1565 GREAT SIEGE OF MALTA

History of War - - GREAT BATTLES -

01 Rout of turks On 19 May, Mustafa Pasha’s soldiers at­tack the cur­tain wall pro­tect­ing the sub­urb of Birgu on the south side of the Grand Har­bour. Sup­ported by two pow­er­ful bat­ter­ies, the knights of the Castil­ian langue emerge from a sally port in the wall, rout­ing the star­tled Ot­tomans. The Ot­tomans sub­se­quently with­draw.

02 Christian Sor­tie At St. Elmo The Chris­tians de­fend­ing St. Elmo con­duct a sor­tie on 29 May against the Ot­toman trenches. In the face of the at­tack, Ot­toman en­gi­neers and soldiers aban­don their for­ward po­si­tions. Mustafa Pasha orders his janis­saries to re­take the lost ground. They sweep for­ward, driv­ing back the Chris­tians and cap­tur­ing the outer works of the fort.

03 CAVALRY Raid On 9 June the Christian cavalry de­tach­ment from Md­ina in the cen­tre of the is­land launches a raid that tem­po­rar­ily knocks out the Ot­toman guns at Gal­lows Point. The cru­cial strike en­ables the de­fend­ers to con­tinue to send small boats across the har­bour to re­sup­ply and re­in­force the beleaguered gar­ri­son at St. Elmo.

04 Fall of St. Elmo The Ot­tomans launch a fresh all-out at­tack on 23 June against the crum­bling walls of Fort St. Elmo. The 60 Christian de­fend­ers fight to the death. The time-con­sum­ing siege of St. Elmo costs the Ot­tomans heav­ily.

05 GRUE­SOME TAC­TICS Fol­low­ing the cap­ture of Fort St. Elmo, the Ot­tomans mount the de­cap­i­tated bod­ies of the dead knights on cru­ci­fixes, which they float across the har­bour to Fort St. An­gelo. La Valette re­sponds by or­der­ing his gun­ners to fire the heads of ex­e­cuted Ot­toman pris­on­ers from can­nons atop St. An­gelo.

06 lit­tle RE­LIEF FORCE AR­RIVES A pair of Span­ish gal­leys lands 42 knights and 600 Span­ish in­fantry on the north shore of the is­land in late June. A dense fog on 5 July fur­nishes the cover for their trans­port by small boats into Birgu.

07 ot­toman Am­phibi­ous At­tack Hav­ing portaged boats from Marsamuscetto in­let to Marsa, the Ot­tomans launch an am­phibi­ous at­tack against Senglia on 15 July. Al­ge­rian cor­sairs at­tempt to storm the beach along French Creek.

When that fails, they try to reach Fort St. An­gelo by water, but a Hospi­taller bat­tery sinks the boats.

08 Sus­tained Shelling The Ot­tomans be­gin a five-day bom­bard­ment on 2 Au­gust with all of their siege bat­ter­ies at once, in or­der to soften up Senglia and Birgu for land­ward as­saults. One of the hard­est hit po­si­tions is St. An­gelo, which is caught in a cross­fire from bat­ter­ies on Mount Sciber­ras, Gal­lows Point and Mount Sal­vador.

09 turk­ish CAMP de­stroyed While the Ot­toman troops are pre­oc­cu­pied at­tack­ing Birgu and Senglia on 7 Au­gust, the Christian cavalry based in Md­ina at­tacks and de­stroys the Ot­toman camp. The Ot­tomans re­turn from bat­tle to find their tents ablaze, their wounded slain and their horses stolen.

10 SIEGE tower FALLS In a fresh ef­fort to cap­ture Birgu and St. An­gelo, the Turks roll a wooden siege tower up to the land walls. The Chris­tians un­mask a bat­tery at ground level and fire chain shot at the base of the tower, send­ing it crash­ing to the ground.

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