The battle of Leros
South Pacific Familyadventure 2008
Sun 9 Jul 2023 16:20
Since the allied landing in Italy the Italian forces had signed an armistice with the allies and Italian forces in the Dodecaneses were now fighting with the British. Having occupied Greece in 1941 the German forces wanted to remain in control also over the islands and rapidly regained control over Rhodes and Kos.
The British sent reinforcements to Leros (where the Italians had a naval base in Lakki port) which made Leros the final centre of battle between German forces and British/Italian forces.
Leros was bombed by Luftwaffe (the German airforce having complete airsuperiority in the Greek archipelago)) for 50 days and in November 1943 German parachuters and landingforces were launched on strategic places in Leros.
Fierce fighting followed until the British and Italians were finally outnumbered and saw no other option than to surrender.
On Hitlers order Italian officers were executed for treason and around 3.000 British and 5.000 Italian troops became prisoners of war.
The battle of Leros is considered the last major victory by the Germans in WW-II and is the template for many books among others "The Guns of Navarone".
We visited the warmuseum outside Lakki Port and still today Lakki port is an important navalbase for the Greek navy.
Waters around Leros are infested with wrecks from the battle which should make it a Mekka for divers.
More about that later.