient to ensure the 
protection of the Greece-Bulgaria border.
4. All extra soldiers and animals of the Army of Thrace made available 
through this process should be sent to us (excepting the 1916 conscripts).

          With these reinforcing detachments I think we will be able to remedy the 
manning shortfalls in  the infantry divisions of the main force.  However, I also 
think that we will not have sufficient animals to meet our needs.  In this regard, we 
will endeavor to fulfill your orders as required in a timely fashion and in accordance
 with the needs that will become evident.

            If the government decides to discharge the 1916 class, which amounts to 
31,000 soldiers, with the discharge of this class, even if our above-mentioned requests
 are accepted, the manning of the Army of Asia Minor will remain as it is today.  This,
 though, would be dangerous in regard to  the current situation and the front that must 
be defended.  However, this being the case, the reinforcing detachments to be added 
based on the measures mentioned above, should be sent before the 1916 class is 

          In short, in the event that it is not necessary to send the 4th division to Epir, 
then it would be very beneficial for the aforementioned division to be put under our 
command in order to increase our reserve forces, which are quite depleted.

          Commander of the Army of Asia Minor
A.       Papoulas

          Six days later I went to the front to inspect and was met with enthusiasm by 
both the officers and the soldiers.  I succeeded in reassuring the officers with the trust 
and discipline I inspired in them; otherwise, since most of the officers were 
Venizelosts, they would have obeyed niether my orders nor, as is known,  the 
orders of the government they disliked.

          But reconciliation did not work for “Mr. Stratigos”; because reconciliation 
ruined the personal masterpiece of the aforementioned individual, who provoked 
the initial breach among officers in 1912-1913.   At that time, “Mr. Stratigos”, who
 was a then a General Staff officer, designed and drew up the famous three-promotion
 schedule (following the First and Second Balkan Wars) and the complete 
implementation and execution of this schedule caused the initial discomfort and 
separation among officers.

greek turkish war 1920 ile ilgili görsel sonucu
                      Greek troops in the heat of battle.

                  Offensive Reconnaissance Conducted in December, 1920

          Because of the return of the “King” to Greece, on 5 December I went to
“Athens” as the “army” representative for the welcoming ceremony.  Two days after 
the arrival of the “King”, I informed “Mr. Rallis” that because most of the 
information gathered by the (army) about the enemy organization and war 
capabilities was dubious, there was a need for the “army” to mount an offensive 
reconnaissance to ascertain the validity of this information.  At the same time, I 
told the “Prime Minister” that in the event that the reconnaissance determined that
the enemy opposing us was made up only of irregular forces, then it might be
possible for us to reduce our forces under arms.

          After the “Prime Minister” and “Minister of War” accepted and approved my 
proposal, I returned to Izmir and ordered my General Staff to make the necessary 
preparations for such a reconnaissance. 

          Once these preparations were made, in the middle of December I went to 
“Bursa” with “Mr. Pallis” and “Mr. Sarıyanis” to closely follow the results of the 
military operation.  Around 20 December, the 3rd Army Corps successfully 
conducted  its reconnassaince operation and as a result it was understood that
the “Army of  Kemal” was not disorganized but, on the contrary, orderly and, more
to the point, possessed cannon and machine guns, being more or less perfectly 
equipped in its organization. 

          I presented a report with my impressions of this reconnassaince to the 
government and I added to this report an explanation showing the preferred 
situation of the front and the army from every standpoint. 

          “Mr. Stratigos” wanted to deny that this had been done on my initiative, 
claiming that the reconnassaince had been ordered by the “Grand General 
Command”.  Along with this claim, because he did not attribute any importance 
to the possibility of the 1921 March operation, I had avoided mention of the 
aforementioned operation.

          However, public opinion has a right to learn about all the secret aspects of 
this tragic affair.  And “Mr. Stratigos” should be certain that none of these aspects
will be forgotten (will be not pass without discussion). “Mr. Stratigos” and “his 
confederates” tried to make it the general consensus that I was the lone culprit of
this expedition. Let us see whether he is right or wrong.

 greek turkish war 1920 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

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