Cape Katsouni,
PL 250 & PL 227

Battery PL 250 & Battery PL 227

PL 250


Cape Katsouni, altitude 6 m.

  • Artillery Captain Roberto Pacciani (Commander)

It was equipped with 3  guns of 76mm/40.

It was adouble-purpose artillery (Anti-aircraft and Anti-surface)

PL 227


Cape Katsouni, altitude 66 m.

  • Artillery Captain Roberto Pacciani (Commander)
  • Artillery Second Lieutenant Vicari C. (Vice Commander)


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

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

Porto Lago - Lakki!! One of the largest natural harbors in the eastern Mediterranean!! The two ends of its entrance are called Agistro and Katsouni. There, at the northern end of the harbor, in Katsouni, the Italians set up the artillery batteries with the code numbers PL250 and PL 227. At a height of 6 and 10 meters from the sea, they built a complex series of defensive works among the rugged cliffs of the area and managed to connect the artillery batteries with communication channels. The purpose of this huge project was to guard the harbor, which hosted dozens of ships, submarines, and seaplanes. A series of artillery batteries against ships and anti-aircraft systems dominated the area. Shelters, bunkers, military houses, tanks, and a road network are still there to remind us of the special significance that the harbor of Lakkio had for them. The commander of the two coastal artillery batteries was the tough Captain of the Artillery Roberto Pacciani, assisted by the Lieutenant of the Artillery Vincenzo Sirizotti. Both were determined not to allow any enemy ship to violate the security of this harbor. A harbor that was protected both by artillery and by an underwater installation of triple barriers, as the distance from cape to cape at the entrance did not exceed 400 meters. The fighters of Pl 250 immediately after the surrender order rendered the artillery useless by throwing the shells into the sea and then boarded a speedboat that took them to the shores of Turkey. Today, a sad sight meets the eyes of visitors! The military buildings now accommodate goats, the former artillery is nonexistent as it was cut and sold for metal, the iron fences were blown up by order of the British, the once life-saving docks are used as storage for useless materials, while a bunker that was erected with so much effort and passion is now collapsing. My camera bears witness to all these things I write. A harbor that even in our days plays a crucial role in military operations. These were, in a few words, the two artillery batteries PL 227 and PL 250! They were the ones that did not allow any German ship to violate the entrance at all!!

Frantsesko DiPierro

PL 250 Today

Photos by Markos Spanos ©

PL 227 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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