Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1826 TILL 1839 OTTOMAN CAVALRY

Silistra Cavalry Regiment (1826)

Avigdor Levy identified, that in 1826 the 'Silistra Cavalry Regiment' was formed [1], as part of the general reorganization of that year, and was raised in Silistria province (the Danube Delta), and made up of Turks, Tatars and Christians in equal proportions. In 1826, the Regiment/Brigade was organised into two battalions:

  • Lancer armed (unit made-up from Cossack recruits); and 
  • Dragoon Battalion.

In 1828, the Regiment/Brigade was organised into new ‘alays’ (regiments in the Ottoman Army). One of these, later became a regular cavalry Dragoon regiment.

  • The remaining Cossack regiment, may be the origin of the 1848 1st Cossack regiment.
  • It could also be the origin of the one regiment of line Lancer cavalry, recorded in 1828, in addition to the two- Dragoon Regiments (discussed above) [2].

In terms of the uniform of the 1826 regiment, the men were issued with:

  • Vests: This could be referring to the sleeveless over-coat-vest, which was fitted with hanging sleeves/wings that are commonly seen in Ottoman uniforms throughout this period, as well as like the 'Cossacks' costume that incorporated the very same detail.
  • Short jacket: However, reading Avigdor Levy’s description he is actually describing the standard jersey, being issued to all New Model Army soldiers. 
  • Oriental breeches.
  • Black riding boots.

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[1] Levy, Avigdor. "Formalization of Cossack Service Under Ottoman Rule." East Central European Society and War. Ed. Gunther E. Rothenberg et al. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982: 491-505.

[2] Avigdor Levy, does not identify that the 'Cossack' battalion in the original 'Silistra Cavalry Regiment' were armed with lances; however, as this was the traditional weapon of the Cossacks, it would seem likely, and that the Turkish battalion in the original 'Silistra Cavalry Regiment' were operated more as Dragoons, armed with swords and muskets only.

Ottoman Cavalry Regiments (1828)

In 1828, the Ottoman new army’s cavalry force was expanded to four regiments, comprising:

  • One regiment of Guard Lancer cavalry.
  • One regiment of line Lancer cavalry.
  • Two line regiments of Dragoon cavalry.

The 1828 war against Russia, had destroyed the early army and the one raised following this war has a new organisation, by 1834:

  • Three regiments of Guard cavalry.
  • Two line regiments of Dragoon cavalry.

1828 Guard Lancers (1st and 2nd Squadrons)

The 1828 uniform of the ‘Lancers of the Guard’ include the 1826 introduced headgear:

  • A tall conical hat with gold vertical tape decoration, in red matching the colour to the jersey being worn by the solders in the rest of the Guard.
  • It appears that all members of the Guard (mounted and foot soldiers), wore this same headgear.

Two original drawings show one lancer:

  • With a red collar and blue cuffs and heavy gold-cord lace, fully encircling the distinctive pointed edged cuffs (which are actually a feature of Persian/Iranian uniforms).
  • This appears to show officer's rank.

Right: Extracted from the Vinkhuizjen Collection shows two different versions of the Guard Lancers, raised from the Sultan's Lifeguards.

  • Two squadrons were raised. By 1828, this unit – designated as ‘Lancers of the Guard’.
  • Expanded to three squadrons. In the Vinkhuizjen Collection, these are miss-dated to 1830-49.

Far-Right - Illustration shows the traditional Turkish 'khanjar knife carried forward of the rider on the saddle.

The other drawing of the Guard Lancer is depicted with a blue collar and blue cuffs, with yellow tape lacing, and is likely a trooper.

  • The distinction on the collars, one red, the other blue has been interpreted to indicate one of either, of the two squadrons to have existed at this time.
  • Lastly, the lance pennant is known (from these original illustrations) to be red, displaying a version of the Ottoman Flag, with yellow crescent and eight-pointed star.

1828 Guard Lancers (3rd Squadron)

Right - Extracted from the Vinkhuizjen Collection shows an 1828 (according to the hand written date in ink), for a "Caparol - Cavalerie de la Garde". He is wearing:

  • A green jersey (and/or green vest) with red lace; rather than the Guard's red jersey with yellow lace.
  • As well, this uniform looks like a later Dragoon uniform [1].

There is an identical discription of this uniform in Knotel, "Cavalry wore tall red-and-yellow striped caps, and green jackets with red and white loopings, red girdles, and blue trousers" [2].

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[1] According to the account given in the Berliner Stadt- und Landbote (1832): "The cavalry wear a dolman with a brightly coloured lace, five rows of white buttons, red cuffs, mameluke trousers of the same colour as the dolman, and a red girdle" (Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. (1980) Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy And Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London: 430-431).

[2] (Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. (1980) Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy And Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London: 430-431).

Ottoman Cavalry (1832)

According to the account given in the Berliner Stadt- und Landbote (1832): "The four cavalry brigades wear green, chestnut brown, dark blue, and light blue uniforms; and the guards scarlet" [1].

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[1] Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. (1980) Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy And Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London: 430-431.

1828-1832 Patterned Rank Tape Insignia

Contained in the Vinkhuizjen Collection is a later image of a cavalry trooper from 1832, as he is wearing a Fez (which was first adopted in 1832).

  • This figure is wearing a green jersey with red piping, and has decorative embroidered tape in white edged red, with black highlights displayed on the collars, cuffs and chest.
  • It is speculated, that this is a form of NCO insignia, because the use of the decorative embroidered tape was only adopted between 1828, and 1832.

It was used on the 1807-08 type of jersey worn at this time [1]. Two version of the green Dragoon’s jersey uniform (1828-32) can be identified:

  • First version: In keeping with the original, displaying the embroidered tape (white edged red, with black highlights), on the collars, cuffs and chest, and another version without.
  • Second version: Plain version worn from 1828.

After 1832 (with a Fez) a blue jersey piped red, with red pointed cuffs, and embroidered pink tape, with dark-red highlights, across the chest.

  • It is unknown if this is representing one of the Guard, or line regiments of Dragoons, up till 1834.
  • As the army universally, after 1832 began to adopt a common blue jersey with red piping for all infantry, and cavalry with no apparent regimental distinctions.

The original illustration in the Vinkhuizjen Collection, also shows the figure with two further inverted chevrons in matching lace (pink tape, with dark-red highlights), placed high on the lower arm;

  • This sleeve detail appears to be some form of NCO insignia.

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[1] In 1839-40, these were replaced with the newer style of European wool shell jackets with stiff high collars, and coat-cuffs, introduced in dark blue wool cloth for the entire army.

The 1832 'Green' Cavalry Guidon

Right - Contained in the Vinkhuizjen Collection illustrations is an officer, still wearing the pre-1839 jersey, and the Fez (post 1832) and carrying a green and gold flag [1]. This is a smaller cavalry-guidon, displaying what appears to be (as the original shows a crude version of this), the Tugra of Mahmud II displayed inside the gold wreath.

This appears to be an 1828-32 Ottoman Army Flag. It should be noted, that the 1826 organisation did allow for the creation of the flag bearer rank of ‘SANJAQDAR’, for each company, in each regiment.

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[1] It is generally understood, that it was Sultan Abdülmecid, who reorganized the army and gave out the European –styled regimental standards in 1843–1844 (these were red flags, displaying a silver crescent).

New Post-1837 Ottoman Cavalry Regiments

By 1837, the cavalry force was expanded to six regiments of cavalry:

  • Four Dragoon Regiments carrying carbines.
  • Two lance armed squadron-sized regiments.

This force had some 80 more squadrons of army reserve cavalry.

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