Battle of Spilia

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Battle of Spilia
Part of Cyprus Emergency
Date 12 December 1955
Location Cyprus
Result EOKA tactical victory
Belligerents
EOKA United Kingdom British troops
Commanders and leaders
Georgios Grivas
Grigoris Afxentiou
unknown
Strength
12 guerrilla warriors[1] United Kingdom 700
Casualties and losses
None United Kingdom250

The Battle of Spilia was fought on 12 December 1955 in the EOKA campaign against the British in Cyprus.[2]

Acting on information provided by an informant,[3] 700 soldiers of the British Army[3] attempted to encircle the headquarters of EOKA General Georgios Grivas on the Troodos mountains near the village of Spilia.[4] As they ascended the mountain, EOKA guerrillas spotted them. Grivas divided his troops in two, keeping half with himself to fight the units coming from the north side while sending his second-in-command Grigoris Afxentiou to fight the rest of the British who were ascending on the south side. Both EOKA units retreated to the summit of the mountain after engaging the enemy and then proceeded, in heavy fog, to escape towards the west. Soon, the British units from the north and the ones from the south reached the summit and, unable to see clearly in the fog, and in the belief that they were surrounded by EOKA fighters, started shooting and calling in airstrikes at each other for eight hours[4] with 250 casualties — 127 deaths, 102 injuries, and 21 missing, it was the highest friendly fire incident of the war.[3][5]

This was a renowned battle in the EOKA campaign to unite Cyprus with Greece (1955–1959), it was significant in that a British victory at Spilia would have ended the campaign in its very first year since General Grivas had concentrated his guerrilla fighters, nearly thirty of them, there.[6] Instead, the struggle went on and led, if not to union (Enosis), to the independence of Cyprus.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Η θρυλική μάχη στα Σπήλια. Ο ηρωικός Γρηγόρης Αυξεντίου στήνει παγίδα θανάτου στους Βρετανούς, που μπερδεύονται και αλληλοεξοντώνονται!". Μήχανη του Χρώνου. 
  2. ^ The Memoirs of General Grivas, edited by Charles Foley, p. 54
  3. ^ a b c The Memoirs of General Grivas, edited by Charles Foley, p. 57
  4. ^ a b The Memoirs of General Grivas, edited by Charles Foley, p. 56
  5. ^ People of the Eok: British Military Personnel of the Cyprus Emergency, British People of the Cyprus Emergency, Cypriot People of the Eoka. General Books. Jun 1, 2010. p. 75. ISBN 1-156-10372-X. 
  6. ^ The Memoirs of General Grivas, edited by Charles Foley, p. 55
  • [1] Grigoris Afxentiou, a Cypriot fighter
  • [2] Learn About Cyprus article (Greek language article about Grigoris Afxentiou)