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Battle of Classe
Battle of classe
Location
Classe
Date
17 April 1580
Participants
The Talian Fleet (the combined fleets of Bellezza and Classe)
The Classe Army and local volunteers
The Gate People's Fleet
The Giglian Army (under Grand Duke Fabrizio di Chimici)


The Battle of Classe was a sea and land battle between the combined naval forces of Classe and Bellezza against the Gate People and Classe's army against the armed forces of Giglia. The battle took place on 17 April 1580[1], near the coast of Classe and inland, at the walls of the city-state.

BackgroundEdit

Prior to the Battle of Classe, the political balance in Talia was evenly split between the city-states controlled by the di Chimici family and city-states that maintained independence. The Grand Duke of Tuschia, Fabrizio II di Chimici of Giglia, had hoped to weaken one of the independent city-states through force and formed an alliance with the Gate People in the east. The Grand Duke encouraged the Gate People to attack the coastal cities of Bellezza and Classe, both which were strongly opposed to falling under di Chimici control.

Several weeks before the battle, the Gate People began amassing their fleet at Ladera, located on the coast opposite of Classe. A Talian pirate, Andrea, entered the confidence of the Gate fleet's leader, Ay Adem, and provided him with information regarding the state of the Talian naval forces. However, Andrea had been operating as a double agent for the Talians and presented misleading intelligence to Ay Adem, who became suspicious of the pirate's information as the day of the battle drew closer, but still retained the pirate's services until the battle began. Though the Talian forces had anticipated an attack on Bellezza either by sea or by land, the unexpected decision of Princess Beatrice, the Grand Duke's sister, to take refuge in Bellezza to avoid an unwanted marriage shifted the Grand Duke's decision to focus the battle on Classe.

Thanks to prior intelligence, the combined naval forces of Classe and Bellezza were able to prepare a powerful defence against the foreign Gate fleet. However, for the land battle, Classe's lack of a standing army forced the Duke of Classe, Germano Mariano, to recruit as many qualified men as possible with help from Enrico Poggi in the weeks leading up to the battle. To sufficiently prepare the city's defences, the walls facing inland towards Giglia were repaired and whatever cannons the city had available, most of which were small and old, were placed on the wall. Due to the foundries of the Classe Arsenale focusing producing shot for the fleet, the wall defence suffered from a serious shortage of ammunition. The city also stacked sandbags against the sides of churches and temples containing mosaics the walls in an attempt to protect them from the upcoming battle, and Duke Germano commissioned the workshop of mosaic master Fausto Ventura to create copies of the mosaics in the most vulnerable buildings.

BattleEdit

The Battle of Classe occurred on two fronts, with the Gate People attacking just off the coast of Classe. Prior intelligence allowed the Classe fleet, with the allied Bellezzan navy, to sufficiently prepare a defence against the invaders. However, the defending Talian fleet was greatly inhibited by use of liquid fire, a substance employed by the Gate People that created fires that could not be put out by water, allowing the fire to burn indefinitely on the surface of the sea. The liquid fire was later overcome when Andrea revealed the secret to extinguishing it - either smothering the fires with sand or dousing them with either urine or vinegar - to the Stravagante Isabella, who was acting as the flag signaler for the Talian fleet. She delivered the message to the captain of The Duchessa, who sent Luciano Crinamorte as a messenger to the rest of the fleet. The sea battle concluded after five hours.[1]

Simultaneously Grand Duke Fabrizio di Chimici led an attack on Classe by land with the armed forces of Giglia. The majority of the battle was concentrated at the walls of Classe, which suffered considerable damage from Giglian cannon fire. The Classe army and local volunteers endured difficulties in their defence as a result of a shortage of men and ammunition and the breached walls offered opportunities for the Giglian attackers to put up scaling-ladders in attempt to enter the city proper. During the battle, Duke Germano, was killed from cannon fire while trying to maintain morale and delivering orders from the general of the Classe army to the city's easternmost defences. Before the Giglians managed to overrun the Classe defence, the Talian fleet, which had succeeded in repelling the Gate People, arrived with reinforcements. Notably, Filippo Nucci emerged from the Talian fleet's reinforcements to rally the Classe forces to continue fighting. The general of the Giglian army, against the wishes of the Grand Duke, ordered a retreat when the Talian fleet arrived to aid the Classe army following their success at sea.

BelligerentsEdit

Sea battle of classe

Sea Battle of Classe

Sea BattleEdit

TaliaEdit

The Talian Fleet, consisting of the combined fleets of Classe and Bellezza.

  • 50 Galleys on the Left Flank led by The Goddess (Admiral Gambone) with The Duchessa as consort
  • 50 Galleys in Centre led by The Tiger (Admiral Borca) with The Sea Dragon as consort
  • 50 Galleys on the Right Flank led by The Santa Maddalena with The Silver Dolphin as consort
  • The other known ships in the battle were The Hand of Fortune, The Swallow, The Mermaid, and The Falcon's Flight; all four are merchant galleys modified to carry heavy guns for the purposes of acting as floating gun platforms in the battle.

Known participants in the battle included the following.

  • Michele Borca, Admiral of the Classe fleet
  • Giovanni Gambone, Admiral of the Bellezzan fleet
  • Isabella, flag signaler for the Classe fleet aboard The Tiger
  • Luciano Crinamorte, aboard The Duchessa
  • Adamo da Bellezza (in the place of Mario Bailadora), an arquebusier aboard The Duchessa
  • Filippo Nucci, link officer between the Classe and Bellezzan fleets, aboard The Sea Dragon

Gate PeopleEdit

The Gate People's fleet consisted of the following.

  • 55 Galleys on the Right Flank led by The Mehtap (Ay Quana) with The Yildiz (Adem Deviz) as consort
  • 60 Galleys in Centre led by The Samira (Ay Adem) with The Raider's Revenge (Andrea) as consort
  • 55 Galleys on Left Flank led by The Duha (Adem Dolmay) with The Seher (Ay Mushtaree) as consort

Known participants in the battle included the following.

  • Ay Adem, leader of the Gate People
  • Ay Quana
  • Adem Deviz
  • Adem Dolmay
  • Ay Mustaree
  • Andrea, the captain of The Raider's Revenge
  • Salvatore, first mate of The Raider's Revenge

Land BattleEdit

ClasseEdit

GigliaEdit

  • Fabrizio di Chimici, Grand Duke of Tuschia and Duke of Giglia
  • Girolamo Tasca[2], General of the Giglian Army

Aftermath and EffectsEdit

The sea battle concluded with four Talian vessels lost to the Gate People's fireships, and ten more ships lost and twenty severely damaged in the battle. The Talian fleet was able to sink twenty of the Gate ships in addition to capturing thirty enemy ships, with a further sixty enemy ships being damaged beyond immediate repair. Thirty additional Gate ships were captured by Talian forces upon the Gate People's retreat, while only sixty reached Ladera, of which only thirty of those ships managed to row back to their country.[1]

Following the Battle of Classe, Bellezza issued an invitation to the independent city-states of Talia to form an official alliance against the di Chimici as a means of indicating to Fabrizio di Chimici that his decision to attack another sovereign city-state without provocation had been grievous transgression against them[1].

CasualtiesEdit

During the battle at sea, two thousand Talian men numbered among the casualties while the Gate People were reported to have lost seventeen thousand. The battle at the walls of Classe resulted in the deaths of two hundred more men. Notable casualties included the following.

  • Duke Germano Mariano
  • Giovanni Gambone, Admiral of the Bellezzan fleet
  • Various citizens of Bellezza and Classe[3]
  • Various members of the Giglian army
  • Various members of the Gate fleet

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  • The battles of Classe, at sea and on land, have no historical basis. Mary Hoffman cites Roger Crowley's description of the Battle of Lepanto (1571) in Empires of the Sea (Faber, 2008) and John Guilmartin Jnr's Gunpowder and Galleys (Cambridge University Press, 1974) as influences for the battles.[1]
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 City of Ships
  2. Name given in City of Swords
  3. In City of Ships, it says there were bodies along the barricade

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