Battle of Gerontas

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Battle of Gerontas
Part of the Greek War of Independence
Map of the battle of Geronta.JPG
Plan of the battle
Date29 August 1824 (O.S.)
Location
Southeast Aegean
Result Greek victory
Belligerents
Greece First Hellenic Republic  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Admiral Andreas Miaoulis
Dimitrios Papanikolis
Husrev Pasha
Strength
70-75 warships (of them 9 branders)
800 cannons
1 battleship,
18 frigates,
14 corvettes,
70 brigs and schooners,
30 small craft and 151 transports (most probable estimate), not all engaged[1]
Casualties and losses
Unknown one 44-gun frigate destroyed
1,300 killed[2]
Tunisian admiral and one Egyptian colonel captured[3]

The Battle of Gerontas (Greek: Ναυμαχία του Γέροντα) was a naval battle fought close to the island of Leros in the southeast Aegean Sea. On August 29 (O.S), 1824, a Greek fleet of 75 ships defeated an Ottoman armada of 100 ships[4] contributed to by Egypt, Tunisia and Tripoli.

The Battle of Gerontas was one of the most decisive naval engagements of the Greek War of Independence and secured the island of Samos under Greek control.

Background[edit]

In August 1824 the Ottomans looked to secure the island of Samos off the coast of the Asian minor, a previous attempt launched earlier in the month on 5 August (O.S.) resulted in an Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Samos and caused delay. By 29 August the Ottoman fleet had grown to some 100 warships and launched an attack on the scattered Greek forces who's fleet made up a force of some 70-75 warships.[5]

The battle[edit]

After the battle off Kos island 24 August 1824, the Greek detachment of 15 ships was anchored in the Gerontas bay, while the rest of the fleet drifted in open sea because of the lack of wind. On the morning of 29 August 1824, the 86 warships of the Ottoman and Egyptian flotilla detected the Greek fleet and proceeded with a pincer movement, using advantageous winds. The Greek fleet in the bay had to resort to towing their ships by lifeboats to reach a more advantageous position for fighting.

The wave of Greek fireships disorganized Ottoman lines sufficiently for all of the Greek ships to escape from Gerontas bay. Later a shift in the wind put the Greek fleet in the advantage, allowing a second attack by fireships. One of the fireships burned the Tunisian flotilla flagship. Because the Greek fireships selectively targeted the enemy flagships, the Ottoman commanders panicked and ordered their ships to leave the battle lines, leading to confusion and the unorganized retreat of the Ottoman forces.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. C. Anderson, Naval Wars In The Levant, 1559-1853, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1952, p.496
  2. ^ Clodfelter, Micheal (May 9, 2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015, 4th ed. McFarland. p. 191. ISBN 9781476625850.
  3. ^ Thomas Gordon, History of the Greek Revolution, t. 2 p.154-155
  4. ^ Zanakos, Avgoustinos (July 6, 2003). "H ναυμαχία του Γέροντα (The Battle of Gerontas)". To Vima (in Greek). Retrieved 2008-03-27.
  5. ^ Conflict and conquest in the Islamic world : a historical encyclopedia. Mikaberidze, Alexander. Santa Barbara, Calif. p. 335. ISBN 1598843362. OCLC 763161287.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ Jack Sweetman, "The Great Admirals: Command at Sea, 1587-1945", p. 231