Archangelo islet

Battery PL 749

PL 749


Archangelo islet, altitude 50 m

  • Artillery Lieutenant Borelli I. (Commander)
  • Artillery Second Lieutenant Polvericciani V. (Vice Commander)

It was equipped with 4 guns of 76mm/40

It was a dual-purpose artillery (Anti-aircraft and Anti-surface)

Dear friend Franco, I remember you three years ago examining a map of F.Piancenza. A map from 1688, where it labels me as Scogli and on this spot of the "rocks" it mentions the word Caloiero in a corner... You seem to be a very curious person! You have visited me at least three times and have walked me from end to end! Well, tell everyone my story, tell them what else you saw on me, tell them what you have heard and what you have read about me... But do it soon, please! Don't drag it out, because you will tire them and they will leave the text unfinished... - You truly are a beautiful island on the northern side of Leros and you are only 470 meters away from our island. You are the large rock of 2.5 kilometers that covers the Bay of Partheniou with its backs facing the North! You are the rocky islet that for years has been monitoring and informing about the danger that comes from the North, West, and East! You are the rocky islet with so much history that has withstood time and today I will testify everything I know about you. You could have been a lush green island too, but you see, for so many years, the many animals that live off your once fertile land have been devouring your beauty. They have called you a Natura area (area of natural beauty), but who cares about these foreign words... no one until today, from what I see. Indeed, the map of 1688 shows that on your peak you have a Byzantine tower, a tower that was confirmed by Giuseppe Gerola in 1916. I have also seen the remains of this tower. I have seen and photographed its white marbles... I have seen its foundations, the water tank, and so many other things that testify to its presence. I must say that people from ancient times must have inhabited you because you functioned as an observatory... Your last inhabitants were Italian sailors. They gave you a code name and called you artillery P.L.749. They loaded you with anti-aircraft and anti-ship artillery. At night, you were decorated with lights as the Italians had installed generators and spotlights on you, to deal with aerial attacks and their daily needs. In your three stone casemates, you hosted dozens of Italian sailors, with Lieutenant Borelli as their commander. I know that for 52 days, German planes bombed you day and night! This is evident from the dozens of wounds on your sides! You have hidden water sources, both natural and artificial caves. Above you, there is everything needed for families to live, just like in the past when you had permanent residents. You have so much to show that each one of us would like to visit you and walk around! However, they need to build a slightly larger pier for small boats to approach you, and to create small dirt paths that will lead visitors to the artillery, the remains of the Byzantine tower, the church of St. George, as well as the ten old cannons that the Italians brought from Libya in the 1920s and embedded in your belly as ship destroyers... I know many more things... But I will stop here as not everything will be read. Goodbye, my Archangel..! We will talk again another day.. -OK!! Next time you write about me, don't forget to mention the ship's anchor!!

Frantsesko DiPierro

Photos by Frantsesko DiPierro


  • Ελληνικά
  • English

This will close in 20 seconds

Fortification of Leros

Among the islands of the Dodecanese, Leros, due to its geographical position in the eastern Mediterranean and its special morphology, was chosen for the creation of Italy's main air and naval base in the Dodecanese.

The purpose was purely strategic: the fortification of Leros and the creation of a large military base ensured the Italians control of an area of ​​vital interest to the Great Powers. This Base, according to the planning, would have facilities for the Navy, the Air Force and the Army, as well as the necessary workshops of private companies manufacturing military equipment.

The main construction projects of the Italians in Leros, for the fortification and defense of the island, were carried out as early as 1923 and were completed at the end of the 1930s.

Among these are:

  • "Gianni Rossetti" Seaplane Base in the area of ​​Lepida 
  • Submarine Base in the adjacent area of ​​Aghios Georgios
  • New town of Portolago (nowadays Lakki), created in order to cover the housing needs created by the construction of the Aeronautical Base
  • Centro Radio Lero – the installation of the Italian telecommunications center in the area of ​​Aghios Nikolaos in Lakki
  • The headquarters of FAM - DICAT, the “FAM -  Fronte A Mare” - Coastal Defense Command and the “DICAT - Difesa Contraerea Territoriale” -  Anti-Aircraft Land Defense Command on Mount Patella, with the unique installation of the Aerophone and the Acoustic - Parabolic Wall

Along with the other defense installations of Leros, the fortification of the island with artillery began already in the mid-1920s, initially mainly for naval defense. Gradually, until the middle and mainly at the end of the 1930s, 103 guns of caliber from 76mm to 152mm were installed on almost all the heights of Leros, most of them from decommissioned battleships and cruisers of the Italian Navy from WW I, composing a network of 25 batteries, responsible for the defense of the island, both from the sea and from the air. Along with the construction of the gun emplacements, other military facilities were developed in each artillery barracks, such as material and ammunition storages, shelters, barracks and logistics buildings, as well as various other facilities. The defense network of Leros is considered a model of interwar fortification architecture (1918 – 1939).

Especially since 1936, when military zones were officially created on the island, fenced with barbed wire, the mountains and heights of Leros acquired a purely military character. The granting of compensation stops, since the cutting of the bushes was first prohibited by decree, and thus the fields were turned into forest land, and by extension they are considered the property of the Italian State. Thus, livestock breeders and farmers, losing their properties, are forced to resort to day labor, since there is indeed a lack of labor force, due to the excessive number of projects in progress. For the construction of the defense and public works of Leros, artisans are transferred from Italy, with a daily wage of 40-50 italian lire, while the Greeks receive 6-10 italian lire.

The outbreak of World War II led to the expansion and improvement, on a large scale, of military installations, but this was opposed to economic criteria and above all the lack of availability of means and the difficulties in maritime transportations. The serious shortcomings of the hasty Italian military preparation led to the dispersion of the scarce available means in many areas, all of them of high importance and therefore did not allow the care imposed on any of them.

Thus, in the Dodecanese, although the level of preparation could be described as satisfactory, in relation to infrastructure and logistics facilities, the field of armaments, and especially that of Artillery, lagged far behind, since the Dodecanese had been sent almost exclusively old-style and dissimilar weapons caliber, which did not allow the organization of defense to develop to a sufficient and satisfactory degree, which will have a huge impact on the events of September - November 1943.

This will close in 0 seconds