The Turkish army of 1877 was divided into three parts: the Nizam or Regular Army; the Ihtiat or First Reserve; and the Redif or Second Reserve.
Each of the six regions ( or vilayets) of the Ottoman Empire was supposed to supply one ordu or army. This army technically consisted of four kol ordus or corps, but more usually comprised one or two.
A kol ordus was supposed to consist of two divisions. A division consisted of two brigades of infantry, each of two regiments; a chasseur battalion (light infantry); one or two squadrons of cavalry; and one to three batteries of artillery. A diagram showing divisional structure appears below.
A regiment of infantry comprised three battalions, with each battalion having a paper strength of 800 divided into eight companies of 100 men each. However, with actual strengths being as low as 50-80 men per company, battalions were starting to be divided into four companies of between 150 and 180 men each. Both four and eight company battalions took part in the war.
Only the battalion was a permanent unit of organisation. Regiments were often created from battalions from three different vilayets: something not conducive to coherency and morale!
In addition to the regular infantry, the Turkish army also employed irregular troops known as bashi-bazouks. These were grouped together in mobs, and were totally unreliable and undisciplined.
As noted above, Turkish cavalry was distributed by squadron throughout the divisions of the army. Technically, however, a Turkish cavalry regiment consisted of six squadrons, each of around 140 men.
Irregular Turkish cavalry were mainly Circassians, who were loosely organised into squadrons as above.
As noted above, Turkish artillery was distributed throughout the divisions of the army. Technically, however, a Turkish artillery regiment consisted of four battalions each of four batteries, with six guns in each battery.
Turkish infantry used the Peabody-Martini single-shot, breech-loading rifle; although some battalions of the Redif still used the older British Snyder, another single-shot, breech-loader.
Turkish cavalry used the 11- or 15-shot Winchester carbine, and carried a heavy sword and revolver. Usually only Guard cavalry carried lances.
Turkish artillery used steel guns: either 4-pdr 75mm Krupps or, for heavy batteries, 9-pdr 87mm Krupps.
All uniforms were based on 2nd Empire French styles.
Dark blue tunic with red colour and shoulder straps. Dark blue trousers tucked into high boots. Red fez. Equipment was black. Also issued with a gret greatcoat equipped with a high, pointed hood.
Some preferred a more traditional Turkish look: with a Zouave-like uniform of red fez; short, open jacket; puff-trousers; shoes and laced gaiters.
Chasseurs wore the same as regular infantry, but with green distinctions.
Bashi-bazouks dressed in normal civilian Turkish clothes.
Cavalry wore identical uniforms to the infantry, except that they were issued with a sheepskin cap rather than the fez. Like the infantry, they often preferred to wear traditional costume.
Circassian cavalry wore cossack clothes: fur cap; long, fitted coat; tight breeches and high boots.
Same as infantry for foot artillery; as cavalry for horse artillery.
The Nizam and Ihtiat should be classed as average troops, with the Redif thought of as militia.
Bashi-bazouks are poor quality troops more keen on looting than on fighting.