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The Sipahi was the Ottoman Empire's elite light cavalry corps, who served primarily as feudal nobles who served in the military in return for a fief (land grant). However, all free-born Ottoman men who joined the cavalry could become part of the Sipahi. As such, the Sipahi were excellently armed with swords, lances, and, before the advent of gunpowder, javelins.

Because they were light cavalry, their tactics relied on hit-and-run exercises that demoralized and wore out enemy forces. The Sipahi was established in the mid-14th century but rose to prominence at the battle of Mohacs in 1526, where they were led personally by Suleiman the Magnificent. The Sipahi was utilized to great effect, feigning a retreat in the face of a European cavalry charge, and drawing the enemy directly into an ambush.

As gunpowder became more effective in combat, though, more and more emphasis was placed on the Janissaries and by the mid-16th century, the Sipahi had become second-rate to their infantry rivals. Still, the Sipahi played an important role in the politics of the Ottoman empire, and on several occasions joined with the Janissaries to establish new rulers in military-led coups.

Battle vs. Knights Templar (by BattleGames1)[]

Knights Templar: Blue Blue Blue Blue Blue

Sipahis: Darkred Darkred Darkred Darkred Darkred

As the sun begins to rise, 5 mounted Sipahis wait on top of a sand dune. They overlook the entrance to a Templar fortress where a Grand Master and four of his knights are preparing their weapons to go on their next Crusade mission. As the Grand Master mounts his horse, the Sipahis - arrows drawn on their bows - take aim. One of the Templar knights take notice of this and as he alerts the others, the Sipahis fire their volley of arrows at the Knights. One of them hits a knight and kills him Blue, while another lands near the Grand Master's horse - scaring it. Returning fire, the other knights fire their crossbows at the Sipahis, managing to kill off one of them Darkred. The Sipahis then retreat over the sand dune - the Grand Master orders his knights to mount their horses and pursue the Sipahis. Over on the other side, the Sipahis unsheathe their weapons in expectation of an attack. Sure enough, the Knights come in vaulting over the dune and start locking weapons with the Sipahis. Before one can get on his horse, a Sipahi is mowed down by a knight wielding a flail Darkred - unfortunately, the Knight is wounded by the flail as he tries to swing it out from the body. This gives the Sipahi leader enough time to smash the knight's skull in with his mace Blue. The remaining three knights continue their melee with the Sipahis. One of the Knights blocks a Sipahi swinging his teber axe, and counters with a swing from the poleaxe which decapitates the Sipahi Darkred. The Sipahi leader and his remaining man suddenly break rank and charge off in separate directions. Not noting the tactic being used here, the Grand Master orders two of his knights to trail the Sipahi. Riding off over the sand hills, the Grand Master scours the area around him - crossbow being loaded in the process. Meanwhile, the two knights continue searching for the remaining Sipahi. They continue looking around before one of them spots the dismounted horse tied to a palm tree near an oasis. Dismounting from their own steeds (and one removing his helmet), they investigate the parked horse. Meanwhile, from behind one of the palm trees, the Sipahi man lies in wait while readying his bow. Coming out from the shade, he fires his arrow which strikes one of the knights on the head Blue. The remaining knight draws his longsword as the Sipahi draws his teber axe and two clash weapons. Initially the knight gains the upperhand with his slashing manoeuvres against the axe but then the Sipahi distracts the Knight when he throws sand into the Knight's face and then swings with the axe, plunging the axe into chest and killing the Knight Blue. As the Sipahi then puts his axe away, he is shot in the neck by another arrow Darkred - it is the Grand Master firing his crossbow from a distance atop a dune. Reloading his crossbow, he scours around the area to look for the remaining Sipahi, who is crouched behind a sand dune with the mace and his kilij at the ready. Waiting for the right moment, the Grand Master passes by and the Sipahi leader strikes with the mace only to be blocked by the poleaxe the Grand Master switched when he went back to his horse. The Sipahi leader takes a swing with the mace but the Grand Master ducks, swinging his poleaxe and striking the Sipahi leader in the knee. Just as the Grand Master is about to poke the pointed end of the axe into the Sipahi's chest, the Sipahi breaks the handle of the axe with one swing of the mace. However, the Grand Master unsheathes his longsword and whips the mace away. The Sipahi then retreats back to his horse (which is at a safe distance) as does the Grand Master. Thanks to the knight's heavy armor, however, the Sipahi is faster to mount. Hearing horseshoes behind in, the Grand Master picks up the pace but the Sipahi charges behind with the horse. The Grand Master turns around and fires his crossbow but it misses... giving the Sipahi leader enough time to draw his kilij and slash the Grand Master in the neck, killing him Blue. The Sipahi leader then slows down his horse and yells in victory.

Winner: Sipahi

Expert's Opinion[]

The experts (and myself) agree that what made the Sipahis win this fight was their superior bows, maces and swords as well as using the terrain to their tactical advantage.

To see the original battle, weapons and votes, click here.

Battle vs. Companion Cavalry (by El Alamein)[]

Companions: TealTealTealTealTeal

Sipahi: BrownBrownBrownBrownBrown

The swirling sands of the Middle East curve into a light dust storm in the early afternoon. Through the audible hiss of the wind thunders the pounding of hooves and the piercing glint of a stab of sunlight reflecting off armor through the air. Five Companion cavalrymen of Alexander the Great's army are on a forward scouting patrol, scoping out the area to find a suitable patch of open land for battle. The squad leader brings his horse to a stop and his men follow suit. Squinting through the dust, he makes the shimmering form of several mounted skirmishers fast approaching. He raises his xyston and gallops off to the right, his men following close behind, preparing an ambush.

The mounted skirmishers are five Sipahi soldiers on a long-distance journey to relay a message to Suleiman. They ride silently and endure patiently, calm and collected in their element. The leader dons a red scarf that wraps around his face and protects it from the biting grains of sand that whip into his face as he rides into the wind. It masks the sound of the Companions approaching until they are almost already upon the Sipahi. Turning his neck, the Sipahi captain can only roll off of his horse to avoid a thrust of a xyston spear. One of his men is not so lucky, being completely run through and picked up into the air with the momentum of the blow. The speared Sipahi slides downward off the shaft and lays in a puddle of his own blood, which the dry sand eagerly laps up, leaving only a faint brown stain beneath the fallen warrior. Brown The Companion responsible awkwardly pulls the spear out of the corpse and rides in a wide circle, ready for another charge. 

The Sipahi leader rapidly mounts his horse and urges it away from his men, who are bunching into a tight circle as the Companions charge. Javelin in hand, he sends the missile flying through the air. The projectile sticks itself into the chest of an approaching Greek horse, and the beast tumbles forward, throwing its rider violently from the reins. As the fallen Companion pushes himself up, a lance thrust meets him between the shoulder blades and sends him sprawling facefirst to the dirt. Teal The second Companion charge is not as effective - the Sipahi had rallied themselves and the shock of impact is lessened. A savage close-quarters melee ensues. 

Two of the Sipahi break away and circle outward as their captain enters the fray, Kilij unsheathed. A forceful swipe of the curved blade bounces off of a Companion's breastplate - he doubles over, winded. As the Greek soldier sits back up in the saddle, the Kilij swings fast once more and the Companion's head flies from the neck. Teal Blood fountains from the opening in the wound as the headless corpse gives one brief spasm before slumping to the side. Another Companion rides by with his Kopis and chops down on the Sipahi captain, leaving a deep laceration in the crook of his elbow. The captain drops his Kilij and urges his horse elsewhere as the angry Greek follows. Meanwhile, the two Sipahi who had circled away re-enter with momentum, lances at the ready. The two Companions trapped in the melee break away and urge their horses away, wheeling around with swords unsheated. One of the Sipahi's spearpoints glances off the side of the Companion's breastplate, but he parries the oncoming chop of the Kopis with his shield. The other Companion rides in close with his Xiphos and pressed the blade in between the leather of the Sipahi's armor. The short sword drives all the way through up to the hilt. Brown

The sandstorm kicks up more violently as the two groups ride away for another charge. The Companions ready their Xystons as the Sipahi skirt away under the cover of the storm. Plowing forward relentlessly, the three remaining Companions are startled as a barrage of javelins flies through the sandy air. The lighter Sipahi weave through the Companions, swinging their Kilij swords, which are negated by the heavy bronze of the cuirass. One of the Sipahi, with his mace, swings down the heavy club and crumples a Companion's head through the helmet, blood trickling down from inside his helmet. Teal No sooner has he done this, though, than is the Sipahi slain by a Xyston slamming through his gut. Brown The Ottoman soldier lurches forward painfully over the spear and slides off his horse. 

Battered by the storm and worn out by the protracted skirmish, both groups begin to show the beginning stages of battle fatigue. However, the Sipahi manage to rally for one final spirited charge while the Companions muster their best defense. With swords drawn, both sides make one last, glorious charge through the sand. With a flash of blades, one of the Sipahi finds his guts spilled on the front of his horse's neck and on the dust below, but he is not dead. Meanwhile, the two captains are engaged in vicious hand-to-hand combat, both dismounted. Grunting in pain, the disemboweled Sipahi wheels his horse around and throws his javelin at the Companion responsible for his injury. The projectile finds its mark, right in the back of the soldier's neck. Both men tumble from their horses simultaneously. Brown Teal The Siaphi captain, sword-arm severely wounded, swings his mace down on the Companion captain, but the close confines of the fight make landing a hit difficult thanks to the long shaft of the mace. The Companion's Xiphos fares much better in such tight spaces, and he thrusts into the Sipahi captain's stomach. A lucky slide of the blade against the leather armor deflects the blow, giving the Sipahi captain the time to push his opponent back with his shield, still strapped to his arm. The Companion stumbles back, before recovering and holding his Xiphos out at arm's length. The Sipahi captain grimaces as a sudden flare of pain shoots up his arm right as the Companion rushes forward. Pushing through the pain, the Sipahi slams the mace with all his force down on the approaching Greek's knee. The limb is shattered in an instant and the Companion falls like a stone, roaring in agony. The pain is brief - a second strike mashes his skull into a bloody pulp. Teal

The sandstorm whirls quietly through the air as the sounds of the battle die down. The Sipahi captain's ragged breathing mix with the faint dripping of his blood onto the ground. Turning back, he manages to pull himself onto his horse, and the beast obediently continues on its way. After all, the mission comes first.

Expert's Opinion[]

Although the Companion cavalry had far greater combat experience with Alexander the Great, and were more forceful as shock cavalry, the tactical flexibility of the Siaphi, combined with their slightly superior metallurgy and lesser fatigue rate, allowed the Ottoman horseman to snatch a close victory.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.