Turkish Heroes A Lands to Conquer Total War Saga #2
1. SULTAN MUSTAFA AND THE MIGHTY WARLORDS 2. SUPREME LORD AYBAK OF GANJA 3. CATHOLIC WARS 4. TURKS AND TIMURIDS 5. SULTAN JANBULAT AND SUNDAK SHAH 6. BLOODY CAREER OF JANBULAT THE MAD 7. EKMEL ARSLAN OF THE BLUE RIDERS 8. LATE SULTANS AND PRINCES
This is a long Turkish campaign (VH/VH) recounted just the way it happened. Facing the challenge of Mongols and Timurids as well as the combined hostility of the whole Catholic world made this campaign especially interesting. Few true heroes emerged. Many generals died in battle before they could prove their potential. My previous action reports focused on a single dramatic event with a background sketch; but one reader encouraged me to be more ambitious, so here is a whole campaign. I am posting it in installments to give me time to polish each chapter and manage the photos, and finish writing the final bits. This also reproduces the anticipation of the campaign itself, with capsuled episodes moving toward an unknown future.
1. SULTAN MUSTAFA AND THE MIGHTY WARLORDS
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
The first Turks in the west took charge of many provinces abandoned by Byzantium. The great jihad against rebels at Baghdad is the only preserved scene of those earliest times. Ghazi warriors rallied and conquered the ancient capital, and cleared two large rebel armies from the desert to secure the eastern border. The land of the Turks then became whole and nourished the seeds of future glory. Invading armies sent by the frustrated Byzantine emperor were a perpetual threat. Forming an alliance with Egypt assured peace to the south.
The first Sultan Jalal defended the territory around the Turkish capital at Caesarea, while his son, Prince Mustafa, moved north to root out the Byzantines from Trebizond and the mountainous northern territories. He relied heavily on hordes of fast-moving Turkomans.
He hired fierce Alan horsemen to join the charges on Byzantine archers and cavalry.
Once the field was cleared, spear militia and javelinmen rushed forward to batter the enemy’s heavy infantry. With these few basic troops, Prince Mustafa rose through his victorious youth into a seasoned general and settled in conquered Trebizond on the coast of the Black Sea. Once a competent governor arrived to replace him, he moved south again ― now Sultan Mustafa ― just as the Byzantines pushed for war again. The great city of Antioch was ready to build its first navy, and Mustafa dispatched two armies by sea to take the island city of Nicosia, and then Iraklion farther west, while the sultan himself moved by land until he gained possession of the castle stronghold at Smyrna on the far Aegean coast. The enemy was not destroyed, but the Turks desperately needed trade with the great Byzantine cities, and an uneasy peace ensued.
While residing peacefully at Smyrna, Sultan Mustafa was called back to the capital when a horde of Mongols emerged from the east. The young generals guarding the provinces could not prevent their advance. The mighty warlords sacked Edessa on their way to the coast, and Sultan Mustafa at age 60, the only 10-star general in the royal family, gathered what seasoned troops he could spare and headed east. He could barely afford a full army, and could not dream of meeting the close-knit enemy hordes in the field, so he stationed himself with two other generals at the bridge east of Antioch, where the khan’s conqueror, Jebe the Mauler, attacked ― and was destroyed.
Then two more Mongol armies tried to force the bridge, with the khan among them. When the first attack was broken, the Turks eagerly rushed across the bridge to make sure the khan was killed, but the second Mongol army was only then approaching, and intense missile fire from the surrounding hills killed half the Turkish army before a hard victory was settled in the open field.
The Mongols withdrew to the outskirts of Aleppo, east of the bridge, and with barely two armies, Sultan Mustafa attacked them. Losing the fortress at Aleppo could not be allowed. Approaching at night to avoid enemy reinforcements, the sultan’s veterans killed another mighty warlord and roasted the armored horsemen with newly manufactured Greek fire.
Sultan Mustafa showed his young generals how to beat the Mongol riders on their own terms. After the fierce battle, he retired to the fortress at Aleppo with his few comrades, and shortly afterward died of his wounds, aged 65.
The final two weakened Mongol armies circled through the mountains north of Antioch, where the new sultan faced them and won a heroic, though costly victory that finished the horde completely. Edessa was recaptured and rebuilding was begun. A few blessed years of peace followed, until a new invasion revived the Mongol terror.
Last edited by Aristarchus; October 03, 2009 at 02:45 PM.
Turkish strength grew during the period of peace. An expedition moved north of the Caucasus Mountains to take possession of rebel strongholds at Sarkel and Bulgar on the Asian steppe. The castles there were razed and cities founded to boost trade. Forts were planted on the roads to connect the provinces to the fortress at Tblisi. Other expeditions moved west by land and sea. The move was propitious. As the reinforcing armies approached, the Byzantine emperor landed on Crete with a powerful army to recapture Iraklion. The island garrison ferried away to take Rhodes, then returned with a combined force to Iraklion to send the emperor running. On the mainland, strong Turkish generals took Nicaea on the Bosporus strait and secured the whole expanse of Anatolia. Peace was happily accepted by both sides, again, to restore trade.
The Byzantine emperor was perhaps emboldened into misadventure by the appearance of a second Mongol horde on the Turkish frontier in the northern mountains. Four heavy Mongol armies sacked the fortress at Tblisi, then moved south to sack the nearby city of Yerevan as well, apparently eager to repay the Turks for the destruction of the earlier Mongol horde. Three Turkish generals prepared to face the enemy before they descended onto the plains at Edessa, where they could cluster. Holding the high ground in a narrow mountain defile, with slightly unfavorable odds (9:10), the Turkish army won a desperate, heroic victory and killed the khan’s mighty warlord Subutai. The commanding general was young Aybak of Ganja, grandson of the great founder, Sultan Mustafa.
The weakened Turkish army retreated from the second Mongol army coming through the pass, and filled the ranks with mercenary camel riders and javelinmen, plus Turkish sipahi cavalry and others assembled from the fortress at Aleppo through Edessa and the chain of forts leading north into the mountains. Aybak arranged his lines on a narrow ledge above a canyon bowl. The heavy army of Batu Khan appeared below, with over twice the strength (9:20), and attacked at once with fervor.
Turkish firepower on the canyon slope more than matched the Mongol missile troops marching up the center, but the return fire of the enemy was intense. Aybak knew better than to charge into such a storm to dispel the Mongol archers, and only chased away the heavy mounted archers on the flank and retired, until Batu Khan himself and his heavy lancers charged the open side of the Turkish formation in an effort to break the defense. Individually, the Turks could not stand against the heavy Mongol horsemen. Each attacking unit needed to be isolated and surrounded with a combination of generals and cavalry supported by spearmen, javelins, and naffatun throwing Greek fire.
In the fierce skirmish on the upper slope, the khan was killed, along with two Turkish generals and most of the cavalry on both sides. Aybak then ordered the infantry lines forward and charged the enemy. The battle-hardened Mongols did not easily break, and routing units readily reformed even without their leader. Turkish fury concentrated on single units in turn down the hill, until motley forces on each side wrestled breathlessly at the bottom of the canyon bowl. Only Aybak remained on horseback. Though exhausted, he charged the enemy archers and infantry who could not be caught otherwise, and one by one he swept the field free, until the last fragmented unit of heavy Mongol infantry cut the legs from under his bloody horse and toppled him to the ground. As they surrounded him, the few remaining Turkish archers in the distance found their mark. The enemy fled. The survivors lifted Aybak off the field with a bare spark of life and a goblet of bitter victory: 878 Turks lost to 791 Mongols.
Two Mongol armies remained. Without resistance they reached the ring of hills north of Antioch, where five Turkish generals in two armies met them and won a heroic victory that broke the invasion. The next season, Aybak recovered and led another pair of armies to the same spot and destroyed the horde completely.
Aybak was a giant among the Turkish generals. In the interval of peace, he moved west to the fortress at Smyrna to keep watch on the conflict between the Byzantines and the unrelenting Hungarian armies besetting them. The next contest was there, surely; but Aybak had barely arrived when a third horde of Mongols appeared in the north, and again sacked Tblisi and Yerevan. After this second disaster, the two mountain provinces never fully recovered. Aybak hastily sailed from Smyrna with an incomplete force to reach the port at Trebizond. Before leaving, he married, at age 36. Three other generals in the mountain provinces took first blood, killing one of the khan’s conquerors and scattering his army. Aybak then tracked the understrength army of Hulegu Khan through the mountains, laid an ambush on a high slope, and destroyed him. Then he tracked and killed the succeeding khan, and with reinforcements from Aleppo, rooted out the remaining Mongols for good. In all, the three Mongol invasions killed ten members of the royal family. Supreme Lord Aybak emerged a 10-star general.
Thanks for the compliment on the pics. Not photoshopped. I am disappointed in some of them, either for lack of clarity or confusion in the scene. I wish I could get the sterling quality Lusted has on the screen pages for Lands to Conquer or as some others in the forum publish. I standardize all the photo sizes, except for a couple less important small ones, but when I post them here, a few come out bigger for some reason. Can't figure that out. One tip from the digital photo lab where I work is to make photos not much more than 100 dpi for online publishing or else they get muddy. I welcome any other quality tips for photo settings or from the game. I use Fraps.
Once the Mongol challenge was over, Lord Aybak returned to Smyrna and closely watched the ongoing conflict between the Hungarians and Byzantines on the neighboring continent. Constantinople fell to the Hungarians, and large armies of both sides finally clustered around Corinth nearby across the sea. Determined to eliminate the Byzantines and hold back the growing might of Hungary, Aybak landed on the Greek peninsula with a strong army outside Corinth and struck two full Byzantine armies twice his strength. He emerged with a heroic victory and won possession of the fortress. At the same time, Turkish forces landed on the Crimean peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea to take the last Byzantine city of Caffa, and the Byzantine Empire was removed from history. Hungary responded immediately and crowded three large armies around Corinth. Aybak attacked the forward army at night to avoid reinforcement by the others, and pushed back the Hungarian forces. Inching forward, always attacking by night, he eventually stood at the base of the peninsula, where he sacked Thessalonica and left it with a single-unit garrison to keep his army intact in the nearby hills. The city rebelled, and was besieged, but nonetheless, remained Turkish ever after.
The crown prince of Hungary with two generals and an army of foot knights beset Aybak’s weakened force in the hills with a clear advantage, but Aybak hid his forces in the woods, misdirected the enemy charge with cavalry swirling around them, and directed all fire on each attacking unit, one by one, until they fled and were run down. The Hungarian generals fell, but the prince escaped to Durazzo on the Adriatic coast. Aybak pursued and took the fortress, and then moved north to take the fortress at Ragusa as well. His strength on the battlefield was unstoppable.
Aybak’s victories broke the capacity of Hungary to resist. Used to fighting the fierce Mongols, the Turkish generals mastered the field against the Catholic enemy with ease. A full army from Antioch, led by General (later Sultan) Janbulat , followed Aybak by sea along the Adriatic coast and landed to take the important city of Zagreb with its rich mines. Although, Hungary held Venice on the nearby shoulder of Italy, hostile Milan competed for the city and kept the Hungarians in check. In response to a guild mission, Janbulat moved north to take Vienna. Troops from Aybak’s army and recruits from Ragusa supported his advance.
Both military and economic strategy called for control of the surrounding castles and cities of Hungary before attempting to hold Constantinople directly across the strait. The ancient metropolis was taken and sacked for profit, but then abandoned to rebels to avoid drawing negative attention from the Pope and the fervent Catholics from distant lands eager to Crusade against Islam. Instead, Turkish armies landed by sea and moved inland to take Bucharest, then the fortress at Bran, then Iasi facing the Polish border in the north. Another army moved to take the central fortress at Sofia, the key to the entire region. Following these solid accomplishments, an uneasy peace was concluded for both sides to recover. Aybak, aged 64, settled at Ragusa and assured peace on the far frontier by the sheer dread of his presence. At his death a few years later, a new and greater challenge threatened the Turks in their homeland. The coming Timurid invasion ― far more deadly than the Mongols ― left few Turkish generals alive, and none ever again achieved the supreme stature of Aybak of Ganja.
During the same period on the Asian steppes, Poland waxed in strength as it conquered the provinces of Russia; and when Caffa was added to the Turkish patrimony, and the cities of Hungary were falling fast, the Poles moved large armies eastward to contest the gains. Sultan Selymish the Cuckold and Crown Prince Chaqmaq held the steppe provinces, and gathered four generals and forces relieved from the campaigns against the Mongols, along with numerous mercenary horsemen to fill the ranks. Ravaged Tblisi was now useless as a training depot, and new army units had to travel long distances to reach the steppes ― either marching directly north through the mountains to the sea from Caesarea, where boats ferried them to the ports at Caffa or Sarkel; or marching a longer distance through the desert and winding mountain roads from Aleppo.
When the Poles declared war and captured a forward fort west of Sarkel, the sultan and prince responded in a different direction, attacking two large Polish armies to the north, composed mostly of foot archers that were easily run down. Loss to the Turks was 100 men versus 2,000 of the enemy. Horses ruled the plains.
Forts helped bridge the great distance between Sarkel and Bulgar in the far northeast. The thin Turkish forces defending the territories fluidly moved along the fort routes to counter the Polish threats, and only barely held on. The Polish armies became stronger, and finally two powerful armies attacked the Turkish force guarding the river crossing west of Sarkel. Turkish spearmen held the line, and a barrage of missiles routed the charging foot knights.
Nor could the Polish generals and heavy cavalry break the defense. Massive destruction of the enemy at the bridge tipped the scales, and the Turkish armies moved forward, recaptured the nearby fort, and killed a pack of generals sheltered there. Nothing decisive was accomplished in the war when peace was agreed upon, and the sultan abandoned any thought of expansion when plague swept through the land and depleted his resources in men and money. The misery escalated, and a gigantic effort was demanded to rise and face it, when two heavy Timurid armies approached from the east, the first of a mighty wave. Henceforth, for a long period, there was no notion of glory, but only a desperate struggle, and death in every household.
All royal family members left the cities when the plague struck, except for a few governors whose presence was vital for profit. Some stayed in nearby forts with the bulk of their garrisons to keep guard on a sensitive frontier. Most returned to the central plateau east of Antioch to face the imminent threat posed by the advancing Timurids. Three full armies sailed from the western front in Hungary. Others moved more slowly from the northern perimeter where peace with Poland was freshly signed. The Timurid khan and a companion army were trapped in the mountains, unwilling to force their way past the forts in the passes without a declaration of war. Separately, eight other Timurid armies scouted their way slowly westward from the precincts of Baghdad.
BATTLE 1. Three Turkish armies attacked the two forward armies of the approaching Timurid horde. The reinforcing Timurid army was delayed, but it hardly mattered. On a sandy hill strewn with dead horses from the opening cavalry contest, four units of naffatun throwing Greek fire, plus javelinmen and archers, tried to bring down the impervious elephant artillery with almost no success. The elephants charged at the same moment the enemy reinforcements arrived.
The fresh Timurid heavy lancers rushed the battered and disorganized Turkish lines, and the entire field routed, generals and soldiers alike. The first encounter with the invaders was a crushing defeat, with nearly 1,500 Turks dead versus 240 Timurids.
BATTLE 2 AND SKIRMISHES. While the remaining Turkish armies on the central plateau defended the bridge crossings and reformed, Sultan Suleymish and a second Turkish army moved south from the frontier with Poland and engaged the isolated army of the Timurid khan in the mountains south of Yerevan. The sultan was killed, but Miran Khan of the Timurids was captured and ransomed for a handsome sum. The freed khan regrouped in the mountains, still isolated from the main horde, and was captured again and ransomed, and again a third time, until the fourth time he was killed in battle by Sultan Chaqmaq, who had followed his father south from Sarkel. The ransoms helped finance fresh recruits for the front, rebuilt garrisons across the empire following the plague years, and stocked forts with ready troops for frontier security.
BATTLE 3. The Timurid horde huddled at the river east of Antioch, searching for a way across without a costly assault at a defended bridge. Three Turkish armies singled out two of the Timurid armies, the second with elephants. General Qilichad Dawlah stood alone at first: one of the Turkish armies was delayed, the other was far distant on the left flank. The reinforcing Timurid army approached from the right. Qilichad held steady on a hilltop, bearing fiery bombardment by Timuirid catapults and harrying horse archers swarming on the nearby slopes. “Make them come to us — keep the distance — hold the lines!” Qilichad roared.
Timurid infantry and cavalry charged the lines, attempting to break the lone Turkish army before reinforcements arrived.
The spear lines held until the second Turkish army arrived to help. When the third reinforcing army appeared behind the Timurid lines, the enemy retreated to regroup on a new front and Qilichad charged their backs. The combined Turkish forces achieved a sound victory, with 875 lost versus 1,440 of the enemy.
BATTLE 4. A thin line separates confidence from folly. In the next engagement, General Qilichad Dawlah led the army again, with two reinforcing armies to assist. “They are only men, not devils! We have seen their blood!” he called to his men before the battle as he rode along their ordered ranks. This time they faced three Timurid armies at a substantial disadvantage (4:5), and the approaching enemy reinforcements dominated the high ground. Qilichad charged his cavalry across the field to clear away the numerous missile troops in the first Timurid army, aiming to destroy them completely before they could mass with the others. When Timurid cavalry intervened, Turkish foot soldiers rushed to join the contests to assure each outcome.
The first Timurid army was successfully eliminated with great effort, and the mighty warlord of the second army was killed when he charged onto the field, but the Turkish forces were scattered and exhausted when the heavy cavalry of the third Timurid army appeared. The ironclad heavy lancers easily swept the field. Nearly 2,300 Turkish troops were lost versus 1,240 of the enemy. The Timurids killed General Qilichad, Sultan Chaqmaq, and two other Turkish generals, and executed all prisoners.
BATTLE 5. Despite the heavy losses, the fortress strongholds at Caesarea and Aleppo replenished the Turkish armies, while the Timurid horde grew steadily weaker. The next battle, at the same location, with three armies against three armies and the same unfavorable odds (4:5), resulted in a clear victory. Turkish infantry marched in solid formation up the hillside, and an increased cohort of naffatun successfully destroyed an elephant unit blocking the way. Turkish cavalry was able to check the lighter mix of horsemen that remained in the Timurid ranks.
In the end, all fire concentrated on a lone elephant unit on the top of the hill. None were allowed to escape. The newly raised Turkish sultan was killed in the battle, and about 1,000 troops were lost on each side.
Only three Timurid armies remained. One moved south on the road to Damascus, apparently to skirt the river and approach Antioch from the open coastal plain. The other two Timurid armies remained close, threatening a northern approach if the bridge over the river was left undefended. Defending Turkish armies stayed solidly on the bridges. Other scattered remnants of the Turkish forces, shattered by the disastrous encounters, assembled in the field under a new sultan. Seeing the Turkish resistance holding and gathering, all the Timurid armies then moved south and took the coastal road toward the Egyptian fortress at Acre, apparently abandoning their quest for Antioch.
BATTLE 6. The Turkish army defending the northern bridge near Antioch moved south and covered the inland mountain pass into Palestine. The two strongest Turkish armies followed the Timurids along the coast and struck their rear. The forces were evenly matched, but elephants decided the battle.
Three elephant artillery units stood solidly between the two Turkish armies and prevented them from joining. Again, the favorable opening skirmishes withered into defeat and rout, leaving another 1,200 Turkish soldiers and a general dead on the field.
BATTLE 7. The three weakened Timurid armies clustered in the mountains near Acre, faced by massive Egyptian armies. The time to finish them must be now. Three partial Turkish armies and two allied Egyptian armies approached the enemy in a maze of rolling hills with favorable odds (5:3). Governors without fighting experience led the armies, as all other Turkish generals were dead. Janbulat the Mad and wary Jaqmaq began their long careers on this final day against the Timurids. They found the first Timurid army lined up on the far edge of a hollow between them, and they attacked furiously to kill the mighty warlord before reinforcements could come to his support.
Flush with success, the Turkish army then wheeled to face enemy elephants and riders approaching over the hills.
Sipahi cavalry scouted the area and discovered the three Egyptian armies climbing a steep hillside a distance away, beset by heavy opposition. A small part of the Timurid forces neutralized two of the Egyptian armies, while the main body annihilated the third. Elephants held back the Turkish armies, firing shells in long arcs over the spaces between the rolling hills. Eventually, the Egyptian allies fled the field, and bit by bit the Turkish armies followed in a stinging, unexpected defeat. Nevertheless, the battle was expensive for the Timurids, too, for all the mighty warlords were killed and the faction was destroyed at last. The battered Turkish forces regrouped and turned westward again.
Re: [LTC AAR] Turkish Heroes - added Chapter 5. Sultan Janbulat and Sundak Shah
Chapter 5. SULTAN JANBULAT AND SUNDAK SHAH
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
In the final phase of resistance against the Timurid invasion, the Catholics called a Crusade against Cairo in Egypt, and numerous Crusader armies traversed the Turkish provinces. When Cairo fell to Venice, the Crusader armies of Poland, France, Scotland, and Hungary wended their way aimlessly westward again, and some hovered menacingly along the way and blocked the roads. Tensions with the Catholic West rose. When the last Timurid armies gathered around Acre, and the life-and-death struggle against the eastern hordes drew to its climactic finish, Hungary threw its armies upon the fortress at Sofia. The Turkish garrison there was more than ready. The Serb provinces now under Turkish control produced the best soldiers in the empire. The garrison stormed out of Sofia, supported by reinforcements from a nearby fort, and annihilated the attackers.
Polish allies of Hungary then attacked on two fronts, storming the bridge defenders at Vienna on the threshold of Europe, and the bridge defenders at Iasi near the Black Sea. Crown Prince Janbulat led the army at Vienna. He had remained as general and governor at Zagreb through the plague years, and then moved to Vienna during the Timurid wars to reinforce the spot where he knew trouble would arise with his hostile neighbors. So many family members died against the Timurids that he was now in direct line to lead the nation in a new phase of conquest in Europe.
The Poles were confident, with their new forces of heavy cavalry, but the Turkish sipahis, both archers and lancers, continued to overwhelm them in numbers, speed, and ferocity. Prince Janbulat pushed back all incursions around Vienna, but did not advance. Instead, he awaited the approach of General Sundak Shah from Anatolia. Turkish ships set out at once from the Aegean Sea when war erupted in the west, embarking Sundak Shah at Smyrna, and a heavy army from the citadels at Corinth and Ragusa on the way up the Adriatic. The army landed west of Zagreb, on the hip of Italy, and moved north through the Alps to assault the Hungarian fortress at Innsbruck. When the fortress fell, Sundak Shah commanded the strong point that secured the crossroads to Vienna and movement through Italy. At once, Hungary disintegrated, and the moment arrived for a general assault.
All the forts in the west disgorged their garrisons and formed armies. Five-star General Orhanal Zahiri marched from Sofia and conquered Budapest, a former Hungarian city on the way to Vienna, now held by rebels. From Vienna, Prince Janbulat marched west and took Nuremburg from rebels. At the same time, French Crusaders hovering near Iconium in Anatolia were engaged and destroyed, and France became a new enemy. Turkish armies moving into Italy to take Venice from rebels, also invested the French at Milan, Genoa, and Florence. Let them stew in their hostility somewhere farther away.
The broad steppes of the east were difficult to defend against the approach of strong Polish armies, but Turkish forays to the outskirts of Kiev and the Polish interior, fielding new heavy qapukulu cavalry, caused the eastern Polish armies to withdraw and return to support their center. Seeing their initial attacks thwarted and the Turkish armies growing in strength, the Poles sued for peace. The terms demanded heavy tribute for 12 years.
For a brief period, war persisted only with the feeble French, who controlled the western provinces; but Scotland boasted the most powerful military forces in the world, and they soon sprang in full force on Nuremburg from nearby Frankfurt. Two full armies besieged the city, while two more blocked the southern road against reinforcements. Janbulat — now Sultan Janbulat the Killer ― held Nuremburg. He was known for the corps of assassins he employed to clear the area of hostile Catholic spies, assassins, and wily priests. A Turkish army moved up from the fort at the crossroads to Vienna to support the city, and General Sundak Shah followed with a cavalry force from Innsbruck.
Sundak Shah beat his way through the Scots armies on the road south of Nuremburg, then attacked the besieging Scots at the city walls to allow Sultan Janbulat to march out in full force unmolested. Sundak Shah misjudged the fierce resolve of the gold-plated warrior Scots, however, and arrived at Nuremburg much weakened. The Scots waited in ranks on a hill outside the city, with powerful archers that dismissed any thought of a direct assault. The noble Scots foot soldiers were a fearsome foe. The Turkish armies combined and climbed the hill on the left before turning to face the enemy on equal ground. Then the generals and cavalry lunged forward to disperse the archers.
The ranks of Turkish spearmen had only to wait then for the Scots to charge forward in an attempt to break the line to end their exposure to the intense missile fire of the Turkish archers in the rear; but as they closed, they came in range of the javelinmen and naffatun throwing Greek fire. The spearmen held, and one by one the Scots broke and fled.
After the first defeat, the Scots returned in force again to the same battlefield, and Sultan Janbulat the Killer and Sundak Shah used the same tactics to defeat them. Weak border horses were the only cavalry that ever appeared in the Scots armies, and generals were rare. The deadly nobles with their two-handed swords grew more numerous and sometimes managed to muscle their way past one flank, requiring the sipahi cavalry firing arrows from the hillside to charge down upon them.
The cavalry alone, however, could not overpower the nobles. A counterattack by heavy janissary infantry wielding halberds helped protect the flanks. Even more effective were the small bands of wiry shock troops, the hashishim, recruited from a secret guild at Caffa and transported to the front lines in Europe. Highly trained killers, the hashishim relished close-quarter combat with the blue-faced Scottish lords.
Together, Sultan Janbulat and Sundak Shah battled the Scots at Nuremburg year after year. The enemy lost thousands of troops, but grew no less numerous. Eventually, Sundak Shah took the initiative and struck farther north to destroy a Scots army before it could enter the province, and two more armies, the strongest yet, slipped past him to besiege the city. Sundak Shah turned back to engage the rear of the enemy, while the sultan marched out the city gates. The Turkish forces were split and Sundak Shah was alone, too near the enemy forces. Sultan Janbulat spurred his cavalry out the gate and charged the distant Scots flank to deflect attention from Sundak Shah, but noble swordsmen intercepted the charge and cut him in two. The sultan’s army fought on bravely, and at day’s end the Scots lost over 2,300 soldiers, ten times the number lost by the Turkish armies; but there was no rejoicing. The magnificent Sultan Janbulat was dead.
Sundak Shah took over the defense of Nuremburg, and the Scots kept coming in all seasons.
Shortly after the fall of Sultan Janbulat, Sundak Shah fell, too: killed by the armor-piercing swords of the Scots nobles. A new general rose from the ranks following the battle, and the defense of Nuremburg continued, but with sinking spirits. The situation grew desperate when three strong Scots armies appeared at the border. No generals accompanied their armies, though, and one army rebelled before entering the province. Evidently, the spirit of the enemy was also spent. The Scots asked for peace. The terms, as for the Poles, demanded regular tribute.
The Turks advanced rapidly in Europe due to the successful defense at Nuremburg and fortification of the province. Sultan Janbulat never reached the supreme glory of his predecessor Aybak, but he secured Aybak’s gains and pushed forward, holding the west during the dark Timurid years when no help could be expected from home. Janbulat through a long career as general, governor, prince, and sultan, stood always on the farthest, most exposed frontier of the Turkish lands. In his greatest challenges, faithful Sundak Shah fought on the field at his side through victory after victory; and perhaps they fight together still on the borders of Paradise.
Last edited by Aristarchus; October 04, 2009 at 12:51 AM.
Re: [LTC AAR] Turkish Heroes - added Chapter 5. Sultan Janbulat and Sundak Shah
Chapter 6. BLOODY CAREER OF JANBULAT THE MAD
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
Janbulat the Mad came of age at the ancient capital of Caesarea in an early period of peace, and moved like others before him to the metropolis at Antioch before setting out on a career. Doubts arose when it became clear that he was utterly insane and a danger to any troops he might lead. He had natural command abilities, but he was closeted away, so when other family members departed to face the Timurid invasion, Janbulat governed Antioch, where it became evident that he was an admirable governor. There he survived while others perished. At last, there was no one else to call, and even Janbulat the Mad, along with younger Jaqmaq ― a flawed attacker and wary of the Timurids ― led armies against the Timurids in the final battles near Acre. Their inexperience may partly explain why those battles ended in rout and defeat. Such a baptism, however, made both men dauntless in battle, and they never lost again.
Immediately once the Timurids were destroyed outside Acre, Jaqmaq boarded ships with his whole army and sailed to Italy, where the war with Hungary had begun. On a different route, Janbulat the Mad moved north to gather troops and cross the Black Sea toward Kiev to punish Hungary’s Polish allies. Oddly, for his limited field experience, Janbulat was a six-star general, the highest ranking general at the time. With so few surviving family, he was invariably destined for the front lines. On his way toward Caesarea and the winding road north through the mountains to the sea, Janbulat the Mad made a detour and destroyed the French Crusaders that remained in the country, starting a war he pursued vigorously from that moment. By the time he set sail, the war with Poland was over, but he beat his way across the sea anyway, directly north, and picked up several units of hashishim, trained only at Caffa. The ships then turned to the port of Sofia, where the growing army could pass through the famous citadel for the best available troops and move quickly west.
Jaqmaq arrived in Italy at Venice and defeated the French at Milan and Genoa, and helped in the assault on well-guarded Florence. He stayed to govern and defend Genoa until the population acquiesced to Turkish governance. Then he set out with fresh troops to cross the western edge of the Alps toward the French citadel at Bern. About then, Sultan Janbulat the Killer fell at Nuremburg, and Jaqmaq was made crown prince. Approaching the same western front, Janbulat the Mad took the road through Vienna across the northern side of the Alps and discharged a few units of his hashishim at Nuremberg, where they were eager to fight the Scots. At last, the prince and the madman after their long, separate journeys from the killing fields of Palestine, brought their armies together outside the French fortress at Staufen.
The French armies in the west brought multitudes of new arquebusiers that the Turkish cavalry ran down like dogs.
Turkish spearmen stood fearlessly before the charge of the armoured foot knights.
Lines of Turkish missile troops in the rear ― Ottoman infantry, janissary archers, and naffatun ― roasted the turtles in their shells.
Janissary heavy infantry and the generals shredded the flanks.
Following two successful field battles, Crown Prince Jaqmaq took Staufen and razed the fortress to develop a trading town. Janbulat the Mad advanced to besiege the French at Dijon. Dazed in every encounter, the French knights fell back helplessly, and finally agreed to peace after losing all of their Italian and transalpine provinces.
The front shifted suddenly when the Poles initiated war again with an attack in the steppe provinces. Their main forces, though, were in Europe, poised near their prized city of Prague, north of Vienna. Turkish forts around Nuremberg to guard the roads and forests against the Scots were well garrisoned — including new janissary gunners, and heavy infantry and cavalry — and the response was swift and decisive. One army set out to besiege the lightly defended Polish citadel at Magdeburg, directly north of Nuremburg; two armies slipped through the forests to besiege heavily defended Prague; and Janbulat the Mad, with the prince and another general, led a full army to a crossroads north of Prague to prevent the numerous Polish armies in the province from breaking the siege. As intended, Janbulat the Mad and his royal companion became the target. Two Polish armies attacked with a slight advantage; but the first army was composed mostly of arquebusiers, which the numerous cavalry under Janbulat’s command swiftly ran down.
Turkish heavy infantry rushed the Polish foot knights to destroy them quickly, and horsemen chased away the last Polish cavalry, so the army could regroup and turn to face the large Polish army with two generals approaching in the distance.
Once near enough, Janbulat the Mad and Prince Jaqmaq plunged ferociously into the enemy generals in the second Polish army. Whereas fighting the French had been a little sad, just a job against a pitiful opponent, real hatred existed for the Poles. Janbulat the Mad and his army won a heroic victory and cheered over the enemy dead.
Other generals nearby confronted and killed the Polish king.
Poland soon begged for peace and tribute was imposed again. Prince Jaqmaq, aged 40, governed Prague. Janbulat the Mad, aged 60, moved to govern Nuremburg. For a brief interval, conflict continued only on the shores of southern Italy, far away, until Denmark declared war, supposedly somewhere nearby, but no one rightly knew where it was. Small Danish detachments encountered in the woods were cleared away with little trouble, though the axe-armed huscarl horsemen were formidable opponents even in small numbers. While settled at Nuremburg, a longtime companion of Janbulat the Mad died of old age, and he felt his time was coming, too. But a new storm brewed.
When the aged Sultan Nuzhet died after a brief reign, lavish ceremonies at Prague raised Sultan Jaqmaq the Tyrant, and Catholic neighbors protested. A strong Polish army entered Turkish territory east of Magdeburg, the French approached Dijon, and two strong Scots armies closed on Nuremburg. In the south, a Portuguese army landed outside the fortress at Palermo in Sicily, newly won by the late Sultan Nuzhet. Of course, none of the incursions could be tolerated.
Janbulat the Mad was the first to declare war. Sight of the Scots armies on the edge of the province inflamed him. Just one more time, he argued to the spectre rattling his aged frame. The army prepared: polished armor, sharpened blades, filled quivers, collected equipment, and set all in order to fight and perhaps to die. The feverish hashishim remaining at Nuremburg rejoiced. So began the final world war.
The battlefield was well worn and the men knew their positions as on a chessboard. On the high ground, the spearmen held the front line and missiles volleyed from the rear. Still, the noble Scots muscled their way around the right flank, where the janissary archers refused to give ground and met them hand to hand.
The Scots were stronger than ever and fought to the death before victory was achieved. Janbulat the Mad retired from the field exhausted, a wild gleam in his eyes, and his horse and armor caked with blood. He refused to be ministered, and the next day he was found dead in the bed where Sultan Janbulat had once slept, his eyes lustreless but still wild, and the bedding stained and twisted around him as if he never stopped fighting to the end and the whole world and everything in it was an enemy to vent his rage.
The man was too frightening to be a hero. No verses commemorated him. All that men said, and his soldiers confirmed, was that he loved to kill. In the violent years he lived through, that fault was a terrible virtue. Janbulat the Mad was one who raised the Turks to rule.
Last edited by Aristarchus; October 09, 2009 at 06:36 AM.
Re: [LTC AAR] Turkish Heroes - added Chapter 6. Bloody Career of Janbulat the Mad
7. EKMEL ARSLAN OF THE BLUE RIDERS
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
The Timurid wars eliminated 11 members of the royal family, and for awhile no children were born of those that remained. Good leaders were scarce. The first local captain adopted to fill a position in the family was recruited from the blue riders on the broad Caspian steppes: Ekmel Arslan, a brave and noble young warrior raised in the field after fighting rebels north of Sarkel. Suspecting more rebels remained in the province, Ekmel Arslan took his small band toward the northwest frontier to investigate a watchtower gone dark. He did not expect the treachery awaiting him. As he approached the frontier, a full army of Polish foot soldiers out of Ryazan crossed the border and attacked. Arslan retreated eastward to a fort, where a small garrison guarded the road on the way to Bulgar. The Poles followed, unmindful of the approaching winter, and besieged the fort.
Inside, Arslan had two units of Alan horsemen, one of Cuman horse archers, a handful of sipahi cavalry, and a few groups of foot soldiers barely able to hold the walls, adding up to nearly two units of spearmen, nearly one of javelinmen, and one and a half of weak archers. When the enemy started rolling one of its four rams toward the front gate, Arslan and his riders charged out the side. All missiles concentrated on the ram, while Arslan and the Alan horsemen ran down the enemy archers. One unit of riders was decimated by the surrounding spearmen. Reinforcements approached in the distance, led by the longtime governor of Bulgar, fat Lajin the Just, bringing a unit each of Alan horsemen and Cuman horse archers, and five units of Saracen spearmen.
Once the enemy archers were routed, Arslan and his horsemen charged the ram, disabled it, and dispersed its crew.
Racing to the spot, the governor and reinforcing cavalry arrived. The running Saracen spearmen, still far distant, slowed to a walk to conserve their strength. For a moment the siege turned into a field battle. The fast Cuman horse archers fired arrows and chased down those who fled. The generals and light cavalry circled the enemy, searching for weaknesses in the formidable lines of spears. Once the Poles saw there was no great threat, a crew started rolling a well-guarded second ram toward the front gate, and there was little hope to stop it.
The Saracen militia in the distance began to run again, and once they were fairly close Arslan ordered open the gate before the ram reached it to give the javelinmen and archers a direct view of their targets. The defending spearmen stood in the gap. The enemy rushed forward eagerly, and their mass blunted the deadly spear lines that had kept the horsemen at a distance. The two generals and light cavalry charged the enemy rear and swept through the flanks, striking and fleeing before the spears could turn on them. The governor was killed, but his bodyguard fought on unrestrained. The spearmen inside the gate held bravely, but their numbers dwindled. The light horsemen were bloodied and desperate. General Arslan roared to hold them all fast.
As the battle grew to a climax and defeat appeared imminent, a unit of very tired Saracen militia ran in through the side of the fort to bolster the spearmen at the gate, and the four other units hustled around the front corner to strike at the enemy’s flank. With renewed hope, General Arslan charged into the mass of the enemy and their resistance finally broke before the running spearmen reached them. The fleeing Poles lost over 1,100 men to a small, rugged band of horsemen.
The forts around Sarkel were well garrisoned and supplied a ready force for war. The vast, open bowl of the blue sky narrowed at the horizon as General Arslan moved westward into the hills around Polish Ryazan. The army routed a powerful force of the heavy Polish Guard in a hillside battle and then took the citadel at Ryazan. Ekmel Arslan was ready to march on Moscow to the north at once, but peace suddenly intervened. He was eager then to rejoin his riders on the steppes, but his position at Ryazan was too important. The army and population alike revered him as a local hero.
Later, a young general joined Ekmel Arslan to build watchtowers through the extensive province and place a new fort on the road to Smolensk. Eventually, Arslan dispatched this general, Barsbay of Tashkent, with a full army farther westward; and when the time arrived, this army delivered the decisive blow in the final wars with all the nations of the Catholic world.
Re: [LTC AAR] Turkish Heroes - added Chapter 7. Ekmel Arslan of the Blue Riders
Conclusion (apologies for the long delay, I was monumentally distracted diving into the gorgeous Broken Crescent mod and a whole new universe) ...
8. LATE SULTANS AND PRINCES
Many sultans died one after the other in the wars against the Timurids, until Sultan Janbulat arose in the west just when strong leadership was needed against the Catholic menace. When Sultan Janbulat fell fighting the Scots at Nuremburg, the royal line returned home to Sultan Nyzhet at Antioch, aged 55, a lonely survivor of the Timurid wars.
Trouble enough loomed in the heart of the empire, rebuilding the burnt lives of the people with few governors to aid them, but Sultan Nyzhet adopted an ambitious holy mission against the Catholics and marshaled his considerable forces from the citadels at Aleppo and Caesarea and sailed through the Turkish islands, past Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete toward Sicily, where rebels held the fortress at Parlermo, bordering Turkish Naples. Expecting trouble from the Italian Pope and his famous Papal guard, Sultan Nyzhet loaded the army with janissary heavy infantry.
Sultan Nyzhet landed directly on the toe of Italy and first destroyed two full rebel armies skulking on Turkish lands. He was diverted from Palermo, however, when a strong Papal army with two generals assaulted Naples shortly after he arrived. The sultan’s army, within easy reach, reembarked and relieved the city. Nyzhet fought with method, charging and defending at once on different fronts to disorient the combined action of the Papal guard and isolate each unit. Turkish sipahis could not stand long against the Papal generals, but they held them in place for the crossbows and janissaries to pitch their weight against the armoured riders. By these methods, victory came hard, but with few casualties.
While the sultan was fighting the Papal armies, the Milanese from their base at Bologna attacked Turkish cities at Milan and Venice; but a Turkish diplomat deftly convinced them against war and they desisted. Sultan Nyzhet then made peace with the Pope, and turned to his original goal to take Palermo from the rebels. Shortly afterward he died there. With the Turkish empire moving steadily westward, the capital was moved then to Constantinople where the Turkish world’s trade routes converged.
No great heroes emerged in this final phase of conquest. More like the whole Turkish empire became heroic, marching across the world as it chose, establishing order on its own terms. The next armies that rallied from Antioch moved south to restore Cairo to the longstanding and faithful Egyptian allies of the Turks. General Yamak wrested the ancient city from the Venetians, who had taken it in the last Catholic Crusade.
Turkish janissaries fought the tough Sudanese mercenaries with grim favor, for the outcome was assured.
Qapukulu heavy cavalry eliminated the desiccated Venetian militia with ease. In the end, the Venetian governor and his generals were executed and the city was returned to the people.
By this time, Sultan Janbulat was elevated in Prague, and consequently, world war erupted. The army in Egypt moved on by ship to Tunis, owned by the Portuguese, who were new foes along with the rest of the Catholic nations. A strong French army was expelled from the province at Dijon, and the long, uneasy peace in Europe dissolved. The French responded with an all-out assault with two generals on a fort guarding a bridge over the Rhone. Eagerly, Shaban al Muizzi at Dijon leapt to the fort’s defense and shattered the pathetic foe.
Janbulat the Mad had initiated the general conflagration when he expelled a Scottish incursion at Nuremburg. The Scots armies swarmed in clotted masses again on the hilly borders of the province. Janissary gunpowder units joined the rows of Turkish archers now on the well-worn killing fields where the Scots were always beaten. There was no ambition yet to expand farther into the Scottish north to stop them coming. Nuremburg was secure for the moment.
The lands to yet conquer lay north, against the Danes. From the former Danish citadel at Magdeburg, Baraka Abu Bakr, soon to be prince, aged 28, sallied out and attacked a strong Danish army, and was the first to experience the challenge of the fierce northern berserkers. Though the janissaries held the high ground, the Danish swordsmen and axemen charged up the hill with shock and storm. Turkish horseman spurred and barely controlled the flanks.
The field was strewn with dead, and patches of warriors fought singly and in small clusters, while exhausted sipahi cavalry charged to reverse the balance in one small conflict after another.
The imperviously armored Danish general and cavalry were nearly impossible to destroy as weapons were turned on every side to survive the fast-charging infantry; but a unit of naffatun managed to close on the behemoths and use Greek fire, before Baraka Abu Baker and the whole weight of the victorious but shredded Turkish cavalry and foot soldiers finally converged to send the dogs to hell.
Baraka retired to Magdeburg to recoup after his near-disastrous encounter with the Danes, and was soon after named Crown Prince. He had no taste to test the Danes farther north, and traveled to nearby Prague, where Sultan Jaqmaq the Tyrant held court — he who had started his manhood chasing the Timurids to the walls of Acre in Palestine, and killed the last of the Timurid generals on his first day of battle, and later subdued Italy, conquered the French, and terrified the Poles. Now, by his arms and splendor, though he was not a brilliant general, he kept the province and frontiers pacified.
Prince Baraka and the Sultan together devised a plan to achieve victory and lasting peace. Among their aims, exterminating a good number of the infidels was a priority. Yet more ambitious, Prince Baraka was determined to marry the most charming princess the world had known, who happened to be Polish. The prince swore he would love every Pole as a brother and shower treasure and friendship upon them if he could but clasp this woman and tether her love.
The following year, General Orhan al Hasan took Metz and killed six French generals. Prince Baraka marched west behind him with massive strength to assault the snowy rallying field of the Scots. Nests of heavy Scots pikes and legions of high nobles, a general, and many others fell at a distance before reaching the Turkish lines. Other fine princes and family moved forward to the frontiers. Baybars of Hims, aged 28, governed the Swiss fortress at Innsbruck and began turning out the finest armor ever seen. Chaqmaq Beg, brother of the sultan and son of the previous sultan, came of age at Constantinople and moved north to Kiev. General Khalil al Turkumani drove the Portuguese back into the sea outside Palermo.
Plans with Baraka’s princess, however, went badly. She herself was barely civil to the best of Turkish diplomats who proposed the marriage. Her guards and admirers throughout the Polish army were more deeply chagrined. The ripple of hostility resulted in instant war. The great contest began again.
The Poles swarmed through Europe to expel the Turks, and managed in some cases to concentrate their forces with favorable odds, but even a Turkish captain in charge of a reinforcing army on the eastern grasslands managed to gain a heroic victory. Morale made the difference. The Turks owned the future and the Poles the past, and each side knew it. Turkish forces confounded the enemy on all fronts and conquered Frankfurt from the Scots, and Hamburg and Halych from the Poles.
The final rout relied on surprise. Barsbay of Tashkent, aged 28, marched with a strong army all the way from Bulgar in the east and slipped through the dense forests of the Polish heartland to suddenly emerge at the Polish fortress at Thorn, the enemy capital. The army faced two Polish armies that included the capital’s defending force, with even odds. A full Polish army nearby was too late to intervene. The Turkish infantry comprised a full array of units, except the most modern gunpowder units, including janissaries, spearmen, archers, javelinmen, and naffatun. Cavalry predominated, with three units of sipahis and one of mailed qapukulu, joined by fast-moving mercenary riders from the steppes: the Alan horsemen and Cuman horse archers groomed into service by the Turkish hero Ekmel Arslan. When Thorn fell, Polish resistance disintegrated and the Turkish victory was complete.
On the verge of final peace, Sultan Jaqmaq the Tyrant, aged 46, was a six-star general, stationed with a full army in the woods outside Prague. Five-star general Orhan al Zahiri, aged 58, was settled at the citadel at Bern writing his memoirs for a new generation of youth who would soon turn to other aspirations than war. Four-star general Baybars of Hims, aged 30, a fine officer who had nevertheless seen little action, moved to govern Nuremburg, where so many fierce battles had been fought and the fields were fertilized with the blood of kings. Three-star general Prince Baraka, aged 30, held Frankfurt on the frontier against the hopeless Scots. Three untested generals in their teens, sons and grandsons of former sultans, were marching toward Kiev, the last Polish province on the eastern steppes. At Constantinople, the now-brilliant Turkish capital at the center of the empire, two grandsons of legendary Lord Aybak — who had brought the empire safely through the early Mongol challenge and then gained the first foothold in Europe against the Byzantines and Hungarians — were still minors, aged 15 and 13, living with their noble mother. What glories they had yet to achieve in the new world of commerce, art, science, and religion that was dawning, they above all would remember as the due reward of the determined Turkish heroes who marched before them and conquered the world.