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
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