Turkish Stormtroops

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 14 Jul 2006 14:30

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 277#926277 will give you a little information about "hucum taburu" established after Balkan wars.

bob lembke
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Post by bob lembke » 14 Jul 2006 15:48

stevebecker wrote: There were a number of Bergman MG's (German) captured some days later with about 150 Turkish soldiers, do you know what the issue was for these weapons and wouldn't there issue be to the better quality troops (like Storm troops) then your line infantry?

Cheers

S.B
Hi, Steve;

If you mean the Bergmann MP 18 SMG, that would be surprising if they were given to the Turkish Army, as by the end of the war they had barely barely begun the distribution of them to the German Army. I can't even verify that they were distributed to the Sturm=Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr). The plan was to eventually issue one to each squad/section (Grupp) leader in the infantry, much as it was done in the WW II German Army with the Schmeisser MPs, to provide a bit of squad-level auto fire.

Was there also a second "Bergmann" LMG that came out about 1916 and were not used too much?

There was a precedent if the scarce MP 18 actually was given to the Turks. S=B Rohr sent two officers and 40 men to Sophia to train Bulgarian storm troops, and stayed six months; in fact when they finally came back the unit started to call these men "our Bulgarians". The S=B's infantry gun battery, which used at least four different types of guns in the course of the war, were required to hand over to the Bulgarians their favorite guns, which were in short supply and could not be replaced with the same type, causing some grumbling. This was probably done to stroke the Bulgarians and decided at a different pay grade.

Two questions: Turkish storm troops were trained in Galicia. It might have been convenient to train them in Sophia, but of course these two new allies had been fighting only a few years before, I believe, in the confusing Balkan Wars, and generally had been at odds for a long while. Was such training carried out?

Also, my perennial question. Does anyone know anything about the Turkish use of flame throwers; it seems that they were given 30, probably the Kleif model.

Bob Lembke

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Post by [email protected] » 14 Jul 2006 17:48

- STORM TROOPS (HUCUM TABURLARI) WERE ESTABLISHED IN THE TURKISH ARMY AFTER THE GERMAN MODEL AND WERE TRAINED BY GERMAN MILITARY PERSONNEL INITIALLY.

- I DON'T THINK ANY TRAINING OF TURKISH S-T TOOK PLACE IN BULGARIA. IN ANY CASE THERE WAS NO TECHNICAL COOPERATION BETWEEN THE TURKISH AND BULGARIAN ARMIES IN WWI.

- I HAVE COME ACROSS NO INCIDENT OF FLAME THROWER USAGE IN THE TURKISH ARMY IN WWI...+

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Mehmet Fatih
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Post by Mehmet Fatih » 14 Jul 2006 20:27

[email protected] wrote: - I HAVE COME ACROSS NO INCIDENT OF FLAME THROWER USAGE IN THE TURKISH ARMY IN WWI...+
Flamethrowers are mentioned to be given to Turkish soldiers during Galicia Campaign. This is also written in official histories of Turkish General Staff.
Erickson says 30 of them were given to Turks. TGS official histories of Galicia Campaign says that only 2 were given.

We discussed it earlier here:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... sc&start=0

I have recently purchased Dr. Veli Yýlmaz's excellent book about the German aid in WW1(1.Dünya Harbi'nde Türk-Alman Ýttifaký ve Askeri Yardýmlar). But I had no chance to have a detailed look in it. When I return to Istanbul, I will try to find some detailed info about those flamethrowers.

Best Regards
Fatih

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 Jul 2006 02:04

The Bergmann LMG 15 was used by the Asienkorps in Palestine.I cannot see any reason why it would not be supplied to Turkish sturm detachments as well.

http://pageperso.aol.fr/mitraille123/Al ... /LMG15.htm

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Post by stevebecker » 15 Jul 2006 03:38

Thanks Mates,

Yes in the 7th ALHR history they record the capture of two officers and 146 Turkish soldiers including four Bergman MG's by C Sqn 7th ALHR after a counterattack on a Turkish penitration of our lines at Bald Hill 30th Nov 1917 near Mulebliss Palestine.

Thanks for the site as I have never seen a Bergman LMG before, now its easy to see why assult Troops would have such a weapon as its looks very light compared to the Maxin MG.

Have any of you seen Turkish reports of the fighting by the 20th Turkish Div around Bald Hill between 27th Nov and 5th Dec 1917 and could you give me the details of that fighting.

Cheers

S.B

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 Jul 2006 05:15

From: http://www.uniformfotos.de/

Bergmann in German service,Palestine.

Image

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Post by [email protected] » 15 Jul 2006 06:02

FLAMETHROWERS MIGHT HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO THE TURKISH ARMY IN WWI. BUT WERE THEY EVER USED IN COMBAT ?

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LMGs & Flammenwerfer

Post by bob lembke » 15 Jul 2006 10:09

Yes, it was the Bergmann LMG 15, not the Bergmann MP (Machinen Pistol) 18. I guess that it was not adopted on the Western Front as being air-cooled it could not provide the enormous volume of fire that the defense against mass infantry attacks required. Also, the provision of the water for cooling would often have been a large problem in the Aisienkorps.

I have seen a photo of a flame troop training in a trench, on a training ground in Galicia, firing the device down the trench. The uniforms were not visable, due to the men being in the trench, but the flame thrower men were wearing that brimless steel helmet that the Germans made for their Turkish allies. In the German civil war of 1919 some Freikorps troops wore these helmets, probably from stores that had not yet been sent to the Turkish Army, but I can see no reason why German troops would wear them during WW I. The Turkish corps in Galicia may have conducted some flame attacks on the Galician front without it coming down in the history.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 Jul 2006 14:30

Does anyone know what actually stormtroop physical training involved?Much like US Ranger training?Was there an attrition rate?

A good photo of German stosstrupp after a day of training circa 1918.Photo from ebay ages back.Sorry I cant acknowledge the owner.
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Stormtrooper Training

Post by bob lembke » 16 Jul 2006 12:03

Hi, Peter;

A very, very nice photo. Quite unusual. Casual, high-quality. The storm-troopers had very realistic training, and most pictures that are about that are labeled as "a storm attack" must have been taken during the traing exercises. One "give-away" is the camera angle; often they are a good photo because they are taken from a high angle, perhaps even from a ladder or a platform. If you think about it, it would be rather curious if a photographer carried a ladder out into no-man's-land during an attack, climbed up on it, and started fiddling about with one of the usually large and clumsy cameras of the era.

The Germans had, I believe, 17 pre-eminent storm formations. They had, I believe, 16 storm battalions, although I have not systematically writen them down and counted them; I see the number in a number of sources, quite recently in the writings of Graf von Schwerin, the adjutant of the first and most famous storm battalion, the Sturm=Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr). In my mind the second most important storm battalion was Jäger=Sturm=Bataillon Nr. 3, although I have not yet studied this unit in any detail. The 17th storm formation, in my mind at least as important as S=B Rohr, was the Garde=Reserve=Pionier=Regiment (Flammenwerfer), which was the largest, and was formed before the S=B Rohr, the first storm battalion, was formed. (In this calculation I am figuring from the founding of the original pre-cursor unitof both units; both started as a "detachment", and the G=R=P=R then was a battalion for a while before becoming a regiment.) Both units were oversized, partially to carry out other functions as well as storm attacks. I am a bit biased about the importance of G=R=P=R, as my father was in (and occasionally out of it for recuperation) over a period of 2 1/3 years, and was wounded four times in flame attacks.

I am fortunate to have a collection of documents from the unit that my father saved, and even a piece of his left arm bone blown out by a French 75 shell on Dead man's Hill at Verdun. I am fortunate to have enough material from a number of sources on the engagement where he suffered this wound specific to his activity in this action to write about 15 pages of a focused narrative. Besides four letters that he wrote about it, including the longest letter of his that I have (one has time to write at length lying in a hospital), and, remarkably, an long account of the engagement written by an officer who had his hand blown off in the attack, and whose life was saved by my father only minutes before my dad was wounded himself. I even have a photo of the officer taken in 1918 with several fellow officers; he is hiding his missing right hand stump behind his back, perhaps not to upset the wives and girlfriends who might receive the group photo. I have found this officer's account of the battle and being saved by my father in two books published in Germany, one a unit history of the officer's regiment, the other a book written recently about Verdun by a presently serving Bundeswehr officer who is an expert on Verdun, who was rather blown away when I e-mailed him and cited my father's letter that specifically described the incident and named the officer's name (mis-spelled, but not badly) and regiment (correct).

I also have my father's oral history. He told me many stories about his experiences in the army (he also served at Gallipoli with the Turks as a volunteer Pionier, as well as a Flamm=Pionier) and other related matters, like my grand-father's very interesting and different pre-WW I and WW I military career. When I found about 50 family letters and PCs, mostly Feldpost between my father and grand-father, and decided to start researching WW I, I decided to write down this family oral history before I did any research, or even read the letters (for which I had to first teach myself to read German and Sütterlin). I wrote it down before I did any research so not to color or modify it, even subconsiously, and I have not changed a letter of it in the last five years of research.

To return to the photo, after having established my credentials on the topic of storm troops (I have been studying this stuff for five years, and am writing four books on the topic), I have some observations. The men are young (but not too young or kid-like) and fit, especially for 1918. So they probably are from a real storm battalion. (When Jäger=Bataillon Nr. 3, already an elite light infantry unit, was converted to a storm battalion, they had to release 500 veteran soldiers due to age or physical condition.) The principal storm units typically looked for men who were not only fit, but were under 25 years old and unmarried.

Note that all the men are wearing a pair of sand sacks in which to carry grenades and a bit of other gear. My father repeatedly used the term "combat vest", although I have never seen the term anywhere else. Possibly theirs (G=R=P=R) were more formally made up and modified more with straps, etc. They are wearing half-boots and puttees, standard storm trooper garb, although adopted by some others by that date. They are almost certainly not either from G=R=P=R or S=B Rohr; both were Pionier units, unlike the other 15 principal storm units (most infantry divisions had also formed their own storm companies by that time; to generalize, each storm battalion was attached to a given army, which probably had 12-15 divisions), which all were infantry units, except for the J=S=B Nr. 3, a Jäger unit; it is interesting that the three top storm units were not infantry, while all the others were. Photos of a group of men from these two units will generally mostly show some, probably a minority, wearing the famous black shoulder straps of the Pionier; the G=R=P=R wore a death's head patch on their left lower sleeve from mid-1916, while S=B Rohr could wear Crown Prince Wilhelm's monogram on the left sleeve from early 1918. Again, in practice, in a group photo some but not all of these men would actually be wearing these insignia on a field uniform.

Additionally, the men seem to be carrying the standard Model 1898 Mauser rifle. In combat, in the G=R=P=R only a few men carried the shorter carbine, and I believe no men carried the actual rifle; besides crew-served weapons, most men had the P 08 ("Luger"; my father carried one for seven years or more in Germany, and only heard the term when he came to the US in 1926), and some carried a "razor-sharp" short spade for close work. My father once got a French officer's brains (I'm sure only part of them) down his neck on a raid on Hill 304 from the application of this weapon by his sergeant on a French officer that had just shot my father.

So my guess is that this is a photo of "apres training" of men from one of the 14 infantry storm battalions.

Peter, I have gone on at such length that I will address the question about storm trooper physical training in a later post.

Bob Lembke

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Post by Tosun Saral » 17 Jul 2006 13:45

"Hucum Taburlari" was not established after German Model by German Officers. It is a very old and long Turkish military system. Actually they were called in the long history of Ottoman Turkish Army as "Serdengecti" which means that "those who gave up living"

Ser= is an persian origin word used by Turks means head
serdar= ruler, commander
serden= from the head
gecti= gone, gave up.
Serdengecti warriors of Turkish Army were lightly equipped. They had only bows arrowas and a Turkish sytle sword. They were mobile, quick and hard to resist, well trained soldiers. They had no armour. Serdengeci were the first ones to attack the enemy. They demoralized the enemy.

After the tragic war of Balkan the Turkish officers established hucum taburlari to attack the enemy. Hucum taburlari vere organized by Suleyman Askeri Bey. Suleyman Askeri Bey suiced at the gates of Bagdat after his miss attack to British in 1917 in Iraq Front

I will try to write a detailed article about the Hucum taburlari of Balkan, WW! and Turkish War Of Independance.

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Post by [email protected] » 17 Jul 2006 21:00

I AM TRYING TO ESTABLISH SOME HISTORICAL FACTS WITHOUT ANY CHAUVINISTIC BIAS. THERE HAVE BEEN ATTACK FORMATIONS IN ALL THE ARMIES OF THE WORLD FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL BE IT GREEK, ROMAN, CARTHAGINIAN, HUN, TURKISH, FRENCH, GERMAN ETC... HOWEVER AS MOST OF US KNOW STORMTROOPS WERE SPECIFICALLY WWI FORMATIONS WITH INFILTRATION TACTICS AND SPECIAL WEAPONS: FLAME THROWERS, TRENCH MORTARS, LIGHT MACHINE GUNS ETC WHICH LARGELY DID NOT EXIST BEFORE WWI. THUS IT WAS THE GERMAN ARMY (WITH SOME EARLY FRENCH ATTEMPTS ) WHICH ESTABLISHED THE STORMTROOPS AS DISTINCT FROM THE USUAL ATTACK FORMATIONS OF OTHER NATIONAL ARMIES. SUBSEQUENTLY UNDER GERMAN GUIDANCE SIMILAR FORMATIONS WERE ESTABLISHED IN THE TURKISH ARMY WITH THE SAME WEAPONS AND SIMILAR TACTICS.
INCIDENTALLY THE TURKISH COMMANDER IN IRAQ, COL.SULEYMAN ASKERI COMMITTED SUICIDE IN EARLY 1915 AFTER A COURAGEOUS BUT UNSUCCESSFUL FRONTAL ATTACK AGAINST BRITISH FORCES WHICH LANDED IN BASRAH.TURKISH TROOPS THERE DID NOT EMPLOY INFILTRATION TACTICS NOR DID THEY HAVE SPECIAL WEAPONS+[/list]

Matt
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Post by Matt » 19 Jul 2006 10:53

Bob - very interesting stuff, look forward to your post on training.
Is it possible to see any of your fathers letters?

Regards,
Matt

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Stormtrooper Training

Post by bob lembke » 19 Jul 2006 12:45

Matt;

I am writing four books on this specific material, as nutty as that seems, and I have to keep that in mind. Several e-friends have warned me about people poaching material. For this reason, I am typically not specific about my sources, although I post some interesting material that I hope to see in print. (Hopefully under my name.) I have several important sources that I tracked down in Europe with great difficulty, and that seem to be almost unknown in the English-speaking world, at least based on what has been published, or appears on WW I fora. My father's papers are a bit in this area; I have begun a book on his military history, a bit of my whacky family history, my very interesting grand-father, and there will be a lot from the letters in there, and then I might be more comfortable releasing them.

As for physical training, narrowly speaking, the only relevant anecdote I have from my father was about running an obstacle course; he did not specify all of the course; the story was about a wall that one was supposed to jump up, grab the top, and pull yourself up and over. Pop had an arm wound from Verdun 1916 that was a medical problem for over 10 years; he told a sergeant that the course was fine, but that he would need a hand with the wall, due to his weak arm. (60 years later he had a long cavity like the Grand Canyon down the back of his left upper arm.) The sergeant said that he would assist him, and when Pop got in position, expecting a boost, the sergeant jabbed him in the butt with his bayonet. Pop kicked down with his boot, and significantly re-arrainged the sergeant's face with the hobnails on the sole of his boot. The sergeant chased him with the bayonet, and they ran about the corner of a barracks and the sergeant almost ran a lieutenant through with the bayonet. The sergeant ended up in serious trouble, one of about 40 reasons why the sergeants in particular did not like my father, who held the corrupt sergeants in contempt, and had a big mouth. From the story it seems that the wall was high and one stood on a platform going a way up the wall to jump up to grab the top.

There was a lot of training on realistic manuver grounds, and I was just reading Graf von Schwerin, the Adjutant of Sturm=Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr), and he described training with blanks, followed by training with "half-sharp" ammunition, and then "sharp" ammunition. Sometimes, for an important and difficult attack, a replica of the actual enemy position would be created and trained on. One of the four letters I have describing the attack where Pop received his worst wound was written just before the jump-off, to his staff-officer father, he described training for the attack, and Pop, a private, described the whole plan of the attack in some detail, accurately, including when they planned to pull out; I imagine that the men were allowed to write letters, but that they were embargoed until the attack was over.

It was understood that training and practicing attacks with live ammunition caused casualties, but that in balance it was worth it. From the statistics I have my father's flame storm unit suffered a surprising number of training deaths in the Berlin area, but, in actual attacks, in most attacks not a single man was KIA, died of wounds, or went missing.

Bob Lembke

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