Today many of the Greek islands of the Dodecanese are popular tourist resorts. However in 1943 they were the scene of the last successful German invasion of the Second World War. The islands had been occupied by the Italians since 1912 but, Italian Armistice of September with the downfall of Benito Mussolini, Winston Churchill seized the opportunity to open a new front in the eastern Mediterranean. Rejected by the Americans, it was a proposal fraught with difficulties and, ultimately, one that was doomed to failure. British garrison troops occupied territory with the assistance of naval forces, but with little or no air cover. They were opposed by some of Germany's finest, including units of the esteemed Division Brandenburg, with ample air and sea support. Three months of operations ended in a British defeat and with the Aegean under German occupation until the end of the war. The author has drawn on British, German and Italian sources and uses graphic eyewitness accounts to provide a detailed retelling of the struggle for possession of the Dodecanese, and the battles for Kos and Leros in particular.
Anthony Rogers grew up in Malta where he later served in the Royal Marines Commandos. As a freelance photojournalist in the 1980s and 1990s he covered wars on three continents. More recently, an enduring interest in the Second World War has resulted in the publication of Battle over Malta (2000) and the writing of Churchill's Folly.