M1874 Turkish Peabody-Martini: (types "A" and "B")

(Photo courtesy D. Goss)
        M1874 Type A Turkish Peabody-Martini

(Photo courtesy D. Goss)
        M1874 Type B Turkish Peabody-Martini

GENERALLY:  The Ottoman Empire was one of the leading military nations during the mid to late 19th Century.  And Ottoman Turkey remained a major military power, albeit with less and less influence over its previously vast holdings, into the 20th Century, until the empire's final breakup after arriving on the wrong side of the armistice table at the end of World War I.  But throughout the 19th Century, although Turkey did not have the manufarturing capabilities to support an arms industry, she maintanied herself with modern arms through purchases in Europe. Large numbers of British Snider-Enfields (over 300,000) were bought from Britain, and Turkey approached Britain for the purchase of Martini-Henrys but was unable to do so. Thus Turkey bought Peabody-Martinis, more than 600,000 of them, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, from Providence Tool Company, USA, which owned the rights to the Peabody action.  The specifications were that the rifle be an exact duplicate of the British Martini-Henry, which was the Mark I at the time.  Thus, for example, the Turkish Peabody-Martini is fitted with a checkered buttplate - a feature found only on the British Mark I, and abandoned on all later British Martini-Henry Marks.  The proper nomenclature really should be "Peabody-Martini-Henry" since the rifle is also fitted with Henry rifling.  But then, that should be the proper nomenclature for the British rifle as well.  For an in-depth treatment of the history of the Turkish Peabody-Martini rifle, see:  The Turkish Connection - The Saga of the Peabody-Martini Rifle

PHOTO: The rifles shown at top, above are an early pattern (Type A) M1874 Turkish Peabody-Martini.  If you look closely you can distinguish the safety mechanism just forward of the trigger.  The rifle pictured below is a later pattern (Type B).  No safely, but with bayonet lug mounted on the forward barrel band.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:   At a glance, the Peabody-Martini is very difficult to distinguish from the British Martini-Henry Type I. They differ principally only in markings! And that is no accident, as noted above the Turks wanted exact copies of the British rifle.  Both share the same receiver, Three sling swivels (front band, trigger guard and buttstock!) similar sights and rod. Markings, however, are significantly dfferent. The Turkish is marked on the left of the receiver with "PEABODY & MARTINI PATENTS, MAN'FED BY PROVIDENCE TOOL CO. PROV. R.I. U.S.A."  and a Turkish serial number and Turkish crest on the right side of the receiver. The British Mark I is unmarked on the left side of the receiver and very distinctively marked with Crown, V.R., Enfield etc on the right side of the receiver.  the most significant difference is that the Turkish rifle is chambered in it's own unique cartridge, the 11.3x59R, which is known in Britain and America as the .45 Turkish.

Turkish Peabody-Martinis were built in two distinct patterns,  the early "Type A" and a later "Type B" variant.  Noticable differences include:

Type A:  (i) Fitted with safety; (ii) Brass breech block pivot pin secured with retaining screws, (iii) cleaning rod with sharp shoulder all around like British Mark I, and (iv) no bayonet lug, rather the Type A was fitted for a socket bayonet.

Type B: (i) No safety, (ii) split steel breech block pivot pin, no retaining screws, (iii) cammed rod like the British Mark II, and (iv) bayonet stud integral with front band so the rifle could mount a sabre bayonet.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:   See The Turkish Connection - The Saga of the Peabody-Martini Rifle, by William O. Achtermeier, (Originally published in Man At Arms Magazine, Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 12-21, 55­57, March/April 1979).

For more historical information, including the role of the Peabody-Martini at the battles at Plevna, please see M1866 Turkish Contract Winchester and see especially the link there to the article "The Plevna Delay", a exceptional article on Plevna and the tactics of the Turks under the brilliant Field Marshal Osman Pasha by Richard T. Trenk, Sr., Originally published in Man At Arms Magazine, Volume 19, Number Four, August, 1997.



(Photo courtesy D. Goss)
        M1874 Type A Turkish Peabody-Martini action close-up

(Photo courtesy D. Goss)
        M1874 Type B Turkish Peabody-Martini

Type A M1874 Turkish Peabody Martini, view of the left receiver wall
(the rifle is pointed to the left) with pin retaining screws removed.

More M1874 Turkish Peabody-Martini:

M1874 Turkish Peabody-Martini (Capture/Japanese Purchase):

Another Japanese Purchase M1874 Turkish Peabody-Martini:



Page built June 8, 1997
Revised May 27, 1999
Revised September 28, 1999
Revised January 7, 2001
Revised March 18, 2001