Turkish guns



In 1912 at the outbreak of Balkan Wars Turkish artillery had:

-      6 horse artillery batteries (all in Europe) with 24 – 75mm Krupp M. 1903 QF guns

-      162 field artillery batteries (156 in Europe) with 558 – 75mm Krupp M. 1903 and 90 M. 1910 QF guns

-      90 field artillery batteries with 540 – 75mm and 87mm Krupp M. 1875 and M. 1885 slow firing field guns

-      36 and half mountain artillery batteries (30 in Europe) with 138 – 75mm Krupp M. 1904 QF guns

-      30 mountain batteries with 180 – 70mm Krupp  M. 1890 and 75mm Krupp M. 1873 guns

-      6 field howitzers division (5 in Europe) with 72 – 120mm Krupp M. 1892 howitzers

-      3 siege gun batteries with 18 – 105mm Krupp L/30 M. 1905 QF guns

-      3 howitzer batteries with 18 – 150mm Krupp L/14 M. 1905 QF howitzers

-      13 fortress artillery regiments.


In 1912 49 more batteries were under order:

-      12 field batteries with 48 – 75mm Krupp M. 1911 QF guns,

-      10 field batteries of lighter pattern for the horse artillery with 40 – 75mm Krupp M. 1911 QF guns,

-      27 mountain artillery batteries with 108 – 75mm Schneider M. 1911 QF guns.


In 1912-13 much more than half of the artillery of the Eastern Army fighting in Thrace – probably at least 300 guns out of 550 – was lost, as was almost the whole artillery of the Western Army fighting in Macedonia, totalling about 400 guns. After the battle of Lozengrad the III Corps alone lost 55 cannons in the retreat, and at Lule Burgas the Turks lost 45 pieces of artillery in all. On April 1913 when the Vardar Army was evacuated from Albania, it had only 18 guns. These losses left the Ottoman Army very weak in artillery. However an unknown number of field and fortress guns captured by the Bulgarian Army were recaptured by the Turks when they reoccupied Odrin. Large orders of guns were made during and after the Balkan War, and many of these guns were delivered in the autumn of 1914.

In order to strengthen the defence of the Chataldzha position, already in mid-March 1913 the 2nd Assistant chief of Turkish General Staff, col. Pertev bey, had left Turkey and went to Germany in order to secure additional heavy guns from the two principal German firms, Krupp and Rheinmetall. But, in spite of the efforts of the Field Marshal Colmar von der Goltz, who had served as military advisor in Turkey from 1883 and 1895, he could not obtain anything. After the war the orders of weapons and military equipment resumed, and from 27 February to 1 May 1914, 74 field guns, 8 heavy guns, 400 boxes of gun cotton (pyroxylin) and 1900 boxes of field gun shells arrived in Istanbul from Germany.


According with British War Office (Military Notes on the Balkan States. Compiled by The general Staff, August 1915, p. 30), during the war the Bulgarian Army captured from the Turks (only field artillery) :

-      144 field guns (Krupp 75mm QF),

-      130 field guns (Krupp 87mm),

-      11 mountain guns (Krupp 75mm QF),

-      6 field howitzers (Krupp 120mm),

-      14 heavy howitzer (Krupp 150mm QF).

The War Office booklet said that all these artillery pieces were quick-firing, but I think that this is not correct, since Turkish Army had not 87mm or 120mm quick-firing guns/howitzers. To these guns we must add a great number of artillery pieces captured in Odrin. At least 4 of the 75mm QF field guns, were of the lighter model designed for horse artillery.


During the Balkan war Bulgarian Army had already started introducing Turkish guns : 2nd division of 8th not QF Artillery Regiment was rearmed with 75mm Krupp QF guns and 1st battery of the 5th not QF Artillery Regiment obtained four QF horse artillery guns. After the Interallied war many ex Turkish guns were assigned to artillery regiments in order to achieve the established strength. According with the British major Philip Howell, who visited the Headquarters of the Bulgarian Army in 1912 during the armistice, “quite a number of Bulgarian artillery officers informed me that on the whole they preferred the Krupp guns to the Creusot” (HOWELL, The Campaign in Thrace 1912…, p. 161).


At the beginning of 1914 according with the book Top ve Topηu Atış Okulu 150nci Yıl Hatırası 1795-1945 (150th Anniversary of Artillery and Artillery War School 1795-1945), p. 128, Turkish Army had:

344 – 75mm Krupp field guns with 900 shells per gun;

52 – 75mm Schneider-Canet field guns with 900 shells per gun;

192 – 75mm mountain guns Krupp and Schneider-Canet with 867 shells per gun;

18 – 105mm field howitzers with 1147 shells per gun;

2 – 100mm Krupp trial mountain howitzers with 466 shells per gun;

2 – 105mm Skoda field howitzers with 229 shells per gun;

12 – 150mm Krupp heavy howitzers;

1 – 57mm gun in a mobile armour housing (at Erzurum).




Captured Turkish guns

in Lozengrad

Captured Turkish guns

in Odrin