Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

WW1 OTTOMAN UNIDENTIFIED EQUIPMENT AND INSIGNIA; MIXED TURKISH, AUSTRIAN AND GERMAN UNIFORMS

Unidentified Equipment 

Below - This early WW1 German publication identifies these men as “Ottoman Soldiers from Karadeniz (North Turkey) in a camp at Gallipoli (Battle of Gallipoli, 1915)”. However, it more likely this picture was taken in the Balkans around 1912 (and is a stock-picture reused for a German news publication in 1915, due to the lack of actual images from the Gallipoli campaign), due to the large head wraps these men are wearing.  The far-left hand figure, has a large set of collar tabls (identical to the figures in the next picture - Below).

Below - Depicted in this picture, are the same (as Above) squad of imperial army infantry who appear to be wearing early pre-war civilian waist life preservers, which seem to have been somewhat emptied (or may have degraded) of the original cork-dust infill - giving the 'flat' appearance (it is also possible these have been turned into improvised ammunition bandoleer) [1] [2],

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[1] In the ABC television documentry "Revealing Gallipoli" (Episode 1), there is WW1 -period film showing Ottoman imperial army infantry wearing light coloured broad waist belly pouches, that appear similar to the waist equipment shown in these photographs.

[2] In one museum collection (which is still being researched, and has not been added to the public catelouge) there is an undocumented WW1 Turkish green canvas belly ammunition belly-pouch.

Unidentified Collar Insignia

The above photographs appear to show soldier's insignia is that the rank shoulder boards for the junior officers - Onbasi, Cavus, and Bascavus, have been cut down and attached to the collar, appearing on one side only. In the 'dancing soldiers' picture (Above). The officer in the foreground clearly displays large square gold collar taps (on both sides of the collar), indicating a higher grade junior officer with three, or four bars [1].

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[1] One possible expination is that these are troops specifically training to operate in high waters where only their heads/collars would be visible. This may also explain the unidentified equipment they are wearing,  the need for life preservers, as well as the their wearing extra-thick wool jackets, and heavy woollen head wraps.

WW1 Turkish Wearing Austrian Uniforms and Equipment

Right - Photographed an Ottoman Turkish soldier from the XV Ottoman Corps in Eastern Europe, this picture is reproduced from the publication by Tunca Orses and Necmettin Ozcelik ‘Dunya Savasi'nda Turk Askeri Kiyafetleri 1914-1918’ (Istanbul, 2007). Nicolle’s Ottoman Infantryman 1914-18 (Osprey Publishing, February 2010), represented this same figure in an illustration, as an Ottoman Turkish Army uniform (page 30). However, the general consensus is that we can see, that apart from the mid-war variation of the Kabalak headgear which was made into a one-piece soft cap with fold-down head cover, of which both the collections of the Imperial War Museum, and the War Memorial, Canberra (Australia) have examples, the rest of his equipment is of Austro-Hungarian origin. 

Above/Right - Wearing an Austro-Hungarian issue Model 1916 Field Grey jacket with turndown collar (incorrectly illustrated as olive green in Nicolle’s interpretation); as well:

  • An Austro-Hungarian issue M15 Bread bag.
  • Austro-Hungarian issue M95 pouches.
  • It is likely he is wearing a Turkish belt buckle, or an Austro-Hungarian issue 1915 belt with roller buckle (as appears in other photographic evidence from the period).

Right - Extracted from a photograph of Turkish soldiers in an Austrian Military Hospital, these three junior officers wear Austro-Hungarian soldier’s tunics, with their Turkish shoulder rank boards. These are superimposed/attached to the A-H tunic's fixed shoulder strap. As well, identical to the figure pictured above, they wear Turkish Army headgear.

Right - This photo appears to be three Turkish soldiers in Galicia Rohatyn, which should be about 1916-17. Turkish soldiers are hard to identify, in this war sector as they were completely uniformed and equipped from German and Austrian stocks. In this case they wear high quality Turkish soldiers tunics, however the weapons are German, as is the belt, buckle and ammunition pouches. 

The helmet is a German M1916 - these were only modified in 1918 for Turkish service in Palestine. While the bread bag is likely to be Austrian. The grenades as well, are mixed: The fragmentation grenades are captured French F1 with billiant fuses, they are hung on the belt by the spoon. The German Stielhandgranate mit Brennzünder (Stick Grenade with Burning Fuse) is a M1917, while the one to the right could be an M1915 (as the stick bottom seems different)

Right - Wearing an Austro-Hungarian issue Model 1915/16 Field Grey cavalry lambs wool-lined over jacket/pelisse. As well, a high-quality post-1916 Ottoman officers' uniform (as the collar lace Branch of Service colour is clearly visible). This is a picture, of Inf.Lt Ragıp Efendi at Galicia front (Colonel-General Gümüşpala Chief of Staff of Turkish Armed Forces in 1960) Source: İclal örses. Ottoman officers wearing these jacket/pelisse, appears to have been a popular option in 1916, Galicia, as Tunca Orses. Necmettin Ozcelik. (2007) Dunya Savasi'nda Turk Askeri Kiyafetleri 1914-1918. Militärmuseum, Istanbul: 214, and 219, features photographs of Ottoman officers wearing these.

Right - Extracted from a WW1 American Colony photograph of a the Sanjakdar squad from the Turkish 79th Infantry, both soldiers in this formation wear German M1910 Field tunics, with the shoulder boards removed. Turkish 1915 War Medal ribbons are worn through the button holes, as well as imperial army head gear, and buckles clearly identify these as Turkish soldiers, not German alotted to the 79th Infantry Regimant. What is not known is how these soldiers received these jackets.

WW1 Turkish Army Jacket Made in Germany

Right - UK Imperial War Museum collection Turkish jacket is known to be German manufacture; however, made to Turkish imperial army specifications [1] [2] [3]. Worn by Muzalim-l-Sani (Second Lieutenant) Abedine Houchemi of the 2nd Turkish Infantry Regiment (Catalogue Number UNI 12391). This has dark blue piping to the collar (normally indicating the Fortress Artillery), or the Redif (Reserves) [4].

 

This garment is matched with the universal M1909 Shoulder cords (Above/Far-Right), made in Turkey during the war.

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[1]  Collectors of late, are being offered a wide range of supposedly authentic WWI Ottoman Turkish Army equipment, usually accompanied with statements such as – ‘Germany supplied much of the equipment needed by their hard pressed Turkish allies who made good use of it at places like Gallipoli (1915) and Kut (1915/16)’; or ‘early in the war many items were supplied to the Turkish government from Germany.’ Much of this is spurious.

[2] Nicolle’s Ottoman Infantryman 1914-18 (Osprey Publishing, February 2010), notes that while Enver Pasha (the Ottoman wartime leader) requested in August 1914 quantities of new equipment for the Army, that “very little arrived before the Ottomans entered the war, and even during the conflict supplies remained sometimes acutely low” (p. 28). In Nicolle’s The Ottoman Army 1914-18 (Osprey, 1994): 23, "In the autumn of 1917 ... the relationship changed. The German military mission was replaced by a German-Ottoman military convention".

[3] It should also be noted that the German and Austrian Army’s massive wartime expansion and own equipment shortages made supply for the Ottoman Turkish highly problematic. Contemporary sources such as photographs, and the text in the British General Staff’s Handbook of the Turkish Army (1916), indicate that most Ottoman army personnel equipment was either locally fabricated in Turkey, or a wide variety or pre-war surplus was in use.

[4] By the time this particular garment was manufactured and/issued after 1916, that Turkish service corps identity colours were restricted to piping on collars only.

Landed German Ship Crews in Turkey

Combined German and Turkish 146th Infantry Regiment(s)

Right -  A German M1895 (Pre-1912 version) enlisted man’s shoulder board, for the 1st Masurisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.146. Fitted with corner attachment hooks, and plain silver (German made) button.

German Uniforms Manufactured in Turkey

Right - An example of a WW1-wartime copy of a German General's shoulder cords made in Turkey using Turkish materials. If this cord had been manufactured for a Turkish uniform:

  • The 'black' flecks would be replaced with red.
  • The board would be either gold cord, with red flecks (for combat branch/service).
  • The board would be either silver cord, with red flecks (for non-combat branch/service).

Right - A WW1 tunic of a German officer who served on the Bagdad Railway (This photograph is from a private US collector, and discussed on German Colonial Uniforms). It is made of heavy duty khaki brown gray corduroy which is identical cloth to that used in many wartime Turkish uniforms. The tunic has the same cut as that of a Prussian army officers 1910 field grey uniform, even including the scalloped rear skirts and the Swedish style cuffs of a train officer. However, the piping has been left-out (which gives this tunic a clear 'Turkish' uniform appearence). The plain buttons, are actually Prussian army buttons from 1907, and are German made (with "EXTRA FEIN" on the rear). As well, these are similar to those used from 1876 by the Ottoman army, which were also German made. This opens the possibility that this tunic was made by a Turkish rather than a German tailor. Likely, the original tunic wore out, and was replaced transfering the metal ware from the old tunic to the replacement one.

Kaiser Wilhelm II in Turkish Uniform (1917)

Right - Kaiser Wilhelm II, wearing the uniform of an Ottoman Imperial Army Marshal, when touring Constantinople and Gallipoli in October, 1917.

 

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