Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1876 TILL 1908 OTTOMAN ARTILLERY

Artillery Generals

Right - 1876-1908 Ottoman Turkish FERIK (Divisional General) of Artillery pre-1909 pattern tunic.All buttons back marked: “ONNIK & CIE BRODEURS DE LA COUR.” This is the Constantinople imperial court jewelers - Lazian Onnik. Displaying FERIK (divisional general) rank insignia on the cuffs, which are square ended for the field artillery.

This tunic belonged to Ristow Pasha, who was a German officer, promoted to ‘Ferik’ command of Field Artillery Imperial Army, from 1885, till 1890 when he died from an accident holidaying in Germany. He was replaced by Viktor v. Grumbkow (below).

Right - Von Grumbkow’s Field (Flying) Artillery uniform was different, from Ristow Pasha (above).

  • Viktor v. Grumbkow 1849 - 1901, ranked as a Ferik in the field artillery.
  • Pasha Grumbkow served during the Greco-Turkish war of 1897. His role was described as 'Prussian artillery instructor to the Ottoman Army', and ‘sent to the army to supervise the armament and ammunition, but without holding any definite command'.
  • It is also known that during the Greco-Turkish war of 1897, Pasha Grumbkow promoted the develoment of a  Flying Artillery column with added horses for rapid movement [1].

His uniform has pointed artillery cuffs, and General a-la Suite 1873-1885 higher Imperial Army officer's rank insignia, post-1900. He also wears the 1876 Aiguillette for Aides-De-Camp to the Sultan.

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[1] Pasha von Grumbkow, Greco-Turkish war, of 1897.

Field and Flying Artillery

1876 Artillery Dress-Uniform Cartridge Boxes

Right - 1876 Artillery cross belt plates.

Right (and below) - Artillery dress-uniform cartridge boxs from 1876-1908.

Artillery Buckle

Right - An Ottoman Artillery buckle from 1876-1908. Pictured in Tunca Orses. Necmettin Ozcelik. (2007) Dunya Savasi'nda Turk Askeri Kiyafetleri 1914-1918. Militärmuseum, Istanbul: 67, a first-year War Academy student, Based on French Nineteen Century models. This displays the French pattern cross artillery cannon, busting shell and pile of cannon balls (adopted by the Ottoman Turkish artillery in 1876).

Right - An Ottoman Artillery buckle from 1876-1908. This buckle plate is identical to the cross-belt plate (above).

1876 Artillery Button

Right - An Ottoman-made standard button for the artillery. However, this particular button is also a direct copy of the French artillery tunic button, from the same period.

Special Sultan's Award Standard of the First Mobile Artillery Bodyguard Brigade

Right - The Special Sultan's Award Standard of the First Mobile Artillery Bodyguard Brigade, consisting:

  • Two full companies of mounted gunners (wearing field artillery tunics with pointed cuffs).
  • A six-gun field artillery battery.
  • A full band company.

This unit was brigaded with the Imperial Guard.

 

Right - In this colourised photograph postcard (pre-1908), of the Guard Field Artillery. A sergeant is shown carrying the 'Company' Colour flag - which was used for dressing the parade (this is old 1840s six-star Ottoman flag).

Fortress Artillery

Artillery Mitrailleuses Batteries (U.S. Gatling Guns)

Right - Makers' plate on the 1870 Gatling Guns, built by E. Paget of Vienna, Austria for Halil Pasha, Grand Master of Artillery, of the Ottoman Empire (on display in Istanbul, at the Turkish Navy Museum) [1] [2].

  • This plate indicates this was 'Gun. No.143' [3], out of the total Ottoman Army order for over 200 of these guns in the very early 1870's.

In 1877-1878, an artillery regiment comprised:

  • 4 Battalions (of 3 Batteries each).
  • One mountain battery.
  • A six-gun mitrailleuses battery [4].
  • These guns were used extensively in the Russo-Turkish war [5].

 

The surviving Turkish Paget Gatling Gun, on display in the Turkish Navy Museum has had a great deal of it altered.

  • In particular, the guns forward sight has been removed - moved to the side.
  • The brass support base for the round magazine, is missing its holding spike, for the magazine to fit onto.
  • The correct mount for a Navy Gatling Gun [6], has been replaced by an undersized brass display base, that is 1/3 scale of the actual ships' base that was used in this period.

The field carriages for the Turkish service Paget Gatling Guns, were likely identical to the same guns used in the Austro-Hungarian army.

  • The Turkish service Paget Gatling Guns, with their swivels (which were bolted to the gun frame - the Turkish Navy Museum's gun has this part removed). These guns could be mounted on fixed/static mounts, as well transferable to a field carriage.
  • Even the Ottoman Imperial Navy guns, were equipped with field carriages for land deployments. The Army had the exact same guns - as these were used for Fortress duty, as well as for field battery use in the Artillery; in which case the guns could be unbolted from fixed mounts, and fitted to more stable artillery-gun carriages [7].

Typical for the era of SULTAN ABDUL-HAMID II, fearing a military coup, the common practice was for the majority of Imperial Army weapons, particularly recently purchased small arms, to remain stored in the major weapons magazine in Constantinople.

  • Many of the guns remained there till 1908-09, till they were disposed (however, some were still in service as late as 1912 [8].
  • The Ottoman Imperial Army and Navy, had been purchasing the Maxim-Nordenfelt guns from 1892.
  • The 'Large-bore Maxim' and Nordenfelt Guns (multi-barrel guns), were operated by the Fortress Artillery, and the Imperial Navy prior to 1908.

It appears that the Rifle battalions, likely operated the smaller calibre Maxim-Nordenfelt guns from 1892, which led to their full-conversion to the post-1909 Machine Gun branch of service.

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[1] C. J. Chivers. The Gun: The Story of the AK-47 (Penguin UK, 5 Dec 2013). "In late spring ... [1870] ..., the agent, L.W.Broadwell, travelled to Constantinople and arranged demonstrations for Halil Pasha, the grand master of artillery for the Ottoman Empire. With a new drum feed, he wrote, the .42-caliber Gatling “had never before worked so well - no more hitches of any kind.” He negotiated a contract to sell two hundred Gatling guns, to be manufactured under contact in Vienna, to the Turkish forces”.

[2] Nicholas Murray. The Rocky Road to the Great War: The Evolution of Trench Warfare to 1914 (Potomac Books, Inc., 2013):  “The Ottomans brought in outside expertise, former soldiers from the United States in particular, on the Gatling guns’ use.”

[3] The markers plate is written largely in English. Period international trade agreements with the US, where the guns were licensed from Gatling.

The adding of the Sultan's Tugra to the plate, was stipulated by the contract with the Ottoman Government.

Typical for the era of SULTAN ABDUL-HAMID II, apart from the makers' plate there are likely to be no additional Ottoman arsenal marks etc.

[4] Marcel Roubicek (1978) Modern Ottoman Troops, 1797-1915: In Contemporary Pictures. Franciscan Printing Press: 17.

[5] Right – An 1891 quote from ‘The New York Times’, mentioning the Ottoman’s Gatling Guns. At the Battle of Plevna, in 1877, were the Russian assaults suffered massive casualties, due to Turkish equipped with GermanKrupp-manufactured steel breech-loading artillery and American-manufacturedWinchester repeaters. However, the 1891 article also shows that the Gatling Guns batteries contributed to these losses. 

[6] Many of the Gatling Guns were also allocated to the Ottoman Imperial Navy. The remaining 110 Gatling Guns, from the Paget order (of 200 Gatling Guns) would have either been stored in magazines, or sent to the Navy, for distribution of two-four guns for each ship.

[7] In the 1876 period the Ottoman Imperial Army, had 8 Field Artillery Regiments (one of which was a Reserve Regiment based in Constantinople), and a further 7 Garrison Artillery Regiments. It appears that, each of these was allotted an additional battery of Gatling Guns (comprising 6 Gatling Guns each).

[8] Right – A 1912 quote from ‘The New York Times’, mentioning the Ottoman’s Gatling Guns. The 1912 article shows that the Gatling Guns were still in service, in the Ottoman Imperial Army, during the Balkan Wars.

Ottoman Artillery Carriage Livery (1876-1908)

Traditionally, the Ottoman imperial army's artillery ​gun carriages were painted light-grey.

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