1943 – The Battle of Leros
Dive in History


Leros, part of the island complex of the Dodecanese on the southeastern edge of the Aegean Sea, became one of the last sites of historical battles where German forces prevailed over the Allies in World War II.

Immediately after Italy’s capitulation on September 8, 1943, despite American reservations, Britain decided to execute its plan to occupy the Italian-controlled islands of the eastern Mediterranean, known as the Battle of the Dodecanese.

On the morning of September 17, the first British forces landed at Portolago, today’s Lakki in Leros, aiming to defend the island from the imminent German invasion.

On September 26, 1943, the German counterattack began with intense air bombings, resulting in the sinking of the Hellenic destroyer “Queen Olga” and the British destroyer “Intrepid” at the naval base of Lakki.

For the next 52 days, the Luftwaffe dominated the Aegean airspace with continuous air raids, relentlessly pounding the island of Leros and the other islands of the Dodecanese.

On November 12, German Lieutenant General Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller initiated Operation “Taifun,” a combined airborne and amphibious assault to capture the island.

At 6:20 in the morning, powerful German amphibious forces attempted to invade Leros from the east and west. At noon, at 13:27, elite paratroopers landed in the area of the Rachi ridge, aiming to cut the island in half and unite the eastern and western fronts.

The ensuing battles were particularly fierce, culminating in the victory of the Wehrmacht forces and the occupation of Leros four days later, on November 16, 1943.

The toll was tragic, with hundreds of British, Italian, and German soldiers losing their lives, and thousands more becoming prisoners of war. Scores of Greek sailors, as well as locals, paid with their blood to defend the island.

The wreckage from the Battle of Leros presented here undoubtedly serves as another material historical testament to the severity of war, awakening memories of events that marked the course of humanity.

Subtitles: English, Greek, German

Director: Nikolas Margaritis
Screenplay: Andreas Andrikopoulos & Nikolas Margaritis
Produced by: Top2Bottom Diving Team
Historical research: Andreas Andrikopoulos & Dimitris Galon
Film Edit: Nikolas Margaritis
Director of Photography: Nikolas Margaritis
Divers: Andreas Andrikopoulos, Nikolas Margaritis, Christos Michail, Akis Seisidis, Vassilis Tsiaris, Mpountouris Ventouris
Dive Support: Hydrovius Diving Center
Location: Leros, Greece
Cover photo: Nikolas Margaritis