Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


Egyptian Army Rank System

Vanson/C.A. Norman states that the Egyptian infantry do not seem to have had any rank insignia is visible [1]. However, they used a rank system of neck orders and chest badges, derived from the Ottoman system, introduced during the Abdülmecid I period.

Right - This extract from the volume - M. Edouard Charton, Le Magasin Pittoresque (Paris, 1840) documents the Egyptian orders of rank, which were still in use into the 1860s. The NYPL Digital Gallery, containing the ‘Vinkhuijzen Collection of Military Uniforms/Egypt, 1820-1898’, has a set of 1906 paintings of the Egypt Army from 1830-40, which illustrates much the same rank system as that documented in the Le Magasin Pittoresque. The distinctive NCO chest lace bars are shown arranged across the crest, ending in a tassel/tassel and/or button. This same uniform feature is seen below.

Right - Dated 1850, this figure has been extracted from a lager print "Aegyptische Infanterie oder Ehrenwache" (Brown Digital Repository). This figure is an Junior Officer, with two 'rosettes and tassels' (not unlike Ottoman rank insignia from the 1840s). Vanson/C.A. Norman did discribe the exact same Egypt Army Rank System (however, it was not recognised as such) [2]. They noted: "Finally an infantry filer sketched at Varna wears a dark waist-length jacket with wide unshaded tape edging the bottom of the collar and top of the cuffs, and fire horizontal lines of tape down the breast, with tassels at both ends. He wears loose white kneelength pantaloons, bare lower legs, black slippers, a rather wide black waistbelt and a fife case on a wide black bandolier over the right shoulder." (C.A. Norman) The reference to 'fire horizontal lines of tape down the breast, with tassels at both ends.' is in fact the NCO lace. C.A. Norman also noted that "Vanson did not depict or describe a single Egyptian officer, so it's unclear if the latter wore a Western-style uniform like the Ottomans or dressed more like their men.” However, the Egypt Army officers were dressed similarity to their Ottoman counterparts, and rank was shown through the Egypt version of the 'Orders of Rank' neck and chest badges, As wel, Isma'il Pasha (the Egypt Commander), wore a Pasha's court dress uniform (see Fenton photograph - Below).


[1] [2] C.A. Norman. Turkish Uniforms of the Crimean Era (Soldiers of the Queen: Issue 85).

Egyptian Infantry White Uniforms (1853)

Arriving at the end of July,1853 in Constantinople,  the Egyptian infantry arrived in their white summer uniforms.

Right - Two versions of the Egyptian Infantry's white summer uniform used through-out the 1840s, and 1850s (Vinkhuijzen Collection 

Egyptian Infantry (1855)

Right -  An Egyptian infantryman from a collection of the Vanson/C.A. Norman illustrated figures, for the Turkish foreign auxiliary contingents sent to the war zone. The Vanson/C.A. Norman sketch illustrates the Egyptian Infantry NCO [1]. It shows him wearing a uniform "very similar to the 'old' uniform of the Turks: dark blue waist-length jackets trimmed with red tape on collar, cuffs and shoulder straps (sometimes a bit more elaborately than the Turks), which seem to have been generally worn with long Western-style trousers of dark blue wool or white cotton." (C.A. Norman) This was the 1844 pattern Turkish Imperial Army jacket. Their ‘vestes’ (waist jackets) are pointed, and longer than those of the Turkish versions, and always fastened with hooks and eyes'. Which were described as: "Dark blue jacket worn partially unhooked at the bottom (this would normally be fully fastened, cut to a rather pronounced point at the bottom); the collar, cuffs and shoulder straps are trimmed with red tape. The long trousers are shaded a somewhat lighter shade than the jacket, probably simply a faded dark blue and without trim." (C.A. Norman)

The Egyptian headgear depicted in Vanson/C.A. Norman, was a type of 'Chechias' (a type of fez), more rounded and lower form than the Turkish ones, and worn over a white skullcap (which appears as a narrow edging at the bottom), with a dark blue tassel [2].

The Egyptian equipment consisted of  brown native slippers, and white cross belts. The presence of the sabre would seem to suggest an NCO. A narrow belt was seen circling the hips (C.A. Norman). However, when compared with photograps of Egyptian Crimean soldiers [3], this appears to be a sword belt, leaving one crossbelt to support the ammunition pouch, and the other the bayonet scabbard.

The sketches by Vanson/C.A. Norman, comment "generally depict the lower-ranking Egyptians as very dark skinned, often with rather African features (it is unclear to what extent the force included Sudanese) (C.A. Norman).


[1] C.A. Norman. Turkish Uniforms of the Crimean Era (Soldiers of the Queen: Issue 85).

[2] Below - In this particular news illustration, the title is: "GRAND REVIEW OF TURKISH TROOPS BY THEIR OFFICERS". As well a pencil attribution of "Army - Turkey", and "Nov 19, 1853". However, the officers all display a crescent badge on the right breast, with the leading officer, two stars and a crescent. These are Egyptian officer's rank insignia, indicating this is a group of Egyptian officers and soldiers. As can be seen the headgear in much higher, and round topped.

[3] This is the Roger Fenton photograph of Ismail Pacha (Hungarian general Kmety) ordering his chibouque. LC-USZC4-9146. However, according to Fenton's Letter of 29 April 1855 - “Two days since, Ismael Pasha, commander of the Egyptian Troops came to me. I made some good groups of him and his suite."

Ismail Pasha was the 1st Brigade Commander-in-Chief (1st Egyptian Division). Photographed in the Fenton group was "a Nubian slave and a Copt pipe-bearer” (Gernsheim, p. 72). Interestingly, his uniform/clothing looks identical (in particular the jacket), to Tunisian uniforms of the same period. The soldiers accompanying Ismail Pasha, presumably Egyptian, look to be wearing identical uniforms as that of the Turkish Army in the Crimea (which they were specifically provided under an Ottoman agreement - Flaherty, C. (2014) Turkish Uniforms of the Crimean War: A Handbook of Uniforms. Partizan Press).

Egyptian-Albanian Infantry (1855)

According ‘Khedive Ismail's Army', by John P. Dunn (2013) - The Khedive of Egypt, up till 1853 placed great value on Albanian mercenaries. By the start of the Crimean War 4,500 Albanians were part of the Army – maintain their traditional role as skirmishers, mountain warfare experts, police and security and bodyguard units. In particular, they were organised as traditional Ottoman Bashi Bazouks (this was an irregular soldier of the Ottoman army). These troops received, following 1848, “state-of-the-art weaponry in the form of American revolvers” (which would have to be the revolving gun made by Samuel Colt, patented first in 1848, and then 1850).

Egyptian Foot Artillery (1855)

Vanson/C.A. Norman, described two Egyptian foot artillerymen in the Crimean war [1]:

  • Dressed similarly to the infantry, one with long dark blue trousers with a red piping down the outer seam, the other with plain unshaded (possibly white) trousers.
  • Carry a large 'Roman-type' short sword in an elaborately cut and tooled frog on a white bandolier over the right shoulder (no belt over the left).
  • A figure with unshaded trousers has a single wide tape edging the bottom of the collar and two wide tapes circling the top of the cuff. Vanson/C.A. Norman speculated that the number of tapes indicate rank [2].


[1] [2] C.A. Norman. Turkish Uniforms of the Crimean Era (Soldiers of the Queen: Issue 85).

Egyptian Horse Artillery (1855)

Vanson/C.A. Norman, provided a sketch and description of an Egyptian horse artillerymen in the Crimean war, their uniform was virtually identical to the foot artillery with a Western-type light cavalry sabre slung from a narrow white waistbelt with S-hook (the description quotes a French light cavalry sabre with white leather knot, also of French form). The depiction also shows a plain white bandolier over the left shoulder and what appear to be Western-type boots with attached spurs [1].

An 1854 dated illustration of a mounted 'Turkish artillery officer' is known; however, this is more likely an Egyptian officer in the horse artillery [2].


[1] C.A. Norman. Turkish Uniforms of the Crimean Era (Soldiers of the Queen: Issue 85).

[2] Illustration titled: “Turkish Artillery Officer”. L’Illustration Journal Universel. No. 593 (Volume XXIV, July 8,1854).

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