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WW1 UNIFORM MIXES - TURKISH IN GERMAN OR AUSTRIAN UNIFORMS

WW1 Turkish-German Steel Helmet

WW1 Turkish in Austrian Uniforms & Equipment

Left - 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/Left - 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 - 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.

WW1 Turkish in German Uniforms

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 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.

WW1 German & Austrian Equipment

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:

WW1 Germans in Turkish Uniforms

A) Landed German Ship Crews

B) German & Turkish 146th Infantry Regiment

Above - Pair of M1895 (Pre-1912 versions) Enlisted man’s shoulder board, for the 1st Masurisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.146. Both have corner attachment hooks, and fitted with plain silver (German made) buttons.

German Uniforms Manufactured in Turkey

Right - Tunic of a German Officer who served on the Bagdad Railway in the First World War (This photograph is from a private US collector, and discussed on German Colonial Uniforms). The key features of this tunic are:

  • Use of heavy duty khaki corduroy, instead of field grey cloth, 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, that the original tunic wore out, and was replaced transfering the metal ware from the old tunic to the replacement.
  • The shoulder straps, for a Prussian Train Oberleutnant (were are the original versions transfered from the replaced tunic).

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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).

WW1 Turkish Army Jacket Made in Germany

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.

  • However, most if not all Ottoman Turkish Army equipment clearly was made in Turkey in the period, and only a few items were supplied from outside during the war.
  • This view, can be supported by comments made in Nicolle’s Ottoman Infantryman 1914-18 (Osprey Publishing, February 2010), 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).
  • 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 Turkish Army personnel equipment was either locally fabricated in Turkey, or a wide variety or pre-war surplus was in use.

Above - In the UK Imperial War Museum collection, this jacket (is one known to be German manufacture - however made to Turkish Imperial Army specifications) 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).
  • This garment is matched with the universal M1909 Shoulder cords, made in Turkey during the war.
  • It appears that by the time this particular garment was manufactured/issued after 1916, that service corps identity colours were restricted to collars only, as piping.

Kaiser Wilhelm II in Turkish Uniform

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

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