As the independent-minded governor of Janina, Tepedelenli Ali Paşa, continued to expand his territory forces loyal to the Sublime Porte resisted. Meyvaci Ali and his janissaries were assigned to reinforce the garrison of a strategically-important bridge in Thessaly. On arrival they found a handful of men under Kara Ibrahim already there, comfortably located in the customs-house overlooking the bridge. Meyvaci Ali outranked Kara Ibrahim, who gratefully relinquished command to him, and the janissaries settled into their cosy, if rather cramped, billet. However advanced parties of the Lion of Janina's forces were not far away and one Autumn morning a band of Ali Pasha's Albanians attempted to seize the bridge.
The Istanbul Intelligencer
Price 1 akce
7th day of Haziran
Meyvaci Ali and the Customs House.
The quiet township of Tunari in Thessaly was to see another stirring episode in the career of Istanbul's own Meyvaci Ali as he successfully defended the strategic bridge and Customs House there against an incursion by Ali Pasha’s Albanians.
The Tunari Customs House garrison, a handful of men under Mülâzım-ı Sani Kara Ibrahim, was pleased to see the Hero of The Hour Binbashi Meyvaci Ali and his troops arrive yesterday following rumours of Albanian raids across the border all week. Upon his arrival Meyvaci Ali posted sentries after which he and the rest of his men took themselves off to the Customs House for a convivial evening around the cauldron and the nargile.
The following dawn [picture 1], while the inhabitants of the Customs House slept, a force of Albanians crept stealthily to the edge of the forest and then threw themselves on the unsuspecting sentries [picture 2]. The two unfortunates north of the bridge were quickly overwhelmed [picture 3] but one sentry, Ali the Bird Seller, was able to down the Albanians' second in command with a well placed shot as he crossed the bridge [picture 4] . The shot and the resultant hubbub sufficed to galvanise the sentries beside the Custom House and the sleeping inhabitants into action. The surviving sentries fled into the courtyard, sensibly placing some stone walls in between themselves and the Albanians, while Binbashi Ali and his lieutenant Kara Ibrahim urged the thoroughly alarmed janissaries outside the Custom House.
Seeing the dreadful fate of his four unfortunate sentries [picture 5] Binbashi Ali, remembering an important dictum of the Janissary code, decided 'never to reinforce failure' but gathered his forces behind the walls of the courtyard and prepared to do battle [picture 6]. It was in this entrenched position, the men closely overseen by both leaders, that the Janissaries proceeded to give fire to any Albanians that came within range.
The Albanians split into two groups with the smaller sniping at the Janissaries from over the river while the main assault attempted to storm the courtyard from the east.
A fierce exchange of fire resulted in the killing of both a Janissary and a forward charging Albanian. Urged on by Binbashi Ali and Mülâzım Ibrahim the defenders reloaded frantically and a further volley wounded two Albanians; two more threw themselves down to avoid the fire.
The throroughly shaken Albanian assault force hesitated [picture 7] and a further Albanian was killed outright causing the others to look around fearfully. From the other side of the river, however, the undeterred sniping group continued to fire at the defenders and wounded Janissary Mujdat the Carpenter [picture 8].
The next exchange of fire [picture 9] was to prove decisive with a further Albanian wounded upon which Shaqiri Pasha, seeing the hopelessness of any further attacks took himself off and fled, crying for his hapless minions to do the same [picture 10]. Two of his remaining men did just that with the remainder of the Albanians following a few seconds later.
Binbashi Ali then led his victorious troops forward to capture the four wounded raiders, to attend to his own wounded sentry, Huseyin the Tailor, and lay out the four dead Janissaries for the traditional immediate burial.
Meyvaci Ali Q4+ C2 Leader, sword, pistol @ 45
Kara Ibrahim Q4+ C2 NCO, sword, pistol @ 35
15 x janissaries Q4+ C2 Individualistic, Unreliable, musket, sword @ 23
Officer Q4+ C2 Leader, Light, sword, pistol @ 53
NCO Q4+ C2 NCO, Light, musket, sword @ 50
11 x men Q4+ C2 Individualistic, Light, musket, sword @ 35
Janissaries are Unreliable. The effect of this would seem to be:
No Leader or NCO within 1 Long: Q = 5+
Leader within 1 Long: Q = 4+
Leader within 1 Medium: Q = 3+
NCO within 1 Short: Q = 3+
This was intended to produce a comical 'look busy the boss is coming' effect with their leaders.
In the scenario below, for French read janissaries and for Austrians read Albanians.
The adventures of Meyvaci Ali: