By Pierre Kosmidis
Battleship Kilkis (Greek: Θ/Κ Κιλκίς) was a 13,000 ton Mississippi-class battleship originally built by the US Navy in 1904–1908.
|The Stuka dive bombers hit “Lemnos” in the background, with “Kilkis” visible in the middle of the photo|
As Mississippi she was purchased by the Greek Navy in 1914, and renamed Kilkis, along with her sister Idaho, renamed Lemnos.
|Port facilities being bombed in Piraeus|
Kilkis was named for the Battle of Kilkis-Lahanas, a crucial engagement of the Second Balkan War 1912-13. Armed with a main battery of four 12 in (305 mm) guns, Kilkis and her sister were the most powerful vessels of the Greek fleet.
The ship saw limited action during World War I. Greece’s pro-German monarch, Constantine I opted to remain neutral until October 1916, when pressure from the Triple Entente forced him to abdicate in favor of a pro-Entente government.
For the remainder of the war, Kilkis operated solely as a harbor defense ship. In the immediately ensuing Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, Kilkis supported Greek landings in Turkey and participated in the final Greek sea-borne withdrawal in 1922.
She remained in service into the early 1930s. Thereafter she was used as a training ship, considered to be obsolete.
During the German invasion of Greece in 1941, Kilkis and her sister ship Lemnos were sunk in Salamis by German Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers, on April 23. The two ships were ultimately raised in the early 1950s and broken up for scrap.