Battle of Elli, 1912

Painting of the Greek line during the Battle of Elli, by Vasileios Hatzis. Original in the public domain.

Location Dardanelles Straits, Turkey

The Battle of Elli was the largest naval battle during the Balkan Wars. On 16 December, 1912, during the First Balkan War, a Greek squadron intercepted an Ottoman squadron, near the Dardanelles. While the Ottomans had the numbers advantage, they don't seem to have been as well trained as the Greeks. The Greek squadron had three slow coast-defense battleships with them, and they slowed the whole squadron down considerably. Perhaps mindful of how the old Russian battleships at Tsushima had crippled their own fleet's chance of success, the Greek admiral ordered independent action, and charged his flagship, the new armored cruiser Georgios Averof, into the Ottoman force on her own. Averof managed to cross the Ottoman's T, and proceeded to inflict heavy damage on them, forcing the Ottomans to withdraw. The Greeks suffered just two dead, and gained control of the Aegean Sea for the rest of the War, effectively crippling the Ottoman war effort.