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Austrian and Italian naval units clash at Lissa in the first major fleet confrontation of ironclads.

Sinking of the war-damaged Italian warship "Affondatore," in Ancona Harbor, Italy, August 6, 1866, artist's impression.
07/20/1866

Italy, allied with Prussia against Austria in hope of "redeeming" Italian-speaking Austrian territory, hoped to use its naval supremacy to threaten Italian-speaking Trieste. Italian naval units aimed to capture the Austrian naval station on the Adriatic island of Lissa.  An Austrian naval force arrived to relieve Lissa and the first major sea battle between ironclad steamships ensued.  Twelve Italian ironclads and seventeen unarmored ships engaged seven Austrian armored and seven unarmored ships in a six hour battle that resulted in the loss of two Italian ironclads and the withdrawal of their fleet.  (By John Osborne) 

Source Citation: 

"German-Italian War," The American Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1866 (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1873), 369-371.