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    Founding of War College

    The use of the experience, gained during the victorious Balkan Wars of the First World War and the Catastrophe of Asia Minor, led to the idea of the foundation of a Specialized Academy, aiming to prepare senior executive and directors of the Army.

    During 1924-25, while Prime Minister and Minister of Defense was Andreas Michalakopoulos and Chief of Army Staff was Lieutenant General Alexander Mazarakis, it was decided that the French military mission under General Girard should be called back, in order to resume the education of the Greek Army. The mission was preceded by French General Guilliaumant, who gave his opinion on matters of organization, service, education, etc., which were of interest to the military.

    Thus, on April 29, while Konstantinos Gontikas was the Minister of Defense, the inauguration of the Academy of War took place, holding a temporary name and residing initially on the Averofeion Megaron building of the Hellenic Army Academy. On September 11, 1925 a jurist decree is issued (GG 247/Volume A 11 Sep. 1925) establishing the College of War or War College, as it came to be referred to. Specifically, the Article 2 states:

"A College of War is constituted in Athens, in order to provide for senior officers and executives a higher education on tactics, falling under the General Headquarters of the Army."

    Operation of the School from 1925 to 2003

    The history of the College from its inception till the day of its dissolution, is characteristically divided into two periods:

  • First period from 1925 to 1940.
  • Second period from 1946 to 2003.

    1. First period (1925-1940)

    On the day following the inauguration of the College, the first Educational Series begins, lasting 16 months. In this Series, thirty-seven (37) Officers with the Grades of Colonel, Major, Captain of all Forces, are invited to participate, having been selected after proposals of their own Units.

    The same procedure was followed during the 2nd Educational Series, with fifty two officers of the Army and the Services Force, with a 22-month attendance. The duration of the attendance remained unchanged until the Greek-Italian war of 1940.

    From October 1925 until the end of the first season, exams were established as the system of admission to the Academy. This system would perhaps be more appropriate to be called mixed, because, while captains and majors participated in the exams, Colonels were selected through proposals.

    According to the Notice of Exams of the General Staff, in 1926, it is said:

"The exams aim to determine not only if the candidate has the necessary education and sufficient knowledge, but also if he has a developed analytical intellect, in order to be able to participate with success in the training courses in the War Academy. Therefore, the themes of the various subjects will be of such a nature that their solution will be more a matter of perception and critical thinking than of memorization."

    On this basis, during the admission tests, involving officers of all Weapons and Services, the following subjects were examined:
  • Solving a tactical matter.
  • Composition.
  • Military History.
  • Military Geography.
  • Oral examination concerning regulations.
  • Written and oral examination in French.
  • Practical test in riding.
    Any candidate who obtained less than grade nine in the full report, or five and below to one by the other subjects was considered as having failed.

    The teaching staff during the study the first two sets consisted exclusively of French officers, led by Lt. Olry, most of whom stayed up to 1930. As Governors of the College during the two (2) first series, Major Generals Girard and  Brallion, head officers of the French Military Mission, were appointed. From October 1927, the administration of the College was acquitted to Lieutenant Dimitrios Katheniotis, who, assisted by Lt. Olry, grounded the organization and operation of the Academy on sound foundations.

    On the morning of October 28, 1940 the College ceased operating. The administration and faculty formed the Group Headquarters and Headquarters Divisions of the XVII Division. Students were placed in units as Executives and Directors and along with other Greeks took part in two victorious wars and for a decade wrote in the mountains of Northern Epirus, in the strongholds of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, in the North African deserts, in the islands of Greek seas and the inaccessible peaks of the Greek mountains, one of the most exciting pages in modern Greek history.

    2. Second period (1946 to 2003)

    The second session begins with the liberation of Greece when the reconstitution of the College was decided . So, on 9 May 1946, the re-establishment of the College was ordered, although, due to the influence of English standards, it was named "Faculty of Staff Officers." This College was re-established in Athens in the Military Academy’s mansion, having as its first postwar Director Major Tsakalotos Thrasybulus.

    The second period began with the recalling of 16th Educational Series, which had interrupted its education because of the outbreak of war, thus, becoming the first postwar Series. The duration of attendance was 6 months.

    The College operated until 2003, when the last 59th Education / Library Series were educated. It was abrogated  by Law 3186/2003 (GG 230) and in its facilities the newly established Supreme Joint War College (S.J.W.C.) operates, in which officers of all three branches of the Armed Forces (A.F.) are being trained. The training of the staff of the Army, before A.DI.S.PO, was entrusted to the newly established camp "Ntalipi" of the Command and General Staff College (C.G.S.C.).

    Redeployments-Academy Name Changes

    With the establishment of the College on April 29, 1925, it was moved to Averofion Megaron building of the Hellenic Army Academy with the provisional name  of War Academy, which with the SW 247/11 September 1925 is being referred to as "War College".

   In 1933, the War College was renamed as Supreme College of War and in 1939 it was redeployed from Athens to Thessaloniki where it was initially installed in the premises of the Young Men's Christian Association of Thessaloniki (YMCA), then on the buildings of 3rd Army Corps (AC) and ultimately it was transferred to its current place where it operated until October 28, 1940 , when it was dissolved because of the war.

    The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant Alex. Papagos, in his Textbook of "The Greek Army and its preparation for war", gives as reasons for the need for redeployment  of the Superior School of War (SSOW) in Thessaloniki the following:

"The contact of the Supreme College of War with the Air Force is not interrupted by its redeployment in Thessaloniki, as there is a well founded airbase in Thessaloniki."
"As for its contact with the Naval Force, it will continue as before, as, during their joint task, where the collaboration between the colleges takes place, the students of the Naval War College spend their time in Northern Greece, by way of an executive journey, therefore it is undoubtedly beneficial for them as they take into account all the necessary conditions on field in the defense of our National territory. Thus, a significant decongestion occurs in the Guard of Athens regarding the number of Colleges, while a primary need is met, on grounds of speed, that of border mobilization, of the III and IV Corps, as the existence of a significant number of officers in Northern Greece seems to be a major move ".
"Even more, the training of students in Athens has become rather sterile, and the redeployment of the College in Thessaloniki, in relatively small a distance from the border, provides the opportunity for the officers to study in detail and on field the ground on which our army will be called to act."

    After the liberation of Greece the College is refounded in Athens under the name of Staff College, in the facilities of the Hellenic Army Academy, where it remained until 1950 only to be for one more time redeployed back to the old premises in Thessaloniki.

    On September 15, 1953 it regained by decision of the Supreme Military Council its old title "Supreme College of War" and by the Law 1394/1983 Article 4 it was designated as a Military Training Academy while, with the organization ML 5-51, which came into effect from December 18, 1985, it was renamed as “College of War" (Gov. 194/volume A18 Nov 1985).




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