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CharlieBris

Turkish Breech Markings

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CharlieBris

Some of you already know that there are a fair number of Turkish guns in Australia, most captured in Palestine in 1918. Among these guns are examples with Turkish script inscriptions on the breech (see attached - a 7.5cm M03 at Wallaroo, SA).

I've been trying to figure out how to extract the serial no. and build date from the script - it's turned out fairly easy to do - full details at www.ammsbrisbane.com/articles.htm.

There is a problem with the dates - on the attached example the date is "1323" which is the year 1905 if it's the Islamic calendar or 1907 if it's the Rumi calendar used from 1840-1925.

Anyone know which calendar the Turks used on their breech markings?

Regards,

Charlie

post-53787-1267753693.jpg

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michaeldr

I am not sure how much this will help but

from the 'Handbook of the Turkish Army 1916' 8th Provisional Edition, February 1916, Intelligence Section, Cairo (recently republished by the IWM & The Battery Press) see page 140

"On February 25, 1906, began the year 1324 of the Hegira, but the official or financial year is now reckoned two years earlier, consequently the Turkish year 1330 corresponds to our 1914"

regards

Michael

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michaeldr

The explanation of the calendar as given by Andrew Mungo in his biography of Ataturk may be more helpful.

"For administrative purposes, a solar calendar was introduced in 1839. Known as Rumi (Roman), this also dated back to AD 622, but the day and month were the same as in the (Christian) Julian calendar. The Rumi year started on 1 March, which corresponded to 13 March in the (international) Gregorian calendar in the nineteenth century, and to 14 March in the twentieth century."

The Rumi appears to have been used for all official and administrative purposes, including the register of births, as well as in finance as mentioned earlier. It would therefore appear to be fairly safe to assume that it was the Rumi calendar which was used on the artillery piece.

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CharlieBris

The argument that the dates on the Turkish guns are expressed as Rumi dates sounds compelling but....

The Turks received 4 shipments of 7.5cm L/30 Krupp guns before WW1 - (the largest) 462 guns in 1905 (C03), 90 in 1910(C09), 88 in 1911(C11) and 54 in 1914(Unknown).

So far there are known Turkish inscriptions on guns at:

Wallaroo, SA (1323 build date)

Whiteman Park (Perth), WA (1323 build date)

Moura, WA (I've only seen a translation of the date as 1905 - I've got someone getting an image of the original inscription)

Bega, NSW (Getting an image of the top of the breech)

The later shipments seem to have markings in Latin script rather than Turkish script - there are guns with 1911 and 1913 build dates known.

There are certainly more guns with inscriptions in Australia but many of the Turkish guns are in quite remote places - the Australian Light horse were recruited from rural areas so the

guns captured by the Light Horse tended to be allocated to those places in the 1920s.

A build date of 1907 if the date is a Rumi date is inconsistent with the shipment dates of Krupp guns. A build date of 1905 suggested by the Islamic calendar

is consistent with the shipment dates.

The bottom line is - I'm confused and hoped there was an official edict by The Turkish Govt. on which calendar was to be used on the gun markings.

Regards,

Charlie

(Edit - while I think of it (Rumi year) + 584 = Gregorian year and ((Islamic year) * 0.97) + 622 = Gregorian year (approximately) )

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michaeldr

A build date of 1907 if the date is a Rumi date is inconsistent with the shipment dates of Krupp guns. A build date of 1905 suggested by the Islamic calendar is consistent with the shipment dates.

A couple of thoughts - I wonder how much time should be allowed for the transportation of the guns from Krupp to Turkey and thereafter for the Turkish arsenal to test them before giving them their stamp of approval? Also, as the Rumi year commences in March rather than January, aren't we talking here about less than 24 months?

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CharlieBris

After a bit of thought....

It really depends when the Turkish inscription was put on the guns. It seems to me that there are two possibilities:

1. The Turks used the facilities at the Krupp works to run the acceptance tests and inscribed the guns before shipment in 1905. If this is true then the date is probably an Islamic date.

2. The acceptance tests were performed in Turkey after the guns were received. The Turkish arsenal wasn't the best organised in the world so it's quite possible that it took them until

1907 to process all the guns. The guns with inscriptions have fairly high serial numbers, #393 is the lowest, perhaps implying that these were late in the acceptance process. In this case

the 1907 date is probably a Rumi date.

It would be nice to have more examples of the inscriptions. If there are guns with 1905/1906 dates it adds support to the second possibility. Interestingly, I haven't seen any evidence

for a Krupp serial no. - it might be on the side of the breech with the proof stamp like the FK 96.

Regards,

Charlie

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