Ottoman Uniforms of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Ottoman Uniforms of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special


What the soldiers of the warring nations wore
on their bodies varied widely, so we’re doing a series of specials on the uniforms
of those nations, and today I’ll be looking at the Ottoman Empire. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to a Great War
special episode on Ottoman Army uniforms during the First World War. One physically visible result of the Young
Turk Revolution in the Empire in 1908 was in the army uniforms, though reform did take
a few years to go into effect. Going back a century the Empire had tried
several times to modernize the army’s appearance and organization with different foreign influences. For example, in the 1850s at the time of the
Crimean War there was a heavy French influence, but by the end of the century the army pretty
much modeled itself after German fashions. In 1909 a basic khaki uniform replaced the
old dark blue one, though officers still used those for full-dress uniforms. The red tarbush, the fez, which had a dark-blue
tassel and had been used for a century, was replaced by the kabalak, though fezes were
occasionally still worn by troops off duty. The 1916 Turkish army handbook reads, “The
cap is a khaki kalpak with a distinctive top or dome the same color as the coat collars. Officers have gold ornamental bands on the
crown. But the rank and file were supplied in 1913
and 1914 with a new head-covering, the Bashlik, a long strip of khaki cloth tied spirally
on the head and forming a sort of soft helmet, which can be easily mistaken for the British
khaki helmet in a bad light. It is, however, more pointed, and falls particularly
in front and behind.” Some reports say that the Kabalak was personally
designed by Enver Pasha, Minister of War, but others refute that. So from 1908 they had the kabalak, and then
it was later replaced with the simpler Bashlik. Troops of Arab origin usually wore their traditional
kufiya head cloths. Later in the war the Ottoman navy brought
in a new headgear that was basically a normal European naval cap, but without the peak in
front as deference to Islamic tradition. You could touch your head to the ground during
prayers without taking it off. Actually, post war when Ataturk came to power
he insisted that men wore peaked caps as a direct challenge to Islamic tradition and
a lot of people were killed in the subsequent riots. Toward the end of the war, some soldiers were
issued steel helmets, the first of those being Ottoman shock troops that served in Palestine
and the Caucasus. We’ve seen in other armies how the quality
of the uniforms can vary quite a bit, but it varied more among the Ottoman soldiers
than elsewhere. Many officers, especially senior officers,
had their clothing made in Germany. Some of the enlisted men’s stuff was made
there too, but the bulk of it was made in Turkey. It was all right at first, but toward the
end of the war the quality ranged from “okay” to “appalling”. This also applied to things like boots and
by the summer of 1917 even some officers didn’t have anything approaching decent boots. A side note here, during the nasty November
weather at Gallipoli in 1915, many soldiers wore a strange amalgamation of clothing donated
by the people of nearby Constantinople, including high fashion underwear and fine gentlemen’s
walking shoes. Branches of service were indicated by colored
collars for officers and collar patches for the other ranks. You also saw these in the edging of the officers’
kabalak; olive green for infantry, grass green for machine gun companies, light grey for
cavalry, dark blue for artillery, mid-blue for engineers, sky blue for railway troops,
and scarlet for the military police. In 1915 the Ottoman Air Service became a separate
branch from the engineers and their color was changed to red. Like most armies, rank was indicated by either
pips and braiding on the shoulder boards or stripes on the sleeves. Auxiliary cavalry was made up of tribal auxiliaries,
mostly recruited from among the Kurds. The government was supposed to give them uniforms,
but if you look at old pictures you can see that even some of the officers still wore
traditional Kurdish clothing. The personal equipment was basically German
in design and the weapons were mostly of German manufacture. Officers were armed with swords, which they
generally did not carry in to battle, and they bought their own pistols of European
design. The infantry rifle was the Turkish Mauser,
either the Model 1893 or Model 1903. Later on they’d get German M1888 rifles,
called the Commission Rifle, and some German Mauser M1898s, while the Austrians sent them
some adapted Russian Mossin-Nagant M1891s. Some of the reservists still had the obsolete
black powder Turkish Mauser M1887s. Bayonets were produced by German companies
in Solingen and Suhl, and some infantry carried fighting knives in their boots, a practice
that went back to medieval times. Cavalry were armed with a rifle or carbine,
the carbines being the Turkish Mauser M1905. They also carried a sword, a lance, or both,
with the swords often being the M1909 made by Carl Eickhorn of Solingen. I gotta point out that the uniforms and arms
supply could really vary on all of the different fronts. In 1914 the ordinary infantryman was well
equipped and well-dressed, but the standards deteriorated once the reserves began to be
called up en masse so later in the war you had situations like one unit of 8,000 men
who were reported as only having 1,000 rifles. They were also in general so short of entrenching
tools that they captured them whenever possible, and officers found that maps captured from
the British were superior to the Baedeker tourist guides on which they often had to
rely. I’m not making that up. And that’s the basic rundown. You have to realize that the fronts on which
Ottoman soldiers fought varied more widely that most of the other nations, and the equipment
is going to reflect all the local variations that adjust for climate. They fought in the deserts of the Middle East
or Libya, the flood plains of Mesopotamia, the frozen mountains of East Anatolia, the
Galician heartland, the rocks of Gallipoli, the bleak expanses of the Caucasus, pretty
much every climate imaginable. If you spend some time just googling old photos
of the empire you can see the variations in uniforms and equipment. I have to say that I personally think the
Ottomans had some of the cooler looking uniforms, but you can form your own opinions. In fact, I’m going to wrap it up now so
you can spend the next few minutes looking up Ottoman uniforms for yourselves to see
it in a little more depth, and while you’re doing so, think of that unit of men with only
1,000 rifles- 7,000 of them going into battle armed with… what? I don’t know. Rocks? Knives? Just thousands more young men marching to
their deaths against the modern forces of modern war.

100 Replies to “Ottoman Uniforms of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special”

  1. thanks for makeing turkish vids and makeig about the ottoman empire i wish you will make more and and more

  2. Really good job, i like the fact that you guys mention a lot nice little details. And i really respect the way how you guys try to be as objective as possible!

  3. Your fairness and impartiality is truly admirable, particular in a time that Truth seems to have no value and producing Lies earns people popularity, fame and fortune.

    Thank you Sir.

  4. its interesting that the ottomans never used black gunpowder unteil 19.century. the ottomans produced their own white gunpowder until the 19.century. the european produced their first white gunpowder at the end of 18.century. so why did the ottomams used black gunpowder for the mauser 1878?

  5. Ottoman empire was once most formidable ground force in the world. They become weak due to infighting and the lack of leaderships in top of the nationalism coming from within and outside

  6. please Indy do a special on the uniforms of Colonial African soldiers!
    Britian,Germany,France and Belgium!

    thank you sir!

  7. Where is "Galicia" you mention so much? I think it is not spanish Galicia since it wouldn't make any sense lol but when I try to search for it I only find stuff on Spain

  8. The greatest and the bravest soldiers world has ever seen… They we're the first to have elite infantry "aka" Janissary… first to have military uniform, first to have military band, first to have tin food and first to have the biggest Cannon gun and never lost a war..They did returned from few battles that was due to weather or internal divisions, not because they weren't capable to defeat the oppositions.
    Even the first world war at Gallipoli they won by defeating the British but because their allie Germany lost the war hence they lost.. British says "we lost the battle but won the war" Yes, when the Ottomans were in the decline things got worsen otherwise they were the true military machine..

  9. I still think that the Turks were the second strongest after the Germans, between the Central Powers.

    1. Germany
    2. Ottoman Empire
    3. Bulgaria
    4. Austria-Hungary

  10. 4:43
    On the picture below the mauser has encryptions, they are orkhon incryption from what I know, however, the discovery of the turkish/turkic link was prevelent or I don't even known back then, do you think it is an addition done later or can this be something of importance?

  11. Srgt Johnson "back in my day we didn't have no fancy smanshy tanks. We were armed with two sticks. And a rock. And we had to SHARE the rock!" Basically the Ottoman Empire

  12. My great great Grandfather and Great Great Uncle were officers in the Ottoman Empire but I don't know what rank exactly I looked at the old family photos I have and I searched online but cant find any information

  13. Something stated in the video is very true. The Ottoman Turks had to prevail in the most varied of geography. Also, the Turks have a characteristic that still stands today – doing the most without nothing. They are a very resourceful people and tightly band together for a cause.

  14. Ottoman troops sometimes wore white uniforms of thin cloth, probably cotton, at the height of summer. This was suited to the climate but was not good camouflage.

  15. The biggest problem for the Ottomans was logistics. Baghdad railway cut in half around Taurus mountains. That means, after fall of Serbia, units in Gallipoli and Western Anatolia got the cream of the supplies, directly from Germany. Other units got supplies according to the threat level and operational situation. My great-grandfather wrote his memoirs, he fought in Gallipoli (first deployment) and then Palestine, Mush Counter Offensive, Palestine again. Strange thing is, he fought in Turkish War of Independence too and all of the units involved in that war, without the German support, was better fed and equipped.

  16. Ottoman and French Uniforms are the coolest in my opinion, but having worn both actual Adrian 1915 and Stalhelm 1916 helmets, I'd feel much safer with the Stalhelm on my head

  17. Thanks!! This was just the run-down I was looking for. My grandfather was a cagus at the battle of Gallipoli and I was wanting to know what he would have worn, as we have no photos from that time.

  18. No one killed because of "headdress revolution", really, what kind of a channel is this, do you have any real historic sources? Did you check our archives ? Or just you read wikipedia pages?

  19. About those 7,000 men without rifles, and what did they use in battle – I would have used bullets. Just kept a bullet in my hand and when I spotted an enemy soldier, I'd just run really fast and shove it into him. Adapt. Overcome.

  20. With or without the fancy uniforms Turkish soldiers were awesome. WW1 would have been over in two years if it wasn’t for entrance of ottomans into the war.

  21. it was very bad time for all turks and another citizin dead many people we are so poor that time we was just want to keep our mother land againts to modern wold colonizim

  22. Why Habsburgs are called Austro-Hungary but Turkey isn't seen as Turkey but marked as Ottoman empire. Ottomans didn't refer to their state as Ottoman empire just for information.

  23. As a Turkish man it saddens me too see that the Empire which was at the peak of its power around 1700, lost so much of its power just 200 years later… So much so that we had to rly on the French and Germans… I mean come on bro.

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  26. Noone was killed because of their their ''hat'' style. Seriously when it comes to the Ottoman Empire, Modern Turkish Republick and Atatürk you become prejudiced. And, seriously, for God's sake stop calling Istanbul, Constantinople. It's like calling the New York, New Amsterdam.

  27. I thought the qing dynasty was bad at modernizing their armies and were unorganized but damn the ottomans take the cake.

  28. I have a picture of my grandfather in what is believed to be a uniform worn by him during WWI. Would really appeciate if someone could review it and confirm if this is a WW1 uniform.
    Thanx.

  29. There was NOT any riots against Mustafa Kamal's "hat revolution" however the administration executed thousands of people only because they did not wear the Jewish-style hats… I know it sounds like it was North Korea but here is the fact…

  30. And still they defeated British, Australians, Canadians and new Zealanders, and then Churchill almost converted to the religion of the ottomans because of what he had seen of tactics and sacrifices, and when his sister in law sent to him a letter to convince him to change his mind, he replied "you think of me a Pasha, İ wish i were"

  31. “Being a Turk is difficult because you fight the world. It’s harder not to be a Turk, because you fight with the Turks.” (Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han)🇹🇷

  32. Why the Ottoman are not making their own weapons? As I can remember they invented the giant cannon to break the wall of Constantinople.

  33. On a sidenote the officer at 2:58 is the famous Huseyin Avni Bey, commander of the 57th Infantry Regiment. The 57th was the first Ottoman unit on the scene counterattacking the Allied landing at Anzac Cove, April 25th 1915 to gain time for reinforcements to arrive. It was to the 57th that Kemal issued his famous proclamation – "I am not ordering you to attack, I order you to die! In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders can take our place!"

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