Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1911 OTTOMAN ARMY UNIFORMS OF THE ITALO-TURKISH WAR IN LIBYA

Ottoman Infantry in Libya (1911)

There were 8,000 regular Ottoman Imperial Army troops in Libya. Independent 42nd Infantry Division [1]:

  • 124th Intantry Regiment.
  • 125th Intantry Regiment.
  • 126th Intantry Regiment.
  • 127th Intantry Regiment.
  • 42nd Rifle Battalion.
  • 38th Cavalry Regiment.
  • Field Artillery Battalion.

Right - The Ottoman Infantry Uniforms:

  • This soldier is wearing the Post-1908 Imperial Army soldier’s brown lamb wool khaki kalpak (introduced in 1908).
  • With this he is wearing a white cotton canvas short jacket with a distinctive pair of pockets (the top one buttoned) placed close together on either side of the six tunic buttons, very low down (staring at the third button down).
  • 1909 Turkish Army Ankle boots and puttees complete his uniform.

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[1] Edward J. Erickson. Defeat in Detail: The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003: 73.

Ottoman Army Officers in Libya

As the Ottomans did not have a full army in Trablusgarp (Libya).

  • Many of the Ottoman officers had to travel there by their own means, often secretly, through Egypt, since the British would not allow Turkish troops to be transported en masse through Egypt.
  • The Ottoman navy was too weak to transport troops by sea.

Right - This Ottoman officer is wearing a standard white cotton canvas short jacket with chest level buttoned pockets.

  • The low standing collar is identical to the soldier’s version of this jacket.
  • Significantly (as these were only introduced for Army use in 1913 by Enver Pasha) he is wearing an early type of Kabalak/Enver, with very long wraps long-ears of a face warmer head wrap that can be loosen to wrap around the face.
  • These have a broad coloured ‘face’ (on the upper side) and are wrapped in a spiral to the top of the hat.

Right - This Ottoman officer is also wearing the standard white cotton canvas short jacket with chest level buttoned pockets.

  • The low standing collar, can be seen under the collar of his cold weather wool short coat (he is wearing over this).
  • He is also wearing a Post-1908 Imperial Army soldier’s brown lamb wool khaki kalpak.

Bedouin Irregular Troops

Right - 20,000 local Arabs and Bedouins, were organized for the defence against the Italian invasion.

1911 Ottoman Flag from Libya

Above - An Ottoman Flag captured by the Italian Army in the Libyan War. It is known from contemporary Italian colour postcards, and war-events illustrations that this flag was green with gold star and crescent, wth Ottoman script and fringe.

WW1 Ottoman Return to Libya

Right - Prince Osman Fuad Efendi in Ottoman Uniform as Commander-in-Chief of Ottoman forces in Libya (wearing his military decorations including the 1915 war medal).

In 1917, the Ottoman General Staff established the “Africa Groups Command” (Afrika Grupları Komutanlıgı), of which the primary objective was the coastal regions of Libya.

  • Prince Osman returned to Libya, travelling in German submarine UC-78 by way of Pola.
  • Under his command a force of between 300 and 500 Ottoman officers and soldiers, as well as between 15,000 and 30,000 Libyan volunteers.
  • In April 1917 the Ottoman force in Benghazi had surrendered.
  • Finally surrendered, following the Armistice of Mondros, signed between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies in 1918.

Prince Osman's uniform:

  • A regulation post-1916 Imperial Army jacket, with a fly covering the buttons, however made in white cloth.
  • The 1909 Imperial Army Generals’ Breeches, are also made in white cloth.
  • A traditional white keffiyeh, with gold agal.
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