Tunic and Trousers
The tunic had a standing collar, a
single buttoned left breast pocket, two buttoned hip pockets and six buttons to fasten
the front. The buttons were made of horn. It had no shoulder
straps or piping and the cuffs were plain. The tunic was longer than later
Schutztruppe uniforms. Matching trousers were issued
long trousers and riding breeches.
The tunic and trousers were
made of yellow-brown "Manchester" corduroy, so called because it
was made in the cotton mills of Lancashire, England and exported to Germany. Later corduroy was made in Germany.
Officers Rank Insignia
wore two strips of lace in the Imperial colours diagonally from the shoulder
breast. This rank insignia is something I have never seen elsewhere in the
Imperial German armed forces and is based on a Russian
style, according to Stefanski (see sources listed below). Hauptmann Curt von Francois
and later his brother Hugo were the only officers in the Francois-truppe.
NCOs Rank Insignia
Stefanski also states that the NCOs ("Unteroffizier") wore a single chevron.
An illustration by H
Lüders (see below) shows this chevron worn on the right sleeve.
It is difficult from this black and white drawing to tell the colours of the
chevron but it may be in the Imperial colours like the officers breast
As the force grew so too would the
need for rank distinctions. It is not known for certain if the different ranks of the Francois-truppe wore numbers of chevron (one for Unteroffizier, two for
Sergeant and three for Feldwebel) as worn by the later
Schutztruppe. Stefanski notes that the rank of
Gefreiter was later identified by a stripe of Imperial colour lace on the
Stefanski describes a "Drillichanzug" being worn in hot weather but I
have yet to see it photographed or illustrated. It may have been similar to
the Prussian Drill uniform of the period which was in off white cotton
drill. Another possibility is that it was a khaki drill uniform of the same
cut as the corduroy tunic with a single left breast pocket. If this is the
case one may have been seen in a period photograph of an
taken in early 1907 before the introduction of the Landespolizei Khaki
Uniform later that year.
The cold nights of the Namibian desert proved that warmer clothing was
needed. A plain grey single breasted greatcoat of lama wool was issued with
a large collar. Like the tunic, it was fastened with six horn buttons.
The Francois-Truppe wore a grey felt slouch hat, the first "Südwester", although period documents refer to them at the time as
Old Brandenburger hats ("Alt-Brandenburgischer"). They had grey ribbon edging and hat band and were held
up on the right hand side with a large imperial cockade. The hats of other ranks appear to be smaller
than those of the officers in some period photographs.
Long brown leather riding boots and short ankle boots were issued, with period photographs showing officers wearing
privately purchased riding boots.