Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


Welcome to Ottoman Uniforms. This is a historical interest website looking at Ottoman military uniforms and insignia, from sellected periods, between 1826 till 1923.

Intended for English speaking researchers, interested in military history; collecting; wargaming; modelling; military fashion history; art history; filmmakers; and family histories.

  • This is a non-political historical exploration of the various uniforms and insignia that developed over the various periods.
  • This study identifies over 1,000 costumes and uniforms and insignia, with a major focus on the Ottoman army, and navy from the early 1800s.
  • Examples are taken from surviving uniforms, period illustrations, written descriptions, and photographs.

Many of the terms, phrases and spellings of ranks are also used, to preserve what may have been original pronunciations.

  • For instance, between 1880 and 1916 commonly the Ottoman rank of major, is written in German, and British references as ‘Bimbashi’. Whereas in modern Turkish it is correctly spelled as Binbashi (from the Turkish – a chief of a thousand).
  • In this particular case, it is known that ‘Bimbashi’ is actually soldier Arabic, a pidgin of Arabic which developed among the Anglo-Egyptian military (used typically between 1870  and 1920).

Chris Flaherty




Other armies/uniforms of interest, are covered under  this section:

Right - An example of the star and cresent badge, nearly identical to typical Ottoman badges; however, in this case a WW1-period badge for the 18th Infantry Regiment of the British Indian Army.

Right - A UK pattern button for the Emirate of Cyrenaica (1949–1951) police. Using an almost identical button design to earlier 1860s Ottoman army buttons. The main distinguishing feature is white metal (the original Ottoman buttons are brass metal), and 1950s British manufacture (Squire, G. 1972 Buttons: A Guide for Collectors, London : F. Muller; and  Ian Kelly Militaria)

Right - An American Civil War period badge of the US army 7th corps, During the civil war, each US army corps was assigned a distinctive geometric shape for their badges.  Even, the South Carolina seccession flag early in the civil war was a red flag, with two tails, displaying a large white star and an upside down crescent moon, having an almost identical appearance to Ottoman flags in the period.

Right - Standard 1876 Ottomam army tunic gilt-brass star and crescent buttons copied by the French Army, These are 1953 15mm brass metal buttons with split-pin attachments used for shoulder boards, and kepi, for the Army of North Africa (French Sahara).

Right - Post-1880 Egyptian General Staff button.

Right - A WW1-wartime French Army of North Africa officer's black tunic button. This is likely for the 3rd Algerian Tirailleurs Regiment.






Below - A French colonial officer's buckle for its Armée d'Afrique du Nord (from 1880 till post-WW1). The star and crescent badge (like the 1880s button above) is identical to the Ottoman version, used in the pre-WW1 period.


A range or recently completed books on Ottoman Army and Navy uniforms history can be ordered on this page:

A collection of articles on Ottoman uniforms can be found on this page:

Books about wargaming rules for the Napoleonic period can be found here:



March-August 2015: Chris Flaherty was a contributor to the Turkish Gallipoli Centenary Exhibition - ‘From Depths to the Trenches: Gallipoli 1915’. This opened in March, with a very successful press conference in the Isbank Museum in Istanbul. He contributed two large illustrations, Ottoman infantry, and the Imperial Ottoman Navy uniforms in 1915.

July 2015: Chris Flaherty is mentioned as one of the contributors to 'Philip Jowett. Armies of the Greek-Turkish War 1919–22. MEN-AT-ARMS 501. Osprey Publishing, 20 Jul 2015)'.

January 2014: Christopher Flaherty’s web site is mentioned in the latest Wellington Antique & Historic Arms newsletter for being instrumental in identifying a rare WW1 Turkish helmet that belongs to the Secretary of the WA&HAA.

Monday, 4 February 2013: went online! rated in the Top WW1 Militaria Sites! Reached the first milestone of 10,000 Views on 8 November 2013! 30,000 Views (in the first 2-years)!







2012: Chris Flaherty's pnainting based on a passage in C.E.W.Bean, the WW1 Australian war correspondent records vividly the first time that the ANZACs saw a Turkish soldier, sighting a ‘lonely figure on the skyline'.

August 2011: Chris Flaherty contributed to German Colonial Uniforms' section on 'German Officers and NCOs in the Ottoman Army 1913-18: Ottoman Army Uniforms'.

October 2009: Thanks to Chris Flaherty for providing the information on updates. made on the German Army in Ottoman Uniforms Page; and information on cap tallies to the German Navy in Ottoman Service Page.

June 2009: Thanks to Christopher Flaherty for his help with information on new page Ottoman Army Uniforms page.

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