Amongst the comments of my first article were requests to know more about the Greek SOF—since (as it seems) you don’t come about this kind of information every day. Well, sit back then, for here comes more. And as the rules of storytelling go, we’ll start from the beginning.
The beginning finds us in 1942 in the Middle East, which is where the Greek government and king had fled after the Greek defense had eventually given in to the Germans, who backed up the initial unsuccessful Italian attack. The major concern of the exiled military leadership was to assemble the forces that had managed to escape the occupied mainland back to a fighting force. Consequently, two brigades were created, with the first one being ready before the battle of El Alamein and taking part in it. However, the officers were a few too many for the corresponding positions, which resulted in the creation of an Army unit, formed by officers, with soldier’s duties—after the suggestion of Lt Commander (Air Force) G. Alexandris, initially with the form of a MG company and the force of 200 men.
When Colonel Tsigantes, a former political exile who until then fought with the French Foreign Legion, assumed command, the unit was renamed to Sacred Company, in honor of the Sacred Company of Thebes and the Sacred Company of the Greek Revolution, and used on their insignia and as a motto, the customary farewell of the women of ancient Sparta to men going to war, “With your shield, or on it.” With the cooperation of Lt. Colonel David Stirling, the unit had its role redefined to that of a commando unit. It was attached to the SAS and then relocated to its base at Kabrit in Egypt to be trained.
On January 27th 1943, while the Company was in Libya en route to link up with the rest of the SAS, it became known that the SAS forward elements already in Tunisia had suffered heavy losses and David Stirling had been captured. Thus, the unit found itself without a mission and so it was put under the command of General Leclerc of the Free French Forces, with the duties of Light Mechanized Cavalry, after the suggestion of Colonel Tsigantes who did not want it to stay out of the fight. In Ksar-Rillan, the Sacred Company gave its first major battle while covering the advance of the X British Army Corps. When the Allied forces captured Gabès, the Company was detailed to the 2nd New Zealand Division, along with which it fought the Germans at Wadi Akarit. On April 17th, it was sent back to Egypt to train and regroup.