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identify Ottoman unit at Serres/Serrai 1917


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Salutations to the Salonika section.

I wonder if any members here have had a look at this thread https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/294385-captain-rudolf-schierholz-saxon-army-19141917 where we're trying to establish which Rudolf Schierholz was serving with, between his leaving Gallipoli and his death at Ma'an in December 1917


As an interesting aside, he he was joined in this theatre by Moshe Shertok (surname later changed to Sharett) who acted as his interpreter. [Sharett later became Israel's first Foreign Minister and second Prime Minister]

The Ottoman unit which we are searching for was at Serres/Serrai on the Greek-Macedonian border, not far from Bulgaria when Sharett joined Schierholz there in about December 1916/January 1917. The unit remained there for a further approximately six months before being transferred to the area of Ma'an in Arabia


Any info welcomed

regards, Michael

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Page 17 of 'Official History of the Great War Military Operations Macedonia' volume 2 by Captain Cyril Falls, has the following:

'The Turkish 50th Division left the lower Struma in July to follow the 46th to Aleppo.' 

The reference is July 1917. 

Edited by Gardenerbill
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'Official History of the Great War Military Operations Macedonia' volume 1 by Captain Cyril Falls, has the following references:

P193 50th Division

P249 146th Regiments 46th Division

P268 Turkish XX Corps consisted of 46th Division and 50th Division, each had 3 Regiments of 4 Battalions totalling 24 battalions.

P300 Regiments of the 46th Division begin to leave March 1917.  

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Interestingly, Wikipedia has Turkish XX Corps in Macedonia as 49th Division consisting of 144th, 145th and 146th Infantry regiments plus 46th Artillery Regiment. 50th Division, 157th, 158th and 169th Infantry Regiments plus 50th Artillery Regiment.

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Serres (Siruz) Greece near Salonika appears around March 1917

He may have joined the 146th Regt in Syria during 1916 and traveled to Macedon in late 1916 and fought there and Bulgeria/Salonika during early 1917 before moving to Palestine late 1917

I show he served in the 146th Regt when sent to Macedon early 1917, but not confirmed what or where the Division fought., other then this rough movement (local Rail stations) for the Div

46th Div Movements during 1914-17

Syria - 02.08.14 Adana 04.11.14

Istanbul (Orta Köy Police stn) 09.11.16

(Orta Köy Police stn) 25.11.16

Istanbul (Çekme'ce i Sagîr Stn) 27.11.16

Istanbul Stn 05.12.16

Macedonia -

Senciste Stn 07.12.16

Veznik 04.02.17

Senciste Stn 06.02.17 

Istanbul (Aya Stefanos Stn) 12.03.17 (de-comissioned) - (Divison broken up)

146. Regiment of the 46. Infantry Division (Turkish & German mixed unit)(absconded to the 2. Bulgarian Army) __.11.16

Drama Stn 07.12.16

Veznik 09.12.16

Dut'lu 17.03.17

Sirûz Stn __.03.17 (ordered to join the 25 Div (in Romainia) absconded to the 11. German Army __.03.17 -

(Bulgeria)Sirûz Stn 23.03.17

[Üsküb Stn __.03.17

Nis Stn __.03.17

Sofya Stn] __.04.17

Rus'cuk __.04.17

Çerna Voda __.04.17

Su'suz Ali Beg farm __.04.17

Constanta port __.05.17

Istanbul (Selîmiye barracks) __.06.17 (absconded to Yildirim Group of Armies __.06.17 Istanbul (Selîmiye barracks) __.06.17 Islâhiye Stn 16.06.17

(Palestine -

Sam es Serîf (Hîcaz Stn) (Damascus) 19.06.17

Dera’a Stn __.06.17

The 25th Div was used in the fighting in Romainia with the 6th Corps, but I can find no record of the 146th Regt with the 25th Div in Romania, other then the comment above? (purhaps Ezeme could fill in these gaps?)

I have these Divisions, and Corps, but details in Macedon and Salonika are a bit short?

The 20th Corps (46th Div 50th Div) was used for operations in Macedon, but was sent to Palestine in early 1917, the 146th Regt appears to have been left and used around Salonika

The 46th Div details I used in the other question

raised Syria 1915 to Macedonia Nov 1916 to Salonika 11-16 to Mesopotamia April 1917  broken up (reraised Mesopotamia April 1917 de-comissioned & remaining units absconded to the 20th Division)

to Palestine Jan 1918 destroyed Oct 1918

50th Division (details)

formed 1916 Salonika front Aug 1916 to Palestine April 1917 to Mesopotamia Feb 1918 dissolved early 1918    

20th Corps - Nov 1916 3rd Corps- 1917 to 18th Corps 17/18 

Commanders - LtCol Sükrü Naili Bey (Gokberk) 7-16 to 1-18?   to LtCol Nazmi Bey (Solok) around 1-18 PoW 27-3-18     

Div 2iC - Capt Tevfik (Biyiklioglu) 1916/17 staff officer - Maj Aziz Bey     

1-3/156th Regt - 156th MG Co                                

1-3/157th Regt - 157th MG Co                                

1-3/158th Regt - 158th MG Co     

157th Regt - LtCol Akif Bey  

158th Regt - Maj Nedim Bey    

169th Regt - LtCol Servet Bey    

50th Artillery Regt - Maj Sadik     2 x Mountain Bty's 2 x Bulgarian Mountain Bty's    

shown Feb 1918 reports 16 guns)     50th Div Cav Sqn - 50th Medical Co - 50th Field Hosp - 50th Bakery/Cooking Plat - 50th Sig sect - 3Co/6th Eng Regt 8-17

shown Oct 1916 Turkish records (11,320 men 12 MGs 16 guns) -

shown Oct 1916 1-3/169th Regt replaced 156th Regt to 4th Div -

shown Nov 1917 captured order reports 158th Regt 4 MGs per Bn + 66th MG Co -

shown Dec 1917 Allied reports 157th Regt (1500 men) & shown 158th Regt to 19th Div -

shown Feb 1918 reports 50th Div (157th Regt 169th Regt (4500 men 170 cav 16 guns) -

shown in action at Khan Baghdadi 26-3-18 (lost 5254 prisoners 12 guns 47 MGs between March to April during advance to Haditha - Anah including Nazmi Bey captured) - (one Bn/169th Regt shown as 12 officers and 250 men captured)

shown March 1918 Allied reports 158th Regt (900 men 20 MGs) with 3rd Corps Troops 7th Army T/att 11th Div 4-18) disbanded or destroyed following battle at Khan Baghdadi        

- 04.01.15 Bozanti 15.07.16 Istanbul (Çekme'ce i Sagîr Stn) 18.10.16 Senciste Stn 28.10.16 Rodoligos 25.07.17 Senciste Stn 27.07.17 Istanbul (Çekme'ce i Sagîr Stn) 15.08.17 formed the Euphrates Group with local militia on 14.10.17

Müslîmiye Stn 01.10.17 Meskene __.10.17 Hit 09.03.18 Allus 20.03.18 Bagdadî Han 27.03.18 || (surrendered



Edited by stevebecker
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Just as an aside it looks like Wikipedia is wrong, it was 46th Division in Macedonia not 49th.

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Hi Michael

I researched Sharett & Schierholz a few years ago as I was interested in the Ma'an connection having worked around there on survey in the 1990's including survey of WW1 trenches around Ma'an and other Hejaz railway stations further north. The Journal of the TE Lawrence Society Vol. IX, No. 2 Spring 2000 published a translated abridged version of some of Sharett's letters to his family describing his regiment's activities around Ma'an in 1917-1918 and describing Schierholz.

Unfortunately Sharett does not identify his regiment but he gives detail on their deployments before and movements to Ma'an from which I concluded it was the 146th regiment (it matched an allied Intelligence report of the regimental movement  from Palestine in July 1917).

The letters were originally published in Hebrew by Sharett's son Jacob Sharett in "Shall we ever meet again: letters of an Ottoman soldier 1916-1918"

1st couple of pages of the TE lawrence soc article attached. He might identify the regiment in earlier letters in the original book as the Lawrence article starts with letter no 80 so it might pay to look at that if it is possible?

you may be interested in a discussion on the Axis History forum of the memoirs of Col. Munip Uzsoy who was at Ma'an at the same perioed and confirms the presence of the 146th & 178th regements-he may have taken over after Schierholz died?



All the best




Edited by domsim
Added more ideas!
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Munip Bey (Özsoy) took command of the 178th Regt, possibly in June 1917 when it was replaced in the 59th Div around Izmir

It moved down to Southern Palestine for operations with the newly forming Div group under Serri Bey (146th Regt 178th Regt 162nd Regt parts 24th Regt)

records very, but 1st (Lütfü) Composite Müretteb or Mürattep) Division

Müretteb or Mürattep) means Composite in Turkish, so it is shown under a number of forms.

Lütfü is said to be the name of the commander at one time,

I did believe he was the former commander of the forces in front of Amman, during the operations in March 1918, LtCol Omer Lutfu (Argeso) 126th Regt, but still not confirmed?


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Very many thanks to Mark, Steve & Dom, for your time and all the information presented here.

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Here are the two characters involved here - Rudolf Schierholz and his interpreter, Moshe Shertok (later Sharett)







Sharett is seen with his sister, and though Wiki give the date as Jan 1917, in view of his decoration it must certainly have been taken sometime later. (In Jan 1917 he was only just out of officer training at Istanbul). EDIT- : note that the Sharett website gives the date for this photograph as 1918; a much more likely date

Schierholz's photograph is seen here on Gunter Hartnegel's page here https://www.flickr.com/photos/39631091@N03/5481937167


Edited by michaeldr
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Sharett's letter of 9 August 1917 (see Dom's post above) is addressed from Ein el Fuweila, which can be found on this map (as Fuwaila)


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The forces used during these operations late 1917, I am still not sure of.

Ottoman and Allied records call these a number of names at different times?

East Jordan Group Amman
Talila Force
1st Composite Div

Most are called these during 1918

Parts of 146th Regt were part of these, at times

Most of the details for it are in 1918, but show no details during late 1917 around Maan for the Aqaba operation, other then it was sent down there, and split up for different uses.


Edited by stevebecker
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Rattled through photos from Kew and found this on the 46th division


all the best




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Many thanks Dom; that's most helpful indeed.

As was your tip for the photo gallery on the Sharett website [embarrassed now that I hadn't worked that one out for myself] The Sharett website dates the photo of the decorated MS with his sister to 1918; a much more likely date


Edited by michaeldr
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Interesting, I have the 1916 copy of this, not the 1917.

So how out of date was the information before printing?

The Commander Miralay (Brig Gen) Mehmed Bedri Sheikhzade had me?

I've not seen that name before in any Ottoman documents on the Forces or for the 46th Div?

All records I;ve seen show LtCol Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir (Erkilet) for 1917

I wonder if this officer had the Div during 1916-17 before Emir?

Likewise the other officers?

Kalmakan Abdul Kadri Efendi 144th Regt 
Ali Bey 145th Regt

Kalmakan and Effendi?

possibly Qaim Maqam, Qaimaqam or Kaymakam (also spelled kaimakam and caimacam 

Ottoman Colonel

But Effendi was a title given to minor grade officers (Lt's to Capt)  Bey was given to senior grade officer (Maj to Col) then Pascha for higher grade officers

I wonder if all these men changed in 1917 as records show

Adil Bey  144th Regt 
Ali Riza Bey 145th Regt




I did some checking and found the dates for Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir (Erkilet) command are still not firm?

Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir (Erkilet) AKA Hussain Hasni Amir Bey    staff 5th Corps 1914/15 & CofS 14th Corps & Ops officer Yildirim Army Group 1917 & CofS 4th Army & CofS 8th Army & 46th Div 1917/18 & CofS 9th Army 1918     Maj to LtCol    (wrote book "Yilderim" 1922)     born Gazze 1883- Istanbul 1953)  P (Inf) 1320 (1904) 5 Graduated Military acadamy as staff captain in 1907 Staff of officer of the East Army during Balkan War to Maj 1915 to LtCol 1917 & War of Independance commander 7 Div 1921 and CofS 2nd Army 1922 to Col 1922 to Maj Gen 1926 Retired in Jan.18th 1932

He appears to have taken command around Sept 1917, but when he left to be CofS 4th Army is not firm possibly early 1918?

Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir (Erkilet) does not appear to have commanded the Division in Macedon  during 1916-17, in fact I can't find who did, likewise who took command after him, as the Records show either the German Lt Col Ernst Tiller and or Col Mahmut Bey (Belig) 

As I once said records here for the 46th Div are not that firm,  I wonder if Ezeme is still on the site to fix some of this?


Edited by stevebecker
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