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Marinos Mitralexis, a WWII hero

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Marinos Mitralexis, a WWII hero

Post by Elfot on Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:38 am

Marinos Mitralexis was a Greek Air Force pilot during World War II.

He became legendary when he managed to bring down an enemy bomber by ramming its tail, on November 2, 1940.

Mitralexis graduated as a Second Lieutenant from the Hellenic Air Force Academy in summer 1940.
In the following Greek-Italian War (October 28, 1940 to April 7, 1941), he was posted to the 22nd Pursuit Squadron, based on the airfield of Thessaloniki flying PZL P.24 aircraft.

On November 2, a squadron of 15 Italian Cant 1007Z bombers, with Fiat CR.42 fighter escorts, headed towards Thessaloniki. Soon they were spotted and intercepted by Greek PZL P.24 fighters of the 22nd Squadron. During the dogfights, three of the bombers were shot down, while the rest reached their targets, and then started to return to their base in Albania. Mitralexis, who had already shot down one bomber, was now out of ammunition, so he aimed the nose of his PZL P. 24 right into an enemy bomber's tail, smashing the rudder and sending the bomber out of control.

He then made an emergency landing near the crashed bomber. Mitralexis arrested the four surviving crew members of the enemy aircraft using his pistol !!!
For this extraordinary act, Mitralexis was promoted and awarded a number of medals, including Greece's highest award for bravery, the Gold Cross of Valour. He was the only Air Force officer to be awarded it during the war.

When Greece capitulated to Germany (April 1941) he and the rest of the surviving Greek Air Force personnel and aircraft escaped to North Africa to join the Allied forces there.

In September 1948, during a flight in an Airspeed Oxford, he died crashing in the Aegean Sea after an engine failure.

At the outbreak of the Greek-Italian War on 28 October 1940, the Greek Air Force was severely outnumbered, counting only 79 aircraft against the 380 fighters and bombers available to the Italian Regia Aeronautica. Mitralexis's acts boosted Greek morale, being depicted in several artists' impressions, in newspapers and magazines, as well as on a postage stamp. It propelled Mitralexis to the status of a war hero, eclipsing his subsequent war record of 5 kills. A statue of him is erected in Ellinikon, Athens.


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Re: Marinos Mitralexis, a WWII hero

Post by Mix on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:00 am

It takes a lot of bravery to even take off and face such numerous enemy in far more advanced aircraft
Also I think that there is also sense of pride and resignation, pilots wanted to `sell their skin as expensive as possible`
There are some other examples of taran in those days

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