Cypriot National Guard

Cypriot National Guard
Cypriot National Guard
Εθνική Φρουρά
Kıbrıs Ulusal Muhafızları
GES Greece.gif
Founded 06.1964
Commander-in-Chief Lieutenant General Stylianos Nasis
Chief-of-Staff Brig. Gen. Georgios Karagiannis
Active personnel 12,000 + 750 paramilitary
Reserve personnel 75,000
Related articles
History Military history of Cyprus

The Cypriot National Guard (Greek: Εθνική Φρουρά, Ethnikí Frourá; Turkish: Kıbrıs Ulusal Muhafızları), also known as the "Greek Cypriot National Guard" or simply as "National Guard", is the combined arms military force of the Republic of Cyprus. This force consists of Air, Land, Sea and Special Forces elements, and is highly integrated with its first and second line reserves, as well as supporting civilian agencies and paramilitary forces.

Greece currently maintains a garrison in the Republic of Cyprus under the designation ELDYK or Hellenic Forces in Cyprus (Greek: Ελληνικές Δυνάμεις Κύπρου or ΕΛΔΥΚ), but this is not officially part of the Cyprus military and primarily serves as a NATO brigade-level influence for training and support of the National Guard.



The National Guard was established in 1964 as a force composed entirely of ethnic Greeks, following the 1963–1964 breakdown of social and political relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots on the island of Cyprus.[1] Under the early Constitution of 1960–1963, Cyprus was entitled to an army of 2,000 men, to be made up of 60% Greek and 40% Turkish personnel. The first elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, proposed thirteen constitutional amendments to the 1960 constitution, which would have adjusted distribution of manpower and voting power for all civil and military services. This adjustment was aimed at giving greater representation and influence to the Greek Cypriot majority, which at the time formed around 82% of the island's indigenous population.

Operational History

The Cypriot National Guard has been involved in multiple combat operations, all within Cyprus territory.

  • In 1964, Cyprus and Turkey engaged in direct confrontation during the Battle of Tylliria, as a result of civil warfare between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Greek Cypriot forces invaded the Turkish Cypriot coastal enclave of Kokkina in an effort to eliminate a Turkish beachhead, resulting in almost two weeks of fighting.
  • In 1974, Turkey launched an all out surprise attack on Cyprus on the pretext of intervening against a military coup by the Cyprus National Guard in Nicosia. The invasion resulted in two concentrated Turkish offensives (Attila-1 and Attila-2) and one dispersed Greek Cypriot counter-offensive (Aphrodite-2). Within one month, Turkish forces had captured 38% of the island's northern area, succeeding in bisecting Nicosia and taking Kyrenia, Morphou and Famagusta. Cypriot National Guard forces, supported by a smaller number of Greek troops, were only able to prevent the loss of Nicosia International Airport and the Kato Pyrgos corridor during the second Turkish offensive.
  • In 1978, Egyptian forces raided Larnaca International Airport in an effort to seize a hijacked Greek Cypriot airliner. Greek Cypriot commando and paramilitary forces resisted the Egyptian forces, resulting in a sustained gun battle with the death of 12 Egyptian commandos and 3 Egyptian Air Force aircrew.


Currently, only Greek Cypriots serve in the military. Legally, the Greek Cypriot community comprises the ethnic Greek population as well as Cypriots belonging to three Christian minorities – the Armenians, Latin Rite Catholics and Maronites. Since 2008, service is mandatory for all members of the Greek Cypriot community and not only for ethnic Greeks. The current supreme commander is a Greek military commander, as have been all of his predecessors.

Military service in the Republic of Cyprus is mandatory for males. The minimum obligatory service period is 24 months.[2] All male visitors to the island of military age (16 and over) who have a father of Cypriot extraction are required to obtain an exit visa from a Defence Ministry office.

Reduction of military conscription in Cyprus

A motion for reduction of military service from 25 to 14 months, while recruiting the necessary number of professional soldiers backed the Democratic Rally and Progressive Party of Working People.

The chairman of the Democratic Rally party Nicos Anastasiades during his press conference presented the proposals of Democratic Rally on Defence, saying that by that way the Cyprus National Guard will be transformed into a modern semi-professional army.

Referring to the economic aspect of his proposal, he has said that for only 4 to 5 years the state would incur additional costs but then the cost will be reduced.

Camouflage Patterns

  • National Guard Standard Issue - Cyprus National Guard Pattern (similar to woodland but with different colours to match the environment) and Greek Lizard Pattern
  • Army Special Forces (DKD) - MARPAT Woodland (Exact pattern and cut of USMC MARPAT, but with no EGA embroidered)
  • Army Special Forces (DKD) - ACU Universal
  • Army Special Forces (DKD) - Klyaksa Snow Camouflage
  • Navy Special Forces (OYK) - US Woodland
  • Air Force - Cyprus National AF Guard Pattern


Ground component

The main body of the Cypriot ground forces is made up by 2 infantry divisions, 3 infantry briagdes, 1 armored brigade and 1 support brigade.

  • 1st Infantry Division (Ιη Μεραρχία ΠΖ)
  • 2nd Infantry Division (ΙΙα Μεραρχία ΠΖ)
  • 4th Infantry Brigade (ΙVη Ταξιαρχία ΠΖ)
  • 20th Armored Brigade (ΧΧη ΤΘ Ταξιαρχία)
  • 3rd Support Brigade (ΙΙΙη Ταξιαρχία ΥΠ)
  • 7th Infantry Brigade (VIIη Ταξιαρχία ΠΖ)
  • 8th Infantry Brigade (VIIIη Ταξιαρχία ΠΖ)
  • Artillery Command (Διοίκηση Πυροβολικού)
  • Military Police (Στρατονομία)
  • Special Forces Command (Διοίκηση Kαταδρόμων)

Naval Component

The Naval Component of the Cypriot National Guard is alternatively known as the "Cyprus Navy" (Greek: Ναυτική Διοίκηση Κύπρου). The force is organised into a Warships Command (with 4 Fast Patrol Boats, 3 Ramped Craft Logistics and 2 Fast Assault Boats); a Coastal Battery Command (with 24 MM40 Exocet Block-II sea-skimming missiles); a Coastal Surveillance Command (with classified integrated radar systems); and a Command of the Navy Base (Evangelos Florakis Navy Base).

The Naval Component also operates a Special Forces Sub-Command known as OYK (Under Water Demolitions Unit), the operations of which are totally classified.


Air Component

The Air Component of the Cypriot National Guard is typically referred as the Cyprus Air Command (Greek: Διοίκησης Αεροπορίας Κύπρου). The Cyprus Air Command consists of the 449 Anti-Tank Helicopter Squadron (with 4 SA-342L Gazelles and 2 Bell-206L-3s), the 450 Attack Helicopter Squadron (with 11 Mi-35PN Hind-F heavy attack helicopters, 1 PC-9 and 1 BN2B-21), the 460 Helicopter Squadron (with 3 AW-139s), and a secret UAV squadron (designation and equipment not officially acknowledged). Additionally, the Air Defence Sub-Command of the Air Force, which operates air-defence weapons, is kept secret in terms of its organisation and equipment.

Special Forces


The Cyprus armed forces operate a pool of three Army Special Forces Groups (plus one auxiliary) known colloquially as LOK (Greek: ΛΟΚ - Λόχοι Ορεινών Καταδρομών, Lochoi Oreinōn Katadromōn). All LOK Groups are part of the Army Special Forces Command DKD (Greek: ΔΚΔ - Διοίκησης Καταδρομών - Diikisis Katadromon), and a soldier belonging to the Brigade is called a Raider (Greek: Kαταδρομέας, Kαταδρομείς - Katadromeas, Katadromeis). Cyprus Special Forces training is based closely on their Greek Counterparts.

All members of the Brigade wear the unit insignia depicting a winged sword, representative of the "deadly, silent and swift" nature of special forces operations. A scroll runs across the sword and wings with the motto Who Dares Wins (Greek: Ο ΤΟΛΜΩΝ ΝΙΚΑ - O Tolmon Nika), a tribute to the Free Greek Special Forces that served with the 1st Special Air Service (1 SAS) Brigade during World War II. The unit flash is emblazoned with ΔΥΝΑΜΕΙΣ ΚΑΤΑΔΡΟΜΩΝ (Raider Forces). While on operation, low-visibility patches are worn.

All Raiders wear the green beret with the national emblem on the left.


The Navy has a Special Forces Group known as OYK (Greek: ΟΥΚ - Ομάδα Υποβρυχίων Καταστροφών, Omada Ipovrixion Katastrofon)


The police also have an armed paramilitary Special Operations Groups related to anti-terrorism, as well as the MMAD Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Command of the Cyprus Police.

Reserve Forces

The Republic of Cyprus is thought to possess ready reserves (first and second line reserves of fighting fitness and age) in the order of 75,000 men (some estimates of 50,000 exclude the trained and organised Home Guard or Third Line). These numbers do not include females of voluntary military experience or fighting fitness / age.

Formed reserve units in existence include six light infantry brigades (maintained at cadre strength during peacetime). Each of these brigades has three battalions with supporting command, control, communications and supply infrastructure.

Armoured Forces

The main armoured capability of the Cypriot National Guard is structured under the command of the 20th Armoured Brigade. This force includes a nominal strength of 3 tank battalions (82 T-80U MBTs and 54 AMX-30B2s) with an auxiliary unit of spare tanks (50 AMX-30s slated for phase out, to be replaced with 41 T-80Us). The XX brigade also includes a nominal strength of 3 or 4 mechanized infantry battalions, a reconnaissance battalion, a self-propelled artillery battery and a mobile air-defence battery (TOR-M1s).

The remaining armoured forces are distributed to units of mechanised infantry and self-propelled anti-tank systems deployed at the divisional and brigade level.

Military Equipment Inventory

Land Component

Main Battle Tanks
With 125mm Armament T-80U 82 Active
With 105mm Armament AMX-30B2 54 Active
With 105mm Armament AMX-30 50 Spare
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
With 100mm Armament BMP-3 43 Active
With 90mm Armament EE-9 54 Active
With 30mm Armament VAB-VCI 27 Active
With 90mm Armament EE-9 53 Spare
Armoured Personnel Carriers
With 12.7mm Armament Leonidas-1/2 168 Active
With 12.7mm Armament VAB 126 Active
Guided Missile Carriers
With MILAN Missile EE-3 15 Active
With HOT Missile VAB-VCAC 18 Active
Self Propelled Artillery
155mm Howitzer ZUZANA 12 Active
155mm Howitzer MK F3 12 Active
122mm multiple rocket launcher BM-21 18 Active
Towed Artillery
155mm Howitzer TRF-1 12 Active
105mm Howitzer Mod 56 Howitzer 72 Active
100mm Howitzer M1944 20 Active
128mm multiple rocket launcher M-63 Plamen 18 Active



Creation of National Guard

Order of Battle

  • "Cyprus, 1974", by T. Cooper and N. Tselepidis, published October 28, 2003 for


  • Cyprus National Guard Official Site
  • Table 23, Republic of Cyprus: Major National Guard Equipment, 1990, Library of Congress (Additional sourcing: Based on information from The Military Balance, 1989–1990, London, 1989, 85; and Christopher F. Foss, "Cypriot Rearmament Completed," Jane's Defence Weekly [London], March 12, 1988, 445.)
  • APORRITOS ATILLAS, Savvas Vlassis
  • "1974: The Unknown Backstage of the Turkish Invasion", Makarios Drousiotis, Nicosia 2002, ISBN 9963-631-02-9
  • Cyprus 1974 - The Greek coup and the Turkish invasion, Makarios Drousiotis, Hellenic Distribution Agency
  • Conway's: All The World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995
  • Erich Gröner "Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945", Band 2, Munchen 1983, ISBN 3-7637-4801-6
  • Cyprus, 1955-1973 By Tom Cooper,
  • Cyprus 100 Years Alex Efthyvoulou, Laiki Cultural Bank Archive
  • British Pathe Archive

Combat Actions

  • The Cyprus Conflict
  • "1974: The Unknown Backstage of the Turkish Invasion", Makarios Drousiotis, Nicosia 2002, ISBN 9963-631-02-9
  • Cyprus 1974 - The Greek coup and the Turkish invasion, Makarios Drousiotis, Hellenic Distribution Agency
  • Cyprus, 1955-1973 By Tom Cooper,

See also


  1. ^ "Σύντομο Ιστορικό της Εθνικής Φρουράς" (in Greek). Nicosia: Γενικό Επιτελείο Εθνικής Φρουράς. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Barry Turner, ed (2006). "Cyprus". The Statesman's Yearbook 2007 (143rd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillian. pp. 378–379. ISBN 1-4039-9276-2. 

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