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Battle Of Malta Navigation menu VideoGreat Siege of Malta 1565 - Ottoman Wars DOCUMENTARY
This ill-fated campaign climaxed in the Battle of Djerba in May , when Ottoman admiral Piyale Pasha surprised the Christian fleet off the Tunisian island of Djerba , capturing or sinking about half the Christian ships.
The battle was a disaster for the Christians and it marked the high point of Ottoman domination of the Mediterranean. After Djerba there could be little doubt that the Turks would eventually attack Malta again.
Malta was of immense strategic importance to the Ottoman long-term plan to conquer more of Europe, since Malta was a stepping stone to Sicily , and Sicily in turn could be a base for an invasion of the Kingdom of Naples.
Meanwhile, the Spaniards continued to prey on Turkish shipping. In mid, Romegas , the Order's most notorious seafarer, captured several large merchantmen, including one that belonged to the Chief Eunuch of the Seraglio , and took numerous high-ranking prisoners, including the governor of Cairo, the governor of Alexandria, and the former nurse of Sultan Suleiman's daughter.
Romegas' exploits gave the Turks a casus belli , and by the end of , Suleiman had resolved to wipe the Knights of Malta off the face of the earth.
By early , Grand Master de Valette's network of spies in Constantinople had informed him that the invasion was imminent. The Turkish armada, which set sail from Constantinople on 22 March, was by all accounts one of the largest assembled since antiquity.
According to one of the earliest and most complete histories of the siege, that of the Order's official historian Giacomo Bosio , the fleet consisted of vessels, which included galleys , seven galliots small galleys , and four galleasses large galleys , the remainder being transport vessels, etc.
The Italian mercenary Francisco Balbi di Correggio , serving as an arquebusier in the Spanish corps , gave the forces as: . The Knight Hipolito Sans, in a lesser-known account, also lists about 48, invaders, although it is not clear how independent his work is from Balbi's.
In a letter written to Philip II only four days after the siege began, de Valette himself says that "the number of soldiers that will make land is between 15, and 16,, including seven thousand arquebusiers or more, that is four thousand janissaries and three thousand sipahis.
Indeed, a letter written during the siege by the liaison with Sicily, Captain Vincenzo Anastagi , states the enemy force was only 22, and several other letters of the time give similar numbers.
Before the Turks arrived, de Valette ordered the harvesting of all the crops, including unripened grain, to deprive the enemy of any local food supplies.
Furthermore, the Knights poisoned all wells with bitter herbs and dead animals. The Turkish armada arrived at dawn on Friday, 18 May, but did not at once make land.
Piyale wished to shelter it at Marsamxett Harbour , just north of the Grand Harbour, in order to avoid the sirocco and be nearer the action, but Mustafa disagreed, because to anchor the fleet there would require first reducing Fort St.
Elmo, which guarded the entrance to the harbour. Mustafa intended, according to these accounts, to attack the poorly defended former capital Mdina , which stood in the centre of the island, then attack Forts St.
Angelo and Michael by land. If so, an attack on Fort St. Elmo would have been entirely unnecessary. Nevertheless, Mustafa relented, apparently believing only a few days would be necessary to destroy St.
After the Turks were able to emplace their guns, at the end of May they commenced a bombardment. It certainly seems true that Suleiman had seriously blundered in splitting the command three ways.
He not only split command between Piyale and Mustafa, but he ordered both of them to defer to Dragut when he arrived from Tripoli.
Contemporary letters from spies in Constantinople, however, suggest that the plan had always been to take Fort St. Elmo first. While the Ottomans were landing, the knights and Maltese made some last-minute improvements to the defences of Birgu and Senglea.
The Ottomans set up their main camp in Marsa , which was close to the Knights' fortifications. The darkness of the night then became as bright as day, due to the vast quantity of artificial fires.
So bright was it indeed that we could see St Elmo quite clearly. The gunners of St Angelo Having correctly calculated that the Turks would seek to secure a disembarkation point for their fleet and would thus begin the campaign by attempting to capture Fort St Elmo, de Valette sent reinforcements and concentrated half of his heavy artillery within the fort.
The unremitting bombardment of the fort from three dozen guns on the higher ground of Mt. Sciberras began on 27 May,  and reduced the fort to rubble within a week, but de Valette evacuated the wounded nightly and resupplied the fort from across the harbour.
After arriving in May, Dragut set up new batteries to imperil the ferry lifeline. On 3 June, a party of Janissaries managed to seize the fort's ravelin and ditch.
The Turks attacked the damaged walls on June 10 and 15, and made an all out assault on June 16, during which even the slave and hired galley oarsmen housed in St Elmo, as well as the native Maltese soldiers, reportedly fought and died "almost as bravely as the Knights themselves.
At Dragut's insistence a cannon's aim was lowered, but the aim was too low, and when fired its ball detached part of the trench which hit Dragut in the head, killing him,  although according to Bosio, it was a lucky shot from Fort St.
Angelo that mortally wounded him. Finally, on 23 June, the Turks seized what was left of Fort St. A small number of Maltese managed to escape by swimming across the harbour.
Although the Turks did succeed in capturing St. Elmo, allowing Piyale to anchor his fleet in Marsamxett, the siege of Fort St.
Elmo had cost the Turks at least 6, men, including half of their Janissaries. Mustafa had the bodies of the knights decapitated and their bodies floated across the bay on mock crucifixes.
In response, de Valette beheaded all his Turkish prisoners, loaded their heads into his cannons and fired them into the Turkish camp.
By this time, word of the siege was spreading. The sheer scale of the force—around ships and 40, soldiers—may have been one reason why it took so long to invade.
Rivalry between Piyale and Mustafa became open disagreement when the invasion started. Mustafa preferred to take the capital Mdina , followed by a land attack on the coastal forts.
Admiral Piyale preferred to take the forts first, by means of a heavy bombardment, and managed to convince Mustafa that his plan could be accomplished swiftly.
However, the decision proved to be a blunder because the Grand Master of the Knights, Jean de Valette, had gambled on the Ottomans invading St.
Elmo first and had moved his heavy artillery into the fort. Admiral Turgut was among those killed. Mustafa seized the initiative and ordered an offensive, transporting his troops wide of the Grand Harbour to avoid Fort St.
Michael on the Senglea peninsula. A cleverly planned assault from sea and land was rebuffed, the Ottomans taking more heavy losses. The Ottomans suffered one of the heaviest sustained bombardments the world had yet seen.
Eventually an all-out attack was ordered in August , and the Ottomans were on the brink of success when, in an audacious move, a small force of knights attacked the Ottoman camp.
Thinking that the knights had Spanish reinforcements, Mustafa retreated and the advantage was lost. Cornut was killed.
Angelo in Grand Harbour after the inhabitants of Malta had revolted. Roger learnt this and sent his own fleet to support the Maltese. Arriving at night, he made contact with a besieger and sent a sentry boat into the harbor.
It reported that the Angevin galleys were beached under the castle walls. Roger moved his galleys into line abreast at the entrance to the harbor, silencing the guard boats in the process, and connected his ships together.
At about dawn he ordered a trumpet challenge to be sounded. His reason for doing this is not clear. In the attack, 15 men were killed and 18 captured, and most of the boats were lost.
The bridge was never restored, and it was only in that a new one was built in its place. Lloyd asked his bombers to attack at mast-height, increasing accuracy but making them easier targets for Italian anti-aircraft defences.
Part of the reason for this favourable outcome in November , was the arrival of Force K of the Royal Navy, which during the Battle of the Duisburg Convoy sank all the ships, which practically blockaded Libyan ports.
Following the disaster and with a resurgence of the Axis aerial bombardment of Malta, surface ships were withdrawn from the central Mediterranean in January While Italian bombing was again proving successful against the British, the Luftwaffe returned in force in December to renew intensive bombing.
Eight Marylands, two other aircraft, three Beaufighters, one Blenheim fighter and many bombers were also lost. The mounting shipping supply losses affected Geisler's ability to support Erwin Rommel and his forces, which caused tension between the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe.
Geisler was to be returned to Sicily with his remaining air strength to solve the issue. However, the Germans backed down over Italian protests.
On 6 October Geisler did extend his air sector responsibilities to cover the Tripoli-Naples sea route to curtail losses. They quickly eliminated Malta's striking force, which was beyond the range of fighter escort while over the Mediterranean.
In the first two months, around 20 RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft were shot down. The only notable triumph was the sinking of the 13,ton Victoria merchant ship, one of the fastest merchantmen afloat, by a Fairey Albacore of Squadron, flown by Lieutenant Baxter Ellis, on 23 January.
Over the island, the defensive arm of the RAF was also put under pressure. Kesselring began with a raid on New Year's Day, the 1,th raid of the war.
Of the fighters that had passed through or stayed on the island since the war began, only 28 remained. One-third of all raids were directed against airfields.
The usual tactic involved a sweep ahead of the bombers by German fighters to clear the skies; this worked, and air superiority was maintained.
Only slight losses were suffered by the bombers. Dobbie and the British naval and air commanders argued for modern aircraft, particularly Spitfires , to be sent to Malta.
The pilots told Embry that the Hurricanes were useless and that the Spitfire was their only hope. The squadron leaders argued the inferiority of their aircraft was affecting morale.
Embry agreed and recommended that Spitfires be sent; the type began arriving in March On 29—30 April , a plan for the invasion of the island was approved by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during a meeting at Berchtesgaden.
It envisaged an airborne assault with one German and one Italian airborne division, under the command of German General Kurt Student. This would have been followed by a seaborne landing of two or three divisions protected by the Regia Marina.
The Italians, in agreement with Kesselring, made the invasion of Malta the priority in the region. However, two major factors stopped Hitler from giving the operation the green light.
The first was Erwin Rommel. Due to Kesselring's pounding of the island the supply lines to North Africa had been secured. He was able to gain the ascendancy in North Africa once again.
Although Rommel believed Malta should be invaded, he insisted the conquest of Egypt and the Suez Canal, not Malta, was the priority.
The second was Hitler himself. After the Battle of Crete in May—June , Hitler was nervous about using paratroopers to invade the island since the Crete campaign had cost this arm heavy losses, and he started to procrastinate in making a decision.
Kesselring complained. Hitler proposed a compromise. He suggested that if the Egyptian border was reached once again in the coming months the fighting at the time was taking place in Libya , the Axis could invade in July or August when a full moon would provide ideal conditions for a landing.
Although frustrated, Kesselring was relieved the operation had seemingly been postponed rather than shelved. Before the Spitfires arrived, other attempts were made to reduce losses.
Lloyd had requested a highly experienced combat leader be sent and Turner's experience flying with Douglas Bader over Europe meant he was qualified to lead the unit.
All but one reached the island. By 21 April just 27 Spitfires were still airworthy, and by evening that had fallen to The overwhelming Axis bombardments had also substantially eroded Malta's offensive naval and air capabilities.
Often, three to five Italian bombers would fly very low over their targets and drop their bombs with precision, regardless of the RAF attacks and ground fire.
Along with the advantage in the air, the Germans soon discovered that British submarines were operating from Manoel Island , not Grand Harbour, and exploited their air superiority to eliminate the threat.
The base came under attack, the vessels had to spend most of their time submerged, and the surrounding residences where crews had enjoyed brief rest periods were abandoned.
Hitler's strategy of neutralising Malta by siege seemed to be working. The Germans lost aircraft in the operations.
The Allies moved to increase the number of Spitfires on the island. On 9 May, the Italians announced 37 Axis losses.
On 10 May, the Axis lost 65 aircraft destroyed or damaged in large air battles over the island. The Hurricanes were able to focus on the Axis bombers and dive-bombers at lower heights, while the Spitfires, with their superior rate of climb, engaged enemy aircraft at higher levels.
With such a force established, the RAF had the firepower to deal with any Axis attacks. By the spring of , the Axis air forces ranged against the island were at their maximum strength.
Bomber units included Junkers Ju 88s of II. After the battles of May and June, the air attacks were much reduced in August and September.
The island appeared to the Axis forces to be neutralised as a threat to their convoys. Rommel could now look forward to offensive operations with the support of the Luftwaffe in North Africa.
Even so, he was soon back in Egypt fighting at El Alamein. Despite the reduction in direct air pressure over Malta itself, the situation on the island was serious.
It was running out of all essential commodities, particularly food and water, as the bombing had crippled pumps and distribution pipes. Clothing was also hard to come by.
All livestock had been slaughtered, and the lack of leather meant people were forced to use curtains and used tyres to replace clothing and shoe soles.
Although the civilian population was enduring, the threat of starvation was very real. The move was designed to split Axis naval forces attempting to intervene.
Although he could afford this diversion, he could maintain a standing patrol of only four Spitfires over the convoy.
If Axis aircraft attacked as they were withdrawing, they had to stay and fight. Baling out if the pilots ran low on fuel was the only alternative to landing on Malta.
The pilots had to hope that they would be picked up by the ships. The losses of the convoy were heavy. Three destroyers and 11 merchant vessels were also sunk.
They torpedoed and sank the heavy cruiser Trento and damaged the battleship Littorio. A further 16 Malta-based pilots were lost in the operations.
In August, the Operation Pedestal convoy brought vital relief to the besieged island, but at heavy cost. It was attacked from the sea and from the air.
Moreover, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle , one cruiser and three destroyers were sunk by a combined effort from the Italian Navy, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.
Nevertheless, the operation though costly in lives and ships, was vital in bringing in much-needed war materials and supplies.
Indeed, according to Sadkovich and others, to pretend that the air offensive against Malta had been a purely German affair is misleading.
The Italians must thus get some share of the credit for the destruction of British fighters on Malta, and the sinking of 23 of 82 merchantmen dispatched to the island.
But the RAF preferred to credit its losses to the Germans, even though the Italians flew more fighter missions over the island, had almost as many fighters on Sicily as the Germans in the whole Mediterranean in November , and seem to have been better pilots, losing one aircraft per 63 sorties, compared to a German loss rate of one per 42 sorties.
The surface fleets were not the only supply line to Malta. British submarines also made a substantial effort. She could not go as deep or dive as quickly as the T- and U-class types, but she still made nine supply missions to Malta, which was more than any other vessel of its type.
The ability of the submarine to carry large loads enabled it to be of great value in the campaign to lift the siege.
It was felt that a man with past experience of fighter defence operations was needed. For some reason, the Air Staff did not choose to do this earlier, when the bombing ceased in , and the RAF forces on Malta became primarily fighter-armed while the principal aim changed to one of air defence.
Park arrived on 14 July by flying boat. He landed in the midst of a raid although Lloyd had specifically requested he circle the harbour until it had passed.
Lloyd met Park and admonished him for taking an unnecessary risk. Park had faced Kesselring before during the Battle of Britain.
During that battle, Park had advocated sending small numbers of fighters into battle to meet the enemy. There were three fundamental reasons for this.
First, there would always be fighters in the air covering those on the ground if one did not send their entire force to engage at once.
Second, small numbers were quicker to position and easier to move around. Third, the preservation of his force was critical.
The fewer fighters he had in the air he advocated 16 at most , the smaller target the numerically superior enemy would have.
Over Malta, he reversed these tactics owing to changed circumstances. With plenty of Spitfires to operate, Park sought to intercept the enemy and break up his formations before the bombers reached the island.
Until this point, the Spitfires had fought defensively. They scrambled and headed south to gain height, then turned around to engage the enemy over the island.
Now, with improved radar and quicker take off times two to three minutes and improved air-sea rescue, more offensive action became possible. Using three squadrons, Park asked the first to engage the escorting fighters by 'bouncing them' out of the sun.
The second would strike at the close escort, or, if unescorted, the bombers themselves. The third was to attack the bombers head-on.
His Forward Interception Plan , issued officially on 25 July , forced the Axis to abandon daylight raids within six days.
Kesselring responded by sending in fighter sweeps at even higher altitudes to gain the tactical advantage.
The methods would have great effect in October when Kesselring returned. While the RAF and Royal Navy defensive operations dominated for the most part, offensive strikes were still being carried out.
Axis forces in North Africa were denied around half of their supplies and two-thirds of their oil. The submarines of Simpson's 10th Flotilla were on patrol constantly, except for the period May—July , when Kesselring made a considerable effort against their bases.
Their success was not easy to achieve, given most of them were the slow U-class types. Supported by S- and T-class vessels, they dropped mines.
British submarine commanders became aces while operating from Malta. It was one of the few German tankers exporting oil from Romania.
The loss of the ship led Hitler to complain directly to Karl Dönitz , while comparing the Kriegsmarine unfavourably with the Royal Navy.Die Schlacht von Malta ist ein jährliches No-Limit Hold'em Pokerturnier in Malta. Die Veranstaltung wurde von i-logik.com gegründet und wird jetzt vom Casino Malta vom Olympic Casino, einem Teil der Eden Leisure Group, geleitet. Die Battle of Malta wird online bei GGPoker stattfinden und ein $ Main Event mit einer Garantie über $ beinhalten. Beim Battle of Malta Festival auf GGPoker blieben die DACHs gestern sieglos, Massoud Eskandiari setzte sich am Final Table beim $ Put on your armor and play for your share of at least $30 million in prizes in Battle of Malta, Nov Don't miss out, join at GGPoker today.