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Thread: Trial By Fire – The Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century

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    Trial By Fire – The Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century

    Trial By Fire – The Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century




    In 1836 the Ottoman Empire was a shell of its former self. Plagued by domestic issues and facing an increasingly hostile Russia and Egypt, it was a nation that faced destruction from with as well as without. At the time the fate of the Ottoman Empire was still uncertain. The Reforms by Mahmud II early in his reign proved unsuccessful, but the later part he was able to pass much more beneficial reforms and was a key figure in the turnaround of the Empire.

    With Mahmud II on the throne and his son, Abd-ul-Mejid to succeed him, the future of the Ottoman Empire looks bright as the reforms that were instated start to take shape and new reforms are in the near future. What that means for the cash strapped, technologically inferior nation of the near east is a chance to return to greatness.

    Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1840)




    The furthest extent of the Ottoman Empire




    The lands of the Ottoman Empire in 1836

    The Balkans and the western half of the Empire


    The eastern half of the Empire


    North Africa

    Last edited by sw_myers; 23-06-2005 at 08:01.
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
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  2. #2
    Alright, this is my first AAR so I hope it goes well.

    I will be playing VIP 4b and I will be playing on normal/normal. But don't be suprised if I get my butt handed to me.
    I have never played the Ottoman Empire before...ever. The only history I know so far is from looking it up on wikipedia. So I am pretty blind going into this and I hope that it will benefit my gameplay. Plus this is my first full game with VIP. So I am probably in for quite a few suprises.
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
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  4. #4
    Colonel BBBD's Avatar

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    Excellent, I look forward to watching.

    I want to play as the OE I just want to become a better player first.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by BBBD
    Excellent, I look forward to watching.

    I want to play as the OE I just want to become a better player first.
    Thanks, and I think I should have taken your advice! I'm not that great a player either...but I thought it would be fun.
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
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  6. #6
    The Problem with Reform



    While the Empires weakening military might was of interest to the major European powers, the real damage to the Ottoman state was being dealt to within its borders. The economy of the Empire was working at a pace that was almost 100 years behind that of the major European nations and as a result their finished goods were not highly sought after. Indeed the majority of the taxes within the Empire were derived from agricultural and mining enterprises. These goods were sent to Europe, processed and sold back to the Ottomans at prices the local craftsman and guilds could not compete with.

    The budget that was implemented by the Sultan was aimed at reversing the trend of negative income and creating reforms in order to help industrialize the Empire. The budget did achieve a small surplus but at the cost of a decentralization of the government. The portion of the budget that implemented the peace keeping and crime fighting aspects of the Empire was eliminated and local law enforcement was dependant on local leaders or Derebeyis. These derebeyis tended to hold sway over large areas of land, and were responsible for law enforcement and tax collection, a large portion of which never made it back to Istanbul. This situation created what was almost like a feudal system that was to eventually cause grief to future Sultans

    With the budget making a small surplus, the Sultan set his focus on the military and reforms that needed to be made there. While his plans would have been effective had they been put into use, the constraints of the Empires financial situation barred any substantial reforms fro being made. The Sultan, therefore, had to make due with spending what little he had in the state treasury to outfit and train 4 new infantry divisions and to increase the meager reserves to a few more thousand peasants. While probably not able to withstand the powers of Europe, the Ottoman Empire was equipped to at least intimidate their less civilized neighbors.
    Yet during this time not all was well socially or politically within the Empire. Locals farmers protested at the regional capitals demanding compensation. The new budget had affected the farmers as well since tariffs were hiked as high as the international community would allow. While this brought in needed income, the citizens felt the pinch as many goods were becoming more expensive or increasingly hard to come by. Of course the Derebeyis were a major part in whipping the farmers up into a frenzy to cause the protests. But the Empire could not crack down on the Derebeyis as they were, for now, a major part in keeping the Empire together. Unfortunatly this meant that the target of the Empire’s backlash were the protesters themselves as they were imprisoned and some executed.

    During the winter of 1836, an Egyptian consul was in Syria inspecting the troops when an uprising that the Empire had been secretly funding rose up and assassinated the consul. The backlash in the region of Syria was harsh and the paper trail led back to Istanbul causing international shame upon the Empire. While the assassination effects were still being felt, the Sultan had gleaned enough information from his spies in Egypt to believe that Muhammad Ali was strengthening his forces for some reason. The Sultan quietly decided to relocate the majority of his forces to the inner portions of the empire to be able to respond to the threat that Egypt may become.
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
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  7. #7
    Lt. General Mike von Bek's Avatar
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    Alright - always love a good Ottoman AAR - Victoria really is the best time to play them. Eager to see what you can do!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike von Bek
    Alright - always love a good Ottoman AAR - Victoria really is the best time to play them. Eager to see what you can do!
    Not as eager as me i care, old boy. Nice start and a spiffing introduction, it looks sure to evolve into a promosing After Action Report, what?
    'Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.' -William Shakespeare, King Henry V.'

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  9. #9
    Colonel BBBD's Avatar

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    Excellent update!

    I like the way you make the events into part of the story, I look forward to seeing your attack on Egypt, take the capital and satellite the b*stards!
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by BBBD
    I look forward to seeing your attack on Egypt, take the capital and satellite the b*stards!

    uhm... yea... maybe it didn't turn out THAT well. but I should get to it in my update tonight.

    thanks for the comments.
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
    -Petrarch

  11. #11
    The Egyptian Menace


    The beginning of 1837 saw the depletion of the Empire’s treasury to finance one of Mahmud II’s military reforms. The training and equipping of 4 new infantry divisions totaling 40,000 troops were authorized and slated to deploy in mid July. While the Empire’s administration approved of this measure, the financial pinch that the Empire was thrust into because of this move was a foreshadowing of worse things to come.

    The four new infantry divisions were mobilized with much fanfare at Istanbul in July of 1837 and were immediately sent to a staging area in the central part of the Empire. Their first action however was in dealing with a revolt that broke out in the province of Hamidiye in southeast Asia Minor. The uprising was swiftly and brutally put down with all survivors cycled into the slave trade. The Sultan commemorated this small victory by founding a military academy in Ankara further dipping into the dwindling Empire’s treasury.

    The remainder of the year was tense as word that Muhammad Ali, the Egyptian governor, was consolidating his power in a possible bid to assume complete independence. The standoff came to a head in May of 1837 when reports came into Istanbul comfirming that the Egyptian governor was seeking to create an independent dynasty and was mustering his troops to force the issue if need be. This was something that the Empire could not let go by, but was in no position to deal with the Egyptian governor alone. So while it was a slap to ego of the Sultan, requests for support was put out to the major European powers to help deal with the Egyptian threat.

    This help was not to come without a price however, as the British were more than willing to offer their support in exchange for exclusive free trade rights within the Empire. This issue tied up the Porte for a week arguing over the decision which would further wreck havoc on the already fragile economy of the Empire. Yet in the end, the events of the present outweighed the doom of the future and the Balta Limani convention was ratified in August of 1838.

    The british support in dealing with Egypt would be counted on as the Empire’s neighbor to the east, Persia, with which the Empire had been having several disputes over the status of the borders for the past 20 years had declared war on and annexed the nation of Afganistan. The mood of the Porte was one of dejection. With Russia pushing from the north and the Egyptians causing trouble from the south, the last thing the Empire needed was another threat. But while to the Porte, the Persians are a new threat, the Sultan had sent a delegation to come to an agreement of non-aggression.

    With a positive response coming from the Persians, Mahmud II now focused his attention on an issue too long left open. With the support of the British, the Empire sent a declaration of war to the Egyptians and began marching their troops into Syria. On May 4th 1839, in the province of Urfah in Syria, the Empire's Army of Arabia encountered Egyptian forces and the first shots were fired. The Egyptian war had begun.



    NOTE: I will be using screenshots, I've just yet to get to a portion where they add to the AAR. So don't worry, screenshots will be coming.
    Last edited by sw_myers; 22-06-2005 at 09:08.
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
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    Well done old chap, it is my expereince that when invading Egypt you should not dally around in Syria but thrust into Cairo and then make a peace settlement on your terms from the capital, and take syria through negotiation instead of out and out conquering. Tis only a suggestion however.

    Good luck.
    'Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.' -William Shakespeare, King Henry V.'

    'To be quintessential, you must first be quite essential'.

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  13. #13
    CatAARstroph1c moderator Moderator Stroph1's Avatar
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    Well, you are acting decisively. If it all works, you will soon right the Sick Man of Europe. If it doesn't....

    Nice update!

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  14. #14
    Colonel BBBD's Avatar

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    Excellent start, I agree don't waste time drive straight to the capital!
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  15. #15
    War with Egypt


    After the declaration of war and before the actual fighting began, a munitions depot was destroyed by what were supposedly Egyptian loyalists. This event at the start of the war was one that made the Empire look rather weak in the eyes of Europe. The Sultan immediately demanded a harsh crackdown on potential insurgents. Yet the prior weakening of the central authority by the Derebeyis or local warlords made that statement an empty decree. The British, while supporting the war effort, made clear in no uncertain terms that in order to keep their support, British trade must be unhindered by any domestic issues. Mahmud II dutifully complied, and focused himself on the war at hand.

    The Crown Prince, Abd-ul-Mejid, who was leading the Imperial Guard in the war with Egypt was furious with his father when he learned of his father “cowering like a dog before the European masters.” The son of Mahmud II clamored for independent action against the Egyptians and was resentful of the concessions forced upon the Empire by the Balta Limani convention. As the Imperial Guard came upon the fortress in Halab in northern Syria, Abd-ul-Mejid began thinking that his father had grown unfit for the throne.

    The war itself, however, was proceeding along almost as planned. The four forces that has been, in peace time, near the borders of Egypt at Syria had begun marching five days after war had been declared and were slowly working their way into Egyptian territory.
    By August 1 The fortress at Halab had fallen and Empire’s forces were working their way south. The Egyptians had sent out small forces east in order to take provinces along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. But they were have a hard time quelling the local populace and it was assumed they would be swept up when the Empire’s army came in from the north.




    At the end of August with the war in Syria going well, the Sultan ordered his Army of North Africa to march into Egypt and open up a second front.



    After initial victories the army was split to cover more ground and to attempt a broad sweeping motion that would drive the Egyptians out of Egypt and into Palestine. Unfortunately the main force came upon stiff opposition and were bogged down in a rather brutal battle of attrition that the Army of North Africa was losing.





    The war was going well, but the British had been garnering support from the other European nations to force a peaceful settlement upon the two nations and in October of 1839 met with the two nations to hammer out a ceasefire. Under heavy diplomatic pressure, the two nations agreed to a ceasefire in December of 1839. With the orginal borders restored, the Empire’s troops were forced to began their march out of Egyptian territory on December 15th.



    The results of the Egyptian war were counted up as a total loss among those in the Porte that believed they did not need the intervention of the European powers. The most notable leader of this group was the Sultan’s own son, Abd-ul-Mejid. In the wake of this event and the idea of marching out of territory that he had rightfully conquered, the crown prince began plotting the downfall of his father.

    The Sultan realized he was in a precarious position, especially among the military, whom he ordered to fight and die for nothing in the Egyptian war. Eager to show that he had a purpose for his agreeing to the ceasefire, the Mahmud II agreed to the terms in Britian’s first attempt to broker a settlement among the Empire and Egypt that would return Syria to Ottoman rule, but allow Muhammad Ali to retain heredity control over Egypt. The Egyptians stalled however and the growing discontent among the members of the Porte began to reach the breaking point.

    It wasn’t until the Egyptians delayed again in the negotiations in April of 1840 with Britian and the Empire that Mahmud II’s fate was sealed with the Porte and his son. But before any conspiracy could be put into motion the Sultan died on June 21, 1840. Abd-ul-Mejid was crowned Sultan in Ankara and the new banner of the Ottoman Empire was raised.







    Immediately, the new Sultan began intense negations with Britain to force the Egyptains to come to settlement or the Empire would go to war itself. Also the new sultan craftily organized a defense pact with the British, for while he had no love of European intervention, he realized the need for strong allies. The negations worked as the british communicated a final ultimatum to the Egyptians to evacuate Syria. The Egyptians refused and declared war upon the Ottoman Empire. The British immediately joined the war with the Empire and troops were sent back into Syria and Egypt on August 2 1840.


    A few initial border skirmishes happened as the Egyptians retreated before the oncoming forces of the Empire. There was not enough time for maneuvers though as Egypt caved into the demands and ceded Syria and their coastal provinces along the Arabian Peninsula, while becoming a satellite of the Empire.



    With the Egyptian question resolved, the new sultan began moving towards consolidating his power on the Arabian Peninsula and along the Persian border...
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
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  16. #16
    CatAARstroph1c moderator Moderator Stroph1's Avatar
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    Nice resolution to the Egypt problem I was worried up to the end.

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  17. #17
    Field Marshal yourworstnightm's Avatar
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    Hmmpf... I see the greek rebels still are in. I guess you have to take care of them sooner or later if you're going to restore the pride of the Ottoman Empire.

  18. #18
    Pangalactic Gargleblaster Lord Boreal's Avatar
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    Well he'll have to won't he? I made an event for Greece that fires if you conquer so much, that you are renamed to Empire of Greece and there is a new flag...the banner of Alexander the Great!

    So far though i have been unable to conquer enough to trigger it lol

    Nice update on the AAR

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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Stroph1
    Nice resolution to the Egypt problem I was worried up to the end.

    Me too as I really don't know much about ottoman history and only faintly knew about the egyptian events... so pretty much everything (except for the crimean war) is going to be a big suprise to me.. I could find out, but I want to keep the idea of responding to events instead of preparing in advance for them.
    “True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.”
    -Petrarch

  20. #20
    Colonel BBBD's Avatar

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    Great work on the Egypt campaign, was it the quality or quantity of your troops that won it for you?
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