The battles of Helles and Lemnos between the Greek and Turkish fleets were so greatly overshadowed by the events of 1914 and 1915 that even the names have been all but forgotten in Western Europe and the United States. But in the naval annals of Greece they rank with the exploits of Kanaris and his fire ships in the War of Independence, and perhaps not far behind the victory of Themistocles at Salamis.
The Battle of Helles and Lemnos
By K. L. Rankin
The World War may be said to have lasted for 11 years in the Aegean. Hostilities were not continuous, and from the summer of 1913 until September of the following year there was a period of formal peace. In a broad sense, however, the war in the Near East began with Italy’s occupation of Tripoli, Cyrenaica, and the Dodecanese in 1911. It came to an end with the fall of Smyrna in 1922. Throughout this period sea power exerted a decisive influence, despite the comparative rarity of naval engagements, and during the winter of 1912-13 two fleet actions were required to establish a superiority at sea which never was questioned thereafter.