Bunker Archaeology: Exploring the 150 mm artillery positions in Aegina

Interviews, WW2, WW2 in Greece

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos submitted by Konstantinos Kyrimis and used by permission

Mr. Konstantinos Kyrimis an acclaimed researcher and author of the book “Exploring underground Attica: The secret WW2 bomb shelters” (Volumes I and II) shared with www.ww2wrecks.com yet another fascinating story, related to a 150 mm coastal artillery complex, located on the island of Aegina, in Greece.

This coastal artillery bunker complex is rather unique in Greece, as it is the only one resembling the German “Atlantic Wall” fortifications.

The cover of Volume IThe cover of Volume I “Exploring underground Attica: The secret WW2 bomb shelters”

Mr. Konstantinos Kyrimis tells to www.ww2wrecks.com the story of this WW2 fortification:

“From 1936 to 1940 the Hellenic Navy constructed a series of “naval strongholds” that would control access to the Saronic Gulf, Attica and the port of Piraeus in particular. Among those fortifications was the “Northern Fortress of Aegina” at Tourlos, located at the northeastern tip of the island.”

Η μπροστινή όψη της θέσης του πυροβόλου, με την χαρακτηριστική κατασκευαστική τεχνοτροπία.
Front view of the 150 mm gun emplacement. Note the size of the fortification, Mr. Konstantinos Kyrimis is standing next to the gun emplacement’s opening.

“After the capitulation of Greece in 1941, the position came under German control. The new “owners” of the fortress used the existing infrastructure for their own needs and built additional defense projects. The most striking of these is a 150 mm coastal battery, which is the only German “Atlantic Wall” type coastal battery bunker complex in Greece.”

The cover of Volume II
The cover of Volume II “Exploring underground Attica: The secret WW2 bomb shelters” 

“This coastal battery consisted of 3 guns, forming a straight line, at a distance of 50 meters apart from one another, with a line of fire towards the east.”

Απεικόνιση της τοποθεσίας στον χάρτη. Διακρίνονται τα 3 πυροβολεία (Π1 = άνευ bunker, Π2-3 = με bunker) και το παρατηρητήριο (ΠΑ).
The coastal battery is located at the northeastern tip of Aegina island

“At a distance of approximately 60 meters from the gun emplacements, there is an observation post, which – because of its location – offers a clear and unobstructed view of the whole area.”

Απεικόνιση της τοποθεσίας στον χάρτη. Διακρίνονται τα 3 πυροβολεία (Π1 = άνευ bunker, Π2-3 = με bunker) και το παρατηρητήριο (ΠΑ).
The three positions of the coastal artillery complex: Π1,without a bunker, Π2-3, with bunkers) and the observation post (ΠΑ).

“There is a also a 50 meter long underground corridor between the bunkers, carved into the mountain, possibly used as an ammunition dump. Behind each firing position, there is a 15 meters carved gallery, probably used as a storage place.”

Mεταξύ των θέσεων των πυροβόλων, υπάρχει μια ιδιαίτερα μεγάλη ευθεία λαξευμένη στοά (50 μέτρων), αδιευκρίνιστης χρήσης (ενδεχομένως να ανοίχτηκε για την ασφαλή αποθήκευση πυρομαχικών).Carved into the mountain, a 50 metres long corridor, possibly used as an ammo dump.

The first (northernmost) position is simply constructed. There is no protective structure and the base of the gun is slightly below ground level, thus providing partial cover.

Το ένα από τα 3 πυροβόλα δεν έχει υπερκατασκευή (bunker) και η βάση του πυροβόλου βρίσκεται χαμηλότερα από το έδαφος (για λόγους προστασίας). Ακριβώς από πίσω, διακρίνεται η είσοδος της μικρής (τεχνητής) σπηλιάς.
One of the 3 gun positions is simply built, with no bunker, just dug into the mountain. Right behind it, we can see the entrance to the small underground corridor.

In the other two positions, the 150 mm guns were located in “Atlantic Wall” -type bunkers.

Η είσοδος του bunker, βρίσκεται στην πίσω πλευρά του.
The main entrance of the bunker is located at the back. Note the mountain’s rock formations.

Each bunker has two levels (ground floor and basement), communicating with vertical wall-mounted metal stairs.

Entry to the lower level
Entry to the lower level
View towards the lower level
View towards the lower level, the metal staircase is visible
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Researcher and author Mr. Konstantinos Kyrimis ready to explore the lower level of the bunker

“The lower level was used as an auxiliary space. The upper level housed the 150 mm gun, mounted on a a special base and there were two smaller rooms, one on each side.”

Το παρατηρητήριο, μπροστά από τα 3 πυροβολεία.
The Observation Post, camouflaged with rocks from the area.

The dimensions of the bunker are 13 x 9 meters, while the height is approximately 2 meters in the basement and 3 meters on the ground floor. The ceiling has an inner layer of metal shielding, for extra protection.

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The ceiling is fortified with steel sheets and bars, in order to reinforce the concrete

“Indicative of the quality of the construction of these buildings is the fact that their ceilings had, externally, a special style.

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Close-up of the roof, with stones embedded in the concrete, for camouflage purposes.

In particular, there are stones embedded on each roof so as to “break” the flat shape and look like the typical barren ground of the mountain”

Excellent view across the Saronic Gulf and
Excellent view across the Saronic Gulf and rocks embedded on the roof

From a structural point of view the bunkers are still in good condition. Wall-mounted metal stairs remain robust, although their use should always be done with caution. Since the gun emplacements are in a place controlled by the Hellenic Navy, there are no modern “invaders” and therefore no graffiti or much rubbish.

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One of the 150 mm gun positions

The situation is slightly worse in the basements, where the air is slightly stifling, due to the accumulated dirt and remains of small animals, which apparently fell into the basement and could not climb up the vertical stairs.

Cables and all related equipment has been removed and – unfortunately – the same applies to the 150 mm guns. Only one gun base remains to this day.

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The main room of the bunker

 

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Reinforced roof, auxiliary rooms (right and left), basement vertical staircase (center), main entrance (to the right) and gun emplacement (bottom of the photo)
Mr. Konstantinos Kyrimis, wishes to thank the following: “National Fleet Fund”, Public Relations Department of the Hellenic Navy, Aegina Naval Detachment, Lieutenant Nikos Pantazis, Yannis Arseniadis, Thomas Kinalis, Telis Zervoudis