Bombardment of Samsun
The Bombardment of Samsun was a naval operation carried out by the United States Navy and the Greek Navy. The ships fired 400 rounds at the town, in return the single Turkish cannon in the town fired back 25 rounds. The bombardment lasted almost three hours (15:02-18:00).
There were several reasons for the bombardment. One of them was to assist Greek rebels, fighting Turkish forces in the area. Another reason was to disrupt consignment of weapons and ammunition into inner Anatolia. Moreover, Turkish sailing boats were taking over Greek ships in the Black Sea and were putting them into Turkish service. Recently a large Greek ship named Enosis had been taken over by one Turkish officer and five soldiers on 25 April 1922. These incidents were angering the Greeks.
In the end, the attack did not cause any damage to the Turkish logistical system or military material, though it caused damage to civilian properties and loss of civilian lives. The ships stayed in Samsun until being recalled back to Constantinople. Around eight pm, US Navy Admiral Robert L. Ghormley went ashore, accompanied by a pharmacist, to see if any Americans were injured or dead.
The New York Times reported about the incident on 11 June 1922, stating that the Greeks claim the firing was directed against the ammunition dumps. The newspaper further mentioned that few lives were lost and the warehouse of the American Tobacco Company was slightly damaged. The New York Times published another article about the incident on 12 June. The article wrote that the commander of an American torpedo boat destroyer at Samsun reported, contrary to the Greek report, there were 90 casualties as a result of the bombardment and a portion of the town was destroyed. The ammunition depots belonging to the Turks, which were situated three miles inland, were not damaged.
Civilian properties damaged or destroyed by the bombardment include:
The governor´s office destroyed, the house of the Greek priest partially damaged, three houses belonging to local Greeks destroyed, one shop (Alston) partially damaged, one shop belonging to a Greek destroyed (value of loss 30,000 liras), 25-26 houses belonging to Turks destroyed, 19 houses belonging to Turks damaged, 19 barges damaged (cost of repairs 1,500 liras), Armenian church and its orphanage damaged, one sentry house destroyed, a depot belonging to the local merchants destroyed, gasoline and kerosene in the petroleum depot belonging to the municipality burned off: 9,496 tinplate containers of American kerosene, 19,800 tinplate containers of Russian kerosene, 41,700 tinplate containers of kerosene, 6,000 kg Russian gasoline, 33,000 kg gasoline belonging to the municipality and 38,368 kg mercantile gasoline).
As a result of the bombardment, there were four dead and three wounded among Turkish civilians.
- Samsun′u Bombalayan Yunan Zırhlısı, tarihtendersler.com; Article about the bombardment of Samsun. (Turkish)
- Hulki Cevizoğlu, 1919'un Şifresi (Gizli ABD İşgalinin Belge ve Fotoğrafları), Ceviz Kabuğu Yayınları, Aralık 2007, ISBN 9789756613238. (Turkish)
- Doğanay, Rahmi; İstiklal Harbinde Samsun’daki Amerikan Filosu, Geçmişten Geleceğe Samsun, Samsun 2006, (pages 163-174). (Turkish)
- 90 CASUALTIES IN SAMSUN.; American Officer's Report Differs From Greek Account of Bombardment., New York Times, article from 12 June 1922.
- Cevizoğlu, 2007, page 66
- Mustafa Hergüner: Kurtuluş Savaşı'nda denizciliğimiz, Türkiye Denizciler Sendikası, 1992, page 188
- Cevizoğlu, 2007, page 75
- Cevizoğlu, 2007, page 77.
- Cevizoğlu, 2007, page 76
- Doğanay, 2006, page 171.
- Doğanay, 2006, page 173.
- Doğanay, 2006, page 169.
- Enosis'e çok şey borçluyuz', Akşam Newspaper, 3 May 2004, Burak Artuner.
- GREEKS EXPLAIN ATTACK.; Say They Exploded Ammunition at Samsun--Damage to Americans, New York Times, article from 11 June 1922.
- Cevizoğlu, 2007, page 76.
- Doğanay, 2006, pages 171-172