Battle of Leros

Battle Of Leros

Military Conflict
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Battle of Leros

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The Battle of Leros () was the central event of the Dodecanese Campaign of the Second World War, and is widely used as an alternate name for the whole campaign. Leros was occupied by British forces on 15 September 1943. The Battle of Leros itself began with the German air attacks on 26 September, and culminated in the landings on 12 November, ending with the capitulation of the Allied forces four days later.

Background

The island of Leros is part of the Dodecanese island group in the south-eastern Aegean Sea, which had been under Italian occupation since the Italo-Turkish War. During Italian rule, Leros, with its excellent deep-water port of Lakki (Portolago), was transformed into a heavily-fortified aeronautical base, "the Corregidor of the Mediterranean", as Mussolini boasted.

After the fall of Greece in April 1941 and the Allied loss of the island of Crete in May, Greece and its many islands were occupied by German and Italian forces. With the surrender of Italy on 8 September 1943 however, the Greek islands, which were strategically vital to Churchill, became reachable for the first time since the loss of Crete.

The United States was skeptical about the operation, which it saw as an unnecessary diversion from the main front in Italy. This was confirmed at the Quebec Conference, where it was decided to divert all available shipping from the Eastern Mediterranean. Nonetheless, the British went ahead, albeit with a severely scaled-down force. In addition to...
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