Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman military was a complex system of recruiting and fief-holding. The main corps of the Ottoman Army included Janissary, Sipahi, Akıncı and Mehterân. The Ottoman army was once among the most advanced fighting forces in the world, being one of the first to use muskets and cannons. The Ottoman Turks began using falconets, which were short but wide cannons, during the Siege of Constantinople.

Mehmed Ali Pasha (marshal)

Mehmed Ali PashaMehmet Ali PashaMehmed Pasha
Stationed in Abdullah Pasha Dreni's estate in Gjakova with several Ottoman battalions he was killed on September 6 after a seven-day battle with several thousand Albanians opposing cessation of Albanian inhabited lands to European powers.

Balkan Wars

Balkan WarFirst Balkan WarBalkan
On 29(16) June 1913, General Savov, under direct orders of Tsar Ferdinand I, issued attacking orders against both Greece and Serbia without consulting the Bulgarian government and without any official declaration of war. During the night of 30(17) June 1913, they attacked the Serbian army at Bregalnica river and then the Greek army in Nigrita. The Serbian army resisted the sudden night attack, while most of soldiers did not even know who they were fighting with, as Bulgarian camps were located next to Serbs and were considered allies. Montenegro's forces were just a few kilometers away and also rushed to the battle. The Bulgarian attack was halted. The Greek army was also successful.

Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878)

Russo-Turkish WarRusso-Turkish War (1877–78)Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878
Reid claims that Circassians were significantly responsible for the refugee flow, that there were civilian casualties from battle and even that the Ottoman army was responsible for casualties among the Muslim population. According to John Joseph the Russian troops made frequent massacres of Muslim peasants to prevent them from disrupting their supply and troop movements. During the Battle of Harmanli accompanying this retaliation on Muslim non-combatants, it was reported that a huge group of Muslim townspeople were attacked by the Russian army, which as a result thousands died and their goods confiscated.

Bajram Curri

Shaqir Aga Curri was a trusted man of Abdullah Pasha Dreni of Gjakova, and apparently had become instrumental in tax-collection procedures and punishing expeditions of Pasha Dreni in the area. He aided Pasha Dreni during the Attack against Mehmed Ali Pasha, and was killed in the skirmish by the forces of the League of Prizren. Whilst the present-day regions of Albania and Serbia were under Ottoman control, Curri represented the interests of the Albanians.


Abdullah Pashë Dreni, Albanian pasha. Emin Duraku, Albanian, partisan. Bekim Fehmiu, Yugoslav-Albanian actor, the first Eastern European to star in Hollywood during the Cold War. Gëzim Lala, Kosovar Albanian football player who played for FK Galenika Zemun. Ardian Gashi, Albanian-Norwegian footballer. Riza bej Gjakova, Albanian nationalist and guerrilla fighter. Eros Grezda, Albanian footballer. Besnik Hasi, Albanian footballer and coach. Fadil Hoxha, Albanian, first Prime Minister of AP Kosovo. Atifete Jahjaga, Albanian, former President of Kosovo. Benet Kaci, Albanian media personality. Valonis Kadrijaj, Albanian-German footballer.


AlbanianAlbanian peopleethnic Albanian
Since the Albanians were seen as strategically important, they made up a significant proportion of the Ottoman military and bureaucracy. They were therefore to be found within the imperial services as vital military and administrative retainers from Egypt to Algeria and the rest of Maghreb. In the late 18th century, Ali Pasha Tepelena created the autonomous region of the Pashalik of Yanina within the Ottoman Empire which was never recognised as such by the High Porte. The territory he properly governed incorporated most of southern Albania, Epirus, Thessaly and southwestern Macedonia.

Yaya (military)

The early Ottoman military forces consisted of irregular nomadic cavalry and volunteer light infantry. These units were efficient against local Byzantine feudal lords but were unable to capture fortified castles by direct assault. This was the reason for Alaeddin Pasha including the establishment of this unit in his proposal for reorganization the military of the Ottoman Empire made in the mid 1320s. His brother, sultan Orhan, accepted his proposal and established yaya. Yaya were precursors of the Janissary corps of the Ottoman military, which would become one of the most influential and increasingly political forces in the Ottoman state until the 19th century.


The famous Janissary corps of the Ottoman army were using matchlock muskets as early as the 1440s. The Ottoman Empire, centering on Turkey and extending into Arabia, used muskets to conquer Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and were one of the earliest users of muskets in a military conflict. It also utilized large cannons, the Great Turkish Bombard and incendiary devices. They are also probably the first to use muskets aboard ships. Muskets became an integral part of Indian warfare in the 1600s. They were used as an effective defense against war elephants. The Mughals, Marathas, Rajputs and Sikhs made use of musketeers, firing from cover, to ambush opposing infantry, cavalry and elephants.

Battle of Varna

Varnabattle10 November 1444
Christians from the left riposted with bombards and firearms and stopped the attack. Christian soldiers chased the Ottomans in a disorderly pursuit. The Anatolian cavalry ambushed them from the flank. The Christian right wing attempted to flee to the small fortress of Galata on the other side of Varna Bay, but most of them were slain in the marshland around Varna Lake and the River Devnya, where Cesarini also met his end. Only ban Talotsi's troops managed to withdraw behind the Wagenburg. The other Ottoman flank assaulted the Hungarians and Bulgarians of Michael Szilagyi. Their push was stopped and turned back; then Sipahis attacked again.


timariotfeudal cavalryTimarli
The sipahis were also in constant competition for control of the Ottoman military with the janissary class. * Two volumes. Two volumes. Two volumes. Two volumes.


Artillery CorpsHumbaracı Barracks
In the 16th century, Mustafa, an artillery officer in the Ottoman army established a workshop to cast humbaras in order to give the fire power of the artillery to the mobilized infantry groups. On 1729, Claude Alexandre de Bonneval established a humbara school and reorganized all humbaracı soldiers in a corps-level military formation, founding the Humbaracı Corps. On 1731, corps' size reached a little bit over of 600 soldiers, arranged in teams of 25, to serve as a detachment to armies. On 1826, during the Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye movement to modernize the Ottoman Army, corps were dissolved.

Fall of Constantinople

conquest of Constantinoplesiege of ConstantinopleConstantinople
Mehmed planned to attack the Theodosian Walls, the intricate series of walls and ditches protecting Constantinople from an attack from the West, the only part of the city not surrounded by water. His army encamped outside the city on the Monday after Easter, 2 April 1453. The bulk of the Ottoman army were encamped south of the Golden Horn. The regular European troops, stretched out along the entire length of the walls, were commanded by Karadja Pasha. The regular troops from Anatolia under Ishak Pasha were stationed south of the Lycus down to the Sea of Marmara.

Military band

military bandsBandmilitary
The massed military bands of the Thai Armed Forces that are involved with the Thai Royal Guards parade include following bands whose combined strength is up to 180 musicians who are under the direction of the Director of Music of the Bangkok Garrison District: The Ottoman military band style is retained today through the Armed Forces Mehter Unit (Mehter Bölüğü) at the Istanbul Military Museum (Askeri Müze).

Gunpowder empires

Islamic gunpowder empiresgunpowder empireIslamic Gunpowders
Only the limited campaign radius of the Ottoman army prevented it from holding the city and ending the Safavid rule. Although the Chaldiran defeat brought an end to Ismail's territorial expansion program, the shah nonetheless took immediate steps to protect against the real threat from the Ottoman sultanate by arming his troops with gunpowder weapons. Within two years of Chaldiran, Ismail had a corps of musketeers (tofangchi) numbering 8,000, and by 1521, possibly 20,000. After Abbas the Great reformed the army (around 1598), the Safavid forces had an artillery corps of 500 cannons as well as 12,000 musketeers.


musketsmusket ballmusketry
Their use led to a decline in the use of massed attacking formations, as these formations were too vulnerable to the accurate, long-range fire a rifle could produce. In particular, attacking troops were within range of the defenders for a longer period of time, and the defenders could also fire at them more quickly than before. As a result, while 18th century attackers would only be within range of the defenders' weapons for the time it would take to fire a few shots, late 19th century attackers might suffer dozens of volleys before they drew close to the defenders, with correspondingly high casualty rates.


However, in 1514 an Ottoman army of 12,000 soldiers wielding arquebuses devastated a much larger Mamluk army. The arquebus had become a common infantry weapon by the 16th century due to its relative cheapness—a helmet, breastplate and pike cost about three and a quarter ducats while an arquebus only a little over one ducat. Another advantage of arquebuses over other equipment and weapons was its short training period. While a bow potentially took years to master, an effective arquebusier could be trained in just two weeks.

Dardanelles Gun

Great Turkish Bombard
The Ottoman army successfully deployed large bombards at the siege of Salonica in 1430, and against the Hexamilion wall at the Isthmus of Corinth in 1446. At the Siege of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans employed a number of cannons, anywhere from 12 cannons to 62 cannons. They were built at foundries that employed Turkish cannon founders and technicians, most notably Saruca, in addition to at least one foreign cannon founder, Orban. Most of the cannons at the siege were built by Turkish engineers, including a large bombard by Saruca, while one cannon was built by Orban, who also contributed a large bombard.


matchlocksDoghead (firearms)gun
The matchlock arquebus began to be used by the Janissary corps of the Ottoman army in the first half of the 15th century, by the 1440s. The idea of a serpentine later appeared in an Austrian manuscript dated to the mid-15th century. The first dated illustration of a matchlock mechanism dates to 1475, and by the 16th century they were universally used. During this time the latest tactic in using the matchlock was to line up and send off a volley of musket balls at the enemy. This volley would be much more effective than single soldiers trying to hit individual targets.

League of Prizren

Prizren LeaguePrizren Committee for National DefenceAlbanian League
The first military operation of the league was the attack against Mehmed Ali Pasha, the Ottoman marshal who would oversee the transfer of Plav-Gucia area to Montenegro. On 4 December 1879 members of the league participated in the Battle of Novšiće and defeated Montenegrin forces who tried to take control over Plav and Gusinje. After the breakout of open war the League took over control from the Ottomans in the Kosovo towns of Vučitrn, Peć, Kosovska Mitrovica, Prizren, and Gjakova. Guided by the autonomous movement, the League rejected Ottoman authority and sought complete secession from the Porte.

Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye

Mansure Army
The Mansure Army (, "The Victorious Soldiers of Muhammad") was an ocak of the Ottoman army. It was established by Mahmud II, who also disbanded the Janissary Corps. After The Auspicious Incident and the disbandment of the Janissary Corps, Mahmud II established a new military ocak and Agha Hussein Pasha was appointed to the command of the corps. Husrev Pasha served as their serasker. Mahmud II was not the first sultan who started the modernisation of the Ottoman army. Despite this, the Mansure Army became the main army corps of the Ottoman Empire until the Dissolution era. In 1912, the uniforms of the ocak were changed and finally in 1918, the Ottoman army was dissolved.

Crimean War

CrimeaCrimea WarCrimean
It provided for a military alliance between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, if one of them were to be attacked, and a secret additional clause allowed the Ottomans to opt out of sending troops but to close the Straits to foreign warships if Russia was under threat. In 1838 the situation was similar to 1831. Muhammad Ali of Egypt was not happy about his lack of control and power in Syria, and he resumed military action. The Ottoman Army lost to the Egyptians at the Battle of Nezib on 24 June 1839.

Ottoman Aviation Squadrons

Ottoman Air ForceOttoman Air ServiceOttoman military aviation
The Ottoman forces, lacking the information to fend off Allenby's offensives around Megiddo, found themselves under heavy air attack while retreating from their rout. With the signing of the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, the Ottoman military aviation effectively came to an end. At the time of the armistice, the Ottoman military aviation had around 100 pilots; 17 land-based airplane companies (4 planes each); and 3 seaplane companies (4 planes each); totalling 80 aircraft. Turkish Air Force. Aviation Martyrs' Monument. Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War. Edward J. Erickson. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001. Coalition Warfare: An Uneasy Accord.

Ottoman Military College

Imperial Military Staff CollegeOttoman Army War CollegeOttoman Military Staff College
The Ottoman Military College or Imperial Military Staff College or Ottoman Army War College ( or Erkân-ı Harbiye Mektebi), was a two-year military staff college of the Ottoman Empire. It was located in Constantinople (now Istanbul).


A bashi-bazouk ( başıbozuk, "one whose head is turned, damaged head, crazy-head", roughly "leaderless" or "disorderly") was an irregular soldier of the Ottoman army, raised in times of war. The army chiefly recruited Albanians, Kurds and Circassians as bashi-bazouks, but recruits came from all ethnic groups of the Ottoman Empire. They had a reputation for bravery, but also as an undisciplined group, notorious for looting and preying on civilians as a result of a lack of regulation.