The greatcoat authorised on 19th November 1896 was exactly the same
as for the South West
African Schutztruppe - (Grey cloth with a stand and fall collar
and plain turn back cuffs. It was double breasted for officers with
two rows of six white metal buttons and single breasted for other
ranks with one row of six white metal buttons. All buttons bore the
The exceptions for Cameroon being
that officers of the Cameroon
Schutztruppe had plain red collars and NCOs had grey collars with
red collar patches with Litzen and rank insignia. Shoulder straps
for NCOs were red, those of officers were as for their other
uniforms. The greatcoat was not commonly worn in Cameroon and was
usually only needed on home duty in Germany.
Uniforms such as the Interimsrock, Litewka, Officer's cloak and mess
jacket were authorised for the Cameroon Schutztruppe as for the
South West African Schutztruppe but with red rather than blue
distinctions. These uniforms were rarely worn in Africa.
Shoulder Straps and Insignia
Other ranks shoulder straps for all uniforms were woven
from twisted cord in black/white/red. NCO rank insignia was shown in
the form of collar and cuff lace and buttons on the collar as was
worn by the regular imperial army (see
NCO Rank Insignia Page) on the
grey home uniform. NCOs rank insignia on the white and
khaki uniforms was worn in the form of white metallic lace chevrons
on the upper left arm.
Shoulder straps for junior officers were
woven from silver cord with black and red threads through it, on a
white backing. Senior
officers shoulder straps were woven from silver braid with black and
red threads. Officers wore sliver pips to display rank in the same
way as the imperial army (see Officers Rank
Specialist insignia as worn by the
Prussian army such as musicians swallow's nests, one year volunteer's shoulder board lace and marksmanship awards
were also worn on Schutztruppe uniforms but in Imperial colours rather
than Prussian where applicable (see
Specialist Insignia Page).
Aiguillette cords were worn across
the left breast on parade with all types of uniform. These were in
white metallic cord for officers or twisted cords in the imperial
colours for NCOs.
Headdress for all ranks came in three types- a Südwester hat, a peaked field cap and a
A grey felt Südwester slouch hat, similar to
that which had previously only been worn in South West Africa, was
introduced for the Schutztruppe of all colonies in 1896 (see
Details Page). It was held up on the right
hand side with a large imperial cockade, although some photographs
show the hat was occasionally worn backwards with the cockade on the
hatband and edging were in colony colours (red for Cameroon).
Officers and senior NCOs
wore privately purchased hats with slight variations in the size of
the brim, the quality of the hat and ribbon and with more elaborate
Cockades Details Page).
Schutztruppe did not always wear the Südwester hat as in South West
Africa, but it does appear more often in period photographs in
Cameroon than in East Africa.
On 19th November 1896
the new regulations kept the same basic form of the 1891 white helmet
Tropical Helmets Details Page).
The eagle and spike were now dispensed with and the officers cord
was changed to a white metallic one. The small imperial cockade was
retained on the front. A khaki cover was worn on active service and
surviving examples and period photographs show that khaki helmets
were also frequently worn.
December 1913 further regulations brought in a new helmet, lower in
height with a more rounded brim and only authorised in khaki (although a white cover could be
worn on parade). NCOs were now permitted to wear a black/white/red
twisted cord around the hatband.
Peaked Field Cap
A field cap, similar to that worn by officers and senior NCOs of the
Prussian army, was authorised for the Schutztruppe of all colonies in
Field Caps Details Page). It was grey
(to match the home uniform) with a black leather peak and hatband
and piping in colony colours (red for Cameroon). On the front
of the hatband was a small imperial cockade. The cap was issued with
a wire retaining loop that held the shape of the top of the hat.
This loop was often removed to give a more comfortable appearance in
the field. Again officers and senior NCOs usually
wore privately purchased hats sometimes with slight variations in the colour
of the cloth (field grey cloth and brown corduroy were sometimes
of the peak, the quality of the hat and with more elaborate
The regulations of 1896 stated that officers could wear brown
leather riding boots (or often short ankle boots with leather
gaiters). Other ranks wore short brown leather ankle boots (with
dark blue/grey, later grey puttees in the tropics). Short white
leather ankle boots were worn with the white tropical uniform. The
regulations of 1897 for the home uniform stated that the boots
should be black leather, though photographic evidence shows that
brown leather boots were sometimes worn with home uniform.
NCOs wore brown leather equipment
with a the same Imperial crown belt buckle as worn by other ranks in
the navy. Officers wore the same belt of white
metallic lace with red and black horizontal stripes with an imperial belt
buckle as worn by officers of the Imperial navy, though many
officers are seen in period photographs wearing other ranks or
privately purchased brown leather belts either with the other ranks
buckle or an open buckle.
Minimal equipment was carried in the field. Porters carried most
heavy items, so period photographs usually show German officers and
NCOs carrying only a pistol, binoculars and a water bottle or less.
Officers and senior NCOs were
entitled to carry the 1889 Prussian infantry officers sword with an
Imperial eagle on the hilt. Swords were not usually carried in
action. Officers and senior NCOs were usually
armed only with a pistol in the field. The Reichsrevolver 79/83 as
well as the Luger 08 would probably have been the most common in
The Jägerbüchse 71 rifle was original
carried by junior NCOs, but these had all been replaced with the Kar98AZ
carbine before the First World War for German personnel. The S71/84
bayonet was issued with the Jägerbüchse 71. The kS98 bayonet was
issued with the Kar98AZ carbine.
"Bekleidungs-Vorschrift für die
Kaiserlichen Schutztruppen in Afrika" (Uniform
regulations for the Imperial Schutztruppe
in Africa), 19/11/1896, 11/3/1897, 1898 and 29/12/1913. I got my printed copy from Deutsche Kolonien und Militaria on Ebay. Much of it can be
found on the
Troops 1889-1918" by
Kraus and Thomas Müller (Verlag Books)
"Die Deutsche Schutztruppe
1889/1918" by Werner Haupt (Dörfler Publishing)
Photographs from the
Colonial Archives and the
Axis History Forum