Turkish Gambit: A review

I managed to watch the DVD of this film today and it not only lived up to my expectations … it exceeded them!

It starts with a skirmish in a field of sunflowers, a daring escape from captivity, a dice game in a Turkish tavern, and a battle between Bashi-Bazouks and Cossacks … and that is just the first fifteen minutes of the film!

This is an all-action film with lots a small details to delight and enthuse anyone interested in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. For example the Russians are seen using an early steam-powered traction engine and a hydrogen balloon.

It is also a spy story that keeps the watcher guessing until the end as to which of the leading characters is the Turkish master spy who is enabling the Turks to continually stay one step ahead of the Russians.

But in my opinion the best parts of the film are the battle scenes, especially the Russian attacks on Plevna.

They alone were worth the purchase price of the DVD … and I can see myself watching and re-watching them time and time again.


10 Comments on “Turkish Gambit: A review”

  1. Pete. says:

    Sounds like a great film to watch – I've got 'War in the East' looking at me to be read too. Where did you pick the DVD up from please?



  2. Pete,

    It was a great film to watch, and I must admit that I came away afterwards thinking about raising a couple of small Russo-Turkish armies.

    I bought this DVD via Amazon UK, although I understand that I could have bought it for less from Amazon Germany.

    All the best,


  3. Conrad Kinch says:

    I actually ordered it from German Amazon after your last blog post.

    Looking forward to it.

  4. Conrad Kinch,

    I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

    All the best,


  5. Looks as though I might be forced to investigate this story and DVD… Thanks for the info! 🙂

  6. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    Certainly one on my 'to get' list!

    I also need to read the book (acquired at a boot sale a while ago)although I understand that I should the preceding volumes first.

    Looks very inspiring.

    All the best,


  7. Archduke Piccolo,

    Please don't feel forced to investigate … but I think that you will enjoy watching the DVD if you do.

    All the best,


  8. David Crook,

    I read the books in order, and it does help … but the story in TURKISH GAMBIT can be read as a 'stand alone' story, just as the DVD can be viewed on its own merits.

    Whichever course of action you choose, I think that you will enjoy the DVD.

    All the best,


  9. CoastConFan says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, but he Siege of Plevna is well known. The besieging Russians generally had the obsolete M 1867 Krnka rifle, a muzzleloader converted to breech loading. The Turks however had Peabody-Martini breech loading rifles where were modern for the time. They also had a rapid fire magazine repeater, the Winchester ’66 which in close quarters could toss out a hail of lead that mowed the attacking Russians down wholesale. The Turks indeed lost the siege, but they took a heck of a lot Russians with them. The Turks liked the Russian contract Smith and Wesson top break revolvers, which the Russians also purchased and ordered their own later in 1879

    By the way, the cream of the Ottoman Army was not the miserable bashi bazouks (literally broken heads), which were unpaid conscripts of the lowest kind and ultimately cannon fodder. They were used in mass attacks to overwhelm an opponent so that the elite cavalry moves in after the excellent artillery pounds away. The Janissaries were done away with in 1826, decades before the Russo-Turkish war. For more information about Turkish siege craft, the Janissary system, and Ottoman artillery, through the ages, I recommend Lord Kinross’s book, The Ottoman Centuries.

    I’ll certainly have to find a copy of the movie, thanks for the recommendation.

  10. CoastConFan,

    Thanks for the information. I have had an interest in the 1877 Russo-Turkish War ever since I read Fred Burnaby's biography. He (unofficially) served in the Turkish Army alongside Valentine Baker.

    I hope that you enjoy the film.

    All the best,


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