Battle of Athos

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Battle of Athos
Part of the Russo-Turkish War (1806-1812)
Battle of Athos 1807.jpg
The Battle of Athos by Alexey Bogolyubov
Date 19–22 June 1807
Location between Mount Athos and Lemnos.
Result Decisive Russian Victory
Belligerents
 Russian Empire  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Russian Empire Dmitry Senyavin

Russian Empire Aleksey Greig

Ottoman Empire Seyit Ali
Ottoman Empire Bekir Bey (POW)
Strength
10 ships of the line 10 ships of the line, 5 frigates, 3 sloops, 2 brigs
Casualties and losses
77 killed, 189 wounded 3 ships of the line, 2 frigates,

1 sloop, 1,000 killed, 774 prisoners

The naval Battle of Athos (also known as the Battle of Monte Sancto and the Battle of Lemnos) took place from the 19 to 22 June 1807 and was a key naval battle of the Russo-Turkish War (1806–12, part of the Napoleonic Wars). It was fought a month after the Battle of the Dardanelles.

The battle was triggered by Dmitry Senyavin's retreat from the Dardanelles, which he had been blockading since March, towards the Russian naval base at Tenedos. The Ottoman commander, Kapudan Pasha Seyit-Ali, ventured with 9 battleships, 5 frigates and 5 other vessels out of the strait into the Aegean Sea. Thereupon Senyavin returned to cut off his retreat and fell upon the Ottoman fleet halfway between Mount Athos and Lemnos. Trying to avoid a battle or distraction from Tenedos, the Turkish fleet went around him on the south side and rushed to the west. Senyavin, leaving the smaller ships to help the fortress, set out to find the enemy, and found him on 19 June in an unsettled situation at anchor between the island of Lemnos and Athos Mountain.

From his previous experience, Senyavin had learned that the Ottomans fought bravely unless their flagship was sunk or taken captive. He therefore ordered Aleksey Greig and other captains of his battleships to concentrate their attack on the three Ottoman flagships, whilst other Russian vessels were to prevent Ottoman frigates from delivering help.

The Russians approached in two parallel lines of five battleships each, turning north to run alongside the Ottoman line. During the battle 3 Ottoman battleships and four frigates - around one third of the Sultan's fleet - were either sunk or forced aground. The rest retired to the safety of the Dardanelles. On the way they scuttled another battleship and a frigate near Thasos on 4 July and lost a frigate and a sloop near Samothrace on about 5 July.

In the morning of 20 June it was revealed that the whole Turkish fleet, catching a tailwind, was going north to the island of Thassos. A battleship and two frigates (the former captain of the ship helped Bey) were cut off their squadron by the Russians. On 21 June Senyavin dispatched rear-admiral Greig with three ships of the line in pursuit of the latter, but the Turkish sailors threw their ships ashore and burned them. At dawn of 22 June in the retreating Turkish squadron exploded another battleship and a frigate, and two damaged frigates sank off the island of Samothrace. Of the 20 Turkish ships in Dardanelles, only 12 returned.

Russian Fleet after the Battle of Athos, by Aleksey Bogolyubov (1824-96).

On 23 June Senyavin decided not to pursue the enemy and return to help beleaguered Tenedos. However, due to the wind and calms he arrived there just on 25 June. Turkish troops surrendered, and, leaving all their guns and arms, were transported to the Anatolian coast.

As a result of the battle, the Ottoman Empire lost a combat-capable fleet for more than a decade and signed an armistice with Russia on 12 August.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Bond, Brian. & Roy, Ian. War and Society London (1977) ISBN 0-85664-404-8
  • Naval wars in the Levant 1559-1853 (1952) - R. C. Anderson. ISBN 1-57898-538-2
  • Treadea, John; Sozaev, Eduard (2010). Russian Warships in the Age of Sail, 1696–1860: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-058-1. 

External links[edit]