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
I'm still in the midst of figuring out the latter stages of the war for independence, but I do have a general idea of how Greece will look after the war. Without giving away too many spoilers I will say that Greece will be avoiding the Absolutist debacle of OTL.

I'm not really familiar with Switzerland's democratic intricacies but I'm certainly open to suggestions and ideas on the subject.
Chapter 6: Missolonghi
Chapter 6: Missolonghi


The Lagoon of Missolonghi

Across the Gulf of Corinth, in Southern Rumelia lay the strategically important city of Missolonghi. Missolonghi, a bustling center of commerce and trade under the Ottoman Empire would become a bastion of liberty and plucky defiance in Greece for its instrumental role in the war for independence. The importance of the city lay in its setting. To the East were the narrows of the Gulf of Corinth and their twin castles, the Roumeli and the Morea. Further east was the port town of Nafpaktos, from which the Ottoman ferries to the Morea operated. To the West was the Adriatic Sea and the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth providing Missolonghi with a perfect haven for Greek pirates and raiders to attack Ottoman ships of which there were many.

Ships operating from Missolonghi could target Ottoman ships with ease, frustrating the Turkish supply lines to Patras, the Twin Castles, Nafpaktos, and Corinth. Most importantly, however, the city was positioned upon the main road between Arta and Nafpaktos. By holding Missolonghi, the Greeks could obstruct the movement of Ottoman soldiers into the Morea by means of the Western route. With Missolonghi under their control, the Greeks could force the Turks to travel along the Eastern road, across the Isthmus of Corinth, enabling the Greeks to dedicate their efforts there instead.

There was only one problem with that strategy, the Greeks weren’t prepared to face a determined attack by the Ottomans on Missolonghi in the Fall of 1822. Over the Summer, most of the forces assembled in Missolonghi were sent north on a failed expedition to Arta and the Souli Valley to aid their allies the Souliotes who were themselves under attack by the Albanian Commander Omer Vrioni and his host. In the small village of Peta, nearly a third of the 2000 Greeks and their Souliot and Philhellenes allies lay dead at the hands of Vrioni. Those that survived were thoroughly demoralized and either quit the cause entirely or succumbed to their wounds in the days that followed. So, it was that when Omer Vrioni arrived outside the disheveled dirt walls of Missolonghi on the 25th of October, barely 500 Greeks and a smattering of their allies remained to oppose him.


Omer Vrioni, Commander of the Ottoman Army in Western Greece

Vrioni, either in an act of intimidation or in a surprising act of compassion refrained from attacking the city immediately. Instead, he chose to offer terms of surrender to Greeks. Why Vrioni opened dialogue with the Greeks is unknown especially for a man renowned for his Greek Hunts and frequent use of treachery to achieve victory.[1] Had he opted to attack the city when he first arrived, he could have taken it in a matter of minutes. Instead to the ire of his lieutenants, he remained in negotiations with the defenders for nearly two long weeks.

The Greeks for their part feigned incompetence owing to the desertion of their commander, the Phanariot Alexandros Mavrokordatos, and the illness of his deputy, the Württembergian Karl von Norman-Ehrenels. While Normann was very much on his deathbed, Mavrokordatos had not in fact deserted, but rather he was across the water in the Morea gathering reinforcements. Before leaving he had left orders for his men to hold out as long as they were able, a strategy that was aided immensely by Vrioni’s surprising use of diplomacy.[2]

So, it was that Mavrokordatos returned to Missolonghi on the 8th of November with some 1,500 men to reinforce the city. Vrioni finally recognizing the Greek stalling tactics for what they were instantly cut off negotiations and made an immediate assault against the earthen ramparts of the city. By now, however, the winter rains had made the narrow land bridge, connecting Missolonghi to the mainland into a muddy mess. The Greeks had also, under the cover of night, dug a ditch before their walls to further hinder the approaching Ottomans. So, it was that Vrioni’s men found themselves knee deep in mud and at the mercy of Greek gunners atop the decrepit city walls.

The assault for all intents and purposes, was a massacre. Due to the situation of the city, the Ottoman Infantry could only approach Missolonghi from the North. To the west was the Missolonghi lagoon which at a depth of only 3 feet, was too shallow for most Ottoman warships to enter, but it was also too deep for men to walk through. The Greeks, however, could pass over the water using their small fishing boats, rafts, and punts. The various islands that dotted the lagoon were only reachable via these shallow crafts or by the hidden routes that only the locals knew of, a secret they used to great effect. Finally, to the East of Missolonghi was what appeared to be a large open plain, but in truth it was nothing more than a mosquito infested swamp, a muddy bog ill-suited for military activity of any kind.


Mavrokordatos Leading the Defense of Missolonghi

Over the next month, the Ottomans made little progress towards victory as more men and munitions made their way into both camps in preparation for the inevitable second clash. The Ottoman attempts to construct mounds for their artillery ended in disaster as mudslides ruined three of their cannons and killed nearly two dozen men. Malaria also began to infect Vrioni’s camp making the already hellish situation worse for the Ottoman soldiers who began suffering from the disease within days. With the situation gradually deteriorating, Vrioni and his lieutenants had decided upon a cunning strategy with which to defeat the Greeks. They would attack on the night of Christmas Eve.

While the Greeks celebrated their holiday with revelry and drinking, the Ottomans and Albanians make their attack. Under the cover of night, they would storm the walls of Missolonghi and seize the city from their unsuspecting foe. Vrioni’s plans were undone, however, by treachery within their own ranks. On the night of the 23rd, the day before the planned assault, Omer Vrioni’s very own secretary, a Greek page from the North, fled the Ottoman camp to Missolonghi, bringing with him news of the coming sneak attack. When the Ottomans made their attack, instead of finding their enemy drinking and feasting, they found the Greeks ready and waiting for them.

In a surprising act of discipline and restraint, the men within Missolonghi held their fire until their adversary was in range of their fire and once they were they unleashed a withering volley upon the unsuspecting Turks and Albanians. Out of the 6,000 men sent against the ramparts of Missolonghi; not a single man reached the top of the walls. Most ran at the first sign of resistance, while those that pressed on were shot and killed where they were. Only a single company of Albanian mercenaries from Berat reached the ditch before the wall and for their valor they were cut down to a man. Once more, the Ottomans were repelled with terrible results.

With the weather continuing to worsen and the Ottomans no closer to taking the city than they were two months ago, Omer Vrioni lifted the siege of Missolonghi on the 31st of December. While several bands of klephts and Souliotes would chase the fleeing Ottomans into the hills, the battle for Missolonghi was effectively over by the beginning of the new year. For Alexandros Mavrokordatos, his efforts in relieving Missolonghi had done wonders for his flagging support in the Government after his failure at Peta earlier that year. Sadly, for the Greeks they were forced to bury the Württembergian Karl von Normann-Ehrenels who finally succumbed to his wounds while leading the defense of the city in Mavrokordatos’ stead. While his time in Greece was short lived Normann’s efforts to aid the Greeks were monumental and would help pave the way to their victories in the coming year.

Next Time: Men of War

[1] As the name implies, Greek Hunts were just that, hunts of Greek peasants and prisoners by bored Ottoman soldiers. While this activity was not a new develop in this war, both sides were responsible for terrible acts of violence against the other’s civilians and soldiers, Vrioni used these hunt with alarming frequency. During the 1821 campaign alone, he effectively depopulated the countryside of Phocis and Boeotia of its Greek farmers who either fled to the protection of the hills and cities or they were caught and killed.

[2] Karl von Normann-Ehrenels was a Württembergian General from the Napoleonic wars who came to Greece in the Spring of 1822 as a volunteer. Unfortunately, he was mortally wounded at the battle of Peta in mid-July and would later die of his wounds at Missolonghi. His experience as a soldier and leader was very valuable to the Greeks and his survival would have certainly helped them. Unfortunately, with the POD taking place after the Battle of Peta, I couldn't find a compelling reason for saving him.
Last edited:
Chapter 7: Men of War
Chapter 7: Men of War


Destruction of the Nasuh, Flagship of Kara Ali

Following the disastrous Dramali Campaign and the meandering mess that was Vrioni’s siege of Missolonghi the Ottomans withdrew to their winter quarters in Epirus and Thessaly. Outside of the routine supply ship circumventing the Morea and the random border skirmish, the coming thaw of Spring in 1823 saw little movement on the part of the Porte. This inaction was a result of a plethora of issues plaguing the Ottoman military at the time, the most prominent being the dearth of available commanders for Sultan Mehmed to choose from. In the past six months alone, the Ottomans had lost three of their top commanders and a plethora of junior officers both on land and at sea, with the most serious loss being that of the Kapudan Pasha.

The Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Navy, Kara Ali, had been directed by his Sultan to lead a punitive expedition against the Greek island of Chios. The inhabitants of the island had been accused of harboring dissidents and supplying the rebels on the mainland and for this they would be dealt with harshly. In truth though, the Chians had been an unwilling partner of the rebellion despite the prodding and plotting of their Samos countrymen who attacked Ottoman ships from the neutral harbors of Chios. This difference mattered little to the Turkish soldiers who gathered across the straits in Cesme waiting to attack. Chios as an important center of trade in the Aegean had become one of the richest possessions of the Ottoman Empire. It was said that at its height in the 18th Century, that even the poorest Chian lived a life of luxury. As such it proved to be an enticing target for many men seeking the spoils of war. Unable to prevent their crossing when Kara Ali’s fleet arrived, the Samiots fled leaving Chios to its fate.

Initially, the Ottomans treated the fearful Chians fairly, only punishing those that actively stood against them. However, this quickly changed in the coming days. Soon the Chians were being massacred in the streets and in the hills, even those who had sought the protection of the church were slaughtered. Over the next several weeks, the Ottomans subjected the Chians to every brutality known to man and when they were through, the once prosperous island of Chios, home to over 120,000 people, had been decimated. Over 90,000 Greeks lay dead, and the remainder were enslaved or forced into exile.


The Massacre at Chios

The brutality of the Chian Massacre was in large part due to the death of Kara Ali at the hands of the Greeks. While docked off the coast of Chios on the 7th of June 1822, a fleet of Greek fire ships descended upon the Ottoman armada in the dead of night with the Greek commander, Constantine Kanaris of Psara, singling out the Kapudan Pasha’s ship for destruction. The nimbler Greek vessels managed to tie themselves alongside the Kapudan’s flagship before setting it ablaze. In the mayhem that followed, Kara Ali was killed while attempting to escape when a piece of burning rigging fell atop him. His men in their anger took their revenge against the people of Chios who were made scapegoats for the death of their leader, while Kanaris and his men escaped back to the safety of Free Greece.

The loss of the Kapudan Pasha was soon followed by the Sultan’s own Serasker, Khursid Pasha. Khursid’s rapid rise to power in the Empire had earned him many allies but also many enemies, enemies which now made their move following the failures of the 1822 campaigns. Turning the Sultan’s ear against him, these vipers indicted Khursid with allegations of corruption and the theft of Ali Pasha of Ioannina’s treasure, treasure which rightfully belonged to the Sultan.[1] Despite pleas of his innocence, Mahmud was convinced by Khursid’s foes and ordered his arrest. For Khursid Pasha, this would mean his likely death, either at the Sultan’s command or those of his many rival’s. Choosing suicide over dishonor, the Serasker took his own life by ingesting poison rather than face the ire of the Sultan or the blade of an assassin.

Dramali Pasha would himself meet with an unfortunate end as well, joining his hated superior in the afterlife.[2] Following his craven flight from Dervenakia, Dramali Pasha reentered Corinth a broken man. His pride in tatters, his reputation in tatters, and his army in tatters; his health soon began to fail him too. When a strain of typhus broke out within his camp, Dramali Pasha who was already in failing health succumbed to the disease in the waning days of December 1822.

While Sultan Mehmed would eventually replace all three men, the loss in experience was still a bitter blow to the Ottoman war effort. Kara Ali, Khursid Pasha, and Dramali Pasha represented three of the most senior military men in the Ottoman Empire with over 60 years of combined military and administrative experience between them. The loss was felt most prominently in the Ottoman Navy, which was already dangerously lacking in skilled sailors following the defection of the Greek sailors and junior officers at the beginning of the war.[3] Kara Ali’s successor as Kapudan Pasha, Kara Mehmet, had proven to be an incompetent naval commander losing first at Nafplion and again at Tenedos in late November before he was ultimately relieved of his post.

On land, the loss of Dramali and Khursid, while certainly painful, was more easily surmounted than the loss of Kara Ali. The real concern on land was in terms of manpower available. In terms of sheer size, the armies of the Porte could easily surpass the paltry sum of men opposing them, provided they could bring their full might to bare. Unfortunately for Sultan Mahmud II, other theaters took priority over the war in Greece, preventing the deployment of his entire army to the region.

To the East, Persia invaded Eastern Anatolia in retaliation for Ottoman sponsored raids by the Azeris. The war, while limited in scope and scale, occupied the attention of the vast Asian armies drawing them south and east. To the North was the Russian Empire, whose constant threats of intervention and ill will towards the Porte drew additional men to the border. Despite the Porte’s recent attempts to placate the Russian Bear, they remained angered by the execution of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the occupation of the Danubian Principalities. Finally, across the Balkans, men were needed to quell the rebellions of the Serbs and Danubians. While defeated, the Serbs and Danubians still proved to be a rebellious bunch, requiring constant oversight to prevent another insurrection.


The Persian Army invades Anatolia

While only a small fraction of the Ottoman Army was available to reconquer Greece, this fraction was still many times larger than the number assembled by the Greeks.[4] These armies were augmented further by large numbers of Albanian mercenaries, who despite their high prices, proved to be adequate fighters. However, the Ottoman armies of Sultan Mahmud II were not the armies of Sultan Mehmet II. While they possessed quantity, they lacked in quality. Over the years, the discipline of the Ottoman army had been allowed to deteriorate over time. Units would often attack irregularly and without precision. Officers frequently ignored their commander’s orders owing to competition and rivalries. The morale of the Ottoman Army had also plummeted over the past century as decades of corruption and defeat on the field of battle gradually took their toll. Their weaponry, while leaps and bounds above that of the Greeks, was still largely outdated in comparison to most Western European militaries. Nowhere was this decay of military tradition more evident than in the Janissary Corps.

Once the pride of the Ottoman Army, by the beginning of the 19th Century the Janissaries were the epitome of everything wrong with it. Bloated by corruption and malpractice, they had devolved from a disciplined fighting force renowned for its prowess to a pathetic batch of rabble rousers and malcontents renowned for killing their leaders. They were self-indulgent, vain, lazy, and even craven to an extent. When previous sultans attempted to rectify the growing decadence of the Janissaries, they were swiftly removed from power by their so-called servants, usually meeting an unfortunate end with a blade in the back or a bowstring around the neck. With the offending Sultan removed from power, the Janissaries would install a more compliant Sultan to the throne before returning to their decadent ways.

Mahmud II had himself come to power through the machinations of the Janissaries when they killed his cousin Selim III and removed his Mustafa IV from the throne. By the start of the Greek rebellion, the Janissaries openly refused to even muster for the war, choosing to remain in their lavish barracks in Constantinople rather than fight in an arduous war.[5] As such, Mahmud had come to despise them for their interference into his affairs and their constant resistance to reform, reform which he believed was becoming increasingly necessary for the Empire.


Ottoman Janissaries

The Greeks on the other hand possessed many of the same problems as the Ottomans. Their leaders suffered from the same rivals and bickering that plagued the Turks. Their manpower was constantly an issue as the vast majority of their fighters were irregulars that disappeared following a battle. Most bands acted autonomously in complete disregard of orders from on high. Weaponry also proved to be a thorny issue as many Greeks carried antiquated muskets, and rifles were a rarity in Greece. It was more likely for a Moreot to enter battle carrying a sword than a gun in the first year of the war and it had improved only marginally over the second. Cavalry and artillery units were non-existent outside of a few rare cases What they lacked in numbers and equipment, though they made up for in morale and fighting prowess.

Most Greeks though were proficient in the art of war, with many having served overseas in the Napoleonic wars for various states. Theodoros Kolokotronis had served in the British Army as a Major in the Greek Light Infantry Regiment, formed in the Ionian Islands. Demetrios Ypsilantis had served in the Russian army, albeit as a general staff officer, and various other exiles and diaspora Greeks had fought across Europe as soldiers or sailors on both sides of the war. Those that remained in Greece before the war generally made their way as klephts or armatolis, brigands and bodyguards. The Greeks were also extremely proficient in sailing and naval warfare thanks in large part to the islanders and their vast merchant fleets. While their small merchantmen paled in comparison to the mighty Ships of the Line of the Ottoman Fleet, their captains could deftly maneuver their nimbler vessels through the narrow seas and straits of the Aegean where their Ottoman counterparts could not follow. By far though, the biggest advantage the Greeks held over their Ottoman adversaries was foreign support.


A Greek Klepht

Over the first year of the war alone, nearly 500 foreign volunteers arrived in Greece to aid the rebels in their quest for independence. They came from Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Hungary, Poland, and even the Americas. These volunteers or Philhellenes were from all walks of life but many were veterans of the Napoleonic wars with years of experience fighting in the modern art of war. They came to Greece to fight, to lead, and to inspire, and while their efforts to instill their tactics and strategy into the Greeks were largely unsuccessful early on, their own martial prowess greatly surpassed both Greek and Ottoman alike. Unfortunately, the Massacre at Peta would do much to dampen the spirits of Philhellenes across the world. What had once been a flood of foreign support gradually dried up over the following months. While foreigners would continue to enlist in Greek units and donate supplies, money, and weapons, they would not reach the same level as before Peta.

Fortunately for the Greeks the Ottomans were themselves going through a period of reorganization over the Winter and Spring of 1823. With one army decimated, and another of questionable capability, Sultan Mahmud II was forced to call upon the services of his most fearsome, and rebellious, vassal, Muhammed Ali Pasha, Khedive of Egypt. While negotiations over his support would last well into the year, by Summer, the Ottomans were once again ready to strike against the traitorous Greeks. It is fortunate then that the Greeks during this brief respite had done some reforms of their own both militarily and politically, for soon their efforts would be put to the test once more.


The List of Philhellenes who volunteered in the War of Independence,

Located at the National Museum of History in Athens.

Next Time: The Assembly of Nafplion

[1] Khursid Pasha had been responsible for defeating Ali Pasha of Ioannina in 1821 and seized his vast treasure for the Sultan. The amount he gave was a sum of 40,000,000 Piastres, but Mahmud’s ministers reported Ali Pasha’s wealth at 500,000,000 Piastres, a sum worth roughly 25,000,000 Pounds Sterling at the time or nearly 2 billion Pounds in today's money. These charges of corruption combined with the failure of his subordinates ruined Khursid’s reputation allowing his opponents to pounce.

[2] Allegedly, Dramali Pasha, being a distant relative of Sultan Mehmed, considered himself superior to Khursid Pasha and had every intent on surpassing him. This in part explains his hubris and overconfidence during his Morea Campaign in 1822 which was his attempt at stealing all the glory for himself.

[3] Prior to the war, the Ottoman navy was almost entirely manned by Greek sailors, with Turkish officers in command of the ships themselves. When the war began these sailors defected to the Greek side, effectively leaving the Ottomans without any real experienced crews to operate their ships. This enabled the Greeks to gain control of the Aegean Sea for the first few years of the war in OTL while the Ottomans refilled their ranks.

[4] The numbers for the total strength of the Greeks is hard to come by as I don’t have any confirmed figures. During the later stages of the war in OTL, the Greek Government attempted to instate conscription across Greece and the sum of men they came to was around 30,000 over three years. This never actually came to fruition so its not extremely reliable, still it is a starting point.

[5] Though not confirmed, it is believed that the Janissaries set fire to the arsenal at Tophana on the Asian side of the Bosporus strait in Constantinople. The entire stockpile of ammunition, cannons, and guns were destroyed along with 50 mosques and thousands of houses. The event was officially blamed on the Greeks but likely the Janissaries were probably responsible for the fire.
Last edited:
Apologies for the super long update, I got a little carried away.:oops: The next part will probably be a little on the long side as well but it will be going over a very important event in the war with some important changes from OTL, so I hope you can bear with me on it.
This is getting really interesting. A Greece that attained her liberty largely on her own efforts would have interesting effects on the region.
This is getting really interesting. A Greece that attained her liberty largely on her own efforts would have interesting effects on the region.
Thank you. At some point the Great Powers will intervene in the war regardless of what is happening in order to secure their interests in the region, but that doesn't mean that the war they are intervening in here will be anything like the one in OTL.

That being said, I would argue that the Greeks were a lot closer to gaining their independence on their own than we think. Muhammad Ali of Egypt was at the very least, seriously considering offers to abandon the Ottoman war effort for neutrality as late as the Summer of 1827 and in a best case scenario he could possibly have turned against the Ottomans if they proved themselves to be too inept, something he did in 1831 although for different reasons. Even if he stayed loyal to the Sultan, the Greeks could have destroyed the Egyptian Ottoman Fleet at harbor in Alexandria in July 1827 before the battle of Navarino, preempting the Great Powers involvement entirely. Cochrane and the Greeks nearly did so in OTL, were it not for bad winds in the harbor. If that had happened, then Ibrahim Pasha, more on him in a later update, would have been stranded in Greece with a dilapidated and exhausted army, and the only other Ottoman army of any threat is Resid Mehmed Pasha's 7,000 men outside Athens. Bosnia was essentially in open rebellion in the Fall of 1827 and were only defeated when Resid Pasha used treachery to defeat them. Albania was on the verge of rebelling as well in 1830, and there was still unrest in Serbia and the Danubian Principalities following their earlier revolts in 1809-1815 and 1821 respectively. The Ottoman Empire, like Greece, was running on fumes by 1830, though a lot of that had to do with the intervention of the Great Powers.

Even with all the problems the Greeks faced in OTL they still managed to recoup some of their losses in Central Greece in 1828/1829, retaking Missolonghi, Athens, Thebes, Amphissa, and they even attempted to retake Chios, were it not for the Great Powers restraining them. So really, in a scenario where the Greek leadership is more competent and less factious some interesting results could have happened which I will be exploring in this timeline.
[6] Foreshadowing! The OTL National Museum of History is located in Athens, Greece. The one in TTL is in Argos for reasons that shall be elaborated on at the appropriate time.

Athens as the new capital of Greece was an unnecessarily expensive sentimentality, as it had to be built on uneven terrain, over the war torn ruins of the pre-independence town, and it had no port nearby, so that had to be built from scratch, too. Argos, on the other hand, was the natural choice, right next to Nafplio and probably Kapodistrias' preferred location. Nice to see that Otto is staying in Bavaria, or even better the Greek political elite showing some sanity and competenece(though as an Athenian I'm saddened that you've probably sentenced my hometown to obscurity).
Athens as the new capital of Greece was an unnecessarily expensive sentimentality, as it had to be built on uneven terrain, over the war torn ruins of the pre-independence town, and it had no port nearby, so that had to be built from scratch, too. Argos, on the other hand, was the natural choice, right next to Nafplio and probably Kapodistrias' preferred location. Nice to see that Otto is staying in Bavaria, or even better the Greek political elite showing some sanity and competenece(though as an Athenian I'm saddened that you've probably sentenced my hometown to obscurity).
Athens is a very beautiful city rich in history and culture so it will never fall into obscurity, it just won't be the capital of Greece in my timeline for many of the reasons you mentioned.:biggrin:
Athens as the new capital of Greece was an unnecessarily expensive sentimentality, as it had to be built on uneven terrain, over the war torn ruins of the pre-independence town, and it had no port nearby, so that had to be built from scratch, too. Argos, on the other hand, was the natural choice, right next to Nafplio and probably Kapodistrias' preferred location. Nice to see that Otto is staying in Bavaria, or even better the Greek political elite showing some sanity and competenece(though as an Athenian I'm saddened that you've probably sentenced my hometown to obscurity).

Athens is a very beautiful city rich in history and culture so it will never fall into obscurity, it just won't be the capital of Greece in my timeline for many of the reasons you mentioned.:biggrin:

Athens not the capital of Greece?