Ottoman torpedo boat Muavenet-i Milliye
Torpedo boat Muavenet-i Milliye
|Launched:||20 March 1909|
|Commissioned:||17 August 1910|
|Propulsion:||17700 HP, 2 turbines, 2 boilers|
|Range:||1000 nmi at 17 knots|
2 × 75mm (-/50)2 × 57mm (-/50)3 × TT 450mm
Muavenet-i Milliye was a torpedo boat built for the Ottoman Navy prior to World War I. After the post-war formation of the Turkish Navy, the ship continued in service as TCG Muavenet-i Milliye. The ship is most notable for sinking the British pre-dreadnought battleship Goliath during the Battle of Çanakkale in World War I. Considered in the same league as the minelayer Nusret in terms of the role she played in the naval engagements during the battle, Muavenet-i Milliye also strongly influenced the course of the conflicts through a domino effect on the Allied strategy.
"Muavenet" means support in Turkish, and the full name of this first ship of that name, "Muavenet-i Milliye", signifies national support. Her name was given in honor of the funds collected through voluntary participation from among the Ottoman public to finance her purchase and of the association that organized the collect of funds. This association, founded in July 1909, only a month before the ship's commissioning by the Ottoman Navy, and led by twenty-eight prominent Turkish businessmen of İstanbul, to be followed shortly afterwards by a wider participation including the more modest layers of the society, was named "Donanma-i Osmani Muavenet-i Milliye Cemiyeti" (Association for National Support for the Ottoman Navy) in full and "Donanma Cemiyeti" (Navy Association) in short. Muavenet-i Milliye was the first ship purchased, in Germany, through the financing made available thanks to the efforts of the Navy Association.
Three other Turkish Navy ships of different periods, the last being presently in service, were later named in memory of Muavenet-i Milliye to recall her achievement. For these other ships of the same name, see TCG Muavenet.
One of the first aircraft of the Turkish Air Force, contemporaneous to the ship, was given the same name.
As of 1912, the command of Muavenet-i Milliye was assumed by the senior lieutenant (see Naval officer ranks) Ahmed Saffet (later Ahmet Saffet Ohkay), member of a new generation of officers who were specially trained in view of the more modern ships the Ottoman Navy acquired. In the first months of the Ottoman entry into the World War I, the ship was assigned to missions in the Black Sea, from where she was re-directed towards Çanakkale with the start of the Dardanelles Campaign.
Sinking of Goliath
HMS Goliath was part of the Allied fleet in the naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign, supporting the landing at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915. On the night of 12 May–13 May 1915 Goliath was stationed, along with HMS Cornwallis and screened by five destroyers, in Morto Bay off Cape Helles, in an effort to relieve the pressure on the French flank of the landing.
The French had asked the assistance of the battleships against the Turkish counterattacks targeting to recapture Kerevizdere. Thus, every night two battleships began to bombard the Turkish positions. The Turkish side, to eliminate damages caused by these battleships, assigned the Muavenet-i-Milliye. During the day, the German lieutenant Rudolph Firle and two other officers, who had carried out a reconnaissance mission near Morto Bay earlier, had embarked on Muavenet-i Milliye to man the torpedo operations. A On 10 May, at 13:30, the Muavenet-i-Milliye arrived at the strait and the preparations for its new assignment had begun. It was on 12 May, at 18:40, Muavenet-i-Milliye went into action. Between 19:00 and 19:30, it passed the mines and on 19:40 it anchored in Soganlidere and waited until midnight. The projectors of the allied battleships were closed down at 23:30.
Muavenet-i-Milliye weighed anchor at 00:30 and skipped through the European side of the strait. The Allied destroyers failed to notice its advance. At 01:00 on the line astern of the Muavenet-i-Milliye, two destroyers were seen, on the forehead was the Goliath. Goliath asked the password and the Muavenet-i-Milliye, without losing time, signed the request with three torpedoes. The first torpedo hit the bridge, the second hit the funnel and the third the stern. The ship capsized almost immediately taking 570 of the 700-strong crew to the bottom, including the captain.
The sinking of Goliath led to direct and drastic upheaval for the British Navy top command and strategy. Two days after the loss of their ship, on 15 May 1915, the First Sea Lord Admiral Fisher resigned amidst bitter arguments with the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, causing, on 17 May, Churchill's resignation too. General Hamilton noted in his diary that, "The Turks deserve a medal." The Allies had failed to achieve their expectations with the landings. Thus, the British began to make plans for the resumption of the naval attack. However, the torpedoing of the Goliath had proven that it was impossible to open the straits by a naval attack. The valuable modern battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth was recalled from the Dardanelles. The subsequent loss of battleships Triumph at Anzac and Majestic at Cape Helles, both torpedoed by U-21, resulted in a further reduction in naval support for the Allied land troops.
The ship captain, lieutenant Ahmed Saffet, the German lieutenant Rudolph Firle and his two deputies and the 90-strong Turkish crew were greeted as heroes in İstanbul, all lights along the Bosphorus having been lit specially to their honor, and were rewarded with medals and decorations.
- ↑ Most importantly, this successful operation boosted the moral of the Turkish soldiers. Ahmet Saffet Ohkay pursued a successful career in the Turkish Navy, the culmination of which was the top command for a brief period in 1924, during the 1924-1927 transitory phase between the Ottoman Navy and the Turkish Naval Forces. After 1927, he served as deputy in the Turkish Grand National Assembly for three terms. Rudolph Firle wrote a book on the Baltic Sea operations during the war, still a reference, and led a career in the German merchant fleet.