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  1. Martin Antonenko A Fixture

    The Longest Siege In Military History!

    In his work "The Iliad" Homer lets the united Greeks besiege the city of Troy for 20 years. A legend!

    On the other hand, what is almost forgotten today is that there was a real siege in the 17th century that - guaranteed! - lasted even longer!

    On May 1, 1648, Ottoman troops of Sultan Ibrahim I ...


    ... begin the siege of the Venetian fortress of Candia on the island of Crete.


    Here is a contemporary map showing Candia before the siege...:


    However, the siege does not mean complete encirclement, because the sea route remains partially open!

    So the Venetians can not only supply Candia with their fleet, but even intercept the Ottoman supplies!

    They also block the Dardanelles and were able to win several naval battles against the Ottoman fleet in 1651 at Naxos and in 1656 off the Dardanelles

    The siege is one of endless guerrilla warfare on land and sea. If Venice can maintain the supply situation and capture Turkish ships, the Turks are pushed back.


    In winter, however, when the fighting is at a standstill and the Mediterranean Sea is impassable because of the winter storms, Candia has no supplies.

    Meanwhile, the defenders of the fortress experience several plague epidemics, which - in addition to the fighting - claim many lives.

    The Ottomans tried several times to take the fortress by storm and lost almost 20,000 men in the process.


    An army of slaves and entrenchment workers then digs trenches and mine shafts.

    Here is a map showing the positions in detail - for comparison with the map above...:


    The fight moves underground!

    There has never been a mine war of this magnitude in history up to this point and it is unique until the First World War.

    Thousands of Candia residents and galley slaves, in turn, dig deeper and deeper into the earth, digging tunnels for listening posts, konterms, and passageways to cut-off outposts.



    Numerous new killing devices are also being tried out and used above ground. Various throwable bombs, hand grenades, terrain mines, explosive boxes, incendiary and explosive barrels are developed or improved.

    Mine dogs and cats are also used for the first time...:


    Meanwhile, the defenders, mostly mercenaries next to the inhabitants, vegetate in holes in the ground and shot-up ruins.

    There are numerous defectors on both sides, because the supply situation in the Ottoman camps is by no means better!

    Because the supply is getting worse and worse, people eat rats, mice and obviously also human flesh in Candia, so that this has to be forbidden on pain of death!

    Macabre: The corpses of fallen Ottomans are boiled and their fat is then used to make so-called "Turkish lard", which is used to rub sore feet.

    During the last three years of the siege, the Chronicle of the Siege records...


    ...over 60 Ottoman assaults, 90 casualties of the defenders...


    ...5000 underground mine detonations and 45 major underground battles...:


    30,000 defenders and 120,000 Ottomans are killed!

    In August 1669, the Venetian mercenaries were fed up and mutinied!

    They threaten to kill their officers if they don't surrender immediately.

    And so, on September 4, 1669, an armistice was signed and the surviving defenders were granted free rein.

    But not everyone is coming home!

    On their way back by sea, many of the survivors fall victim to a plague epidemic, some ships sink, and pirate attacks cost many more lives.

    Did you do the math?

    The siege of Candia lasted 21 years!

    Sultan Ibrahim I did not live to see the end of it. The armistice was concluded with his successor Mehmet IV.


    The battle for Candia is by far the longest siege known in war history...!
    Nap likes this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Amazing to read

    Using weapons in a totally new way ie: the mine dogs !

    Not so sure about the sore feet treatment though !

    Cheers Martin


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