Battery PL 388 - PL 281

PL 281


Cape Diapori, altitude 72 m

  • Artillery Captain Crispino F. (Commander) 
  • Artillery Second Lieutenant Cappiardi F. (Vice Commander)

The battery was equipped with 6 guns of 76mm/40.

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

PAINTING IN THE HEART OF WAR !! In the wider area of Xerokampos and shortly after Diapori, we will meet at the mountain of Tourtoura the former Italian artillery PL288. In the beautiful main building of the camp during the German occupation, a soldier painted masterpieces on the walls, which are still preserved today! Painting may have been a tool of reaction to what he himself and the rest of Europe were experiencing during that difficult time of 1943. Man seems to create masterpieces under adverse conditions. This particular soldier seems to silently react against war and tries to leave the imprint of his existence on the lifeless walls. He has only one weapon for this imprint, a painting brush, and enough inspiration for creation. In one of these wonderful works, the protagonists are a shapely woman and a small dog that reminds you of Milou, obviously the soldier was inspired by the small white-haired Fox Terrier faithful friend of Tintin from the eponymous comic series. The work is a polyptych that is completed in five phases !! In the first painting, the dog sits with his hind legs crossed and looks curiously to the left. In the next painting, we see a beautiful lady from the interwar period walking on her elegant high-heeled shoes, wearing a fox fur around her neck! The dog notices the fur and runs after her to get it. Immediately after, the dog appears next to the lady's shapely legs and under her tight blue skirt, constantly following the fur. In the next depiction, the dog decides to free the beautiful girl from the orange fur of the unjustly killed fox, and succeeds! In the last image, we see the ecstatic Milo running with the fox fur in her mouth! All these wonderful works, as well as many others, are located in a beautiful building, in a military camp, which belongs to the public...

Frantsesko DiPierro

PL 388


Diapori Hill, altitude 135 m


It was equipped with 4 guns of 102mm/35.

It was double-purpose artillery (Anti-aircraft and Anti-surface).

The inexhaustible source of Tortura (Tortore). Tortura is one of the highest peaks of our island! It is located on the southeast side of Leros and overlooks Astropalia! The mountain Tortura is now more than three kilometers away and about 260 meters high from the pristine beach of Xerokampos. Crossing the dirt road that leads to the inexhaustible water source of Tortura, do not forget to look for the old pier, from where men were taken to the Trojan War by triremes, as Homer says in the Iliad! A little further down, you will come across the Italian telegraph. A small building where, during the Italian occupation, it was connected to underground telephone cables from heroic Kassos to the beautiful homeland of Pythagoras, Samos! Continuing and always on your right hand, you will come across the beautiful picturesque church "Panagia the Kabouromana"! Moving forward, you will reach the enchanting Diapori! There, the barracks of the PL 281 artillery still stand! Going uphill, we meet the legendary PL.388 artillery, where the German painter Otto painted beautiful murals on the walls of the Italian barracks in 1943-44, which still stand alive over the passage of time and in defiance of all those who tried, without knowing their value, to destroy them! Continuing and going uphill through a narrow path, the peaceful and serene landscape as well as the stunning view reward you before reaching the wonder of the cool source of Tortura! The curious thing is that this source is located a few meters from the rocky summit of the mountain, which the Italians called "Tortore" which probably meant turtle doves. A source that offers plentiful cool clear water to the animal and plant kingdom in winter and summer! A paradise-like place with particularly low vegetation, which emits tranquility and calmness on its own. There, the inexhaustible overflowing water is directed into two uniform small cement tanks. In this source, birds and animals quench their thirst, showing us the respect for each other, and they tell us in their own way that this land belongs to all those who live on it. On this planet, which we all call an earthly paradise, at the moment when we destroy it in any way we can. A unique inexhaustible source, in a particularly beautiful and peaceful place. As the visitor sees the place and the creatures that live harmoniously there, inevitably his thoughts are led to Plastis! Someone created all of this, someone gave them breath and they live harmoniously in our wonderful blue-green world!

Frantsesko DiPierro

Diapori Today

Photos by Markos Spanos ©

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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.

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