Military of the Ottoman Empire
Overview
 
The history of military of the Ottoman Empire can be divided in five main periods. The foundation era covers the years between 1300 (Byzantine expedition) and 1453 (Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

), the classical period covers the years between 1451 (enthronement of Sultan Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

) and 1606 (Peace of Zsitvatorok), the reformation period covers the years between 1606 and 1826 (Vaka-i Hayriye
The Auspicious Incident
The Auspicious Incident was the forced disbandment of the centuries-old Janissary corps by Ottoman sultan Mahmud II in June 1826....

), the modernisation period covers the years between 1826 and 1858 and decline period covers the years between 1861 (enthronement of Sultan Abdülaziz
Abdülâziz
Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876...

) and 1918 (Armistice of Mudros
Armistice of Mudros
The Armistice of Moudros , concluded on 30 October 1918, ended the hostilities in the Middle Eastern theatre between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I...

).
The earliest form of the Ottoman military was an steppe-nomadic cavalry force.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The history of military of the Ottoman Empire can be divided in five main periods. The foundation era covers the years between 1300 (Byzantine expedition) and 1453 (Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

), the classical period covers the years between 1451 (enthronement of Sultan Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

) and 1606 (Peace of Zsitvatorok), the reformation period covers the years between 1606 and 1826 (Vaka-i Hayriye
The Auspicious Incident
The Auspicious Incident was the forced disbandment of the centuries-old Janissary corps by Ottoman sultan Mahmud II in June 1826....

), the modernisation period covers the years between 1826 and 1858 and decline period covers the years between 1861 (enthronement of Sultan Abdülaziz
Abdülâziz
Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876...

) and 1918 (Armistice of Mudros
Armistice of Mudros
The Armistice of Moudros , concluded on 30 October 1918, ended the hostilities in the Middle Eastern theatre between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I...

).

Foundation of the Ottoman Military (1300–1453)

The earliest form of the Ottoman military was an steppe-nomadic cavalry force. This was centralized by Osman I
Osman I
Osman I or Othman I or El-Gazi Sultan Osman Ghazi, or Osman Bey or I. Osman, Osman Gazi Han), nicknamed "Kara" for his courage, was the leader of the Ottoman Turks, and the founder of the dynasty that established and ruled the Ottoman Empire...

 from Turkoman
Oghuz Turks
The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

 tribesmen inhabiting western Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 in the late 13th century.

These horsemen became an irregular
Irregular military
Irregular military refers to any non-standard military. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used....

 force of raiders used as storm troops, armed with simple weapons like bows and spears. They were given fiefs called timar
Timar
Timar is a land granted by the Ottoman sultans between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, with a tax revenue annual value of less than 20 000 akçes. The revenues produced from land acted as compensation for military service. A Timar holder was known as a Timariot...

s in the conquered lands, and were later called timariots. In addition they acquired booty during campaigns.

Orhan I
Orhan I
Orhan I or Orhan Bey was the second bey of the nascent Ottoman Empire from 1326 to 1359...

 organized a standing army paid by salary rather than booty or fiefs. The infantry were called yayas and the cavalry was known as müsellems. The force was made up by foreign mercenaries for the most part, and only a few Turks were content to accept salaries in place of booty. Foreign mercenaries were not required to convert to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as long as they obeyed their Ottoman commanders.

The Ottomans began using gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s sometime between 1444 and 1448. Following that, other troop types began to appear, such as the regular rifle infantry (Piyade Topçu, literally "foot artillery"), regular cavalry armed with rifles (Süvari Topçu Neferi, literally "mounted artillery soldier") and bombardiers (Humbaracı), consisting of grenadiers that threw explosives called khımbara and the soldiers that served the artillery with maintenance and powder supplies.

Kapikulu

This regular army was commanded and paid by some important fief-holders who gained power and became a sort of noble class. The mercenaries became a tool for their rise to predominance over the sultan, who simply could not afford to hire so many mercenaries that they would outnumber his nobles'. Therefore, in the middle of the 14th century, Murad I
Murad I
Murad I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1361 to 1389...

 built his own personal slave army called the Kapikulu. The new force was based on the sultan's right to a fifth of the war booty, which he interpreted to include captives taken in battle. The captive slaves were converted to Islam and trained in the sultan's personal service.

The most famous branch of the Kapikulu was the Janissary
Janissary
The Janissaries were infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan's household troops and bodyguards...

 corps who were recruited among young Christian boys by the devshirmeh tax, but there were also several other troops types such as the Halberdier corps (Baltacı). Their numbers increased rapidly and this force became the most important element of the Ottoman army. In order to man the force, Murad II
Murad II
Murad II Kodja was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1421 to 1451 ....

 developed the devşirme
Devshirmeh
Devshirme was the practice by which...

 system of recruiting youths in form of taxes from Christians in the empire. Murad used the strength of the Janissaries and played them off against the nobility, forcing them to pay taxes or land so that the treasury could obtain the money it needed to maintain the Kapikulu army.
Janissaries

The Janissaries comprised infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan's household troops and bodyguard. The force originated in the 14th century; it was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826.

The first Janissary units comprised war captives and slaves. After the 1380s Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Mehmet I filled their ranks with the results of taxation in human form called devshirmeh
Devshirmeh
Devshirme was the practice by which...

: the Sultan’s men conscripted a number of non-Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

, usually Christian, boys at first at random, later, by strict selection to be trained.

Initially they favoured Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 (who also supplied many gendarmes), usually selecting about one in five boys of ages seven to fourteen but the numbers could be changed to correspond with the need for soldiers. Next the devshirmeh was extended to also include Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

, Bosnians and other Balkan countries, later especially Ukraine and southern Russia. The Janissaries started accepting enrollment from outside the devshirmeh system first during the reign of Sultan Murad III
Murad III
Murad III was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 until his death.-Biography:...

 (1546–1595) and completely stopped enrolling devshirmeh in 17th century. After this period, volunteers were enrolled.

For all practical purposes, Janissaries belonged to the Sultan, carrying the title "kapikulu"(Gate Keeper) indicating their collective bond with the Sultan. Janissaries were taught to consider the corps as their home and family, and the Sultan as their de facto father. Only those who proved strong enough earned the rank of true Janissary at the age of twenty four or twenty five. The regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 inherited the property of dead Janissaries, thus amassing wealth (like religious orders and foundations enjoying the 'dead hand
Dead hand
Dead hand can refer to:*Dead Hand , a nuclear deterrent in the Cold War.*The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy*Dead Hand, a sub-boss in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time....

').

The Janissary corps was significant in a number of ways. The Janissaries wore uniform
Uniform
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates...

s, were paid in cash as regular soldiers, and marched to distinctive music, the mehter, similar to a modern marching band
Marching band
Marching band is a physical activity in which a group of instrumental musicians generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments...

. All of these features set the Janissaries apart from most soldiers of the time.

The Ottomans were one of the first states to maintain a standing army in Europe since the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The Janissaries have been likened to the Roman Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

 and they had no equivalent in the Christian armies of the time, where the feudal lords raised troops during wartime. A janissary regiment was effectively the soldier's family. They lived in their barracks and served as policemen and firefighters during peacetime.

The Janissary corps was also distinctive in the regular payment of a cash salary to the troops, and differed from the contemporary practice of paying troops only during wartime. The Janissaries were paid quarterly and the Sultan himself, after authorizing the payment of the salaries, dressed as a Janissary, visited the barracks and received his salary as a regular trooper of the First Division.

The Janissary force became particularly significant when the foot soldier carrying firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s proved more effective than the cavalry equipped with sword and spear. Janissaries adopted firearms very early, starting in 15th century. By the 16th century, the main weapon of the Janissary was the musket
Musket
A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

. Janissaries also made extensive use of early grenades and hand cannon.

The auxiliary support system of the Janissaries also set them apart from their contemporaries. The Janissaries waged war as one part of a well organized military machine. The Ottoman army had a corps to prepare the road, a corps to pitch the tents ahead, a corps to bake the bread. The cebeci
Cebeci
Cebeci may refer to:* Cebeci, Ankara, an important quarter in central Ankara* Cebeci, Kandıra, a sea-side town and an important tourist resort within Kandıra district in Kocaeli Province...

 corps carried and distributed weapons and ammunition. The Janissary corps had its own internal medical auxiliaries: Muslim and Jewish surgeons who would travel with the corps during campaigns and had organized methods of moving the wounded and the sick to traveling hospitals behind the lines.

These differences, along with a war-record that was impressive, made the Janissaries into a subject of interest and study by foreigners in their own time. Although eventually the concept of the modern army incorporated and surpassed most of the distinctions of the Janissary, and the Ottoman Empire dissolved the Janissary corps, the image of the Janissary has remained as one of the symbols of the Ottomans in the western psyche.
Household Cavalry

The Household Cavalry (Kapıkulu Süvarileri Ocağı: literally the Hearth of the Household Cavalrymen of Gate Slaves)

An important part of the Ottoman warfare was also the Six Divisions of Cavalry
Six Divisions of Cavalry
The Six Divisions of Cavalry was a corps of mounted elite soldiers in the Ottoman army. There were not really six but four divisions. Two of the six were sub-divisions...

 (Altı Bölük), a mounted elite force. The most important of these divisions was the Sipahi
Sipahi
Sipahi was the name of several Ottoman cavalry corps...

s
. A force of professional raiders called the Akıncı
Akinci
Akıncı were irregular light cavalry,scout divisions and advance troops of the Ottoman Empire's military. When the pre-existing Turkish ghazis were incorporated into the Ottoman Empire's military they became known as "akıncı." They were one of the first divisions to face the opposing military and...

s pillaged enemy territory ahead of the regular army. They also served as scouts.

The Sipahis were originally founded during the reign of Murad I
Murad I
Murad I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1361 to 1389...

. Although the Sipahis were originally recruited, like the Janissaries
Janissary
The Janissaries were infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan's household troops and bodyguards...

, using the devshirmeh
Devshirmeh
Devshirme was the practice by which...

 system, by the time of Sultan Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

, their ranks were only chosen from among the ethnic Turks who owned land within imperial borders. The Sipahi eventually became the largest of the six divisions of the Ottoman cavalry, and were the mounted counterpart to the Janissaries, who fought on foot. The duties of the Sipahis included riding with the sultan on parades and as a mounted bodyguard.
Artillery Corps

The Artıllery Corps (Topçu Ocağı: literally the Hearth of Artıllerymen)
Artillery wagoners

The Artillery wagoners (Top Arabacıları Ocağı: literally the Hearth of Artillery wagoners)
Bombardiers


The Bombardiers (Humbaracı Ocağı: literally the Hearth of Bombardiers)
Timariot Cavalry

The Sipahis' status resembled that of the knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

s of medieval Europe. The Sipahi was the holder of a fief
Fiefdom
A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

 of land (tîmâr; hence the alternative name Tîmârlı Sipahi) granted directly by the Ottoman sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

, and was entitled to all of the income from that land, in return for military service. The peasants on the land were subsequently attached thereto.

A tîmâr was the smallest unit of land owned by a Sipahi, providing a yearly revenue of no more than 10,000 akçe
Akçe
thumb|250px|AkçeA silver coin, the akçe was the chief monetary unit of the Ottoman Empire. The word "akçe" is derived from the Greek "" , the name of a Byzantine silver or billon coin, current in the region that eventually became the Ottoman Empire. The akçe is hence often called asper in English...

, which was between two and four times what a teacher earned. A ziamet was a larger unit of land, yielding up to 100,000 akçe, and was owned by Sipahis of officer rank. A has was the largest unit of land, giving revenues of more than 100,000 akçe, and was only held by the highest-ranking members of the military. A tîmâr Sipahi was obliged to provide the army with up to five soldiers, a ziamet Sipahi with up to twenty, and a has Sipahi with far more than twenty.

In times of peace, they were also responsible for the collection of taxes. The Sipahis, however, should not be confused with the Timariots, who were irregular
Irregular military
Irregular military refers to any non-standard military. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used....

 cavalry organised along feudal lines and known as "sipahi"s colloquially. In fact, the two formations had very little in common.
Azabs

The Azabs (semi-mercenaries)

Apart from the Janissaries, in 1389 the Ottoman Army introduced a system of conscription: when needed, every town and village were obliged to provide a fully equipped conscript at the recruiting office created by the order of the Sultan.

This new force of irregular infantrymen was called the Azabs and they were used in many ways: to build roads and bridges for the army, to support the supplies for the front-line, and sometimes they were even used as cannon fodder to slow down enemy advance.

The Başıbozuk, who were also called Delibaş ("crazy head"), were a branch of the Azabs and were especially recruited among the homeless and criminals. They were fierce, undisciplined, and specialized in close combat.

Other divisions of the Ottoman Army were:

Military Band

Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching band in the world. Though they are often known by the Persian-derived word mehter (مهتر) in the West, that word, properly speaking, refers only to a single musician in the band.

Reform Efforts (1606-1826)

Modernisation (1826–1858)

Sultan Selim III formed the Nizam-ı Cedid army (Nizam-ı Cedid meaning New Order) in the late 18th century and early 19th century. This was the first serious attempt to transform the Ottoman military forces into a modern army. However, the Nizam-ı Cedid was short lived, dissolving after the abdication of Selim III in 1807.

Sultan Mahmud II, Selim III's successor and nephew, who was a great reformer, disbanded the Janissaries in 1826 with so-called known as "Vaka-ı Hayriye" (the good incident), and formed the Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye
Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye
The Mansure Army was an ocak of the Ottoman army. It was established by Mahmud II, who also disbanded 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...

 as a contemporary modern army.

Ottoman Navy

The conquest of İmralı Island
Imrali
İmralı is a small Turkish island located in the south of the Sea of Marmara, west of Armutlu-Bozburun peninsula within Bursa Province. It served from 1999 until 2009 as a maximum-security prison island for its only inmate, Abdullah Öcalan...

 in the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
The Sea of Marmara , also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis , is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black...

 in 1308 marked the first Ottoman naval victory. In 1321 the Ottoman fleet made its first landings on Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 in southeastern Europe, and vastly contributed to the expansion of the Empire's territories on the European continent. The Ottoman navy was one of the first to use cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s, and the Battle of Zonchio
Battle of Zonchio
The naval Battle of Zonchio took place on four separate days: August 12, 20, 22 and 25, 1499. It was a part of the Ottoman–Venetian War of 1499–1503...

 in 1499 went down in history as the first naval battle where cannons were used on ships. It was also the Ottoman navy which initiated the conquest of North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, with the addition of Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 to the Ottoman Empire in 1517. The Battle of Preveza
Battle of Preveza
The naval Battle of Preveza took place on 28 September 1538 near Preveza in northwestern Greece between an Ottoman fleet and that of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III.-Background:...

 in 1538 and the Battle of Djerba
Battle of Djerba
The naval Battle of Djerba took place in May 1560 near the island of Djerba, Tunisia in which the Ottomans under Piyale Pasha's command overwhelmed a large joint European fleet, chiefly Spanish forces, sinking half its ships.-Background:...

 in 1560 marked the apex of Ottoman naval domination in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. The Ottomans also confronted the Portuguese forces based in Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 at the Indian Ocean in numerous battles between 1538 and 1566. In 1553, the Ottoman admiral Salih Reis
Salih Reis
Salih Reis was a Turkish privateer and Ottoman admiral. He is alternatively referred to as Salah Rais, Sala Reis, Salih Rais, Salek Rais and Cale Arraez in several European resources, particularly in Spain, France and Italy.In 1529, together with Aydın Reis, he took part in the Turkish-Spanish...

 conquered Morocco and the lands of North Africa beyond the Strait of Gibraltar
Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq , albeit the Arab name for the Strait is Bab el-Zakat or...

, extending Ottoman territory into the Atlantic Ocean. In 1566 the Sultan of Aceh
Aceh
Aceh is a special region of Indonesia, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Its full name is Daerah Istimewa Aceh , Nanggroë Aceh Darussalam and Aceh . Past spellings of its name include Acheh, Atjeh and Achin...

 asked for support against the Portuguese and declared allegiance to the Ottoman Empire, which sent its Indian Ocean fleet under Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis
Kurtoglu Hizir Reis
Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis was an Ottoman admiral who is best known for commanding the Ottoman naval expedition to Sumatra in Indonesia .-Background and family origins:...

 to Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

. The fleet landed at Aceh in 1569, and the event marked the easternmost Ottoman territorial expansion. In 1585 the Ottoman admiral Murat Reis captured Lanzarote
Lanzarote
Lanzarote , a Spanish island, is the easternmost of the autonomous Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 125 km off the coast of Africa and 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. Covering 845.9 km2, it stands as the fourth largest of the islands...

 of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

. In 1617 the Ottoman fleet captured Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

 in the Atlantic Ocean, before raiding Sussex
Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

, Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

, Hartland Point
Hartland Point
Hartland Point is a high rocky outcrop of land on the northwestern tip of the Devon coast in England. It is three miles north-west of the village of Hartland. The point marks the western limit of the Bristol Channel with the Atlantic Ocean continuing to the west...

, Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 and the other counties of western England in August 1625. In 1627 Ottoman naval ships, accompanied by corsairs from the Barbary Coast, raided the Shetland Islands
Shetland Islands
Shetland is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies north and east of mainland Great Britain. The islands lie some to the northeast of Orkney and southeast of the Faroe Islands and form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east. The total...

, Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

, Denmark, Norway and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. Between 1627 and 1631 the same Ottoman force also raided the coasts of Ireland and Sweden. In 1627 a force of ships under the Ottoman flag captured the Isle of Lundy
Lundy
Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Channel, lying off the coast of Devon, England, approximately one third of the distance across the channel between England and Wales. It measures about at its widest. Lundy gives its name to a British sea area and is one of the islands of England.As of...

 in the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

, which served as the main base for Ottoman naval and privateering operations in the North Atlantic until 1632. Ottoman ships later appeared off the eastern coasts of North America, particularly being sighted at the British colonies like Newfoundland and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. The overseas territorial acquisitions of the Ottoman Navy
Ottoman Navy
The Ottoman Navy was established in the early 14th century. During its long existence it was involved in many conflicts; refer to list of Ottoman sieges and landings and list of Admirals in the Ottoman Empire for a brief chronology.- Pre-Ottoman:...

 further expanded the extent of the Ottoman sphere of influence on distant lands in both the Indian and Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 oceans, such as the addition of Aceh
Kurtoglu Hizir Reis
Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis was an Ottoman admiral who is best known for commanding the Ottoman naval expedition to Sumatra in Indonesia .-Background and family origins:...

 (1569) as a vassal state to the Ottoman Empire, and temporary occupations like those of Lanzarote
Lanzarote
Lanzarote , a Spanish island, is the easternmost of the autonomous Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 125 km off the coast of Africa and 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. Covering 845.9 km2, it stands as the fourth largest of the islands...

 (1585), Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

 (1617), Vestmannaeyjar (1627) and Lundy
Lundy
Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Channel, lying off the coast of Devon, England, approximately one third of the distance across the channel between England and Wales. It measures about at its widest. Lundy gives its name to a British sea area and is one of the islands of England.As of...

 (1627–1632).

Following defeat against the combined British-French-Russian navies at the Battle of Navarino
Battle of Navarino
The naval Battle of Navarino was fought on 20 October 1827, during the Greek War of Independence in Navarino Bay , on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, in the Ionian Sea. A combined Ottoman and Egyptian armada was destroyed by a combined British, French and Russian naval force...

 in 1827, and the subsequent loss of Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 (1830) and Greece (1832), Ottoman naval power, and control over the Empire's distant overseas territories declined. Sultan Abdülaziz
Abdülâziz
Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876...

 (reigned 1861–1876) attempted to reestablish a strong Ottoman navy, building the world's third largest fleet in that period after those of Britain and France, with 21 battleship
Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

s and 173 other types of warships. The shipyard at Barrow, United Kingdom built its first submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 in 1886 for the Ottoman Empire. The submarine Abdul Hamid achieved fame as the world’s first to fire a torpedo underwater. But the collapsing Ottoman economy could not sustain the fleet strength. Sultan Abdülhamid II (reigned 1876–1908) distrusted the navy, when the admirals supported the reformist Midhat Pasha and the First Ottoman Parliament
First Constitutional Era (Ottoman Empire)
The First Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire was the period of constitutional monarchy from the promulgation of the Kanûn-ı Esâsî , written by members of the Young Ottomans, on 23 November 1876 until 13 February 1878...

 of 1876. Claiming that the large and expensive navy was of no use against the Russians during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), he locked most of the fleet inside the Golden Horn
Golden Horn
The Golden Horn is a historic inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of...

, where the ships decayed for the next 30 years.
Following the Young Turk Revolution
Young Turk Revolution
The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 reversed the suspension of the Ottoman parliament by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, marking the onset of the Second Constitutional Era...

 in 1908, the Committee of Union and Progress
Committee of Union and Progress
The Committee of Union and Progress began as a secret society established as the "Committee of Ottoman Union" in 1889 by the medical students İbrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti and Ali Hüseyinzade...

 which effectively took control of the country sought to develop a strong Ottoman naval force. The poor condition of the fleet was highlighted during the Ottoman Naval Parade of 1910, and as a consequence the Ottoman Navy Foundation was established in order to purchase new ships through public donations. Those who made donations received different types of medals according to the size of their contributions. With this public money, the Ottoman government purchased large battleship
Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

s from the United Kingdom, naming them Sultan Osman I and Reşadiye. However despite the payment for both ships, the United Kingdom confiscated them at the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and renamed them as HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Agincourt
Five ships of the Royal Navy have been called HMS Agincourt, named after the Battle of Agincourt of 1415, and construction of another was started but not completed....

 and HMS Erin
HMS Erin
HMS Erin was a dreadnought battleship of the Royal Navy which was originally built in response to an order placed by the Ottoman government with the British Vickers company. She was intended, when accepted for service in the Ottoman Navy, to be named Reshadieh...

. The battleships had cost £4 million pounds but the British government refused to refund the payments. This caused some ill-feeling towards Britain among the Ottoman public, and the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 took advantage of the situation by sending the battlecruiser
Battlecruiser
Battlecruisers were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship...

 SMS Goeben
SMS Goeben
SMS Goeben was the second of two Moltke-class battlecruisers of the Imperial German Navy, launched in 1911 and named after the German Franco-Prussian War veteran General August Karl von Goeben...

and light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

 SMS Breslau
SMS Breslau
SMS Breslau was a Magdeburg-class light cruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine , built in the early 1910s. Following her commissioning, Breslau and the battlecruiser were assigned to the Mittelmeerdivision in response to the Balkan Wars...

which entered service in the Ottoman fleet as Yavuz Sultan Selim and the Midilli, respectively. Prior to the confiscation of the battleships, the Ottoman public opinion was largely divided between the pro-Britain stance of the Ottoman Navy and the pro-Germany stance of the Ottoman Army. This event significantly contributed to the decision to support and side with Germany in the First World War.

The mine layer Nusret (Nusrat) and the frigate Hamidiye (Commanding Officer: Rauf Orbay) are two of the more famous ships of Ottoman Navy in the period of Balkan Wars and World War I. In the Gallipoli Campaign of the first World War, the Nusret, commanded by Lieutenant Tophaneli Hakki (Guverte Kidemli Yuzbasi Tophaneli Ibrahim oglu Hakki) laid 26 mines in the Dardanelles Strait. These mines led to the sinking of the British pre-dreadnought battleships HMS Irresistible and HMS Ocean and the French battleship Bouvet, and badly damaging the British battle cruiser HMS Inflexible.

The first aircraft carrier sunk in the world was the HMS Ben-my-Chree
HMS Ben-my-Chree
HMS Ben-my-Chree was a packet steamer and a Royal Navy seaplane carrier of the First World War. She had originally been built as a fast passenger ferry for the Isle of Man Steam Packet — the third to bear her name — in 1907 by Vickers for the England–Isle of Man route...

.
She was sunk on 11 January 1917 by shore-based Turkish artillery fire commanded by Mustafa Ertuğrul
Mustafa Ertugrul
Mustafa Ertuğrul was an officer of Ottoman Army during World War I and of Turkish Army in the early stages of the Turkish War of Independence , who had accomplished a number of brilliant military feats, the most notable being the sinking of the British seaplane...

.

Ranks

  • Aghas were commanders of the different branches of the military services, like "azap agha", "besli agha", "janissary agha", for the commanders of azaps, beslis, and janissaries, respectively. This designation was given to commanders of smaller military units, too, for instance the "bölük agha", and the "ocak agha", the commanders of a "bölük" (company) and an "ocak" (troops) respectively.
  • Bolukbashi was a commander of a "bölük", equivalent with the rank of captain.
  • Çorbacı
    Çorbaci
    Çorbacı was a military rank of the corps of Janissaries in the Ottoman Empire, used for the commander of an orta , i.e., approximately corresponding to the rank of colonel...

     (Turkish for "soup server") was a commander of an orta (regiment
    Regiment
    A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

    ), approximately corresponding to the rank of colonel
    Colonel
    Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

      today. In seafaring, the term was in use for the boss of a ship's crew, a role similar to that of boatswain
    Boatswain
    A boatswain , bo's'n, bos'n, or bosun is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The boatswain supervises the other unlicensed members of the ship's deck department, and typically is not a watchstander, except on vessels with small crews...

    .

In modern period

  • Nefer
  • Onbaşı
  • Çavuş
  • Mülâzım-ı Sani (Second Lieutenant)
  • Mülâzım-ı Evvel (First Lieutenant)
  • Yüzbaşı (Captain)
  • Kolağası (Senior Captain)
  • Binbaşı (Major)
  • Kaymakam (Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Miralay is a commander of a regiment (alay)
  • Mirliva
    Mirliva
    Mirliva or Mîr-i livâ was a military rank of the Ottoman Army. It corresponds to a Brigadier General or Major General . Mirliva is a compound word composed of Mir and Liva...

     is a commander of a brigade (liva)
  • Ferik
    Ferik
    Ferik is a town in the Armavir Province of Armenia. The town is named in honor of poet and revolutionary Ferik Polatbekov.- References :*...

  • Birinci Ferik
    Birinci Ferik
    Birinci Ferik or Ferik-i evvel was a military rank of the Ottoman Army. It is translated as Lieutenant General or General . The title means "first Ferik" and was superior to a Ferik and junior only to the Müşir .The title of Birinci Ferik was abolished with Act No...

  • Müşir
    Musir
    Musir is Australian-bred Redoute's Choice . Musir also highlights the emergence of dual champion sire Encosta De Lago as a broodmare sire.Musir is trained by Mike de Kock and is owned by Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum...


Conscription

In 1389 a system of conscription was introduced in the Ottoman military. In times of need every town, quarter, and village should present a fully equipped conscript at the recruiting office. The new force of irregular infantrymen was called Azabs and it was used in a number of different ways. They supported the supplies to the front-line, they dug roads and built bridges. On rare occasions they were used as cannon fodder
Cannon fodder
Cannon fodder is an informal, derogatory term for military personnel who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire. The term is generally used in situations where soldiers are forced to deliberately fight against hopeless odds in an effort to achieve a strategic goal...

 to slow down enemy advance. A branch of the Azabs were the bashi-bazouk
Bashi-bazouk
A bashi-bazouk or bashibazouk was an irregular soldier of the Ottoman army...

 (başıbozuk). These were specialized in close combat and were sometimes mounted. They became notorious for being brutal and indisciplined and were recruited from homeless, vagrants and criminals.

Ottoman Army Strength, 1299–1826

Ottoman Army Strength, 1299–1826
Year Yaya & Musellem Azab Akıncı Timarli Sipahi (Total) Timarli Sipahi & Cebelu Janissary Kapikulu Sipahi Other Kapikulu (Total) Kapikulu Fortress guards, Martalos and Navy Sekban Nizam-ı Cedid Total Strength of Ottoman Army
1350 1,000 est. 1,000 est. 3,500 est. 200 est. 500 est.
6,000 est.
1389 4,000 est. 8,000 est. 10,000 est. 5,000 est. 10,000 est. 500 est. 250 est. 250 est. 1,000 est. 4,000 est.
37,000 est.
1402 8,000 est. 15,000 est. 10,000 est. 20,000 est. 40,000 est. 1,000 est. 500 est. 500 est. 2,000 est. 6,000 est.
81,000 est.
1453 8,000 est. 15,000 est. 10,000 est. 20,000 est. 40,000 est. 6,000 2,000 est. 4,000 est. 12,000 est. 9,000 est.
94,000 est.
1528 8,180 20,000 est. 12,000 37,741 80,000 est. 12,000 est. 5,000 est. 7,000 est. 24,146 23,017
105,084 – 167,343 est.
1574 8,000 est. 20,000 est. 15,000 est. 40,000 est. 90,000 est. 13,599 5,957 9,619 29,175 30,000 est.
192,175 est.
1607/1609 [1] [2] [3] 44,404 (1607) 50,000 est. (1609) 105,339 (1607) 137,000 (1609) 37,627 (1609) 20,869 (1609) 17,372 (1609) 75,868 (1609) 25,000 est. 20,000 est.
206,207–257,868 est.
1670 [1] [2] [3] 22,000 est. 50,000 est. 39,470 14,070 16,756 70,296 25,000 est. 20,000 est.
70,296- 165,296 est.
1807 [1] [2] [3] 400 est. 1,000 est. 15,000 est. 500 est. 500 est. 16,000 est. 15,000 est. 10.000 est. 25,000 25,000–67,000 est.
1826 [1] [2] [3] 400 est. 1,000 est. 15,000 est. 500 est. 500 est. 16,000 est. 15,000 est. 15,000 est.
47,000 est.


[1] (Yaya & Musellem) Yaya, light infantry, Musellem, light cavalry, over time they lost their original martial qualities and were employed only at such tasks as transportation or founding cannonballs. The organisation was totally abolished in 1582.

[2] (Azab) light infantry, during the last quarter of the 16th century, the Azabs disappeared from the Ottoman documentary record.

[3] (Akıncı) light cavalry, the Akıncıs continued to serve until 1595 when after a major rout in Wallachia they were dissolved by Grand Vezir Koca Sinan Paşa.

See also

  • Turkish Armed Forces
    Turkish Armed Forces
    The Turkish Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of Turkey. They consist of the Army, the Navy , and the Air Force...

  • Turkish Army
    Turkish Army
    The Turkish Army or Turkish Land Forces is the main branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The modern history of the army began with its formation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire...


External links

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