Timurid White Sheep Turcoman or Black Sheep Turcoman

Timurid, White Sheep or Black Sheep Turcoman

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Historical Overview Section

This poor list groans under the weight of representing 3 significant armies.
The Timurids - 1360-1500
The Timurids origins were as a Mongolian nomadic confederation known as Barlas, remnants of the original Mongol Invasion army of Genghis Khan. After the Mongol conquest of Central Asia, the Barlas settled in Turkistan and intermingled (oo-er missus!!) with the local Turkic population. By the time of Timur (Tamerlane) the Barlas had become thoroughly Turkicized in language and habits, and had adopted Islam. This linked the new empire firmly into the Persian sphere of influence and culture which had dominated Central Asia since the early days of Islamic influence.

Timur was a busy chap and started off by conquering large parts of Transoxiana, and the empire of the Khurasanian Dynasties. Acting officially in the name of the Mongolian Chagatai ulus, he subjugated Transoxania and the Khwarazmians in the years that followed, and then began a campaign westwards in 1380. By 1389 he had removed the Kartids from Herat and advanced into mainland Persia from 1382 sweeping away the Bedouin Dynasties in the process. In 1394/95 he triumphed over the Golden Horde Tatars and enforced his sovereignty in the Caucasus, in 1398 subjugated Multan and Dipalpur in modern day Pakistan and in modern day India left Delhi in such ruin that it is said for two months "not a bird moved wing in the city". In 1400/01 conquered Aleppo, Damascus and eastern Anatolia, in 1401 destroyed Baghdad and in 1402 triumphed over the Later Ottoman Turkish armies in a battle at Ankara. He died on the way to have a pop at the Ming Chinese, although records indicate he may also have been taking backhanders from them for many years, so perhaps he was only going there for the tea and vases? An estimated 17 million people may have died from his conquests.

Two of Timur's four sons (Jahangir and Umar Shaykh) predeceased him and his third son, Miran Shah, died soon after Timur, leaving the youngest son, Shah Rukh to ultimately succeed him. After Timur's death in 1405, his empire fell apart with various tribes and warlords competing for dominance. The Black Sheep Turkmen destroyed the western empire in 1410 when they captured Baghdad, but in Persia and Transoxiana Shāhrukh was able to secure effective control from about 1409. His empire controlled the main trade routes and commercial opportunities between East and West including the legendary Silk Road and became immensely wealthy as a result. One of his descendants Babur went onto found the Mughal Empire in India.

The Black Sheep Turkomen
When in 1400, the armies of Timur defeated the Kara Koyunlu tribe of Turcomen, their leader Qara Yusuf fled to Egypt seeking refuge with the Mamluk Egyptians. He gathered an army or black sheep warriors and launched an attack to retake his lands. By 1406 had taken back Tabriz and in 1410, the Black Sheep captured Baghdad. Despite internal fighting amongst Kara Yusuf's descendants after his death in 1420 and increasing pressure from the Timurids, the Black Sheep Turkomans maintained a strong grip over the areas they controlled. A successor to Jusef, Jahān Shāh made peace with the Shāh Rukh the Timurid leader, however this "pax-black-sheepium" soon fell apart and when Shāh Rukh died in 1447, the Black Sheep Turkomans annexed portions of Iraq and the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Timurid controlled western Iran. In 1466, Jahān Shāh attempted to take Diyar Bakr from the White Sheep Turkomans, however, this was a catastrophic failure resulting on Jahān Shāh's death and the collapse of the Black Sheep Turkoman's control in the Middle East.

The White Sheep Turkomen
The White Sheep were orginally thought to be a schism of the Black Sheep with better mobile laundry facilities however they have now been identified as a Turkoman tribe which first acquired its own land in 1402, when Timur granted them all of Diyarbakır in present-day Turkey. The White Sheep were unable to expand their territory for ages after that as the Black Sheep kept them in their shadow, until the rule of Uzun Hassan who defeated the Black Sheep Turkoman leader, Jahān Shāh, in 1467. After the defeat of a Timurid army Uzun Hassan was able to take Baghdad, along with territories around the Persian Gulf. He expanded into Iran as far east as Khorasan. However, around this time, the Later Ottoman Turkish Empire sought to expand eastwards, a serious threat that forced the White Sheep into an alliance with the Qaramanids of central Anatolia. As early as 1464, Uzun Hassan had requested military aid from one of the Ottoman Empire's strongest enemies the Italian Condotta power of Venice, however, despite Venetian promises this aid never arrived and as a result Uzun Hassan was defeated by the Later Ottoman Turkish army at Tercan in 1473. When Uzun Hassan died early in 1478, he was succeeded by his son Khalil Mirza (Sultan Khalil), but he was defeated by a confederation under his younger brother Ya'qub at the Battle of Khoy in July. Ya'qub, who reigned from 1478 to 1490, sustained the dynasty for a while longer. However, during the first four years of his reign there were seven pretenders to the throne that had to be put down. Following Ya'qub's death civl war again erupted, the White Sheep destroyed themselves from within, and they ceased to be a threat to their neighbours.

Eventually, sick of the continual bleating of their neighbours, the Safavid Persians met the White Sheep army in battle at Nakhichevan in 1501, and defeated them. Shorn of their lands and heritage, the White Sheep became a mutton-flavoured footnote in history.

Who are these Mongols anyway then?

The FoG army lists reproduce the Mongols in many guises. They are:

Using the army in FoG

  • Probably best as a generic all mounted force, with Bw/Sw cavalry as good as you can afford them supported by the full maximum of LH Bw/Sw.
  • The only reason to take the Timurids over and above any other Bw/Sw cavalry outfit is to use Elephants, so use all 4, and field them together in a block. In this case, taking some average archers as rear support is very valuable.
  • By using several LH BGs, you run those up the middle and slow down the enemy's (hopefully) less maneuverable units. With the flanks unprotected, you should overload a flank with your cavalry and light horse. Try to swing your LH around the flanks and rear of a single anchor.
  • I've seen my buddies drop no less than 9-10 dice onto a single BG. For most BGs, you are hitting on 4s and should get 4-5 hits easily (especially with your re-rolls). That means, every time you can pull that off, your opponent will have to test with a -1 or -2 and take a deathroll! No, you don't win quickly, but it is hard to lose too.
  • One of my frequent opponents complained that an army like the Mongol Conquest have too many superior and not enough dice. You end up taking too long and running out of time to win. To offset that, he prefers to use the LH to disrupt an opponent and then charges in with a slightly less expensive, Superior, Armoured Lancer Cavalry. You end up busting through that anchor more quickly and can then rapidly take advantage of the failed battleline. This (of course) means that you have to find a different steppe army (perhaps the Huns?)...

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Timurids Only Turcoman, Black or White Sheep . Date restrictions: None Book: Eternal Empire Page: 57 - Lots more Bw/Sw cavalry and LH … great (huh?)
  • Timurids Only Later Tribal Mongol . Date restrictions: None Book: unknown Page: unknown - At a guess, lots more Bw/Sw cavalry and LH … great (huh?)
  • Black or White Sheep Turcoman (White Sheep Only) Turcoman, Anatolian . Date restrictions: None Book: Eternal Empire Page: 14 - Bw/Sw Cavalry and supporting LH seems to add little new to the parent army
  • Black or White Sheep Turcoman (White Sheep Only) Georgian : Date restrictions None Book: Swords and Scimitars Page: 16 - Not that exciting, as the Georgians are Bw/Sw Cv after 1100, ie during this list. You do get 6 spearmen.....

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site. The Mongols had many subject troops, so look at the other Arab and East European ranges as well.

Image Image Image Image Image

Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

List at 800pts/15mm

  • 1x IC + 2xTC's
  • 2x Elephants
  • 2x Elephants.
  • 7 Bgs of 4x Cv, armd, Superior, Drilled, bow/Sw.
  • 4x Lf, Firearm.

Not necessarily the most effective, but simple and direct

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

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