Don't Look Back, Soldiers of Islam.

This TL's going to be what many would call an Otto-wank. However, as it begins with a massive disaster, it's more of a Timur-wank (at first). The Battle of Ankara and the subsequent Ottoman reforms turned the nomadic Anatolians into a 'proper' gunpowder empire. Well, here's a more shall we say, thorough, Timur.


1402. the Ottoman Sultan Bayezit is defeated in the battle of Ankara by Timur Khan. A heated exchange of letters had occurred between the two for several months until all out war broke out which led to the Ottoman disaster, where some 11,000 sipahis were killed along with 1,500 of the new Janissaries and the Sultan himself is captured. His three sons manage to escape across Anatolia into Europe. Here the oldest, Suleyman, gathered any survivors together and moved to secure his holdings by immediately executing his brother Ise. His second brother, Murad, had at the time of the battle been in Edirne, and was therefore far from the scene of events and survived the fratricide. When news reaches him of his father’s death, he fortified his holdings and executed any disloyal elements in the forces under his command. Despite this, Ottoman politics is in a deadlock, with little manpower and broken morale the two claimants to the throne sit in their respective power centres, the capital of Edirne and the fortress of Gallipoli, waiting for events to unravel.
Timur, seeking to revenge himself yet further on the Sultan, gathered all his forces from the Golden Horse to India and launched a campaign of devastation against Anatolia. He unleashed thousands of steppe horsemen on the sedate populations of the western coast, and fiercest of all were the Azabs from the Caucasus who showed to quarter. The population centres of Bursa, Izmit and Izmir were ravaged, tens of thousands killed. This caused a massive population shift, as the whole Turkish people, men women and children, moved west. Chased by the Mongol hordes they frantically crossed the Dardanelles and settled in Europe. The Turks were relative newcomers to Anatolia, the Seljuks had only arrived two hundred and fifty years ago and a strong nomad tradition was still evident even in the early 15th century. The Patriarch of Constantinople went to see the refugees and estimated half a million people had crossed (modern estimates vary between 150,000 and 300,000). Whatever the precise numbers, a new people had emerged in Europe and they needed homes.
Many swore fealty to the service of Sultan Suleyman in Gallipoli, who promised them rich lands in the Balkans for a brief military tenure. However, some 40,000 moved north to Edirne where they swore loyalty to Murad, who accepted them as his own. These were generally held to be the more fanatical, and Murad had made it clear previously that he intended to go north and earn land and a place in Paradise for himself and all who followed him. some 40,000 households, therefore, arrived outside Edirne and on March 4th 1404 Murad raised his seven horsetail standard and they moved north.

This move was greeted with relief across Europe. For some time Murad had been considering marching on Hungary and Poland, yet when he saw that his brother was already moving to the west he decided not to fight him for so small a plot of land (Suleyman still had vastly superior forces to him). Murad renounced all title, swore himself as a Ghazi as did his followers and in total around 60,000 horsemen set off with him, including 500 janissaries. They went due north, crossing the Danube and passing through Wallachia and Moldavia, greeted with fear and resignation by the people, the horse encountered little resistance and indeed many members of the small Muslim population joined in with them. They therefore passed peaceably into Crimea, land of the Tartars.

Meanwhile, Timur had turned south. He made it his mission to take Egypt, where he saw the Mamluk Caliph as a puppet, unfit to lead the Islamic world. He issued his own Fatwa against the Caliph and the Mamluk Sultan. He led an army of 300,000 south through Aleppo (which he had previously taken) and then Damascus (which surrendered). He was days from Jerusalem when the mamluks made their counter-attack. 30,000 mamluks with a further 60,000 infantry and archers met Timur on an open plain just east of the River Jordan. The Mamluk Sultan Faraj had previously fought Timur and lost, so he was under no illusion as to who he was facing. However, the result was almost foregone. Timur’s cavalry encircled the Mamluks who fought almost to the last man, killing their horses and hiding behind them As cover from the incessant hail of arrows that blackened the skies. Once the mamluks were defeated, Timur once more encircled the infantry and forced them to surrender. 20,000 joined his army while all others were massacred.
Timur continued south to Egypt, taking Gaza two weeks after the battle (Jerusalem surrendered) and reaching the outskirts of Cairo a month later. The siege was furious, the walls were dilapidated and the mamluk garrison depleted. After three weeks the siege was over, Cairo was taken. Timur oversaw the taking of 90,000 prisoners. He demanded that each soldier bring him a head, and such was the terror to meet this expectation that the solders killed captives taken earlier in the campaign to meet their quota. A city of 180,000 was reduced to 8,000 over five days butchery. The citadel was destroyed utterly, as were the houses yet as many mosques were saved as possible. Timur ordered a pyramid of skulls to be erected in place of the old citadel. Travellers to came to Cairo after the siege say it was 100 feet high and held together with mortar in some places.
The rural population of Egypt, long slaving under the yolk of foreign oppression, took this opportunity to escape. A second exodus occurred, with the ships in Alexandria harbour filled to bursting with refugees. For Timur had ordered the Nile dammed and the rich fields sowed with salt so that no one could live there. So terrifying was Timur and so dire was the situation that at least 50,000 people fled into the desert with little food or water. They kept to the coast and quickly learned the process of boiling sea water to make it drinkable. Food, however, was extremely scarce and only 2,000 made it back to civilisation. These 2,000 were promptly sold into slavery, yet they were so weak that there were no buyers, and they were thrown into the sea; worthless.
Finally, in 1404, Timur withdrew to central Asia where he died on campaign in India. The world breathed easy once more.

In 1405 Murad conquered the city of Kiev. He took 20,000 prisoners and sold them all into slavery. He formed an alliance with the Crimean Tartars, who had converted to Islam, and they swelled his forces considerably. He re-built Kiev and proclaimed himself Sultan of the Rus. His land’s population was mainly nomadic yet there were thousands of serfs whom he freed from bondage to the soil. These men were given their own land, so long as they paid taxes to their Bey, who took a cash tax. The main problem with this was that the peasants had no coin to pay with, and so were forced to sell their crops and then buy them back. This raised food prices and caused much trouble, including starvation in come areas. This was therefore scrapped and replaced with the formation of estates. Each Bey was given land and the property to it. he then employed the peasants to till it and tend it. He would then take 5% of the crop for his own use and a further 10% to sell to raise money to pay tax. This system forced farmers to raise productivity, and this was aided by a flow of ideas from the Islamic world north. Wind mills were employed to grind grain and more efficient threshers were used, as were better ploughs and even better strains of wheat were sowed rather than the course kinds grown previously which the Turks found unpalatable.
The Islamic world, however, was in turmoil. The Caliphate was vacant, and whomsoever provided one would gain huge political power. In 1406 Suleyman of Rumelia found an Abbasid whom he installed in Edirne. This was part of his plan of consolidation. He had already taken Belgrade and built forts on the Danube and was now moving against Constantinople. The ancient Imperial capital had crumbled into anonymity, the Hagia Sophia barely standing after centuries of neglect and the city so depopulated that there were extensive farmlands between several smaller enclosed villages whose combined population was around 60,000. It was to defeat this city that Suleyman gathered 150,000 men. He needed a victory in order to cement his control over his lands. His reign had been born of abject failure and disasters and his own reign although competent was not sufficiently proactive to prevent the erosion of his own power. On April 3rd 1406 Suleyman pitched his tent by the Golden Horn. Constantinople was cut off from land but by sea it could be easily re-supplied and the Emperor Andronikos sent urgent appeals to the west, especially to the Pope and the King of Sicily. His entreaties fell on deaf ears, however, as the rulers of Christendom saw the Turks as less of a threat than Timur, who was still thought to be in Egypt despite his death some 5,000 miles from Rome. Venice sent some 400 soldiers and Genoa 700 yet the Doge of Venice negotiated with Suleyman that if his men took no part in the siege and withdrew, Venice would gain Genoa’s colonies in Galata. The Venetians thereby withdrew, and a force of 6,000 with no clear leader, as the Emperor was a boy. The burden of leadership fell to the Genoan captain John Craneoli who led the defence as best he could. The Theodocian walls were crumbling and there was little time to reinforce them. Neither side had heavy cannon, and so the siege was set to be long.
The Ottoman position seemed favourable, although their lack of artillery and sea power meant that an assault would be difficult and a blockade was impossible. Suleyman therefore ordered the digging of a series of trenches. This was carried out at night and carried the infantry to the walls themselves where furious Byzantine arrow fire took a terrible toll. Mines were laid beneath the walls and breaches made in three places. Immediately, thousands of infantry and then horseman poured through the defences and entered the city. Once they were inside the battle was a foregone conclusion. The Genoans left as soon as they could, yet John Craneoli fought to the death. Constantinople fell on May 6th 1406.

The fall sent shockwaves through Europe. Despite the fact that huge parts of the continent were Turkish it seemed that for the first time the crowned heads of Europe took notice. The Venetians and Sicilians sent envoys to Suleyman whereas other such as the Holy Roman Emperor (and King of Hungary) Sigismund, demanded a crusade. There was some movement for one, and finally in August 14,000 knights set off from Bratislava to re-take Constantinople. The Fifth Crusade had begun. The Holy Roman Emperor, the King of Poland, the Duke of Austria, the King of Bohemia and the Electors of multifarious German states rode with it with their knights. They took Belgrade on 28th of August in a torrent of rain that continued into September, rusting armour and destroying roads. From then on progress was painfully slow- they only moved 100 miles in a month. All this while, Suleyman was marshalling his forces. He sent envoys to his brother in Kiev who sent 10,000 horsemen who passed within 50 miles of the Crusade unmolested. He also gathered numerous other forces from the Balkans and even Egypt, where the dispossessed mamluks were looking to re-build. They sent forces so as to gain a good reputation with the Sultan (who was the most powerful Muslim lord in the Middle East at that time). Altogether, 100,000 men gathered to fight the Crusaders. Suleyman wintered in Edirne, away from the shivering wreck of Constantinople. He felt no need to re-build the city quite yet, although he had his architects draw up plans for a new capital on the Golden Horn. The Crusaders froze and drowned and gradually their soldiers melted away. By March there were only 60,000 men out of 120,000 who had set out. The knights remained however and they were the driving force of the movement. The infantry were mere decoration.
Suleyman met the Crusaders 300 miles north west of Edirne on 15th April 1407. The Crusaders, seeing the Turkish horsemen apparently disorganised, attacked immediately. The Turks fell back, putting up little resistance. The knights charged right through them, scattering them. However, they soon met with the janissaries. These men were slave-soldiers, trained since boyhood to be fanatically loyal and grimly martial. They formed a dense block with pikes and halberds. The knights broke themselves on this solid mass of some 5,000 men. finally, the horsemen, who were mostly Anatolians who had fled in 1402, rounded on the knights and surrounded them. Of the 14,000 knights only 900 survived. 3,000 were captured including the Duke of Austria and the King of Poland. All others were slain. The infantry, outstripped by the knights, were speedily massacred. It was the greatest disaster to occur on European soil for centuries. With Christendom decapitated Suleyman moved speedily into Bosnia and Hungary, extending his borders up the Danube with little resistance. When he was informed of the disaster, King Henry IV of England merely said: “The followers of Christ have met their Cannae. Let us hope this Turk is a lesser man than he whom he emulates."

That's the first bit, I kow it's a little long but I want to spark your interest. Coming up we'll have the fall of Moscow, the siege of Vienna and the capitulation of Venice as well as the Diet of Frankfurt and the Anglo-French war (yay, Henry V!)

You commenters know what to do. . .
 
A few things:

1. A larger Turkish force from a smaller power-base without gunpowder against Constantinople?

2. Mamluks would be more likely to consign the Sultan to the crows than help him, also think Rus' Turks would prefer to let the Crusaders pound the Balkan Turks and then swoop in and crush the survivors.

3. Janissary units with halberds?! I thought they went in for swords and bows and it was the Azabs as carried the pikes.

4. Finally, are horsemen going to "break" on the pikes? More likely they would scatter from the pikes and then be broken by the cavalry. Small thing but it gives the impression the horses impaled themselves on the pikes which is pretty unlikely.

All would be forgiven if you can contrive an even battle between Henry V and Joan of Arc (go Jehanne).
 
Well I forgot to mention the Turkish casualties were pretty heavy- let's say some 35,000 dead.
And remember- the mass-movement of Turks greatly swelled the populatio nof the Balkans, so yes he'd be able to field an army of that size although it would be mainly horsemen etc. with levied infantry+janissaries.
The janissaries are my mistake, I'm not too great on equipment so I pray forgiveness I won't make the mistake again.
Hmm Henry V. I'm thinking of having to 'main' characters in the coming years- Mehmet of the Rus and Henry V. Henry IV will be able to concentrate power faster and leave a more secure throne so Henry V can go into France and fight Joan all he wants.
btw. about the point with the mamluks is that they're power has been all-but eradicated. In OTL we saw mamluks working for Suleyman the Magnificent because that was all the work they could get, just like we saw Cossacks fight for the Russians against the Tartars in late 19th century Chechnya. They had no love for the other party sure, but they bandfed together out of need.
The mamluks are going to be drifting around for a few years in bands, we'll be seeing them in N. Africa, Italy and Greece etc. they're large enough to be useful merceneries but not enough to re-build their Sultanate.
Murad, yes, has no love for his brother either, but it's the same as above- he doesn't want the crusaders coming for him, he has the ghazi spirit of fighting infidels and also he's sending tartsrs who are new converts and he wants to a. see how effective they are and b. test their new faith.

Thansk for the feedback, I hope they all answer your qualms.
 
I read it, and I think it's pretty awesome. There are a few questionable things (the aforementioned amazing ability of the destabilized Turks to take Constantinople fifty years ahead of schedule, and also Timur damming the Nile? Wasn't that something that took 20th Century technology? Also, wouldn't that have effects on the Upper Nile, in one of the, like, four countries it goes through? Even though the Egyptians might want you to think it, the Nile isn't just theirs. :p)

But I like it! It's fun and imaginative, and that's what AH is supposed to be about.

Isnt the world an Otto-wank anyways? I mean, the Wankel motor never came very far, and Diesel isnt that much of a competition, either...
...ehem, sorry ;)
Made me laugh. :D
 
I read it, and I think it's pretty awesome. There are a few questionable things (the aforementioned amazing ability of the destabilized Turks to take Constantinople fifty years ahead of schedule, and also Timur damming the Nile? Wasn't that something that took 20th Century technology? Also, wouldn't that have effects on the Upper Nile, in one of the, like, four countries it goes through? Even though the Egyptians might want you to think it, the Nile isn't just theirs. :p)

But I like it! It's fun and imaginative, and that's what AH is supposed to be about.



Made me laugh. :D
Yeah I'm having second thoughts about the Nile too. Oh well, we'll say it was taken from an old text which was a bit damaged, you know, the mice had bee nat it, the ink had run a bit, lost in translation whatever.
Next stop, France!
 
Don't look back, Part 2

Here's some more for us to mull over. . .

Henry IV had long been plagued by rival claimants to the throne and finally in 1410 he was secure. His son, Henry of Monmouth, was an effective leader and looked promising to ascend to the throne. England became more powerful domestically, defeating the Scots and driving them back across the border. Henry ordered the extension of Carlisle castle to keep them back and made his son Humphrey Duke of Gloucester Lord of the Northern Marches. By doing this he weakened the Percy family yet further, not trusting them after Hotspur’s rebellion of 1400. Henry was not a well man, and in the winter of 1409 he suffered a grave condition which many now think of as epilepsy. He was bed-ridden for many of his last years leaving Henry as Acting-Ruler. This gave him great amounts of power and in 1410 he led an expeditionary force into Ireland where he conquered Dublin and confirmed British holdings on the eastern coast. He then returned via Wales where he defeated Owain Glendower, forcing him to drop the title ‘Prince of Wales’ in favour of ‘Lord of Caernarfon’ which the Welshman hated, Caernarfon being a construction of Edward I of England. However, there was peace for the first time in many years. Trade with the Low Countries flourished and Henry was preparing an expedition into France in 1412 when he heard of his father’s death. He rushed back to London where he was crowned King in Westminster Abbey and oversaw his father’s funeral in Canterbury Cathedral en-route back to Dover. For he did not intend to stay in England long. He left his brother John as regent and his younger brother Thomas as Protector of Ireland while he took some 6,000 men across the channel to France.

He landed in Calais on 15th June 1412. He immediately marched south through Anjou, where the Baron de Coucy, an independently-minded French Baron, took his side swelling his forces significantly, to 7,000 men in total. Commanding the road south to Paris, Henry and his allies moved south swiftly, and were within striking distance of the capital when the French made their counter-move. Headed by Duke John the Fearless and the Dauphin, it consisted of 12,000 men. they met on 18th July. Henry took position on top of a sloping hill, positioning his archers in front of his men-at-arms whom he ordered to crouch down and cover up their mail so that the French would not see them from afar. He ordered his archers the night before to dig a deep ditch in front of their position and filled it with long, pointed stakes. Luck, it seemed, was the residue of design, for that night it rained. Not hard, yet it filled the ditch with several inches of water and made the muddy ground slippery, if not a bog.

The French advance was painfully slow. John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, quarrelled incessantly with the Dauphin and indeed for a few hours it looked as if the French would fall upon themselves. Yet when day dawned they made their way out of their tents, exhausted from a night’s wrangling. It was then that the English cavalry attacked. They were not knights, but wealthy burghers who could afford a horse and mail. They cut tent-ropes, disrupted camp life and killed many. In response, the knights readied themselves and chased after the group, who they took for the main English cavalry force. However, they were only around 200 strong, and instead the French knights, some 1,500, were led into a trap.
For from the skies fell vicious arrows who took a heavy toll. They chased the English up the hill toward the archers. The English crossed a narrow ramp in the ditch which was then dusted with caltrops. The French saw the ditch and some attempted to leap it (it was only about 3 ft. wide) yet they all slipped down into the muddy death-trap. The cavalry charge floundered, and it was forced to retire under heavy fire. when they were withdrawing, however, the true English knights burst out at them from the flanks, killing many and capturing many more. the French were forced back to camp. All this happened over the course of about two hours.
The results of the first day were 300 French captured, 700 dead. Only around 500 knights returned to camp. John the Fearless lived up to his name because he had led the charge and had taken an arrow in the eye. With command unified, the Dauphin decided to retreat to Paris.

Henry then continued unopposed towards Paris. He bypassed the heavily defended city and instead headed north for Harfleur, which capitulated and then Rouen was taken. With much of the north taken, Henry sent envoys to Paris. He said that he would surrender all possessions if only the Dauphin would resign his inheritance and give it over to him. the Dauphin refused, and so Henry kept his holdings. He needed the support of the Baron de Coucy who was beginning to waver in his allegiance. Henry gave him lands in England and a large amount of gold. He also gave him the title of ‘Protector of the Lands’ which he bore with pride. With his support assured, Henry then turned to the Low Countries. He made agreements with several of the coastal cities that included trade agreements and promises of mutual military support. Henry then dispersed his infantry forces among garrisons and dismissed his knights. He returned to London with 500 men only and strengthened his domestic position by disinterring Richard II and publicly beheading his corpse to dispel myths of his survival (he had bee murdered on the orders of Henry IV, then Henry Bolingbroke). Thus Henry’s first campaign was completed. He raised the first ship tax in 1412 which was levied on coastal settlements so as to facilitate the construction of a new fleet. This fleet was built in London, Portsmouth and also the Low Countries which sent several large ships. Henry wanted naval supremacy so that his line of communications would be assured. Henry felt confident of victory in the next campaign- France was reeling from the loss of many nobles in battle and also territory, as well as its own internal issues. With John of Burgundy dead the Dauphin was systematically destroying his enemies. This caused great upheaval among the lords whom Henry courted, sending fine cloth, gold and the promise of land. By 1414 Henry was sure of the support of many prominent French nobles.

Meanwhile, in the Rus Sultanate, Murad was building his new capital. Kiev had fallen and now was being re-built. Four new mosques were built in the traditional style, yet instead of open courtyards they had covered atriums with great domes. The minarets grew bulbous pinnacles in a style copied from the Russian churches. They were also brightly coloured, with yellow, green and red very popular among artisans. Murad also began proselytising among the eastern cossacks, whose pagan ways began to give way to the word of the Prophet. In 1410 the chieftain of the Don cossacks converted along with 20,000 horsemen who could be called up in times of war. Murad also finally defeated the Golden Horde who, mauled by Timur the Lame, were finally obliterated in 1412. He sent 10,000 horsemen east to the Caspian sea where they collected tribute and received converts. They also took some 7,000 young boys back to Kiev where they were trained as janissaries and administrators. The eastern steppe would be a supply of boys for the next 400 years.

Meanwhile, Suleyman was on the warpath. Having smashed the Fifth Crusade, he was pushing his advantage. Already the Hungarian Plain was overrun with Turks, now he was moving up the main bulk of his army. In 1412 he took Buda & Pest before taking the rest of Hungary. The fall of Hungary was swiftly compounded by the invasion of Austria, with Vienna being besieged and taken. The swift Turkish horsemen had smashed the slow European knights and now Christendom was folding in on itself. The King of Bohemia finally capitulated and signed a peace treaty with Suleyman setting the border at the southernmost part of the Bohemian plateau, with the high hills forming a natural frontier. Everything south was Suleyman’s, and he settled the dispossessed Turks on it as promised. He encouraged them to move to the depopulated towns and cities and soon populations had rebounded. In 1420 Vienna had a population of 20,000, Buda of 15,000 and Bratislava of 8,000. The land was owned by various Beys yet the old Hungarian peasants stuck to their daily life as before, only they paid an extra tax which in the early years they paid easily as the increase in urban population caused a rise in food prices and the Beys were quite happy to take their taxes in the form of crops (which they would sell on) thereby bringing a cash economy into the countryside. However, in times of poor harvests it was hard, and some farmers would be forced to take loans at extortionate interest rates. But that is the future. . .

Venice, La Serenissima, still maintained a presence in the Aegean. She controlled parts of Greece and many Aegean islands including Crete. These were all trade hubs with the Turks and with the Levant. It was here that Venice began to expand once more, as the power vacuum left by Timur meant she could reclaim many of her lost colonies, including Acre which she fortified heavily. The whole Middle East was fractured. The mamluks were scattered across the Mediterranean and now in Egypt a new order was rising. The hardships caused by the invasion of 1404 caused a mass-movement first north but then east. Huge numbers of people moved to the Levant where they settled. Jerusalem’s population increased from 40,000 in 1400 to 80,000 in 1420. A mamluk, Qabar, set himself up as Sultan with Venetian backing. He operated a kind of free-trade area, with sales and goods tax virtually zero Venetians Genoans and Turks flocked to have their ships buy their goods there. The Venetians inevitably won out, with their far larger merchant navy, although the city of Ragusa gained some foothold, with a small colony in Tyre where 1,000 of them lived and traded in incense, cotton and spices. the city of Antioch was made the centre of another Sultanate, under the leadership of a Turkish puppet, Mansari, who with Suleyman’s assistance, conquered large parts of Syria and Anatolia, paying tribute to Constantinople however, and requiring large loans from the Sultan’s treasury (eventually in 1430 it was subsumed into the empire, but that is a different story).

Egypt, therefore, had fallen from grace. However, the northern areas were relatively untouched. The city of Alexandria, swollen with refugees, declared itself an independent emirate. The large-scale farming of cotton was begun in the 1410s as people moved back onto the land. A strong state system meant that this cash-crop was exported in bulk and grain could be imported (although some 40% of their food was produced domestically). The cotton was shipped mainly to Constantinople and Venice. The emir allowed Ragusa to have a colony in Alexandria which was called the Italian quarter, despite Ragusa’s place in Croatia. Thus the small city-state grew once more in power, its favourable position near the straits of Otranto and its nearby pinewood forests made it an increasingly competitive trading state.
 
Very good stuff, as always, SF! You never cease to impress with your interesting PODs, unexpected consequences and, above all, brisk and arresting storytelling style :)

(And with the choice of the Ottomans as the recipients of Glory and Fortune ITTL I predict that very soon you will be visited by some big-hitters with plenty to say - so make sure your Ghazis and other Muslim protagonists are 3-dimensional and act in non-stereotypical ways ;) )

And now for my nit-picks:

Strictly speaking, your 'Fifth Crusade' is actually the 'Tenth Crusade' ITTL: the 'Fifth' (as modern historians have classified it) was from 1213-21 (in Egypt); the Sixth (1228-9), was also there; so was the Seventh (1248-54); the Eighth (1270) was to to Tunis; and the Ninth (1271-72) actually went to the Holy Land itself (although failed miserably).

DO like, however the following - and I hope we hear more about them:

- The Merchant-Republic of Ragusa
- The Sultanate of al-Quds
- The Emirate of Iskandariyya

Nice one! Keep it coming... :cool:
 
Very good stuff, as always, SF! You never cease to impress with your interesting PODs, unexpected consequences and, above all, brisk and arresting storytelling style :)

(And with the choice of the Ottomans as the recipients of Glory and Fortune ITTL I predict that very soon you will be visited by some big-hitters with plenty to say - so make sure your Ghazis and other Muslim protagonists are 3-dimensional and act in non-stereotypical ways ;) )

And now for my nit-picks:

Strictly speaking, your 'Fifth Crusade' is actually the 'Tenth Crusade' ITTL: the 'Fifth' (as modern historians have classified it) was from 1213-21 (in Egypt); the Sixth (1228-9), was also there; so was the Seventh (1248-54); the Eighth (1270) was to to Tunis; and the Ninth (1271-72) actually went to the Holy Land itself (although failed miserably).

DO like, however the following - and I hope we hear more about them:

- The Merchant-Republic of Ragusa
- The Sultanate of al-Quds
- The Emirate of Iskandariyya

Nice one! Keep it coming... :cool:
Megas, alternate history would be a duller place if it weren't for your nitpicks and we love you for them.
 

Valdemar II

Banned
One aspect of this timeline is that the Turkish refugees to the Balkan will almost certainly become linguitic assimilated. Beside that with the Balkan as the only recruitment base for the Ottoman army, likely will be forced to adopt new European tactics earlier, which will likely placed them in a better position later. Quite likely they have reach their farthest frontier already at least in Europe, they may succed in reconquer Anatolia. Another aspect ae whom replace them on the Anatolian platou, a new group of Turkomens, Kurds/Persians, Armenians or Arabs. Personal I mean mostly toward a new groups of Turkomens or Persians. Through it will likely be a mix of those two. Of course with the Timorid Empire with direct access to Mediterreanean Sea, will it survive longer, will it gain access to new European developments?

So here's my ideas of how it will look:

A Slavic-Magyar_Vlach speaking Islamic empire in the Balkans, with a Greek speaking aristrocracy.

A Turkic-Slavic speaking Islamic empire in Ukraine and South Russia.

A Iranian-Turkish speaking empire in Anatolia, Persia, Indus Valley and Central asia, with Iranian as the language of culture and adminstration, and Turkish in the same position as Kurdish in the OTL Ottoman Empire.

Cyprus, Morea and the Greek Isles stay independent principalities or Latin colonies, while south sest Anatolia are split between several small vassal state to the Timurids.

With the stronger position Balkan Ottomans Valakia may become directly annexed instead of staying a vassal, beside that I could see the Ottomans move the capital to Belgrade, which would be more central than Constantinoble, through less prestigeous.
 
One aspect of this timeline is that the Turkish refugees to the Balkan will almost certainly become linguitic assimilated. Beside that with the Balkan as the only recruitment base for the Ottoman army, likely will be forced to adopt new European tactics earlier, which will likely placed them in a better position later. Quite likely they have reach their farthest frontier already at least in Europe, they may succed in reconquer Anatolia. Another aspect ae whom replace them on the Anatolian platou, a new group of Turkomens, Kurds/Persians, Armenians or Arabs. Personal I mean mostly toward a new groups of Turkomens or Persians. Through it will likely be a mix of those two. Of course with the Timorid Empire with direct access to Mediterreanean Sea, will it survive longer, will it gain access to new European developments?

So here's my ideas of how it will look:

A Slavic-Magyar_Vlach speaking Islamic empire in the Balkans, with a Greek speaking aristrocracy.

A Turkic-Slavic speaking Islamic empire in Ukraine and South Russia.

A Iranian-Turkish speaking empire in Anatolia, Persia, Indus Valley and Central asia, with Iranian as the language of culture and adminstration, and Turkish in the same position as Kurdish in the OTL Ottoman Empire.

Cyprus, Morea and the Greek Isles stay independent principalities or Latin colonies, while south sest Anatolia are split between several small vassal state to the Timurids.

With the stronger position Balkan Ottomans Valakia may become directly annexed instead of staying a vassal, beside that I could see the Ottomans move the capital to Belgrade, which would be more central than Constantinoble, through less prestigeous.
Well thanks for the ideas I hadn't thought that far ahead really. Anatolia will be a bit of a dead zone for awhile but as I said Antioch controls much of it and it's vassal of Suleyman's. I'm thinking of focusing really on Russia, England and Ragusa for this although of course other powers will figure prominantly.

Hmm Belgrade. Well I think the point of taking Constantinopel was prestige- Mehmet didn't need it, it was surrounded yet he devboted masive resources to it- for prestige. I get what you mean though. Belgrade will really be the miltary centre, Edirne the administrative and Constantinople the financial.

btw if I didn't make it clear, Timur's dead as per OTL, dead and gone trying to conquer China. His empire fractures almost instantaneously, no grand timirud empire unfortunately. the Levant will be made up of city-states and colonial possessions for the next century or so when, well, we'll see shan't we.

Cyprus if Venetian, Morea Turkish and Greek islands are Venetian/Turkish/Ragusan.

NB a not on names. As we have two technically Ottoman empires, the one to the south based in Constantinople is the Ottoman Empire and the northern one is the Rus Sultanate. Just to be clear.

Next up, the Holy Roman Empire, the conquest of Greece and the Secound French campaign of Henry V.
 
A few things:

1. A larger Turkish force from a smaller power-base without gunpowder against Constantinople?

2. Mamluks would be more likely to consign the Sultan to the crows than help him, also think Rus' Turks would prefer to let the Crusaders pound the Balkan Turks and then swoop in and crush the survivors.

3. Janissary units with halberds?! I thought they went in for swords and bows and it was the Azabs as carried the pikes.

4. Finally, are horsemen going to "break" on the pikes? More likely they would scatter from the pikes and then be broken by the cavalry. Small thing but it gives the impression the horses impaled themselves on the pikes which is pretty unlikely.

All would be forgiven if you can contrive an even battle between Henry V and Joan of Arc (go Jehanne).
The Ottomans actually used war wagons in which were placed cannon. They served the same purpose as pikemen; while tactically less flexible, this was sacrificed for much superior strategic superiority. Wagons could be transported faster and further, while pikemen had to march on foot carrying their gear and arrived tired.
 
The Ottomans actually used war wagons in which were placed cannon. They served the same purpose as pikemen; while tactically less flexible, this was sacrificed for much superior strategic superiority. Wagons could be transported faster and further, while pikemen had to march on foot carrying their gear and arrived tired.
Huh that's good, I'll be sure to use that. I read about the Hungarians forming a protective circle using covered wagons to try and defend themselves but the knights got impetuous and charged and, well, you know how all impetuous cavalry charges end.
 
Don't Look Back, Part 3

Ok here's some more for all three of you reading this, moving away fro mthe Turks for awhile. . .

The Holy Roman Empire, meanwhile (1410) is still reeling from the disastrous Crusade. With Emperor Sigismund dead as well as the Elector of Brandenburg and the King of Bavaria with the Duke of Austria & the King of Poland captured. The King of Bohemia had come to an independent peace with the Turks thereby breaking the solid front presented by the Empire. Now a new diet was convened in the Imperial city of Frankfurt. All the Prince-Electors were called as well as various minor kings, including the King of Burgundy and the King of Denmark as well as Poland and the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. They met in Frankfurt to discuss what should be done to counter the Turks and elect a new Emperor. The latter occurred within the day, as Margrave Jobst of Brandenburg was elected due to his close family dies with the deceased Sigismund and his significant territorial holdings (in Brandenburg, Moravia and Luxembourg). He also had reason to fight the Turks, having lost his ancestral possession of Hungary to the Turks. He was therefore seen as a likely leader for another military expedition. At the Diet of Frankfurt a new order for central Europe was mapped out. In it, the emperor Jobst would rule Moravia, Hungary (in theory), Brandenburg and Luxembourg and hold them in dynastic union. He would be the spokesperson for the Empire and its ceremonial leader. The Empire’s wars would be conducted in league with the Teutonic Knights, who would fight in all foreign wars (that is, wars against other states not feudal wars). The other electors would supply soldiers and money to the war chest and would be consulted as to the course of action. It took them a month to hammer out a satisfactory treaty, and when the newly Expanded Holy Roman Empire was founded they declared their support for a Sixth Great Crusade (as opposed to the ‘lesser’ crusades, counting which would make it the 11th).
The new Empire was thus:
Ten electorates: Bavaria, Austria, Brandenburg, Bohemia, Rhineland, Hanover, the Teutonic Order (held by the Hochmeister) and the three church electorates (Mainz, Trier, Cologne).
Hereditary Imperial line: the House of Luxembourg would hold the Imperial Crown following primogeniture. The Electors would decide policy and would meet every year in Frankfurt, which was to be a free city (as were Bremen, Munster, Dresden and Nuremberg).
Thus the new Empire was founded, geared less for long-term survival and more for fighting the Turk. Their first battle, however, would not be against Suleyman but each other, as the Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order , Ulrich von Jungingen led his knights to battle against King Wladislaw of Poland-Lithuania. They met near the village of Tannenburg in Poland and drew up their forces. The Knights, not knowing their enemy’s numbers, attacked and scattered the Lithuanian cavalry. However, they were met by heavy Polish knights who held them down until the light Lithuanians re-grouped and attacked them from the rear. Things were looking bad for the knights until their infantry arrived, 2,000 footmen wielding ferocious pikes which smashed the Polish. The battle was an indecisive victory for the Knights, yet the Hochmeister put his own spin on events, claiming to have killed ten Polish knights personally. The Teutonic Knights marched on Thorn and took it. They then pressed the Polish for peace who accepted the terms, Thorn castle was ceded to the Knights. However, the Poland-Lithuanian unison was held intact.

In 1418 Sultan Suleyman marched 60,000 soldiers south into Greece. Hearing of the generous terms provided by the Sultan in the past, the cities opened their gates to him. the Duchy of Athens crumbled in the Second Battle of Marathon where the Latin army was swept aside almost contemptuously. All Greece north of the Gulf of Corinth was Turkish. South of the Gulf, Venice ruled somewhat precariously, as the sea Republic attempted to rule a feudal state. Relations between the Republic and the Sultanate had soured somewhat as Suleyman re-built the arsenal in Constantinople and began building a fleet, by 1418 he had 300 galleys afloat. Also, Suleyman had signed an alliance with Ragusa, giving her significant trade concessions in return for several soft loans which he used to formalise his bureaucracy and subsidise the Anatolian tribes left behind by Timur, grazing their sheep and occasionally descending on the lowlands to kill and pillage. Or trade.

A quick note about the Republic of Ragusa. The Republic of Ragusa was a relative newcomer to the Mediterranean, a former protectorate of Venice it had grown in wealth and power once Venice’s power shrank after the Fourth Crusade petered out. Her population was large and wealthy and her penal code positively enlightened (in 100 years she only executed one man) and although her riches were forever increasing there was only one monument built in the town, that of a humble knight. She operated a strict oligarchic Republic, with all males over the age of 40 and with 1000 ducats worth of property sitting in a general council. These then elected a Board of Eleven to which members were elected for life. From the general council was picked a Rector, who would be the city’s leader for six months and six months only after which he would be ceremonially stripped of office forever (until he died, when the insignia would be put on his tomb). The Board of Eleven however held the real power and it was this shadowy group that spread Ragusa’s tendrils across the Levant. She turned west as well, founding a colony in Tunis in 1415 and one in Palermo in 1416. Both of these traded dyes, sugar and silver as well as other valuable goods. Much of this was then exported to either the Ottoman Empire or Venice herself (at a greatly inflated price, of course.) Ragusa was adjacent to the great Croatian pine forests, and so when Suleyman embarked on fleet enlargement he bought it off them wholesale for far less than he could fell it. Thus the Republic earned a tidy profit off the Empire. It was not without consternation, however, that they watched the Turk’s advance. Her only fighting force was the citizen militia, and that was only 5,000 strong and even then, only on Sunday. Any campaign could only be one day long because the infantry would have to be back at work by Monday, so Ragusa hired mercenaries. These were usually Albanians from the mountains who guarded the mountain passes and valleys that led to the city. These semi-civilised men terrified the civilised city-dwellers, who thought of themselves as Italian rather than Croat (they spoke Italian, if in a Croat accent) yet they were loyal, so long as they were paid.

In 1417 Henry V crossed back into France. He came with a further 2,000 soldiers, mostly archers and men-at-arms. He joined with the forces who had spent the time in France and once more put forward his claim to the throne. This time he marched through Normandy, taking Caen and then into Brittany. The Duke of Brittany immediately joined Henry (having been in correspondence with him) and they then moved into Aquitaine and Gascon. They took Bordeaux and then switched north, always eluding the French forces. The Dauphin marshalled his forces, which were severely depleted by desertion, and decided to make his strong-point Orleans. He used this as his base of operations in the area. He had 22,000 men. Henry had 14,000. They met, rather ominously, at Poitiers. Here, however, Charles the Dauphin adopted the defensive whereas Henry took the initiative.
Charles arranged his men thus: in the front rank he had his light troops, crossbowmen, archers etc. and behind them men-at-arms. Behind them he had his cavalry. These men stood on a low hill overlooking the battlefield. Henry advanced his longbowmen to within range and began firing at an angle up the hill. The longbow’s great range meant that the French were sitting targets. Bombarded by missiles, the light troops were unable to respond. When Charles ordered them to advance, they were out in the open. Before they could fire, Henry charged his light cavalry in and routed them. Charles, seeing the cavalry and archers open to attack, ordered his knights to charge. They charged through the infantry and then into the cavalry. These cavalry, caught in the open, were slaughtered, yet they held the knights long enough for the English infantry to arrive. These men wielded great billhooks, ideal for catching at armour and hooking a rider and finding a chink in his armour. They surrounded the embroiled knights and forced them to retreat or face ignominious death at the hands of an infantryman. The French infantry, seeing the knight’s plight, advanced yet were met with a hail or arrows. They withdrew to the forest at their backs and waited. Once the cavalry had withdrawn, they followed. They fell back to Orleans where they waited for the English.
They did not arrive. Instead, Henry sped straight for Paris which, undefended, fell. Fortunately the King Charles VI was away and rejoined his son at Orleans. Henry, pleased with the advanced made, wrote to the Duke of Burgundy offering him lands in Provence so long as he joined with Henry. The Duke responded enthusiastically and in May 1417 he advanced south, taking Avignon and Marseilles.
The two French Charles’ had little choice but to ask for terms. Henry demanded the throne yet the Dauphin would not surrender his birth-right. Henry therefore informed them that he would not yield an inch of soil until he was crowned King. It was to be a long war.
 
The Holy Roman Empire, meanwhile... was thus:
Ten electorates: Bavaria, Austria, Brandenburg, Bohemia, Rhineland, Hanover, the Teutonic Order (held by the Hochmeister) and the three church electorates (Mainz, Trier, Cologne).
Hereditary Imperial line: the House of Luxembourg would hold the Imperial Crown following primogeniture. The Electors would decide policy and would meet every year in Frankfurt, which was to be a free city (as were Bremen, Munster, Dresden and Nuremberg).
Some fascinating developments in the HRE, SF. I wonder what happened to the disenfranchised Electorate of Saxony? They would've been cheesed off not to be included - unless it has now been rebranded 'Hanover' (which would be a little anachronistic since Hanover wasn't a city of the first order in the 15th century)? If you want to add a non-traditional Electorate to this new HRE, I would suggest Brabantia, which, with its rich Flemish trading cities, would have been a big source of income for the HRE and its wars.

Also, the head of the Teutonic Order was the Grossmeister (the Hochmeister was chief Knight in the HRE itself I think whereas the Grand Master was its overall chief executive as we might describe it today).

Lastly, is Denmark now in your HRE too? Or is it an independent state as IOTL?

A quick note about the Republic of Ragusa. The Republic of Ragusa was a relative newcomer to the Mediterranean, a former protectorate of Venice it had grown in wealth and power once Venice’s power shrank after the Fourth Crusade petered out. ... Thus the Republic earned a tidy profit off the Empire. It was not without consternation, however, that they watched the Turk’s advance. Her only fighting force was the citizen militia, and that was only 5,000 strong and even then, only on Sunday. Any campaign could only be one day long because the infantry would have to be back at work by Monday, so Ragusa hired mercenaries. These were usually Albanians from the mountains who guarded the mountain passes and valleys that led to the city. These semi-civilised men terrified the civilised city-dwellers, who thought of themselves as Italian rather than Croat (they spoke Italian, if in a Croat accent) yet they were loyal, so long as they were paid.
I like this info on Ragusa. :) In terms of the defence of the city, the Ragusans can build a formidable fortress on top of Mount Srd, which would make it almost impossible to attack from land. If it then invests some of its wealth in state-of-the-art walls and other defences (as happened in real life), Ragusa could become as tough a nut to crack by enemy forces as Venice was IOTL.

Anyway. Thumbs up from me! :cool: Encore!
 
Some fascinating developments in the HRE, SF. I wonder what happened to the disenfranchised Electorate of Saxony? They would've been cheesed off not to be included - unless it has now been rebranded 'Hanover' (which would be a little anachronistic since Hanover wasn't a city of the first order in the 15th century)? If you want to add a non-traditional Electorate to this new HRE, I would suggest Brabantia, which, with its rich Flemish trading cities, would have been a big source of income for the HRE and its wars.

Also, the head of the Teutonic Order was the Grossmeister (the Hochmeister was chief Knight in the HRE itself I think whereas the Grand Master was its overall chief executive as we might describe it today).

Lastly, is Denmark now in your HRE too? Or is it an independent state as IOTL?



I like this info on Ragusa. :) In terms of the defence of the city, the Ragusans can build a formidable fortress on top of Mount Srd, which would make it almost impossible to attack from land. If it then invests some of its wealth in state-of-the-art walls and other defences (as happened in real life), Ragusa could become as tough a nut to crack by enemy forces as Venice was IOTL.

Anyway. Thumbs up from me! :cool: Encore!
Right yes I have to admit I really am not a fan of the HRE, that's why I'm moving it towards a more centralised state I hate all this feudal anachronism. I'll re-adjust at a later date. Point taken about the Teutonic Knights I'll be more careful next time.

Anyway, next time we'll have the birth of Mehmet I, Sultan of the Rus, the Italian wars and the Third French campaign, as well as the birth of a certain maiden of Orleans. . .
 
I'm really enjoying this TL. Great work! It doesn't strike me as being hugely realistic maybe, but whatever it's really entertaining and well written.

Ironically, I'm working out an Otto-wank TL right now, only mine involves no Timur :p.

And I second Guerrilla Republik's request for a map :)
 
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