Marcus – Last time I spoke to Warlord’s CEO John Stallard about his veritable horde of Ottoman Turks, we touched on all aspects of his force in passing, but I always knew that we’d be going more in-depth on specific units in the army. In the not-too-distant future we’ll be taking a look at the cavalry, artillery, and commanders, but today we’re starting off with a closer look at the core of the force – the infantry – in all their many, many shapes, sizes, and colours! Take it away, John!

John’s Ottoman complete Ottoman Infantry contingent…at least so far…

John – You can never have enough Janissaries, so let’s start with them! Some of the best-trained and equipped troops to be found anywhere in Europe at the time, vicious fighters, and excellent musketeers, they could serve virtually any role, from light infantry all the way up to assault formations. Ferociously loyal to the Sultan (until they weren’t!), they were well-paid and well cared for. Uniquely, they were mostly made up of Christian children kidnapped from the Balkans and forcibly converted to Islam (for a more in-depth look at Janissaries, look no further than this article), but formed a distinct and respected social class within the Ottoman Empire. You put Janissaries in your army because, well, they’re rock ‘ard! When fielded as Large units, they get an extra dice to their shooting, and an extra two in hand-to-hand, making them a truly intimidating prospect on the battlefield. I actually field units with bows as well as muskets, because archery was rather fashionable amongst the Janissaries, particularly used during sieges to good effect. On the tabletop, I allow the archers to shoot over the heads of friendly troops (with a -1 to hit, of course!). Janissaries are incredibly colourful, and make for a really gaudy sight – I’ve gone for each unit in a different colour, using Army Painter Speedpaints to quickly get my base colours down. Ottoman flags were also often very ornate, and of course big banners are an absolute must-have for any ‘rank and flank’ wargaming army! Of particular note is my unit of trainee Janissaries, in their rather striking conical hats – these figures (along with many others) are from the Trent Miniatures range, which can be got through our sister company Skytrex, and are a great way to add variety to your army.

Even amongst all the bright colours in the army, trainee Janissaries stand out on account of their conical headwear.

After the Janissaries, we have some Azap light infantry. These irregular light infantry are mostly archers and, bluntly, speedbumps for enemy cavalry! They do have their uses, however. Deployed in Large units, they certainly look intimidating enough, and can tie up enemy forces in front of your guns for a turn or two, but don’t expect too much from them! We also have some Wallachian Voynik heavy infantry, outfitted in a more old-fashioned style with halberds, shields, and chainmail. Tough fighters with a good save, these represent either Wallachian converts to Islam or simply mercenaries, given the rather turbulent state of the Balkans at the time! I also have some non-Janissary Ottoman infantry, using Trent’s range of separate heads – I use these to either bulk out and add variety to my other units, or to form a slightly more second-rate unit with a more Turkish flavour to them.

I’m also very happy with my unit of pioneers. When the Ottoman army went to war, it took an enormous amount of artillery (more on that next time!), and a commensurate number of labourers to entrench the guns and prepare defensive positions. They could accomplish this in a surprisingly small amount of time, and I suspect that a few thousand chaps with mattocks, axes, and spades would be quite handy behind a barricade in a fight as well. To represent this, I give them some basic stats, and use them to protect the guns and baggage!

A unit of Ottoman pioneers hard at work building barricades for artillery. These miniatures are also part of Trent Miniatures’ range.

Speaking of baggage, I also love a good camel (doesn’t everyone?), so I had to add some to my army (these models are available here, and are suited for a wide range of game systems). At the moment,

Camels! Here, hounded by the loyal canine companion of the Ferik.

Most recently I made up some swivel guns mounted on camel-back to give me some mobile firepower in an otherwise rather static army. I had a lot of fun with the conversions, and hopefully they’ll irritate the enemy no end!

John made these camel-mounted swivel guns with our own camel baggage train models, adding a pair of Trent Miniatures’ Ottoman Gun Crew figures to each base and a gun from the plastic AWI Field Artillery Frame sprue.

On the tabletop, my infantry hasn’t done too badly – my regular opponents haven’t worked out how rubbish the Azaps are yet, as they’ve been scared off by the big units! I have discovered that Janissaries are quite vulnerable to heavy lancer cavalry, with their nasty, nasty charges. However, with their Brave special rule, if they can survive the charge, there’s always a chance their martial prowess can turn the tide against the horsemen in the next round of combat! Against the more traditional western pike and shotte formations, they don’t do so well, and definitely benefit from shooting the pike blocks up before they get stuck in with the sabre; in an ideal scenario, they’ll let the artillery do the heavy lifting! I’ve got more games lined up though, which will give them ample opportunity to show their mettle!

Marcus – Next time, we’ll be focussing on the cream of the Ottoman army – the big guns – but until then, take a look at these snaps of John’s infantry, arrayed for battle and raring (or not, in the case of the Azaps) to go!

Get Your Ottomans

Inspired by John’s example? Get hold of your own Ottoman infantry on the Warlord Webstore and don’t forget to check out the Trent Miniatures range via our sister company, Skytrex.

Ottoman Janissaries Boxed Set
Ottoman Janissary Halberdiers
Ottoman Janissary Archers
Azap Infantry
Wallachian Voynik Infantry
Wallachian Voynik Infantry Command
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