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Wilhelm von Tegetthof in bitka pri Visu 20.julija 1866 (Wilhelm von Tegetthoff and the Battle of Vis on 20 July 1866)

Igor Grdina


Edited by:Umetniški kabinet Primož Premzl, Maribor 2016 


The book presents the life and career of Viceadmiral Tegetthoff, the Battle of Vis, the monuments erected in his honour and their fate, and various newspaper articles. The monograph is lushly illustrated, with the majority of the material coming from the private collection of the monograph's publisher Primož Premzl (Umetniški kabinet Primož Premzl). The book, which comprises more than 120 photographs, documents and other pictorial material, was presented as a monument to this exceptional mariner and strict albeit righteous naval commander. In this role, Tegetthoff had proven himself with some naval achievements already prior to the Battle of Vis, which is the reason why he climbed up the ladder of naval ranks very quickly. After the victorious battle he became a hero and an icon at the same time. The text in the book is focused in great detail particularly on detailed description, research and analysis of the famous battle between the Austrian and much stronger Italian fleet fought in the vicinity of the Croatian island of Vis. The essence of the publication is description of the battle preparations, course of the battle and fought out victories over the twice as strong opponent, and this Tegetthoff's greatest success in his short but illustrious military career. 

The Battle of Vis in 1866 found its place in Austrian, Croatian, Slovenian, Italian and world naval history. It had a certain influence on naval tactics as the first battle in which armoured ships took part, and proved at the same time that in the history of naval wars and battles, from the oldest times till today, predominance in numbers had not always been decisive in achieving basic operational objectives. Deciding factors were quite often naval military skill, dexterity of commanding officers, and capabilities of exploiting given conditions and current situations. The naval battle between the fleets of the Kingdom of Italy and the Habsburg Empire, which raged on 20 July 1866 in the Vis Channel, was written in history along with the battles of Salamis, Trafalgar and Midway. The Austrian fleet's victory prevented the island of Vis falling into the hands of the Kingdom of Italy. Specifically, Italy had sought to occupy Vis, with which it could play extortive games at eventual peace negotiations with Austro-Hungarian Empire that would include annexation of the entire Dalmatia.
The Austrian fleet was commanded by Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff (1827–1871), born in Maribor, Slovenia. As a great strategist he fought out an important naval victory over the Italian Navy. Among his great strategic moves let us mention his famous sinking of the Italian flagship Re d'Italia, when his armoured ship Erzherzog Ferdinand Max rammed into her side, sinking her in no more than three minutes, together with almost four hundred members of her crew. The confusion that followed in the Italian fleet was complete and the planned occupation of the island of Vis (as well as further Italian plans to penetrate and occupy the Dalmatian coast) disappeared into thin air.

After his victory over the Italians, Tegetthoff returned triumphantly to his naval base in Pula, Croatia. The outcome of the battle, however, had no effect on the outcome of the war between the two countries, for in the end the war was won by the Italians. Still, the outcome of the battle made an end to the Italian expansion in the Adriatic and co-created a map of this part of Europe. Owing to the battle won at Vis, Austria retained Dalmatia and Istria under its rule and had a strong impact, due to mariners of different nationalities taking part in the battle, on the growth of the Austrian naval identity as well as on the awakening of the Croatian identity in Dalmatia at the same time. 


Price: 34,90 €