Sunday, April 17, 2016

Battlefield Visit: Chataldja, Turkey

I was lucky to go on a excursion last summer with friends from the Istanbul war-gaming scene to the Chataldja lines, sites of the First and Second Battles of Chataldja during the First Balkan War between the Ottoman and Bulgarian armies.  After the war, the lines were updated and modernized as the final line of defence of Istanbul against enemies attacking from the west (Bulgaria, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia).

The fields is large and we used a car to get around. It is also not developed at all, so part of the excursion was to explore it and find artifacts and sites of the Balkan War battles. It is doted by villages settled by Muslims expelled from Bulgaria and Greece in the sad and tumultus history of this region of the world. There is no commemoration of the battlefield by the state, and very little private work. A scenario of the First and Second battles will be developed in the future for Bloody Big Battles.

The vistas are breathtaking, and to be frank the decision of the Bulgarians to attack the Ottoman positions, over open ground, cannot be seen as anything but bravery married to stupidity and arrogance.  We took lots of photos, so here they are.

Also here is a map of the dispositions of he two armies in the first battle from the Official Turkish history.

The First Battle saw an woefully under-strength Bulgarian army lunch frontal assaults against the Ottoman entrenched positions at high ground. While Bulgarian elan might had carried the day in Kirkilise and Lule-Burgaz, it failed here in the face of determined Ottoman resistance, excellent defensive ground, and good works.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Project Complete: 1877/1897 Ottoman Army

Another 10mm 19th century army joins my collection. This is an Ottoman Army that can be used from the period between 1865 to 1897. The figures are all Pendraken, and the army is mainly going to be used for Bloody Big Battles, Black Powder, and Neil Thomas 19th century rules. The army may be expanded to also cover the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars.

The forces arrayed. About 40 infantry bases, 6 guns, 2 Generals, and 11 cavalry bases

Friday, April 8, 2016

Last Century of the Ottomans: Aleksinac

Last weekend, Onur, Emir and me joined at Emir's house to play the second battle in our linked Big Bloody Battles campaign. This campaigned includes all the BBB Scenarios in which the Ottoman Empire was one of the two sides. Our last battle saw a Russian victory at Kurudere during the Crimean War. This time we moved forward 20 years. It is 1876 and since 1875 the Ottoman Empire is at war with its vassal state of Serbia. The Serbs are fighting to force the Empire to end the vassalage of the Principality of Serbia and to expand into the contested areas of Old Serbia and Bosnia (itself in revolution). After a series of Serbian attacks, the Serbs are forced back into their borders. At Aleksinac (Sumatovach) the Ottomans try to encircle and annihilate half of the Serbian army.

This time Onur took the role of AAR writer, so I am posting his AAR with my own remarks in italics. Emir took the photos, I did the video. Last time I commanded the armies of the Sublime Porte and Emir and Onur the armies of Slavdom This time I took the role of Serbia commander, while Emir and Onur took the role of the Ottomans.

This map by Onur gives a good idea of how the battle went.

Here is Onur's AAR( my notes in italics)-video report after the text report