Anchorage of the Austro-Hungarian Navy in the Fažana Channel

Protected by the Brijuni Islands and specific longitudinal position, many times in the past the Fažana Channel offered sailors shelter from rough seas and witnessed battles for the supremacy over land and sea. With the development of Pula harbor into the main naval port of the Austro-Hungarian Navy (K.u.k. Kriegsmarine), the Fažana Channel became the auxiliary naval anchorage, a continuation of Pula Bay, protected by batteries on Veli Brijun, Cape Christo at the southern passage, whereas the northern passage was protected by the fleet itself. Owing to such characteristics, anchoring in the Fažana Channel ensured the naval fleet greater mobility and provided greater protection from enemy blockade than in Pula harbor.
At the time, the united Italian kingdom laid claim on territories in Istria and Dalmatia, which were then under Austrian rule. The conflict culminated with the 1866 war between Austria on one side and the allied states of Prussia and Italy on the other side. Although far weaker, with outdated and poorly armed ships, yet with a crew of courageous and heroic sailors from the eastern coast of the Adriatic, the navy under the command of RearAdmiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff secured Austria dominance on the Adriatic Sea with the victory in the waters off Vis on July 20, 1866 defeating the modern and superior Italian navy. Thanks to the determination of the naval commander, it gained a brilliant victory over the more dominant enemy and as such is considered one of the greatest naval battles in history. The outcome of the battle changed the course of history in this area, whereas the applied battle tactics are even today studied and analyzed at many naval academies. This naval battle represents the first battle between ironclads with the use of rifled cannons and the last to involve deliberate ramming. The Austrian fleet proudly returned to the Fažana Channel on July 23 where it had
practiced battle tactics and had sailed from on July 19 at 10:30 to help the defenders of the island of Vis.
Until the construction of the Pula breakwater the Fažana Channel served as anchorage, especially during the time of ironclads. Climatic conditions were much more favorable than in Pula harbor in the days of ironclads, whereas during World War I the Fažana Channel became completely protected and as such offered shelter for submarines and hydroplanes.

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