In 1912 the
modern fortification of the Ottoman Empire
could be divided into the following groups:
defences of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, which protected the approaches
to the Marmora Sea
and Istanbul from the Mediterranean and Black Sea respectively, and the land defences in
connexion therewith. In 1911
a commission considered various proposals for
remodelling and strengthening the whole of the defences of the capital,
including the question of the laying out of effective mine fields. The
continuous wars that Turkey
had to sustain from 1911 to 1914 prevent the achievement of this plan. In
1912 the Istanbul
defences, placed on both sides of the straits at their northern end. The
works consisted mainly of earthen batteries with old pattern Krupp guns
firing through embrasure, with a little number of modern gun mounted after
the beginning of the World War.
lines, consisting of an outer and an inner girdle of small earthen
redoubts, at that time out of repair and unarmed, which covered the capital,
extending in an arc from Makri Keui on the Marmora Sea
to Buyukdere on the Bosphorus.
line extended across the Istanbul
peninsula along a ridge about 40
Km west of the city. The front was partly covered by a
lake and a lagoon, leaving only 26
km to defend. It consisted of earthen redoubt and
permanent defences, divided into three groups: 1) at the southern
entrance; 2) at the narrow passage near Chanak; 3) inside the narrows,
commanding the bay and bend near Nagara Point. The works mainly consisted of
earthen batteries with old pattern Krupp guns firing through embrasures.
Starting from the outbreak of the war against Italy in 1911 they were
strengthened over and over. In 1912 the Chanak Fortified Area had 78 heavy
coastal guns, ranging from 203mm to 356mm, 14 heavy mortars, and a great
number of light guns, plus torpedo and underwater mines for the defence of
line across the Gallipoli peninsula at its narrowest point as a defence
from a possible attack from the north. It consisted of an old parapet with
some redoubts along a ridge near Bulair and was armed with some field guns.
frontier defences, composed by :
the Edirne (Odrin) strongpoint, with 26 forts and a large number of field and
semi-permanent works and emplacements for movable batteries. Even if in 1911
it had lost some guns used to reinforce the Dardanelles and Bosporus
defences against any raids of the Italian fleet, at the beginning of the
Balkan War it was armed with more than 500 field and fortress guns, ranging
from 75mm to 210mm.
the fortress of Kirk
Kilisse (Lozengrad), protected by 3 old forts, strengthened only in 1915.
of Macedonia and Albania,
composed by :
the defences of the port of Salonika (Solun), with an enceinte 6-10 m height, with flanking
towers and a battery at east and a citadel on an overlooking point by land;
By sea it had two coast batteries built in 1897 at Kaburun and Mikrapoint,
and armed with 240mm Krupp guns.
in Epirus, the little place of Preveza, defended by 7 coastal (ranging from 120mm to 210mm) and
5 field guns (1 – 80mm and 4 – 37mm), and fortress of Janina with 11 forts of varying sizes designed to contain 86
guns, but reinforced up to 102 guns at the eve of the Greek attak (82 – 87mm
and 4 – 90mm guns, 4 – 120mm and 12 – 150mm howitzers, with 30 multibarrel
Nordenfeldt heavy machine guns). The fortifications had concrete gun
emplacements with bunkers, searchlights, trenches and barbed wire
entanglements. The main works were the Bizane fort, south of the town, armed
with 22 guns and 19 machine guns, and fort Kastirsa,
southeast of the town. A little fort, armed with 2 guns, was built on the island of Nisi, on the Janina lake.
in north Albania, the fortress of Scutari, built in a strong natural
position. Its defences were based on three hills: Tarabosh (316 m) in the west, Brda (155 m) in the south, and
Bardanjolt (661 m)
in the east, while the north was an open, flat area, known as Stoj. All these
positions were fortified with barbed wire entanglements, trenches, machine
guns and artillery emplacements. At the beginning of the Balkan War the
fortress was armed with 90 fortress and field guns, from 75mm to 150mm. There
were also four 90cm searchlights.
defence at Smyrna,
with one fort with wide embrasures and conspicuously placed, that was
strongly fortified after the outbreak of World War I.
The fortress of
Erzurum and the minor places along the Caucasus border, the citadel of Van and the stone fort
of Bayezid. The defences of Erzurum,
from the Russian border, consisted of a central group of 16 forts and two
flanking groups of 2 forts each. The bulk of the forts were arranged in three
lines blocking the access of the valley from Hasankale to the northeast. The
two flanking group laid 12
km north and 5 km south of the town.