Mosxos Evaggelou Tsiakiris Click here to view this page in Greek
I, Evaggelia Tsiakiri, recorded my father' s memories of the Korean War. From all the tokens of the war that my father has participated I kept a single photograph, which depicts the tremendous tragedy of the war. On that photo my dad is on his knees in front of a comrade' s grave.
I wish no soldier to stand in front of a comrades grave again but to make this wish happen no war must occur again. We must never allow war to happen. To those who right need a reason for that I could tell them my story about my childhood and how I grew up listening to my father screaming in his sleep because of nightmares that the war has caused to him
I really appreciated my father not because he took part in this war, but because he is one of the few who didn't exchange his sense of duty, for personal benefit.
Let's stop wars because all they bring is nightmares and unhappiness.
My name is Mosxos Evaggelou Tsiakiris and I was born in Soufli a small town of the Evros province in Northeast Greece, on 8th June
In 1953 I was serving national service as an Artillery first class sergeant at Pavlos Melas in Thessalonica.
I voluntarily joined the mission as an artillery sergeant participating in 14th mission of the Hellenic Forces to the Korean War.
We departed from Vouliagmeni (near Athens) on 18th of March 1953 and arrived in Hussan Korea on 18th April 1953.
Upon our arrival we immediately departed for the front line by train. We reached the front line by midnight. A convoy was waiting for us there in order to forward us the "C" assembling point. The driver of the vehicle where I was a was a co driver was a soldier named Koskinasi, a friend of mine from the artillery training camp of Megalo Pefko.
When we arrived at "C" point the infantry elements remained there for a week's fire practice while we, due to the lack of antitank artillery personnel, were directly forwarded to the front line.
The driver of the CMC vehicle was as Mimopoulos Panagiotis from a village called Memea Korinthias. I asked him were the front line was and showed me a burned top hill, just across to the location we were the moment. My assignment was an antitank platoon commander's assistant. Dimopoulos said that this hill was our destination.
When we approached the location's cookhouse the Chinese artillery started firing a us. We took cover as fast as we could. I hide under 4burell tank, which was there, and the rest of my comrades took cover wherever they could.
After the cease firing every one took his position according with his duties. My self as a platoon commander's assistant I took the command of the right side and the platoon commander Lt. Pavlos Andreou the left one.
Two days after the old antitank platoon commander Lt. Maragoudakis came to say goodbye to us but at that exact time that the change of platoon's command was taking place he was killed by enemy fire.
We had been replaced and after spending one week behind the line in order regain our strength we marched for the Dick high. We started at midnight in a formation of a single file, keeping distance of 2 meters between us, having orders how to react in case of an attack. The path was marked by phosphorescent elements.
Finally we arrived at the front line, which was under the control of the American troops. Military police was there as well. We took our positions and again I took the right flank while the new Lt. took the left one.
We had spent there about 20 days digging trenches and taking out the dead bodies of N. Korean soldiers just to make space to protect our selves. I remember that at that time I said to my self "This is what it written in the Bible: you the dead ones get out of the way so we the living ones to take your place!"
Then a soldier came and told me to report the battalion's command post noting that I should be shaved before. I did so and I went to the command post. I found there the officers of the infantry company. They were all upset commenting that the Commanding Officer had sold them out. I asked them: "Why he sold us out; after all we are volunteers aren't we?"` They answered: do you know were they are sending us? We are going to HARRY!
The jeeps were ready to transport the American platoon leaders for a reconnaissance mission to the HARRY location. I was the co driver in one of these vehicles. We drove till we passed Seoul and then we made a left turn and continued for about 1500 meters through a smoke screen. We stepped down from the jeep and using the smoke screen as cover we started to walk towards our positions.
Then we all of us saw on the ground about 22 gear sets, which used to belong to dead comrades of ours. We were all upset but we continued to walk till we found the American Lt. who was the platoon leader there and we proceed. After a gully we started to climb the up hill till a reached and AT 75 type position constantly under the observation of the Chinese who were on the opposite side of the hill.
Just a few seconds before we reach our target location the Chinese started to fire at us with smoke grenades. Then I yield to the American Lt. and to the rest to take cover immediately because these smoke grenades were marking us for the enemy's artillery.
I haven't finished my words and the fire started. My self and two Americans the Lt. and a sergeant took cover in a nearby natural shelter. For the next 20 minutes we lived in a living hell. We all thought that we wouldn't live longer and we were ready to start smoking our last cigarette when all of the sudden the Chinese. stopped firing at us. We started to move again and a met two Greek Lts.
One of them was saying that the other had saved his life twice within the last 30 minutes. We continued the reconnaissance in order to mark positions for our guns and after that we left the location. Later that day the replacement of the American unit took place during day light despite all the military regulations after the command of our C.O. Colonel Koumanakos.
For the next two days we worked hard preparing out positions taking advantage that the Chinese didn't hit us. On the 18 of June 1900 hours they started firing at us with heavy artillery shells. We all took our positions. I had specially prepared my guns firing position and after I put all the rest of the personnel in to a safe place except for my gunner and my shooter we started to fight back.
Fortunately at that first night two six engine planes flew above us and fired flares and bombed the enemy positions. The Chinese forces at that night tried to take us by surprise but thank God a Greek corporal named Dimitrios Pasallis from the town of Orestiada saved the entire battalion reacting in a very heroic and effective way and the enemy forces were apprehended in time. For this action Passalis was later promoted to sergeant and decorated with the golden Metal of courage.
Captain Visiotis (1st Lt. C. Pissiotas - ed.) was injured that night and in the morning we found out we had six killed in action and seventeen. injured comrades. I remember that at night I had fired in total 4 full loads of artillery, 2 loads of antitank and 2 loads of antipersonnel ammunitions.
Every 2 shell I was firing an antitank one as a tracer in order hit more accurately my target Some time in the early morning around 0500am Cpt. Argrafiotis who was looking for my Lt. Andreou told me to cease fire and preserve my last 10 shells for the ceasefire period.
In the morning we left our position forgetting to secure the gun's breech hold resulting to a serious malfunction. I had afraid that had to pay for that but fortunately my commanding officer managed the breech hold to be replaced within 2 hours without any further complications for me.
In the next morning and we went behind the line at the height 412 to get some rest and wait there for our replacement to take place. By that time LTC Prokos Helias had arrived there in order to take over as the new Battalion Commander.
It was the same day when the Eastern line broke and the Allied Command sent us there. We fought there in three different lines until the ceasefire was signed and thus the operation at Harry location had ended. On July 27th 1953 we met the enemy's troops and we exchanged cigars instead of firing each other. In the beginning both sides withdraw 3 kilometers each and 3 days after the final demilitarized zone was extended up to 6 kms.
Those who participated in operation Harry were decorated with the Kandou metal, which means strength in Korean. (See page 2 for a discussion ed,) Many years after that period when I was in Frankfurt West Germany as an emigrant, I saw there the American base of Harry's veterans.
ęCopyright 2003, Mosxos Evaggelou Tsiakiris All rights reserved