Battlefield Archaeology: 1941-2017 – The abandoned WW2 bunkers at Aegina Island, Greece

WW2, WW2 in Greece, WW2 Wrecks

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos by George Karidis, used by permission

Period photo: © Flemming M. Christiansen – Collection Dimitris Galon, used by permission

The traditional fishing village of Perdika, which is 9 kilometers from the port of Aegina island, Greece, has a past that reminds us of World War 2.

Within walking distance from Perdika, a massive bunker complex consisting of concrete observation posts, coastal gun batteries and other military installations, echo the events of World War 2.

Mr. George Karidis walked around the abandoned structures and shares with www.ww2wrecks.com a wonderful collection of photographs, which show the current state of the once feared bunker complex.

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For reference, a WW2 period photo by Mr. Flemming Melin Christiansen from Mr. Dimitris Galon’s collection, shows that the concrete structures remain pretty much as they were, when they were built in the late 1930s by the Greek Government.

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Aegina island was of strategic importance for the access control to the port of Piraeus and prior to as well as during World War 2 the island was heavily fortified, with several installations covering all directions with gun batteries, anti aircraft guns, searchlights, as well as a minefield that was meant to obstruct enemy shipping and submarines from entering the Saronic Gulf.

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Combined with similar defensive constructions across the Gulf in Attica and in smaller islands in the Saronic, the Greeks ensured that the approaches to the port of Piraeus would be safeguarded from enemy naval ships.

The bunker is located close to Perdika village, Aegina island
The bunker is located close to Perdika village, Aegina island

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Historical researcher Dimitris Galon in his article regarding the Aegina Island fortified positions, which was published in issue 594 of the “Naval Review” (in Greek), highlights the fact that the bunker complex of Perdika was built right before the start of World War 2 by Greeks at a cost of 2 billion drachmas in a requisitioned area which covered roughly 83 acres.

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The Southern Bunker Complex of Aegina was equipped with three 178 mm guns, from the Greek  Battleship “Lemnos” (former USS Idaho BB-24) , which was already obsolete at the beginning of WW2 and was therefore stripped of her guns.

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Other armament at the bunker complex of Perdika included three 76 mm guns (again stripped from “Lemnos”), three T40/39 anti aircraft guns and other instruments necessary for fire mission control, along with underground ammunition dumps.

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Following the capitulation of Greece in 1941, the Germans swiftly moved in and manned the bunker complex for their own use. In the photo above, by Mr. George Karidis, we can see the observation post and machine gun bunker, which was the biggest of its type in Greece, built by the Greek mechanical engineer A. Tzarbinos in 1937-38.

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With an unobstructed view, the bunker overlooks the seaways around the souther parts of Aegina island.

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A WW2 relic, one of the guns of the Perdika Batteries lies today among the ruins.

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Close-up of the same gun

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Position of the gun at the concrete emplacement

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A machine gun post controlling the coastal zone

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A gun battery emplacement

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Underground concrete ammunition dumps

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A concealed machine gun post for the protection of the bunker complex

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Military accommodation building

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The machine gun posts were built with concrete and local elements, such as rocks, were used to camouflage them.

 

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Other concrete constructions in the area, possibly a water cistern

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Several buildings remind us that soldiers once swarmed the area and manned the complex.

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Many of the underground bunkers still have their steel doors.

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Another machine gun post

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The area belongs to the Hellenic Navy.