By Pierre Kosmidis
Photos © Andreas Galanos, exclusively submitted to www.ww2wrecks.com and used by permission.
Milos island in the Aegean Sea, Greece was an important German base during WW2. Heavily fortified, Milos island served as a naval hub, with an airfield, radar facilities, bunker complexes and other military installations.
On the south western side of the island of Milos on mount Topakas, the Germans built a base, which featured a “Freya” radar .
This radar was part of the early warning system network on Milos island, which was combined with the “FuMG 65 Würzburg-Riese” at Provatas on the southern side of the island. The radar had an unobstructed view all across the sea up to Crete island, with a maximum range of 100 kilometres.
In November 1944, the tide of war had turned against the Germans, who had already evacuated mainland Greece, since October. Many German garrisons on the Greek islands of the Aegean were left stranded, unable to be evacuated and therefore remaining in Milos, Crete and other islands until after WW2 was over in 1945.
On November 13th, 1944 a daring mission was initiated: The conquest and destruction of the radar station on Topakas mountain.
Approximately 50 Royal Marines from HMS Easton, led by Captain Arnold Bell, attacked the Germans, managed to capture some and take them back to HMS Easton. The skirmish cost the lives of 4 Royal Marines: Captain Arnold Bell and Marines R. Batchelor, H. Bowkett and A. Brown. While the remaining British Marines returned to their ship, the Germans hastily destroyed the radar and the other installations, before retreating further inland in Milos island.
In 1998, the son of Captain Bell placed a memorial plaque at the place where the four Marines were killed in action. These four men are now buried at the Phaleron War Cemetery in Athens.
Today, the Topakas mountain Radar Station lays ruined as it has been since November 1944, yet offers a unique glimpse into the turbulent days of WW2 in Greece.
Mr. Andreas Galanos, has visited Topakas in September 2022 and shares with www.ww2wrecks.com photos from the area.