Oasprey's study of Ottoman infantrymen during World War I (1914-1918). The Ottoman Army was the first to employ the 'triangular division', starting from 1910, which contained three infantry regiments of three battalions supported by an artillery regiment of three battalions. This structure went on to become the world's standard. In the years immediately prior to the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman Army undertook a massive retraining program to rebuild its forces following the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.
When World War I began, the Ottoman Army consisted of 36 combat infantry divisions, giving it a strength of some 200,000 enlisted men and 8,000 officers. These troops are usually described in terms of a huge amorphous mass with little to no attempt to see these men as individuals; indeed, no book has yet focused specifically upon the infantrymen, or 'Mehmets' as the Ottomans called them, who formed the backbone, and the bulk, of the Ottoman Army during World War I. This is not only a significant gap in the literature of the war, but is highly misleading, not least because such troops were recruited from the culturally and linguistically different peoples who made up what was, in 1914, still a huge and diverse empire.
This army, this period and these troops formed the immediate background to what might be called the modern Middle East. The average Ottoman soldier, or asker, was hardy, well trained and courageous and formed the solid base on which the Ottoman Army rested. Ottoman troops campaigned in astonishingly varied geographical and climatic conditions during the war, including on the Gallipoli Peninsula, in Mesopotamia and in the Caucasus. This title explores their recruitment, training, and combat experiences.