Battle of the Dardanelles (1807)

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Battle of the Dardanelles
Part of the Russo-Turkish War (1806-1812)
Date 22–23 May 1807
Location The Dardanelles
Result Russian Victory
Russia Russian Empire Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Dmitry Senyavin Seyit Ali
10 ships of the line, 1 frigate[1] 8 ships of the line, 6 frigates, more than 50 smaller ships[1]
Casualties and losses
83 killed and wounded[1] about 2,000 killed and wounded[1]

The naval Battle of the Dardanelles took place on 10–11 May 1807 during the Russo-Turkish War (1806–12, part of the Napoleonic Wars). It was fought between the Russian and Ottoman navies near the Dardanelles Strait.

As the Turkish capital, Istanbul, heavily depended on maritime supply, Russia's Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin, in charge of ten ships of the line and a frigate, established a blockade of the Dardanelles on 6 March 1807. He maintained the blockade for two months, by the end of which period food riots broke out on the streets of Constantinople and Sultan Selim III was deposed. His successor, Mustafa IV, ordered his captains to break the blockade at any cost.

Pursuant to these orders, 8 ships of the line, 6 frigates and 55 smaller vessels under Kapudan Pasha Seyid Ali (who had fought against Senyavin two decades earlier in the Battle of Caliacria) slipped out of the Straits and prepared to land in the island of Tenedos, which served as a base for the Russian squadron in the Aegean. Senyavin decided to forestall Seyid Ali's plans and advanced against the Ottoman fleet.

After having to wait for two days against contrary winds, the wind shifted, blowing from Tenedos toward Imbros, where the Turkish fleet was moored, Senyavin ordered an immediate attack, although it was late afternoon. The Russians attacked as evening fell, continuing on into the night. After several hours of fighting, the Russians appeared victorious and the Turks had to retreat to the Dardanelles. Senyavin pursued them into the Straits and attempted to destroy three badly damaged Ottoman ships of the line, but the heavy fire of the shore batteries and darkness compelled him to give up the pursuit. Although about 1,000 Turkish sailors were killed or wounded and no Russian ship was sunk, the battle appeared indecisive. Senyavin continued to blockade the Dardanelles before engaging the Turks in the Battle of Monte Sancto a month later.

The book Naval wars in the Levant indicates that Senyavin allowed the Turks to attack Tenedos, while trying to approach from the southeast of this island to cut off their retreat to the Dardanelles, but was unable due to lack of wind, and the battle was a running battle, with the fleets ending up mixed together in the straits that night, eventually separating. Three Turkish ships of the line were left outside the straits, and these were attacked the next day, running aground just inside, but eventually were refloated, although they may not have been seaworthy.

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  1. ^ a b c d Дарданелльское сражение 1807 // Большая Российская Энциклопедия. Т. 8. 2007. С. 332