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Mar 18 17 9:11 PM
Mar 18 17 11:34 PM
The two mercenary commanders, Andrea Doria & Uluch Ali, spent so much time trying to out-flank each other that the southern wings didn't engage in the brutal frontal assault of the centre battles, or out-flank and counter out-flank battle of annihilation on the northern battles. The open sea to the south allowed Uluch Ali to destroy a detached part of Andrea Doria's force, attack the Allied Centre and capture the standard of the Knights of St John, before fleeing the disaster.
The Ottomans lost 30,000 killed or wounded and 3,000 captured, while the Holy League lost 8,000 killed and nearly 21,000 wounded (including Miguel de Cervantes), so combat losses were not that different by the time the fleets dispersed to their home ports with many of the wounded dying before reaching home. Since the Spanish made up over a quarter of the troops (8,000 out of 28,500), they also suffered serious losses. It was the loss of so many experienced and skilled Ottoman officers and NCO's (of sorts) that had an impact.
PS - The Venetians might have had only 5,000 soldiers (about 75 per galley), but they didn't have to worry about galley slaves!
PPS - The forward masts on galleys were off-set from the centre so the recoiling centre-line cannon didn't dis-mast them!
Mar 19 17 12:07 AM
Mar 19 17 1:06 AM
Mar 19 17 1:31 AM
Mar 19 17 11:45 AM
Mar 19 17 12:38 PM
Since only the largest galleys (like the lanterna La Reale) had a fore-mast, most galleys didn't have to worry and they relied on a single main-mast instead, So were are talking about a reality small number of warships serving as squadron flagships.
As the shipyards at Barcelona, Constantinople and Venice could mass build galleys on an industrial scale, the Ottomans easily replaced ship losses at Lepanto with a new fleet of 2,000 galleys by the following year which Uluchi Ali used to fight a defensive campaign in 1572, avoiding any major battles and allowing the various factions in the Holy League to fall out with each other. However with the loss of so many skilled crew and experienced officers, the Ottomans had their offensive arm blunted (like the Japanese at Midway) and lost the initiative in the Mediterranean which they never recovered leading to a slow decline and political/military stagnation.
PS - Venice didn't use galley slaves. The vast majority of their rowers were free men conscripted into the fleet (which all Venetians expected to serve for the good of the Republic), or prisoners who could work off debts or shorten their sentences by serving as rowers and therefore not treated as slaves. Only 12 of the Venetian galleys at Lepanto had forzati rowers.
Mar 19 17 1:29 PM
Mar 19 17 1:35 PM
Mar 19 17 2:49 PM
Mar 19 17 6:51 PM
Mar 19 17 7:17 PM
Mar 19 17 9:14 PM
Galleys may have been easy to manage in fine weather, but my impression is that handling them in close combat or in difficult weather took skill. As well, commanding a number of such craft in a battle formation required a second level of skill. Add the nearly unmanageable galleasses to the force mix on the Christian side and things get very tricky indeed. See the chapter on Lepanto in Robeson's "A History of Naval Tactics" (an elderly but nevertheless useful resource); Robeson paints an instructive portrait of the complicated moves and countermoves and fleet management challenges that preceded the actual battle. Re-reading it reminded me of the tremendous achievement of Don Juan as senior commander at the young age of 24.
A sidelight which may or may not be interesting - The first and second-most senior Ottoman admirals died in the battle. Only the corsair commander Uluch Ali escaped to ultimately rise to the position of Grand Admiral in command of the Ottoman fleet after Lepanto. Ali btw was a Calabrian Christian renegade ex-slave, which in fairness does raise a question as to exactly how simple the replacement of senior 'oficiales' could be if a Christian renegade was selected for such an important command position.
Mar 19 17 11:24 PM
I know that the Knights of the Order of St John had the galleys Capitana of Malta, Order of St Peter, Order of St John. Anyone know the name of the fourth galley?
At Lepanto the basic tactics for the north and centre was to advance slowly, fire the single ordnance salvo at point blank range and then close and board with the inter-locked galleys forming a floating battlefield for the soldiers to fight across. Reserve troops would be ferried by smaller galleys and land on the sterns of ships in the front line to assist in the fighting. The results were brutal combats lasting several hours. On the southern flank the two mercenary admirals had other ideas......
How many galleys did the Order have at Lepanto, was it three or four?
Mar 19 17 11:58 PM
Mar 20 17 1:03 AM
TOS1956 wrote:I find the whole "officiales" theory unconvincing, as anyone who ever rowed a big Sicilian "gozzo" can tell you large row boats do not require huge skills. And we we all agree that galleys were pretty easy to mass produce, And IMO there was really no stop to the Ottomans expansion after Lepanto ass the coalition disintegrated soon afterwards leaving Venice isolated.
The league's lineup was
- 12 papal galleys
- 10 Siclian galleys
- 30 Neapolitan galleys
- 14 Spannish galleys
- 3 Savoy galleys (wonder about those, was Nice part of Savoy at the time ?)
- 4 Maltese galleys
- 27 Genoese galleys including Andea Doria's 11
- 109 Venetian galleys plus the 6 large "galeazze"
Giving command to Don Juan was a political compromise decision as the bulk of the fleet was Venetian though the soldiers contingent was Spanish.
Mar 20 17 6:36 AM
Mar 20 17 9:01 PM
Do you know why the Ottomans weren't able to rebuild their oficiales class as the Hapsburg's had? I would have thought it would have been a very high priority under the circumstances unless serious problems with corruption or buracracy blocked this?
Also if it was so destructive for the Ottoman navy was there any reason why Spanish bids to dominate the Med and drive back the Muslim presence seems to have been largely unsuccessful? Possibly their increasing problems of imperial overstretch, especially with clashes with England and the Dutch rebellion and growing predatation of their American trade and colonies in this and following periods? Also some reports of the decline of Castile as a economic power.
Interesting questions. I'll take the 2nd one. I think the main reason the Spanish failed to dominate the med in the way the Sultan had earlier is because of Phillip II incessant religious wars in the Netherlands and adjoining areas. This was a constant drain on the Spanish purse as well as manpower and naval assetsleading eventually to 2 national bankruptcies, destruction of Spanish armies, loss of the Armada and eventually the Netherlands itself. The alternate strategy of making peace with the protestant Dutch and turning his full attention to North Africa and the med would have paid larger dividends in terms of treasure, power and prestige to Phillip II and the Spanish Empire.
Mar 21 17 12:54 AM
Mar 21 17 1:01 AM
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