|The Bulgarian attack at Çatalca (near Istanbul) .|
However, after leaving the Hellenic Navy with two months to consolidate it's hold on the Aegean, on 16 December, 1912, the Ottoman Navy sortied out from the Dardanelles and sparked the largest sea battle of the war.
Ottoman Navy, Cpt Ramiz Bey
- 2 battleships (Barbaros Hayreddin and Turgut Reis), these were Brandenburg-class battleships purchased from the Imperial German Navy in 1910.
- 2 old battleships (Mesudiye and Âsâr-ı Tevfik)
- 1 protected cruiser (Mecidiye)
- 4 destroyers (Muavenet-i Milliye, Yadigâr-i Millet, Taşoz and Basra)
Hellenic Navy, Rear Adm Pavlos Kountouriotis
- 1 armoured cruiser (Georgios Averof)
- 3 coastal defence battleships (Hydra, Spetsai and Psara)
- 4 destroyers (Aetos, Ierax, Panthir and Leon)
The BattleThe Ottoman fleet sortied from the Dardanelles at 9:30; the smaller craft remained at the mouth of the straits while the battleships sailed north, hugging the coast.
Taking full advantage in her superior speed, guns and armour, Averof succeeded in crossing the Ottoman fleet's "T" and concentrated her fire against the Ottoman flagship Barbaros Hayreddin, thus forcing the Ottoman fleet to retreat in disorder. The Greek fleet, including the destroyers Aetos, Ierax and Panthir continued to pursue the Ottoman fleet off-and-on between the dates of December 13 and December 26, 1912.
Gaming the Battle of Elli
1. The Fleets
|Postcard: Turkish warships before the Battle of Elli on December 5, 1912 upon leaving the Dardanelles|
|The Ottoman navy battleship division: Barbaros Hayreddin (flagship), Turgut Reis, Mesudiye and Âsâr-ı Tevfik.|
|The Ottoman destroyer division: The protected cruiser Mecidiye (flagship) and destroyers Muavenet-i Milliye, Yadigâr-i Millet, Taşoz and Basra (multi-ship base).|
|The Hellenic Navy: The armoured cruiser Georgios Averof (flagship), and coastal defence battleships Hydra, |
Spetsai and Psara.
|The Hellenic Destroyer Division: Aetos, Ierax, Panthir and Leon (foreground)|
2. The Battle
The Ottoman Navy, under Cpt Ramiz Bey, steamed out of the Straits of the Dardanelles at 8am on 16 December 1912. The weather conditions were good and the sea was quiet.
|Cpt Ramiz Bey orders the Barbaros Hayreddin and Turgut Reis to open fire on the Greek fleet after steaming out of the Dardanelles Strait. Some keen Ottoman gunnery in this opening round results in two hits on the Averoff.|
|Rear Adm Pavlos Kountouriotis orders the main battery of the Averoff to return fire on the Turgut Reis scoring a single hit in retaliation.|
|The Ottoman battleships close in on the Greeks with the 9.2" guns of the Mesudiye also searching for the Averoff.|
|In retaliation for the loss of the Mecidiye, all three batteries of the Barbaros Hayreddin (centre left) score hits on the Psara. The ageing ironclad was severely damaged resulting in a loss of firepower and a significant loss of speed.|
|The Hellenic cruisers concentrate their fire on the Ottoman destroyers as they home in on the crippled Psara and sink her with torpedoes. The remaining Greek cruisers fire punishing salvos that sink the Muavenet-i Milliye.|
|As the battered destroyer divisions circle looking for any last kills with their remaining torpedoes (centre), the Ottoman (centre left) and Hellenic (bottom right) capital ships stay clear of the maelstrom for fear of torpedo attack.|
|The remaining Ottoman destroyers steam into close quarters and launch the final torpedoes against the Hydra - which is subsequently sunk.|
|The Hellenic destroyers 'cross the T' of the Ottoman battleships to launch final torpedo attacks - the Âsâr-ı Tevfik having fallen out of command. The Ottoman battleships retaliate heavily.|
|In a final blow to the Ottomans, the guns of the Hellenic cruisers (top right) home in on the Barbaros Hayreddin (top left), sinking the Ottoman flagship in a last desperate attempt at victory before they slip away into the safety of the Dardanelles.|
|The heavy guns of the Ottoman battleships and the Hellenic cruisers pick off the remaining destroyers on each side, resulting in both sides exceeding the victory point tally required for victory.|
However, for the Ottoman Navy the loss of their flagship, Barbaros Hayreddin - now at the bottom of the Aegean along with the fleet commander Cpt Ramie Bey - will reduce the likelihood of any further sorties into the Aegean.
While the Hellenic Navy's flagship Georgios Averof is damaged, and their modern destroyer division is now but a memory, one can imagine Rear Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis will be quick to re-assert Hellenic influence in the Aegean.