The "Limnes" project was a product of the imagination of the KKE leader Nikos Zachariadis. It was put by him in the 3rd Plenary and of course, "democratically", it was approved. The 3rd Plenary took place on September 11, 1947 in Yugoslavia and the plan was called "The Lakes" because of the nearby Prespa...
OF PANTELI KARYKAS
The "Limnes" plan provided for the tripling of the strength of the "Democratic Army of Greece" (DSE), so that it has 60,000 fighters by the spring of 1948 from the 24,000 it had in September 1947, i.e. within 6-7 months! Since throughout its life the DSE failed to recruit, mostly by force, only a few thousand men and women, the plan was utopian by definition.
But this point was the most digestible. In addition to increasing its strength, the DSE had to fully equip its 60,000 fighters, at a time when it did not have sufficient heavy weaponry for its existing divisions. It was also foreseen the gathering of material of engineering responsibility and transmissions and means of transport. Also the DSE would turn into a regular army. The goal was the "liberation" of an extensive area in northern Greece centered on Thessaloniki with the parallel declaration of a "democratic government".
He states the plan:“First basic purpose. Restoration of territorial unity between Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly. This will allow us to transfer to the south serious material reinforcements to achieve the development of the forces of the DSE in the regions of Thessaly, Roumeli and Peloponnese and their serious operations and thus ensure the maximum possible dispersion of the enemy's forces and, consequently, to relieve the regions of Central and Western Macedonia.
"Second main objective:Restoration of territorial unity between the mountains of Hassia - Pieria - Olympus - Kissavos. Stable dominance of the DSE on the Kozani plateau up to the Axios river with a center of gravity towards the Edessa - Arnisa and Kastania passages with the aim of cutting off Western Macedonia from the south and the east. At the same time strengthening of Central Macedonia from the side of Western and Eastern Macedonia.
"Third main objective:To undertake a decisive aggressive effort to create a free area in the area of Konitsa - Metsovo, Grevena - Tsotili - Nestorio" .
It was also provided for by territorial division:"Epirus. Permanent installation in the area of Pagoni and Laka Souli and ensuring control on the Arta - Preveza - Ioannina artery. Thessaly. Repulsion of the enemy from the central mountain range of Pindos (Koziakas – Agrafa) and the DSE positions there.
"Rumeli. Dominance of the DSE on the road Lamia - Karpenisi with the aim of restoring territorial unity between Thessaly and Roumeli. Strengthening of control on the main road axis Athens - Lamia with the aim of anchoring along this artery the maximum possible of the enemy's forces. Promotion to Mount Parnitha (near Athens), business development on the island of Evia and restoration of direct contact with the Peloponnese in order to achieve the transfer of material there.
"Eastern Macedonia - Thrace. Increase in the forces of the DSE up to 10,000 men. Fortification of the DSE forces in eastern Macedonia and such a disposition of them as to allow our own sovereignty on the plateau of Zirnovo. Separation of Thrace with permanent and stable establishment of serious forces of the DSE in the sector of Mount Haidu.
The plan envisaged, even more improbable things, such as the acquisition and deployment of anti-aircraft guns and even worse coastal guns and fighter aircraft, light craft to lay sea mines.
Of the above, of course, little was done. On December 23, 1947, a "provisional democratic government" was established, but with a village as its capital, which was never recognized by the "democratic socialist countries". The next day the DSE attacked Konitsa, but was ultimately defeated, unable to even secure a town as a capital.
Takis Lazaridis reports in this regard:"They destroy grandiose plans (e.g. the "Lakes" plan) for the creation of large reserves, the occupation of large cities and the liberation of extensive areas that were impossible to carry out and of course were never carried out. And the funniest thing about the case is that Zachariadis presents the "Lakes" plan as a product of staff processing while, as it turns out, the military leaders of the DSE had no idea...
"Desperately trying to thicken, even with Slavo-Macedonians, the ranks of the Democratic Army that had been hopelessly thinned by the constant bleeding, they are heating up the "Macedonian" again . Ruthless and indifferent to the consequences, in the 5th Plenary Session in January 1949 they proclaim:
"There should be no doubt that as a result of the victory of the DSE and the people's revolution, the Macedonian people will find their complete national restoration as they want it , offering his blood today to acquire her".
At the same time, the DSE turned into a regular army, but a regular army without serious artillery, with few heavy weapons, no reserves, with undermanned units, without valuable cadres and with a composition not always so "Greek".
Throughout the war, about 100,000 male and female fighters passed through the ranks of the DSE, mostly young, even teenagers. Of these, the vast majority came from forced or even involuntary conscription. More fanatical were the Slavo-Macedonians who expected "national restoration" from the DSE. The Slavo-Macedonians constituted an average of 20% of the DSE strength, depending on the period. An attempt was also made to recruit Thracian Muslims, but it did not work for religious reasons.
The worst thing was that the DSE tried to recruit Albanian Tsamides, the slaughterers of the Greeks, who had been expelled from Greece by the EDES. The first relevant request in Tirana was made by Markos Vafiadis in 1947, precisely in an attempt to gather the fighters foreseen by the "Lakes" plan.
Other requests followed in 1948 which were rejected and in 1949 which were accepted by the government but not by the Tsamis who had not overcome the fear of the Greeks. So only about 150 joined the DSE.