German South West African Schutztruppe
Litewka Tunic 1899-1915


Schutztruppe Officer

On 28th November 1899 a Litewka tunic was authorised for the Schutztruppe of all colonies. The tunic does not seem to have been popular and photographs of its use in any of the colonies are rare.

It was made of pale grey Molton cloth with a stand and fall collar, concealed buttons down the front, hip pockets and plain turn back cuffs. The officers version (based on the Prussian officers 1895 Litewka) had one breast pocket on the left side. All pockets had concealed flaps. The shoulder straps were as for other Schutztruppe uniforms (hussar style braids in imperial colours of other ranks, officers shoulder boards for officers).

In some period photographs the Litewka can be seen to have collar patches (in colony colours) with white Litzen. Other photographs show no collar patches or Litzen being worn.



The Illustration on the Left is based on a photograph of an Officer of the South West African Schutztruppe. He wears the officers Litewka in grey with the additional officers pocket on his left breast. His tunic has no Litzen but does have the shoulder straps of his rank.

He also wears the 1896 South West African Schutztruppe peaked corduroy cap with a small imperial cockade. The hatband and piping are in blue for South West Africa. His trousers are standard Schutztruppe corduroy issue as are his brown leather riding boots and stirrups.


Period Photographs

South West African Schutztruppe on Police Duty, Swakopmund c1898?
The original caption on this photograph dates it as 1898, though it may have been taken up to a decade later. It shows Schutztruppe personnel on police duty outside the District Office ("Bezirksamt") in Swakopmund. 

The centre three policemen wear the other ranks Litewka without breast pocket or collar patches. The Litewka was only authorised in late 1899 so either this photograph is incorrectly dated or these men are wearing a uniform ahead of its official introduction (a not unheard of event in the colonies).

The two on the far left and the man on the far right wear the 1896 Schutztruppe khaki uniform.

All the men wear the Schutztruppe grey cloth or brown corduroy peaked field cap with blue hatband and piping. Close examination of the photograph (see right) shows the men wear an imperial eagle bdage above their cap bands to denote them as being on police duty.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv



South West African Schutztruppe NCOs at the Bismarckturm in Windhoek c1906-14
The two NCOs on the left wear variations on the 1898 Schutztruppe Litewka. Both have blue colony coloured collar patches with white Litzen. Tey each have NCO lace around the collar edge though their exact ranks cannot be made out in this photographs. The NCO on the far left is most likely a senior NCO (Feldwebel or Vize Feldwebel) as he wears the officer and senior NCO pattern Litewka with a single left breast pocket. The NCO next to him is a junior NCO (Sergeant or Unteroffizier) judging from his other ranks Litewka without the breast pocket. The other NCOs in the photograph wear the 1896 Khaki Uniform. All the men wear the Schutztruppe grey peaked field cap with blue hatband and piping.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv

"Bekleidungs-Bestimmungen für die Schutztruppe 1898" (Uniform regulations for the Schutztruppe 1898). I got my printed copy from Deutsche Kolonien und Militaria on Ebay. Much of it can be found on the Traditionsverband Forum.
"The German Colonial Troops 1889-1918" by
Jurgen Kraus and Thomas Müller
"Imperial German Field Uniforms and Equipment 1907-1918 Vol 3" by Johan Somers
"German Schutztruppe in East Africa 1889-1911" by Ernst Nigmann
 "Die Deutsche Schutztruppe 1889/1918" by Werner Haupt
Photographs in the Frankfurt University Archive and Karsten Herzogenrath Collection.



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