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Kos, Leros and the Aegean: September-November 1943

Swastika over the Aegean is a limited edition book published in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the battle for the Dodecanese and features more than 500 images including rare wartime documents, some 350 wartime photographs, colour photographs of the islands today, together with maps of Kos, Leros and the Dodecanese.

Kos, Leros and the Aegean: September-November 1943

Swastika over the Aegean

A British take-over of the Dodecanese in the autumn of 1943 led to the last decisive German victory of the Second World War. When the Wehrmacht responded with a series of offensive operations, the Eastern Aegean became the setting for a series of German air-sea landings, something not normally associated with the Wehrmacht. German infantry carried out beach assaults and, unusually, Fallschirmjäger were deployed in their intended role as paratroopers, more than two years after sustaining frightful losses in Crete. Both sides relied on air and naval forces, as well as conventional and unconventional ground forces. German paratroopers were drawn from the Luftwaffe and Division Brandenburg; the latter also fielded coastal raiders and assault troops. The Allies had on call a battalion of The Parachute Regiment, several infantry battalions, and Raiding Forces, which included the Long Range Desert Group, Special Boat Squadron, Commandos and Ieros Lohos (Greek Sacred Squadron).

By the end of November 1943, British and Dominion forces and their new Italian allies had been subjected to a resounding defeat: 234 Infantry Brigade ceased to exist, and key Aegean islands remained under German occupation until the final Allied victory.

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