Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

WW1 OTTOMAN ARMY HQ MESSAGE RUNNERS, AND ARMY, CORPS OR DIVISION PROTECTION COMPANIES

HQ Message Runners (Haberci)

Right - Extracted from a photograph HQ protection troop members [1], below the unit patch a loose 'V' of red/white tape.

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[1] Tunca Orses and Necmettin Ozcelik ‘Dunya Savasi'nda Turk Askeri Kiyafetleri 1914-1918’ (Istanbul, 2007)

Army HQ Protection Patch

Right - Among a group of WW1 Turkish staff officers, one is wearing the Army HQ Protection patch - a small square cloth, cross divided into alternate red/white triangles.

  • These sleeve patches are identical to Ottoman army, corps and division command flags (see below).

Right - As can be seen in this extracted figure from a photograph of the Camel Troops.

  • He is wearing the sleeve patch for the Army HQ Protection Company: A small square cloth, cross divided into alternate red/white triangles.
  • Extracted from an American Colony in Jerusalem photograph, of the "Bodyguard of Jamal [Cemal] Pasha in Barracks Square, Jerusalem, 1915. LC-DIG-ppmsca-13709-00022 (digital file from original on page 7, no.21)". As can be clearly seen all the troop members all wearing what appears to be an Army HQ Protection patch - a small square cloth, cross divided into alternate red/white triangles.

Right - Troops wearing the HQ sleeve patches are often confusingly called 'storm troops' [1] [2], due to fact they were often heavy armed.

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[1] David Nicolle’s The Ottoman Army 1914–18 (Osprey Publishing) illustrated this particular sleeve patch depicting an assault party soldier in 1918 (illustration D:1 in the Osprey publication).

[2] The photograph of a senior German officer (reputedly of Oberst Kress von Kressenstein) taken in 1918 while inspecting Ottoman Turkish Army troops (Imperial War Museum collection item Q80044) (Edward J. Erickson. Ottoman Army effectiveness in World War I: A Comparative Study (Oxford, 2007): 970.

[3] For a long time there has been a link made with the Hucum Mufrezesi (assult troops), which is not correct - as these troops in 1917 were identified with a distinctive badge (an embroidered hand grenade) (Edward J. Erickson. Ottoman Army effectiveness in World War I: A Comparative Study (Oxford, 2007): 97). As well, because the infantrymen are wearing steel helmets, this has been somehow interpreted as being 'storm troopers'; which is again an exaggeration as wearing these helmets was part of the new Yildirim Army uniform/equipment, in 1917-1918 .

Corps HQ Protection Patch

Above - Swallow-tailed flag sleeve paches can be seen in the photograph and illustration from a group of Ottoman Arab cavalry in WW1, worn  in the same place on the upper left sleeve, as with the Army HQ patch. This version is very similar to the modern Turkish army’s Corps Command flag.

Division HQ Protection Patch

Right -  Pictured in the early Turkish Republic (prior to the 1927 as he is still wearing a Shako), a Turkish Army officer, with a sleeve insignia for the Division HQ.

  • As yet, the WW1 version of this particular flag/sleeve insignia has not been found/seen.
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