Pride Goes Before a Fall: A Revolutionary Greece Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Earl Marshal, Oct 31, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: Part 1: The Spark of Revolution

    Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Part 1: The Spark of Revolution
    [​IMG]
    The Ottoman Empire, 1801
    On the 22nd of February 1821, the Phanariot Alexander Ypsilantis crossed the Pruth River into the Danubian Principality of Moldavia and in doing so sparked an open revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Across all of Rumelia, Greeks rose in armed rebellion against their oppressors in the name of God, Liberty, and Hellas. Despite their valor, their efforts in the North would end in disaster when Ypsilantis and his followers were defeated on the field of battle in Wallachia. With no other choice, the Phanariot fled into exile in Austria where he would remain imprisoned for many years to come. This setback was soon followed by others in Cyprus, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Thrace. By the beginning of Fall, the rebellion was effectively dead in Northern Rumelia.

    The defeat of Ypsilantis, however, did little to extinguish the fires of rebellion that had been lit across Greece. In Southern Rumelia, the Greeks achieved more lasting results as the important cities of Missolonghi, Salona, and Thebes fell to the Greeks. Even the ancient city of Athens, the birthplace of democracy, was liberated after a prolonged siege of the Acropolis. In the Aegean, the islands of Hydra, Psara, Samos, and Spetses joined the conflict, bringing with them their great wealth and their great merchant fleets which inflicted devastating losses against the Ottoman navy. But it was in the Morea where the Greeks had achieved their greatest victories.

    The warlike Moreots of the Peloponnese did credit to their ancient ancestors as they swiftly beat back their hated adversary in a series of battles. Beginning with the liberation of Kalamata on the 25th of March, by the end of 1821 the entirety of the Morea had been freed from Ottoman rule with only a few remote castles along the coast remaining in Turkish hands. Even the provincial capital of the Morea, the mighty walled city of Tripolitsa had fallen to the Greeks after 8 short months. It was a great victory for the Greeks, but an even greater humiliation for the Ottoman Sultan.

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    The Oath of Agia Lavra[1]

    In response to this latest insult, the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II ordered his Serasker Khursid Ahmed Pasha, to crush the Greek rebels with the utmost haste and ruthlessness.[2] Should he fail, Khursid would meet the same fate as all the Sultan’s enemies, death. Obliging his angered liege, Khursid Pasha orchestrated a grand offensive against the rebel strongholds in the south during the Spring and Summer months of 1822. One army led by the Albanian general Omer Vrioni would advance through the mountains of Western Greece, where he would crush the last remaining pockets of resistance in the North. Moving south, he would then be tasked with securing the important city of Missolonghi from the rebels before crossing into the Morea at Patras.

    The other army led by Mahmud Dramali Pasha would force its way south along the Aegean coast and cross the Isthmus into the Morea. From there, they would retake Corinth and Argos, break the siege in Nafplion, and then move against the rebels in Tripolitsa. With Vrioni’s force attacking from the West and Dramali’s from the East, their combined forces would overwhelm the remaining Greek partisans and extinguish the fires of the rebellion in the Morea. Their marching orders set, Dramali’s host departed from Lamia on the 5th of July, advancing south.

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    Khursid Pasha, Serasker (Commander in Chief) of the Ottoman Empire (Left) Mahmud Dramali Pasha, Commander of the Ottoman Army in Eastern Greece (Right)

    Passing through Phocis, Boeotia, and Attica without so much as a shot fired in their defense, the Ottomans were lulled into a sense of security and imminent victory. This changed as soon as they crossed into the Morea. There they found the fields scorched, the wells filled in, and the livestock slaughtered to deny the Turks any supplies with which to sustain themselves. The campaign was made even more rigorous by the unusually dry summer which had left Greece in a terrible drought and the Turks in short supply of fresh water. Nevertheless, Dramali Pasha quickly established himself in the city of Corinth, where he and his officers planned their operation to crush the rebellion. Dramali was of the mind to seize Argos, the capital of the Greek traitors, while his captains, Yusuf Pasha of Evvia and Ali Bey of Argos urged him to move on Tripolitsa, to restore Ottoman rule in the Morea, and then proceed onto Patras where they would join in support of Vrioni. Dramali Pasha having come to detest Vrioni as a rival, refused to share the glory, and the spoils, with a man he considered a brigand. Ignoring the stratagems of his officers, Dramali chose to push onto Argos.

    Arriving on the 24th of July, Dramali discovered much to his disappointment that the city had been abandoned with nary a shot fired in its defense. The Greek government had fled before him denying Dramali his chance at capturing them in one fell swoop. The people had similarly escaped his grasp, having fled by ship to the islands or by foot to the hills. Worst of all, the Greeks had thoroughly emptied the city of its riches and stores of grain before his arrival. While the city had been abandoned to him, the castle Larissa upon the old acropolis had not. 700 men under the command of the Phanariot Prince Demetrios Ypsilantis had holed up within its old walls, ready and willing to fight to the end if need be.

    Through deception and valor, Ypsilantis managed to bravely resist the Ottomans for twelve long days and nights before fleeing under the cover of darkness in the early hours of the 5th of August. Once more, Dramali Pasha had been denied a decisive battle with which to earn his own personal glory. Adding to his woes was the failure of the Ottoman fleet to land at Nafplion, traveling instead to Patras and in the process denying his army of desperately needed supplies. To sustain themselves, Dramali dispatched several scavenging parties to scour the many surrounding vineyards for food. Several men ran afoul of Greek sharpshooters and most returned with nothing to show for their efforts. While a few managed to forage perishables from the vineyards, their goods were generally found to be unripe or riddled with maggots. Yet in their extreme hunger, the men ate these afflicted foods despite the concerns and in the process, a terrible illness began to spread through the ranks. With his foodstuffs running low, his troops beginning to fall ill, and Argos no longer of interest, Dramali Pasha reluctantly agreed to return to Corinth by way of the Dervenakia pass.

    [​IMG]
    The Ottomans at Argos
    Next Time: On a Horse They Fall
    [1] The Oath of Agia Lavra, or The Blessing of Agia Lavra is one of the most famous legends of the Greek War of Independence. It recounts the bravery of Bishop Yermanos in defying the Ottoman governor, Khursid Pasha and declaring his opposition to the Ottoman Empire alongside the hero Theodoros Kolokotronis and the captains of the Morea. This event is considered the effective beginning of the war in the South of Greece yet there is one major problem with it, it is almost certainly a fictional event created by Francis Pouqueville, French Consul to the Ottoman Empire. Neither Bishop Yermanos nor Theodoros Kolokotronis were present at Agia Lavra on the 25th of March when this event supposedly took place, Kolokotronis was in Messenia, having just returned from the Ionian Islands, and Bishop Yermanos was likely at his home in Patras. Khursid Pasha who is also mentioned in this story as summoning Yermanos, was in Epirus and not Tripolitsa, where he made his court. Despite its dubious authenticity, the Oath of Agia Lavra is still considered an important aspect of modern Greek mythos.

    [2] Khursid Ahmed Pasha was a very powerful and competent leader in the Ottoman Empire in the years prior to the Greek War of Independence. Khursid was originally born to a Christian family in Modern day Georgia and at a young age he was conscripted to the Janissaries. Due to his skill, he became Mayor of Alexandria, then governor of Ottoman Egypt and was later appointed Serasker of the Ottoman Empire during the Serbian Revolution and for his success he was made Grand Vizier (1812-1815). Khursid Pasha was once again appointed Serasker in 1820, first to defeat Ali Pasha of Ioannina, and then to defeat the Greeks.

     
  2. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    So after several months of researching, writing, and editing, I finally decided to post this timeline. This is my first attempt at a timeline on this forum so please let me know if I have made any mistakes with names, dates, events, etc, or if I have caused any problems. I am not an expert modern Greek history by any measure but I consider this period to be very important historically and worth exploring.

    The Greek War of Independence or Greek Revolution was in many ways a perfect storm for the Greeks Philhellenism was at its height in Europe and the Americas, the Ottoman Empire was still in the midst of various reforms, and their attention was drawn elsewhere by other more threatening actors. Despite all the success they achieved on their own, their gains were undone by infighting and civil war, and they were only able to achieve independence through foreign intervention. As such Modern Greece would struggle with political instability for much of its history and in many ways it is still plagued by it to this day.

    Please leave me any comments on how I might improve this timeline and please ask me any questions and I will happily answer to the best of my ability. Thank you all, and I hope you enjoy this timeline.

    And for those that are wondering, the POD will be covered in the next part which I will be posting in a few hours.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  3. Threadmarks: Part 2: On a Horse They Fall

    Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Part 2: On a Horse They Fall
    [​IMG]
    Theodoros Kolokotronis, Archstrategos (Commander in Chief) of the Greeks​

    In the twelve days that Demetrios Ypsilantis held out in Larissa, the Greek Archstrategos Theodoros Kolokotronis assembled an army to combat the Ottomans. Every day that the Phanariot held out was another day for more men to come to their aid. Kolokotronis, members of the government, and their followers wrote letter after letter to every man willing to fight, to every man that owed them a favor, and to every man wanting to share in the glory and the spoils of the battle to come. By the 1st of August, his force had ballooned from a meager 2,000 men to nearly 8,000, even still the Greeks were outnumbered at best 3 to 1 as Dramali Pasha had entered the Morea with the largest army seen in Greece in nearly a century, over 26,000 strong, most of which was cavalry.

    To nullify the advantage in numbers and mobility held by the Ottomans, the Archstrategos would face the enemy within the narrow confines of the mountain passes and valleys spanning Northern Argolis. Of the many roads spanning the Morea, the main road leading to Corinth from Argos ran through a narrow ravine near the hamlet of Dervenakia making the area a prime locale to contest the Ottoman’s advance. Kolokotronis’ nephew, Niketas Stamatelopoulos was given the honor of leading the main attack at Dervenakia, to that end he was tasked with falling trees and stacking stones to block the road and channel the Turks into his sights.

    Two additional roads led to the East and West respectively; the Eastern route to Corinth was technically shorter but it was much more dangerous, running through the northern foothills of the mountain Arachnaion. It was a treacherous place renowned as a hideaway for klephts and brigands. In the event the Ottomans took this route, the priest Papaflessas and 2,000 men would be tasked with opposing them until further help could arrive. The Western route was significantly longer, but it was also significantly safer opening into the wide expanse of the Nemea Valley. It also provided Dramali Pasha with a clear route to Tripolitsa, which was presently undefended by the Greeks. While Theodoros correctly assumed the Ottomans would be returning directly to Corinth, he still made insurances to prevent them from taking the city. To that end, Kolokotronis positioned himself between the Ottomans and Tripolitsa in the hills near the village of Ayios Georgios with nearly 1,000 men. Lastly, Kolokotronis’ lieutenant, the Moreot Iatrakos and 2,000 men would guard the road back to Argos. Once the Ottoman army entered the hills, Iatrakos was to ensure they did not leave it. With no time to spare, Theodoros Kolokotronis dispatched his forces to their positions and awaited Dramali’s approach.

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    The Hills of Dervenakia
    The day of reckoning would quickly arrive in the afternoon on the 5th of August. In advance of his main force, Dramali Pasha dispatched his Albanian mercenaries to secure the hilltops in the passes ahead. Instead, the Albanian vanguard, recognizing the innate dangers of the Dervenakia pass, opted to advance along the safer western road, but in their haste, they failed to relay their movements with the Ottomans to their rear. Passing through the hills near Ayios Georgios, the Albanians inexplicably entered the Greek encampment of Theodoros Kolokotronis. Many of the Moreots watching the road had mistaken the Albanians with their Arvanite allies’ due to their similar dress and Albanian speech. Believing them to be friends coming to their aid, they allowed them entry into their camp. Quickly, though their cover began to collapse as some men ran off in the opposite direction and others immediately pulled out their weapons. Still they managed to make their way through the encampment unimpeded until a pair of Arvanites who had heeded Theodoros Kolokotronis’ call recognized the Albanians for who they truly were and sounded the alarm.[1]

    The sudden discovery of an enemy in their midst sparked a panic throughout the camp as some men ran into the brush while others opened fire on each other. Initially caught off guard, Theodoros Kolokotronis quickly mounted his horse and donned his famed plumed helmet before riding into the carnage. The Greeks immediately noticed their leader and quickly moved to coalesce around him. Wielding his mighty saber, Kolokotronis directed his men to form ranks and concentrate their fire on the enemy before. Ever the leader, Kolokotronis’ took his place at the front of his troops but his prominence atop his steed made him an attractive target for the wavering Albanians. In their desperation, the Albanians fired shot after shot at him to no avail as bullets grazed past him. As their enemy began to waver, Theodoros began to push forward but in his hubris, he became separated from his men and where bullets had failed, blades succeeded as an Albanian plunged his bayonet into the side of the Old Man.

    Despite his injury, Theodoros managed to fight off his adversary, but soon after his strength began to fail him and Kolokotronis fell from his steed for all to see. A desperate melee quickly commenced near the fallen Kolokotronis as the Moreots rushed forward to save their commander. Sword clashed against sword, bayonet against bayonet, and knife against knife. Despite their valor, the Greeks were on the cusp of breaking were it not for the timely arrival of Panos Kolokotronis with reinforcements. Rallying his father’s men, Panos threw caution to the wind and charged into the ranks of the Albanians with all the viciousness and ferocity of a wild beast. The strength and savagery of the Moreots instilled such a fear within the weary Albanians that they fled the field with all the haste their tired bodies could muster.

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    The Fall of Theodoros Kolokotronis
    With the battle over, Panos rushed to his father’s side. In a tearful reunion, the young Kolokotronis knelt beside his dying father and cradled him in his arms, hoping that the life would return to his father’s eyes. Though he would linger on for a few lingering moments, by nightfall he was gone. The Old Man of the Morea was dead.

    Next Time: The Dramali Disaster


    [1] Here is our POD. According to accounts of the battle of Dervenakia, these Albanians were initially mistaken for the Arvanites, an Albanian people that had settled in the Morea and were allies of the Greeks during the war. As a result, these Albanians were able to pass through Kolokotronis’ camp relatively unnoticed, before they made their escape back to Corinth. In OTL the Albanians were in fact discovered, but by that time most had managed to escape. Here their discovery happens a little earlier.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  4. The God-Emperor Despairing Progressive

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    I admit that, before I started reading, I briefly thought this was a Socialist Greece TL.
    Still, it's great stuff and I hope to see it keep going, more Greece is always welcome.
     
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  5. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

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    This looks fantastic. I know next to nothing about the Greek War of Independence but I am really looking forward to following your story. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Greek camp without their primary military leader.
     
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  6. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much. Its still early so some more socialist elements could creep in after the war ends, but for the time being the Greeks will mostly be focusing on the war and their internal disputes.

    Thank you. My strengths when it comes to Greek history is mostly limited to the Byzantine Empire, but I find this period to be very complex and interesting.

    Theodoros Kolokotronis was a very respected, but also very divisive figure in Revolutionary Greece at the time. While he was a great military leader for the Greeks during the war, as the next part will show, his impact on the war becomes muddled, to say the least, after this point in OTL. He became a focal point for dissent against the Greek Government and was at least partially responsible for starting two costly civil wars against the government, while still at war with the Ottomans. Still he will be missed.
     
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  7. Aishio Dark Traveler

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    Well, I have read some times about the Greek War of Independence, but I absolutely have no idea of the effects the POD will have. Watched.
     
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  8. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Thank you.

    I don't want to give too much away, but the Greece in TTL should be relatively more stable during and after the war for independence. One of the problems they faced in OTL was a series of civil wars from 1823 to 1825, and again from 1830 to 1832 due to personal disagreements and political differences among the leaders of Revolutionary Greece and for better or worse Theodoros Kolokotronis was responsible for more than his fair share of dissension at least during the first two. While I don't expect all of their problems to disappear, of which there were a lot, I will contend that some would be delayed indefinitely while others would be diminished.

    Also I should have one more part up later today which will conclude the Battle of Dervenakia.
     
  9. Threadmarks: Part 3: The Dramali Disaster

    Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Part 3: The Dramali Disaster

    [​IMG]
    The Ambush at Dervenakia

    The death of Theodoros Kolokotronis was a tragedy for the Greek cause, as the poet Dionysios Solomos in his celebrated poem “On Theodoros Kolokotronis” likened the lamentations of the Moreots over Kolokotronis to that of the Trojans over Hector.[1] Greek writers would go on to say that had Theodoros lived, the Greeks could have liberated the whole of Greece from Messenia to Constantinople. It was a silly notion, despite his feats of heroism in battle and his enormous stature both in Greece and abroad, his ability to command men was repeatedly questioned and challenged by his rivals both within the military and the government. He had a tendency for rubbing people the wrong way, which was most likely a result of his immense and unrepentant pride. His behavior and background as a klepht also earned him the ire of the more “respectable” primates of the revolution who distrusted him as a thief and a brigand.

    Nevertheless, he had been responsible for organizing the nascent army of the Greeks, turning a disorderly bunch of klephts and farmers into something resembling a regular fighting force. He implemented a rudimentary officer corps among the Greeks with a clear hierarchy of command, with himself at the top of that hierarchy unsurprisingly. He established a system of pay for his men, based largely on the division of spoils. He had also proven himself to be a commendable military leader, having led his men successfully in battle after battle from Valtetsi to Tripolitsa providing the Greeks with a much-needed boost to their morale and legitimacy early in the rebellion. If their luck held out, the Greeks would win one last victory for their Archstrategos, even in death.

    To the East, near the small village of Dervenakia the main ambush began with more success owing to the ineptitude of Dramali Pasha. Despite passing through these very hills only days before, the Ottoman commander had failed to post sentries in the hills enabling the Greeks to seize their heights for themselves. The Greeks hiding behind rocks and trees sprang their trap upon the approaching Ottomans. Caught unaware the heavy cavalrymen of the Ottoman Army were completely exposed as the Greeks above fired shot after shot upon them. While some men attempted to fight back, most scrambled for cover, choosing to hide in the gullies and ditches running alongside the road. Others even hid beneath the bodies of their fallen comrades seeking refuge from the vicious Greek barrage of gunfire. Any measure of discipline and morale by the Turks immediately collapsed when the battle began leaving them in poor dishevelment in comparison to their adversaries on the hills above them. When the Greeks’ munitions ran dry they brandished their swords and sabers, knives and spears and threw themselves upon their beleaguered foe. Nikitas Stamatelopoulos was especially brutal in his butchery of the Ottomans. Over the course of the day he had killed so many Turks that he had broken five swords in the process, for this he earned the distinctive moniker, the Turk Eater, Tourkophagos.

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    Nikitas Stamatelopoulos at Dervenakia


    The coming of night fall on the 5th would prove to be a small respite for the ravaged Ottomans. Those that remained in the valleys of Dervenakia were subject to the worst horrors of war as horses and human corpses filled the road, left as a grisly reminder to the Turks still alive in the canyons. The cries of the dying filled the air, most of which was in Turkish, a fact which greatly demoralized the Ottoman soldiers. Their abandoned weapons and personal effects were soon looted by the opportunist Greeks and would be used against their former masters in the following days. Those that attempted to flee the confines of the ravine were themselves quickly hunted down by Greeks ensuring that few Turks escaped to fight another day. By the end of the day, the Ottomans were no closer to Corinth than they had been that morning.

    The second day in the hills would begin in much the same manner as the first, with the Ottomans still attempting to withdraw to Corinth, this time through the road to Ayios Vasileios. Their results on the 6th ended in much the same as on the 5th, the Ottomans made a series of break out attempts against the Greek lines only for the Greeks to repel them, inflicting higher and higher casualties upon their enemy. While the losses on the second day were high for the Ottomans, they were noticeably lower than those of the previous day owing to the greater caution of the Turks and the growing disorganization of the Greeks. By midday, news of Theodoros Kolokotronis' death had reached the Greeks to the East. Though most men hadn't met him personally, they had come to revere the Old Man as a hero of the Revolution, to say they lost their composure upon hearing the news of their heroes demise would be an understatement. Some men openly wept at his demise, while some men threw themselves into battle, others seemed entirely unaffected by the whole scene and continued along their way, regardless of their reactions, the Greeks ensured the Ottomans suffered for their loss.

    For Dramali Pasha though, the situation was fast becoming a disaster. Nearly a fifth of his men had been killed or wounded during the initial ambush on the first day and another 2,000 casualties had been sustained on the second. Soldiers were openly flaunting their orders as all sense of composure and order had dissipated from his army ever since the battle began. His supply situation had also finally collapsed, as the remainder of their bread supply had been depleted the day before and their water supplies were near exhaustion as the dry Greek Summer continued to mercilessly bare down on them. To the embattled Ottomans, it seemed as if every valley, every road, and every hilltop was under guard by the Greeks and his latest attempt to escape via the Eastern road to Agios Vasileios had also ended in bloody failure. Faced with the very real possibility that he could die in these hills, Dramali Pasha chose to forsake the last vestiges of his ruined honor and save himself.

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    The Ambush near Agios Vasileios

    Following another fruitless day in the hills of Argolis, Dramali Pasha made his move at dusk. Abandoning the vast majority of his men to their fates, Dramali and his personal guard made a desperate charge down the ravine towards Ayionori as dusk fell over Argolis. There they were met by the Moreot Captain Iatrakos and his men who were themselves moving up the road to confront them. Forced to fight their way through, Dramali and his cavalrymen broke through the Greek lines with surprising ease, the only casualties of note being Dramali’s saber and turban and a few cuts and lacerations by the Greeks. It would later be determined that Iatrakos and his men were advancing up the road to join in the looting of the Ottoman dead rather than to oppose the flight of the Turks.

    Dramali Pasha's Morea campaign in the Summer of 1822 was an abject disaster and his name would forever be remembered by Greek and Turk alike as a proverb against foolhardiness and hubris. While many Ottomans would eventually escape the confines of the hills as well, those that remained behind were slaughtered by the vengeful Greeks in one of the most macabre scenes in the entire war. Of the 26,000 that entered the pass two days earlier, less than 18,000 returned to Corinth, thoroughly beaten and demoralized, with many more dying of their wounds in the days ahead furthering the troubles of the Ottomans.[2] The largest army to enter Greece in over 100 years had been smashed to pieces in the span of three days.

    Next Time: Phanariot


    [1] Based on the OTL poem “On Markos Botsaris” and written by the same poet, Dionysios Solomos.

    [2] Some sources of the battle of Dervenakia list the Ottomans casualties as anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000. I tend to believe that the lower figure is more accurate for the battle itself, but that does not mean the higher figure is wrong necessarily wrong either. When Dramali’s army abandoned Corinth several months later in the Spring of 1823, barely 5,000 men remained out of the initial 26,000. The reasoning behind this huge discrepancy is that the Ottoman army had suffered immensely from an infestation of typhus over the winter which ravaged their ranks. Added to the already poor supply situation for Dramali's army, which was made marginally better at Corinth and you have a recipe for really terrible casualty rates.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
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  10. Threadmarks: Part 4: Phanariot

    Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Part 4: Phanariot

    [​IMG]
    The Ypsilanti Coat of Arms

    With the Ottomans defeated at Dervenakia, many of the Greeks turned for home with their spoils in hand. Altogether, the Greeks had captured the entirety of the Turks’ baggage train, in addition to 450 horses, over 1,300 pack animals, and nearly 700 camels. In addition, they managed to collect nearly 11,000 muskets that had been abandoned by the living or taken from the dead, several hundred swords, and numerous personal effects of the fallen. Many of these wares would litter markets across the Morea for months to come serving as a reminder of the great victory won at Dervenakia. While it was a great victory for the Greeks, a substantial portion of the Ottoman army had managed to escape due to the negligence of Iatrakos and his men. Had they held their ground as instructed, instead of abandoning their posts to join in the spoils, Dramali’s army would have been destroyed there and then.

    Panos Kolokotronis and his cousin Niketas Stamatelopoulos held Dramali Pasha directly responsible for the death of Theodoros and sought the Turk’s head as recompense. Upon discovering that Iatrakos’ greed had enabled Dramali Pasha to escape, Panos brutally attacked the man, bludgeoning him within an inch of his life. The younger Kolokotroneoi would have killed the man were it not for the intervention of the Phanariot Demetrios Ypsilantis who moved to stop the altercation. Denied even the slightest satisfaction, Panos in a fit of frustration quit the Greek army altogether. Opting to fulfill his vendetta against his father’s enemy, the Kolokotronis boy and his cousin the Tourkophagos departed from the Greek camp with their followers to hunt their quarry.[1]

    With many of the Moreot captains gone, or dead, leadership of the greatly reduced “Greek Army” fell to an unlikely candidate, the Phanariot Prince Demetrios Ypsilantis. Demetrios at first glance was a poor replacement for the Old Man of the Morea. As a physical specimen, he was extremely lacking. Compared to the giant stature and strong physique of the Theodoros, Demetrios was a short and frail man who suffered from a poor constitution for much of his life. He was also a man who suffered from a speech impediment, which caused him to stutter on occasion, a problem made worse by his relatively meek personality. For all intents and purposes, he was a mouse filling the role of a lion.

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    Prince Demetrios Ypsilantis of Moldavia,
    First President of the National Senate and Second Archstrategos of the Hellenic Army

    Like his older brother Alexander Ypsilantis, Demetrios was a Phanariot Prince of the Danubian Principalities, as the son and grandson of the Ottoman appointed Hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia. The outbreak of war between the Russian and Ottoman Empires in 1806 and the execution of their Grandfather on charges of conspiracy forced his family to flee to Russia where they would remain until the months leading up to the war for independence.[2] Like his brother, he joined the Russian military but due to his young age and poor health he only progressed to the rank of captain in the Russian General Staff before the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Like, his brother he joined the Filiki Eteria but he did not hold a high position within the group unlike Alexander who had been unanimously selected as the group’s leader.

    His martial ability was also incredibly sparse prior to the war, serving primarily as a staff officer, although he served with distinction during the latter stages of the War of the Sixth Coalition. His experience in Greece thus far was something entirely different. Ypsilantis had boldly joined in the defense of Argos even after the government and army had abandoned it and his actions at Dervenakia were also commendable following the death of Theodoros. He had also been responsible for achieving the surrender of the impregnable Monemvasia in the opening weeks of the war and for liberating Corinth later in December of 1821. Most importantly, he came to the Morea bearing correspondence with Tsar Alexander and a vast sum of 250,000 Piastres which he used to raise and supply several companies of soldiers.[3]

    Despite his diffident persona, Demetrios had attracted quite the following among the foreigners and diaspora Greeks as a noble and trust worthy fellow. His dedication to the cause was never in doubt and while he was constantly overshadowed by his brother and by Theodoros Kolokotronis, their misfortune had allowed him to step into their places. Many of the Kolokotroneoi loyalists had followed Panos to Corinth where they would beat their heads against the stout walls of Akrocorinthos for months on end. Those that had remained behind were generally predisposed to Ypsilantis or at the very least indifferent to his prominence. While some petitioned their captains to seek command, none matched the experience and respectability of the Phanariot. Still, many of the Moreots distrusted him as an outsider and a Primate, but eventually conceded when Iatrakos endorsed Ypsilantis as recompense for intervening on his behalf with Panos earlier.[4]

    [​IMG]
    Akrocorinthos, Ancient Acropolis of Corinth and base of operations for Dramali’s army

    With that matter resolved, for now, Ypsilantis turned his attention back towards the war. With only 1,400 men at his command, his options were limited. Dramali Pasha, while defeated, still posed a substantial threat, however, early reports indicated that he had locked himself and his force behind the walls of Akrocorinthos. His army was severely hobbled by large numbers of casualties, over 6,000 dead, roughly 2,000 missing, and thousands more were wounded. Those that were physically unharmed would prove to be paralyzed by fear of the Moreot devils and bluntly refused to venture forth beyond their walls.

    While Dramali would not attack the Greeks, Ypsilantis could not challenge the Turks. Based on sheer numbers alone, the Greeks simply could not force the walls of the acropolis. Fighting a larger enemy in a strong defensive position, even a thoroughly demoralized and injury riddled one, would not be possible for Ypsilantis’ small band. One factor that advantaged the Greeks immensely was the continued plight of the Ottoman supply lines. Even at Corinth, Dramali’s army could only be resupplied by sea, but these shipping lanes would prove to be extremely vulnerable to Greek piracy. Determining that the best option regarding the Ottoman army at Corinth was to wait them out, Ypsilantis turned his gaze southward.

    Another more viable target for his limited resources was the important port city of Nafplion, to the south of Argos. Nafplion possessed arguably one of the best ports in the entire Morea, and the city itself was among the largest in the region. The city and its hinterland had been liberated by the local Greeks in April 1821, but the harbor and the two castles overlooking the city, Akronafplion and Palamidi, remained in Ottoman hands. Both castles had been under siege intermittently since the opening days of the war, but their location along the coast made progress difficult to come by for the Greeks. The Ottoman navy, for all its faults was still capable of resupplying the various fortifications along the Morean littoral which frustrated the Greeks efforts to take the fortifications.

    This was eventually resolved in late June 1822 when the Castle Bourzi in Nafplion’s harbor was seized by the Greeks in a daring raid. With the harbor secured, the Ottoman garrisons were effectively cut off from the outside world and with no other options they opened negotiations with the Greeks regarding terms of surrender. Were it not for the sudden arrival of Dramali Pasha in late July, both castles would have likely capitulated. Recognizing their exhaustion, Dramali dispatched reinforcements and a hundred wagons carrying supplies to the tired men trapped at Akronafplion and Palamidi. With Dramali’s defeat at Dervenakia, however, the Ottomans in Nafplion were isolated once more leaving them as an alluring target. His decision made, Demetrios Ypsilantis and his men turned for Nafplion.

    Next Time: The Crags of Palamidi


    [1] Panos Kolokotronis was an interesting individual. He had most of the characteristics of his father, he was tall, strong, and handsome, yet he lacked a lot of the restraint and politicking of Theodoros. He was extremely loyal to his father to the point that he physically attacked Theodoros' political opponents in the government and led men against them during the civil war before he was killed himself in 1825. At least to me, it would perfectly in keeping with what I know of his character for Panos to attack Iatrakos for his actions at Dervenakia and then storm off after the man he deemed responsible for his father's death.

    [2] I won’t go into too much detail here, but Alexander Ypsilantis, grandfather to Demetrios and Alexander, was the Hospodar of Wallachia from 1774 to 1782 and again from 1788 to 1790 at which point he was captured by the Austrians during the 1788-1791 Austro-Turkish War. Upon his release in 1805 he was executed by the Sultan for conspiracy against the Porte. Alexander’s son Constantine Ypsilantis, who was himself Hospodar of Moldavia, fled to Russia with his family but then returned to the Danubian Principalities at the head of a Russian Army with the intent of liberating Greece, however, he quickly fell ill and the Treaty of Tilsit ended any hopes for this.

    [3] Alexander Ypsilantis essentially designated his brother Demetrios as his representative in the Morea, while he was still in the Danubian Principalities. The letters that Demetrios carried from his brother are at best vague promises of support from Russia and at worst total fabrications. Evidence suggests that they were fake, the money he brought with him was real though.:)

    [4] I couldn't find much information on Iatrakos, expect for that fact that he was a Moreot Captain who worked closely with Theodoros Kolokotronis during the first year of the war. He seems to have fallen out of favor with the Kolokotroneoi after his mishap at Dervenakia in OTL and later sided with the Government faction during the two rounds of Civil Wars in 1823 and 1824/1825. As a result, I see no reason why he wouldn’t have sided with Ypsilantis after his altercation with Panos in TTL.
     
  11. King of the Uzbeks Charles Curtis is my Baby Daddy

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    Not-Tashkent (sadly)
    I'm really liking this.
     
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  12. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Cavalier Country
    Thank you, I'm glad you like it!
     
  13. Unknown Member

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    Jan 31, 2004
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    Corpus Christi, TX
    I'm liking this, too; hope Greece avoids some of the instability it had historically...
     
  14. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, that is certainly the intent.
     
  15. Threadmarks: Part 5: The Crags of Palamidi

    Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

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    Part 5: The Crags of Palamidi

    [​IMG]
    Palamidi Castle, Nafplion Greece

    Passing through Argos, Demetrios Ypsilantis found the streets brimming with commotion as the local people had returned following Dramali Pasha’s defeat only a day earlier. Moving to occupy the fortress Larissa, he discovered that it had been similarly abandoned by the Ottomans after being thoroughly ransacked of its treasures and supplies. While it had only been a week since he was last within the walls of Larissa, the once mighty fortress had been reduced to an empty shell of itself, stripped of its imposing guns, its impressive banners, and much of Demetrios’ fine cutlery. With no enemy to oppose him, Ypsilantis and his men pressed onwards to Nafplion, where he would bring about a conclusion to the stalled sieges of Palamidi and Akronafplion.

    Even after Dramali Pasha’s defeat at Dervenakia, the castles of Palamidi and Akronafplion had continued to hold out against the Greeks. Situated atop the main hill overlooking Nafplion, Palamidi was a massive castle built during the old days of the Venetian Kingdom of the Morea. Its eight mighty bastions provided an excellent vantage point over the harbor and valley below and it housed many hundreds if not thousands of Ottoman soldiers within its thick walls. Its companion, Akronafplion, was once the ancient acropolis of Nafplion before being converted into a castle by the Venetians during their long occupation of the city. Though smaller in comparison and lower in inclination than Palamidi, Akronafplion still posed a difficult challenge for the local Moreots who had gathered outside its walls.

    The Greeks had long since abandoned the siege tactics of Western European armies choosing instead to starve their adversaries into submission rather than force the walls or open a breach. While it was a long and tiresome process, it was less expensive in terms of lives wasted on assaults on the walls, or in terms of munitions, whose supply was of constant concern to the Greeks. Still, the sieges of Palamidi and Akronafplion proved to be an especially long and arduous endeavor for the Greeks. Theodoros Kolokotronis had been tasked with leading the siege effort following his victory at Tripolitsa the previous September, but was he later forced to abandon his progress when Dramali Pasha arrived in the area in July. Despite dealing with his own supply shortage, Dramali Pasha dispatched several wagons and riders to reinforce the wavering Ottomans in Nafplion. Dramali also took possession of the Greek hostages within the castles as insurance against their adversaries.

    The defeat of Dramali Pasha at Dervenakia, however, enabled the siege to resume in mid-August this time with Demetrios Ypsilantis in command. The defeat at Dervenakia was compounded further when the Ottoman fleet under Kara Mehmet Pasha failed to break the Greek naval blockade of Nafplion’s harbor. The defeat in part lies with Mehmet Pasha, who was an artillery officer by trade and had only recently been appointed Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Navy.[1] Despite boasting a total strength of 94 vessels, many of Mehmet’s ships were large warships ill-suited for the narrow straits of the Argolic Gulf, a caveat the Greeks exploited to the fullest.

    Hoping to repeat the victory of the Greeks over the Persians at Salamis, the Arvanite Admiral, Andreas Vokos Miaoulis of Hydra led a fleet of 68 Greek fireships and fighting ships into the tight confines of the Argolic Gulf. Dividing his force into three parts, Miaoulis led 24 ships into the Harbor of Nafplion where he awaited the enemy fleet. Another 24 ships would lie in wait off the coast of Kranidi ready to entrap the eager Ottomans as they entered the Gulf. The remaining ships of Miaoulis’ fleet were sent to patrol the waters near Spetses in the event the Turks attempted to land there instead. Unfortunately for Miaoulis, the weather and their adversary would disappoint the Greeks.

    When Mehmet Pasha first arrived on the 8th of September, the calm winds in the Gulf, prevented the Greeks from drawing the Ottomans further into the Gulf. Over the ensuing 6 hours, Miaoulis fought a slow withdrawal back through the channel. Rather than push their advantage, Mehmet Pasha opted to withdrew as well ending the battle. Two days later a similar skirmish occurred between the two fleets meeting a similar end with the Ottomans failing to break through the Greek lines, and the Greeks failing to trap the Ottoman ships in the strait. Finally, after a week of inconclusive action on both sides, Mehmet Pasha made one last attempt to break through the blockade. This time Miaoulis found some success when one of his fireships caught ahold of an Ottoman Brig, promptly setting it aflame.

    [​IMG]
    The Greek Fleet at Hydra

    Terror immediately spread throughout the Ottoman fleet as one of their own ships was reduced to cinder and ash in mere moments. Turning to flee once more, Miaoulis managed to strike one more blow against Mehmet Pasha sinking an Ottoman Corvette and causing significant damage to four more. Rather than risk the dangers of the Argolic once more, Kara Mehmet Pasha turned his ships for safer waters leaving the men trapped at Nafplion to their fates. With their supplies running out and their latest hope of relief sent running, the Ottomans within Palamidi and Akronafplion attempted one last desperate measure to holdout.

    Several bands of men were expelled from the castles officially to secure additional resources with which to feed the many starving Ottoman soldiers and civilians within the castle’s walls. In truth, this gambit was little more than a blatant attempt to throw out the undesirables from behind their walls. Many women and children, sick and elderly were cast out from the castles that had once been their refuge. Whether they succeeded in finding food or died at the hands of the Moreots was of little concern to those that remained behind. With nowhere else to go, the exiles surrendered en masse to the Greeks choosing dishonor over starvation. Despite the blood lust of some Moreots wanting to slaughter the lot and loot their remains, Ypsilantis, true to his nature, guaranteed their safety to the best of his ability.

    Whether the Phanariot’s mercy was an act of kindness or a cunning act of deceit meant to gain the trust of the Ottomans, the ploy worked. Finding Demetrios Ypsilantis to be a respectable and honorable man, more so than the klephts and brigands in the Greek ranks, the commander of the Palamidi garrison opened negotiations. After several days of quiet deliberation, the Ottomans accepted terms of surrender for Palamidi on the 10th of December once Ypsilantis swore an oath upon the Holy Bible guaranteeing their safety for all to see.

    Per the terms of surrender, the Ottoman garrison was allowed safe passage to Asia Minor aboard foreign ships at Greek expense. Any Turkish, Albanian, or Muslim Greek civilians within Nafplion or any of the fortresses were welcome to join them, nearly all of whom accepted. They were permitted to keep their personal affects and whatever private property they could carry with them. The garrison was to keep their weapons and the officers were permitted their side arms, but the mounted guns were to remain in place and the munitions were strictly prohibited. Lastly, any items left behind by the civilians or soldiers, would not be subject to compensation by the Greek government. The terms were guaranteed in part by the British Captain Gawen William Hamilton of the Royal Navy, who personally escorted several hundred Turkish soldiers from Palamidi to his ship the Cambrian before making the crossing to Asia Minor.[2] The commander of the Akronafplion garrison would upon a similar deal with Ypsilantis in the following days, accepting terms of surrender on the 12th of December, coincidently the feast of St. Andreas, patron Saint of the Morea. With the surrender of Palamidi and Akronafplion the hostilities in the Morea concluded for the year, but across the Gulf of Corinth in Southern Rumelia the fighting was only getting started.

    [​IMG]
    Captain Gawen William Hamilton of the HMS Cambrian

    Next Time: Missolonghi


    [1] The Kapudan Pasha, or Captain of the Seas, was the commander of the Ottoman Navy. The fact that Kara Mehmet Pasha, the former Master General of Artillery, was made into the commander of the Ottoman Navy without any prior naval experience speaks volumes as to the state of the Ottoman Bureaucracy and Military at this point in time. I will elaborate more on this in Part 7.

    [2] As the POD was only a few months prior to the surrender of Palamidi I would tend to believe that Captain Hamilton and his ship would still be present at Nafplion around this time to ensure the safe passage of the Turkish prisoners to Anatolia. He had been in the area since October of 1821, escorting merchant ships through the war-torn Aegean so it would seem reasonable to me that he would be here in TTL as well. While he was an avid supporter of the Greeks, he remained impartial in the conflict earning the respect of both the Greeks and the Ottomans.
     
  16. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Cavalier Country
    Just as a note, I will probably be going down to one update a day from here on out. While I do have a stockpile of updates, I'm actually most of the way through the Greek War of Independence, they are not infinite and many still need to be finished.

    Also for those wondering, I am using a bit of a butterfly net currently in this timeline just to help me with the general plotting of events. Most of what I have written thus far is very similar to OTL aside from a few numbers, dates, and change in actors, but very soon the butterflies will start becoming more tangible, especially when a certain British Baron arrives on the scene.

    And please leave any comments or critiques you might have, especially if you think there anything I can improve on or change to make this more enjoyable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
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  17. DanMcCollum P-WI

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
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    This is really interesting - and about a topic I don't know a lot about. Keep it up!!
     
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  18. algaz Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    You've obviously put a lot of work in this. The attention to detail is great and I hope you keep it up.
     
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  19. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Thank you, I will admit at first I didn't know much about it beyond the battle of Navarino. Once I started researching it though, I discovered a lot of fascinating people and events on both sides that were responsible for the way the war was conducted.

    Thank you, I certainly will.
     
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  20. Alienspacebats Dēmokratía is people's will

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Location:
    FL
    It will be interesting to see if greece to remain to be a democracy due the pressure of the reactionary holy Alliance...

    And if so I wonder if it will take Switzerland approach to democracy due is the closest we thing we have Athenian democracy
     
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