Battle of Lepanto 1571 – The Ottoman Empire

Battle of Lepanto 1571 – The Ottoman Empire. Ottoman history we covered the beginning of the war between the Ottomans and the holy league and the conquest of Cyprus by the generals of Sultan Selim the Second but that wasn’t the end of the war the Ottomans inspired by a relatively easy takeover of the crucial island were planning campaigns in the heart of the Mediterranean which led to the iconic Battle of Lepanto Cyprus.

Now belongs to the Ottomans though it would be two months before news of Famagusta’s fall reached the Holy League even though the alliance with Spain had allowed Venice to purchase grain from Spanish Sicily cheaply this source simply could not cover losing access to the produce of Egypt and famine choked their maritime Empire they hoped that Sokolow Mehmet pasha who had long collected bribes from Venice might help but the vizier’s influence was at an all-time low.

So this hope was misplaced in 1571 the ottoman fleets roamed with impunity mercilessly raiding Venetian Islands on the Ionian Sea setting the stage for the battle both sides had been hoping for in the previous year the Ottomans sought to consolidate their conquests in the Balkans with the capture of Kotaro in northern Dalmatia before the end of the campaign season but were forced to withdraw after a short failed siege their fleet initially took shelter in Greece from the coming winter storms.

Ottoman Empire

But an order received on September 9th from Sokolow Mehmet pasha in Constantinople ordered it back to sea sulkily Mehmet pasha wished Kotaro had taken immediately the fleet would winter not at Lepanto but at Kotaro there was only one problem the holy league fleet had not been idle and had pursued Hulett Ali’s Raiders from the north Adriatic to Greece by the time Socceroo Mehmet pasha order arrived the holy league fleet had reached or Trento and stood between the ottomans.

And destination if the fleet was to reach Kotaro it would need to overcome the 206 galleys and six heavy Venetian galleys of the combined fleet one of the largest navies assembled since antiquity however while seeking battle had not been his initial intent person’s ad Ali Pasha was confident his fleet was larger and 278 ships to 212 and thus far the ottomans had been victorious in nearly every major naval battle they had participated in addition captain caricature another Raider had misreported the holy league fleet.

As being much smaller than its true size after his reconnaissance the Ottomans began to mobilize soldiers and rowers to replace those that had departed with confusing and contradictory orders costing them most of a month by the 3rd of October as the Ottoman ships remained in port the holy league fleet reached Kefalonia on the 6th they scouted out the Ottoman fleet and left Kefalonia for the Kurd Solari islands on the seventh.

Battle of Lepanto

As the Ottoman fleet sought to leave the Gulf of Patras for the open sea the two fleets came together in what would be immortalized as the Battle of Lepanto in the center of the holy league fleet was Don Juan’s flagship Larry Al nearly half again as long as an average galley at 60 meters and with the large but slow Venetian galley Isis arranged ahead of the fleet to bombard the approaching Ottomans not counting the gala seize the holy league center counted 66 ships the strongest of the three detachments.

However, they also faced off against a very strong Ottoman center with MERS in Saudi Ali’s flagship the Sultana leading the great Turkish Armada as Mose in Sada was more of a land commander and lacked the disgraced ple Pasha’s naval skill he had concentrated much of the Ottoman strength 87 ships in a double centerline rather than taking advantage of his larger fleet to outflank the Christians the 54 ships left wing of the only League fleet was primarily comprised of smaller Venetian lion galleys.

Under the command of Barbary go the Venetian quartermaster general of the sea Mehmed Scirocco the bay of Alexandria faced him on the Ottoman right Sirocco had positioned his ships in an arc to better flank the Christiansen however with only 58 ships his command was much smaller than the center or the Ottoman left under Allah jolly meaning his arc stretched the single line of galleys worryingly thin the holy League right finally was under the command of Jan Andrea Doria.

The Ottoman Navy

And counted 50 ships this theater of battle most favored the Ottomans Ilic Ali had brought a sizable fleet of Corsairs with him from Algiers to add to the regular Ottoman Navy leaving his wing greatly oversized at 101 ships in preparation both commanders led their flagships in prayer before a crucifix on l’oréal and an ornate Sufi banner on sultana Rosen’s adder Ali Pasha also addressed the rowing slaves before the battle was joined promising them freedom.

If the Ottomans should be victorious finally the silence of the two fleets was broken by a cannon firing from Sultana though well out of range, the noise carried to the holy week fleet and its meaning was clear the battle had begun when the battle was a joy the wind was blowing from the east spurring the Ottoman ships forward to meet the holy League before gallus is ahead of the Christian Center slow and heavy ships normally used in defensive operations fired several powerful volleys into the Ottoman fleet.

As it approached sinking several galleys while the lighter guns of the Ottoman ships remained fairly ineffectual the much higher decks of the galius also made it difficult to board negating the Ottoman numbers advantage as the Ottoman fleet swarmed around the larger ships however despite their intimidating size the role the gases played in the larger battle is questionable early in the battle the winds shifted eventually carrying the clumsy galaxy’s past departed Ottoman lives.

The Ottoman Galleys

After which they were hardly in a position to participate in the holy leagues left Mehmet Sirocco LED his smaller galleys in a daring flanking action though this arm of the battle was closed up against the shore the shallower draft of the Ottoman galleys allowed however four ships of the holy league vanguard were quick to reinforce baba Rico’s contingent quickly followed by another nine ships from the reserve this tilted the numbers in favor of the Christians.

And Sirocco ships spread thin found themselves surrounded and overwhelmed individually cut off from the rest of the Ottoman fleet the Ottoman right was now trapped between the reinforcing Christian ships and the shore the fighting was brutal though and with fewer of the professional Spanish turf Theo on this Phoenician dominated flank it was very costly for both sides Barbary go fell to an arrow through the eye as he raised his helmets visor to shout orders over the din Moreno Contarini his nephew.

And part of the reinforcing Vanguard fell not long after though not perform crippling Sirocco’s flagship but their deaths did not go unanswered long another effect kinsman Giovanni Contarini sank Sirocco’s flagship fluxed the injured captain from the water and executed him by beheading the Ottoman right wing routed in the center marines ideally pasha brought his flagship straight on to grapple with larry al this mentality the kin to an honorable battlefield jewel was unfortunately unsuited to the realities of this brutal naval combat the collision of Larry Al.

Ottoman Battles

Sultana marks the beginning of one of the bloodiest engagements in the whole battle as several galleys from each side pulled up along these stricken flagships to unload their soldiers into the fighting however despite the skill and bravery of the Ottoman soldiers the Spanish and genius Tarkio infantry was better suited to the battle at hand the final nail in the Ottoman profit was that similarly be battered by the shore many of these ships of the Ottoman Center had split from formation to find gaps.

In the holy neat lines in an in tempted envelopment but without sufficient numbers from a tactic such as this allowed the foremost ships to be overwhelmed in detail at the battle in the center lasted long enough for other Charlie to break the outnumbered Christians left the day might still have been one for the Ottomans but after two hours of heavy fighting bows insider Ally lay dead Sultana captured and the exquisite Ottoman banner had been made a trophy on Larry.

At the school right led by Jan Andrea Doria and the most difficult task of all they faced an enemy that outnumbered them two to one led by one of the most talented Ottoman admirals at Lepanto here Christian losses were severe with no survivors on several galleys and terrible casualties throughout the outnumbered fleet battle was joined later here than in the center and Sultana and l’oréal were already locked in battle.

Genoese and Spanish Galleys

When Dorian engaged while the Venetian chroniclers would vilify Doria for his cautious approach to the battle the Genoese and Spanish galleys as well as a small contingent of Maltese galleys that helped check Ilic Ali’s advance performed far better than their Venetian counterparts in the frantic fighting in addition as the Ottoman goal was for the oversize left to break through and flank the holy Leake center every delay was to the advantage of the Christian fleet when the fleet’s met the outer Venetian squadron broke.

And scattered unfortunately for the Ottomans by this time the battles in the north and center were essentially won for the holy lead and as a Lucha Libre through the Christian lines to loop around behind the center he saw that numerous galleries including Villarreal were now bearing down on him even worse with the wind blowing from the West 30 of his ships that remained mobile and unengaged were now trapped eight managed to escape including hula celli throwing hard into the wind.

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With the Christians pursuing behind them lay the wreckage of what had yesterday been the most formidable fleet in the Mediterranean as surrounded ships and pockets of Ottoman resistance were wiped out or surrendered bullets would manage to round up the rest of the escaped Ottoman ships and would return to Constantinople with 87 in total but most of the great Ottoman Armada was destroyed or captured in four brutal hours the holy league’s victory can be explained.

Largest Fleet to Lepanto

With several sizeable advantages they had the Ottoman fleet was equipped for an amphibious assault and the holy League fleet held an almost two-for-one advantage in guns the carnage of Lepanto was gruesome and terrible even for the victorious Holy lead the battle had been bloody with over 8,000 dead the Venetians had suffered the worst casualties and had brought the largest fleet to Lepanto on the Ottoman side some modern estimates run as high as 40,000 dead.

Outright Lepanto was one of the bloodiest battles of the era when news of the victory at Lepanto reached Christian Europe it was met with shock and elation the scale of the victory gave new weight and importance to Pius V and the papacy giving hopes that the perpetual holy he signed in May it might finally turn back the Ottoman conquests in Europe Japan toe was immortalized in poetry and painting as the pivotal battle of Islam against Christianity but for all the glory Lepanto brought its actual impact.

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Osman Ghazi Founder of the Ottoman Empire
Osman Ghazi Founder of the Ottoman Empire

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