Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

WW1 OTTOMAN ARMY CORPS; DIVISION BANNERS AND FLAGS

Ottoman Army Use of German Stabsflaggen

Right - The Ottoman Imperial Army originally adopted the German Stabsflaggen or black-white-red flags, which date from 1885; for:

  • Army Headquarters.
  • Corps Headquarters.
  • Division Headquarters.

Modifying these for their own used - changing the colours to red/white the 1909 [1].

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[1] These same flags are in current use in the Turkish Armed Forces: Turkish General Staff.

Army Headquarters Flag

Right - The Ottoman Forth Army HQ flag (Imperial War Museum collection FLA5454). Pictured in Cemal Pasha at his headquarters (IWM collection Q45339).

Right - Vehip Pasha and the staff of the Third Army in the Caucasian campaign, with an Army and Corps Banners (see below), crossed above them.

Corps Headquarters Flag

Above - Mounted party carry a Corps Headquarters flag, before a group of mounted officers in WW1.

Right - Extracted from photographs made by the American Colony of Jerusalem in WW1 showing Turkish staff vehicles recognition insignia. This vehicle has on the wind screen a more elaborate set of insignia has been painted on the glass. This is the star and crescent quartered in red/white. Flanking this are two swallow-tail flags in red/white. These are Turkish army’s Corps Command flags.

 

Divisional Headquarters Flag

Special 4th Army Flag: Suez Canal Attack (1915); and Victory at Kut (1916)

Above - The Imperial War Museum collection has the Turkish flag from the Suez Canal attack, and this displays a distinctive crescent with four-point star. This same flag is seen in the German cartoon depicting the Turkish victory at Kut. In January 1915, a Turkish army attacked the Suez, and the four-point star and crescent flag:

  • May relate to the irregular soldiers raise for the re-conquest of Egypt under the deposed Khedive.
  • As there is also a link with Kut, and in both campaigns troops were used who had come from the Fourth Army, the particular flag design may relate to these troops.
  • In particular, the four-pointed star used in identical to what is called the "star of Bethlehem" or the "natal star" [1].

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[1] This flag design is also very similar to the later revolution flag of Egypt from 1919. It bears a crescent and cross to demonstrate that both Muslims and Christians supported the Egyptian nationalist movement against British occupation.

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