Σάββατο, 7 Μαΐου 2016

Greek Battleships in the Aegean Sea against Ottoman fleets during Revolution 1821

In 1814, a secret organization called the Filiki Eteria was founded with the aim of liberating Greece. The Filiki Eteria planned to launch revolts in the Peloponnese, the Danubian Principalities, and in Constantinople and its surrounding areas. The first of these revolts began on 6 March 1821 in the Danubian Principalities, but was soon put down by the Ottomans. The events in the north urged the Greeks in the Peloponnese into action and on 17 March 1821, the Maniots declared war on the Ottomans. This declaration was the start of a spring of revolutionary actions from other controlled states against the Ottoman Empire. By the end of the month, the Peloponnese was in open revolt against the Turks and by October 1821, the Greeks under Theodoros Kolokotronis had captured Tripolitsa. The Peloponnesian revolt was quickly followed by revolts in Crete, Macedonia, and Central Greece, which would soon be suppressed. Meanwhile, the makeshift Greek navy was achieving success against the Ottoman navy in the Aegean Sea and prevented Ottoman reinforcements from arriving by sea. Tensions soon developed among different Greek factions, leading to two consecutive civil wars. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Sultan negotiated with Mehmet Ali of Egypt, who agreed to send his son Ibrahim Pasha to Greece with an army to suppress the revolt in return for territorial gain. Ibrahim landed in the Peloponnese in February 1825 and had limited success: by the end of 1825, part of the Peloponnese was under Egyptian control, and the city of Missolonghi put under siege by the Turks since April 1825 fell in April 1826. Ibrahim was defeated in Mani. From the early stages of the revolution, success at sea was vital for the Greeks. When they failed to counter the Ottoman Navy, it was able to resupply the isolated Ottoman garrisons and land reinforcements from the Ottoman Empire's provinces, theatening to crush the rebellion; likewise the failure of the Greek fleet to break the naval blocade of Missolonghi (as it did several times earlier) in 1826 led to the fall of the city. The Greek fleet was primarily outfitted by prosperous Aegean islanders, principally from three islands: Hydra, Spetses and Psara. Each island equipped, manned and maintained its own squadron, under its own admiral. Although they were manned by experienced crews, the Greek ships were not designed for warfare, equipped with only light guns and staffed by armed merchantmen. Against them stood the Ottoman fleet, which enjoyed several advantages: its ships and supporting craft were built for war; it was supported by the resources of the vast Ottoman Empire; command was centralized and disciplined under the Kapudan Pasha. The total Ottoman fleet size consisted of 20 three-masted ships of the line, each with about 80 guns and 7 or 8 frigates with 50 guns, 5 corvettes with about 30 guns and around 40 brigs with 20 or fewer guns. In the face of this situation, the Greeks decided to use fire ships (πυρπολικά or μπουρλότα), which had proven themselves effective for the Psarians during the Orlov Revolt in 1770. The first test was made at Eresos on 27 May 1821, when an Ottoman frigate was successfully destroyed by a fire ship under Dimitrios Papanikolis. In the fire ships, the Greeks found an effective weapon against the Ottoman vessels. In subsequent years, the successes of the Greek fire ships would increase their reputation, with acts such as the destruction of the Ottoman flagship by Constantine Kanaris at Chios, after the massacre of the island's population in June 1822, acquiring international fame. Overall, 59 fire ship attacks were carried out, of which 39 were successful. At the same time, conventional naval actions were also fought, at which naval commanders like Andreas Miaoulis, Nikolis Apostolis, Iakovos Tombazis and Antonios Kriezis distinguished themselves. The early successes of the Greek fleet in direct confrontations with the Ottomans at Patras and Spetses gave the crews confidence and contributed greatly to the survival and success of the uprising in the Peloponnese. Later, however, as Greece became embroiled in a civil war, the Sultan called upon his strongest subject, Muhammad Ali of Egypt, for aid. Plagued by internal strife and financial difficulties in keeping the fleet in constant readiness, the Greeks failed to prevent the capture and destruction of Kasos and Psara in 1824, or the landing of the Egyptian army at Methoni. Despite victories at Samos and Gerontas, the Revolution was threatened with collapse until the intervention of the Great Powers in the Battle of Navarino in 1827. The Battle of Gerontas (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 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.
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 Egyptian 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. Following years of negotiation, three Great Powers, Russia, Britain and France, decided to intervene in the conflict and each nation sent a navy to Greece. Following news that combined Ottoman Egyptian fleets were going to attack the Greek island of Hydra, the allied fleet intercepted the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet at Navarino. The battle began after a tense week-long standoff, ending in the destruction of the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet. With the help of a French expeditionary force, the Greeks drove the Turks out of the Peloponnese and proceeded to the Ottoman controlled part of central Greece by 1828. The Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829 was sparked by the Greek War of Independence. The war broke out after the Sultan closed the Dardanelles to Russian ships and revoked the Akkerman Convention in retaliation for Russian participation in the Battle of Navarino. Faced with these several defeats, the Sultan decided to sue for peace. The Treaty of Adrianople on 14 September 1829 gave Russia most of the western shore of the Black Sea and the mouth of the Danube. Turkey recognized Russian sovereignty over parts of northwest present-day Armenia. Serbia achieved autonomy and Russia was allowed to occupy Moldavia and Wallachia(guaranteeing their prosperity and full "liberty of trade") until Turkey had paid a large indemnity. Moldavia and Wallachia remained Russian protectorates until the Crimean War. The Straits Question was settled four years later, when both powers signed the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi. As a result of years of negotiation, Greece was finally recognized as an independent nation in the Treaty of Constantinople of May 1832. The Revolution is celebrated by the modern Greek state as a national day on 25 March.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Turkish_War_(1828–29)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_War_of_Independence
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gerontas

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