On Vis

Oct 7, 2015 |

A double entendre. Indeed. Or treble.

My interest in the island was first stimulated by Jasper Ridley’s biography of Tito (only two reviewers on Amazon. Both give it five out of five. Which begs the question why only two reviewers? Josip Broz – Tito – was a titan for several decades from the middle of the twentieth century).

Why did a biography of Tito generate interest? Well, it was a picture of the cave where Tito held key meetings in the Second World War, so they say. Locally, known as Titova špilja, there is a photograph of Tito holding court with partisan leaders, in Ridley’s biography, that holds the imagination. The image can be seen at http://www.dalmatianet.com/sightseeing-spots/titos-cave-on-island-vis

The major military campaigns elsewhere in Europe overshadow the Allied activity on Vis for whilst Tito was on the island for only a few months, the Allies had an emergency airfield, particularly for returning bombers trying to make Italy, and Vis was home to the Special Raiding Regiment which carried out a number of assaults on other islands.

Post 1945, Vis became a closed island. The Yugoslav navy had submarine pens and coastal artillery installations here. In fact, one submarine pen was completed as recently as 1982 and can be explored. The entrance to the pen makes a useful mooring point for yachts – although it’s quite some distance from Vis Town.

Tunnel, Photo Credit: Dr Graham Busby 2015

Tunnel, Photo Credit: Dr Graham Busby 2015

The most recently completed submarine pen – the view from inside

Photo Credit: Dr Graham Busby 2015

Photo Credit: Dr Graham Busby 2015

A coastal artillery battery – the gun ran out on rails

The emergency airfield at Plisko Polje on Vis… archive video footage at the Imperial War Museum shows aircraft using this facility

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