Siege of Malta

The last great campaign of the Ottoman Empire aimed at the conquest of Europe and Christendom was embodied in the Great Siege of Malta, which lasted from mid-May through mid-September of 1565.  As a strategically located island in the middle of the east-west shipping lanes in the Mediterranean, Malta owned an ease of access to the ports of Italy, France and Spain that the Turks wanted to control.  Malta was seen as the Gateway to Europe and to the Holy See of the Catholic Church, the sworn mortal enemy of Islam.  The story of how a small international coalition of forces from a few Christian countries, aided by unarmed militia from the Island of Malta, held off the largest armada assembled since antiquity is truly the stuff legends are made of, and the principal characters in the story embody powerfully instructive examples and lessons of leadership relevant to the ever-changing and fast-paced business world of today.

Case Studies           

Cases will highlight the leadership of Jean Parisot de Vallette, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller in organizing the forces and defense plan, Admiral Dragut Reis, a Turkish corsair whose strong local knowledge and political connections were ignored due to the battle of egos between the Army and Naval commanders of the Ottoman forces, the Chevalier de Lugny, whose adept use of limited forces convinced the Turks that a support army from Sicily was arriving, and the Mustapha and Vitaly Pashas, the land and naval forces commanders, whose arrogance and sense of self interest prevented an effective use of superior resources to wage a successful battle.

Leadership Lessons

  • Creating organizational cohesion among disparately oriented teams and forging aligned action plans to be executed
  • Enabling innovation and improvisation in the midst of chaotic events
  • Meeting challenging objectives with diminishing resources through focused accountability and clear roles
  • Understand the need to subordinate ego to mission accomplishment and to recognize capabilities of key assets to be used appropriately
  • Orchestrating efforts across geographically dispersed units and operational boundaries


This 3-day program is conducted at sites on the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea and will be headquartered at one of the many resort hotel properties there.  In addition to the well-preserved forts overlooking the harbor of Valletta, visits will be made to Marsaxlokk, the landing site of the Turkish invasion, Kalkara, where de Robles led in the relief column of Piccolo Siccorso troops, the ancient fortress city of Mdina where the clever deception of the Mayor and the women of the town dissuaded the Turks from attacking.