I wasn't really needed until we received the news on the 12th of October, year of our Lord 1510. Persia had decided to war with the fearful Ottoman Turks and it was this event that stirred us into action.
"So, back into the breach yet again, Marshal? It was the Turcopolier, well, the new one anyways. The officers all come and go, except me that is.
"Yes. We have been idle far too long. It is about time we once again did God's will."
I sounded more sure of myself than I actually was. I wondered what God really would want.
No matter, I had my orders. The armies would march after the census taxes but I would head to Lebanon while Phillipe de L'Isle Adam would lead our forces in Tunisia against the Algierians. A brilliant commander, I learned much of the more modern siege techniques from him and he would be facing the far more difficult task than I for he was outnumbered nearly 3 to 1 and as for Turkish opposition, we knew of none but certainly that wouldn't be true.
This would also test this new alliance we had joined. We counted Spain, Poland, and Moldavia as our allies.
I will say this, I liked Lebanon far more than Rhodes. The people here were mainly Christians though I would not exactly call them Catholic as there were many Monophysites but they certainly were more friendly then the oft-times overtaxed Rhodesians. The same was true in areas for Egypt, where Coptic branches of the Christian church survived. All-in-all, our religious clout was high and with the reinstitution of the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem the Knights had a great say on matters in Roma especially with the Pope seeming more interested in secular matters than spiritual. With a bit of luck and faith, we might see the Patriarchate of Antioch (Aleppo province) among our holdings.
I had an aide this war for Jacques Gatineau arrived in January as we began our march to Judea and we besieged this on the 16th. Unfortunately, I abandoned this when a mighty Turkish army besieged Syria. This, I felt would be the decisive battle of this war.
Our mounted turcopolier scouts, not to be confused with The Turcopolier, reported that the enemy numbered equal to our own forces 30,000 to 30,000 but that they seemed to be unaware of us.
"Well, I could split the army and try to break them with a charge or I can wait for the infantry and deploy a proper battle formation but risk them becoming aware of us."
Jacques replied, "You have ever been a bold man. Why change this now? I can deploy the infantry and our arquebusiers when they arrive."
"Okay, do this." A plan was forming. "Deploy our gunners in a line and have the pike mainly on the flanks. I want them in squares naturally and they will guard against outflanking. I want the halberdiers and those Swiss mercenaries, the ones with those great swords..."
"The Landsknecht?" Jacques offered.
"Ah yes, that is it. They shall take the center. Hopefully, the Turks will avoid the pikes on the flanks and attack the center. The marksman should be able to pour fire into enemy formations and when the Turks near them the halberdiers shall cover them and those Landsknecht will attack. Then, signal the pike to attack their flank and what is left of us cavalry will attack the rear. Sound good?"
"A line of marksman, they will be swept away if the halberds fail."
"True, but in a line they all can fire. They are not firing with bows. They can't all fire in a square, no?"
"True enough, it will be done, Marshal"
The charge went brilliantly and the effect on enemy morale was considerable but the enemy rallied quicker than I had hoped and we could not scatter them. I ordered the Knights further forward and deep into the Turkish camp. To add to the mayhem, we burned what we could and then I ordered the withdrawl.
The Turks were no fools but they were rather light on cavalry. Their Janissaries formed up and marched ahead to the infantry's formation. Murderous reports tore into the infidels ranks before their own superior marksmen began to reply and our marksmen began to waver. The Turks smelled victory and charged what seemed to be a disintegrating center but instead charged headlong into halberd spikes. Then those fierce Swiss entered the fray, inflicting further pain on the enemy. The well-drilled pike began to march to attack the flanks and I gave the order to charge, "Ready lances! Remember brothers, God is with us!"
The crash intense and forced these hapless infidel forward into the men ahead of them. As the mass moved forward and men were thrown into men, they increasingly found less room to fight in. Eventually, the charge could no longer be sustained and the lances had been discarded for swords, maces, flails and picks. Surrounded and pressed in on all sides and with no room to fight the Turks broke and very few could escape the net the enveloped them but then I heard shots fired. The fool ordered them to fire into the melee! It turns out that he ordered them to cover the flanks to fire upon the enemy stragglers which was well as the horses were too exhausted to permit a real pursuit.
Yet, it was a great victory against a foes that were supposed to be superior to us in all ways. I will not bore you with insignificant battles against newly recruited forces or of sieges but below is a brief chronology of events.
Aleppo besieged and falls May 15th.
We shatter a sieging force of Turks in Syria (15,700/7,800/30) against (23,000/0/0) and send the remants of this infantry mass to Judea.
This shaken enemy force is followed to Judea and is attacked, breaks and with no place to flee is destroyed.
Phillipe de L'Isle Adam attacks in Algiers.
Judea falls November 14th and relive Syria yet again.
I march our forces to Adana and Polish army are ravaging European Turkish holdings.
Poland takes Dobrudja and leave us alone to fight the Turks.
March 7th, L'Isle Adam takes Kabylia and marches to Al-Djazair where he is trounced by a 55,000 man force and forced to Kabylia and then to Tunisia.
Adana falls on November 11th and gives our losses in men terms for peace are giving to the Turks and peace is given and we gain Judea and Kabylia on November 12th.
I looked forward to a little rest after this trying campaign but news of the Grand Commander's death reaches me and I am forced to sail back to Rhodes.