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Cyprus : Invasion Timeline

 

The "Attila" Invasion of July 1974


Thursday July 18, 1974

Adana Members of the Turkish Amry's 39th Division begin boarding ships, while the Turkish-Cypriots (T/C) take positions in their enclaves. That information is relayed by KYP (Hellenic Central Intelligence Agency) in Kyrenia to Athens.
Athens The Hellenic 'K' plan is put into effect, and 20 Hellenic AF F-84Fs are moved to Kasteli, and 10 F-5s to Heraklion. The airplanes are prepared and could react on a 30 minute notice.

Friday July 19, 1974

13:00 Hellas

Three of the Hellenic Navy's modern Type 209 submarines are ordered to move towards the region of Rhodes.

17:00 Adana

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus is ordered to begin. A half hour later, British television is showing the departure of the Turkish fleet towards Cyprus.

Cyprus The Cypriot air defense plan 'Delta' is put into effect. At 21:15 a National Guard (NG) position at Apostolou Andrea reports sighting a group of 6 ships 40NM away, coming from Mersina. The movement of the ships is monitored now by SEP/A, and at 21:40 8-10 ships are detected moving from Mersina to Kyrenia.
20:30 Cyprus The two torpedo boats T1 and T3 are ordered to be ready for combat.

Saturday July 20, 1974

Hellas The US pulls all nuclear weapons off Hellenic fighters.
01:30 Cyprus The 11 Turkish ships are now detected only 35NM away from Kyrenia.
02:00 Cyprus 6 ships are detected heading toward Ammochostos. Later on it will be known that these ships were merchant ships sent there to confuse the defending Hellenic forces.
04:30 Cyprus The 11 ships are now only 10-12 miles from the coast of Cyprus. There is no immediate response from the Hellenic side.
04:45 Ankara The Hellenic embassy is informed by the Turkish Foreign Ministry of the actions taking place.
05:00 Cyprus The two torpedo boats T1 and T3 are ordered to depart the port of Kyrenia and to engage the invading fleet.
05:10 Ankara A message from Bulent Ecevit is relayed to the Hellenic side.
05:15 Cyprus Torpedo boat T1 sinks after being severely damaged by Turkish aircraft fire.
05:23 Cyprus The T3 torpedo boat is struck by both destroyers and aircraft and sinks. 9 of the 10
crew members of T3 are killed.
05:25 Cyprus Turkish planes in support of their naval forces bombard the area of Kyrenia. Their aim is the destruction of the 3rd Tactical Regiment (Syntagma) and base of the 252 TP (Tagma Pezikou - Infantry Battalion). The first wave of invaders is composed of 1 LST, 2 LSM's, 20 LCU landing ships, 5 Destroyers, 2 Gun Boats, and around 3000 men.
05:30 Cyprus The Commando Units (Monades Katadromon) direct themselves towards the Agyrtas pass. Their mission is to prevent Turkish forces on the beachhead from reaching the Agyrta-Lefkosia T/C enclave.
06:07 Cyprus Turkish transport planes and helicopters dropped paratroopers at locations between Lefkosia and Bogazi, Mias Milias and Gerolakkou. Although the organized Greek resistance was spread thin due to the large Turkish forces, the Turkish side made numerous mistakes. One such example is the dropping of 120 troops on Mia Milia. When the villagers saw the troops in the sky, they took whatever firearms they had and started firing. From the 120 troops, 93 were killed, 1 was taken captive, while the rest fled.
06:30 Cyprus Turkish 'frogmen' are sent to Pentemili to investigate if any detonation devices exist, but none are found.
07:00 Hellas The 3 Hellenic submarines are ordered to submerge after being notified of the situation in Cyprus.
07:15 Athens War Council is formed where union with Cyprus is raised as a method of stopping the Turkish invasion. That is not declared, but all agree on the draft.
07:30 Cyprus

1 Gun Boat approaches the coast, pulls back, and the Turkish fleet shells the island with a barrage of fire.

07:30 Cyprus

EL.DY.K (ELliniki DYnami Kyprou - Hellenic Contingent in Cyprus) with the aid of 19 T-34 tanks from 23 EMA, begin the shelling of the TOYRDYK base. A short time later, the attack on Kioneli starts, with 550 men from ELDYK, 1 NG company (loxos), and 15 tanks. While the Hellenic forces are advancing, Turkish troops are parachuting right over their lines. The losses suffered by the Turkish side are enormous. After a great number of Turkish AF (Air Force) attacks, the Hellenic side regroups to start another assault. By this time the Hellenic side has very few dead, few injured, and 100% of it's armored force.

08:00 Cyprus The Turks attempt an invasion at Glykiotisa, near the T/C village of Tembos. The 5 LCU's could not make the landing, and move towards Pentemili. There they face lightly armed NG forces, who inflict terrible loses on the Turks. From the 600 soldiers on those ships, only 150 make it back.
08:00 Cyprus Strong battles erupt in Ammochostos between T/C and Hellenic forces.
Cyprus Fighting between armed T/C and Hellenic forces ensues around Cyprus, including Pafos, Morfou, Leuka, Lefkosia, Lemesos, Kazivera, Kokkina, and Limniti.
08:30 Cyprus In Pentemili, the first landing ship reaches the shore, and 62 soldiers and 1 bulldozer prepare it for the larger assault force to come.
09:00 Cyprus The inhabitants of Kyrenia begin departing their city towards Pella Pais. Numerous civilians that were apprehended by the Turks are murdered.
09:30 Cyprus Helicopters position troops in the surrounding hillsides to provide cover for the larger invading forces.
09:30 Cyprus NG artillery units start shelling the Turkish units that have landed. The Turkish forces suffer serious losses, which are compounded by "friendly fire" from destroyers that hits their position.
09:30 Cyprus The Hellenic Navy landing ship "Lesbos" is ordered to Pafos while some 50 nm away. It is carrying 450 members of ELDYK.
10:00 Cyprus The battles on the island were intensified by the T/C who lived in the enclaves all over the island. At Lemesos, 450 EOKA B' fighters of the 203 TE (Tagma Efedreias - Reserve Battalion) faced off with 1000 armed T/C. In the village of Aydimou (west of Lemesos), 100 EOKA B' troops took more than 200 T/C soldiers as prisoners.
11:00 Athens A general draft is declared.
15:00 Hellas The Hellenic submarines "Glavkos" and "Nereus" are ordered to carry out military patrols in the area between Turkey and Cyprus. The "Triton" is told to patrol near Rhodes, while the "Proteus" is sent to the area between Smyrna and the Dardanelle straits.
17:00 Cyprus An additional force of about 1,400 Turkish paratroopers is dropped in the area between Kioneli and Agyrta.
17:00 Cyprus The Hellenic Navy landing ship "Lesbos" opens fire on Turkish positions in Pafos. The numerous and well-armed T/C soldiers surrender. The Turks believe this to be part of a greater Hellenic landing force, and send destroyers to investigate.
18:00 Cyprus The landing ship "Lesbos" leaves Pafos, moving south towards Egypt.
18:00 Cyprus The first phase of the Hellenic attack begins. Its purpose is the isolution of the Agyrta-Lefkosia enclave, and the destruction of the Turkish invasion force still confined on the beach. ELDYK and 23 EMA were to attack in the area of Kioneli-Lefkosia for a second time. The 361 TP and 399 TP would attack from the north and the area near Dikomo.
18:00 UN (16:00 Greenwich Mean Time) Security Council Resolution 353 is adopted unanimously. A cease-fire is to take effect on July 22 at 16:00.
19:30 Cyprus The 399 TP finally reaches its destination after being delayed by action against T/C forces. Since the coordinated attack did not take place, ELDYK was forced to again relinquish territories gained.
22:00 Cyprus The announcement is made that the T/C's in Pafos were surrendering. The T/C's of Ammochostos take cover behind the walls of the old city.
22:30 Cyprus The 399 TP begins its attack against Turkish positions in the enclave, but fails to achieve any decisive outcome in the short period available.
23:00 Cyprus The second phase of the Hellenic attack starts with 4 Commando Units (Monades Katadromon) - 31 MK, 32 MK, 33 MK, and 34 MK. They initiate attacks on Pentadaktilo from both sides of the enclave, in order to capture the Agyrtas pass.

Sunday July 21, 1974

00:00 Hellas 4 Olympic Airways Boeing 707 aircraft carrying the 2nd MK land in Souda, Crete for refueling. Having originally departed from Mikra in Thessaloniki, these troops are to be deployed in Cyprus by 04:00. The flight duration to Lefkosia is expected to take 2 hours and 10 minutes.
00:40 Hellas The third Boeing 707 reports the blowout of 4 tires on the right main landing gear during landing. With this development the Commander of 2 MK requests - and is granted - the cancellation of the mission, seeing that his unit could not reach Lefkosia by 04:00. The unit returns to Mikra, and a new mission to send 35 MK on the night of July 21 is decided.
Cyprus The 3 TS (Tactical Regiment) takes a defensive posture. The 306 TE moves into posiions as north as the Kyrenia-Karavas road, while the 251 TP forms its lines at the village of Trimithi. East of Kyrenia was the 241 TP and army engineers tasked with mining the coast.
Cyprus The commando units are experiencing resounding results. The 31 MK and 33 MK, moving in from the west, capture the  Kotsakagia mountaintop and numerous Turkish soldiers. 32 MK from the east delivered serious blows to Turkish operations and achieved its primary objectives.
02:30 Cyprus Radar stations indicate that 8 ships are headed from Mersina towards Kyrenia. 
04:30 Cyprus Fierce battles are taking place on Pentadaktilo, but the Hellenic forces manage to extend their area of control to Aspri Moutti and other strategically advantageous positions. Turkish counterattacks rage until 08:00, greatly supported by their position in Ag. Ilariona.
04:30 Turkey Turkish aircraft depart to begin a new bombing campaign, the objective of which is the prevention of further Hellenic reinforcements from reaching the bewildered Turkish troops on the beachhead and Pentadaktilo.
06:00 Cyprus The NG launches an attack in Lemeso and captures the Turkish positions and over 1,000 prisoners.
09:00 Athens Another council is again formed to discuss the possibility of declaring war on Turkey. No decision is reached after 4 hours.
10:45 Cyprus The GEEF (General Staff of the NG) is ordered to maintain its present positions at all cost, since a political solution seems imminent.
12:00 Cyprus Turkey agrees to the British request to stop the aerial bombardment of Lefkosia for 2 hours, in order to allow foreign nationals to flee.
13:00 Cyprus With the Turkish forces planning the capture of the NG position in Ag. Pavlou, the Hellenic commandos begin leaving their strongholds on Pentadaktilo - a flawed strategic move. 
13:00 Athens The Commander of the Armed Forces recalls the two Hellenic Navy submarines "Glavkos" and "Nereus" when they are some 90 nm west of Pafos.
13:30 Cyprus The 231 TP captures the village of Pileri.
14:30 Cyprus The Naval Commander of Cyprus is moving along the road between Mirtou and Asomatou, on his way to Karavas so as to determine the state of the Turkish forces on the beachhead and possible Hellenic measures. A force of about 10-12 Turkish paratroopers is dropped from a transport aircraft, and manage to injure the Commander prior to their destruction. His mission is postponed.
Cyprus ELDYK, now reinforced with the additional 450 troops that disembarked the "Lesbos", manages to obliterate an entire Turkish regiment at Kioneli. The GEEF once again orders the unit to withdraw, in order perhaps to make sufficient forces available for the defense of the airport.
Hellas The landing ship "Rethimno" heads to Cyprus carrying the 573 TP and 550 Cypriot volunteers.
Cyprus The Commander of the Naval Station in Pafos informs the GEEF that 3 ships (the destroyers Turkey had sent in search of the "Lesbos") have been detected. The GEEF responds that this is a Hellenic task force, knowing that its communications were monitored. The Turkish Air Force Command sends 7 aircraft to sink the ships, without first verifying the presence of Turkish vessels in the area. 
14:35 Cyprus The Turkish aircraft spot the 3 destroyers 10 nm west of Pafos and begin their attack. The visible Turkish flags are ignored as a Hellenic attempt at confusion. 2 or 3 aircraft are shot down by the defending Turkish ships.
14:45  Cyprus The Turkish Navy destroyer "Kocatepe" is sunk, while the other two suffer significant damage that renders them non-battle worthy. The ships head towards Mersina having suffered more than 232 dead from the sunken ship alone. Turkey claimed this event as a resounding victory against the Hellenic Navy up until July 25 - the date they announced the loss of the "Kocatepe".
17:00 Cyprus Turkish Air Force planes bombard civilian targets in their attempt to provide support to the T/C forces in Ammochostos. Civilian casualties are also reported in Kazivera, another T/C enclave where battles were being fought.
21:00 Hellas "Operation Niki", the transportation of the 35 MK to Cyprus with 15 Noratlas aicraft, has begun. The aircraft are to fly at an altitude of 50 meters when they begin approaching Cyprus so as to avoid radar detection. Two aircraft land in Rhodes after experiencing navigational problems.

Monday July 22, 1974

00:00 Cyprus Hellenic forces have by now destroyed most T/C forces in enclaves across the island. The Agyrtas pass was been secured and the beachhead has been somewhat contained. ELDYK has not been able yet to link its positions with those of the Commando Units on Pentadaktilo, nor have the Turks been able in two days to reach the Agyrta-Lefkosia enclave from their beachhead position.
00:30 Athens The Armed Forces Command directs the anti-aircraft units around Lefkosia airport to halt firing, in anticipation of the arrival of the military transport aircraft. Due to delays, the GEEF does not begin informing its units until about 01:30.
02:00 Cyprus After about 5 hours of flight, the Noratlas transport aircraft being their final approach to the Lefkosia airport. Not aware of the identity of the aircraft, they Cypriot defenders open fire obliterating the first aircraft and damaging several others. A total of about 30 soldiers died, while 3 severely damaged aircraft had to be destroyed on the ground to eliminate evidence of the Commando Unit's deployment.
02:00 Hellas 10 F-4E Phantom II aircraft move from their bases in Tanagra and Andravida to Heraklio, Crete. One suffers damage during landing.
03:30 Cyprus The second Turkish assault wave is 10 nm from the coast of Kyrenia. Its mission is the conquest of Kyrenia and the merging of the beachhead position with the Agyrta-Lefkosia enclave prior to the implementation of the cease-fire. 
The USA, Hellas, and Turkey successively announce that a cease-fire agreement will be honored starting at 16:00.
10:00 Cyprus The Turkish landing ships reach the shore, bringing numerous armored and mechanized assets such as American made M-47 and M-48 main battle tanks. The 3 TS and the 351 TP are unable to effectively contain this new invasion force. 
11:00 Cyprus Turkish destroyers start shelling positions south of Ag. Georgios, in order to weaken the Hellenic defensive lines. An attempt by landing ships to approach Kyrenia harbor fails.
11:07 Hellas 12 F-84F aircraft are ordered to depart towards Cyprus. That order is canceled after a few minutes.
11:45 Cyprus The 251 TP, 306 TE, and 60 members of 31 MK withdraw towards Kyrenia following a Turkish offensive with armored and infantry units.
Cyprus In addition to their offensive against Kyrenia, Turkish forces also mount attacks in the east against Mpella Pais and Dikomo. At the mountaintop location of Aetofolia, control changes hands from the 231 TP to the Turks and vise-versa. At Aspri Moutti the 399 TP and 361 TP fight overwhelming forces to maintain their positions. To the west, at Karavas, NG positions successfully repel armored Turkish forces. In Lefkosia, to the south, fighting intensifies in the streets of the northern suburbs and along the "green line".
12:00 Cyprus In Ammochostos, the T/C's had agreed to surrender to UNFICYP. The Turkish Air Force hastily bombards the city to prevent such a development, which results in the death of numerous civilians and UN personnel.
Hellas A pair of Turkish F-102 aircraft harass an HU-16B Albatross aircraft. When 2 Hellenic Air Force F-5's approached the area, one F-102 turned and fired an AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missile but missed. One of the F-5's fired an AIM-9 Sidewinder to destroy the one aircraft, while the other was pursued until it crashed after exhausting its fuel supply.
12:24 Hellas The F-84F aircraft are again ordered to depart, only to once again be ordered to turn back.
Cyprus The Turkish forces enter Kyrenia killing the Cypriot and English civilians trapped in the city.
14:00 Hellas The planned mission use of the F-4E Phantom aircraft is canceled.
15:00 Hellas The 2 Hellenic submarines are once again ordered to sail towards Cyprus.
16:00 Cyprus The cease-fire is supposed to commence at this time. The Turks ignore it until they achieve their strategic goals.
16:00 Cyprus The NG ceases fire, while the 399 TP leaves its position at Aspri Moutti and moves towards Dikomo and Syghari.
17:00 Cyprus The Turkish forces finally manage to link their beachhead positions with the T/C enclave of Agyrta-Lefkosia.
Cyprus Turkish destroyers and aircraft continue to bombard Hellenic positions near Kyrenia till nightfall.

Tuesday July 23, 1974

<This document is currently being revised>

 

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