Action of 28 September 1644

Action of 28 September 1644

The Action of 28 September 1644 refers to a battle that took place on 28 September 1644 about 70 miles from Rhodes, when 6 Maltese galleys under Boisbaudran defeated an Ottoman convoy of sailing ships.

The Battle

The Maltese "San Lorenzo", "Santa Maria" and "Vittoria" overhauled and attacked a Turkish galleon, while "San Giuseppe" and "San Giovanni" captured a smaller sailing ship and the "capitana" chased a vessel which turned out to be Greek, before returning to fight the galleon. After 7 hours, she was captured, with 220 of the 600 or more on board dead. Boisbaudran was killed, and the senior captain, Cotoner, of the "San Lorenzo", took over command. Maltese casualties were 82 killed and 170 wounded, exclusively from among the rowing crews. On the voyage home, there were several storms, and eventually the galleon was abandoned near Malta, and ended up wrecked on the Calabrian coast.


The Turkish convoy had been heading from Constantinople to Alexandria, and carried a number of pilgrims bound for Mecca, as well as one of the Sultan's wives and her young son, and the exiled former Chief Black Eunuch, Sünbül Aga.

On the voyage home, the Maltese vessel carrying the loot stopped at Crete, then a Venetian dominion, where it took on board supplies and unloaded part of the treasure there. The Ottomans, already enraged at the loss of the ships, considered this act a breach of Venetian neutrality, and soon declared war on the Republic.

Ships involved

Knights of Malta

"?" ("capitana" of Boisbaudran)
"San Lorenzo"
"Santa Maria"
"San Giuseppe"
"San Giovanni"


galleon - Captured, wrecked later
smaller ship - Captured
several others


* "Naval wars in the Levant 1559-1853" - R. C. Anderson ISBN 1-57898-538-2

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