July 20, 1866Battle of Lissa – The Austrian Navy , led by Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, defeats the Italian Navy near the island of Vis in the Adriatic Sea.
The Battle of Lissa (sometimes called Battle of Vis) took place on 20 July 1866 in the Adriatic Sea near the Dalmatian island of Lissa ("Vis" in Croatian) and was a decisive victory for an outnumbered Austrian Empire force over a superior Italian force. It was the first major sea battle between ironclads and one of the last to involve deliberate ramming. The Italian navy fired roughly 1450 shots during the engagement, but failed to do any serious damage to an Austrian ship while losing two battleships. One of the main reasons of this bad performance was due to internal rivalry between the Italian fleet commanders: for example, Italian Vice Admiral Albini, with his group of ships, never participated in the battle. The engagement was made of several small battles: the main was between seven Austrian and four Italian ironclads and showed the ability of Tegetthoff to divide the bigger opponent and destroy the surrounded ironclads left alone.