Going home: Greek Evzones marching, following the capitulation of Greece, April 1941

WW2, WW2 in Greece, WW2 Wrecks

By Pierre Kosmidis

Greek Evzones a.k.a. “Tsoliades”, elite mountain infantry units in the Greek army, analogous to Scottish Highlanders, are marching on their way back home.

Following the capitulation of Greece, in April 1941, Greek soldiers were not rounded up as prisoners of war and were allowed instead to go home after the demobilisation of their units, while their officers were permitted to retain their side arms.

During the failed Italian invasion of Greece in 1940, their traditional tactic was sweeping down from the ridges while screaming their battle cry “Aera!” (“Like the wind!”).

Evzones in Summer uniform at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Athens
Evzones in Summer uniform at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Athens

In 1833, the uniform of the Evzones (as in all infantry companies of the line battalions) was in the unpopular Bavarian style of blue trousers, tailcoats and shako.

As light infantry the Evzones were distinguished only by green braid and plumes. In 1837, a new uniform was created based on the traditional fustanella style worn by the klephts, armatoli, and many of the famous fighters of the Greek War of Independence.

Evzones at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Athens
Evzones at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Athens

At first, it was only issued to the native light infantry battalions, but its popularity led to its adoption as the official uniform of the Evzones in 1867.

After a few minor changes over the years, it became the familiar uniform seen today.

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