Cape Thymari

Battery PL 989

PL 989


Cape Thymari (Fakoudia)
altitude 61 m

  • Artillery Lieutenant Farro Gaetano (Commander)
  • Artillery Second Lieutenant Eusepi Bernardini (Vice Commander)

It was equipped with 4 guns of 76mm/40

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

In the northernmost region of the island, stands almost untouched one of the Italian artillery batteries, with code number PL.989. At a height of sixty-one meters above the sea, a defensive complex of artillery was set up, which had as its main purpose the defense of the island. At Cape Thymari, endless battles took place against enemy aircraft and ships. During the critical days of the battles, according to the new plan devised by the Allies, leadership was given to the English General Tinley, bypassing the previous Italian commander Mascherpa. The new arrival General Tinley divided the island into three sectors: North, Central, and South. He placed English commanders in all sectors and gave second-in-command to Italian officers. In the northern sector, where among other things the artillery battery we visited with a friend belonged, the commander was Lieutenant Colonel Iggulden with Italian Lieutenant Colonel Vittorio Meneghini as his deputy. In PL 989. IV 76/40, the unit was commanded by Major Farro C with Lieutenant Eusepi B as his deputy. In the narrow channel of Archangelos, apart from the fact that three anti-submarine nets had been placed, there was also an artillery complex in the entire northern sector, which made it impossible for any plan conceived by the human mind to access. The islands that had airports were the island of Kos, as well as the island of Rhodes. Before the Battle of Leros, the Germans had managed to gain control over these two islands. The allies turned to the Turkish leadership requesting the coastal airports. However, the Turks refused to give them up, so the Germans bombarded the island undisturbed for 52 days. From September 26, 1943, to October 31, 1943, there were 141 formations that passed over Leros, consisting of a total of 6,024 planes. The anti-aircraft artillery of the island fired 150,000 rounds. I present to you in a photograph the detailed table of the German attacks at that time, as well as the Italian military map of that time! This artillery is located in the most beautiful spot of Leros, where with the naked eye you can see the islands of Patmos, Lipsi, Agathonisi, Trupit, Patelidi, Samos, Archangelos, Faradonisia, and the two Kalapodia, among others that I apologize for not mentioning. Today, the artillery is under the occupation of the sheepfolds, where these unfortunate ones have found shelter for so many years! It would be wrong of me not to mention that at 150 meters there is an ancient temple, which is also under occupation and ready to be sold! As my dear friend, a shepherd of the area, told me, the ancient and very important temple that I mentioned earlier is included in the alleged ownership of a prominent member of our society. The temple is depicted on Francesco P.'s map as Selene.

Frantsesko DiPierro

Cape Thymari 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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