Lieutenant General

Georgios Tsontos
Tsontos in Makedonomachos uniform.
Native name
Γεώργιος Τσόντος
Nickname(s)Kapetan Vardas (Καπετάν Βάρδας)
Born1871
Sfakia, Crete, Ottoman Empire (now Greece)
Died1942
Athens, Hellenic State
AllegianceGreece Kingdom of Greece
Auton. Rep. of Northern Epirus
Greece Second Hellenic Republic
Service/branch Hellenic Army
HMC
Years of service1893-1917
1920-1923
1927
1935
Rank
Lieutenant General
Commands heldCommandant of the Hellenic Military Academy
Garrison Commander of Athens
Battles/warsGreco-Turkish War of 1897 Macedonian Struggle
Balkan Wars
North Epirote Struggle
AwardsCommemorative Medal for the Macedonian Struggle
Medal for the Struggle of North Epirus
Alma materHellenic Military Academy
Other workMP for Florina Prefecture
MP for Kastoria Prefecture
Signature

Georgios Tsontos (Greek: Γεώργιος Τσόντος) (1871-1942) also known with the nom de guerre Kapetan Vardas (Καπετάν Βάρδας), was a Greek guerrilla fighter, general, and later politician from Crete.

Early life

Georgios Tsontos was born in the village of Askifou in Sfakia, Crete, in 1871. His father Charalambos had distinguished himself as a rebel leader during the Cretan Revolt (1866–69) against the Ottoman Empire, was assassinated in Athens in 1874.[1] Georgios entered the Hellenic Military Academy in 1888, graduating in 1893 as an Artillery Second Lieutenant.[1]

Career

Greco-Turkish War (1897)

In the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, he participated in the Greek expeditionary force to Crete under Colonel Timoleon Vassos.[1] There he would assist in the Cretan Revolt (1897-1898) which would lead to the establishment of the Cretan State.

Macedonian Struggle and the Balkan Wars

Armed band of Kapetan Vardas in 1906.
Armed band of Kapetan Vardas in 1906.

In 1904 he went to Ottoman-ruled Macedonia as part of the Macedonian Struggle, and spent two and a half years leading guerrilla detachments in the Monastir area to fight the Ottomans and Bulgarian Komitadjis. It was in Macedonia where operated under the nom de guerre of Kapetan Vardas.[1] He also fought in the Balkan Wars of 1912–13 as a Captain. In the Second Balkan War against Bulgaria in particular, he once more led irregular forces to clear out eastern Macedonia from Bulgarian irregulars (Komitadjis).[1]

Tsontos in Ottoman Macedonia.
Tsontos in Ottoman Macedonia.

North Epirote Struggle for Autonomy and National Schism

In 1914 he temporarily resigned his commission to join the armed forces of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus. During the North Epirote autonomy, he was named military and civil governor of Korytsa.[1] During World War I, he organized guerrilla groups in Northern Epirus in order to operate against Albanian bands that were raiding the Greek populated areas[2] In the National Schism, he supported the monarchists, and as a result found himself dismissed from the army in 1917–20.[1]

Later Career

Following the electoral victory of the monarchists in November 1920 he was reinstated, and served as commandant of the Hellenic Military Academy and garrison commander of Athens. He retired from the army in February 1923 with the rank of major general.[1] He was restored to inactive service in 1927 and finally in 1935, reaching the rank of Lieutenant General.

He also served as MP for Florina Prefecture in 1932-33 and for Kastoria Prefecture in 1933-35.

A bust of Tsontos in Thessaloniki.
A bust of Tsontos in Thessaloniki.

He died in Athens in 1942.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Μεγάλη Στρατιωτική και Ναυτική Εγκυκλοπαιδεία. Τόμος Στ′: Σαράντα Εκκλησίαι – Ώχρα [Great Military and Naval Encyclopedia. Volume VI]. Athens. 1930. p. 415.
  2. ^ Leon George B.. Greece and the Great Powers, 1914-1917. Institute for Balkan Studies, 1974, p. 443.