Le rose insanguinate

Frantsesko DiPierro

War Life Stories

Era la primavera del 1942 quando un pilota dell’Aeronautica Militare italiana decise, nel modo più audace, di offrire alla sua amata un mazzo di rose per dimostrarle il suo amore! Il giovane pilota italiano prestò servizio presso la base aeronautica di Lepida o Rossetti.

Era una tranquilla mattinata di un giorno di primavera, quando quel giovane romantico voleva far volare il suo idrovolante da caccia sopra la sua casa e far cadere dall’abitacolo un mazzo di rose rosse nel cortile della sua amata. Sfidando la bassa quota e sfiorando il tetto della casa con le ali dell’aereo, compì l’ultima e fatale manovra della sua vita.

Frantsesko DiPierro

Con un tonfo inquietante, l’aereo precipitò e si schiantò nelle acque poco profonde della baia, a duecento metri da dove il Mulino di Ag. Marina.

La cattiva notizia si diffuse rapidamente e tutto Leros fu sconvolto dalla tragica fine del giovane. Il comando di base ha proceduto rapidamente a districarsi nell’uomo, con l’aiuto del subacqueo Lerian Gankis. Ma nonostante i rapidi e abili sforzi del subacqueo, il giovane pilota fu ritrovato morto e trasportato con un battello al molo di Ag. Marina.

Le rose rosse del pilota appassite nel cortile della bella bruna “Italida”. Si dice che alcune persone del quartiere abbiano sentito per anni un aereo sorvolare la sua casa di notte!

Questa storia molto romantica e triste mi è stata trasmessa dai miei amici Karpathios Yiannis, Frantzis Kouvas e Anna Kalogeropoulou. Queste persone hanno visto e vissuto questa tragica storia di due giovani amanti.

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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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