The Military History of the Ottoman Empire can be divided in three organizational structures: the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The history of the Ottoman Army can be divided in two main periods.
The Classical Period covers the years between the establishment of the Ottoman Army in 1299 and the military reforms of the early 19th century; while the Modern Period starts with the establishment of the modern Ottoman Army, known as the Nizam-i Cedid, in 1829.
Army Classical Period (1299-1829) in Ottoman Empire Military History:
The first military of the Ottoman Empire was an army that was organized by Osman I from Turkish tribesmen inhabiting western Anatolia in the late 13th century. These horsemen became an irregular force of raiders used as shock troops, armed with simple weapons like bows and spears. They were given fiefs called timars in the conquered lands, and were later called timariots. In addition they acquired booty during campaigns. Orhan I organized a standing army paid by salary rather than booty or fiefs. The infantry were called yayas and the cavalry was known as müsellems. The force was made up by foreign mercenaries for the most part, and only a few Turks were content to accept salaries in place of booty. Foreign mercenaries were not required to convert to Islam as long as they obeyed their Ottoman commanders.
Introduction of firearms in Ottoman Empire Military History:
The Ottomans began using guns sometime between 1444 and 1448. Following that, other troop types began to appear, such as the regular rifle infantry (Piyade Topçu, literally "foot artillery"), regular cavalry armed with rifles (Süvari Topçu Neferi, literally "mounted artillery soldier") and bombardiers (Kumbaraci), consisting of grenadiers that threw explosives called khimbara and the soldiers that served the artillery with maintenance and powder supplies.
Kapikulu in Ottoman Empire Military History:
This regular army was commanded and paid by some important fief-holders who gained power and became a sort of noble class. The mercenaries became a tool for their rise to predominance over the sultan, who simply could not afford to hire so many mercenaries that they would outnumber his nobles'. Therefore, in the middle of the 14th century, Murad I built his own personal slave army called the Kapikulu. The new force was based on the sultan's right to a fifth of the war booty, which he interpreted to include captives taken in battle. The captive slaves were converted to Islam and trained in the sultan's personal service. The most famous branch of the Kapikulu was the Janissary corps who were recruited among young Christian boys by the devshirmeh tax, but there were also several other troops types such as the Halberdier corps (Baltaçi). Their numbers increased rapidly and this force became the most important element of the Ottoman army. In order to man the force, Murad II developed the devsirme system of recruiting youths in form of taxes from Christians in the empire. Murad used the strength of the Janissaries and played them off against the nobility, forcing them to pay taxes or land so that the treasury could obtain the money it needed to maintain the Kapikulu army.
Janissaries in Ottoman Empire Military History:
The first Janissary units comprised war captives and slaves. After the 1380s Sultan Mehmet I filled their ranks with the results of taxation in human form called devshirmeh: the Sultans men conscripted a number of non-Muslim, usually Christian, boys at first at random, later, by strict selection to be trained. Initially they favoured Greeks, Albanians (who also supplied many gendarmes), usually selecting about one in five boys of ages seven to fourteen but the numbers could be changed to correspond with the need for soldiers. Next the devshirmeh was extended to also include Serbs, Bosnians and other Balkan countries, later especially Ukraine and southern Russia. The Janissaries started accepting enrollment from outside the devshirmeh system first during the reign of Sultan Murad III (1546-1595) and completely stopped enrolling devshirmeh in 17th century. After this period, volunteers were enrolled. For all practical purposes, Janissaries belonged to the Sultan, carrying the title "kapikulu" indicating their collective bond with the Sultan. Janissaries were taught to consider the corps as their home and family, and the Sultan as their de facto father. Only those who proved strong enough earned the rank of true Janissary at the age of twenty four or twenty five. The regiment inherited the property of dead Janissaries, thus amassing wealth (like religious orders and foundations enjoying the 'dead hand'). The Janissary corps was significant in a number of ways. The Janissaries wore uniforms, were paid in cash as regular soldiers, and marched to distinctive music, the mehter, similar to a modern marching band. All of these features set the Janissaries apart from most soldiers of the time. The Ottomans were the first state to maintain a standing army in Europe since the Roman Empire. The Janissaries have been likened to the Roman Praetorian Guard and they had no equivalent in the Christian armies of the time, where the feudal lords raised troops during wartime. A janissary regiment was effectively the soldier's family. They lived in their barracks and served as policemen and firefighters during peacetime. The Janissary corps was also distinctive in the regular payment of a cash salary to the troops, and differed from the contemporary practice of paying troops only during wartime. The Janissaries were paid quarterly and the Sultan himself, after authorizing the payment of the salaries, dressed as a Janissary, visited the barracks and received his salary as a regular trooper of the First Division. The Janissary force became particularly significant when the foot soldier carrying firearms proved more effective than the cavalry equipped with sword and spear. Janissaries adopted firearms very early, starting in 15th century. By the 16th century, the main weapon of the Janissary was the musket. Janissaries also made extensive use of early grenades and hand cannon. The auxiliary support system of the Janissaries also set them apart from their contemporaries. The Janissaries waged war as one part of a well organized military machine. The Ottoman army had a corps to prepare the road, a corps to pitch the tents ahead, a corps to bake the bread. The cebeci corps carried and distributed weapons and ammunition. The Janissary corps had its own internal medical auxiliaries. These differences, along with a war-record that was impressive, made the Janissaries into a subject of interest and study by foreigners in their own time. Although eventually the concept of the modern army incorporated and surpassed most of the distinctions of the Janissary, and the Ottoman Empire dissolved the Janissary corps, the image of the Janissary has remained as one of the symbols of the Ottomans in the western psyche.
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Elite Cavalry in Ottoman Empire Military History:
An important part of the Ottoman warfare was also the Six Divisions of Cavalry, a mounted élite force. The most important of these divisions was the Sipahis. A force of professional raiders called the Akincis pillaged enemy territory ahead of the regular army. They also served as scouts. The Sipahis' status resembled that of the knights of medieval Europe. The Sipahi was the holder of a fief of land (tîmâr; hence the alternative name Tîmârli Sipahi) granted directly by the Ottoman sultan, and was entitled to all of the income from that land, in return for military service. The peasants on the land were subsequently attached thereto. The Sipahis were originally founded during the reign of Murad I. Although the Sipahis were originally recruited, like the Janissaries, using the devshirmeh system, by the time of Sultan Mehmed II, their ranks were only chosen from among the ethnic Turks who owned land within imperial borders. The Sipahi eventually became the largest of the six divisions of the Ottoman cavalry, and were the mounted counterpart to the Janissaries, who fought on foot. The duties of the Sipahis included riding with the sultan on parades and as a mounted bodyguard. In times of peace, they were also responsible for the collection of taxes. The Sipahis, however, should not be confused with the Timariots, who were irregular cavalry organised along feudal lines and known as "sipahi"s colloquially. In fact, the two formations had very little in common. A tîmâr was the smallest unit of land owned by a Sipahi, providing a yearly revenue of no more than 10,000 akçe, which was between two and four times what a teacher earned. A ziamet was a larger unit of land, yielding up to 100,000 akçe, and was owned by Sipahis of officer rank. A has was the largest unit of land, giving revenues of more than 100,000 akçe, and was only held by the highest-ranking members of the military. A tîmâr Sipahi was obliged to provide the army with up to five soldiers, a ziamet Sipahi with up to twenty, and a has Sipahi with far more than twenty.
Azabs in Ottoman Empire Military History:
Apart from the Janissaries, in 1389 the Ottoman Army introduced a system of conscription: when needed, every town and village were obliged to provide a fully equipped conscript at the recruiting office created by the order of the Sultan. This new force of irregular infantrymen was called the Azabs and they were used in many ways: to build roads and bridges for the army, to support the supplies for the front-line, and sometimes they were even used as cannon fodder to slow down enemy advance. The Basibozuk were a branch of the Azabs and were especially recruited among the homeless and criminals. They were fierce, undisciplined, and specialized in close combat.
Other divisions of the Ottoman Army in Ottoman Empire Military History:
Sipahi: Elite cavalry knights who were granted timars (fiefs) throughout the empire's lands. Their alternative name was Tîmârli Sipahi (Fiefed Knight).
Akinci: Frontline cavalry units of the Ottoman Army which raided and scouted the border areas and outposts.
Akaga: White eunuchs who guarded the core area of the Sultan's palace and court.
Mehterân: Ottoman Army Band which played martial tunes during military campaigns. The mehterân was usually associated with the Janissary corps.
Ottoman military band in Ottoman Empire Military History:
Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching band in the world. Though they are often known by the Persian-derived word mehter in the West, that word, properly speaking, refers only to a single musician in the band.
Nizam-i Cedid in Ottoman Empire Military History:
The Nizamis (Nizam-i Cedid) were the Ottoman soldiers who replaced the Janissaries. This army was established at the beginning of the year 1842.
Conscription in Ottoman Empire Military History:
In 1389 a system of conscription was introduced in the Ottoman military. In times of need every town, quarter, and village should present a fully equipped conscript at the recruiting office. The new force of irregular infantrymen was called Azabs and it was used in a number of different ways. They supported the supplies to the front-line, they dug roads and built bridges. On rare occasions they were used as cannon fodder to slow down enemy advance. A branch of the Azabs were the bashi-bazouk (basibozuk). These were specialized in close combat and were sometimes mounted. They became notorious for being brutal and indisciplined and were recruited from homeless, vagrants and criminals.
Ottoman Navy in Ottoman Empire Military History:
The Ottoman Navy was established in the early 14th century. During its existence involved with many conflicts, which there is a list of Ottoman sieges and landings and list of Admirals in the Ottoman Empire gives a brief chronology. The Battle of Zonchio in 1499 was the first naval battle in history where cannons were used on shipsThe conquest of Imrali Island in the Sea of Marmara in 1308 marked the first Ottoman naval victory (for a timeline of the naval actions of the Ottoman fleet, see the History of the Turkish Navy.) In 1321 the Ottoman fleet made its first landings on Thrace in southeastern Europe. In 1351 the Ottoman naval forces built the first Turkish castles in Europe, and in 1352 the Anatolian shores of the strategic Bosporus Strait near Constantinople (Istanbul, and both shores of the equally strategic Dardanelles Strait were conquered by the Ottoman fleet. In 1373 the first landings and conquests on the Aegean shores of Macedonia were made, which was followed by the first Ottoman siege of Thessaloniki in 1374. The conquest of Thessaloniki and Macedonia were completed in 1387. Between 1387 and 1423 the Ottoman fleet contributed to the territorial expansions of the Ottoman Empire on the Balkan peninsula and the Black Sea coasts of Anatolia. Following the first conquests of Venetian territories in Morea, the first Ottoman-Venetian War (1423-1430) started. In the meantime the Ottoman fleet continued to contribute to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the Aegean and Black Seas, with the conquests of Sinop (1424), Izmir (1426) and the reconquest of Thessaloniki from the Venetians (1430). Albania was reconquered by the Ottoman fleet with landings between 1448 and 1450. Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha defeated the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza in 1538In 1453 the Ottoman fleet participated in the historic conquests of Constantinople (Istanbul, Gökçeada, Lemnos and Thasos. The conquest of the Duchy of Athens in Morea was completed between 1458 and 1460, followed by the conquest of the Empire of Trebizond and the Genoese colony of Amasra in 1461, which brought an end to the final vestiges of the Byzantine Empire. In 1462 the Ottoman fleet conquered the Genoese islands of the northern Aegean Sea, including Lesbos. This was followed by the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1463-1479. In the following period the Ottoman fleet gained more territory in the Aegean Sea, and in 1475 set foot on Crimea on the northern shores of the Black Sea. Until 1499 this was followed by further expansion on the Black Sea coasts (such as the conquest of Georgia in 1479) and on the Balkan peninsula (such as the final reconquest of Albania in 1497, and the conquest of Montenegro in 1499). The loss of Venetian forts in Montenegro, near the strategic Castelnuovo, triggered the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499-1503, during which the Turkish fleet of Kemal Reis defeated the Venetian forces at the Battle of Zonchio (1499) and the Battle of Modon (1500). By 1503 the Ottoman fleet raided the northeastern Adriatic coasts of Italy, and completely captured the Venetian lands on Morea, the Ionian Sea coast and the southeastern Adriatic Sea coast. Starting from the conquest of Syria in 1516, the Ottoman fleet of Selim I started expanding the Ottoman territories towards the Levant and the Mediterranean coasts of North Africa. Between 1516 and 1517 Algeria was conquered from Spain by the forces of Oruç Reis who declared his allegiance to the Ottoman Empire, which was followed by the conquest of Egypt and the end of the Mameluke Empire in 1517. In 1522 the strategic island of Rhodes, then the seat of the Knights of St. John, was conquered by the naval fleet of Kurtoglu Muslihiddin Reis; while Suleiman I let the Knights leave the island, who relocated their base first to Sicily and later to Malta. In 1527 the Ottoman fleet participated in the conquest of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia and Bosnia. In 1529 the Ottoman fleet under Salih Reis and Aydin Reis destroyed the Spanish fleet of Rodrigo Portundo near the Isle of Formentera. This was followed by the first conquest of Tunisia from Spain and the reconquest of Morea by the fleet of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, whose fleet later conquered the islands belonging to the Duchy of Naxos in 1537. Afterwards, the Ottoman fleet laid siege on the Venetian island of Corfu, and landed on the coasts of Calabria and Puglia, which forced the Republic of Venice and Habsburg Spain of Charles V to ask for the Pope to create a Holy League, which consisted of Spain, the Republic of Venice, the Republic of Genoa, the Papal States and the Knights of Malta. The joint fleet was to be commanded by Charles V's top admiral, Andrea Doria. The Holy League and the Ottoman fleet under the command of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa encountered in September 1538 at the Battle of Preveza, which is often considered the greatest Turkish naval victory in history. In 1541, 1544, 1552 and 1555 the Spanish-Italian fleet of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria were defeated in Algiers, Naples, Ponza and Piombino, respectively. In the meantime, the Ottoman Indian Ocean Fleet, based in Suez and Basra, defeated the Portuguese forces on several occasions near the Arabian peninsula, conquering Aden and Yemen (1538-1539) which were important Portuguese ports, along with Jeddah and Hijaz on the Red Sea coast. Between 1547-1548 Yemen was reconquered from the Portuguese, while in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, other important Portuguese ports such as Oman, Hormuz and Qatar were conquered in 1552. The Ottoman naval victory at the Battle of Preveza in 1538 and the Battle of Djerba in 1560 ensured the Ottoman supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea for several decades, until the Ottoman Turks suffered their first ever military defeat at the hands of the Europeans at the Battle of Lepanto (1571). But the defeat at Lepanto, despite being much celebrated in Europe, was only a temporary setback, as the Ottomans built an equally large fleet within a year and took back Cyprus from the Republic of Venice in 1572 (having originally conquered the island between 1570 and 1571) and conquered Tunisia from Spain in 1574, which completed the Ottoman conquest of North Africa; as the Ottoman fleet under Turgut Reis had earlier conquered Libya in 1551, while that of Salih Reis had conquered the coasts of Morocco beyond the Strait of Gibraltar in 1553. In 1565 the Sultanate of Aceh in Sumatra (Indonesia) declared allegiance to the Ottoman Empire, and in 1569 the Ottoman fleet of Kurtoglu Hizir Reis set foot on Aceh, which marked the easternmost Ottoman territorial expansion. Starting from the early 17th century, the Ottoman fleet began to venture into the Atlantic Ocean (earlier, Kemal Reis had ventured into the Canary Islands in 1501, while the fleet of Murat Reis the Elder had captured Lanzarote of the Canary Islands in 1585). In 1617 the Ottoman fleet captured Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean, before raiding Sussex, Plymouth, Devon, Hartland Point, Cornwall and the other counties of western England in August 1625. In 1627 Ottoman naval ships, accompanied by corsairs from the Barbary Coast, raided the Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. Between 1627 and 1631 the same Ottoman force also raided the coasts of Ireland and Sweden. In 1655 a force of 40 Ottoman ships captured the Isle of Lundy in the Bristol Channel, which served as the main base for Ottoman naval and privateering operations in the North Atlantic until 1660, when Ottoman ships appeared off the eastern coasts of North America, particularly being sighted at the British colonies like Newfoundland and Virginia. In the rest of the 17th and 18th centuries, however, the operations of the Ottoman fleet were largely limited to the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The long lasting Ottoman-Venetian War of 1648-1669 ended with Ottoman victory and the completion of the conquest of Crete. In 1708 another long lasting objective, the conquest of Oran (the final Spanish stronghold in Algeria) was accomplished. The 18th century was a period of stalemate for the Ottoman fleet, with numerous victories matched by equally numerous defeats. The important Ottoman naval victories in this period included the reconquest of Moldavia and Azov from the Russians in 1711, the reconquest of Morea from the Venetians between 1714 and 1715, the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1715 and the reconquest of Souda in Crete and the Cyclades, the Ottoman-Russian War (1738), the reconquest of Morea and Lemnos (1770) from Venice, and the defeat of the Russian fleet near Yilan Island (1787). Major defeats of the Ottoman fleet in the 18th century, on the other hand, included the Battle of Chesme (1770). Mahmudiye (1829), built by the Imperial Naval Arsenal on the Golden Horn in Istanbul, was for many years the largest warship in the world. The 62x17x7m ship was armed with 128 cannons on 3 decks. She participated in numerous important naval battles, including the Siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855) during the Crimean War Nordenfelt class Ottoman submarine Abdülhamid (1886) was the first submarine in history to fire a torpedo while submerged under water. Two submarines of this class, Nordenfelt II (Abdülhamid, 1886) and Nordenfelt III (Abdülmecid, 1887) joined the Ottoman fleet. They were built in pieces by Des Vignes (Chertsey) and Vickers (Sheffield) in England, and assembled at the Taskizak Naval Shipyard in IstanbulThe 19th century saw further decline in Ottoman naval power, despite occasional recovery. Following the defeat against the combined British-French-Russian fleet at the Battle of Navarino in 1827, Sultan Mahmud II gave priority to develop a strong and modern Ottoman naval force. The first steam ships of the Ottoman Navy were acquired in 1828. In 1829 the world's largest warship for many years, the 62x17x7m ship-of-the-line Mahmudiye, which had 128 cannons on 3 decks, was built for the Ottoman Navy at the Imperial Naval Arsenal on the Golden Horn in Istanbul. In 1875, during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz, the Ottoman Navy had 21 battleships and 173 other types of warships, ranking as the third largest navy in the world after the British and French navies. But the vast size of the navy was too much of a burden for the collapsing Ottoman economy to sustain. Abdülhamid II's suspicion of the reformist admirals, who supported Midhat Pasha, made things even worse, and consequently almost the entire Ottoman fleet was kept locked inside the Golden Horn for more than 3 decades, during which the ships decayed. Abdulhamid has often been blamed for the long inactivity and the decay of the navy. It has been suggested that the two Nordenfelt class submarines acquired by Abdulhamid himself, Abdülhamid (1886) and Abdülmecid (1887), could seldomly leave the Golden Horn due to the sultan's suspicions and fear of a Navy-based coup against him; which eventually started to take place with the naval demonstration at the port of Selanik in 1908. In fact, despite his suspicions of his admirals, Abdülhamid was painfully aware that the empire needed a navy to shield herself from the ever-growing Russian threat. He was fresh out of options, however. The second half of the 19th century was a period of breakthroughs in the field of naval engineering. The Ottoman Navy was rapidly becoming obsolete, and needed to replace all her warships once a decade to keep pace with technological progress - which, given the dismal state of the economy, was clearly not an option. The aforementioned submarines were an attempt to gain an edge over the Greek navy (which had only one Nordenfelt submarine, a smaller and older version). However, it was quickly realized that -like the other Nordenfelt submarines ordered by Russia- they suffered from stability problems and were too easy to swamp on the surface. The Turks could not find a crew that was willing to serve on the primitive submarines. Abdülhamid ended up rotting at dock, while Abdülmecid was never fully completed. Following the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, the Committee of Union and Progress which effectively took control of the country sought to develop a strong Ottoman naval force. The poor condition of the fleet during the Ottoman Naval Parade of 1910 saddened every Turk who saw it, and the Ottoman Navy Foundation was established in order to purchase new ships through public donations. Those who made donations received different types of medals according to the size of their contributions. With this public money, the Ottoman government ordered large battleships like Sultan Osman I and Resadiye, but despite the payment for both ships, the United Kingdom confiscated them at the outbreak of World War I and renamed them as HMS Agincourt and HMS Erin. This caused some ill-feeling towards Britain among the Ottoman public, and the German Empire took advantage of the situation by sending the battlecruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim and light cruiser Midilli which entered service in the Ottoman fleet. This event significantly contributed to the decision of supporting Germany in the First World War, with whom the Ottomans sided. The British, French and ANZAC fleets could not pass through the Dardanelles Strait (Çanakkale Bogazi) during the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 thanks to the heavy Turkish fortifications lining the strait and mining by Turkish minelayers like Nusret, and fierce fighting by the Turkish soldiers on land, sea and air, who were well aware that they were resisting the capture of Istanbul and the occupation of their homeland. Following the end of World War I, the Ottoman Navy was dissolved by the victorious Allies and the large ships of the Ottoman fleet were towed to the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara under the control of Allied warships, or locked inside the Golden Horn. Some of them were scrapped. After the independence of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the remaining major warships of the former Ottoman fleet, such as the battlecruiser TCG Yavuz, cruisers TCG Hamidiye, TCG Mecidiye, TCG Turgut Reis, TCG Berk-i Satvet and TCG Peyk-i Sevket, destroyers TCG Samsun, TCG Bafra and TCG Tasoz, and torpedo boats TCG Burak Reis, TCG Kemal Reis, TCG Isa Reis and TCG Sakiz were repaired and modernized, while new ships and submarines were acquired.
Ottoman Air Force in Ottoman Empire Military History:
The Ottoman Air Force was founded in June 1909, making it one of the first combat aviation organizations in the world. Its formation came about after the Ottoman Empire sent two Turkish pilots to the International Aviation Conference in Paris. After witnessing the growing importance of an air combat support branch, the Ottoman government decided to organize its own military aviation program. For this purpose, officers were sent to Europe by the end of 1910 to participate in the study of combat flight. However, because of bad living conditions, the student program was aborted and the trainees returned to Turkey in the spring of 1911. Although left without any governmental guidelines for establishing an air force, the Ottoman Minister of Defence of the time, Mahmut Sevket Pasa, continued to encourage the idea of a military aviation program and sent officers Fesa and Yusuf Kenan, who achieved the highest maneuvering points in a piloting test conducted in 1911, to France for receiving a more satisfactory flight education. In late 1911 Süreyya Ilmen was instructed with founding the Havacilik Komisyonu (Aviation Commission) bound to the Harbiye Bakanligi Fen Kitalari Müstahkem Genel Müfettisligi (War Ministry Science Detachment General Inspectorship). On February 21, 1912, Fesa and Yusuf Kenan completed their flight education and returned home with the 780th and 797th French aviation diplomas. In the same year, eight more Turkish officers were sent to France for flight education. The Ottoman Empire started preparing its first pilots and planes, and with the founding of the Hava Okulu (Air Academy) in Istanbul on July 3, 1912, the empire began to tutor its own flight officers. The founding of the Air Academy quickened advancement in the military aviation program, increased the number of enlisted persons within it, and gave the new pilots an active role in the Armed Forces. In May 1913 the world's first specialized Reconnaissance Training Program was activated by the Air Academy and the first separate Reconnaissance division was established by the Air Force. Because of the lack of experience of the Turkish pilots, the first stage (1912) of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) ended with the loss of several aircraft. However, the second stage (1913) was marked with great success since the pilots had become more battle-hardened. Many recruits joined the Air Academy following a surge of Turkish nationalism during the war. With the end of the Balkan Wars a modernization process started and new planes were purchased. In June 1914 a new military academy, Deniz Hava Okulu (Naval Aviation Academy) was founded, also in Istanbul. With the outbreak of the First World War, the modernization process stopped aprubtly, but in 1915 some German officers came to the Ottoman Empire and some Turkish officers went to Germany for flight education. The Ottoman Air Force fought on many fronts during the First World War, from Galicia in the west to the Caucasus in the east and Yemen in the south. Efforts were made to reorganize the Ottoman Air Force, but this ended in 1918 with the end of the First World War and the occupation of Istanbul. With the end of the First World War and the occupation of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Air Force was nothing more than a department. All personnel, including pilots and teachers, were either relieved of duty or disbanded, and all Air Force governmental buildings were closed. Some optimistic Turks tried to build new units in Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, Elazig and Diyarbakir with planes left over from the First World War and tried to bring together flight personnel, but were unsuccessful. Turkish pilots during the War of Independence (1919-1922)During this period, the Turks in Anatolia were roused and ready to fight for their independence and motherland under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Turkish pilots were ready to do this, too, and subsequently joined the Konya Hava Istasyonu (Konya Air Station). Parallel to this, however, the Ottoman Air Force was closed by the Ottoman Ministry of War and all personnel were formally discharged. The Ottoman pilots were thus left without planes and proper assistance and the period of Ottoman Aviation ended. But with the opening of the Grand National Assembly in 1920 in Ankara, the reorganization of an ordered Army, the Kuva-yi Havaiye (Air Force) bound to the Harbiye Dairesi (Ministry of War bound to the TBMM) was found. A few damaged aircraft belonging to the Grand National Assembly were repaired, and afterwards used in combat. In 1921, the Hava Kuvvetleri (Kuva-yi Havaiye) Subesi air force section was renamed as Hava Kuvvetleri Genel Müdürlügü, or the Air Force General Command.
Ottoman wars in Europe in Ottoman Empire Military History:
The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts. After striking a blow to the weakened Byzantine Empire in 1356 (it is disputed that the year may have been 1358 due to a change in the Byzantine calendar), which provided it a basis for operations in Europe, the Ottoman Empire started its westward expansion into the European continent in the middle of the 14th century. Its first significant opponent was the young Serbian Empire, which was worn down by a series of campaigns, notably in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, in which the leaders of both armies were killed, and which gained a central role in Serbian folklore as an epic battle and beginning of bad luck for Serbia. The Ottoman Empire proceeded to conquer the lands of the Second Bulgarian Empire the Southern half (Thrace) in 1371 (Battle of Maritsa), Sofia in 1382, the then capital Tarnovgrad in 1393, the northern rest after the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, except Vidin, which fell in 1422; Albania in 1385 (Battle of Savra) and again in 1480; Constantinople in 1453 after the Battle of Varna and Second Battle of Kosovo; Greece in 1460; Serbia by 1459 and (after partial Hungarian reconquest in 1480) again by 1499; Bosnia in 1463 (the Northwestern part only by 1527) and Herzegovina in 1482. Albanian Resistance
The Ottomans faced fierce resistance from Albanian highlanders who gathered around their leader, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, the offspring of a feudal nobleman, and managed to fend off Ottoman attacks for more than 30 years. The Albanian struggle was one of the two remaining bastions of anti-Ottoman resistance in Eastern Europe after the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. It has been argued that their resilience halted the Ottoman advance along the Eastern flank of the Western Civilization, saving the Italian peninsula from Ottoman conquest. Sultan Mehmet II died in 1481, merely two years after the collapse of the Albanian resistance and one year after he launched the Italian campaign. Occupation of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary, which at the time spanned the area from Croatia in the west to Transylvania in the east, was also gravely impacted by Ottoman conquest. The origins of such a deterioration can be traced back to the fall of the Árpád ruling dynasty and their subsequent replacement with the Angevin and Jagiellonian kings. After a series of inconclusive wars over the course of 176 years, the kingdom finally crumbled in the Battle of Mohács of 1526, after which most of it was either occupied or brought under Ottoman suzerainty. (The 150-year Turkish Occupation, as it is called in Hungary, lasted until the late 1600s but parts of the Hungarian Kingdom were occupied from 1421 and until 1718.) Wars with Venice
The Ottoman Empire started sea campaigns as early as 1423, when it waged a seven-year war with the Venetian Republic over maritime control of the Aegean Sea and the Adriatic Sea. The wars with Venice resumed in 1463, until a favorable peace treaty was signed in 1479. In 1480, now no longer hampered by the Venetian fleet, the Ottomans besieged Rhodes and captured Otranto. War with Venice resumed from 1499 to 1503. In 1500, a Spanish-Venetian army commanded by Gonzalo de Córdoba took Kefalonia, temporarily stopping the Ottoman offensive on eastern Venetian territories. 1462-1483: European campaigns
In 1462, Mehmed II was driven back by Wallachian prince Vlad III Dracula at the Night Attack. However, the latter was imprisoned by Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus. This caused outrage among many influential Hungarian figures and Western admirers of Vlad's success in the battle against the Ottoman Empire (and his early recognition of the threat it posed), including high-ranking members of the Vatican. Because of this, Matthias granted him the status of distinguished prisoner. Eventually, Dracula was freed in late 1475 and was sent with an army of Hungarian and Serbian soldiers to recover Bosnia from the Ottomans. He defeated Ottoman Forces and he gained his first victory against the Ottoman Empire. Upon this victory, Ottoman Forces entered Bogdan in 1476 under the command of Mehmed II.[clarify] During the war, Vlad was killed and, according to some sources, his head was sent to Constantinople to discourage the other rebellions. In 1482, Bosnia was completely added to Ottoman Lands.
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