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home icon ► Vis maritime battle in the year 1866. , town of Vis

Vis maritime battle in the year 1866. , town of Vis

The famous Vis maritime battle took place on July 20th 1866. in the waters,northern of the island Vis, where the navies of the Habsburg monarchy and the Kingdom of Italy have conflicted. The Habsburg Monarchy maritime fleet won the Italien one, to which victory have contributed a lot the brave Croatian marines, who didn't want the Italian domination in this area, and in the same time they have felt the need for the awakening of national consciousness. The aim of the Kingdom of Italy was to reach the predominance over the Adriatic sea. The Admiral Carlo Di Persano was intructed to occupy the island of Vis with his navy, from which they would later control all maritime routs in the Adriatic sea. After they have set sailed from the Italian naval bases and went toward the island of Vis,aiming the conquest of the towns of Vis and Komiza. The attack started on July 18th 1866. However, even after the heavy shelling and several attacks, they didn't conquer their fortresses and the towns, so they ceased the attacks. When the emperor and the admiralty, have learned that the Italian navy was attacking the island of Vis, they have ordered to attack the hostile fleet. Through their intelligence office, the Kingdom of Italy has found out that their navy was coming, so they have made the defensive war formation, expecting their arrival.

The data of the navies proportion were interesting : The Habsburg Monarchy fleet had 27 battleships with the total 57.344 gross register tonnage,532 ship's cannons and 7.871 officers, non-commisioned officers and the Marines ; The kingdom Italy fleet had 34 battleships with the total 86.000 gross register tonnage,645 cannons and 10.886 men.

The Austrian navy command knew that the Italian fleet is stronger and better equipted and armed, so they decided to make the wedging ships formation, aiming to the breaking of the Italian ships with the strong bows and sink them. When the Admiral Carlo Di Persano saw that he was loosing the ships in some strange way in the maritime warfare, he has ordered the retreat. The whole rest of the Italian navy has run away out of the maritime battlefield in panic and set sailed toward their naval bases with 660 dead and wounded men. The Austrian fleet had only 176 dead and wounded men. After this defeat, the Italian fleet has lost the control over this part of the Adriatic sea. The greatest winners in this battle were the Croatian marines, who have through this victory become the proud and nationaly conscious people, that they are in fact the masters of these islands and the Adriatic sea.

The members of the Croatian Austrian cultural forum and the Austrian red cross, have in the year 2006. organized 3 days' celebration of the 140th anniversary of the Vis maritime battle. That day on July 18th 2006. the town Vis mayor with the brass band and three historians have eagarly expected the vessel-cars ferry with the Austrian delegation. After their arrival, they took them to the hotel, so they could rest. Tomorrow, on the very day of the battle, they dressed the uniforms of that age. The ingenious Austrians have, from the history museum borrowed the uniforms,hats,sabres,war ensigns,war medals,ceremonial belts and the other personal war equipment, and fascinated the hosts. In front of the hotel Issa, the solemn procession has been made by the representatives of the Republic of Austria,red cross,Croatian navy,town of Vis and the local inhabitants, and went to the Prirovo graveyard, to pay the honour to all the dead warriors. After 3 solemn guns shots,laying the wreaths and one minute silence observance, all the participants have removed from the graveyard in the silence. Thanks to the documentary series «The large shipwrecks in the Adriatic sea» and the local Vis fishermen maritime charts, about the places where the fishing nets have been sticking, at the depth of 120 metres, the sunk shipwrecks of the Italian navy have been discovered. It was about the Italian admiral ship «Re di Italia» and the Battle Ship «Palestro». Because of the large sea depth, the video clips of those shipwrecks has been made by the Croatian French expedition mini submarine, and finally lighted up the mistery of the sunk ships.

These proofs of the rich history of the island of Vis are the large guarantee for the good tourist season and offer,the arrival of the numerous guests,tourists,crousers and prosperity of the whole island.

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