Imperial Spain vs Ottoman Empire

#1
As far as I recall these two power houses never met in open battle, maybe Naval battles but the Ottomans only ever faced the Austrian branch of Habsburgs but not the Spanish.

I'm wondering if 16th Century Imperial Spain met the Ottomans in field warfare, head on, no logistical advantages either way, who would likely be the victor?

I think its a tough one on the one hand you have the elite Tercio pike squares, Spanish Conquistador type cavalry, Spanish Sword & Buckler, Muskets etc vs Ottoman Jannisary corp, Sipahi Cavalry and Turkic hit and run tactics alongside and Imperial Kapikulu core.

I can't think of a bigger head on from two super powers since the Romans went head to head with the Parthian's ......... in fact I would say this would of been bigger than that all things considered.

My personal view ...........

Tercio's would be hard to stop, no one really managed it in Europe until the development by the Dutch of increasing the front firing lines for more muskets so I find it difficult to imagine the Turks even the Jannisary managing to halt their advance ........ however.
The Tercio's are quite sluggish and the Ottomans possessed not only a well drilled Jannisary musket and archer line, but also mobile horse archers firing in from the flanks so the Tercio gunners would of had spread targets all across the front and flanks which isn't great for them not to be able to concentrate their fire.

Cavalry wise again Spanish conquistador type Demi lancers vs Sipahi would be a thoroughly interesting match up, Spanish Demi-lancers at this time were not the lapsing behind France and England the way they may of been in the 14th or even early 15th Century, Spanish lancers at this stage were high level, the Sipahi have always been good quality and then we have the Kapikulu Sipahi and Silahdar which should be a match for any Spanish Cavalry.

Infantry wise I'd have to side with Jannisary polearms and Kilij infantry over the Spanish Sword & Buckler, as much as I know their skill was elite with the sword I think the fierceness and in particular the Jannisary polearm orta would have an advantage.
If it were Spanish Rodelero vs Jannisary Kilij its very tough but I'd fancy the expertise swordsmanship of the Spanish although again the Jannisary Kilij is deadly and they are likely to be tougher.

Any thoughts on how this would turn out based on the quality of their armies at this juncture?
 
Oct 2017
161
Poland
#2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Keresztes
"Spain"



I think you overestimate the Spanish army (Turkish too). It probably did not differ significantly from the Austrian one. In addition, the Austrians were probably better suited for fighting in the east than the Spaniards.

The scenario you have presented is some gladiators' fight. It does not have much to do with the practice of what wars were like.


The question remains: which side did better in the Austro-Turkish wars? They were so strange that I do not know what the answer is.
 
Jul 2018
262
London
#3
This is an interesting question.

I think that the Spanish army at that time was slightly better then the Austrian Habsburgs forces but the wars in the Balkans have been for a long time a world of their own, with military and political peculiarities.#
In my opinion the overall results should not have been much different from what happened historically.

It would have been a lot different, though, if there would have been a proper "crusade", with forces from all Europe in a coalition to push the Ottomans out of Europe and move on to Turkey and Jerusalem.
If France and Spain managed to set aside their divergences and focus on the Ottoman Empire, then history could have been much different, with the OE not making into the 19th century.

-------------------
Millennium 7
 
Nov 2010
7,332
Cornwall
#4
https://www.casadellibro.com/libro-...-choque-de-dos-gigantes/9788441425187/1726360

You could try reading that which I have somewhere, about the 200-year clash between the two empires. Unfortunately, like many books on Spanish History, I don't think it's translated into English

It basically says - 'The war of the Turk, Espana against the Ottoman Empire, Clash of 2 giants'

As for posts above - how on earth could the 2 field armies in one place on an equal level? Never going to happen.

Milenium 7 - don't confuse religion with politics, economics and territorial claims. France was often in league with the Ottomans against Spain. And the Holy League only got together for Lepanto - most of the time Spain and Venice were on fairly enemistic terms too. It has rarely been the case of co-religionists always sticking together
 
Likes: sparky
#5
As for posts above - how on earth could the 2 field armies in one place on an equal level? Never going to happen.
The reason it was put that way is because I was trying to canvass opinion on which military had the superior system and quality of army, not logistical advantage.

The way you say it is like both armies didn't even exist in the same period, e.g who would of ever thought an Arab / Berber army would fight the Franks due to their starting location?? or the Mongols fight a European army??

Yes the two Empires were not neighbours but what if they both landed 50,000 troops on Sicily and had a pitched battle or if the Ottomans marched on Spanish held Naples?

To be fair I don't see why its so ludicrous for you to imagine, Spain had armies in Italy for years, Italy is a stone throw away from Turkey.
 
Last edited:
#6
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Keresztes
"Spain"



I think you overestimate the Spanish army (Turkish too). It probably did not differ significantly from the Austrian one. In addition, the Austrians were probably better suited for fighting in the east than the Spaniards.

The scenario you have presented is some gladiators' fight. It does not have much to do with the practice of what wars were like.


The question remains: which side did better in the Austro-Turkish wars? They were so strange that I do not know what the answer is.
Overestimate the Spanish army? ........ the Spanish Empire was the greatest in the world alongside the Ottomans.

The Spanish defeated the much feared French on numerous occasions in Italy, their armies clashed with the best warriors on the continent such as the Swiss, the Spanish Tercio revolutionized warfare in Europe and were said at their time to be almost unstoppable and had an Empire ranging from territories in Italy to the America's and influenced central Europe all the way to the Netherlands.

The Ottomans had an Empire from Iraq, the whole of North Africa, Arabia and up to the Balkans, they had some of the finest soldiers in the world they defeated both an Eastern European coalition of Hungry, Austria and the surrounding kingdoms in the West, while holding down the Safavid Empire in the East.

.................. and you think they're overestimated??
 
Nov 2010
7,332
Cornwall
#7
The reason it was put that way is because I was trying to canvass opinion on which military had the superior system and quality of army, not logistical advantage.

The way you say it is like both armies didn't even exist in the same period, e.g who would of ever thought an Arab / Berber army would fight the Franks due to their starting location?? or the Mongols fight a European army??

Yes the two Empires were not neighbours but what if they both landed 50,000 troops on Sicily and had a pitched battle or if the Ottomans marched on Spanish held Naples?

To be fair I don't see why its so ludicrous for you to imagine, Spain had armies in Italy for years, Italy is a stone throw away from Turkey.
The berbers at Poitiers were fighting the Franks away from home, point made!

One characteristic of the Spanish 'army' is that it was rarely a large army. It was stretched around the western world on a vast array of commitments, which it neither had money nor numbers available to meet.

Because the Ottoman set up was entirely different, they were known to put large armies in the field. (Vienna, Malta etc)

Oh and if you look at the numbers of the armies under El Gran Capitan in Italy, numbers were small
 
Jul 2018
262
London
#8
Milenium 7 - don't confuse religion with politics, economics and territorial claims. France was often in league with the Ottomans against Spain. And the Holy League only got together for Lepanto - most of the time Spain and Venice were on fairly enemistic terms too. It has rarely been the case of co-religionists always sticking together
Definitely! I was only playing the what if game!

The probabilities of Spain and France being allied are close to nil. Their national interest was the exact opposite, so what could be attained was an uneasy truce at best.
I was just playing with the "what if" game. If there was going to be some superior interest that could pin down the whole of Christendom against the Turks. In this case I think that the Christians were going to have the upper hand.

---------------------------
Millennium 7
 

Similar History Discussions