Pike Grey Uniforms
The Austro-Hungarian troops that served at Gallipoli and in Palestine mostly wore the same 1908 pike grey
uniform (gradually replaced by field grey from 1916 onwards) as worn by Austro-Hungarian
troops in Europe.
Headdress consisted of a grey peaked cap
(see below right) held at the front
by two brass buttons above which was a Habsburg cockade in yellow and
black. The peak of the cap was in black leather. A contemporary
illustration shows a form of neck shade was added to the cap when worn
in the hot climate of Gallipoli, although no
photographic evidence for it has yet been found. Officers wore a rigid shako
of similar shape to the peaked cap also with a black leather peak and
The grey tunic had a stand and fall collar,
a concealed front, and four patch pockets, the buttons of which were also
concealed. The pocket flaps were scalloped with three points. Different
regiments or arm of service were denoted by coloured collar patches, and
rank was also displayed on the collar in the form of metallic lace and
stars. In late 1916 these collar patches were abbreviated to small
vertical strips on the collar and rank insignia was worn in dull coloured
lace. Shoulder straps were plain pike grey with the right hand one having
a roll at the end to help keep the rifle strap in position when marching.
Officers (and some other ranks) had no shoulder straps.
Grey trousers were worn with brown leather
boots. Field grey puttees were introduced for most troops by 1916. In cold
weather, other ranks wore double breasted pike grey greatcoats while
officers usually wore double breasted jackets with fur collars. Equipment
was in brown leather.
Unlike some German officers and other ranks
serving in Ottoman units, Austro-Hungarian troops do not seem from period
photographs to have worn Ottoman
In 1916 the first Austro-Hungarian khaki tropical uniforms were issued to the Von Marno
Mountain Howitzer Division ("Gebirgshaubitzdivision von Marno") which was sent to support the Ottoman army in Palestine
and later to other Austro-Hungarian units. It was based
closely on the 1908 pike grey uniform in its cut and style, with
concealed buttons and three pointed pocket flaps. New tropical tunics
issued from late 1916 had six visible buttons down the front as opposed
to the concealed front of previous tunics.
tropical helmet was lower and had a smaller brim than the German
Peter Jung describes some helmets as having a Hapsburg cockade in black/gold/black on the front,
although photographs of a surviving helmet shows it with a simple
"K" monogram for Emperor Karl (see below right). It is
probable that several variations existed, also confused by officers
possibly wearing privately tailored helmets. The helmets could be
worn with or without a detachable neck shade. Jung describes a
khaki peaked cap (similar in shape to the pike grey version) being worn
but so far I have found no photographic proof of its use.
Recommended Reading -
"Austro-Hungarian Forces in World War 1 (Parts 1 & 2)" by Peter Jung
Figure1 is based on
a photograph of an Austro-Hungarian Artillerymen of the "9. Mototmörserbatterie" taken on the Gallipoli Front in
1916. The first assistance from Austro-Hungary to Turkey came in the form of two
heavy artillery batteries to support the defence of the Gallipoli peninsular
after the allied landings. The troops from these batteries were dressed in the standard
Austro-Hungarian pike grey uniform as worn on European fronts (and described
above). This artilleryman wears the pike grey peaked cap (see right to compare
the other ranks cap with the officers shako), and grey
tunic. Note the rolled end to the shoulder strap to help keep the rifle strap in
position when marching. His collar patches are scarlet for artillery. His
trousers and puttees of are of the noticeably darker field grey shade.
Figure 2 is based on
a photograph of an Austro-Hungarian Artillerymen of the "9. Mototmörserbatterie" also taken on the
Gallipoli Front in 1916. He wears the same uniform as the previous figure but
with a double breasted pike grey greatcoat over the top. Despite Turkey's
deserved reputation as an idyllic summer resort the nights and winters could be
very cold. Both Austro-Hungarian and German troops are often seen in photographs
European issue greatcoats. He also wears a pair of distinctively sloped Austro-Hungarian
ammunition pouches (see right). The slope of the pouch matched that of the
cartridge clip for the Mannlicher rifle.
Figure 3 is based on a photograph of an
Austro-Hungarian Transport Driver of the the "2.
Autokolonne Türkei" taken in Diarbekhir, Anatolia in 1916. As well as artillery,
Austria-Hungary assisted the Ottoman army with much needed motorized transport.
This driver wears the early pattern khaki tropical uniform with three-pointed pockets and
a concealed front. The arm of service patches on his collar are in light blue
for transport troops. His tropical helmet does not appear to have a badge on the
Figure 4 is based on a photograph of an
Austro-Hungarian Artilleryman of the the "Gebirgshaubitzdivision von Marno"
taken during the unit's arrival in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1916. He
also wears the early pattern khaki tropical uniform but with scarlet arm of
service collar patches for artillery. His tropical helmet (see right) has a badge on the
front, consisting either of a yellow and black
Hapsburg cockade or the Imperial and Royal monogram, "K". He carries a rucksack with the rigid frame
Figure 5 is based on a photograph of an
Austro-Hungarian Artilleryman NCO of the the "Orientkorps" taken in 1918.
The original photograph is a posed studio shot and may have been taken before
the unit's partial deployment to Palestine. He wears a tropical helmet without
the cockade or badge but with the removable khaki neckshade tied across the
front of the helmet. His tunic is the later pattern tropical tunic with six
fastening buttons down the front and single-pointed buttons. Note that the arm
of service patches (in this case scarlet for artillery) are reduced to short
vertical strips on the collar. He wears khaki riding breeches reinforced on the
inner leg and brown leather gaiters and short boots.