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"Looking for info on Ottoman navy " Topic

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487 hits since 29 Apr 2018
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Minis is my Waterloo Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2018 8:07 a.m. PST

I know it's rather obscure, but surely the great Ottoman Empire had a sailing fleet? Anyone have or know of good painting and/or fleet lists for the 1790-1815 period?
Thanks in advance!

BrianW30 Apr 2018 9:06 a.m. PST

Good luck. There are some good reasons that the Ottoman navy has been called "the black hole of naval historiography."

While the records are still there in Istanbul, they are written in an Arabic script that isn't used anymore, so even studying them takes a pretty specialized scholar. Also, the navy completely changed during the reform period of Sultan Selim III. He brought in French specialists, and reorganized the navy and dockyard services. Because of this, most of the Ottoman ships built in the 1790s rearmament were built to French patterns.

Most of the books out there are in modern Turkish, but some titles are in English. Here are some that I have; but not all of them are exclusively about the navy.

1. Between Old and New: The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim III, 1789-1807
2. Innovation and Empire in Turkey: Sultan Selim III and the Modernisation of the Ottoman Navy
3. The Ottoman Navy 1828-1923 (Very few sailing ships in this one).

As for painting ships, I have some information from Emir Yener (a PhD candidate in Istanbul) who said that, "by the time of the battle of Lemnos/Athos, Ottoman Navy had accepted the usual English pattern of black and ochre, but the flagships like Selimiye continued to have dark green belts of gun rows instead of ochre." He also said that, "if you like to play the Ottoman naval battles in the Napoleonic Wars, you can use the standard French warship models without second toughts (as I also do)."

Yener has published an article on the Ottoman Navy from 1768-1792 in a Russian naval journal. It's in English though, and has some pictures of ships from that period. Their ships don't look like anything else; maybe you could use Anglo Dutch hulls with Napoleonic sail sets. If you want, I'll send a PDF of that article to your website.

Minis is my Waterloo Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2018 9:48 a.m. PST

BrianW, thanks for that great reply! At least now I understand why multiple variations on google searches come up thin! I like the info from the Turkish scholar you mention; that's a good start. If you wouldn't mind emailing me that pdf you mentioned I would really appreciate it! I don't do the Waterloo Minis website anymore, so if you could email me at robeubanks at Comcast dot net, that would be great!

BrianW30 Apr 2018 10:21 a.m. PST

OK, done.

TMPWargamerabbit30 Apr 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

Digging about the library found the old book "Navies of the Napoleonic Era" by "Otto von Pivka" published 1980 by Hippocrene books New York or David and Charles Ltd, Newton Abbot Devon.

It covered all the navies of the napoleonic wars pages. For the Turkish (Ottoman) navy some basic notes from the book pgs 212-215.

1790 the Turkish fleet had 30 SOL from 74-50 guns. Had 50 frigates with 50 to 10 guns and 100 galliots. Total available cannon numbered 3,000 and crewed by 50,000 sailors, mainly Greek from the Aegean region.

Fr. Amb reported in 1796 there was 27 three deckers and 20 frigates

Turkish decks were higher then european ships…. for the headgear it seems.

Thus the ships tended to be very high and had stability issues.

No naval uniforms to speak of….. yellow boots high grade officer, red middle grade, black lower grade. stuff.

31st Otra of Janissary were the naval marines.

In 1801 28 Turkish vessela placed under command of the Russian Vice-Adm F P Uschakov…..

Included 4 SOL (no names given), 6 Frigates (Houssain, Abbas, Zeyner, Suleiman, Herim, Akhmer), 4 Corvettes (Moustapha, Houssain, Ali-Bey, Mehmet), and 14 gunboats.

The old Wooden Ships and Iron men game had scenarios for the Russo-Turkish battles. Worth a dig for them.

Lastly, I would dig for info on the Battle of Navarino 1827 for possible Ottoman ships, the Battle of Lemnos-Dardanelles 1807, and details and the Ottoman involvement with the Ionian Islands 1807 campaign against France.


TMPWargamerabbit30 Apr 2018 12:09 p.m. PST

……reading the Navies of the N. Wars book I found the Turkish ships at Lemnos 1807 names and types:

SOL: Mesudiye (120), Sedd-ul-Bakir (84), Ankay i Bakir (84), Tavusu-Bakir (84), Tenfik-Numa (?), Besaret (?), Kilit-Bakir (84?), Sayadi-Bakir (?), Heybetendaz (74), Malbaik-Nesuret (66)

Frigates: Meskeni-Ghazi (?), Bedrisaffet (?), Nesim (?), Fukizefir (50), Iskenderiye (44)

Schooners (big sloops?): Metelin (39), Denuvet (32), Rehberi-Alem (28)

Brigs: Alemit-Posaret (18), Melenkay (18)

21eRegt30 Apr 2018 2:39 p.m. PST

This is an online source for numbers.

Yellow Admiral30 Apr 2018 2:40 p.m. PST

Doesn't Rif Winfield have any friends with expertise in the Ottomon Navy? <grump>

Some good resources in this thread. Thanks to all.

- Ix

ModelJShip02 May 2018 12:04 p.m. PST

Thank you very much for all this information. It is very useful to me. Very appreciated for me.

Minis is my Waterloo Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2018 6:44 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the comments and help, folks. Hey TMPwargamingrabbit, I'm looking through my WSIM game and can't find the Russo-Turk scenarios…can you tell me where in there they are? That would really be nice to find.

Brian, thank you so much for the info you sent me! I've got a fleet of 11 ships I'm going to do up as Ottomans.

TMPWargamerabbit03 May 2018 7:54 a.m. PST

The scenarios I think on reflection came out of a gaming magazine. I am also looking about but they appeared over 30 years ago I think. AH General maybe? or one of the Wargame Illustrated or Wargame miniatures mags. I remember two of them as I played with a friend's 1/1200 naval miniatures on an enlarged WSIM hex format. At the same time there was several scenarios on the Russian- Swedish naval battles too.

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