Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


Ottoman Yemen Army Corps

Right - The Yemen Army Corps following 1911 contained two unusual units:

  • Ottoman Yemen Gendarmerie Battalions (1911). Identified as 'Militia Battalions (Tribal Regiments), in 1916.
  • Ottoman Imperial Army Rocket Battery (1916).


[1] British General Staff. (1995) 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army. Battery Press, Nashville: 195.

Ottoman Yemen Gendarmerie Battalions (1911)

Under a 1911 agreement, the Ottoman Army trained the Yemeni Gendarmerie Battalions. In this pre-WW1 picture (below) these tribal soldiers wear traditional Yemeni head wrapped-headgear, with the Order of Orta (crescent) badge on their head wraps, which is typical for post-1909. In this group:

  • The officer's 1876 underdress jackets were in service still till 1913: one has cuff rank for a Yuzbashi; the other wears General Staff collar insignia.
  • The junior officers - Onbasi and Cavus wear 1909 Imperial Army tunics.
  • The soldiers wear full Yemeni costume.

It is also likely these soldiers wore the traditional Yemeni shade hat, made from woven cane, called the ‘dhola’. Now uncommon, these were seen across North Africa, and the French encountered soldiers wearing these during their 1881 invasion.

1916 Ottoman Imperial Army Rocket Battery

The Hale gunpowder war rocket, and its firing trough was invented by the Englishman William Hale (1797-1870) in 1844 as a way to eliminate the cumbersome wooden guidestick of the Congreve rocket.

  • Hale war rockets were used experimentally during the Crimean War but were not officially adopted by the British Army until 1867.
  • Till 1899, they were widely used in colonial engagements in Africa, India, and elsewhere.
  • The Hale rockets were outmoded in the 1890's though did not become officially obsolete until 1919 in the British Army.

The Hale rocket was called the stickless, or rotary rocket, since it obtained its stability in flight by part of the exhaust gases causing the rocket to rotate or spin on its axis.

  • The 24-pounder Hale rocket was one of the most popular calibers since it was light enough to carry in combat (in some British colonial wars, the rockets were carried in special sacks on the backs of mules).
  • The 24-pounder had an explosive warhead and could be useful for both anti-personnel use and bombardments of small structures.
  • Their average range was about 1,200 yards.
  • Depending upon firing angle and other factors could range up to 4,000 yards.

Austria modified and adopted the Hale gunpowder war rocket as part of their regular artillery, and this model was adopted in the Ottoman Army.

Right - Signal rockets used in the WW1 British Army.

  • These still followed the earlier Congreve war rockets model which used the long wooden guidesticks.

Below - in the 1884 Redhouse Dictionary [1], phrases such as:

  • Congreve rocket; and,
  • Sky-rocket.

are shown in use within the Ottoman Empire.


[1] Redhouse, James W. (James William), Sir, 1811-1892. A lexicon, English and Turkish, shewing in Turkish, the literal, incidental, figurative, colloquial and technical significations of the English terms, indicating their pronunciation in a new and systematic manner and preceded by a Sketch of English etymology, to facilitate to Turkish students the acquisition of the English language (1884). Constantinople, Printed for the Mission by A. H. Boyajian.

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