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
Date 29 August 1824
Location Southeast Aegean
Result Greek victory
Belligerents
Greece First Hellenic Republic  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Admiral Andreas Miaoulis 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] 2200 cannons
Casualties and losses
at least 9 branders[citation needed] one 44 guns frigate, Tunisian admiral and one Egyptian colonel captured[2]

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 (julian calendar), 1824, a Greek fleet of 75 ships defeated an Ottoman armada of 100 ships[3] 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.

Opposing forces[edit]

Ottoman fleet: Ottoman and Egyptian flotillas, Tunisian and Tripolitan squadrons

Greek fleet: Hydriot, Spetsiot and Psarian squadrons

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 29th 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.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. C. Anderson, Naval Wars In The Levant, 1559-1853, p.496
  2. ^ Thomas Gordon, History of the Greek Revolution, t. 2 p.154-155
  3. ^ Zanakos, Avgoustinos (July 6, 2003). "H ναυμαχία του Γέροντα (The Battle of Gerontas)". To Vima (in Greek). Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  4. ^ Jack Sweetman, "The Great Admirals: Command at Sea, 1587-1945", p. 231