Imperial Spain vs Ottoman Empire

Oct 2017
169
Poland
@hborrgg


I did not feel offended

Sometimes I also write something in a provocative way for the purpose of discussion, although ultimately the most important thing is to reach the truth.



I think the "eastern" way of war or at least their lack of interest in pike squares like in the west is perhaps better defined by a preference for using cavalry to keep foot arquebusiers safe rather than pikemen. If a company of foot arquebusiers was standing completely exposed out in the open then good cavalry could keep them safe by driving enemy cavalry off the field, the cavalry's presence helped encourage the enemy infantry to remain safely hidden behind their defenses instead of counter-attacking while the arquebusiers and artillery got close, or the cavalry could help keep the enemy from attacking while the arquebusiers secured favorable positions and started digging in.

Yes. When I imagined an abstract scenario of fighting between "purely eastern" and "purely western infantry", it looked like this: Tercios stand in a convenient position, not sheltered by any field fortifications, but on a hill, as in many battles. They can not really count on cavalry support because the eastern cavalry wins with the Spanish. Tercio has an advantage over eastern infantry in close combat in the open field - thanks to armored pikemen. Eastern infantry has more flexibility and firepower. The Eastern army uses these advantages while keeping at a distance from the enemy. When it comes to melee combat, the eastern infantry fights among trenches, trees or wagons, where bardiches, sabers, spears and axes can gain an advantage over too long pikes. The eastern army should win such a battle and in fact I would say that history confirms it, but there has never been a battle that perfectly met this abstract scenario. In addition, both armies would have to be well commanded here, otherwise there was chaos on the battlefield and various random things could happen. And if the western army has a better commander and morale, it should win.
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
Recently I started to read Andrew Wheatcroft's The Enemy at the Gate : Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe. It was about the AD 1683 Siege of Vienna and what happened afterward. This book really give me much insight and new perspectives.

I'm completely terrified by the "excessively fastidious and luxurious" Ottoman military camp. Talking about the camp, you usually associate with those simple white tents or pavillons hastily erected on the line of march, a rambling disorder, timber piles of campfire, the boring scenery...

However, the Ottoman army's camp was terrifyingly amazing and wonderful — troops didn't need to forage or life off the land, the fresh stewed sheep meat would be delivered after butchery, with abundant of rice and flour, and soldiers could merrily enjoy them in the specific "meal tent" at every night. The Sultan and the magistrates' pavilions were the magnificent art of beauty, filled with embroidery hangs, carpets and fabrics, like the grand museum of needlework. Even soldiers' simple tent was well-made with wool and comfortable.

In addition, there're various sorts of camps for different purposes and functions, such as ritual execution, latrines, bathing, dining, reception, store chamber, audience chamber, even the sultan's horse had his own tent ! (how finicky was !)

The soldiers' weapon like spear, bow, quiver of arrows, musket weren't need to be carried by themselves personally, but by the large number of camels, or carts pulled by two pullocks for each one. There're thousands of tent pitchers and tent makers in service, with probably equal amount of tent embroiders sewed them beforehand. There're probably 15,000 of such tents prepared for the 1683 Campaign ! It's just like the "City of Pavilions".

Maoistic, you claimed that the Spanish Empire could shatter the Ottoman Empire alone within 5 years. But would you really insist this viewpoint after realizing the Ottoman Empire had owned such powerful capability in logistical management extending to every the slightest detail that the Western nations' army would never dream of ?

That was the powerful organizational structure and extraordinary preparation of the Ottoman military force. And that was why the Ottoman Empire was able to sustain the provision and morale of the troops so huge gathered throughout every corner of the empire.
 
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Oct 2017
169
Poland
I don't know about him, but I for one, am curious to see the sources, any example is good.

Maoistic questioned my opinion about armies fighting in Wimpfen 1622. I used shortcut words like "inept". If you do not believe that those armies really were inept, then to what I have already translated, I will add more translations. If it's just about stating the studies on which I base my claims, it is:
"Wojna Trzydziestoletnia (2)" ["Thirty-Years War volume 2"] by W. Biernacki.
I've already given it, but it may have escaped you, because the discussion is long.



As for the strength of the Polish army, most of my posts on this forum revolve around this topic. By clicking on my profile and displaying all my posts, you'll find a lot of information on this topic. Another method is to read this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FTKXmG306ogTJ97Xng2lz-mmcK2hQ4RjBJ0Nvz-J7Z4/edit

If you want to know the details of some battle, or know where I got the information from, ask me about it.

If you want a short answer, I will quote below some of the key things I wrote in various places:


"If we take a 17th century army and an Ancient Roman army, prohibit the use of black powder and give everybody the best quality equipment and horses, Romans would still lose against 17th century tactics.

Also, in 17th century all present and historical tactics, which were known anywhere in Europe, were also known in Poland, but some tactics were known only in eastern Europe and in 18th century even Poles themselves forgot them. Army of Józef Poniatowski, who defeated Austria in 1809, would be destroyed by a 17th century Polish army, even if he had a little numerical superiority. And I’m giving Poniatowski the technology from 1812, while the opponent would use the 17th century technology.

I think people from the end of 18th century were quite open-minded. They simply lived in an environment of worse military tactics. Some things in the 19th century were rediscovered. In the wars with Turkey in the second half of the 19th century, Russians apparently invented the tactics of entrenching themselves while approaching the enemy. But their ancestors knew it already in the first half of the 17th century, and then they apparently forgot.

In the 15th century some innovations(guns, field fortifications, paid soldiers) have taken root sooner east of the Elbe than in the West.

What caused the disproportion of art of war in 15-17th century Europe? I won’t go into details here, but in my opinion it can be briefly described as a barrier to communication. At that time countries like Italy, Spain or Netherlands were shaping the common understanding of Europe about war. They had large cities which were centers of cultural life. And even to inhabitants of Polish cities(kings included) the culture of Polish nobility was somewhat alien. But a Polish nobleman was in contact with local martial traditions, then he studied at Western military academies, and then commanded Western mercenaries against an enemy using similar mercenaries. Europe west of Elbe had very limited contact with Polish, Ottoman and Russian art of war, but Swedish army was under eastern influence. Although Swedes did poorly against Poland and Russia, in the West their art of war was proclaimed a military revolution."



"Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski was a man of his time. An era of such brutal, numerous and complicated wars as never before or after. In such a situation, the greatest commanders are born."


"In short, my argument for Lubomirski is:

-PL 16th/17th cent. commanders and soldiers on average were better than average commanders and soldiers of all other societies.
-The best PL commanders and soldiers in that period were better than everyone else in history.
-Lubomirski defeated Sobieski.
-What Żółkiewski and Chodkiewicz did well, Lubomirski did even better.
-Lubomirski is the most suitable for the symbol of Polish nobles' art of war.
-Therefore he is the best commander in history."


" This war showed how a large army would defend Poland against invasion if there was a political motivation for it. In years 1648-51 probably over 500,000 men fought on both sides and I don’t count ally Tatars."



"Polish cavalry had higher quality of soldiers and commanders than the opponent. In addition, if the Poles wanted, they could always mobilize more cavalry than the enemy. Very often they were content with a qualitative advantage, but they always had the option of advantage both in quality and quantity at the same time."



"Although there are many unknown things, it can be said that armies involved in these wars were very large. Already in the fifteenth century, larger armies were swarming across Europe to the east of the Elbe than in the west. Then such battles as Grunwald 1410 or Belgrade 1456 took place. In the 16th century, we have the Muscovite-Lithuanian War 1512-22, or the campaigns of Batory, who sent over 200,000 men into Russia."



"There was an easy way to stop the Turkish army. One had to bar their way and stand until the Turks would come home for the winter. That is why the Polish plan assumed starving a larger army with a smaller army.

The strength of the Ottomans was overestimated, because about 200,000 men came to Khotyn, but in 1621 Poland had some 300,000 men under arms. But ultimately everything went according to plan, and probably 70,000-80,000 men were located in the Khotyn trenches."
 
Likes: macon
Mar 2012
4,405
"Although there are many unknown things, it can be said that armies involved in these wars were very large. Already in the fifteenth century, larger armies were swarming across Europe to the east of the Elbe than in the west. Then such battles as Grunwald 1410 or Belgrade 1456 took place. In the 16th century, we have the Muscovite-Lithuanian War 1512-22, or the campaigns of Batory, who sent over 200,000 men into Russia."



"There was an easy way to stop the Turkish army. One had to bar their way and stand until the Turks would come home for the winter. That is why the Polish plan assumed starving a larger army with a smaller army.

The strength of the Ottomans was overestimated, because about 200,000 men came to Khotyn, but in 1621 Poland had some 300,000 men under arms. But ultimately everything went according to plan, and probably 70,000-80,000 men were located in the Khotyn trenches."
Are these quotes from the book
"Wojna Trzydziestoletnia (2)" ["Thirty-Years War volume 2"] by W. Biernacki or are you just rephrasing them?


People don't realize that Poland is the third most populous state in all of Europe; surpassed only by Russia and France in 1600. Sweden, Poland, and Russia were all military powerhouses mobilizing much larger armies than most Western European powers and had more mobile and experienced cavalry forces.



It's arguable whether any of them were militarily weaker than Spain was at the turn of the 16th century. A Western European centric history would have people believe that Spain was the foremost military power in the world due to its global empire. Yet its arguable that Spain even had the most powerful army in Europe when we consider the three powers of Eastern Europe, never mind the rest of Asia.
 
Oct 2017
169
Poland
@heavenlykaghan


Those quotes are from what I wrote myself on the basis of many secondary and primary sources. Look what I wrote in the last post: "If you want a short answer, I will quote below some of the key things I wrote in various places". All what I wrote next is a collection of qoutes from me. It's just to give you a quick look on my thesis.
 
Mar 2019
52
Belgium
-Firstly Austria was never a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. It's true that royal Hungary had to pay a "tribute" to turks but in fact they never respected this treaty.
- The defeat at Lepanto was a total disaster for the ottomans who never recovered their loss. 30 years later a little spanish fleet will destroy a larger ottoman naval army in two battles and very easily : battle of cap celidonia and battle of cape corvo . The ottoman naval technology was inferior (after the battle of lepanto and malta) of it's european counterpart
- Until 1690s, the gap between ottoman army and european armies was inexistant (same technology level).
-In 18th century Ottoman Empire was more a joke
- Since the end of 1760s Ottoman Empire was not really independent but more a anglo-french-austro-prussian puppet state. An buffer zone against russian expansion

In the 16th century there were two major power in Europe :

The Hasburgh empire : no spanish, no German
The Ottoman Empire : no Turkish
 
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