Agriculture was practically at the same level as several hundred years ago. Subsistence farming was preserved in the depths of Anatolia. The landlords owned a greater and better part of the land and in every way robbed the peasant tenants. The tax system, given to the farmers, literally ruined ordinary people. Usury flourished. The transport network was minimal. The length of the Ottoman Empire’s railways in 70s was just 1600 km. There was no highway at all, dirt tracks were in very poor condition. The industry was at such a low level of development that almost all consumer goods were purchased in Europe (except for agricultural products). Turkey did not have enterprises in the steel industry and mechanical engineering. The mining industry was in a pitiful state. Even the textile industry that once flourished has come to a complete decline. Turkish enterprises and artisans could not stand the competition with the European industry. Turkish corruption broke all records. Literally everything was sold and bought, including posts in the administrative apparatus, in the army and the police, the judiciary, etc. The port depended on foreign capital and loans. Foreign capital turned the empire into a market for European goods, subjugated Turkish trade and part of industry. The capitulation regime for foreign goods was suppressed by the Turkish economy. At the same time, the sultan's yard and the government themselves were mired in waste and luxury, spending huge sums on entertainment, luxury goods and the construction of magnificent palaces.
There was political tension inside the country: the conservatives opposed the supporters of modernization in a Western way. The national question has sharply aggravated - the uprising in Crete, in Bulgaria, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war with Serbia and Montenegro. Christian and Slavic provinces of the Turkish Empire in the Balkans tried to achieve independence.
However, the Port still tried to play the role of a great power, even in the Middle East and dreamed of regaining its lost positions in the Northern Black Sea region and in the Caucasus, retaining the Balkans. Therefore, all available funds went to the army and navy.
On the eve of the war with Russia, the Turkish armed forces were reorganized. Reforms went on for 30 years, from 1839 to 1869 a year. The military transformation plan was developed by a special commission. In 1869, it was approved and obtained the force of law. The basis of the new organization of the Turkish army was the principles of the Prussian Landwehr system. The reorganization itself was carried out by Prussian instructors. According to the new law, conscription extended to all residents of the Ottoman Empire from the age of 20 to 29 years. In fact, conscription extended only to the Muslim community. The Christian community instead of the annual issuing of a certain contingent was obliged to pay a monetary tax on each man.
The ground forces consisted of three parts: 1) field forces (low), 2) reserve troops (redif), 3) militias (mustachphises). Nizam was supposed to have 210 thousand people, of whom 150 thousand were required to be in permanent service, and 60 thousand (ichthyat) - in reserve, to replenish the current army during the war. The number of redif was determined in 192 thousand people and the militia - in 300 thousand people. As a result, Turkey could put 700-800 thousand people.
In peacetime, the Redif contained only weak cadres, but, according to the law, stocks of small arms and uniforms were supposed to be available for the full staff size during the deployment period. In wartime, the formation of a redif, separate from the nizam, of a certain number of battalions (camps), squadrons and batteries was envisaged. The militia in peacetime did not have personnel and military stocks. Lifetime in Nizam was set to 6 years, including the last 2 years in the inventory. In cavalry and artillery, the time spent in the reserve was set at 1 year. Persons who served in Nizam, were enrolled in the Redif on 6 years, and then in the Mustafis-Militia on 8 years. The total duration of military service in all three parts of the ground forces was 20 years.
To recruit an army, the entire territory of the Ottoman Empire was divided into six corps districts, which in theory were supposed to exhibit an equal number of battalions, squadrons and batteries. In fact, the Danube and Rumelian districts were stronger, the Arabian and Yemen districts were weaker than others, and only Anatolian and Syrian were approaching the average norm. The Guards Corps was recruited extraterritorially from all districts.
The highest military unit of the army was the corps, which consisted of 2 infantry and 1 cavalry divisions, an artillery regiment and an engineering company. In total, the Turkish army had 7 corps - 6 Army and 1 Guards. The division included 2 brigades on the 2 regiment in each. The infantry regiments were 3-battalion personnel, and cavalry regiments were 6 squadrons. The field artillery batteries had 6 guns. The 3 batteries were reduced to a battalion, and the 4 battalion (3 foot and 1 equestrian) formed a regiment; while the battalion 3 was attached to the divisions, and the fourth was at the disposal of the corps commander. But practically this organization has not taken root. As a rule, compounds were formed from different numbers of parts and divisions. Even the regiments and battalions were not uniform in composition.
The new organization of the Turkish army did not have time to settle for a war with Russia. So, from the annual call that made up 37 500 people, a significant part of people in the lower ranks did not come because of financial difficulties and was listed directly in the redif. As a result, the field army had significantly fewer people in its ranks than it was supposed to be in the states, and the reserve and militia were filled with people who practically had no military training. As a result, of the 700 thousand of trained troops, which they planned to have by 1878, most of them did not have military training. This deficiency was aggravated by the fact that, according to the organization, there was no provision for the presence of spare troops either in peacetime or in wartime. All those who were called to Redifustah and Mustachhiz from among those who did not have military training should have received it directly in those parts where they were called. Also, the deployment of reserve artillery and cavalry in wartime remained largely on paper: there was a great shortage of stockpiles of artillery and horsemen, it was difficult to create and train these troops in the conditions of war, to find personnel for them.
Irregular troops were recruited in wartime from representatives of the mountain tribes subordinate to the Ottomans, in particular, Albanians and Kurds, as well as Circassians who moved to Turkey from Russia. They made up the irregular cavalry, carried out garrison service, and performed punitive-police functions during the suppression of the uprisings. Some of them were called “Bashibuzuki” (“daredevil”, “crazy”), and were attached to regular troops. Bishibuzuki did not receive a salary and "fed" at the expense of civilians in areas where military operations took place. The looting and the atrocious cruelties of the Bashibuzuks reached such an extent that they had to be pacified by regular Turkish troops.
The rifle armament of the Turkish army was represented by three systems of rifled guns, loaded from the treasury, as well as different systems of outdated rifled and smooth-bore guns, loaded from the barrel. The first and most advanced system was the single-shot American Peabody-Martini rifle of the 1870 model of the year. The first batches of Henry-Martini rifles were sent exclusively to supply the British army, therefore, interested in modern weapons, Port ordered rifles of the original Peabody model in the United States. The American Peabody-Martini rifle of the 1870 model was in fact no different from the English Henry Martini, so they are often mixed. Single-shot rifle, caliber - 11,43 mm, weight - 3,8 kg (with bayonet - 4,8 kg), firing rate - 8-10 shots / min, target range - 1440, greatest range - 3600. The metal cartridge, unitary, weighed 50,5. According to ballistic data, this rifle was close to the Russian rifle of the Berdan system No. 2, but in some respects it was inferior to it. These guns were ordered by the Turkish government in the US in the amount of 600 000 pieces along with 40 million ammunition for them. By the beginning of the war, there was a Peabody-Martini 334 000 rifle in the Turkish army, which was 48% of all rifles from the Turkish army loaded from the treasury. Most modern Peabody-Martini rifles were in service with the troops fighting in the Balkan Theater.
Part of the troops were armed with British single shot rifles Snider-Enfield: Caliber - 14,7 mm, weight - 3,8 kg (with a bayonet, scimitar - 4,9 kg) rate - 7-8 rounds per minute Effective range - 550 meters, maximum range - 1800 meters . Metal cartridge weighed 47,2 g; cartridges were part seamless, part composite. The Snyder rifle was mostly acquired in England and the USA, a certain amount was redone at Turkish enterprises. In service consisted of 325 000 guns Snyder, which was equal to 47% of all guns of the Turkish army, loaded with the treasury. Part of the Turkish forces in the Balkan theater and the overwhelming number of troops on the Caucasian front were armed with this rifle system.
The third modern system was the American rifle designed by Henry Winchester with an under-barrel magazine for 13 cartridges, one cartridge in the receiver and one in the barrel; all cartridges could be fired in 40 seconds. The rifle was a carbine caliber 10,67 mm, sighting range - 1040 m, the greatest range - 1600 m. The carbine weighed 4,09 kg, cartridge - 33,7 g. These rifles in service consisted of 39 000 pieces, that is, 5-6% of all rifles of the Turkish army Charged with the treasury. Winchester rifle were armed with Turkish cavalry and part of the irregular troops. A part of the reserve troops, the militia and the irregular troops were armed mainly with rifles of different systems loaded with a muzzle. Egyptian troops (by states - about 65 thousand people) were armed with a rifle from the American Remington system loaded from the treasury. In addition, the Turks had a certain amount of Mithraleic system of Montigny. The officers, cavalry and irregular troops, in addition to guns (the officers did not have them), were armed with revolvers, swords and scimitars.
Thus, in general, the tactical and technical data of the small arms of the Turkish infantry were at the level of the Russian army, but the target range of the Turks was slightly higher. In this case, the Turks had no problems with ammunition. Before the war, the Turkish Empire bought its own small weapons, charged with the treasury, a very significant number of cartridges (for 500-1000 cartridges per weapon, that is, at least 300-400 million cartridges). During the war, Port replenished stocks of patrons with regular purchases abroad, mainly in England and the United States.
Peabody Martini Rifle
The field artillery of the Turkish army was equipped mainly with 4- and 6-pound (87 and 91 mm) steel guns loaded from the treasury with steel guns with an initial projectile velocity not exceeding 305 m / s and the Whitworth English system. Bronze guns during the war began to be replaced with 3-mm German steel guns Krupp. Nine-centimeter steel Krupp guns, fastened with rings, with a range of 55 km and an initial speed of 4,5 m / s, mounted on a carriage, which allowed to give the trunk a high angle of elevation and thus increase the range of fire, at first there were few: on the Balkans, for example, they were at the beginning total xnumx. The Turks had a bit of all field artillery - 425 guns. Shells were of three types: pomegranate, shrapnel and canister.
Serf and siege Turkish artillery was well-armed: its armament was made of cast iron smooth-bore guns 9-cm caliber and 28-cm howitzers; bronze smooth-bore 9-, 12- and 15-cm guns; 12-and 15-cm guns, 15-cm howitzers and 21-cm mortars, rifled and loaded from the treasury; steel, fastened with rings 21-, 23- and 27-cm Krupp guns; cast iron mortars 23- and 28-cm caliber, bronze mortars 15-, 23- and 28-cm caliber.
The Turkish army had a traditional problem: low tactical training, although Ottoman troops were trained by English and German instructors. Only the guard, trained by German specialists, was able to attack more or less. The rest of the Turkish infantry was poorly prepared for offensive combat. The infantry was preparing to attack frontally, in thick chains with the reinforcements that followed them. Reserves were kept far from the main forces. Bypasses of the enemy’s flank were rarely used, since the organization and training were bad and the troops could be upset during the maneuver. As a result, the line and battle formations were maintained only at the beginning of the offensive, after which in most cases the troops were thrown into the crowd. The infantry fired poorly due to poor rifle training. For a successful offensive, the Turkish army had neither staff officers, nor well-trained middle-level officers with serious combat experience, nor initiative infantry.
The focus was on defense, in which the Turkish infantry showed great tenacity. The Turkish infantry was well digging. Each battalion had a significant supply of entrenching tools. The Turkish infantry knew the sapper, the fortifications were built quickly and were technically well executed. At the same time, the local population was massively used. The Turkish infantry was well supplied with cartridges and was not afraid to open fire at long-range enemy attacks, which strengthened their defenses. The counterattacks to the Turkish troops succeeded poorly, due to which their defense was mainly passive. Engineering fortification art in Turkey was well developed. The empire had strong fortresses in the Caucasian and Balkan strategic directions.
Best prepared was the Turkish artillery. Turkish artillery fired from long distances, accurately fired a grenade, but the concentration of fire in the artillery was used poorly, the interaction with the infantry was not adjusted. The worst case was with the regular cavalry - it was so small that she could not have any influence on the war. The irregular Turkish cavalry was not at all prepared for modern combat.
The command staff of the Turkish army, especially the top, was extremely weak and poorly versed in military matters. Many senior commanders were appointed under the patronage, bought their posts. Generally, the Pasha became mostly foreign adventurers and crooks of every kind (for example, Poles), or court dignitaries with minimal combat experience and military knowledge. There were very few people with higher military education or having real combat experience as part of the Turkish generals.
The high command was also weak. At the head of the supreme military government was the Sultan with the secret military council created under him during the war. The Sultan and the Privy Council discussed and approved all the action plans of the commander in chief. The commander-in-chief, in addition, was obliged to reckon in all his actions with the military minister (seraskir), as well as with the military council (dari-hura) attached to the military minister. At the same time, the chief of artillery and engineering troops was not subordinate to either the commander in chief or the minister of war, being at the disposal of only the sultan. Thus, the commander in chief was involved in the implementation of even his private plans and plans. The Turkish General Staff was also not an independent body. The general staff consisted of 130 officers who graduated from a higher military school. These officers were used for the most part for other purposes, as there were no headquarters in the full sense of the word in the Turkish army. Instead of systematic staff work, the officers of the general staff often performed the role of personal advisers to the pasha and performed their separate assignments.
Among the middle-level officers there were many even illiterate, military schools (military, artillery, engineering, military-medical) completed the entire 5-10% of the commanders. Military education was weak, few officers graduated. The rest of the mass of infantry and cavalry officers were recruited from among the non-commissioned officers who became officers, that is, who graduated only from the training team, in which it was not even necessary to be literate. The strongest in the Turkish army was a private and junior command staff, which was distinguished by discipline, endurance and perseverance in defense. At the same time, it is fateful that some commanders still gained combat experience during the war with Serbia and Montenegro.
Turkish military and maritime industry was weak. The existing enterprises could not satisfy the needs of a large army (except for cold arms), the product quality was low. The main way to replenish the arsenal of the army was to import weapons and ammunition from the United States and Britain. Abroad also ordered the main warships.
“Bashibuzuzuk” (“Albanian”). Painting by V.V. Vereshchagin
The once mighty maritime power, the Ottoman Empire gradually lost its dominance in the Black and Mediterranean Seas. The energetic Sultan Abdul-Aziz (1861-1876) tried to restore her former power. He adopted an impressive steam and armored ship construction program. fleetdesigned for foreign shipyards. So, in France in the years 1864-1865. built four Osmanieh armadillos. These were relatively large iron battery battleships. In 1868, the French built three battery-barbet battleships of the Assari Shevket type; In 1874, the British built the Messudieh, the largest battleship of the Turkish fleet.
As a result, by the beginning of the war on the Black Sea, Turkey, with the help of Britain and France, created a fairly strong navy, which was many times superior to the Russian. It consisted of: 8 armored battery frigates of the 1-2 rank - displacement from 4700 to 8000 t, 8-16 with 7-9 caliber guns of DM (only "Mesudie" had 12 10 caliber guns 5 armored battery corvettes 3-th rank - a displacement of 2200-2700 t, 4-12 guns are also mainly caliber 7-9 dm; 2 two-armored armored monitors - with a displacement of 2500 t, with 14 guns. The speed of the majority of the ships of the squadron reached 11 nodes or even was slightly higher, the armor of most ships was 6 dm thick. True, the Port, having received a strong modern fleet, finally ruined the treasury, and was unable to buy out several ships built for it. Turkey also had a Danube flotilla, which included armored corvettes, monitors, gunboats, steamboats and other ships, 50 units in total (of which - 9 armored).
On ships of the Turkish fleet served 370 British sailors, of which - 70 officers. They occupied many senior command positions: Gobart Pasha - chief of the armored squadron, Montorn-Bey - his assistant and chief of staff, Slimman - specialist in mine business, etc. In quantitative terms, the Turkish fleet had an overwhelming superiority on the Black Sea. The command planned to actively use the fleet: to block Russian ports, to support troops on the Danube, on the coastal flanks of the Caucasus and Balkan fronts, to land assault forces to transport cargoes for the army. But the combat training of the crews was extremely low, as was the discipline. There were almost no practical sailing, there were no mine armaments on the ships, the mine business was in an embryonic position. An attempt to improve the situation by inviting foreign experts did not help. Therefore, the Turkish fleet practically could not actively operate on the high seas.
Since the beginning of the war, the Turks, having an overwhelming superiority in the naval forces and taking advantage of the almost complete lack of defense of the Caucasian coast, attempted to establish their dominance on the Black Sea. Turkish ships shelled Poti, Ochamchira, Gudauta and Sukhumi. At the end of April - the first half of May 1877, the Turks landed amphibious assault forces in the area and captured it. It was the only success achieved by the Turkish armored fleet on the Black Sea in the 1877-1878 war.
At the Balkan Theater, the Russian fleet provided a ground crossing for the Danube. As a result of the active actions of mine-boats and coastal artillery, as well as the skillful use of mine-weapons, the enemy suffered substantial losses. Two armored ships, a gunboat, several armed ships were sunk, and two gunboats were damaged. Thus, the Russian sailors managed to paralyze the actions of the Turkish military flotilla on the Danube and thereby ensure the advance of the Russian army in the Balkan theater.
The antiamphibious defense created by the Russian sailors and the defense system of the bases and ports on the coast between the mouth of the Danube and Kerch was so effective that the Turkish fleet did not even attempt to attack them. The blockade of bases and ports, declared by the Turks on the advice of the British 23 on April 1877, turned out to be ineffective and was actually frustrated with the transfer of the Black Sea Fleet to active operations on enemy communications. The Russian fleet began active offensive actions, although with limited forces and means (using only mine weapons and armed steamers), in the very first month of the war, thereby paralyzing the Ottoman Navy. The fighting of the armed steamers "Grand Duke Constantine", "Vladimir", "Vesta", "Russia", "Livadia" and others on Turkish communications were conducted throughout the war. Despite the enemy’s considerable superiority in strength, the Russian steamers boldly went out to the coastal communications of Turkey and delivered sudden strikes on them. In the summer of 1877, they destroyed several Turkish ships during sea communications at the Anatolian and Rumeli (Asian and European) coasts. Thus, Russian mineboats and hastily armed steamships paralyzed the activities of a rather powerful Turkish armored fleet.
Battleship type "Osmaniye"
Thus, the organization and condition of the Turkish armed forces were in better condition than during the Crimean War, but they were far from the state of any of the major armies of the European powers. The new organization of the Turkish army did not have time to settle for a war with Russia. Constant regimental level connections — division — corps were virtually absent. Practically 6-10 battalions (camps) were combined into a brigade, division or squad. The battalion had a man in the 774 state; in fact, the number of the battalion ranged from 100 to 650 people, so the company often did not exceed the platoon size adopted in European armies.
The state of the high command and generals was unsatisfactory, there was a great shortage of middle-level officers, provision of trained staff officers, artillerymen, cavalrymen, naval officers and other specialists. Weak staffing, shortage of stock of horse, artillery spare guns, modern small arms of reserve troops, militia. The artillery had modern guns, but in insufficient quantities, moreover, there were not enough well-trained gunners. And the presence of long-range steel Krupp guns in the Turkish army could not give it a noticeable advantage, since there were few such guns. The Turkish military industry could not provide arms to the Turkish army and played a third role in equipping it with weapons (Ottoman troops armed Britain and the United States in the first place), so it could not be compared with the Russian military industry. Combat training of the Turkish army and navy on the eve of the 1877-1878 war. was at an extremely low level.
At the same time, the Turkish army was armed with modern small arms, artillery, fleet - modern ships. In Turkey, there were well-armed strong fortresses. As a result, the Turkish army was equipped with quite modern samples of small arms at that time and, on the whole, was on an equal footing with the Russian army, somewhat even exceeding its supply of ammunition.
The Turkish fleet had complete superiority over the Russian Black Sea fleet in terms of displacement, artillery power and the number of 1-2 ships of rank, but the unsatisfactory crew training (even with the participation of foreign military experts - the British) destroyed this advantage with excellent training of Russian sailors. The Turkish fleet was unable to seize dominance at sea and prevent the actions of the Russian army from the maritime flanks in the Balkans and the Caucasus.
As a result, the general condition and combat training of the Russian troops on the eve of the war, despite all its major shortcomings, was significantly higher than the state of the training of the Turkish army. The Russian army had an undoubted superiority over the Turkish in everything except small arms, where the situation was approximately equal. Turkey could only hope for its defense, the mistakes of the Russian command and the military and political pressure of the West on Russia.