German Colonial Uniforms

Kaiser Wilhelm II
Palestine, 1898

This website is intended to give an insight into the uniforms, insignia, weapons and equipment of the Imperial German colonial and overseas forces up to and including the First World War for the family historian, war-gamer, modeller or military historian.

Germany, only having been unified in 1871 was a late-comer to the colonial race. She began her colonial acquisitions in 1884 and by 1914 had managed to grab six colonies- German South West Africa, German East Africa, Cameroon, Togo, New Guinea and Samoa. The port of Tsingtao was also leased from China.

The units primarily covered on this website are the Colonial Armed Forces (Schutztruppe), Colonial Police Forces (Polizeitruppe and Landespolizei), Imperial Navy overseas (including the Marine Infantry) and army expeditions overseas (such as the East Asian Expeditionary Corps to China and the Pascha Expeditions to Palestine).

Also included are related topics of interest such as German overseas volunteers, Austro-Hungarian overseas units, private armies in the African colonies, the Kaiser's visit to the Holy Land and the German-Afghan Mission of 1916.

This website is always a work in progress. Please feel free to send me more photos or information that may add to the website or correct my errors. Equally, if you are planning to use information from this website for publication or serious research please contact me first to check my sources. I am also happy to help with historical or family tree research on the subject of the Imperial German Overseas Forces.






Text and illustrations by Chris Dale © 2003-23
with help from many contributing readers

Schutztruppe Askari
German East Africa, 1914

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  Books by the Same Author  

Imperial German Colonial and Overseas Troops 1885-1918
Osprey Men at Arms
by A Quesada & Chris Dale
Available Here

Traditions of the Imperial German Infantry Regiments
their histories, uniforms and Pickelhauben
by Chris Dale

Available Here

Traditions of the Imperial German Cavalry Regiments
their histories, headdress and uniforms
by Chris Dale

Available Here

Imperial German Colonial Troops & Police in Africa
by Reinhard Schneider
translated by Chris Dale

Available Here

Schutztruppe Südwester Hat
II. Seebataillon, Marine

Schutztruppe Khaki Uniform
Gun from SMS Königsberg

East Asian Cavalry

East African Askari Medal Bar

Schutztruppe NCO
Schutztruppe Bayonets

Navy Tropical Helmet
East African Polizeitruppe
Schutztruppe Officers Sword
Seebataillon NCO Cap
SW Africa Campaign Medal
East Asian Infantryman
German Samoan Police Badge
Schutztruppe NCO
East Asian Helmets
Tsingtao Police Armband
Schutztruppe Mountain Gun

Marines Departing for Cameroon
Austro-Hungarian Tropical Helmet
Marine Field Battery

Decorated Naval Flask

Schutztruppe Belt Buckle
Naval Cap from SMS Iltis
Sketch of the Fall of Tsingtao
Schutztruppe Artillery
South West African Police Pistol
Afghan Mission 1916
King Njoya's Helmets
Medals of a Boxer Veteran
NCO Pascha I Expedition

Marine Infantry Uniform

POWs in New Zealand, 1917

East Asian Straw Hat

The Battle of Lugalu 1891

Schutztruppe Rifles

Askari Water Bottle

The Author with a C73 Gun
Windhoek, Namibia
     Brief History of the German Colonies and their Armed Forces
 I. German South West Africa
     Brief Campaign and Unit Histories
     Francois-Truppe Uniforms 1889-91
     Early Schutztruppe Uniforms 1891-1896
     Schutztruppe Home Uniform 1897-1915
     Schutztruppe Corduroy Uniforms 1896-1915
     Schutztruppe Khaki Tropical Uniform 1896-1915
     Schutztruppe White Tropical Uniform
     Schutztruppe Litewka                 
     Schutztruppe Greatcoat
     Schutztruppe Generals 
     Schutztruppe Officials
     Schutztruppe Reservists
     Schutztruppe African Auxiliaries
     South African Free Corps 1914-15
     Early Landespolizei Uniforms
     Landespolizei 1907 Dark Khaki Uniforms
     Landespolizei Tropical Uniforms
     Landespolizei African Auxiliaries
 II. German East Africa
     Brief Campaign and Unit Histories
     Wissmanntruppe German Officers and NCOs
     Schutztruppe German Officers and NCOs 1891-96
     Schutztruppe German Officers and NCOs 1896-1914
     Schutztruppe German Officers and NCOs 1914-18
     Wissmanntruppe Askari
     Schutztruppe Askari 1890-96
     Schutztruppe Askari 1896-1914
     Schutztruppe Askari 1914-18
     Askari Officers - Effendi
     African Auxiliaries
     German Reservists - Schützenkompagnie 1914-18
 III. German West Africa- Cameroon & Togo
     Brief Campaign and Unit Histories
     Schutztruppe German Officers and NCOs in Cameroon
     Schutztruppe African Other Ranks in Cameroon
     Polizeitruppe and African Auxiliaries in Cameroon
     German Reservists in Cameroon and Togo
     German Officers and Polizeitruppe NCOs in Togo
     Polizeitruppe African Other Ranks in Togo
 IV. Pacific Colonies - New Guinea & Samoa
     Brief Campaign and Unit Histories
   New Guinea
     New Guinea- German Polizeitruppe Officers
     New Guinea- Melanesian Polizeitruppe Other Ranks
     New Guinea- Micronesian Polizeitruppe Other Ranks
     New Guinea- German Reservists 
     Samoa- Polizeitruppe and Ceremonial Guards
     Samoa- German Citizen's Force 
 I. Imperial Navy
     Brief Campaign History
     Imperial Navy Officers
     Imperial Navy Other Ranks 
     Imperial Naval Tropical Landing Parties - Other Ranks
     Imperial Naval Tropical Landing Parties - Officers
     Imperial Navy in the Ottoman Empire 1914-18
     Imperial Naval on the Western Front 1914-18
     Local Naval Auxiliaries in the Colonies
 II. Marine Infantry - Seebataillone
     Brief Campaign History
     Marine Infantry Peacetime Blue Uniforms
     Marine Infantry Tropical Khaki Uniforms
     Marine Infantry Litewka Overseas Service Uniforms
     Marine Infantry Mounted Uniforms in China  1898-1914
     Marine Infantry in Cameroon 1893-94
     Marine Infantry in East Africa 1905-07
     Marine Infantry in Skutari 1913-14 
     Marine Infantry in Flanders 1914-18
     Marine Infantry in the Freikorps Schwarze Jäger 1919
 III. Marine Infantry Auxiliaries in China
     German Volunteers and Reservists in China
     Chinese Company
     Chinese Police
 I. German East Asian Army in China 1900-09
     Brief Unit Histories
     East Asian Expeditionary Corps 1900-01 - Summer Uniforms
     East Asian Expeditionary Corps 1900-01 - Winter Uniforms
     East Asian Occupation Brigade 1901-09 - Summer Uniforms
     East Asian Occupation Brigade 1901-09 - Winter Uniforms
 II. German Army in Turkey and Palestine 1914-18
     Brief Campaign and Unit Histories
     German Field Grey Uniforms
     Ottoman Uniforms
     Tropical Uniforms
 III. Other German Army Units in Tropical Uniforms
     The Kaiser and his Staff in Palestine 1898
     Army Officers Seconded to the Colonies 
     Afghan Mission 1915-16
     German Army in Macedonia 1916-18
     German Army in Georgia 1918
 I. German Overseas Volunteers
     German Volunteers in the Anglo-Boer War
     German Company of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps
     German Red Cross in the Colonies and Tropics
     Swakopmund Fire Brigade   
II. German Overseas Veterans
     Veterans of the DKKB 1920s-30s
 III. Africans in German Uniforms
     King Njoya of Bamum's Private Army 1904-09
     Other African Leaders and Private Armies
     Africans In the Imperial German Army
IV. Austro-Hungarian Overseas Forces
     Brief Campaign History
     Austro-Hungarian Navy in China and the Pacific - Other Ranks
     Austro-Hungarian Navy in China and the Pacific - Officers
     Austro-Hungarian Army in Crete 1897-98
     Austro-Hungarian Army in the Ottoman Empire 1915-18
     Austro-Hungarian Tropical Helmets
     Südwester Hats
     Tropical Helmets 
     Tropical Shako
     Field Caps                     
     Schutztruppe Pickelhaube   
     East Asian Pickelhaube
     Naval Cap Tallies 
     Rank Insignia for NCOs
     Rank Insignia for Officers
     Specialist Insignia
     Identification Brassards
     ID Tags 'Erkennungsmarken
     Schutztruppe Insignia and Miscellaneous Uniform Items
     Introduction to Medals for Colonial and Overseas Troops
    Regular Imperial German Medals
     Prussian Pour-Le-Mérite
     Prussian Iron Cross
     Other Prussian Awards
     Non-Prussian Awards
     Post 1918 Veterans Awards
    Medals for Colonial and Overseas Service
     China Campaign Medal
     South West Africa Campaign Medal
     Colonial Service Medal
     Other Awards Exclusively for Overseas Service 
    Foreign Awards
     Ottoman Turkish Awards
     Other Foreign Awards
    Medal Groups
     Medal Bars 
     Miniature Ribbon Bars
 Individual Uniform Studies
     Schutztruppe 1896 Khaki Tropical Uniform
     East African Schutztruppe Tunic from 1916
     Schutztruppe Tunic with Unknown Insignia
     Landespolizei Veteran's Tunic
     Seebataillon Dark Blue Home Uniform
     Seebataillon Officer's White Tropical Uniform
     Seebataillon Officer's Litewka
     Corduroy Tunic worn by a German Officer on the Baghdad Railway
     Naval Uniforms
     Naval Greatcoat from the Marinekorps Flandern
     Naval Doctor's Uniform
    Introduction to Artillery in the German Colonies 
     SMS Königsberg 10.5cm Guns
     SMS Königsberg Gun in Pretoria South Africa
     SMS Königsberg Gun in Jinja, Uganda
     Schutztruppe 7.5cm Mountain Guns
     Schutztruppe Artillery Recovered from Lake Otjikoto
     Rabaul Guns- C73 in New Guinea
     East African Polizeitruppe C73 Guns
     East African Ersatz Field Gun
     Decoy Guns
    Introduction to Rifles and Carbines In the German Colonies
     Mauser Jägerbüchse 1871 used in South West Africa
     Mauser G98 Rifle - Schutztruppe Variant 
     East Asian Mauser G98 Rifle
     Naval Mauser G98 Rifle   
    Introduction to Pistols in the German Colonies
     East Asian 1883 Reichsrevolver Pistol
     South West African C96 Pistol 
     Landespolizei Roth-Sauer Pistol
     Asienkorps PO8 Pistol Holster
    Introduction to Machine Guns in the German Colonies
     Naval MG 08 Machine Gun
 Bayonets and Edged Weapons
    Introduction to German Colonial Bayonets
    Introduction to Bayonet Markings
     Bayonets of the South West African Schutztruppe
     Bowie Knife of the South West African Schutztruppe
     Bayonets of the East African Schutztruppe
     Bayonets of the Cameroon Schutztruppe
     Bayonets of the Polizeitruppe
     Bayonets of the Marine Infantry- Seebataillone 
     Bayonets of the Imperial Navy
     Bayonets of the East Asian Army
     Bayonets of the German Forces on Ottoman Fronts
     Bayonet Frogs
     Bayonet and Sword Knots
     Schutztruppe Mounted Equipment 
     Askari Water Bottle
     Belt Buckles
     Officers Equipment
     Naval Equipment and Souvenirs
     Schutztruppe Binoculars
     Aircraft in the German Colonies
 Pictures, Diaries and Souvenirs
     Period Uniform Photograph Galleries
     Eyewitness Illustrations of the Siege of Tsingtao
     Military Themed Colonial Postcards
     Postcards from German South West Africa
     Recollections of the Simon Kooper Expedition of 1908
     Colonial Souvenirs
 Modern Photos of the former German Colonies
     Photos from Namibia 1990
     Photos from Namibia 2019  
     Photos from Qingdao 2010
     Photos from Kamina, Togo 2010
     Photos from Bamum, Cameroon 2001
     Photos from Bita Paka, New Guinea 2010
     Battle of Lugalu 1891 Investigation
 Museum Collections
     Swakopmund Museum, Namibia         
     Internationales Maritimes Museum, Hamburg
     Wehrgeschichtliches Museum, Rastatt
     Bayerisches Armeemuseum, Ingolstadt
     Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
     Imperial War Museum, London
     South African Museums
     Australian War Memorial
     Musée Royale de l'Armée, Brussels
     Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Vienna
 Private Collections
     Kolonialmuseum Linke Collection, Rödelsee
     Siebentritt Collection
     Doppler Collection
     Harry Fakner Collection
     Port Arthur Naval Collection
     East Asian Collection
 Causes of Confusion in Modern Collections
     Dragon Swords and Belt Buckles
     Yellow Edged Südwester Hats - Togo or China?
     'Shout at The Devil' Askari Tarbush
     Mythical 1902 Tropical Helmets
     Credits, Thanks and Personal Sources
     Book Reviews and Printed Sources
     Contemporary Illustrated Prints
     Links & Online Sources
     Latest Updates to this Website 
     Notes on this Website
     PDF files to Download
     Contact the Webmaster
     Discussion Forum
     Militaria For Sale
Cameroon Soldier
SW Africa 1914

Palestine 1917

East Asian Infantry
China 1901
Austrian Sailor
China 1908
Police Music Master
Togo c1914
Police Officer
East Africa c1910
China 1901
Army Officer
Togo c1910
Naval Gunner
Mesopotamia c1916
East Asian Jäger
China 1900
Schutztruppe NCO
Cameroon c1914
Naval Pilot
Tsingtao 1914
Police NCO
Cameroon c1889
Marine Infantry
SW Africa c1905
Medical Officer
East Africa c1917
Police NCO
Cameroon c1899
Austrian Infantry
Crete 1898
III. Seebataillon
Tsingtao c1900
Naval Officer
East Africa 1889
Austrian Driver
Palestine 1916
Police NCO
SW Africa c1910
Cameroon 1914
Bavarian Infantry
China 1900
Red Cross Volunteer
South Africa 1900
Army Officer
Ottoman Empire c1916
Marine NCO
Skutari 1914
Askari NCO
East Africa 1889
German Officer
Ottoman Army 1913
Police Soldier
Mariana Islands 1903
German Volunteer
Shanghai 1899
East Asian Artillery
China c1905
Marine Infantry
SW Africa c1905

New Guinea 1914

Schutztruppe Effendi
East Africa c1891
Police NCO
Cameroon c1889
Marine Infantry
Western Front 1918

Macedonia c1917

SW Africa c1888

Naval Medic
China 1905

East Africa 1880s
Afghanistan 1916
New Guinea 1880s
Schutztruppe Officer
SW Africa c1906
African Caprivi Police
SW Africa c1911
East Africa 1889
Wissmanntruppe Askari
  Egypt 1889
Medical Officer
East Africa c1917
Cameroon Soldier
SW Africa 1914
Marine Infantry
SW Africa c1905
Askari NCO
East Africa 1889
Naval Gunner
Mesopotamia c1916
Naval Medic
China 1905
Marine Infantry
Flanders 1914
Police Soldier
Mariana Islands 1903
Askari Drummer
East Africa c1914
Chinese Soldier
Tsingtao c1900
Palestine 1917
Red Cross Volunteer
South Africa 1900
Police NCO
Togo c1910
Schutztruppe NCO
Cameroon c1914

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This website was launched on 6th January 2004 and had 49,557 readers between Jan 2004 and Sept 2010
Text and Illustrations © C Dale 2003-23