(Mostly) Unified Medevial/Renissance Italy VS Ottomans

Who wins, Ottomans vs Italy (ies)

  • Borgia/Papal Italy Victory

    Votes: 15 34.9%
  • Visconti Italy Victory

    Votes: 9 20.9%
  • Medici Italy Victory

    Votes: 3 7.0%
  • Ottoman Victory

    Votes: 16 37.2%

  • Total voters
    43
(A bit ASB, and ignoring a lot of butterflies and events at that time, just mostly a compare two empires)

What if most of Italy was unified, between 14th Century-17th Century? How would the combined armies of Italians, face off against the Ottoman Empire? Venice is still independent, but allied to this Italian Empire.

Now, if your wonder who is leading this, there are three options:
1. Visconti unified Italy
2. Medici unified Italy
3. Papal/Borgia unified Italy


There are three places for battles:
1. Sea battle in the Mediterranean
2. Italian invasion of the Balkans with the help of Venice
3. Italian invasion of Ottoman African vassals

Out of the three options, can any of them face off against the Ottomans, with all the banking wealth, mercenaries and manpower, and ships of Italy, with the Venetians on their side?
 
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What exactly is the nature of this conflict? Are we talking about an Ottoman invasion of Italy, or an Italian invasion of Ottoman territory in Europe, Asia Minor, the Levant and/or North Africa?
 
What exactly is the nature of this conflict? Are we talking about an Ottoman invasion of Italy, or an Italian invasion of Ottoman territory in Europe, Asia Minor, the Levant and/or North Africa?
The latter, a Italian invasion of the Ottoman Empire. I’ll edit in three places for battle, sea, the Balkans, and Africa
 
(A bit ASB, and ignoring a lot of butterflies and events at that time, just mostly a compare two empires)

What if most of Italy was unified, between 14th Century-17th Century? How would the combined armies of Italians, face off against the Ottoman Empire? Venice is still independent, but allied to this Italian Empire.

Now, if your wonder who is leading this, there are three options:
1. Visconti unified Italy
2. Medici unified Italy
3. Papal/Borgia unified Italy
View attachment 518721

There are three places for battles:
1. Sea battle in the Mediterranean
2. Italian invasion of the Balkans with the help of Venice
3. Italian invasion of Ottoman African vassals

Out of the three options, can any of them face off against the Ottomans, with all the banking wealth, mercenaries and manpower, and ships of Italy, with the Venetians on their side?
Generally, the Holy League factions consisted most of the Italian States. It gives you an idea.

How is this Italy structured? Centralised absolutist state? Confederal Republican-ish? That's important. The centralised state has more potential to face the Ottomans than a loose alliance of Italian city states. The latter would be too unstable to be any significant threat. The former would at least be united under command which makes wars easier (if ruler is a decent guy).

The Italy with those borders seems wealthy. But I doubt that they will be militarily anything stronger than the Ottomans, on land at least. So an Italian invasion of the Balkans is off. A united greater Italy was off but this even more. A North African invasion could but I wouldn't guarantee success. This Italy has one potential succes and that's Naval battles. With expanded resources they could invest in bigger Navy than Venice.

The only thing I see is that this Italy will definitely draw the attention of either France of Austria. It won't just fight the Ottomans. And that's where issue start. The Ottomans fought multiple fronts during it's existence and had decent results. If Italy could achieve the same...

Edit: I see Venice was not included. I hardly doubt this Italy would face the Ottomans at all. Overall chance of them is low but not slightly impossible. Naval focus is a must. Otherwise they are hardly a threat.
 
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The latter, a Italian invasion of the Ottoman Empire. I’ll edit in three places for battle, sea, the Balkans, and Africa
1. Sea battles: certain chance of success
2. Balkans: no chance of success at all
3. North Africa: only in the Maghreb but this requires Naval domination at least and a large military force for Italy (40-100k active troops).
 
(A bit ASB, and ignoring a lot of butterflies and events at that time, just mostly a compare two empires)

What if most of Italy was unified, between 14th Century-17th Century? How would the combined armies of Italians, face off against the Ottoman Empire? Venice is still independent, but allied to this Italian Empire.

Now, if your wonder who is leading this, there are three options:
1. Visconti unified Italy
2. Medici unified Italy
3. Papal/Borgia unified Italy
View attachment 518721

There are three places for battles:
1. Sea battle in the Mediterranean
2. Italian invasion of the Balkans with the help of Venice
3. Italian invasion of Ottoman African vassals

Out of the three options, can any of them face off against the Ottomans, with all the banking wealth, mercenaries and manpower, and ships of Italy, with the Venetians on their side?
OTL’s Italy mostly had mercenary armies at this point. They wouldn’t stand a chance on land. They might win at sea though. There were several naval powers in Italy in that period. My guess is that they’d win at sea. A Balkan Invasion would be disastrous. They might have some initial successes in North Africa due to their Naval strength, but the Ottomans would eventually drive them out.

1. Sea battles: certain chance of success
2. Balkans: no chance of success at all
3. North Africa: only in the Maghreb but this requires Naval domination at least and a large military force for Italy (40-100k active troops).
Couldn’t the Ottomans just pass their troops into the Maghreb through Egypt?
 
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Now, if your wonder who is leading this, there are three options:
1. Visconti unified Italy
2. Medici unified Italy
3. Papal/Borgia unified Italy
1579921461677.png
The map you posted is completely inconsistent with a Visconti unification (the western border of Venice is more or less what they achieved in the wars against Milan after the death of the lat Visconti duke). It also looks like that Naples is strangely remaining independent from Aragon. The Ottoman border in the Balkans is post 1530.

In any case, a Visconti unification between 1350 and 1450 is the most reasonable possibility.
The Medici might do better (assuming for example that Lorenzo leaves longer or that Giuliano survives the Pazzi conspiracy), but the problem is that Lorenzo's heir (Piero) is a dud: his nickname - the Fatuous - was certainly well deserved.
The other problem is that by the end of the 15th century the window of opportunity for an Italian unification is closing up (Spanish unification and Burgundian inheritance, not to mention France).
I cannot see any real possibility of a Papal/Borgia unification).

Even in the case of a Visconti unification with a correct border between their kingdom (which has to be recognized by the HRE, and it's not just a formality) and Venetian Terrafirma, the main question is how are the relations between Milan and Venice? Same question for the relations between Milan and Naples.
If the relationship is friendly (which would be in the interest of both), the best strategy for Italy would be to oppose Ottoman naval expansion in the Egean sea and befriend the Mamelukes of Egypt to contain the Ottomans in Anatolia and have an alternative route for the Indian trade.
 
The map you posted is completely inconsistent with a Visconti unification (the western border of Venice is more or less what they achieved in the wars against Milan after the death of the lat Visconti duke). It also looks like that Naples is strangely remaining independent from Aragon. The Ottoman border in the Balkans is post 1530.
I’ll admit, the map I posted isn’t the best representation, but it was the best one I could find and edit, that was in the 15th century.

As for the Naples part, the Aragon comes later, I just forgot about that part.
 
In the short term, Italy can do damage. The only thing keeping Venice and Genoa from setting the rules in the Med was their competition with each other. Pyrrhic victories like Lepanto can become real victories and even reconquests. An anti-Ottoman understanding between the Mamluks and Italians is also entirely possible, based on common trade/defense interests. Away from the sea, Italy's urban militias may be a poor match for Ottoman sepahis and their Slav auxiliaries in the Balkan mountains and valleys. The gunpowder advantage also doesnt really favor either side.

In the long term... if the Ottomans want a navy they can get one. The Lebanon cedar forest is one of many, the Black Sea also has plenty of timber. Sailors can be sourced from North Africa or Yemen, or European pirates can be hired. So Italy's naval power could just drive the Ottomans to step their game up.
 
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1. Sea battles: certain chance of success
2. Balkans: no chance of success at all
3. North Africa: only in the Maghreb but this requires Naval domination at least and a large military force for Italy (40-100k active troops).
This. The Italians will have some success holding fortress lines in the Balkans and amphibious raids in Greece but they aren't going to be driving the Ottomans back pre-1700
 
Couldn’t the Ottomans just pass their troops into the Maghreb through Egypt?
That's logistically difficult. Not impossible, that's how the Arabs conquered the area in the first place but a force with naval superiority supplied across the Med will have an advantage over supplied one by land from Egypt.
 
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OTL’s Italy mostly had mercenary armies at this point. They wouldn’t stand a chance on land. They might win at sea though. There were several naval powers in Italy in that period. My guess is that they’d win at sea. A Balkan Invasion would be disastrous. They might have some initial successes in North Africa due to their Naval strength, but the Ottomans would eventually drive them out.


Couldn’t the Ottomans just pass their troops into the Maghreb through Egypt?
Technically yes but the Army needs to move along the coast. A large regional Army (consisting of Arabs and Berbers, fit for such campaigns) will do. The problem is that the area of operation is between Alexandria and Oran. They won't make it on time to safe Algiers or even Tunis if there was a real threat. An Army from Egypt would only work properly if the objective is to conquer North Africa, not to defend it.
 
Depends on when and in what context. Before annexing the Mamluks the Ottomans would be at best a peer to a unified, centralized Italian state, at worst weaker than it and always at a crucial disadvantage at sea- bear in mind that northern Italy was filthy rich, had fantastic industrial and technical capacity and outstanding navies- for context Milanese armored men at arms shrugged off beitish longbowmen during an Hyw battle (cant remember where) and that would have won the battle for the french if they hadn't taken the rout as an opportunity to loot the british baggage train and the french themselves failed to capitalize. A unified army would presumably be more coherent and disciplined. Combine that with Swiss pikemen (any italian state will be willing and able to keep them on permanent retainer, even if they dont have a standing army themselves), artillery (venice was a major innovator for cannon as well as shipbuilding) and frankly the Ottomans have more than met their match in terms of logistics and professionalism. Even a padanian state intervening in an alternate crusade of varna would be enough to drive the Ottomans across the bosphorus and possibly clientiize the beyliks of Asia minor. A unified Italy is going to beat the Ottomans like a drum in the 15th century Imho.

By 16th century things are much more even. By the time of suleimain the best Italy can do is play a more successful venice, peeling off the adriatic littoral, keeping crete and Cyprus and rhodes, possibly keeping Morea and maybe att8ce or at least Euboia. The Turks won't be reaching Vienna TTL, and will collapse much more rapidly with Italy peeling off the southern balkans as the Russians (or poles or whatever) nibble in the north. Greece will eventually be annexed, though probably will take several wars a la Transylvania, and from the 18th century onward Italy probably makes a play for Egypt and the Levant.
 
Depends on when and in what context. Before annexing the Mamluks the Ottomans would be at best a peer to a unified, centralized Italian state, at worst weaker than it and always at a crucial disadvantage at sea- bear in mind that northern Italy was filthy rich, had fantastic industrial and technical capacity and outstanding navies- for context Milanese armored men at arms shrugged off beitish longbowmen during an Hyw battle (cant remember where) and that would have won the battle for the french if they hadn't taken the rout as an opportunity to loot the british baggage train and the french themselves failed to capitalize. A unified army would presumably be more coherent and disciplined. Combine that with Swiss pikemen (any italian state will be willing and able to keep them on permanent retainer, even if they dont have a standing army themselves), artillery (venice was a major innovator for cannon as well as shipbuilding) and frankly the Ottomans have more than met their match in terms of logistics and professionalism. Even a padanian state intervening in an alternate crusade of varna would be enough to drive the Ottomans across the bosphorus and possibly clientiize the beyliks of Asia minor. A unified Italy is going to beat the Ottomans like a drum in the 15th century Imho.

By 16th century things are much more even. By the time of suleimain the best Italy can do is play a more successful venice, peeling off the adriatic littoral, keeping crete and Cyprus and rhodes, possibly keeping Morea and maybe att8ce or at least Euboia. The Turks won't be reaching Vienna TTL, and will collapse much more rapidly with Italy peeling off the southern balkans as the Russians (or poles or whatever) nibble in the north. Greece will eventually be annexed, though probably will take several wars a la Transylvania, and from the 18th century onward Italy probably makes a play for Egypt and the Levant.
At worst weaker? That's false. The Ottomans prior to the Mamluk conquest beat several coalition and beat a much stronger land power as Hungary. They field bigger forces, you can think of 60-90k pre Mamluk conquest. This Ottoman Empire is stronger than that Italy. Especially on land. A unified Italy can hardly damage the Ottomans in the 15th century. That's just silly.

The Italians aiding the Crusade is not enough to drive the Ottomans out of the Balkans. Again, the Ottomans have more manpower, which can replace the old. The Ottoman center is in the Balkans. Unless the Ottoman Army is entirely wiped out, driving the Ottomans out of the Balkans in one Crusade is plain silly and not realistic. Italy is not sending 20k troops, let alone 40k troops to be decisive in Varna.

By the 16th century things are not even. Suleimans victory in Mohacs made sure Charles V, the most powerful European monarch did not meet Suleiman in open battle. A monarch ruling over Spain, Burgundy, half of Italy and is the Emperor. How is that Italy going to be even with the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century? How are they going to collapse because Italy is suppose to attack the South and the Ottomans are not even reaching Vienna? The Great Turkish War, the 1593-1612 period, the 1735-1740 did not collapse the Empire. And in those period they faced at least three large nations. I am not even sorry, this is even more silly than your first statement.

I hardly doubt this Italy would survive with France being its neighbour and having claims everywhere. Other than some Naval victories, this Italy won't have more victories. If Venice is included I'll give you that Crete may survive. Cyprus maybe as well though it is bigger target for the Ottomans. Everything North of the Cyclades is plain hard if not borderline impossible. The Ottomans have a good navy which is not hopeless just because Italy united.

You are overrating Italy while underrating the Ottomans immensely.
 
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This, mostly. The Italians could have success in North Africa, or the Balkans (with a ton of aid), but otherwise, 1v1, neither is doing any damage beyond raiding.
North Africa is more likely than the Balkans. The Balkans are the centre of the Empire. It won't last. North Africa is largely dependent on local defense which is fine. If there is Naval superiority in at least the Central Mediterranean, the Italians have a chance to to take the coastal settlements.

Ottoman invasion of Italy post-1542 is plain hard, if not impossible. Spain is stronger there and it will be another resource drain with the Hungarian and Persian fronts in mind. In the 1480-1542, the Ottomans still have a decent chance to invade (Southern) Italy. The important aspects is in what kind of situation Italy is. Is it united and under one ruler? Or is it some kind of a Confederal State. The latter is worse as it could lead to a break up if things do not go well.
 
The important aspects is in what kind of situation Italy is. Is it united and under one ruler? Or is it some kind of a Confederal State. The latter is worse as it could lead to a break up if things do not go well.
Here are the state of the governments of each Italy:

1. Visconti- Centralized State
2. Borgia/Papal- Centralized State, although the Pope is semi-autonomous
3. Medici- Confederal State, like the Italic League
 
Here are the state of the governments of each Italy:

1. Visconti- Centralized State
2. Borgia/Papal- Centralized State, although the Pope is semi-autonomous
3. Medici- Confederal State, like the Italic League
Whomever rules is not too crucial. If the state is centralised it has better chance to face the enemies. Visconti and Papal ruled have that advantage. Though I think Visconti Italy will not own Rome. And a larger Papal State might also be divided in attention between aiding the Catholics against the Protestants and facing the Ottomans. Visconti are, without Rome, stronger IMO.
 
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Whomever rules is not too crucial. If the state is centralised it has better chance to face the enemies. Visconti and Papal ruled have that advantage. Though I think Visconti Italy will not own Rome. And a larger Papal State might also be divided in attention between aiding the Catholics against the Protestants and facing the Ottomans. Visconti are, without Rome, stronger IMO.
I may have to make more maps of these three Italys, to show the differences of them
 
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