History - Philosophy
THEMISTOCLES (born c. 524 B.C—died c. 459 B.C)
Themistocles was an Athenian politician, general and naval strategist whose emphasis on naval power and military skills were instrumental during the Persian wars. Themistocles was the creator of Athenian sea power and the chief savior of Greece from subjection to the Persian Empire at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE.
The Battle of Salamis (480 B.C.E)
In August 480 BCE the Persian army was met at the mountain pass of Thermopylae by a small band of Greeks led by Spartan King Leonidas.
They held the pass for three days, and at the same time the Greeks, with the Athenian contingent led by Themistocles, managed to hold off the Persians at the indecisive naval battle at Artemision.
When news of the Battle of Thermopylae reached Athens, the citizens panicked. They boarded ships and sailed for nearby islands. Only a small army was left to defend the city. Themistocles continued with his naval buildup. As he spoke to the Athenians, he convinced them that rather than run and hide from the coming enemy, their salvation would come from the sea. Having just recently built up their naval power through the increased revenues from the silver mines, Themistocles capitalized on the moment, understanding that it was through naval power and not ground forces that would drive back the Persian Empire.
He then, had an idea on how to defeat the Persians. He wanted to fight their navy in the narrow channels between the islands and the mainland. The Persians would find it hard to move their ships around to attack the Greek navy. In order for his plan to work, Themistocles had to get the Persian ships into a channel near a place called Salamis.
So, he set a trap. He sent a loyal slave to Xerxes’ camp with a message. The message said that Themistocles wanted to change sides and join the Persians. If Xerxes attacked now, the message said, half the Greek sailors would surrender. Xerxes fell for the trick. He ordered his ships to enter the narrow waterway between Salamis and the mainland to attack.
As the Persians approached, the Greek ships seemed to retreat.
But this was just to trick the Persians farther into the channel. Soon the Greeks had them surrounded. The Greek ships had wooden rams at the front. They rammed into the Persian boats, crushing their hulls and sending 300 of the ships to the bottom of the sea.
The victory of the Greeks in Salamis marked the turning point in the Persian Wars. Xerxes returned to Persia, leaving Mardonius and a small force to attempt to control the conquered areas of Greece.
History of the Corvette Warship
Corvette is a relatively small, fast naval vessel ranking in size below a frigate. In the 18th and 19th centuries, corvettes were ships with square rigging similar to that of frigates and ships of the line, but they carried only about 20 guns on the top deck. Frequently serving as dispatchers among ships of a battle fleet, corvettes also escorted merchantmen and showed a nation’s flag in distant parts of the world.
In the early U.S. Navy, corvettes were known as ship sloops, or sloops of war. They fought with great distinction against superior British foes in the Atlantic Ocean and on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812.
Corvettes disappeared as a class after the shift to steam power in the mid-19th century, but during World War II the Royal Navy applied the term to small antisubmarine vessels escorting convoys in the Atlantic.
Modern corvettes, generally displacing from 500 to 1,000 tons and armed with missiles, torpedoes, and machine guns, perform antisubmarine, antiaircraft, and coastal-patrol duties in the world’s small navies.
THE CORVETTE IN ISRAEL SHIPYARDS
In the late 1960s, Israel Shipyards was the first in the Western world to design and build a fast-attack missile boat: the Reshef Class SAAR 4, commissioned by the Israeli Navy. At that time, it was a new concept to use relatively small, fast missile-equipped craft to meet threats in the Naval arena.
The swift action and superior handling of the SAAR 4 was cited by the Israeli Navy as contributing to the successful defense of Israel in the 1973 war.
This pioneering success eventually resulted in a second vessel: the NIRIT class SAAR 4.5, a larger, more powerful version of the SAAR 4.
Many SAAR class boats are actively serving in the Israeli Navy as well as other Navies around the world.