Non-Combatant Schutztruppe Officials

Schutztruppe Paymaster
German South West Africa
He wears the corduroy uniform of the Schutztruppe but with the facing colour (dark blue edged in white) of a paymaster (Zahlmiester). The uniforms is without the Schutztruppe collar and cuff Litzen but with the paymaster's small imperial eagle on the front of the headdress.


Background to the Officials and Non-Combatants in the Colonies
The various non-combatant doctors, veterinarians, paymasters, armourers, ordinance officers, saddlers, dentists, pharmacists and inspectors that accompanied the Schutztruppe were known in German as "Beamte", or officials.  Similar officials accompanied the Imperial Navy, Marine Infantry, East Asian armies and Pascha Expeditions.

Officials were mainly posted to serve the armed forces in the colonies but they also to an extent served the European and African populations of the colonies. German Schutztruppe doctors, for example vaccinated thousands of Africans. These personnel were classed as non-combatant officials rather than soldiers and yet did on occasion fight as officers or NCOs, commanding small units of Schutztruppe in action in the absence of regular officers.

Uniforms of Officials and Non-Combatants in the Colonies
The officials wore uniforms based on those of their host unit (for example the Schutztruppe, Marine Infantry or Expeditionary Corps) but with the insignia and facing colours of their specialist trade rather than that of the host unit. Thus they can usually be recognised initially in period photographs by their lack of Schutztruppe Litzen on collar and cuffs and by their notable facing colours. Closer examination often shows eagle or crowned shield badges on the front of the headdress.

These insignia differences were based on those of the Prussian army. For example medics wore dark blue facing with red piping, armourers wore black facing with red piping and paymasters wore dark blue facing with white piping.

The exact study of these uniforms is made difficult by two factors. Firstly that the uniform regulations for officials were modified relatively frequently several times and secondly the fact that almost all officials bought privately tailored uniforms and therefore the use of them was sometimes highly individual.

Highly Recommended Reading
"The German Colonial Troops 1889-1918" by
Jürgen Kraus and Thomas Müller (Published by Verlag Militaria in German and English) gives a very full account of the uniforms of the colonial officials.

Schutztruppe Weapons Inspector
German East Africa
He wears the white tropical uniform of the Schutztruppe without Schutztruppe piping but with the gold shoulder straps of a weapons inspector (Waffen-Revisor). His cap is the same as the Schutztruppe but with black hatband with red piping and a small white metal imperial eagle on the front of the headdress above the cockade.

Plate 175a from "Das Deutsche Heer, Friedensuniformen bei Ausbruch des Weltkrieges"
Written and illustrated by H. Knötel and P. Pietsch, originally published by Diepenbroick-Grüter & Schulz, Hamburg 1935. This page shows the array of specialist facing colours and insignia for officials of the Schutztruppe at the outbreak of the First World War.

Schutztruppe Officers onboard the steamer Kronprinz before setting sail for German South West Africa, 10 October 1912
At first glance this photograph would seem to show that all these officers are combatant members of the Schutztruppe. A closer look shows that the figure on the far left has darker facing colours on his uniform and his Litzen are darker too. This is medical officer, Oberarzt Reimer with dark blue uniform facings, piped in red (rather than Schutztruppe pale blue as worn by the other officers). His Litzen are golden rather than sliver worn by the Schutztruppe officers. The other officers named in the caption are standing on deck from left to right: Leutnant Schmitt, Leutnant Mechtelt, Leutnant Heimerlinger, Oberleutnant Freiherr Von Watter, Leutnant von Geldern-Crispendorf and Leutnant von Paris, standing above them is Leutnant Lyncker and an unknown officer.
Photo © Frankfurt University Colonial Archive

Schutztruppe Hospital, South West Africa c.1904
At first glance this photo would seem to show Schutztruppe officers and soldiers but notice that while most have pale blue hatbands for German South West Africa (showing up as grey here) at least three of the seated figure have much darker hatbands, being the darker blue of medical staff piped in red. One figure standing to the left is a red cross volunteer and has a red cross hat and collar patches. Written on the photo is note saying this is
Stabsarzt Dr. Berg.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv

Medical NCOs at Tabora, German East Africa
Again this photograph would at first glance appear to show three Schutztruppe officers or NCOs. A closer look proves differently. Notice that although the photograph was taken in German East Africa, the figure on the left does not have white edging on his Südwester hat but a much darker shade, the figure in the centre has a red cross armband and the figure on the right has a small badge of some kind above the imperial cockade on his tropical helmet. These men are three senior medical NCOs (Sanitätsfeldwebel) of the German East African Schutztruppe.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv

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