Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1912 TILL 1913 OTTOMAN UNIFORMS DURING THE BALKAN WAR

Ottoman Army Headgear (1912-13)

Right (and below) - This cover is similar to ones seen in the photograph of Turkish troops in 1912, at the battle of Kumanovo, note that one of the soldiers laying to the right of the group is wearing a similar badge, to this example of an Ottoman Turkish Fez cover (from the Budapest Army museum), with crude stitched-on red cloth star and crescent badge.

Right - These soldiers are wearing light colour cloth fez with crescent badges. These again are assumed to be red cloth appliqué stitching as well. These images illustrate a common practice among Ottoman Turkish infantry to add to the light brown fez covers either a red crescent, or the star and crescent.

Mule Mounted Intantry

Right - A picture published with the caption "A TYPE OF CAVALRYMAN OF THE TURKISH ARMY", first appeared in the UK/British publication - Army and Navy. (1914) The Sultan’s Army: Turkish Troops and German Methods (December, 5th 1914): 197-198. It was written as a general information guide - the 'Army & Navy magazine' for British soldiers, to better know their potential enemy. The pictures contained in this publication, had to have been taken prior to 1914, and most appear to be from 1912-13 Balkans war, as this would have been the first opportunity for these to have been taken, as well as be distributed to western media, and being reused when WW1 had started (for the 'Army & Navy magazine'). 

From the picture itself, we can see:

  • He is wearing the post 1909  uniform.
  • As well, the soldier's version of the lambswool cap.
  • Around his neck he has a winter hood.
  • However, he is wearing leg-wraps, and not cavalry boots.
  • He is more likely an infantryman mounted on a pack-horse in the Balkans war.

In particular, note:

  • The 'saddle' is actually a animals' pack.
  • For stirrups he is using a rope sling.
  • The horse is not wearing a bridle, but has a bit in its mouth attached to a rope sling.

Fedais Volunteers' Flag

In the 1912 period the Fedais Volunteers were raised to provide troops in the field in addition to regular imperial army units [1].

Right - This photograph published in the British - Army and Navy. (1914) The Sultan’s Army: Turkish Troops and German Methods (December, 5th 1914): 197-198, leads most people to believe that the flag was a WW1 Turkish flag. It was actually a 'stock-photograph' from the Balkan War depicting an Ottoman militia unit. This same picture (reversed) was used in the 1914-16 German postcard as part of the montage of pictures supposed to be showing the events during the Suez attack (Below) [2].

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[1] British General Staff. (1995) 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army. Battery Press, Nashville: 105:

[2] Likely, the original photo-still, used for the December 1914 publication in the UK. This same photograph has however, been given this description on Axis Forum, which given the actual date it was taken - prior to 1914, makes this particular description incorrect: "This is the Standard of the 61st Infantry Division in a much stylized form. This unit was formed and commissioned as a training division on 22.10.17 at Izmir. Although it did not see any action during First World War; the Division was reinforced and brought up to fighting standard by the Nationalist Government of Ankara in September 1919, during the first months of the War of Independence. From this date on; they were to be one of the main forces fighting against the Greek Army in operations to the south of Marmara Sea. Depleted twice to almost company level; they were to take peace time positions at Corlu, following the War. Note the unusual headgear of the Standard Bearer. They are typical Aegean head wrap used during the War of Independence since the Turkish Army did not have enough helmets nor uniforms for every soldier on the front."

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