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Encyclopedia > Costas Georgiou

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Costas Georgiou (Grk. Κώστας Γιώργιου,also Anglicized as Kostas Giorgiou; alias "Colonel Callan"; 1951-1976) was a mercenary executed following the Luanda Trial for activities during the civil war phase of the Angolan War of Independence. 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... A mercenary is a soldier who fights, or engages in warfare primarily for private gain, usually with little regard for ideological, national or political considerations. ... The Luanda Trial was a trial held in Luanda by the MPLA, recently victorious in the Angolan Civil War to try thirteen foreign mercenaries who had fought for its rival, the FNLA. Guilty verdicts for all or some of 130 separate offenses, released on June 28, 1976, resulted in the... The Angolan War of Independence (1961–1989) was a multi-faction struggle for control of Angola. ...


Early life

Georgiou was born on Cyprus in 1951, when the island was still a British protectorate. His family moved to London in the early 1960's. 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... Part of the London skyline viewed from the South Bank London is the most populous city in the European Union, with an estimated population on 1 January 2005 of 7,421,328 and a metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million. ...


British military career

Georgiou joined the British Army, and served, at first with distinction, in the 1st Parachute Battalion in Northern Ireland, credited as one of the best marksmen in the unit. However, he was later court-martialed, along with his fellow-trooper Mick Wainhouse, after they robbed a Northern Ireland post office, and was dishonorably discharged. Royal motto: Quis separabit (Latin: Who will separate?) Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685,267 122/km² NUTS 1... Shooting is the act of causing a gun to fire at a target. ... A court-martial (plural courts-martial) is a military court that determines punishments for members of the military subject to military law. ...


Despite later pretensions to the rank of colonel, Georgiou's highest British Army rank attained was that of corporal, and he never received officer training. It has been suggested that polkovnik be merged into this article or section. ... Corporal is a military rank (equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4) in use by several militaries of the world. ... Any holder of an office or of a post may bear the title officer. ...


Mercenary activity

Background: Roots of the conflict and Georgiou's recruitment

In 1975, Portugal recognized the independence of its former colony of Angola, and acknowledged the Soviet-aligned MPLA faction as the de jure government. The new government sought and received help in the form of Cuban military advisors, combat troops and materiel to fight against rival factions, which included the US-backed FNLA and the South African-backed UNITA, which received some US funding but no actual military aid. At the same time, British and American ex-military were recruited by FNLA through contacts in the United Kingdom and United States. Funding was provided by various NATO-member intelligence organizations, including the American CIA and the French Secret Service. State motto (Russian): Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Transliterated: Proletarii vsekh stran, soedinyaytes!) (Translated: Workers of the world, unite!) Capital Moscow Official language None; Russian (de facto) Government Federation of Socialist republics/ Communist state Area  - Total  - % water Largest on the planet 22,402,200 km² ?% Population  - Total  - Density 3rd before collapse 293,047,571 (July... The MPLA flag The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimiento Popular de Libertação de Angola) is an Angolan political party that has ruled the country since independence in 1975. ... Look up De jure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary De jure (in Classical Latin de iure) is an expression that means based on law, as contrasted with de facto, which means in fact. The terms de jure and de facto are used like in principle and in practice when one... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about: United States Wikinews has news related to this article: United States United States government CIA World Factbook Entry for United States House. ... External links Party website Categories: Politics stubs | Angolan political parties ... UNITA sticker The União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) is an Angolan political faction. ... The NATO flag NATO 2002 Summit in Prague The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), sometimes called North Atlantic Alliance, Atlantic Alliance or the Western Alliance, is an international organisation for defence collaboration established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, D.C., on April 4... The CIA Seal The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an American intelligence agency, responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals, and reporting such information to the various branches of the U.S. Government. ... The Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage, generally known as SDECE, was Frances external intelligence agency from November 6, 1944 to April 2, 1982 when it was replaced by the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure. ...


By this time, Georgiou was out of the army and working part-time as in construction. He had few prospects for more stable and gainful employment, given his dishonorable discharge. He was dating a Cypriot woman, Miss Rona Angelo. Her cousin was Charley Christodoulou, like Costas an ex-paraterooper of Greek Cypriot extraction, but honorably discharged. An acquaintance, Nick Hall, another dishonorably discharged airborne veteran took the initiative and put out an advertisement soliciting mercenary employment for four able-bodied young men. These were Hall himself, Georgiou, Christodoulou and Costas's old chum, Mick Wainhouse.


The group received a prompt reply from "Dr." Donald Belford, a former British Army medic who had volunteered for a humanitarian aid group in Africa some years before. While there, he had treated several Angolan fighters wounded in the struggle against the Portuguese, earning their friendship and trust. One of his friends was Holden Roberto, leader of the FNLA. After independence, Belford became Roberto's official emissary in Britain. Álvaro Holden Roberto (born 12 January 1923 in São Salvador do Congo) is the leader of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA). ...


Georgiou in Angola

"Callan," as Georgiou was now styling himself, led a small FNLA military group composed of mostly Portuguese and Cypriot mercenaries with the odd Briton thrown in. One of the Portuguese, who styled himself "Madeira" after the famous fortified wine, was also a former champion boxer. This group were all excellent, experienced soldiers, but far too few in number to accomplish a decisive victory. Still, the record they amassed in their short guerilla campaign was impressive. In one ambush on an MPLA column, the squad-sized unit killed 60 of the approximately 600 MPLA & Cubans, and destroyed four T-34's and four "Stalin's organ" mobile rocket platforms. Impressed with their efforts, Holden Roberto dispatched Nick Hall back to Britain to recruit a full battalion. Madeira is a fortified wine made in the Madeira Islands of Portugal, which is prized equally for drinking and cooking; the latter use including the dessert plum in madeira. ... The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank first produced in 1940. ... BM-13 Katyusha on Studebaker US6 Katyusha RS-132 rockets mounted underneath the wing of LaGG-3 fighter Damage caused to a German tank Pz Kpfw 38(t) by direct hit of RS-132 The 82mm BM-8 and 132mm BM-13 Katyusha rocket launchers were built and fielded by... Symbol of the Austrian 14th Armoured Battalion in NATO code In military terminology, a battalion consists of two to six companies typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel. ...


Thanks to ongoing recruitment in Britain, a somewhat larger mercenary contingent was formed, but a full battalion was never realized. The enlarged force was still rather small relative to MPLA/Cuban forces, and many of the men were civilians with no military experience at all. Many of the men refused to submit to military discipline. This, combined with the foreign, Mediterranean origin of most of the core leadership (Georgiou, Christodoulou and the Portuguese) created a deep gulf between the officers and British men -- to say nothing of the native Angolans recruited as infantry and support troops. Most of these had no military experience, and many knew no English or even Portuguese, then still the language of government and the native elite.


The "battalion" fought several more dramatic engagements, including successful ambushes of minor MPLA detachments. However, given his limited resources and the fact that many of his men — European and native alike — were untrained amateurs, Georgiou's campaign was ultimately a failure. According to mercenary David Tomkins, (author: 'Firepower') the group spent most of its time foraging for food, usable weapons, and ammunition. Much of this foraging consisted of "raids" on villages where the men would casually walk into town brandishing their weapons, searching for anything of use. Anyone who offered violent resistance would be shot, although Tomkins says in an interview that this was rare.


Lack of proper equipment was one of the key factors in the failure of foreign mercenary units in Angola generally, and in Georgiou's case in particular. The MPLA had Soviet tanks, artillery and crack Cuban troops. The other two factions had mostly light infantry, and not always the best-trained and disciplined at that. Another factor was leadership inexperience: Georgiou had absolutely no training nor experience as an officer, nor did most of his counterparts in other units.—


Trial and execution

The principal crime for which Georgiou was executed was the slaying of fourteen of his men who had attempted to desert in some of the trucks that were carrying the unit's supplies. They did this after mistakenly firing on one of the other vehicles in their convoy, for which they feared punishment. He was also accused of killing two Angolan civilians, as well as torturing civilians to extract intelligence on enemy troop movements. In addition, fighting as a rebel soldier was itself considered a crime by the prosecuting MPLA authorities. Intelligence is the process and the result of gathering information and analyzing it to answer questions or obtain advance warnings needed to plan for the future. ...


Georgiou's sister was allowed to visit him during his captivity in Angola. In a BBC interview, she said they spoke mainly about their family and the trial proceedings. They conversed in Greek. Georgiou's body was repatriated to England, and he was buried according to the rites of the Greek Orthodox Church. ...


External links

  • BBC retrospective for June 28, 1976
  • BBC retrospective for June 11, 1976
  • Military Law Review article on mercenaries & international law, from the US Army JAG Corps; incl. discussion of Luanda Trial & Georgiou

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