14 July

Action of 14 July 1616

This battle took place on 14 July-16 July 1616 near Cape Khelidonia, south-eastern Turkey, between a small Spanish fleet under Ribera, and a large Turkish galley fleet. It was the first regular fleet action between galleons, which had been introduced to the Mediterranean Sea by the Spanish in about 1609, and galleys, which had reigned supreme for millennia. After 3 days of fighting the Turks retreated with one vessel sunk and many damaged.

Ribera had 6 ships (191 guns) with him on a raiding voyage to the vicinity of Cyprus. Hearing that Turkish corsairs were based at Famagusta, eastern Cyprus, he sat off the coast in the hope that they would come out and fight. When they did not, and hearing that a fleet of 60 galleys was looking for him, he left so as not to have to fight galleys and sailing ships at the same time. On 14 July, waiting off Cape Khelidonia, the Turkish fleet of 55 galleys (about 250-300 guns) approached. Ribera formed his ships into 2 groups (Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, San Juan Bautista and Santiago were in his) in a basic formation and waited for the attack. The Turks approached in a crescent formation, common at the time, with the flagship (or "real") in the centre, and a lesser flagship on each wing. Fighting lasted between 9 a.m. and sunset, and resulted in 8 galleys out of action, and 1 dismasted.

In the morning of 15 July, 25 galleys attacked Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion while the rest attacked the "almiranta". By 9 a.m. both groups of galleys were forced to stand back a bit, but still in range of the sailing ships guns, and at 2 p.m. they retreated. Ten galleys were badly damaged and two dismasted.

On 16 July there was little wind so the galleys had more of an advantage. The "real" attacked Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion and Carretina but was driven off after a while. The Turks retreated at about 3 p.m. with one galley sunk, two dismasted and seventeen disabled. The next morning, they had disappeared.

Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion and Carretina were damaged, and Spanish casualties were 34 killed and 93 wounded, although other numbers are given.

Ships involved:

Spain (Ribera)

Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion 52 (Ribera)
? 34 ("almiranta" or second flag)
Santa Maria Buena Ventura/Urqueta 27
Carretina 34
San Juan Bautista 30
Santiago 14 (pinnace)


55 galleys - 1 sunk, about half damaged


  • Naval Wars in the Levant 1559-1853 - R. C. Anderson ISBN 1-57898-538-2

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