THE ATTACK ON LERIN

The attack on Lerin was personally planned and led by the general secretary of CK of KPG Nikos Zaharijadis.

The attack started on 13 February 1949 and the monarcho-fascists knew about the attack a week in advance. To defend the town from the attack they had enough time to prepare well. They fortified the defence bunkers with more soldiers and in every bunker they placed a senior officer. The artillery was moved 5-6 kilometres east from where it had been and was now close to the village of Armenovo.

On the night of 13 February 1949, the fighting units of DAG that were to participate in the attack on Lerin set off from two different directions: from the Urdeshki vineyards and from the agricultural school (Georgiki Scholi). Their first task was to attack and destroy the heavy artillery. At the moment when the partisan units reached the positions where the heavy artillery had previously been located, instead of being able to destroy it, they were cut down by heavy fire from the artillery that had been moved. The artillery started to sow death among the partisans. The same was done by the light artillery with mine throwers from the town. The partisans saw that they were subject to a well-planned trap and instead of withdrawing with small losses, they were commanded to continue to advance toward the town, as originally planned.

One battalion managed to breach the defended circle and enter the town. No-one knows whether that was planned by the monarcho-fascist forces or whether the DAG battalion just managed to penetrate, but immediately after it entered the town, the entry point was closed. At first, the break-through seemed like a victory, but unfortunately the remaining DAG units did not manage to penetrate the defended line and enter the town.

When the battalion fighters saw they were cut off and isolated in the town, at the mercy of the enemy, and could neither withdraw nor get any help, they decided to exact the greatest price they could for their lives. That was when the bloodiest battle for Lerin commenced. The battalion fighters were attacked from every window of the houses and from the well prepared bunkers at intersections through the town. They stayed and fought to the last drop of blood. From the whole battalion not one fighter remained alive.

After daybreak, the monarcho-fascist forces took a counter offensive on the DAG units which were not protected, because they had not prepared for withdrawal. They had not even planned for withdrawal. Pressed down by the forceful attack, the DAG forces led by the general secretary of CK of KPG Nikos Zaharijadis just barely managed, with huge losses, to withdraw. On the green meadow, they left 970 dead fighters. For this unsuccessful attack, again no one took responsibility.

The meadow in Lerin where 970 partisans were killed in the attack on Lerin, February 1949.

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Lerin in Mourning
 















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