Tricorns and Turbans

We've been hammering at the Jacobite games a bit and I think the team may be getting a bit jaded with them. It was time for a change. I've been working on my Ottoman armies recently after a bit of a break. This is a project that is about 12 months behind where it should be and so I took the opportunity to put out everything I'd painted recently.

I think that the core elements of "Tricorn and Bonnet" will work for these chaps, so I spent half an hour adding some rules for light cavalry and so on and then set the thing up.

Tim and I took the Austrians to the left, whilst Phil & Chris had the Ottomans.  This gave me the chance to see what I'd actually got and how it looked on the table. It turned out I had fewer Sipahis and Akinci that I thought. I did a quick fix on the Akinci by rebasing from 3 on a base to 2, but I wasn't able to finish the three units of Sipahis and supporting heavy cavalry in time. The Austrians are short on light horse, so I need to get on with some more Hussar conversions. I also need more Austrian foot and some more battalion guns.

The traditional opening barrage by both sides results in a bit of disorder being inflicted.

Both sides close with each other. That left flank of ours looks a bit of a problem. We might be exposed to some encirclement. You'll note that the Austrian cuirassiers are being deployed double sized compared to my normal cavalry units.

We start to open up with the musketry at long range. It has mixed results.

Phil launches the first cavalry charge of the game. Our men trot up and discharge their pistols on contact. It has some effect, and would have been decisive if only our men were more confident.

When both charges are resolved it has gone okay for Tim. He has driven off both units of Sipahis -  in fact I think the far unit was so surprised by the pistol fire that it aborted the charge and fell back before contact.

The Janissaries (they have flags) got into a fire fight with Tim's infantry. Chris starts to envelope our right as I push forwards ahead of the woods protecting our flank,

Phil does a pincer on Tim's Hussars with two units of Akinci. It doesn't end well. 

On my flank the Ottoman Azab infantry close with my Austrians. A fierce fire fight ensues.

Tim's left hand cuirassiers are chasing off Phil's Sipahis. They no longer have smoke as they paused to reload their pistols. The other cuirassiers and Sipahis are engaged in a standoff.

At my end we continue to blaze away at each other through the thickening smoke.

A two pronged attack on my right hand unit sees them broken in the melee.

The other end of the table is more of a standoff. However, out of the picture Phil's Akinci are swinging round to get in the army's flank and rear. Tim moves some infantry across to cover.

At least now my unit has routed I can fire at Chris' infantry with my artillery.

Tim holds off one Akinci attack with a volley of musketry, whilst more Ottoman cavalry sweep round our rear. Time to start forming square.

As my flank starts to collapse I also have to create a flank guard.

Tim's weaker cuirassier unit succumbs to a combined Sipahi and Akinci attack. Phil was hoping that this would cause a general collapse of the infantry line. He's played versions of these rules often enough to know that you need to threaten a unit with an actual attack to trigger a response.

Even so I've called an Ottoman victory at that point with both flanks crumbling and Ottoman cavalry marauding in our rear.

Here's a close up of the other end of the table. I know those infantry are Bavarians not Austrians, but I needed to supplement the numbers and I wanted to give the redcoats a rest.

All things considered it went really well. There are some issues for me to resolve in my understanding around Ottoman infantry tactics and Austria battlefield doctrine, but it looked good and played well and had a different feel to the Jacobite games. So, a successful evening.


  1. I'm very glad that I stumbled on this post as I am slowly working on SYW Ottoman and Russian armies in 28mm, and have enough to do a battle on a smaller scale than what you've done here (which looks great BTW). I haven't found a set of SYW rules that includes the Ottomans. Could you say more about Turbans and Tricornes? Is it in development? Thanks, Michael

    1. "Tricorn and Turban" if they make the light of day formally will be for late 17th/early 18th century and will be for the Prince Eugene campaigns. How much warfare will have changed by the SYW I don't know, as I'm not looking that far forwards. I'm guessing that the Russians won't be as sophisticated as Frederick the great, so they might work for you, although it would be after the updating of Ottoman armies by the first wave of French mercenary officers. They are in development as rules in as much as they've had their first run out. After that it is just the long slog to get them into shape. I have to finish "Tricorn and Bonnet" first - which are several months behind - then I have some work to do on an ancients project tentatively entitles "Romans and their Rivals", which is a follow up to "Spartans and Successors". If you want to pick up more on how the rules work, have a look at the last few Jacobite rules. They're the starting point.

  2. A very interesting topic! I think the Ottomans are sadly neglected in the war games world, not that I can pass judgment. Years ago I was considering building an Ottoman Army for DBR - the late version. Manoeuvred like stink but not huge on hitting power. Solidest thing were my few shot-armed Janissaries Sh(F). But they did score a magnificent victory over Imperialists commanded by one Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, as my opponent was careful enough to inform me.

    I mention this because the feature of that game was (a) a large waterway on my right (and the edge of the world on my left), and rill running into the Danube between the two armies. My pinprick attacks bounced like rubber balls in a squash court, fortunately without much loss. The Janissaries were mainfully holding off enemy attacks, though their flanks were being forced back.

    It was all looking pretty blank for the Ottomans, but as the battle progressed, it was becoming noticeable that the Imperialists were losing cohesion - a feature of DBR that affected armies even in the tide of success. Came the moment at which gaps started to appear, and in went my 'fast Sipahi' horse. The subsequent collapse of the Imperial army, hastened by the demise of Count Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, was as spectacular as it was sudden.

    I mention this as it seemed to me the strength of the Ottoman army of the 17th and 18th centuries was by sharp manoeuvring to induce weaknesses in the more solid Western armies, and by fast moving, to exploit those weaknesses. The impression I have from your game is much the same. It was looking good for the Austrians early on, but once the flanks were turned or holes appeared in the line, the Ottomans could move quickly enough to work on those weaknesses.

    Only problem with DBR, was that, apart from a large dollop of luck, the Late Ottoman army was nigh on unplayable!

    1. I think the Ottomans win due to large numbers and enveloping cavalry. When Eugene starts to get local superiority, and sorts out cavalry counter tactics it all becomes more difficult for the Ottomans. I'd really like to know when the Ottomans started to use the bayonet, however.

    2. Really great game, looks a very interesting development - and perhaps a spur for me to do an C18 Ottoman army at some point. I am in no way knowledgeable, but IIRC I remember reading (Sam Mustafa possibly?) that Ottoman infantry was still relying on musket and sword rather than bayonet even during the Napoleonic Wars...

    3. I think I agree that I've seen a similar comment, but can't say where. I subscribe to Brent Nosworthy's tactics emails and there might be something in there.


Post a Comment