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Encyclopedia > Mediterranean naval engagements during World War I
Mediterranean naval engagements during World War I
Part of Naval warfare of World War I
Date: August, 1914-October, 1918
Location: Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic
Result: Strategic Allied Victory
Combatants
Allied Powers Cemtral Powers

Some limited sea combat took place between the Central Powers' navies of Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire and the Allied navies of France, Italy, Greece, Japan and the British Empire. British battleship HMS Irresistible abandoned and sinking, 18 March 1915, during the Battle of Gallipoli. ... Satellite image The Mediterranean Sea is a part of the Atlantic Ocean almost completely enclosed by land, on the north by Europe, on the south by Africa, and on the east by Asia. ... The Adriatic Sea is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea separating the Apennine peninsula (Italy) from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges. ... In general, allies are people or groups that have joined an alliance and are working together to achieve some common purpose. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...


Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Navy

Austria-Hungary was a modest naval power in 1914. With a fairly small coastline (modern-day Croatia and Slovania) and no colonies, Austria-Hungary was much more of a land-power than a sea power. However, the Austro-Hungarian Navy included three Dreadnought class battleships (see List of ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy) and a number of submarines. In addition, the Germans managed to send to some U-Boats to the Mediterranean which operated from Austrian naval bases, initially under the Austrian navy flag, later under the German navy flag. 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... The Austro-Hungarian Navy was the naval force of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. ... This article is about a battleship as a type of warship. ... This article is about a battleship as a type of warship. ... This is a list of Austro-Hungarian battleships: Wooden battleships Severo (ex-Venetian Rigeneratore) - Rebuilt as frigate and renamed Bellona 1823-24, BU 1831 Italiano (ex-Venetian Reale Italiano) - Rebuilt as frigate 1827-29, BU 1836 Kaiser 92 (1860) Armored frigates and central battery ships Drache class Drache (1861) - BU... U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ...


Campaigns

In the Mediterranean Sea, the war began with most of the large, but elderly French fleet deployed on escort duty to protect convoys across the Medterranean from the smaller, but newer Austrian fleet and cover against possible Italian entry into the war on the Austria's side. Several British ships were also sent to Malta to reinforce the British mediterranean fleet. Germany also had a small mediterranean fleet (based at Constantinope, Turkey and at the commencement of hostilities, the powerful battlecruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau, were patrolling the western Mediterranea. The German mediterranean fleet did not find the French convoys, so proceeded to bombard the French cities of Bizerte and Bone in modern-day Tunisia. Pursued by superior French and British forces, the Goeben and Breslau reached Turkey, where they were nominally transferred to the Ottoman Navy when the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the Central Powers side, and fought many battles against the Russian Black Sea Fleet until Russia's surrender in 1917. Satellite image The Mediterranean Sea is a part of the Atlantic Ocean almost completely enclosed by land, on the north by Europe, on the south by Africa, and on the east by Asia. ... The Mediterranean Fleet was part of the Royal Navy. ... SMS Goeben was a Moltke-class battlecruiser of the Kaiserliche Marine (German Navy) that was launched in 1911 and named after the Franco-Prussian War general August von Goeben. ... The SMS Breslau was a Magdeburg-class light cruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine, launched on 16 May 1911 and commissioned in 1912. ... Bizerte or Bizerta (In Arabic: Binzart) is a town as well as a state (governorate) in Tunisia. ... Grays illustration of a human femur, a typically recognized bone. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Söğüt (1299-1326), Bursa (1326-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), İstanbul (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah of the Osmanl...


After Italy entered the war on the allied side in 1915, the strategy of the Allies was to blockade the Adriatic and monitor the movements of the Austrian fleet. In general, this strategy was successful but the Germans and the Austrians were able to send submarines out into the Mediterranean where they did some damage. Total allied warship losses to Austrian and German submarines were: two 2nd-line battleships, two armored cruisers, five destroyers, and two submarines (in addition to many damaged navy ships and sunk freighters). The primary sea bases for the Austrian and German fleet in the Adriatic were Pola and Cattaro (modern day Pula,Croatia and Kotor,Montenegro, respectively). On the Allied side, their navies were able to sail relatively freely throughout the Mediterrean by keeping the Central Powers' surface units bottled up in either the Adriatic or at Constantinople. This freedom of movement was tremedously important for the Allies, as there were not only able to keep open their supply routes (to Egypt for example), but to also evacuate the Serbian Army from capture and even launch (and supply) amphibious invasions at Gallipoli in 1915 and Salonika in 1916. The Adriatic Sea is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea separating the Apennine peninsula (Italy) from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges. ... Pula (Croatian, Istriot and German Pula, Italian Pola, Slovenian Pulj) is the largest city in Istria, Croatia, at the southern tip of that peninsula, with a population of 59,080 (2005). ... Panoramic view of Gulf of Kotor Alley in Kotor Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (Sv. ... This article is about the former Yugoslav republic. ... Satellite image of the Gallipoli peninsula and surrounding area Gallipoli, called Gelibolu in modern Turkish, (Greek: Καλλίπολις), is a town in northwestern Turkey. ... The White Tower The Arch of Galerius Map showing the Thessaloníki prefecture Thessaloníki (Θεσσαλονίκη) is the second-largest city of Greece and is the principal city and the capital of the Greek region of Macedonia. ...


In 1915, the major fleet action was the Allied attempt to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war by an attack on Constantinople. The Allies needed to pass the Dardanelles strait in order to supply Russia. The Battle of Gallipoli lasted for most of the year but was unsuccessful. An initial naval assault was deterred by mines and coastal fortressesand, and the subsequent land assault was also defeated, but with heavy casualties on both sides. 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Constantinople[1] was the name of the modern-day city of İstanbul, Turkey over the centuries that it served as the second capital of the unified Roman Empire, and after its division into East and West, of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire (from the city... Map of the Dardanelles The Dardanelles (Turkish: Çanakkale Boğazı, Greek: Δαρδανελλια), formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. ... Combatants United Kingdom France India Australia New Zealand Newfoundland Ottoman Empire Commanders Sir Ian Hamilton Otto Liman von Sanders Mustafa Kemal Strength 5 divisions (initial) 14 divisions (final) 6 divisions (initial) 14 divisions (final) Casualties 252,000 (205,000 British, 47,000 French) 253,000 The Battle of Gallipoli took...


After Gallipoli, the only significant naval battle occurred on May 15, 1917 when three Austrian cruisers under Captain Miklos Horthy staged a series of pin-prick raids on Italian and British transports near Valona, Albania who were evacuating the Serbian Army from being overrun. The raid was a partial success but the raiders were nearly destroyed by an unlocuk shell hit which knocked out an engine on Austrian cruiser SMS Novara. With heavier Allied forces closing in, the Austrians were routed back to Pola. The Austrians then decided to raid patrol boats guaring the Otranto Straits between Italy, Corfu and Albania. For furtherdetails see the battle of the Otranto Barrage. May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (136th in leap years). ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... Admiral Horthy inspecting the German fleet with Adolf Hitler Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya (Vitéz Nagybányai Horthy Miklós in Hungarian) (June 18, 1868–February 9, 1957) was a Hungarian Admiral and statesman and served as the Regent of Hungary from March 1, 1920 until October 15, 1944. ... Valona is a popular narrative song and poetry form of the Mexican state of Michoacán. ... Pontikonisi Island Corfu (ancient and modern Greek Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, Latin Corcyra; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is an island of Greece, in the Ionian Sea. ...


In 1918, two of the Austrian dreadnoughts were sunk. First, the SMS Szent Istv├ín was sunk during another sortie (June 10) against the Allied blockade by fast moving Italian Motor torpedo boats. The second sinking occurred on October 30, 1918, the Horthy was ordered to surrender the entire Austrian fleet to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovaks (Yugoslavia). SMS Viribus Unitis was renamed Jugoslavija and the Austrian ensign was replaced with the Serbian flag. Regina Marina {Italian Naval Command) was not willing to accept the substitution of one naval threat for another sent in Italian divers who planted an underwater mine. The explosion went off under the ship on November 1 (just after the Austrian-Hungarian government collapsed) and the Yugoslavians made no efforts to restore the hulk. 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... SMS Szent István was an Austro-Hungarian dreadnought battleship, the only one operated by the Hungarian part of the empire. ... June 10 is the 161st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (162nd in leap years), with 204 days remaining. ... Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija in all south Slavic languages, in Serbian and Macedonian Cyrillic Југославија) is a term used for three separate but successive political entities that existed during most of the 20th century on the Balkan Peninsula in Europe. ... SMS Viribus Unitis was an Austro-Hungarian dreadnought battleship of the Viribus Unitis class. ... November 1 is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 60 days remaining. ...


On August 2, 1916, the Italian dreadnought Leonardo da Vinci exploded at Taranto, killing 249 of its crew. Reminiscient of the USS Maine, the event was widely reported in the Italian Press, which immediately blamed Austrian or German saboteurs, something the Central Powers did nothing to disavow. The cause of the explosion has never been verified, it has considerable effect as a propoganda tool for both sides. August 2 is the 214th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (215th in leap years), with 151 days remaining. ... Founded 706 BC as Taras () Region Apulia Mayor Rossana Di Bello Area  - City Proper  217 km² Population  - City (2001)  - Density (city proper) 201,349 973/km² Time zone CET, UTC+1 Latitude Longitude 40°28 N 17°14 E www. ... Four ships of the United States Navy have borne the name USS Maine, named for the 23rd state. ...


Allied fleets also played a role in coercing the Greek Government to join the Allies and later supply the campaigns in Palestine and Macedonia. Although Germany was able to gain control of the Black Sea and part of the Russian fleet after the collapse of the Russian Empire, they were never able to break out into the Aegean. The German/Turkish fleet tried in 1918, but hit a minefield; the Breslau was sunk and the Goeben almost followed that fate, but the captain was able to run the ship aground and beach it before capsizing. The Goeben was not repaired until after the war. Map of the British Mandate of Palestine. ... Map of the Black Sea. ... The Aegean Sea. ...


Allied fleets occupied Constantinople briefly after the Armistice of Mudros, until the new Turkish Republic under Mustafa Kemal took back control of the city in 1923. The Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Ottoman Empire (represented by the Ottoman Minister of Marine Affairs Rauf Beg) and the Allies (represented by the British Admiral Arthur Calthorpe), in the Mudros port in the island of Lemnos on 30 October 1918. ... Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 – November 10, 1938), Turkish soldier and statesman, was the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. ...


Allied ships did continue to intervene in Russia after the war ended, bringing expeditionary forces and supplies via the Mediterranean to the White armies in southern Russia. The White movement, whose military arm is known as the White Army (Белая Армия) or White Guard (Белая Гвардия, белогвардейцы) and whose members are known as Whites (Белые, or the derogatory Беляки) or White Russians (a term which has other meanings) comprised some of the Russian forces, both political and military, which opposed the Bolsheviks after the...


Japan, an ally of Great Britain, sent a total of 14 destroyers to the Mediterranean starting in April 1917. The Japanese ships were very effective in patrol and anti-submarine activity. By contrast the Italian Navy was "languid and apathetic" (Cyril Falls "The Great War" p. 295). For other uses, see April (disambiguation). ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ...


Minor note: Captain von Trapp, of The Sound of Music fame, was a Captain in the Austrian-Hungarian navy, commanding an Austrian submarine during the war. Georg Ritter von Trapp Georg Ritter von Trapp (April 4, 1880 - May 30, 1947) headed the famous Austrian singing family immortalized in the musical The Sound of Music. ... The Sound of Music is a Broadway musical and film based on the book The Von Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp. ...


Sources

Cyril Falls, "The Great War" (1960).
Austrian Navy WWI downloaded from Naval-History.net (May, 2006)
Mediterranean Campaign downloaded from Naval-History.net (May, 2006)


 
 

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