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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2015 11:44 am    Post subject: Weapons and Armour of the Ottoman Janissaries         Reply with quote

I became interested about history and organization of the Janissaries between 1350 until late 16th century, but never found any good reference regarding the type of weapons they used in addition to clubs and kilijs. In the pictorial references they are always portrayed wearing good clothes and a big hat, but no armor, how it was possible that a shock-trooper could battle without armor? It is true that they were the first to use arquebusiers on the battlefield after 1440's? They had exclusivity of firearms in the Ottoman army at such a time? They were still recognized as professional archers even in the 16th century?

Last edited by Pedro Paulo Gaião on Sun 29 Mar, 2015 2:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2015 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know they were originally archers indeed, not really 'shock troopers'.

They were using powerful bows up to the late 16th century, at which point they were indeed generally started shooting firearms instead.

Works of this guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogier_Ghiselin_de_Busbecq

Contain quite a few descriptions and stories about late 16th century Turkish warriors being still very much afraid and puzzled by the firearms.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2015 5:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Weapons and Armour of the Ottoman Janissaries         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
how it was possible that a shock-trooper could battle without armor?


I do not claim to know much on ottoman warfare but a shock-trooper doesn't necessarily rely on heavy armor. It can be a rather vague term, Napoleonic Grenadiers could also be termed shock troopers yet they wore no armor. A shock-trooper can be defined by his purpose, not his armor.

Bertrandon de la Broquière (1400 – 9 May 1459) covered some of the ottoman armor though it appears he was chiefly talking about that of cavalry. He states that in general the Ottoman soldiers wore less armor than Western Europeans relying instead on swiftness in traveling and striking an enemy army.
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Eric S




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PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2015 5:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Weapons and Armour of the Ottoman Janissaries         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
I became interested about history and organization of the Janissaries between 1350 until late 16th century,.... In the pictorial references they are always portrayed wearing good clothes and a big hat, but no armor, how it was possible that a shock-trooper could battle without armor?


I have read that Indo-Persian warriors often wore clothing over their armor, and their armor was often not nearly as comprehensive as European armor. A coif and hauberk are easily hidden. When you look for evidence of existing Ottoman armor it does not seem to have been extremely common even when in use, the cavalry "Sipahi" are known for wearing heavier armor, this is depicted in period illustrations.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2015 6:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bartek Strojek wrote:
As far as I know they were originally archers indeed, not really 'shock troopers'.

They were using powerful bows up to the late 16th century, at which point they were indeed generally started shooting firearms instead.

Works of this guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogier_Ghiselin_de_Busbecq

Contain quite a few descriptions and stories about late 16th century Turkish warriors being still very much afraid and puzzled by the firearms.


Well, I often read about the Siege of Constantinople (1453) and some battles like Siege of Vienna and some campaigns between Holy League and Ottoman Empire. It's not that uncommon to see Yeniçeris climbing walls and fighting against Heavy Armored Tercios and Latin Mercenaries when the sultan want to finish something quickly. It would look very strange to see professional, high-prized but unarmoured janissaries with turkish bows and arquebusiers climbing the Walls of Theodosius.




Pieter B. wrote:
I do not claim to know much on ottoman warfare but a shock-trooper doesn't necessarily rely on heavy armor. It can be a rather vague term, Napoleonic Grenadiers could also be termed shock troopers yet they wore no armor. A shock-trooper can be defined by his purpose, not his armor.


Well, the Napoleonic wars do not fit much this reference in my view, as from the time when the muskets prevailed on the battlefield, not had much need in heavy training , armor. Of course, compared to the reality of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Warfare. Not saying you are wrong: shock troopers do not necessarily limit your equipment. I think the Iberian Almogaváres, even though they do not use any armor, were considered one of the best shock-infantry in the fourteenth century.


Pieter B. wrote:
Bertrandon de la Broquière (1400 – 9 May 1459) covered some of the ottoman armor though it appears he was chiefly talking about that of cavalry. He states that in general the Ottoman soldiers wore less armor than Western Europeans relying instead on swiftness in traveling and striking an enemy army.


Makes sense but, didn't the Ottoman often rely themselves under serbian knights and other armies of conquered nations in Eastern Europe? They also used many pieces of heavy artillery, and it really was quite slow.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2015 2:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

His point is that "shock troops" don't necessarily have to be wearing armour. The designations "heavy" and "light" have nothing to do with the gear they are using, but the role they perform in the battle. A naked man with a shield and spear in a phalanx formation is classed as "heavy infantry" while a fully armoured knight in a skirmishing position is classed as "light cavalry".
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2015 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sure, but at least he had a shield. But turkish bows isn't much difficult like an English Longbow. seems to be a gap in the reason why train standing armies of christian-slaves since childhood and pay them salaries so high to act as an archer, which was a tradition among the Turks since they moved West. I found these images on Turkish sites, they could have any historical accuracy in the equipment of the Janissaries or would be normal Ottoman warriors?


Turkish soldiers dressed in Ottoman Janissary outfits take part in a ceremony to mark the 556th anniversary of the conquest of the city by Ottoman Turks, in Istanbul May 29, 2009:



Another:
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2015 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a bit from the Turkish Letters mentioned above.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote






I admit I don't know as much about this as I should, but I think Janissaries were not completely uniform in their kit or their intended role. Most were archers initially and this shifted to firearms, but there were also apparently some who fought close - in.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...Sipahi.jpg

I think these guys are the Rumeli type.

Without a doubt the Spiahi were typically heavily armored. There were two 'standardized' types of kit ideally, one for the Anatolian / Middle East zone and one for the Balkans called Rumeli, but again, I doubt uniformity was pristine. According to what I've read they would use both types in the same batle. But clearly some Sipahi armor was quite 'heavy' (I know not really) and well made.

Like this guy
http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/559/ms29c.jpg

I doubt all Sipahi even wore armor necessarily, but generally their role was as the heavy cavalry (not very different from knights) while the more wild Turkish clan / tribesmen took the role of light cavalry and cavalry skirmishers in the typical steppe fashion.

http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/15532/155...E321BF0660

One thing I have read about i gather Janissaries was of their using steel shields. Like the one you see hanging from the saddle on the Sipahi. I've read both that these were the inspiration for the steel rotella

Jean

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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Apr, 2015 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B., it is true that there were muskets before 1550? I thought they used to carry arquebuses ... When he means that armour (usually plated mail) would went to palace horse-guards. Did they would be a special unit of Sipahis?

Jean Henri Chandler, if I'm correct, Sipahis are ottoman "equals" of the feudal medieval knight: Heavy armoured horsemen with some kind of "fief". I think they usually wore barding horse armour, but I don't know really. They used to rival the Janissaries, mainly because the Janissaries were slaves and Sipahis, aristocrats

Quote:
One thing I have read about i gather Janissaries was of their using steel shields. Like the one you see hanging from the saddle on the Sipahi. I've read both that these were the inspiration for the steel rotella


Very very interesting, if you remember the source or get me one other, I would be very grateful.




So, We can assume that the Janissaries used to be elite units of archers, arquebusiers and musketeers who usually did not wear armor and fought primarily for long distance, using maces, daggers and swords in hand-to-hand combat?
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Apr, 2015 4:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also found those pics:




I have seen a lot of pics of Janissaires using Bills and hungarian shield. Down bellow, there is another pic of the ceremony which marks the conquest of Constantinople. I now can see the brass/bronze shield which Jean Henri Chandler told:

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Apr, 2015 2:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those modern pictures are going to be a bit suspect until we know what group they're from and what their historical authenticity standards are like. Remember that Turkey is currently ruled by Erdogan, who has been frequently (and I think justly) accused of wanting to take Turkey back to the Ottoman era, so there's a reasonable suspicion that such large reenactment events there are going to be more romantic than authentic -- especially since something that big is probably going to rely heavily on government sponsorship and thus be subject to government interference.
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Shahril Dzulkifli




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 5:18 am    Post subject: Weapons and Armour of the Ottoman Janissaries         Reply with quote

To me the regular weapons used by Turkish janissaries were muskets, flintlock pistols and of course, scimitars like this one below. Wink

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Eric S




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Apr, 2015 5:39 am    Post subject: Re: Weapons and Armour of the Ottoman Janissaries         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:
To me the regular weapons used by Turkish janissaries were muskets, flintlock pistols and of course, scimitars like this one below. Wink
What about the yatagan?
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