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Greek / American Operational Group Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
Memoirs of World War 2

Greece
 
Examples of the Greek/USOG Missions Behind the Lines

Group 6 Operation and Personnel
September 7-8, 1944

Following is just one of the many missions by Group 6 as reported in the National Archives documents.


Group 6

This mission was to be a railroad ambush, the destruction of a small culvert, and blowing up of the rail for several meters. It was to take place on the Athens-Salonica Railroad south of Katerini.

This group left its base in Ano Melia September 7, 1944, at 1900 hours. Arrived at the rendezvous point 0130 on September 8.

The group was briefed by Lieutenant Chumas on the plan and purpose of the operation. The plan was to have the second section of OGs under Sergeant Strimenos with Major MacAdam in charge of demolition blow up the first train coming south from the town of Katerini. The OGs were to provide security for Major MacAdam's demolition crew while they put the charges on the track. The OGs were to take positions 100 meters from the track and open fire on it.

The first section under Lt. Chumas was to blow up several yards of rail and a small culvert to stop any reinforcements from coming to the aid of the Germans on the train that the second section was to attack. If all went successfully, both sections would withdraw independently to the rendezvous point four hours away in the foothills.

After a short briefing both sections moved out under cover of darkness to the points of attack.

The operation went along as planned until 2325. At this time as the 1st section under Lt. Chumas was 200 meters from the track unloading the demolitions from their mules, a train was heard coming from the north. When it reached this point where the second section had laid their demolitions, the explosives went off. This made it very difficult for the first section to accomplish its job because as soon as the explosives went off, all the German outposts opened fire with machine guns, mortar, and artillery. The first section proceeded on to the track and with Major Hill, British Army, and the OGs managed to lay demolitions, but before all the charges could be laid, an armored car was heard approaching from the north. As soon as it was 200 meters from the OGs and the rest of the demolition party, it opened up on us. Lt. Chumas gave the order to withdraw and to blow up what charges had been laid. The demolition was blown causing damage to the rail for several meters and the small culvert. The artillery was very heavy, and the armored car poured a steady fire of 20 mm cannon on the plain where the OGs were withdrawing.

As soon as the train had stopped where the second section had planted their demolition, all OGs opened fire. For 5 minutes, there was no return fire from the train; then from both ends of the train, the Germans opened up with 20 mm guns, 5-pounders, and small arms fire. After several minutes of exchanging fire in which the OGs silenced a 20 mm and a Spando machine gun, Sgt. Strimenos gave the order to withdraw. The heavy firing of the OGs set afire 6 cars containing fuel. At 0700 the next morning, both sections met at the rendezvous point and at 1600 proceeded to their base at Ano Melia.

Two days later, the civilians living in the vicinity of the operation reported that 7 cars of the train had been destroyed and the engine damaged. Thirteen dead and two wounded Germans were accounted for.

Participated in operation:
[Skip the list of personnel]
  • Lieutenant George Chumas
  • 1st Sergeant Theophanes Strimenos
  • Tech Sergeant Richard Daigle, Jr.
  • Tech Sergeant Alvin Psinas
  • Tech Sergeant Peter Mihopoulos
  • Staff Sergeant Peter Laris
  • Staff Sergeant Harry Fergadiotis
  • Staff Sergeant Thomas Andrews
  • Corporal Nick Ramoundos
  • Corporal Spiros Drakos
  • Corporal Photios Doukas
  • Corporal James Laubs
  • Corporal Alex Haritakis
  • Corporal Demetrios Kamvouris
  • Corporal Antones Loukas
  • Corporal Christ Lulas
  • Corporal Lambros Makris
  • Corporal Nicholas Papapanu
  • Corporal Eleftherios Pipinias
  • Corporal Bill Portolos
  • Corporal Harry Pulos
  • Corporal Soteros Vakakas
  • Corporal Harris Mill

Note

  • U.S. National Archives, Greek U.S. Operational Groups, Operations in Greece 1944, p. 189 (report filed at OSS Headquarters, 24 December 1944).


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