Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1828 TILL 1839 OTTOMAN ARMY RANKS, FLAGS AND BANDS

1828 Ottoman Senior Officer's Insignia

Right - A French period drawing (Vinkhuizjen Collection), shows an illustration of the likely uniform for the "General Major".

  • Likely, the 1826-28 rank of BASH-BIMBASHEE.
  • The fisrt senior commander of the original eight regiments (one battalion each - commanded by a Major), formed in 1826 with the establishment of the modern army to replace the Janissaries.
  • Shows massive European-styled epaulettes to identify his rank.

The early period the rank system used by the New Model Army (disbanded in 1807-08), used chest buttons to indicate rank. Several illustrations from 1828 (Vinkhuizjen Collection) show:

  • Four pairs of large chest buttons: Identified as a YUSH BASHEE: Captain.
  • Three pairs of large chest buttons: Identified as a OTOUSH BASHEE: Lieutenant.
  • Two pairs of large chest buttons: CAVUS: Sergeant.
  • One pair of large chest buttons: Identified as a ON BASHEE: Corporal; This is the same as the Janissary ODABASI: Barrack-Room Chief.

Early illustrations of senior officers also show them wearing chest buttons.  Only three types of officers are depicted [1]:

  • The ‘Chef de Bataillon’, a BIMBASHEE: Major;
  • YOUZBASHEE: Captain or Company Commander.
  • Each company, had an additional two MOULAZEEM: Lieutenants.

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[1] Figures seen in the book by Mahmud Sevket Pasa ‘L'Organisation et les Uniformes de l'Armee Ottomanne (1907)’, were originally miss-dated (these figures are dated to 1840, when they actually relate to early 1826); as well, as miss-described (using post 1876 ranks). These appear to show the original three officer’s ranks created for the 1826 modern army.

1828 New Colonels

Between 1826, and 1828, the modern army was expanded into three battalion regiments, each commanded by a BIMBASHEE: Major, with newly appointed MIRALAY: Colonel in command of the regiment. Long-skirted kaftans, with gold floral embroidery, and gold tape chest loops ending in gold tassels orignially worn by the ‘Chef de Bataillon’; BIMBASHEE: Major, were now worn by the MIRALAY: Colonel [1]. Following 1828, new insignia consisted of: “Lieutenant colonels have a plain gold crescent with gold stars. Captains have silver stars; senior and junior lieutenants wear plain silver crescents. These distinctions are worn on the breast on each side.” [2]

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[1] Some illustrations of post-1828 senior officers were originally miss-identified, namely a ‘Dark-Blue’ regiment MIRALAY: Colonel (Vinkhuizjen Collection), was originally incorrectly inscribed as a ‘BIMBASHEE / Infanterie Oberst (in German for Infantry Colonel), from 1830. A second ‘Dark-Blue’ regiment MIRALAY: Colonel (Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection), was originally incorrectly inscribed as an ‘Ottoman Artillery Captain, 1828’.

[2] Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. 1980 Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy and Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London.

1828 Junior Officer's Insignia

In addition to the use of chest buttons, the post-1826 ON BASHEE: Corporal, was the same as older Janissary ODABASI: Barrack-Room Chief. An illustration of the 'White Regiment' shows a pair of red cloth star and crescent badges on his chest [1] [2].

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[1] Marcel Roubicek 1978 ‘Modern Ottoman Troops, 1797-1915: In Contemporary Pictures. Franciscan Printing Press; "Soldier of the Ottoman 'New System' Infantry, 1828". The illustration shows a black cartridge box carry strap covering the right-side red star and crescent badge.

[2] Charles Mac Farlane, ESQ. MDCCCXXIX (1829) Constantinople in 1828 : A Residence of Sixteen Months in the Turkish Capital and Provinces with an Account of the Present State of the Naval and Military Power and of the Resources of the Ottoman Empire. London: Saunders and Otley, Conduit Street. An almost similar figure is illustrated, with the second red star and crescent badge clearly shown. Dated 1828-1829, as this is the actual publishing date of the book itself; however, it is likely the particular edition of the book, containing the colour plate was itself made after 1833, according to library catalogues. The figure also wears a fez, which should date it to post-1832.

1832 Ottoman Senior Officer's Uniforms

During the 1830s, officer's jersey were tailored including gold floral embroidery, and gold tape edging, to indicate rank levels:

  • The ‘Green’ regiment figure (Vinkhuizjen Collection), was originally inscribed as an ‘Hauptmann’ in German (for Captain), from 1830. However, this figure dates from post-1832 as he is depicted wearing a fez.
  • The Turquoise regiment (Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection) was originally incorrectly inscribed as an ‘Ottoman Artillery Sergeant, 1828’), shows the set of eight (in rows of four) large chest buttons, as flower-rosettes, used for a YOUZBASHEE: Captain or Company Commander. 
  • BIMBASHEE: Major, from the 'Dark Blue Regiment', wears an identical ‘Hauptmann’ YUSH BASHEE: Captain, from the 'Green Regiment', with the addition of the gold floral embroidered shoulder pieces. Later used orders of rank, at this stage were duplicated on each side of the chest.
  • MIRALAY: Colonel, from the 'Pink Regiment', is no longer wearing the long-skirted kaftan, with gold floral embroidery, and gold tape chest loops ending in gold tassels, as was worn by the ‘Chef de Bataillon’; he now wears a tailored officer's jersey with thick gold floral embroidery edging, and large floral gold shoulder wings (with gold tassels) to indicate his rank level.
  • SANJAKDAR: standard bearer, ranked below a lieutenant, and wears a plain tailored officer's jersey. The later used orders of rank is duplicated on each side of the chest.

Ottoman Army Generals (1828-1839)

From 1828, new higher ranking officers were appointed to the army [1]:

  • LIWAS: Brigade commanded by a MEER-EE-LIWA.
  • HASSA: Division commanded by a FERIQ.
  • MANSOURAH: Army Corps commanded by a MOUSHEER.

It is known, in the post 1828 period, that: “Generals and other officers' uniforms are mainly red, with gold embroidery varying according to rank. The distinctions of rank are as follows: lieutenant general, two crescents set with diamonds, with three stars, also set with diamonds, in the middle; brigadier generals wear similar crescents, but with only two stars." [2]

Following 1832, with the adoption of the fez, an early system of badges were also employed to indicate rank [3]:

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[1] Marcel Roubicek. 1978 Modern Ottoman Troops, 1797-1915: In Contemporary Pictures. Franciscan Printing Press.

[2] Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. 1980 Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy and Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London.

[3] Metin Eruretin. 2001 Osmanli Madalyalari ve Nisanlari. [Ottoman medals and orders: documented history]. DMC.

Regiment Secretary Officers

Right - The only word legible on this hand written pen note, added to this illustration reads “Schreiber, 1845” [1].

  • The German word “Schreiber”, translates as writer.
  • The dating for this is late, as the jersey was discontinued in 1839, and the fez, was adopted in 1832. So this “Schreiber”, dates between 1832, and 1839.
  • Use of multi-coloured/pattern tape on the chest, collar and cuffs dates only within this period.
  • In 1828, the reorganised Ottoman army regiments: ALAY, received Battalion-staff Secretary Officers for the first time.
  • He also wears a pair of oval chest badges indicating his rank, which appear to show the Sultan's Tugra.

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[1] Vinkhuizjen Collection.

Ottoman Flags

The 1826 organisation created the rank of SANJAQDAR: flag bearer, for each company, in each regiment [1].

Right - The 1793 Ottoman Flag typically had a five-point star; however, seven- and eight point starts were also used.

 

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[1] It is generally understood, that it was Sultan Abdulmecid, who reorganized the army and gave out European–styled regimental standards in 1843–1844 (these were red flags, displaying a silver crescent).

Ottoman Army Regimental Bands (1828-1839)

Right - A Guard Band Master [1]. The Guard regiment officer wears a jersey, not unlike the senior drummer (and both display identical pattern of chest lace).

The Bandmaster from the ‘Pink’ regiment, wears a janissary styled costume [2].

In 1832, the bands of music in all corps, wore: "blue coats, with scarlet collars, and lace of the same colour, with yellow silk embroidery." [3]

In 1832, the bands of music for the guards have gold embroidery [4].

In 1832, the fifers, drummers, and trumpeters are dressed like the other troops [5]. 

Comparatively, the period 1792-1839 saw many British Army Bands adopt a variety of fantasy Turkish music costumes for their bandsmen [6].

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[1] Vinkhuizjen Collection.

[2] Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection. 

[3] [4] [5] Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. 1980 Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy and Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London.

[6] Flaherty, C. 2014 British Regimental Bands Turkish Musicians.

1832 Army Surgeon and Apothecary

According to 1832 account: "The surgeons wear a light-blue coat, with a low collar and carmine cuffs. Field apothecaries have plain ash-coloured coats". [1] [2]

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[1] Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. 1980 Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy and Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London.

[2] "the Veterinarian school was established around 1827, and was part of the College of Medicine, who produced  physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, and veterinarians." Layla J. Aksakal, Peter Barton Hutt (2003) The Sick Man and his Medicine: Public Health Reform in the Ottoman Empire and Egypt.

1832 General Staff Cadet

In 1832 the cadets of the general staff wear the uniform of the infantry officers, without crescent badges, and with differing embroidery, than that seen on the officer’s uniforms [1].

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[1] Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. 1980 Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy and Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London.

1832 Cavalry Pupils

In 1832, the pupils of the cavalry school wear scarlet officers' uniforms [1].

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[1] Knotel, R. Knoetl, H. Sieg, H. 1980 Uniforms of the World - A Compendium of Army, Navy and Air Force Uniforms 1700 - 1937. Arms Armour Press, London.

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