Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1861 TILL 1876 OTTOMAN ARMY UNIFORMS AND NEW RANK SYSTEM

1861 Ottoman Army 'French Zouave' Uniforms Special Distinctions

Otherwise known as the 'zouave-craze' of the 1860s where many countries including the North, and Confederacy adopted this pattern of uniform.Various units and services in the Ottoman army used special distinctions for their zouave jackets.

“In the old infantry dress, seen in the museum of ancient costumes at Constantinople, a man could march lightly, breathe freely, and sleep comfortably; the desiderata which ought to predominate in the mind of every designer of a military garb. The reigning Sultan, Abdul Aziz Khan, soon after his accession sagaciously flattered the national taste and increased with self-respect the efficiency of his troops, by the re-adoption of an oriental cut uniform.” [1]

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[1] Slade, A. 1867 Turkey and the Crimean War: A Narrative of Historical Events. London: Smith, Elder and Co.

Right - The Ottoman Army, following the French influence after the Crimean War (where they first encountered the zouave), copied the French Army's 'Uniform of the Orient',

1861 Chasseur A' Pied

1861 Imperial Guard Infantry Regiments

The 1st Imperial Guard regiment wore tellow distinctions. This likely represented the continuation of the 1808 Ottoman Infantryman, in a completely yellow uniform, that is argued to have been from the Solak Imperial Guard Orta, trained as a new battalion in the New Model Army, these guardsmen became the 'Yellow' Regiment in the New Model Army, which continued till 1832-39, with the regiment distinction of Yellow jackets and fez tassels. In the case of the 2nd Imperial Guard, they began the practice in the 1860s of the fez wrapped in a green turban, or a green keffiyeh (the traditional Arab cloth headdress) under a fez (with it wrapped around the base) [1].

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[1] It should be noted that the significance of the green hat/turban/keffiyeh, at the time “denotes a man who has religious privileges” (The War Office. (2008) 1915 Notes on the Turkish Army: With a Short Vocabulary of Turkish Words and Phrases. N & M Press: 19).

Infantry White Smock

Right - Extracted from a larger illustration 'Ottoman army soldiers during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 (Source: Edmund Ollier, Illustrated History of the Russo-Turkish War, Vol. I, London, 1890)', these two figures of Ottoman soldiers wear a white smock, not unlike the French colonial service white fatigue uniform of the period.

Army Buckles

An 1876 Ottoman army buckle. This version was based on earlier models used from the 1860s. Some higher quality buckles such as the one pictured above had a frame-boarder added to the buckle face. Officers' buckles were carried on gold and red stripped brocade belts, and the men wore either black or white leather belts.

 

 

The star and crescent buckle commonly used in the 1860s and 1870s along-side the crescent buckle.

 

 

1861 Army Generals' Uniforms and Rank Insignia

Right - An illustrations from the book by Mahmud Sevket Pasa ‘L'Organisation et les Uniformes de l'Armee Ottomanne (1907)’, shows officers from the 1860-1876 period. This 'Pasha' figure: His rank is shown two wide weave lines (closed together), making him an Army Liva. The court uniform for the Pasha was simplified from the end of the Crimean war with the removal of gold embroidery from the skirt. A new rank systems were introduced in the 1860 period for all Generals. Pasha rank insignia:

  • Four knotted wide gold-tape cuff-chevron:
  • Three knotted wide gold-tape cuff-chevron:
  • Two knotted wide gold-tape cuff-chevron:

1861 'New' Ottoman Army Senior Officers' Rank System

Right - A typical 1860s Turkish Army uniform for officers which consisted initially of a long-skirted frock coat with low collar in single row of buttons. Use of the new cuff rank insignia, with long buttoned rear cuff-fly opening. The cuff rank system for senior officers:

  • Four gold tape cuff-chevron:
  • Four (one gold/one silver/one gold/one silver) tape cuff-chevron:
  • Three gold tape cuff-chevron:
  • Two gold tape cuff-chevron:
  • Two (one gold/one silver) tape cuff-chevron:
  • One gold tape cuff-chevron:
  • Two silver tape cuff-chevron:
  • One silver tape cuff-chevron:

1861 General Staff Collar Insignia

Right - General Staff Collar insignia. The formation of the Ottoman Imperial Army General staff, did not occur till well after 1837 [1]. The first mention of a General Staff, between 1861 and 1876, is the 'General Staff School', a three-year course following graduation from the military schools [2] [3].

Right (Top Row) - By the mid 1860s the Pasha ranks received underdress frock coats with five button cuff-flap rank insignia, consisting of five lace rows, and rank shown with diagonal bars:

  • Four diagonal bars:
  • Three diagonal bars:
  • Two diagonal bars:

Botton Two Rows - The rank system for senior officers remained unchanged.​

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

[2] Ibid: 15.

[3] The Encyclopedia of War, First Edition. Edited by Gordon Martel (2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Published); Gultekin Yıldız, 'Ottoman Military Organization' (1800–1918). This mentions that in '1869 a second wave of military reorganization was planned by Huseyin Avni Pasha, the first formally educated minister of war, namely "a Prussian-like general staff wasestablished under the ministry of war."

1873 Higher Imperial Army Officer's Rank Insignia

Prior to 1876 (and likely beginning around 1873), the higher Imperial Army officer's rank insignia developed with the addition of a French knot, above the rank chevrons above the cuff. The 1873 rank system:

  • Lieutenant to Captain: One to three thin gold weave lines.
  • Major to Colonel: One to three wide gold weave lines.
  • Generals (according to rank): Two for a Liva, and three wide gold weave lines (closed together), for a Ferik.
  • Marshal: Four wide gold weave lines (closed together).

These rank insignia could appear as 'small' covering the forearm, and as well the same insignia could be large-embroidered covering the entire sleeve, ending just under the epaulette fringe.

This period also sees the introduction of an 'extra -detachable' heavily embroidered cloth cover for the pointed cuffs, and collar to be worn by officers at gala events. In addition, superior -quality uniforms were made incorporating these cuffs and collars (for the officers who could afford these). The Imperial Navy also adopted these as well.

Above - illustrations extracted from the book by Mahmud Sevket Pasa ‘L'Organisation et les Uniformes de l'Armee Ottomanne (1907)’, shows General a-la Suite uniforms for a Liva, with two wide gold weave lines closed together; a Ferik (three wide gold weave lines closed together); and a Marshal (four wide gold weave lines closed together).

Iman-du-Regiment

Right - Introduced in the 1860s, newly appointed 'Imam-du-Regiment', to each Imperial Army regiment wear a long black flowing gown, with long wide sleeves, replacing the officer’s tunics and dress swords the battalion Imams were wearing from 1853, and through-out the Crimean War period. By the late 1860s a rank system, and insignia is established (which remained in place till 1908). Red collars and cuffs were added to the back gowns, and three ranks were established with silver tape cuff-chevrons:

  • Three silver tape cuff- chevron:
  • Two silver tape cuff- chevron:
  • One silver tape cuff- chevron:

The addition of a fez wrapped in a green turban, or a green keffiyeh (the traditional Arab cloth headdress) under a fez (with it wrapped around the base) [1].

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[1] It should be noted that the significance of the green hat/turban/keffiyeh, at the time “denotes a man who has religious privileges” (The War Office. (2008) 1915 Notes on the Turkish Army: With a Short Vocabulary of Turkish Words and Phrases. N & M Press: 19).

Sappers

Music Corps

Ottoman Imperial Army Sajakdar and Sultan's Flag

1861-1876 Junior Officers Rank Insignia

Right - The Ottoman imperial army, in 1860-61 adopted a new rank system for junior officers below the lieutenant adopted the red, blue, green or yellow (depending on the special uniform distinctions) cuff chevrons, and trefoils to identify ranks.

Above/Right - Junior officer's sleeve and cuff illustrations extracted from the book by Mahmud Sevket Pasa ‘L'Organisation et les Uniformes de l'Armee Ottomanne (1907)’. Junior Officers: Red tape (or Green, for the rifles; and Yellow, for the 1st Imperial Guard):

A: One (red/green/yellow) cuff-chevron:

B: Two (red/green/yellow) cuff-chevron:

C: Three (red/green/yellow) cuff-chevron: As well, the top cuff-chevron can end in a knot:

D: Three (red/green/yellow) cuff-chevron: As well, the top cuff-chevron can end in an extended knot:

1876 Junior Officers Rank Insignia

Right - Toward 1876, junior officers' Rank Insignia begins to simplify in particular, the transition from cuff-ranks to sleeve rank badges (on the right arm only).

The BASCAVUS rank changes most with the addition of a last-most 4th gold chevron.

After 1876-1908 this changes to four red chevron.

The Artillery develop higher ‘technical’ grades (above the BASCAVUS), namely, an 'Artillery Armourer Sergeant-Major (Topcu Cephene Bascavus), with two red and two gold sleeve chevrons (1876 till 1908 Artillery).

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