It was more than 70 years ago when 336 Squadron "Olympos" was established for the very first time near Cairo, Egypt, in a place called Almaza. At that time 336 Sq. was equipped with 21 Hurricane-IIC aircrafts and had a total of 309 men. On Friday October 11th 2014 336 Squadron, the second oldest Squadron in service under Hellenic Air Force wings celebrated its 70 years. We were honored to be their guests and we will try to share the moving moments.
The 336 Squadron has the callsign "Olympos". Date of establishment is February 25th 1943 at the "Landing Ground 219" airport near Cairo, Egypt (Almaza). Originally its first name was 336 "Hellenic Royal Fighter Bomber Squadron" under commands of RAF 219 Combat Wing. On April 4th 1943 336 Squadron is transferred to LG121 airport near Sidi Barrani, Egypt, and stays there until 1944 undertaking missions like naval convoy protection, interception of hostile aircraft, offensive patrols and ground attack sweeps over Crete. In 1944, the 336 Squadron moves to airport of El Adem in Libya and then again to Bu Amoud airport for a few days, to end to Marsa Matruh airport of Egypt. In June 1944 336 Squadron is certified to fly the Spitfire V aircraft. In July 1944 squadron returns to El Adem airport to be transferred to Italy at Nuova airport after a few days. Next station will be Biferno airport only for a few days and then Grottaglie airport, until its return to Greece. 336 Squadron continues to operate against German forces from Hassani airport accomplishing 3250 missions, conducting 12427 flight hours (5116 in combat mission) in total during World War II.
In May 1945 336 Squadron is based in Sedes airport (Thessaloniki) taking part in the civil war operations during (1946-1949). In February 1949 the 336 Squadron redeploys to Larissa Air Base, 110 Combat Wing force. In August 24th 1949 336 Squadron is starting to fly with the Helldiver vertical attack fighter-bomber, changing its role to Light Bomber Squadron. Then it is equipped with the F-84G at Elefsis airport and is renamed to 336 Fighter Bomber Squadron. On December 28th 1953, a new movement to Nea Anchialos Air Base. In year 1958 the new F-84Fs arrive and in March 1959 it redeploys firstly to 110 Combat Wing and then to 116 Combat Wing (December 4th 1962). On September 25th 1963 it is renamed to 336 Strike Squadron and on January 15th 1965, the 336 Strike Squadron with F-104G aircraft is moved to 114 Combat Wing whilst a part of 336 Squadron flying F-84Fs stays at 116 Combat Wing. On December 23th 1966, the 336 Strike Sqn with the F-104G is moved back from to Araxos Air Base. From March 31st 1993 is renamed to 336 Bomber Squadron and starts receiving the A-7E and TA-7C, as replacements of the Starfighters, airplanes that still flies with until today.
LTV A-7 Corsair II
The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II is a carrier-capable subsonic light attack aircraft introduced to replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. The A-7 airframe design was based on the successful supersonic Vought F-8 Crusader. It was one of the first combat aircraft to feature a head-up display (HUD), an inertial navigation system (INS), and a turbofan engine. The Corsair II initially entered service with the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. It was later adopted by the United States Air Force, including the Air National Guard, to replace the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, North American F-100 Super Sabre and Republic F-105 Thunderchief. The aircraft was imported by Hellenic Air Force and later by Portuguese Air Force (PoAF) in the late 1980s.
A-7H Modified A-7E for Hellenic Air Force without air-refuelling capability,
TA-7H Two-seat trainer version for Hellenic Air Force.
A-7E Naval carrier-capable equivalent of the A-7D; AN/APN-185 navigational radar in earlier A-7D is replaced by AN/APN-190 navigational radar, AN/APQ-126 terrain following radar in earlier A-7D is replaced by AN/APQ-128 terrain following radar.
TA-7C Two-seat trainer version for U.S. Navy, 24 converted from A-7B, 36 from A-7C. In 1984, 49 airframes, including the 8 EA-7Ls, were re-engined with the TF41-A-402 and upgraded to A-7E standard.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 46 ft 2 in (14.06 m)
- Wingspan: 38 ft 9 in (11.8 m)
- Width: 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m) wings folded
- Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.9 m)
- Wing area: 374.9 sq ft (34.83 m2)
- Max takeoff weight: 42 lb (19.050 kg)
- Maximum speed: 600 kn (690 mph; 1,111 km/h) at Sea level
- 562 kn (1,041 km/h; 647 mph) at 5,000 ft (1,524.0 m) with 12x Mk82 bombs
- 595 kn (1,102 km/h; 685 mph) at 5,000 ft (1,524.0 m) after dropping bombs
- Range: 1,070 nmi; 1,231 mi (1,981 km) maximum internal fuel
- Take-off run: 1,705 ft (519.7 m) at 42,000 lb (19,000 kg)
70 Years Celebration
On Friday October 11th 2013, 336 Squadron celebrated the 70th year in service. The 56th Squadron Commander, Major Apostolos Papadopoulos welcomed the Hellenic Tactical Air Force Commander, Lieutenant General Christos Vaitsis, 336 Squadron's veterans and hundreds of admirers and aviation enthousiasts. During the ceremony four (4) A- 7E aircrafts made two passes in fine formation and finally performed virtual airport attacks proving the Squadron's motto "Fly Low - Hit Hard". Outside the hangar area a static display of two armed A -7 Corsairs and one restored F-104G Starfighter was organized. At the end of the anniversary flight formation the especially painted A-7 E Corsair "Olympos" took its place in front of the crowd. At the end of the ceremony all visitors had the opportunity to visit the newly constructed building of 336 Squadron and enjoy a tour to the squadrons' museum.
The 336 Squadron official video for 70 Years Celebration.
Photos by Kevin van der Sluis, Agathi Stathopoulou :
For patch collectors the Squadron's boutique was hiding great surprises. A variety of anniversary limited edition patches. Airforce.gr had the honor to produce the numbered certificates for the majority of the patches. The Hellenic Air Force Appreciation Club Ikaros presented a 98 soft covered Photobook which was gifted to the visitors and Squadron's personnel. You will be able to purchase this excellent Photobook here.
Another surprise for collectors of course was the Limited Edition watch produced by Vostok Europe. For more information on how to order this elegant and trully collectible watch you can click here or on the image below.
*This article is dedicated to all forty one (41) fallen pilots of 336 Squadron during the last seven decades. We are sure that they are watching the continuers of their sacrifices from their cockpit in the skies.
**We would like also to sincerely thank 336 Squadron and especially the Sq. Commander Major Apostolos Papadopoulos and its personnel -pilots and engineers- for their hospitality.
We wish to 336 Squadron's personnel Clear Skies and Safe Landings !!!