Rapid-Fire Artillery in the Ottoman Empire I (1773-1788): Casting Technology, Bureaucracy and Deployment

Creative Commons License


OSMANLI ARASTIRMALARI-THE JOURNAL OF OTTOMAN STUDIES, no.52, pp.135-180, 2018 (AHCI) identifier identifier


The eighteenth century witnessed the transformation of the artillery from a professional guild into a major branch of the army that dominated the battlefield. The attempts to create more mobile and effective cannon in Europe was closely followed by the Ottomans. The lessons taken from the defeats at the hands of the Russian army obliged the Ottomans to re-organize the artillery corps that would be able to compete with the enemies. Undoubtedly, Baron de Tott played a pivotal role in the birth of this new corps called Rapid-fire Artillery. The new corps, however, required a new type of canons and a foundry, as well. This article is an attempt to study the creation of Rapid-fire Artillery Corps and manufacturing cannons in line with the contemporary European casting process in the Ottoman Empire. The corps was established first in the capital but in 1783, as a precaution for a probable war against Russia, Halil Hamid Pasha, the grand vizier, established rapid-fire artillery troops in the centers of the border provinces. Beside their deployments, this work also addresses the complex and sometimes confusing story of the Ottoman military bureaucracy and its financial instruments used in funding the Rapid-fire Artillery Corps.