Welcome / Bienvenu

This blog presents my different wargames armies, after action reports, campaigns which I have run, some scenarios and a presentation of some of the different rules I play. The pages at the top of the blog contain historical information on the periods that interest me. They are an aid to my poor memory, and not in any way exhaustive nor necessarily correct. As I am an Englishman living in France, some pages are in English and others in French...sorry, I am too lazy to translate...

I hope this blog offers you much enjoyment and some inspiration !

mardi 21 août 2012

Central Asian Turks (850-1000)

My army represents :
- the Ghuzz from 850-1030, from their approximate arrival west of Lake Balkach to their departure from the region.
- The Karluks or the Kirghiz from 700-1200
- The Sogdian Turks of Ferghana and Tashkent, from 900-1000, from Samanid independance to Karakhanid and Ghaznevid overlordship
- The Karakhanids from 850-1130, from their migration with the Ghuzz to submission to the Kara-khitai.
A sample of their enemies include the Samanids, the Khazars, the proto-Mongols, the Petchenegs and the Cumans.

Light horse

The core of any Turkish army is its light horse. Excellent archers, they are also willing to engage in close combat with their sabres or javelins. Typically, two or three bows were carried.
A small round shield of wicker or hide could be carried, brightly coloured. Other armour depended on the wealth of the individual. Decoration of clothing, belts, scabbards, bowcases and quivers, swords and saddles was generally lavish. Native Turkish styles mingled with Persian and Arab garb.
Horses were generally unarmoured. The saddle was made of wood; wooden (sometimes iron) stirrups were used, and felt or fur boots gave the rider a solid grip.

Basic costume was a loose under-tunic to the knee, and a long, loose robe called a kaftan, brightly coloured and decorative, sometimes of silk, with a decorated girdle.  Trousers were worn underneath.  Turkish nomads shaved their heads, leaving one braid plaited with coloured ribbons.  They were also tatooed, with zoomorphic patterns.

Heavy cavalry
It is possible that non-ghulam Turkish cavalry did not use the lance, and I have adopted that option here (mainly to create additional interest in combat with other peoples). They instead preferred mace or sword, as well of course as the ubiquitous recurved bow.
Armour was generally of lamellar. This form of protection indeed originated in Central Asia around 600 AD, and remained popular for a millenium. It consists of rectangular lamellae - made of leather, bone, horn, wood or metal - laced together in rows. It differs from scale in that the small plates of the latter are sown directly onto a leather backing. Lamellar can stop above the knee or reach below it. Protection for arms and legs is provided by splint armour, of the same materials. Richer warriors may wear mail, alone or underneath a layer of lamellar.

Helms are conical, and Persian kulah are popular.  They may be accompanied by leather, mail or lamellar aventails.  The shield is small, of wicker, or of wood with, perhaps, a metal boss to protect the hand.

Horses are typically armoured, partially or fully.  Byzantine-style armour is appreciated, but more generally made of felt than of metal.


Although mounted combat was the normal situation for a Turkish warrior, bow or javelin-armed infantry were also available. These were doubtless drawn from poorer warriors, or those who circumstances or sedentary life rendered untrained for mounted combat.  Settled kingdoms, such as that of Tashkent, employed large numbers of infantry who often rode Bactrian camels into battle.

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