Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

WW1 OTTOMAN ENVERIYE DOLCH AND EDGED WEAPON MANUFACTURE

Enver Pasha's Special Award Dagger for Ottoman Officers (1914-1918)

Above - In WW1, the Enveriye Dolch was a personnel award from Enver Pasha (November 22, 1881 – August 4, 1922), who was the wartime leader of the Ottoman empire [1]. The Enveriye Dolch was not an issue weapon. The Ottoman army did not produce fighting knives [2]. The only exception being the tool weapon specifically made for engineering and pioneer troops (discussed below).

Right - All wear the Enveriye Dolch exactly the same way, suspended from the belt by a special frog, and hanging across the wearer’s body, to the right of the buckle.

The Enveriye Dolch was given to Ottoman officers, as well as their German allies. There are several photos of highly decorated Ottoman, and German officers who have this item.

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[1] Flaherty, C. (2012) The WW1 Enveriye Dolch. The Armourer Militaria Magazine, Issue 112 (July-August): 58-61.

[2] Instead, museum and private collections hold a number of tribal Arab Jambiyah, and Turkish Kindjal blades collected in WW1..

Blade Markings (Obverse)

Right - The obverse displays the Tugra of Sultan Mehmed Resaid V, followed by the Ottoman Star and Crescent badge. All Enveriye Dolch appear to have been made exactly the same way, which points to a single production-run by the same producer. This is represented by a two script letters and a numeral ‘0’ (indicated as the centre square ‘dot’). This same mark appears on the guards of the ‘D’ guard officers’ sword (discussed below), and the tool weapons for engineering and pioneer troops, manufactured during the wartime WW1 period (discussed below).

Blade Markings (Reverse)

Individual Numbering

Above - The blade illustrated, has the Ottoman script for the word ‘number’, which is followed by an individualised serial-number counting onward from 0-1, to upwards of 4,428, which has been the highest blade number so far cited (and there could be more of these to come). It should be noted, that the blade serial-number, could be:

  • Repeated on the scabbard,
  • Appear on the leather frog (used for attaching the dagger to the officers’ belt (See above illustration 'Figure 2', for the typical one used).

Examining the blade dates and serial-numbers indicates that recipients of an Enveriye Dolch, received one individually numbered to them. Blades dated for the RUMI year 1330 (1914) appear to represent series of awards serial-numbered 0-1 to 1,472. This equates to 1,472 awardees for 1914. The next group of cited blades are from the RUMI year 1334 (1918), and appears to represents awards serial-numbered from 1,804 to 4,428(?).This equates to 2,624 awardees. So far, no blade numbers/dates have been seen for the years 1915 to 1917 [2] [3].

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[1] Flaherty, C. (2012) The WW1 Enveriye Dolch. The Armourer Militaria Magazine, Issue 112 (July-August): 58-61.

[2] This seems to imply that for the RUMI year(s) 1331-1333 (1915-17), for which none have been seen, would logically represent serial-numbers 1,473(?) to 1,803(?). Which only equates to a very low number of 330 awardees being made, or it could be speculated none may have been awarded (which appears to be case so far).

[3] So far, only two miss-dated/numbered blades have been seen, with a early number (for the 1914 period), given out in 1918 (see example below); it is speculated these were either originally missed out, or reissued to a new individual in 1918 (reallocated from someone who had received a blade in 1914 (but was taken back).

Imperial Arsenal Grounds

Above - All Enver daggers have the exact same marking, the same as nearly all ‘D’ guard officers’ swords, and the tool weapons for engineering and pioneer troops (manufactured during the wartime WW1 period); a code sequence of two Ottoman script letters and a numeral ‘0’ (indicated as the centre square ‘dot’) [1]; in the exact same place as this recently identified dagger with Istanbul Tüfenk Fabrikası [Istanbul Tufenk (matchlock musket) Factory]. This particular dagger has an early issue number 298, suggesting an early production [2]; whereas later individually higher numbered daggers all have the same code used.

Above - This picture was taken around 1890/1900, is from the Abdul-Hamid II collection of photographs, and shows typical industrial buildings at the Imperial Arsenal grounds.

At the start of the war, tool-making machines etc were extensively commandeered, and likely taken to the Imperial Arsenal [3]. It may have been the case that the owners and their skilled workers moved with these machines, and set up production in various sheds and buildings (seen in period pictures of this area, which was basically an industrial estate). The three-letter/number codes seen on weapons may be actually building numbers (or something similar to that), to identify each of these companies in their new homes, as well to manage their output etc.

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[1] The 1916 British Army Hand book of the Turkish Army: 150, lists the Ottoman army telegraph code which simplified the complex Ottoman script into 30 letters for Morse code. The script/number combinations were likely adopted for easy military communications.

[2] Flaherty, C. (2012) The WW1 Enveriye Dolch. The Armourer Militaria Magazine, Issue 112 (July-August): 58-61.

[3] The 1916 British Army Hand book of the Turkish Army: 112. 

1909 Officer's D-Guard Short Sword Wartime Production

Right -  Sharing the same production code as that which appears on the Enveriye Dolch blade this is likely to be the producer, or maker's mark. Represented by a two script letters and a numeral ‘0’ (indicated as the centre square ‘dot’). Similar, to the tool weapons for engineering and pioneer troops, manufactured during the WW1-wartime period. (discussed below).

Wartime Replacement Tool Weapon for Engineers Production

Right - WW1-wartime production of the tool weapon appears to have been distributed between various manufactures. All conform to the same basic pattern. This example, bears an Ottoman blade inscription “Produced by 2nd Automobile Company”, suggesting a pre-war auto-motor repair company (in this case, converting to wartime weapons manufacture). This is also individually numbered ‘181’. Ottoman issue registry involved weapons such as swords etc being consecutively numbered from ‘0’ –zero numeral onwards. These number examples represent weapon 181 accepted into imperial army service

Right - Another WW1-wartime made tool weapon with two script letters: ‘G, and A’, and a ‘0’ –zero numeral on one side of the guard. This three digit letter/number combination, differs from the ones seen on the guards of the ‘D’ guard officers’ sword, and the Enveriye Dolch, indicating that there was some system in place where each manufacturer during the WW1-wartime period, had their own identification code. The Ottoman issue registry number on the opposite side of the guard – ‘724’, represent the 724 weapon to be manufactured, and accepted into imperial army service. However, the wartime expansion of the pioneers, as well as the need to replace the existing Austrian pioneer sword, would have required some 8000 tool weapons to have been made.

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