Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


Turkish Army and Navy; Egyptian, Tunisian, Anglo-Turkish Contingents; and Ottoman Police

CHAPTER 1: Winter and Summer Uniforms

CHAPTER 2: Greatcoats and Cold Weather Gear

CHAPTER 3: Personal Equipment

CHAPTER 4: Rank Insignia

CHAPTER 5: Security Soldiers

CHAPTER 6: Flags

CHAPTER 7: Drummers and Music Corps

CHAPTER 8: Seshaneci: Foot Chasseurs and Chasseurs-a-Cheval

CHAPTER 9: Cavalry

CHAPTER 10: Artillery


The great Turkish bombard, commonly called Dardanelles guns were in operation from as early as 1464, till the Crimean war. In 1868, one was acquired from the Turkish Government by Britain, and still survives to this day. These guns saw action against British ships in 1807. Following 1807, it is known that the fortress placement of the Dardanelles guns underwent a considerable redesign, this is discussed on the facing page. The Dardanelles guns still in service on the eve of the Crimean war, were over 387 years old, and had been in continuous military service as a deterrent to an attack from the Dardanelles on Constantinople. After 1807, and by 1850, the Dardanelles guns were mounted on a new fortress carriage design. The carriage design was documented in a series of illustrations first appearing in 1850 (Illustrated London News, 1850; 1851; 1853), which were all based on an 1853 (correctly 1850) dated painting of Dardanelles Chanak Kaleh-Si Castle (Asiatic side) bombards (O’Reilly, 1853). The later illustrations did not entirely follow the original painting; however, these show that the Dardanelles guns were moved onto sleds that recoiled along massive wooden slide mounts.

The new Dardanelles guns carriage design, introduced for the first time allowing the cannon to recoil, as previously the placement of the cannon abutted a massive stone wall to stop the gun from moving when firing. The new design was based on typical Western European fortification mounts for heavy cannon from the 18th century. In the case of the bombards, the new mounts were massively upscaled. Measurements for the cannon carriage: The gun was 17 feet, and 2½ inches; with a bore 24½ inches, firing a 700-pound stone (granite) shot. The carriage was 17 feet, and 10½ inches long, with a height of two feet, and six inches (Illustrated London News, 1850). The carriage slide was 40 feet, and nine inches long, with a height of one foot, and nine inches.

BELOW: Illustrates the post-1807 position of the great cannon, and its remount on large wooden cradles and slides, which remained in used during the Crimean war era. The massive stone balls were maneuverer up to the muzzle level via a large wood block ramp, or by block and tackle suspended from a swing crane, hauling the ball up to the gun muzzle in a heavy net. Embrasure iron doors are opened when the gun is fired. The cut-away view shows the stone shot, wooden plug, and powder chamber.

CHAPTER 11: Engineers’ Brigade

CHAPTER 12: Navy and Egyptian Squadron

CHAPTER 13: Egyptian Contingent

CHAPTER 14: Tunisian Contingent

CHAPTER 15: Anglo-Turkish Contingent

CHAPTER 16: General Beatson’s Horse, and Osmanli Horse Artillery

CHAPTER 17: Bashi-Bazouks

CHAPTER 18: Arab Regiment

CHAPTER 19: Post-Crimean War Anglo-Turkish Contingent (1857)

CHAPTER 20: Ottoman Cossack Regiments

CHAPTER 21: Zaptiye: Mounted Police


Crimean war commentators, are known to have identified some larger Turkish army formations such as a Turkish soldier belonging to the 1st division (Norman, 1985). However, such designations had little applicability to the actual organisation of the Turkish army, following its new post-1848 structure. Ranks such as ferik: general de division, and mir-el-liwa [liwa]: general de brigade where used (see Chapter 4), these largely played an assisting role to the mousheer [mushir]: field marshal who commanded each ordu: army; who after 1846, formed an ordu: army council, that along with the reissee-erkiyan: chief of staff, there were two ferik: general de division, dividing the army into two division commanders (Urquhart, 1852; Dodd, 1856). Under these senior officers six mir-el-liwa [liwa]: general de brigade commanders, each commanded one of three infantry liwa: brigades (a formation composing two infantry regiments), in each infantry division (Urquhart, 1852; Dodd, 1856). Two of the mir-el-liwa [liwa]: general de brigade, were each commanders of cavalry liwa: brigades (a formation composing two cavalry regiments), and one commanded the artillery regiment (Roubicek, 1978). It was known that one of the mir-el-liwa [liwa]: general de brigade, commanded within the district allotted to the ordu: army, the local redif: reserve infantry, two cavalry regiments, and one artillery regiment (Urquhart, 1852).

The Egyptian contingent (see Chapter 13), and the Tunisian contingent (see Chapter 14), unlike the Turkish army, placed much greater emphasis on having organised active hassa: divisions, and liwa: brigades, with their own commanders, within their armies, that likely reflected greater influence, from the 1830s of British and French military advisors. Whereas, in the case of the Turkish army, smaller tactical corps or divisions were created on an ad-hoc basis. This military policy extended to the, “Ottoman practice to intermingle redif … with nizam units quite indiscriminately.” (Cox, Lenton, 1997). Forming tactical regiments that could include battalions from different regiments, even armies.

Frequent mention is made of the Turkish army assigning campaign or battlefield tactical command to their miralai: colonels, and mir-el-liwa [liwa]: general de brigade. For instance, in the 1853, and 1854 campaign, there is a reference to a Hasan Bey, a miralai: colonel, commander of an avant garde: advance guard of the army, out in forward recognisance in force, commanding two squadrons of nizam: regular cavalry, and some 2,000 bashi-bazouks (Badem, 2010). Officer grades, such as mir-el-liwa [liwa]: general de brigade, are known to have commanded a wing of the army’s battlefield deployment, consisting of a force including three infantry battalions, and five cannons, and more than 1,000 bashi-bazouks (Badem, 2010). A latter account, of another wing commander, identifies mir-el-liwa [liwa]: general de brigade, Ali Pasha, commanding the army’s left wing in Suflis, consisting of three infantry battalions, with seven cannons, and one cavalry regiment, with additional support of two infantry battalions, and about 2,000 bashi-bazouks deployed in neighbouring villages (Badem, 2010).

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