Welcome / Bienvenu

This blog presents my different wargames armies, after action reports, campaigns which I have run, some scenarios and a presentation of some of the different rules I play. The pages at the top of the blog contain historical information on the periods that interest me. They are an aid to my poor memory, and not in any way exhaustive nor necessarily correct. As I am an Englishman living in France, some pages are in English and others in French...sorry, I am too lazy to translate...

I hope this blog offers you much enjoyment and some inspiration !

mercredi 22 août 2012

Ottoman Turk (1911-1922)

Conscription was introduced late into Turkey, in the 1880s. All adult men were theoretically liable for two years’ active service in the Nizam before becoming reservists, Ithiyat for 16 years. 7 years in the Territorial Army (Mustahfiz) completed a man's military service.

The army was doted with a new grey-green uniform in 1909, inspired by German models, and first used it in combat in Libya in 1911.

The mehmetcik ("common soldier, poilu) was called up on a yearly basis and provided with basic training, participating in battalion and regimental-level maneouvres. Equipment was modernized, principally with M1903 Mausers, but many Turkish infantrymen, especially on the Mesopotamian front, still used black-powder M1887 Mausers, Martini-Henrys or Martini-Peabodys.  Although their national industry played an increasingly important role, the Turks continued to rely heavily on Germany for their armament, especially their artillery.

During the early years of the war, from 1914-1916, the Turkish army, although feeble on the offensive, displayed solid defensive capabilities. Turkish infantry at Gallipoli were even considered, in general, better marksmen than the Allies. The summer of 1916, however, saw a dramatic change in the situation. With the Balkans situation deteriorating, and Romania having joined the Allies, the Turks were obliged to intervene alongside their Germano-Bulgarian allies. Seven divisions were sent westwards in 1916, and most importantly, they were made up of the best troops in the Ottoman army, creamed off from the Middle Eastern front.

The depots of the Palestinian and Mesopotamian armies were emptied of their most modern equipment, in profit of the Balkans war effort. The quality of the Turkish army in the Middle East declined rapidly during 1917 and 1918, with desertion reaching astronomic proportions.

All in all, the Turkish soldier proved a valiant combatant, despite the poor equipment with which he was frequently doted in the Middle East. But his lack of education and initiative led him to rely all the more heavily on an officer corps which proved, in general, corrupt and inefficient. Nonetheless, ode to the patriotism and courage of the Turkish mehmetcik, even after the defeat in Syria in September 1918, Kemal, the futur Ataturk was able to rally enough retreating units to block the Allied advance north of Aleppo, and avoid them penetrating into Turkey proper.

My Turkish army is made up of Anatolian Turks (six battalions of 3 bases each, plus two machine-guns), two 77mm German-built field guns drawn, as is shown in certain period photos, by oxen, and two regiments of Anatolian lancers.
To these troops can be added Arab or Kurdish infantry and cavalry from my Arab Revolt army, when fighting the Italians in Libya (1911-1912), or the British and Anzacs in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Syria (1914-1918). It is also possible to add to this army some of the assault troops deployed at the end of WWI, inspired by German sturmtruppen, as well as German Asia Korps units for the Palestinian front.

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