The 1866 muskets are a total enigma. Turkish documents state that 48,314 of them were delivered along with 18,425 carbines (or were they?). Yet there are no photos and memoirs depicting their use except the above photo from the Lost Bulgaria site (Изгубената България). Nothing. It is known that the Turkish army declared the 1866 unfit for military use. Only the paramilitary units and some officers used them in very small quantities, but they were all carbines, no muskets were ever mentioned.
Russian documents show around 200 1866 Winchesters among the captured weapons at Pleven (Plevna). In his memoirs Osman Pasha, the Turkish commander at Pleven, states that the Winchesters were only issued at the very last days of the defense during the last attempt of breakout - and only to the "artillerymen and officers". Furthermore, he states the use of Springfields (muzzle loaders - see tables below), which were replaced by Sniders (underlined in red).
The tables below show Turkish small arms purchases during this period. Note the large amount of muzzle loaders (seshane) bought by Turkey, the last batch in March 28, 1877! What happened to all these Winchesters? Why were they not used when clearly guns were needed if the Turks were buying muzzle loaders from all over the world - USA, France, Belgium, Austria?
Last edited by Nick; 12-20-2016 at 09:32 AM.
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