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Battle of Gerontas

Battle of Gerontas
Part of the Greek War of Independence
Date August 29, 1824
Location Southeast Aegean
Result Greek victory
Belligerents
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 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

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

Greek fleet: Hydriot, Spetsiot and Psarian squadrons

The battle

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 fleet was drifting further in open sea because of the lack of wind. At the morning 29th Ausust, 1824, the 86 warships of Ottoman and Egiptian flotilia has detected the Greek fleet and proceed with pincer movement, using advantageous winds. The Greek fleet in bay has resorted to towing their ships by lifeboats to reach the more advantageous position for fighting.

The wave of Greek branders has disorganized Ottoman lines sufficiently for all Greek ships to escape from Gerontas bay. Later wind shift has put Greek fleet in advantage, allowing 2nd attack by branders. One of these branders has burned the Tunisian flotilia flagship. Because the Greek branders have selectively targeted the enemy flagships, the Ottoman commanders panicked and ordered their ships to leave the battle lines, leading to confusion and unorganized retreat of the Ottoman forces.[4]

References

  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. ^
  4. ^ Jack Sweetman, "The Great Admirals: Command at Sea, 1587-1945", p. 231

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