Battle of Lemnos, 1913

Lithograph showing the ships available to the Ottoman and Greek fleets in early 1913. Original believed to be in the public domain.

Location Lemnos, Greece, Aegean Sea

The First Balkan War saw a number of major naval engagements. The final sea battle of the War was the Battle of Lemnos. The Ottoman fleet had received a major drubbing at the hands of the Greeks a month prior at the Battle of Elli, but due to the capture of a number of islands, they needed to try once more to neutralize them. As a result, the Ottomans deployed three battleships, a cruiser, and five destroyers, against a Greek squadron of three battleships, a cruiser, and seven destroyers. Besides being outnumbered, the Ottoman ships were generally older than the Greeks, and in far worse condition. Some of them were missing such important parts as rangefinders and ammunition hoists. The Ottomans managed to get the cruiser Hamidiye into the Aegean Sea for some raiding, in an effort to draw off some of the Greek ships, but Admiral Kountouriotis, commander of the Greeks, called their bluff. Battle was joined at 11:34 on the morning of 18 January, 1913, and things immediately went down hill for the Ottomans. Within twenty minutes the superior Greek gunnery had inflicted heavy damage on the Ottoman formation, and they withdrew into the safety of the Dardanelles Strait. The Ottoman fleet remained there for the rest of the War. Despite firing over 800 shells, the Ottomans managed to only hit the Greek flagship Averof twice, wounding one sailor. The Greeks had no such problems, severely damaging all three Ottoman battleships, resulting in forty-one dead, 104 wounded, and Greek domination of the Aegean for the remainder of the War.