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Thread: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

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    FabianScarus's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    The Siege of Rhodes, 1522. A date not recognized by some people for the Great Siege of Malta overshadows most of the Ottoman sieges beforehand. Although the Ottomans prevailed in this siege they lost a huge chunk of their forces attacking.

    Now come and let us explore the history of the siege, but before we learn about the Siege itself let us turn back the clock 200 hundred years.

    Acre, 1291

    The Bahri Mamluks encircled the city a Acre, 160,000 infantrymen and 60,000 cavalrymen, The great Kingdom of Jerusalem's forces where no match for the huge Mamluk host. With 17,000 infantrymen and 1,100 cavalrymen the Siege seemed as if it was already won. The brave Knights of Jerusalem stood strong as the Mamluks stormed the city, but it was no use. Acre was lost, the last crusader stronghold in the Holy Land was lost.

    ~

    The Knights Hospitaller had been confined in Tripoli for some time but after the fall as Acre they sought refugee in the Kingdom of Cyprus. The knights felt enmeshed in Cypriot politics so Grandmaster Guillaume de Villaret started to make plans to aqirue temporal domain in Rhodes. The next Grandmaster, Fulkes de Villaret, executed his plan with two years of campaigning, Rhodes fell to the knights and became their new stronghold.

    ~

    Now that we know how the order got to Rhodes, we will know dive into the rich history and amazement of the Siege. Let us go to 1522 with the great order knights and dastardly Ottomans.

    Rhodes, 1522

    The Ottomans had already attacked Rhodes once before, it ended in an slaughter of the Turks, but now in 1522 it will be a loss for both contestants.

    The Ottomans massed an army of 200,000men to attack the Isle of Rhodes, the exact troop numbers for both combatants are as follows:

    The Knights:

    300 knights with about 200 men at arms (all members of the order)

    400 Cretan mercenaries

    About 4,000 indigenous soldiers, in total not over 6,500 fighters.


    The Ottomans:


    The numbers are somewhat accurate.

    280 ships blockading the island (40,000 sailors)

    25,000 marines attacking the small islands surrounding Rhodes, Kos Symi, Chalke.

    A total of 60,000 men. Of which one quarter are Serbian and Bosnian mine specialists and demolition experts.

    With that being said it is a truly impossible battle to beat. I'm guessing the Ottomans mights have felt a tad cocky.

    ~

    So, the Ottomans amassed a massive fleet of (as shown above) 280 ships and used these ships to attack a bunch of small islands around Rhodes a few days before the siege and blockade the ports of Rhodes. As expected a huge fleet is hard to miss, a lookout atop St. Stephanos hill spotted the fleet 11 full days before the Ottomans landed on Rhodes.

    On the 26th of June the Ottomans arrive at Rhodes and it takes them three days to land, in that time the Knights mobilize to defend their only stronghold left.

    On July 9th the Ottomans completely surround the city and start to bombard the walls over, and over, and over again. The Ottomans morale in greatly lowered by the fact that the knights set up Rhodesian artillery and constantly bombard the Ottoman army. Hmm... who in this room would be running by now?

    With moral sinking into a bottomless pit of despair and nerves fraying Pira Pasha, the Ottoman commander, literally begs the Sultan to make it quickly to Rhodes with reinforcements.

    On July 28th Sultan Suleiman arrives with more troops, it seems as if the Ottomans will not fail in their siege after all.
    The Knights are desperate now the send out calls to Europe for help, no one replies, no troops come, no assistance at all.

    The Ottomans now start to go offensive, with almost daily infantry attacks, as the bombards start to inflict massive damage on the walls. The Ottomans try and dig mines and tunnels to place charges but the Knights foil some attempts using counter tunnels.

    Then on September 4th 2 large black powder charges explode under the English Sector causing a twelve yard portion to fall into the moat. The attackers assault and soon after gain control of the English Sector, but a counterattack by the English brothers under Fra' Nicholas Hussey and Grand Master Villiers de L'Isle-Adam succeeded in driving them back again.

    Hows that for a morale boaster Lets divulge ourselves with a little more violence.

    The Italian and Spanish sectors are also hit very hard. Sections of their walls now in heaps of rubble, but the knights moral is still very high due to huge Turkish losses. New attacks are made, thousands more die, including many knights, one of them are John Buck, the English turcoplier, commander of the English sector.

    But this is not even the climax of the siege for on the 24th of September the biggest attack of the Siege is launched by the Ottomans. The Sectors of Spain, England, Provence and Italy and St Nicholas fort are all simultaneously attacked, by huge numbers of Ottoman soldiers. The few remaining defenders are merely able to defend all the sectors. After a day of furious fighting during which the Spanish Sector changed hand twice and several over sectors are captured and recaptured, including the Tower of Spain, Suleiman calls off the attack. Over 15,000 Turks died in the attack.

    Morale is at an all time low for the Ottomans but in an attempt to regain morale, Suleiman orders the execution of Piri Pasha, the execution however is postponed. Although many high commanders are still executed.

    By this point with a bunch off attacks by the Ottomans all of which failed Sultan Suleiman is close to abandoning the siege. But the knights are in a extremely dire situation too, only around 1,000 defender remain and barely any gunpowder.

    The Portugise Lord Chancellor D'Amaral betrays the knights in a attempt to save his life, and informs the Ottomans of the dire situation the knights are in. However he is caught by the knights and hanged on the 5th of November. Several new Ottoman attacks are made, all of them quite unsuccessful. The Ottomans loose over 3,000 in one of the attacks.

    The damage to the walls are irreparable, and the citizens of the city demands a truce. The Grandmaster, after much doubt, agrees to their demands. The Turks then offer the knights a truce but the Grandmaster declines, bad idea. The Ottomans reply with another attack on the walls. The knights hold out but are forced into the city.

    The Turks then now demanded a surrender, saying that they will take the city and the knights are free to leave with all their relics, people, and civilians, no pillages, no rapes, the city will be completely unharmed. The grandmaster agrees to the generous terms.

    Rhodes, 1523


    On New Years Day 1523 the knights leave the city. 2 days later, they sail away from Rhodes never to return together with thousands of Rhodesian civilians.

    ~

    All in all a Ottomans victory but, if you look at the numbers, really there was no victor.

    The knights

    More than 75% of the total number of knights. Most of the militia is wiped out and not over 900 men in total remain after the siege. Hundreds of civilians are also killed by gunfire during the siege.

    The Ottomans

    The Ottoman losses are very hard to calculate, but according to most reliable sources, the Ottomans lost over 45,000 (if not 50,000) men whilst fighting. Another source say they lost at least 50,000 men from different illnesses in camp according to one of the Turkish pashas.

    Wikipedia states they last around 20,000

    Europe, 1530

    The Knights Hospitaller initially moved to Sicily, but in 1530 obtained the islands of Malta and Gozo and the North African port city of Tripoli in fief from Emperor Charles V.

    ~

    If your interested in the Siege of Rhodes maybe you'd like there books:



    ~

    As always I hope you enjoyed this short (yes short) article and it wasn't drop dead boring
    Please feel free to comment and tell me how I might be able to make this article better.

    Carl von
    Döbeln has supplied me with some great pictures of Rhodes' defenses:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    The Italian tower, also known as the Caretto Tower, named in honor of Grandmaster Caretto.



    The italian section of the eastern wall






    A cannon position in the english or italian wall.




    The remains of one of the english towers.




    The Gate of Emery D'Amboise. You can see the grandmasters palace in the background.


    The remains of the southern english bastion









    The spanish/french defence bastion ( also used by the english during the 1522 siege). Notice the possible siege tunnels at the bottom of the picture.














    Anthonios gate...




    Other defence sections....

    ( french/german)








    The grand english bastion












    The outer defence wall





    The spanish bastion















    ~

    There was some troubles with info, there where no official sources for the siege and due to that there was lots of confusion with events, troop numbers ect.

    The following explains this more in detail (written by Carl)

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    It is obvious that the manipulation of information and reshaping of news is neither an invention nor something exclusive to the society we today live in. Very often, even eye witnesses will supply conflicting info about one and the same event, much more so if they belong to different sides.

    One must be cautious especially where sizes, numbers, military forces and casualties are concerned. For example, reports about the size of the Turkish fleet that attacked Rhodes in 1480 vary between 100 and 160 ships. The numbers for 1522 are between 250 and 700 ships. What should one really believe when only a few decades later the infamous Spanish armada numbered "only" 160 ships?

    The armies who attacked and laid siege to Rhodes are reported to have been between 100.000-200.000 men strong. Some simple arithmetic shows that, if the numbers are accurate, 40 Turks corresponded to every meter of the 4.5 km circumference of the walls!

    As for the casualties, the Turks were loosing anything up to 7.000 men in each assault, not counting the casualties. Numbers are, however, to be taken with a big, if not huge, pinch of salt, even if the soldiers at the time were not much more than "expandable assets". The strong temptation to exaggerate the losses of the vanquished in order to maximize the glory of the victor, is as always present and obvious.

    The original sources are sometimes of poor quality, and it is often hard to make anything out from them. Historians during the 18th and 19th century tried to untangle the mess, but they sadly just made things worse.

    Modern historians, like Eric Brockman and Elias Kollias, have recognized the problem of sources, but they have nonetheless tried to figure out a somewhat accurate number. They (at least Kollias) state that the ottoman force that attacked and laid siege to Rhodes in 1522 was between 60.000 - 100.000 men strong. However, even that number should be taken with a pinch of salt

    Thanks

    ~ Carl

    ~

    +Credits+

    Carl von Döbeln- Could not have done it with out him, great job at providing me with very useful info
    LordFarwell- For finding good resources
    Myself- I wrote... I'll stop their as to not sound too big headed


    Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum

    Last edited by FabianScarus; July 28, 2010 at 08:35 PM.


  2. #2
    FabianScarus's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    I will be improving this article for a while so look out for changes!


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    Manuel I Komnenos's Avatar Rex Regum
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Nice one..
    I've lived in the island of Kos, near Rhodes for 3 years.. Kos was also controlled by the Knights Hospitaller and they have built awesome castles in both Kos and Rhodes..
    Under the patronage of Emperor Maximinus Thrax

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    FabianScarus's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel I Komnenos View Post
    Nice one..
    I've lived in the island of Kos, near Rhodes for 3 years.. Kos was also controlled by the Knights Hospitaller and they have built awesome castles in both Kos and Rhodes..
    Yah I'd like to see any of those islands, although mum has been hinting for a while that we will vacation in the Netherlands.


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    Inhuman One's Avatar Tribunus
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    The Netherlands have some points of interest as well.

    Near Lelystad we have the Bataviawerf where the rebuild VOC ship the Batavia lies and can be visited. They are also in the process of rebuilding the zeven Provinciëen, the flagship of Michiel de Ruyter, the greatest admiral we ever had.

    The Rijksmuseum is also worth visiting, to see the Nachtwacht and many other famous paintings of well known Dutch artists. I believe there is also an egyptian wing. In the vacation I plan to go there myself, havent been there yet. Its in Amsterdam.

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    FabianScarus's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by Inhuman One View Post
    The Netherlands have some points of interest as well.

    Near Lelystad we have the Bataviawerf where the rebuild VOC ship the Batavia lies and can be visited. They are also in the process of rebuilding the zeven Provinciëen, the flagship of Michiel de Ruyter, the greatest admiral we ever had.

    The Rijksmuseum is also worth visiting, to see the Nachtwacht and many other famous paintings of well known Dutch artists. I believe there is also an egyptian wing. In the vacation I plan to go there myself, havent been there yet. Its in Amsterdam.
    Interesting, although she is also hinting toward Ireland, I hate it when she hints lol.


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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Nice article, but moral should be morale (+E).

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    white-wolf's Avatar Auxiliarius
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Wow, very good and objective article.

    Are you sure the attacking Ottoman army was not 2.000.000 instead of 200.000? And I heard that their losses were 500.000!
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    charles the hammer's Avatar Kamikaze
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by white-wolf View Post
    Wow, very good and objective article.

    Are you sure the attacking Ottoman army was not 2.000.000 instead of 200.000? And I heard that their losses were 500.000!
    Sarcasm is not necessary if you do not believe the numbers then bring some yourself.



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    white-wolf's Avatar Auxiliarius
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by charles the hammer View Post
    Sarcasm is not necessary if you do not believe the numbers then bring some yourself.
    The maximum number of army Ottoman could bring in ANY LAND campaign was 100-150 thousands. And OP is talking here an SEA campaign.

    In the light of Objectivity the auothor shows (Is there any chance of him as a member of Rhodes knights?) here that I do not belive his numbers.
    In tribute to concerned friends:
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    "...the gang rapists apprehended in india have more rights to speak here than turks" -ash874

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    charles the hammer's Avatar Kamikaze
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by white-wolf View Post
    The maximum number of army Ottoman could bring in ANY LAND campaign was 100-150 thousands. And OP is talking here an SEA campaign.

    In the light of Objectivity the auothor shows (Is there any chance of him as a member of Rhodes knights?) here that I do not belive his numbers.
    Still its hard to take it seriously without some sort of source to give a "real" number.
    edit: I looked it up on wiki and it gives about 100,000 and its source so I guess its could be.
    Last edited by charles the hammer; July 23, 2010 at 03:16 AM.



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    FabianScarus's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Rahl View Post
    Nice article, but moral should be morale (+E).
    Thanks I'll fix that.


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    FabianScarus's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by white-wolf View Post
    The maximum number of army Ottoman could bring in ANY LAND campaign was 100-150 thousands. And OP is talking here an SEA campaign.

    In the light of Objectivity the auothor shows (Is there any chance of him as a member of Rhodes knights?) here that I do not belive his numbers.
    If you don't believe the numbers take it out on Carl von Döbeln, he provided me with the numbers... or for that matter the Knights themselves (I'm serious the numbers are from their web page- www.osjknights.com/historyp.htm)
    Last edited by FabianScarus; July 23, 2010 at 03:25 AM.


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    clandestino's Avatar Sagittarius
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Are you sure the attacking Ottoman army was not 2.000.000 instead of 200.000? And I heard that their losses were 500.000!
    I agree with white-wolf, numbers seem to be highly exaggerated and I seriously doubt that Ottomans could muster more then 100,000 men in any occasion. At Mohacs 4 years later and at Ridanye 5 years before Ottoman army was about 60,000 men ( I doubt this number too ).
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    dogukan's Avatar Auxiliarius
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    And this is a sea campaign...no one in the right mind would bring most of his soldiers to an island where their mobilization in case some invasion happens is very low...and also hard to feed. This is 16th century, how can you feed 200 000 soldiers on an island? We are talking about Rhodes, not England.
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    FabianScarus's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    All right all right, I'll have a word with Carl and check and recheck the troop numbers on all resources I can find.

    EDIT: It seems the Knights grossly over exaggerated the troop numbers. Sources say 60,000 not 200,000 I'll fix that ASAP... darn lying Knights. Sorry for the error, looks like I wont get any more of my Hospitaller info from www.osjknights.com/ lol
    Last edited by FabianScarus; July 23, 2010 at 05:08 AM.


  17. #17
    martyr's Avatar Taihō no heishi
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    that osjknights website is a load of conspiracy crap!

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    Manuel I Komnenos's Avatar Rex Regum
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Yeah, Rhodes population by then would be less than 50.000 people, how would you have 150.000 soldiers besieging the island?
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  19. #19
    charles the hammer's Avatar Kamikaze
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel I Komnenos View Post
    Yeah, Rhodes population by then would be less than 50.000 people, how would you have 150.000 soldiers besieging the island?
    They really wanted that island.



  20. #20
    Manuel I Komnenos's Avatar Rex Regum
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    Default Re: Siege of Rhodes (1522)

    Quote Originally Posted by charles the hammer View Post
    They really wanted that island.
    60.000 seem more logical to me with just 20.000 men able to fight, the other 40.000 being just slaves/sailors..
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