JAN-06 Janissaries, Zihril Nefer “Armoured Assault Soldiers”


SKU: JAN-06 Category:


A Janissary was a member of the elite infantry that formed the Ottoman Sultan’s household troops and were considered the first standing army in Europe. The corps was most likely established under the Sultan Orhan (1324-1362). Although the origins remain surrounded in mystery, they were also certainly among the first troops to adopt firearms as their principal weapon.
Janissaries began as elite corps made up through the system of child levy enslavement. They became famed for internal cohesion cemented by strict discipline and order. Unlike typical slaves, they were paid regular salaries. Forbidden to marry before the age of 40 or engage in trade, their complete loyalty to the Sultan was expected.

Zihril Nefer in Turkish means “armoured soldiers” and were a special category of Janissaries.
Zihril Nefer were made of volunteer Janissaries and received double pay. Their job was to lead the charge and attack the enemy at the most crucial or weakest point.

The best examples were at the Siege of Constantinople or the First Siege of Vienna where in both cases they charged at the crippled wall. It is easy to conclude why these soldiers were armored and received double pay. Their casualties were very high. They were often called Serdengeçi meaning “the one who doesn’t care for their lives”. It was also a good way to gain promotion which is one reason why there was never a shortage of volunteers.
The main body of the invasion force were the Spahis, drawn from Anatolia, Karamina, and Romania. Although originally cavalry, during a siege they would have little value. They were armed with bow, crossbow and matchlocks.