By Mark L. Stein
The seventeenth-century Ottoman-Habsburg frontier used to be the scene of power clash. The defences of either empires have been in line with a line of fortresses, spanning the border. Mark Stein provides us a desirable perception into way of life at the frontier during this turbulent time, through investigating the social, fiscal and armed forces features of Ottoman forts and garrisons in a brand new comparative procedure. Drawing on quite a lot of Ottoman and Western archival and narrative resources, Guarding the Frontier assesses the nation of early-modern Ottoman army structure and siegecraft; the Ottomans' skill to besiege, shield, construct and service fortifications within the 17th century is thoroughly dissected, as is the connection among the primary and provisional administrations. along with his examine into an in depth database compiled from seventeenth-century garrison money files, Stein has supplied a necessary addition to the sector of Ottoman reviews.
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Extra info for Guarding the Frontier: Ottoman Border Forts and Garrisons in Europe (Library of Ottoman Studies)
The profile of the fort was lowered even more by the expansion of the ditch. Ditches not only protected the lower parts of the walls from artillery fire, but also acted as a further obstacle to a besieging force, who would have to fill in the ditch in order to cross it. Furthermore, a firing platform, called the “covered way,” was cut into the outer rim of the ditch, where men and guns could be placed. The area THE FORTRESSES 31 beyond the ditch, called the “glacis,” was built with a descending slope to provide a clear range of fire, as well as to protect the covered way and the walls behind it.
The defensive line at the exterior of the besiegers’ camp, was the line of circumvallation. The two competing, but interrelated, factors in any siege were the trenches and the artillery. Artillery fire from the fortress forced a besieging army to take cover. At the same time, the besiegers needed to bring their own artillery close enough to the fort to begin battering the walls. The only way to advance toward the fort was through a series of trenches that could protect the attackers from the fort’s guns.
24 Because of the larger number of parallels, and the communication trenches at their ends, Ottoman siege works had more of a gridlike appearance than European works. Traditionally the Janissaries were in charge of digging, although as manpower demands grew through the seventeenth century other types of troops and non-combatants also joined the yeniçeri in the excavations. 25 Evliya Çelebi, in his account of the 1663 siege of Uyvar, describes how extra troops were assigned to the trenches, particularly the sekban units.
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