The Greatest Naval Battle in History

General naval discussions that don't fit within any specific time period or cover several issues.

Which was the greatest naval battle in history?

You may select 1 option

 
 
View results

User avatar
Kyler
Senior Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:49 am
Location: Evansville, IN U.S.A.
Contact:

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by Kyler » Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:22 pm

I picked Salamis because, if the Athens and its Greek allies had lost the battle, anyone living or descended from family from Europe probably would talking about a completely different world history. Salamis was the turning point in which Persia started its decline. If they had won, Persia most likely would have continued its invasion of Greece and probably would have won. In later years, I don't doubt Xerxes would have continued expanding the empire and the face of Europe would have changed forever. The Golden Age of Greece after the defeat of Persia seriously influenced our world culture forever.

While I believe Jutland was a great battle, it was ultimately a missed opportunity for both sides. The Germans could have annihilated the RN's battlecruisers or the RN could have annihilated the German High Sea's fleet. Subsequent errors on both sides led to almost tactically a draw (Though in Germany's favor), but a strategic victory for the British since Kaiser William II never allowed the fleet to see much action for the rest of the war. Again Jutland was a great battle, but it wasn't a history changing event in human history.
"It was a perfect attack, Right Height, Right Range, Right cloud cover, Right speed,
Wrong f@%king ship!" Commander Stewart-Moore (HMS Ark Royal)

User avatar
Bill
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:48 am
Location: French, but in China, or sometimes Siberia

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by Bill » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:51 pm

I vote Jutland, but I beleave that Tsushima and Trafalgar have issue (good-or bad)- more important
- Well sir, please agree with me that you other, French, you fight for monnay, whenn us, british, fight for the honnor !
- Of course sir, but you know, everybody fight for what he's leack !
Robert Surcouf, French Corsair, 1773-1827


Robert Surcouf,

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:33 am

Somehow I got the right to vote again so I did it for Lepanto. It was big. It was very important because if Europe would have come out of it a loser then we would have our women using black robes and there will be no science nor progress with a retrograd islamic victory.

For my taste Jutland would have been the greatest but it did not have the relevance of Lepanto (or Salamis in that case)

The other one could be Leyte.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7593
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by RF » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:08 am

Europe might have come out the loser long term, but I think Britain would have escaped the tyranny.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:42 am

RF:
Europe might have come out the loser long term, but I think Britain would have escaped the tyranny.
I apologise: of course England must be put aside from the rest of continental Europe; it would have survived as she always do.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7593
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by RF » Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:40 am

Absolutely. There is always the English Channel, or as the French call it the sleeve. May the spirit of Henry VIII live forever......
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by neil hilton » Thu May 20, 2010 12:37 pm

I voted for Lepanto.
Salamis was a very long time ago and if the Persians had won the long term cultural effects may well have been balanced somewhat by later events. Particularly the rise of Rome. Thus the modern situation may not be all that different than it is in reality (maybe only a slightly different language and different myths and legends).
Whereas if the Ottomans had won Lepanto we would all be muslim by now definately, for good or ill.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by lwd » Thu May 20, 2010 2:39 pm

I think a pretty good case can be made for Lepanto but Europe becoming muslim is a bit over the top. By that point in time I don't think their armies where anywhere near up to the task.

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by neil hilton » Fri May 21, 2010 9:52 am

The Ottomans throughout the late medieval and renaissance periods were in full jihad mode, if they had conquored Europe they would have forced conversion to Islam.
Their army was the arguably the best at that time with excellent soldiers, well motivated and the best equipment. And it was by far the largest. Whereas Europes kingdoms were divided and very mistrustful of each other.
If the Ottomans had won Lepanto they would have been free to land that army anywhere in the Mediterranean. Italy, Southern France, Spain. Game over for Europe.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by alecsandros » Fri May 21, 2010 12:32 pm

Indeed, in the early 16th century, the European armies weren't as powerfull as they were 100 or 200 years earlier. During the siege of Viena, in 1529, only ~ 30.000 troops were present to defend the capital.

This was, of course, mainly due to political frictions, as France and the Italian states refused to provide any valuable help for the VIenese...

In terms of equipment and weapons technology, I think the Europeans had an edge on heavy cavalry and heavy infantry, while the Ottomans employed more canons...

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by lwd » Fri May 21, 2010 1:03 pm

Indeed the Siege of Vienna is an obvious counter argument. The Ottoman army was concentrated against it and failed to take it even though they were facing only a fraction of the forces available to Europe. While they could indeed have landed at numerous points there was a limit then as now as to how much force you can support over any given logistics network. By the time of Lepanto 42 years after the Siege of Vienna I see nothing to indicate that the Ottomans are stronger and indeed some of what I've read indicates that their army was in decline at that point. Indeed look at their failure at Malta just 6 years previous to Lepanto.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Malta_(1565)
It is wiki so just how valid it is an open question but the page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lepanto states
An important and arguably decisive advantage for the Christians was their numerical superiority in guns and cannons aboard their ships, and probably the better fighting quality of the Spanish infantry. It is estimated the Christians had 1,815 guns, while the Turks had only 750 with insufficient ammunition.
Note the sections I put in bold text above. They certainly don't point to a superior army.

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by alecsandros » Fri May 21, 2010 1:22 pm

This may be very true.
I was thinking about Ottoman canons during the siege of Constantinople.. But that was 1453... :)

I guess their army's strength went back and forth through the century. At Mohacs, in 1526, they achieved a decisive victory over the Hungars, while in ~ 1566 (don't remember exactly) they lost as many as 30.000 men in the siege of Svigetvar...

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by lwd » Fri May 21, 2010 1:27 pm

One window on this is what is happening with the Janissary corp. For a brief overveiw see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janissary
There are obviosly books on them as well.

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by neil hilton » Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am

The problem with counting numbers in opposing armies as a measure of their strength is perfectly okay when considering field battles but not when considering sieges, especially in the medieval and renaissance periods. The sieges of Vienna and Malta cannot be used as a measure of the Ottoman armys combat power. The whole reason for fortifications is to allow a small force to defend a place against a large force.

The 1st siege of Vienna failed, Lepanto was a way the Ottomans tried in order to flank it and go directly to Itlay, France, Spain. When that failed they tried another attempt at Vienna and that failed too. This was over a period of nearly 200 years. This shows their implacable will to conquor Europe, at any cost.

Also during this time Ottoman weapons technology (specifically arquebuses) were superior to European weapons.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by lwd » Mon May 24, 2010 6:15 pm

My apologies for a somewhat disjoint post. I'll try to provide a more coherent one later but this will provide some material for a rebutal in advance.
neil hilton wrote: ... The 1st siege of Vienna failed, Lepanto was a way the Ottomans tried in order to flank it and go directly to Itlay, France, Spain. When that failed they tried another attempt at Vienna and that failed too. This was over a period of nearly 200 years. This shows their implacable will to conquor Europe, at any cost.
But it also demostrates their inability to do so. Then take a look back at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Malta_(1565)
Note that prior to the siege of Malta the Turks had won a battle almost on the scale of Lepanto.
The Knights joined the expedition, which consisted of about 54 galleys and 14,000 men. This ill-fated campaign climaxed in the Battle of Djerba in May 1560, when Ottoman admiral Piyale Pasha surprised the Christian fleet off the Tunisian island of Djerba, capturing or sinking about half the Christian ships.
And all the Ottomans could follow up with was the siege of Malta.
Also during this time Ottoman weapons technology (specifically arquebuses) were superior to European weapons.
Was it? By how much?
Ran across a reference for a book that looks like it could be very useful in this regard: http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/c ... 005&ss=fro
Unfortunatly I don't have a copy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janissary
Shows the strength of the Janissary corp as about 13,000 during this time period. That's the equivalant of 4-9 Tercios. I haven't been able to find the number of the latter at the time but there reputation would put them at least on a par with the Janissaries.

Post Reply