March 12, 1910 marks the date that the Greek Navy armoured cruiser, the Georgios Averof, was launched.
Named after the Greek benefactor who helped the Greek Government purchase the battleship, the ship was the most modern warship in the Aegean at the time and served as the Greek Navy flagship vessel during the first half of the 20th century.
It saw action during the Balkan Wars, World War I, the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) and World War II.
The ship was decommissioned in the 1950’s and today is a museum where hundreds of thousands visit every year.
During the First Balkan War, the Georgios Averof ship was a deciding factor in the allies (Greece-Serbia-Bulgaria-Montenegro) victory against the Ottoman Empire.
The ship controlled the Aegean Sea and prevented Ottoman transport ships from transferring soldiers from Anatolia to Europe.
Greece was considered the weakest of the three main allies of the First Balkan Wars as it had a population of only 2.6 million people and could only field an army of 200,000 men.
The Greek Ambassador to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia famously said that “Greece can provide 600,000 men for the war effort – 200,000 men in the field, and the fleet will be able to stop 400,000 men being landed by Turkey between Salonica and Gallipoli.”
This was proven correct as Georgios Averof terrorised the Ottoman fleet.
The Ottoman fleet eventually did not dare venture into the Aegean Sea and hid in the Dardanelle Straits, allowing Greece to liberate the Aegean islands and cementing the ship’s legendary status in Greek lore.