Battle of Spilia

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

The British - possibly through betrayal - found the headquarters of EOKA General Grivas-Digenis on the Troodos mountains near the village of Spilia. As they ascended the mountain, they were spotted by EOKA guerrilas. 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, fought each other with some 50 casualties.

This was the first major 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. Instead, the struggle went on and led, if not to union (Enosis), to independence of Cyprus five years later.