Battle of the Dardanelles, 1656

Contemporary depiction of the Battle by Pieter Casteleyn. Original in the collection of the Legermuseum.

Location Dardanelles Straits, Turkey

In 1645, Venice and the Ottoman Empire went to war over possession of Crete. This was the Sixth Ottoman-Venetian War, and in 1656, the fighting was still going. In June, the Ottomans attempted to break the blockade of the Dardanelles, with a fleet of ninety-eight ships. Opposing them were sixty-seven ships from Venice and the Knights of St John of Malta. With a northerly wind in the morning, the Ottomans had the initial advantage, but the wind shifted to the southeast, driving their ships towards the shore, and letting the Venetian-allied fleet start a general melee. In the confusion, the Venetian commander took a direct hit from a cannon ball, killing him. However, the battle was a rout, with the Ottomans losing eighty-two ships captured, sunk, or burned, to three Venetian and zero Maltese ships sunk. As a result of the battle, both the Ottoman armies in Crete, and the capital of Constantinople suffered from food shortages over the winter, and it took another battle the next year to open the blockade.

Fun Fact: This was the third Battle of the Dardanelles in as many years, with one more to go in the War.