A rare Greek Bloch MB 151 in full colour, by artist Markos Danezis

Interviews, WW2 in Greece

By Pierre Kosmidis

According to research done by the blog A history of military equipment of Modern Greece (1821 – today), the Bloch MB.151 was the most modern fighter of the Greek Airforce in 1940; clearly superior to the Italian G.50s and at least equal to the MC.200s.
However, out of the 25 ordered before the German invasion of France, only 9 were received and even fewer were operational in Oct. 1940.
Due to lack of spares after the fall of France and the fact that they were initially reserved for the defence of Athens, the MB.151s did not see as much action as they should.
The Italians and Germans seemed unaware of their existence in Greece, and would always report them as British Hurricanes and Spitfires, although these were not operating there at the time.
While not massively inferior to any contemporary fighter, the fact that its engine was optimised for the relatively low altitude of 3km, placed it at a disadvantage, especially against German BF109Es. It’s also worth pointing out that all 9 MB.151s were delivered with second-hand engines that were not in good shape and would easily overheat.
The photo most probably shows the D 174 (Δ 174) which was strafed by Messerschmitts at Amfikleia airfield, 19 Apr. 1941.

 

Greek artist Markos Danezis recoloured the rare photograph of the strafed and destroyed MB 151, despite the fact that the quality of the original photo did not make it an easy task.