On 20 July 1974, the Turkish armed forces landed at Pentemilli (Five Mile Beach) near the village of Karanoglanoglu, as it is called today, after the colonel of the 50 Infantry Regiment who died there. The beachhead was secured, and the Turkish forces just about held off counterattacks from the Greek National Guard before being reinforced.
|This is landing beach today. The first thing that strikes the visitor is how small it is.|
Inland, Turkish militia held the strategic Kyrenia Pass and territory towards Nicosia known as the Turkish Triangle. They were reinforced by Turkish airborne forces brought in by parachutes and helicopters. Lacking heavy weapons, they also struggled against Greek counterattacks until they were reinforced by armour coming off the beachhead. Both incursions relied heavily on Turkish air superiority. After a short truce broke down, the second phase of the operation resulted in Turkish forces reaching their objectives along the line that divides the island to this day.
The best book on the operation is by Ed Erickson and Mesut Uyar, Phase Line Attila. For an excellent analysis of the amphibious operation, I recommend Güvenç, S & Uyar, M, On Contested Shores: Chapter 17: Against All Odds: Turkish Amphibious Operation in Cyprus, 20-23 July 1974 (Marine Corps University Press, 2020). Both are available as free downloads.The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) remembers 1974 in a series of memorials and museums. I visited a number of them during my trip to Cyprus. The starting point should be the Peace and Liberty Museum at Karanoglanoglu. The usual Cyprus health warning, do not expect objectivity in Turkish or Greek museums on this subject!
|The T34/85 was the main tank deployed by the Greek National Guard.|
|3 Ton Gaz-63 trucks. Some carried the 106mm RCL.|
|British 25pdr field gun|
|Not quite sure what this is, but I suspect it is a TS APC used by the Assault Company of 21 EAN. They were initially bought to transport the SA-2 SAM. Otherwise, it is an improvised AFV.|
|These are labelled as Dingos. But I think they are Marmon Herrington Mk IVF armoured cars.|
|BTR-152VI APC. The primary National Guard carrier.|