adriatic sea

adriatic sea defined in 1939 year

adriatic sea - Adriatic Sea;
adriatic sea - Arm of the Mediterranean, the ancient Mare Adriaiicum. Extending N.W. between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula, its length is 470 m., mean breadth 110 m., and area, including islands, about 52,000 sq. m. The W. shore is comparatively low, with few inlets; the E. is steep, rocky, barren, broken, and fringed with islands. Its fisheries give occupation to the seafaring population of the western coasts and islands and from them were recruited sailors for both the Venetian and the Austrian navies.

In the N. the Adriatic has a maximum depth of 25 fathoms. Between Brazza and Ortona it sinks to 100 fathoms, between Monte Gargano and Durazzo it averages 600 and touches 850 fathoms; the mean depth is about 130 fathoms. Its waters are very salt, partly because few large rivers flow into it. Tides are feeble, at Venice rising at most to only 2 ft. A current runs up the E. side and down the W. In colour the Adriatic is greener and darker than the Mediterranean. Its navigation by steamer is easy, but sailors find it dangerous in winter because of sudden gales. It abounds in fish, and sponges are found. Chief ports: Venice, Ancona, Bari, and Brindisi on the W.; Trieste, Pola, Fiume, Zara, Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Durazzo, and Valona (Avlona) on the E.

During the First Great War naval forces of Italy and Austria-Hungary were continuously engaged in the Adriatic, and for a time both sides suffered considerable losses, with the advantage to the Austrians of possessing excellent harbours on the Dalmatian coast. But Italy, assisted by her allies, gradually gained effective control, and in raids on the harbours of Trieste and Pola sunk or damaged powerful Austrian units. A barrage of submarine nets and mines was maintained across the Strait of Otranto, and guarded by British ships.

The Italian landing at Durazzo on April 7, 1939, and the subsequent annexation of Albania, marked a further stage in the attempted fulfilment of Italy's aim of securing the Adriatic as an Italian lake. The Adriatic again became an important area during the Italian campaign against Greece, 1940-41, when Italian supplies were maintained from Bari and Brindisi to Durazzo and Bologna. British warships made a sweep of the Adriatic as far N. as Bari and Durazzo on Dec. 18, 1941. On the capitulation of Italy in Sept., 1943 and the surrender of her fleet, her Adriatic seaboard was occupied by British and Allied armies, who reached the area North of Rimini by the end of the year. Mean while a British military mission which reached Albania in April, 1943, had begun to train an army of 30,000Albanian patriots. This group, officially known as Land Forces, Adriatic, waged guerilla warfare against German forces, supplies and munitions being flown across the Adriatic from British-held Italian bases. Marshal Tito's Yugoslav army was also assisted by airborne supplies across the Adriatic. The central Dalmatian islands were cleared of Germans by Sept., 1944, and the whole Albanian coast by Nov.,1944. For fighting on the Adriatic sector of the Italian front See Italy Campaign. See also Trieste.

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