Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1890 TILL 1908 OTTOMAN HAMIDIYE CORPS

Uniforms and Rank Insignia

Right - 1901 dated 1882 Hamidiye (SultanAbdul Hamid II) cast brass coat of arms badge (7 x 5.8 cm).

  • Worn by the Hamidiye cavalry.
  • For the Fez, Agal or Pre-1909 Kalpak.
  • Has a separate pinned-on copper button with a Tugra for Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and underneath this, a very small the RUMI year 27 (٢٧)of rule (1901/1902). Indicating when it was cast.
  • Pined and stitched to a square of red wool cloth.

Right - The uniforms rank system was based on the 1861 pattern of cuff chevrons. The Hamidiye Corps were under the command of the Asakir-i Hamidiye Komutani, a Divisional General.

  • The crescent badge above his cuff insignia signifies that he is an 'Aide-de-camp to the Sultan'. He was assisted by two Miralays (Colonels).
  • The rank insignia for a Hamidiye corps Miralays (Colonels), was four gold cuff chevrons, and shoulder board edged gold, with three gold stars.
  • Regiments, and squadrons were commanded by Imperial Army officers.
  • The tribal chiefs received the rank of Bimbashi.

Right - A group of Hamidiye regimental officers, one has 1860s cuff chevrons, and the other later 1876 officer's shoulder boards. The thrid officer (at the back of the group) is wearing a General a-la Suite uniform for the Maison Militaire De S.M. Imperiale Le Sultan Abdul-Hamid II.

1890 Ottoman Hamidiye Kindjal Sword

Above - Imperial Army illustration from 1908 [1], and an original (Ron's collection) issued to the cavalry and foot soldiers of the Hamidiye Corps, as part of their uniform, the Ottoman Hamidiye (Cavalry) 1890 Kindjal Sword. The dimensions of the Ottoman Hamidiye (Cavalry) 1890 Kindjal Sword, are:

  • Total Length: 81 cm
  • Blade alone: 65 cm
  • Blade Width: 5.5 cm

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[1] Askeri Müze ve Kültür Sitesti Komutanligi. (1986) Osmanli askeri teskilat ve kiyafetleri: 1876-1908 [Ottoman military organization and uniforms] Yayinlari.

1890 Ottoman Hamidiye Corps Organisation

Right - A senior officer in the Hamidiye Corps, who is from the 'Karapapak Tribe [1] [2].

  • The Hamidiye Corps (literally meaning "belonging to Hamid”), had the full official name Hamidiye Hafif Süvari alayları (Hamidiye Light Cavalry Regiments) were well-armed, irregular Sunni Kurdish, Turkish, Turkmen and Yoruk cavalry formations that operated in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Established by and named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1890, these were mixed infantry and cavalry brigade –sized battalions.

The table below shows the 65 tribes, numbers and barracks locations, for the 57 Hamidiye corps regiments. As can be seen most of these a half infantry and cavalry. These were likely organised as:

  • 1st Infantry Company.
  • 2nd Infantry Company.
  • 3rd Mounted Company.
  • 4th Mounted Company.
  • 5th Mounted Company (where the regiment had more that 600 men).

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[1] Askeri Müze ve Kültür Sitesti Komutanligi. (1986) Osmanli askeri teskilat ve kiyafetleri: 1876-1908 [Ottoman military organization and uniforms] Yayinlari.

[2] The 'Karapapak Tribe is listed below in the table of 'Tribes & Barracks', as no.6.

Hamidiye Regiments (Tribes and Barracks)

The Hamidiye Regiments wrere organised into 57 Hamidiye Light Cavalry Regiments (Dragoons) [1], and were stationed in the following towns and villages [2]; as can be seen in the table below, there were some 65 different tribes providing soldiers:

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[1] Kodaman, B."The Hamidiye Light Cavalry Regiments: Abdulhamid II and the Eastern Anatolian Tribes"; War and Diplomacy: the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 and the Treaty of Berlin, Eds. Hakan Yavuz with Peter Sluglett (Salt Lake City: the University of Utah Press, 2011), s. 382-426.

[2] Avyarov.; Muhammed Varlı. Osmanlı-Rus ve İran Savaşlar'ında Kürtler 1801-1900 [The Kurds in the Ottoman-Russian and -Iranian Wars, 1801-1900]. Ankara: SİPAN, 1995.

1908 The Hamidiya Cavalry Disbanded

After the overthrow of Sultan Abdal Hamid II in 1908/1909, the Hamidiya Cavalry was disbanded as an organized force. Select few units were kept in government service however, among the all-Kurdish units were the renamed “Tribal Regiments”, and deployed to Yemen and Albania. 

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