Bunker Archaeology: WW2 German bunker complex in western Attica, by Konstantinos Kirimis

Interviews, WW2, WW2 in Greece

Information, research and photos by Konstantinos Kirimis

Mr. Konstantinos Kirimis, a respected researcher and author, is a regular contributor of www.ww2wrecks.com  and prepared a feature on a World War 2 bunker complex.

The plan of the first bunker.
The plan of the first bunker.

During 1943, the German occupation forces in Greece, were expecting an Allied landing.

A Tobruk-type pillbox. One of many minor fortifications, of the complex
A Tobruk-type pillbox. One of the several minor fortifications of the complex

In fact, this was deliberately circulated by the Allies, codenamed “Operation Animals”, as a distraction of the invasion that would take place in Italy, thus keeping resources and personnel in Greece, in order to face the expected Allied landings.

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The entrances are almost impossible to spot, as they do not have a superstructure and are literally covered by the overgrowth.

Operation Animals was a mission by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), in cooperation with the Greek Resistance groups ELAS, Zeus, EDES, PAO and the United States Army Air Force.

The entrances are built from stonewall and concrete.
The entrances are built from stonewall and concrete. The author, Mr. Konstantinos Kirimis carefully descends the concrete staircase.

The operation took place between 21 June and 11 July 1943 and included an organized campaign of sabotage in Greece, to deceive the Axis Powers into believing that Greece was the target of an Allied amphibious landing, instead of Sicily.

Rusted barbed wire in the entrance
Rusted barbed wire in the entrance

Despite the mission’s success, the Greek civilian population suffered from mass reprisals by the Germans and British intervention into the internal affairs of the Greek resistance exacerbated the tensions between its various components.

The entrance corridor is 10 meters underground.
The entrance corridor leads 10 meters underground.

Facing this perspective, the Germans strengthened their fortifications, all over Attica.

An arched staircase, leads to the inside of the bunker.
An arched staircase, leads to the inside of the bunker.

Among the newly built, fortified strongholds, one was built in the western coast of Attica (Voula and Glyfada suburbs).

Machine-gun nest, guarding the interior.
Mr. Konstantinos Kirimis stands inside a machine-gun nest, guarding the interior.

Today, this complex lays well-hidden, beneath the soil of Attica.

Detail of the machine-gun nest's opening.
Detail of the machine-gun nest’s opening.

The complex features various trenches and pillboxes (mainly Tobruk-type).

 The interior of the machine gun nest.
The interior of the machine gun nest.

The highlights of the complex are two huge underground bunkers, built from reinforced concrete, at a depth of 10 meters below the surface.

All chambers are accessed from a single gallery.
All chambers are accessed from a single gallery.

Both bunkers feature many similarities.

In front of the concrete water cistern
In front of the concrete water cistern

Each one has 4 entrances (two in each side, conjoining in a single entrance-corridor).

A huge in-built water-tank, assured the self-sustainability of each bunker.
The water cistern provided the sustainability of each bunker.

The entrances are protected from the inside, with machine gun nests, indicating that the use of the bunkers was not strictly for air-raid protection.

Part of the drainage system
Part of the drainage system

Most probably, they were also used as underground command posts, ammo dumps and accommodation for the garrison.

The main gallery.
The main gallery.

The inside consists of a main gallery, with various chambers on the sides.

Remains of the electric installation.
Remains of the electric installation.

In order to be self-sustained, both have a cement-built water cistern.

Each main gallery is 30-50 meters long, while the entire length (entrance hallways, main gallery, auxiliary spaces, chambers) is 100-150 meters.

Details from the inside.
Staircase, leading to the exit.

Nowadays, almost all external fortifications (pillboxes, etc) have been used as garbage dumping spaces.

One of the many storage rooms
One of the many storage rooms

However, the two bunkers (being in private properties) remain largely intact in quite good condition.

An internal corridor.
An internal corridor.

Credits: The author wishes to thank Mr. Marios Michailos, for his assistance in the photography and in creating the bunker plans.

The plan of the second bunker
The plan of the second bunker