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The Ottoman empire in the Napoleonic period was still a significant player in world affairs. The Empire stretched from the Balkans to North Africa in a complex structure of central control and local administration. The main problem was the refusal of provincial rulers to obey the Sultan and this led to many local revolts.

The army was at war during most of this period. The main antagonist was Tsarist Russia, keen to expand southwards into the Balkans, although campaigns were also fought against the Empire's traditional western ally France in Egypt. The army itself had not modernised and remained a colourful mix of troops from across the Empire. Attempts at modernisation were resisted by traditionalists, a problem that would not be resolved before the Janissaries were destroyed in 1826.

The figures below are 15mm based for Principles of War rules and come from a variety of ranges including Minifigs, AB, Essex and most recently Venexia.

Cavalry remained a large element of Ottoman armies. Here we have a typical Middle Eastern force of Arab horse and camel riders together with Mamalukes.

Mamalukes of Egypt.

Bedouin camel riders

Arab foot skirmishing in front of Egyptian fellahin.

Back in the Europe the Janissaries, whilst not the force they once were, remained a key element of most armies.

and local versions in this case Serbian Janissaries with locally raised foot.

Albanian sharpshooters could be found in armies across the Empire

Massed cavalry would be found on both wings of an Ottoman army.

Some of the best were the regular Suvarilaris.

But most were still the Sipahis.

Heavy artillery - this superb model is from the Venexia range.

Attempts were made to introduce western style regular infantry with the formation of the Nizam - i - Cedit (new army).

For some really stunning figure painting of Ottomans visit http://www.koenigkrieg.com/gallery/ottomans1/gallery.html

Related pages on Balkan Military History

The Lion Bites a wargaming scenario involving Ali Pasha of Jannina

Napoleon in Egypt including a collection of 25mm figures of Ottoman troops of the period.

Further reading

Bevis, Mark                  

 Tangier to Tehran                                                          

 SOTCW 1994

Johnson, William            

 Crescent among the Eagles                                            

 Johnson 1994

Mikaberidze, A             

 Russo-Turkish War 1806-12                                         

 Nafziger 2002

Nicolle, David               

 Armies of the Ottoman Empire 1775-1820                 

 Osprey 1998

Plomer, William             

 The Diamond of Jannina                                                 

 Cape 1970

Puryear, V                     

 Napoleon and the Dardanelles                           

 California 1951

Valentini, Baron             

 Military Reflections on Turkey                            

 Pallas Armata

Vucinich, W                  

 First Serbian Uprising 1804-1813                                  

 Columbia 1982



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Last modified: 01/23/12