By David Blackmore

As any sailor understands, existence at sea is harmful below even basic conditions. In instances of struggle with an enemy cause on killing and sinking you it's infinitely extra so. David Blackmore has researched a hundred severe circumstances over the span of background and written photograph descriptions protecting the history, the occasions and the tragic outcomes. Many have been the results of enemy motion, others (too many) instantly human errors and the rest have been as a result of act of God, now not least the weather.


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The seaward foray was repulsed, but the ground force took Cape Plemmyrium, giving Syracuse control of the harbour approaches. This forced the Athenian fleet to abandon its base and beach its vessels along the foreshore. Shortly afterward, the reinforcements arrived and beached their ships alongside the others. Demosthenes evaluated the situation and decided to mount an immediate assault on the city. By moonlight, his force scaled the western cliffs and routed the surprised garrison. But, as often happens in night engagements, the attackers lost cohesion and fell into disarray.

Although outnumbered by more than two-to-one, he was confident his crews and tactics would be superior to the enemy’s. At dawn, the Corinthian fleet reached Patras and turned north to run for the invasion beaches. Phormio allowed it to reach the mid-point of the Strait, then pounced. The Battle of Patras Machaon immediately adopted a ‘hedgehog’ formation, ranging forty-two of his warships in a circle with their rams pointing outward, like the spokes of a rimless wheel. For safety, he placed the troop transports and cargo ships inside this circle, together with five of his most powerful triremes as a mobile reserve.

By moonlight, his force scaled the western cliffs and routed the surprised garrison. But, as often happens in night engagements, the attackers lost cohesion and fell into disarray. Some pursued the retreating enemy, some fell off the cliffs to die on the rocks below, and others stumbled back to crash into reserves moving up behind. When morning came, it was clear the attack had failed. Demosthenes proposed withdrawing from their untenable position, but Nicias procrastinated, saying soothsayers had advised a delay of ‘thrice nine days’ until a propitious phase of the moon.

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