The End of Malta Siege
A crucial date in the Great Siege of Malta was the 2nd of August, the day Mustafa set for a general attack against both Fort St. Michael and on the bastion of Castile. Again and again the Turks attacked, and they were repulsed with huge losses, till Piyale abandoned all further attempts for that day. At St. Michael, the knights were also victorious, but with a heavy price.
The Turks returned to the attack every day, trying to exhaust the knights. At the bastion of Castile, a mine under it exploded, bringing down part of the ramparts, and the assailants were soon planting their standard on the walls. The attack was repulsed under the command of La Valette himself, who was also wounded in the battle.
The condition of the besieged became more critical by the day. Il Borgo and Sanglea were losing their ramparts under the barrage of the heavy artillery. Besides soldiers, great numbers of the inhabitants were killed. But the spirit was still high. The women heroically took part in the battle supplying the garrison with refreshments, carrying ammunition, or removing the wounded to the hospital.
Many were killed by enemy fire. The ammunition was running low. But La Valette proclaimed his determination to maintain the town to the last.
The other side was not in a much better position, as they already lost almost half of their force. Ammunition and provisions were running low, ships bringing supplies were constantly intercepted by the Sicilians, and many of the heavy guns were damaged by the fire of the besieged. With his camp dispirited, their commander in chief tried the old method of using wooden towers to attack the walls. The knights set fire to the towers and destroyed them.
Spanish army reinforcements
Finally, the Viceroy of Sicily, Don Garcia de Toledo, assembled his fleet in the port of Syracuse. The fleet had 28 galleys, carrying eleven thousand troops, mostly Spanish veterans, together with two hundred knights of the Order. On September 6, the fleet arrived in the Bay of Melecca, in the western part of Malta. This reinforcement proved decisive for the outcome of the siege. Not having enough intelligence about the size of the newly arrived reinforcements, Mustafa started to make preparations for departure. Overnight, his entire force embarked, and then joined the main fleet, which was also preparing for departure.
At news that the numbers of Spaniards were greatly exaggerated, he decided to disembark and fight them. But the Turks were in no condition to meet the shock of the Spanish veterans. Their ranks were broken, and most started to flee. The knights followed close on the fugitives. No quarter was given. After this last effort, Mustapha, gathering together the remainder of his forces, embarked again, and the fleet left for Levant.
The Losses in the Malta Siege
The losses of the Ottomans were estimated at around thirty thousands.
The defenders of Malta lost two hundred knights and twenty five hundred soldiers, together with more than seven thousand civilians, men, women, and children.
The Siege of Malta was one of the most important battles in history, memorable considering the amount of forces, and the spirit of defence.