Battleship Georgios Averof
|Launched:||March 12, 1910|
|Commissioned:||September 1, 1911|
|Decommissioned:||August 1, 1952|
|Fate:||serves as floating museum|
|Speed:||23 kts knots ( km/h) surface |
knots ( km/h) submerged
|Armament:||Four 234mm cannon, eight 190mm cannon, four torpedo tubes|
|Powerplant:||22 Belleville boilers, four cylinders, 19,000 hp|
At the beginning of the 20th century, Greece decided to reinforce its fleet, whose ships were fast becoming obsolete due to the fast-moving naval arms race of the era. The authorities procured four destroyers (then a relatively new type of ship), but the most important addition was the Averof. The vessel was being built at Orlando Shipyards, at Livorno in Italy when the Italian government cancelled the project due to budgetary concerns. The Greek government immediately stepped in and acquired the ship with a 1/3 down payment, paid with the help of a wealthy Greek benefactor, George Averoff, whose name it received.
The ship was launched on March 12, 1910 and sailed in Faliron, near Athens, on September 1, 1911. Averof was at the time the most modern and powerful ship in the navies of either the Balkan League or the Ottoman Empire. As such, with the outbreak of the First Balkan War it took part, as the flagship of the Hellenic Royal Navy under the command of Rear Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis, in the liberation of the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean. During the naval battles at Elli (December 16, 1912) and at the Battle of Lemnos (January 5, 1913) against the Ottoman Navy, it almost single-handedly secured victory and the undisputed control of the Aegean Sea for Greece. These exploits propelled the ship and its Admiral to legendary status in Greece, while the Turks nicknamed it the 'devil ship'.
After WWI, Averof sailed among other Allied ships to Constantinople, receiving an ecstatic welcome from the city's Greeks. It continued as the flagship of the RHN, participating in landings in Eastern Thrace and bombardments of the Turkish Black Sea shore during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) and helped in the evacuation of the refugees after the Greek Army's catastrophic defeat.
After Germany's attack against Greece in 1941, Averof was transfered to Alexandria, Egypt with the rest of the fleet. During the next years it was assigned to convoy escort and patrol duties in the Indian Ocean, based at Bombay. On October 17, 1944, once again as the flagship of the exiled Hellenic Navy, it carried the Greek government-in-exile back to liberated Athens.
The ship was decomissioned in 1952 and anchored at Poros from 1956 to 1983. In 1984, the Navy decided to restore it as a museum, and in the same year it was towed to Faliron, where it is anchored up to this day.
|Hellenic Navy cruisers|
None - (Averof is, however, preserved as a museum)
List of cruisers of the Hellenic Navy