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I am Chris Flaherty, and welcome to Ottoman Uniforms. This is a website intended to give an insight into the uniforms of the Ottoman Turkish Imperial Army and Navy, from its early beginning as a Modern Army, in 1800 till the end of the Great War, in 1918 for the English speaking wargamer, modeler or military historian.
Many of the terms, phrases and spellings of ranks are also used, to preserve what may have been original pronunciations.
In addition, some smaller studies have been undertaken:
Other armies/uniforms of interest, are covered under this section:
A range or recently completed books on Ottoman Army and Navy uniforms history can be ordered on this page.
As well, there is a small sellection of spare WW1 Turkish militaria For Sale.
The 2015 ANZAC Day in Australia, will represent 100 years since the original landing. In 1915. C.E.W.Bean, the Australian war correspondent records vividly the first time that the ANZACs saw a Turkish soldier, sighting a ‘lonely figure on the skyline  . My painting records that moment (Chris Flaherty, 2012):
 Bean, C.E.W. (1924) Volume II - The Story of Anzac: from 4 May, 1915 to the evacuation.
 My research into C.E.W.Bean, began with Flaherty, C.J; Roberts, M. (1989) ANZAC Symbolism, Journal of Australian Studies. (13)24: 52-69. This particular article has been selected as part of the commemorations for the centenary of World War One; the Journal of Australian Studies is issuing an electronic issue on the war (going live in early 2015), titled - Symbols, Soldiers, and Society: The Anzac Centenary. This volume contains selected articles published in the journal over the last 40 years, to be republished in a single online issue, and including a new historiographical essay, written by Professor Peter Stanley, that will contextualise these articles.
A small team of four officers under the leadership of Colonel Kaehler (including Captains Kamphövener, von Hobe, and von Ristow) dispatched on April 29, 1882 to serve in the Ottoman Army.
 Ristow Pasha, became a ‘Ferik’, in command of the Imperial Army Field Artillery, from 1885, till 1890 when he died from an accident holidaying in Germany.
Peter Williams, ‘The Battle of ANZAC Ridge: 25 April 1915’,(Australian Military History Publications, Loftus NSW,2007). "In several unit war diaries there are references to being attacked that day by Ottoman soldiers in blue uniforms".
Right - An extract from this 1908-09 German publication clearly shows the Imperial Army infantry wearing the 1876 pattern of blue service tunic, as a 'Parade Tunic'.
It should also be noted, that 'The British General Staff. (1995) 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army. Battery Press (Nashville), states (p.63): "On mobilisation, 1914, all sorts of uniforms made their appearance, ... blue cotton" (which is clearly referring to blue coloured cotton summer uniforms, which were also normally white).
This web site Ottoman Navy at Gallipoli lists the Ottoman Navy ships in the Dardanelles campaign 1915, and this notes that the Mesudiye /Messoudich (as it is identified in the December, 1914 Australian newspaper), had no MGs allotted . While the destroyers: Gayret-i Vataniye, and Muavenet-i Milliye do not have any MGs either. The standard allotment seems to be two-four guns pership (six at the most), or two earlier Nordenfelt guns per ship; however, note that the Turgut Reis, and Barbaros Hayreddin both state-of-the-art German ships had 12 guns each - which in the Australian paper was listed as four guns only (reflecting the 'standard' navy allotment), pointing to a redistribution of the German MG throughout the fleet, to give to ships that either did not have any, or needed to up-gun from the Nordenfelt guns. This would have left the remaining Nordenfelt guns mounted on field carriages, being used by ship's landing parties (which was part of the traditional tactics training since the 1880s when these weapons were introduced).
Extracted from a photograph of Turkish war material captured at Ramadie (British captured Ramadie on 29 September 1917). A British soldier expects two Turkish 37mm calibre the water-cooled, belt-fed Maxim-Nordenfeldt guns, still on ships' mounts (one still fitted with its shield).
These type of guns also came mounted on a field carriage.
An extracted paragraph from a 1908 US newspaper, reporting how gun-fire from the Dardanelles/Gallipoli can be heard as far away as Constantinople. It is likely, that on the day of landing at Gallipoli, 1915 Turkish people experienced this as well. CEW Bean records vividly the first time that the ANZACs saw a Turkish soldier, sighting a ‘lonely figure on the skyline’ (painted above), and from the Rod Wilson collection in Australia, we have one of only a few known examples of a WW1-wartime manufactured tunics of a soldier, in Ottoman Turkish Imperial Army (the 'Asakr-i Shahaneh' in Ottoman). The Turkish tunic was salvaged as blanketing on the day of the Gallipoli landing (25 April 1915).
The tunic was taken at Gallipoli during the landing day 25 April, 1915 / 12 Nisan, 1331 (in the Ottoman’s Rumi calendar, and 12 Jamada al-Thany 1333: Hijri calendar, which the Ottoman Turkish used dually with the Rumi dates). It had been used as a blanket to cover and to stave-off shock for a wounded Australian officer. He was injured in a clash between his battalion and the 27th Infantry Regiment, Imperial Army. In the late afternoon of the landing. It is also clear from reading accounts of the battle that the jacket is very likely from an Onbasi of the 27th Infantry, Imperial Army. The tunic still has a largish (now mostly washed out) stain on the outside ofthe rear which may well have been blood. It also has the Australian officers’ rank, name and unit crudely written in large letters on the inside of the liner in what appears to be black Indian ink. This appears to agree with the blanket story as this was probably written by one of his soldiers or Medical Corps personnel as means of identifying the unconscious or semi conscious casualty during the confusion of the first day on ANZAC.
The Turkish soldier's 1913 Kabalak, originally belonged to an Australian soldier, from 'C' Squadron 8th Australian Light Horse. He embarked from Egypt for Gallipoli on the 16 May 1915 and was later hospitalised at ANZAC Cove (4 August 1915) with diarrhoea/dysentery, from where he was sent to Mudros then Malta then Epsom in England. This spared him from taking part in the charge at the Nek which destroyed much of the 8th ALH regiment. This suggests that the Kabalak was souvenired between mid May and early August 1915. The Australian soldier, joined the 5th Infantry Battalion Australian Imperial Force in England and served the rest of the war in France and Belgium, winning the Military Medal, and was mentioned in despatches (later being seriously wounded in the leg). He later became a Lieulenant in the 5th Battalion AIF.
The Rod Wilson tunic is recognisable as having been made in an Imperial Army workshop (one from Beersheba, 1917 is illustrated), and is a roughly tacked together item, produced as the Ottoman Turkish Empire faced its greatest challenge - the prospects of an Allied invasion, some 297 km from Constantinople.
 British General Staff. (1995) 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army. Battery Press, Nashville: 10.
With the Rod Wilson tunic, is the post-1909 Ottoman Turkish ‘Imperial Army’ buckle (Type ‘B’), with its change in script style, between it and earlier versions.
Worn on the belt - a pair of German made M1909 Mauser 45-round cartridge pouch, supplied to the Ottoman Turkish Army, and seems to correlate with a series of munitions orders, from Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabrik in Karlsruhe, at the plants of Erhart and Polne.
Above - Post-1909 German made Ottoman ‘Imperial Army’: ‘Type-A’ version buckle (with leather pull-tab attached). As well, includes a belt-clip. It is said that this buckle was souvenired by “Karl Elsum, English Yeomanry at Gallipoli”.
Right - This WW1 Turkish uniform, on display in the Australian War Memorial: Gallipoli Gallery, for more than 30 years, has been largely treated as 'display prop'. It is intended to show a typical Ottoman soldier in 1915. In 1919, the Australian War Records Section in Palestine, collected a number of full sets of Turkish uniforms to serve as an example of the general appearance of the WW1 Ottoman soldier who fought the ANZACs. And three of these jackets are documented in the AWM collection:
However, this tunic (on display in the Australian War Memorial: Gallipoli Gallery), is identical to these other 'collection' jackets. And, as well as the rest of the uniform and equipment is being currently entered into the AWM online collection descriptions, acknowledged as original uniform items.
The headgear, is an exact replica, of an original (too fragile for display), made by the Australian War Memorial staff, in the 1980s. This is the WW1-Wartime Turkish Soldiers' Bashlik.
Additionally, all the soldiers' equipment and weapons are original items; and the use of a German manufactured canvas backpack, would also be consistent with Turkish soldiers after 1917.
On the day of the landing, facing the initial landing of the ANZAC Corps was a company of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Regiment (Imperial Army 9th Division). The reaction of the commander of the 9th Division was to send the two remaining battalions of the 27th Regiment (1st and 3rd ) to reinforce them. Crucially, the soldiers of the 27th Regiment using ‘evasion tactics’ skilfully drew the ANZAC troops ever deeper into the gullies, and broken ground of the Gallipoli fatally disorganising them. Mustafa Kemal, commander of the 19th Division which was in reserve, only a few miles from the landing, was instructed to send a single battalion as well. However, reports reached Mustafa Kemal that the Australians were making for the peaks of Chunuk Bair and Hill 971, and he was convinced the landing was not a feint. As a result, he made a decision that probably doomed the ANZAC landing to failure, if not defeat - he personally led the entire 57th Regiment forward to counter-attack. Prior to committing the 57th Regiment, Mustafa Kemal issued his famous order – "I do not expect you to attack, I order you to die! In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders can take our place!"
Notwithstanding the numerical superiority of the ANZAC troops (who by the afternoon had landed the bulk of its invasion force, a total of three Brigades), the tenacity and aggressive attacks of the 57th and 27th Infantry forced the ANZAC troops to take up defensive lines by the evening of DAY 1, and thus the British and Commonwealth landing was stalemated, and would remain so for the entire campaign until the final evacuation.
Left - This Turkish mortar made in 1857, was removed from the ruins of fort Seddulbahir at Cape Helles by a British naval officer in 1915 (Imperial War Museum collection). For later Turkish mortar types see this page. In 1915, many mortar weapons used by British, French and Turkish Armies dated from the mid-19th century. In January 1915, the Stokes trench mortar was introduced, in response, to the German Minenwerfer (mine launcher), a heavy trench mortar developed for use by engineer troops well before WW1.