Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


1st Lancers (1840)

Right - A painting of a 1st Lancer Officer (C.Szatmary), from the Ottoman Cavalry in the 1st Army Corps, in 1840.

Between 1843, and 1848 the expansion of the army organisation, included:

Imperial Guard cavalry: Red regiment; and Blue regiment.

1st Corps: Three cavalry regiments (one of which is the 1st Lancers).

3rd Corps: Two cavalry regiments. Later increased by a Cossack regiment (1848 - the 1st Cossacks); a dragoon regiment - which is likely to be the Horse Chasseurs-a-Cheval (Horse Rifles).

The 2th, 4th and 5th Corps: Four cavalry regiments each.

The 6th Corps: Two cavalry regiments.

1st Lancers (1850)

Right - A cavalry uniform (Vinkhuizjen Collection), wearing:

  • Newly adopted European wool shell jackets with stiff high collars, and coat-cuffs introduced in dark blue wool cloth for the entire army, which has been assumed to be from the 1839-40 period.
  • The presence of full red lapels taped white, to match the collar may in fact be for the 1st Lancer Regiment.
  • It should also be noted, that the 'Tar-bucket fez is typical of the 1850s.

1840 till 1850 Ottoman Imperial Guard Cavalry

Right - These illustrations depicts two Guard cavalry officers, said to be from the 1840s, and 1850 illustrations (Vinkhuizjen, and Anne S.K. Brown Military Collections). Either the same regiment is represented with a uniform change over the decade, or there were two different Guard Cavalry regiments:

  • Red regiment.
  • Blue regiment.

The 1840s officer in the Guard cavalry is wearing a post-1840 European style of shell jacket in blue wool, with gold lace trim, which has been arranged as Hussar-styled chest loops connecting six-rows of buttons, and large brass Dolman –jacket toggle buttons.

Top/Right - The 1850s officer in the Guard cavalry is wearing a direct copy of a European Hussar uniform, complete with the Hussar’s pelisse held in place with an enormous gold cord, complete with Napoleonic –styled oval lattice and tassels, more normally seen on European shako cords.

Ottoman Cavalry Corps Coat Colors (1851)

Right - The 'line' 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Army Corps in the 1850s cavalry regiments were distinguished by various jacket colours.

Missing from this table:

  • The 2nd Army Corps cavalry jackets, were likely dark blue.
  • As stated (above), the remaining problem, is that the uniforms of the 1st Army Corps cavalry are not known (except for the 1st Lancers - discussed above); however, may also have been blue (see discussion above).

The other issue, is how were the individual cavalry regiments in each corps, actually distinguished from each other (or did they all wear the exact same uniform).

1848 Ottoman 1st Cossack Regiment

The original Silistra cavalry regiment (from 1826), was split into a regiment of dragoons, and the remaining Cossack battalion. The later formed 1st Cossack regiment, was set up in 1848 [1].

The regiment used the old banner of Zaporozhian Cossacks, which had been kept in Constantinople, following the Ottoman-Russian war in 1828-29. The banner was described as silk, with a cross on a blue background.


[1] Marcel Roubicek (1978) Modern Ottoman Troops, 1797-1915: In Contemporary Pictures. Franciscan Printing Press: 13.

Horse Chasseurs-a-Cheval (Horse Rifles)

Cavalry Headgear (1840-1853)

The Ottoman cavalry with all provided with a specifically military fez distiguished with a large brass tassel button [1]. This particular feature was noted by Crimean War period sources (General Vanson, and Constantin Guys), who sketched these type of fez, being widely used in the Crimean war. These fez were also fitted with chinstraps [2].

Ottoman cavalry, like the infantry wore a fur lined pointed cloth cap, in cold weather.


[1] Illustrations for the uniforms of the 1840/50s in the he book by Mahmud Sevket Pasha ‘L'Organisation et les Uniformes de l'Armee Ottomanne’ (1907), has the same Fez buttons being used.

[2] Flaherty, C. (2014) Turkish Uniforms of the Crimean War: A Handbook of Uniforms. Partizan Press.

Cavalry Pouch Belts (1840-1853)

An 1848 illustration of the Turkish army cavalry soldier’s cartridge pouch shows it displaying a bursting-star plate (C.Szatmary), around an oval shield bearing a star and crescent or the tugra: signature of the sultan in Ottoman script. 

1840 till 1850 Horse Schabracke

Right - A Crimean War-period (and likely much earlier) Turkish senior officer’s saddle pommel holsters. This was originally one of a matching pair that buckled, on either side of the saddle pommel, with a sheepskin cover.

Ottoman cavalry horse furniture was identical to European military fashions. Illustrations (Vinkhuizjen, and Anne S.K. Brown Military Collections) show use of a standard schabracke, by all cavalry ranks.

A distinguishing feature of imperial guard horse schabracke, in the 1850s, is these displayed a ‘feathered fans’ motif, also seen in pre-1839 uniform of Sultan Mahmud II riding his horse with his special gold embroidered purple schabracke covered in multiple ‘feathered fans’.

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