German East African Schutztruppe Askari
Photo © Jeff Hayes


This is a photograph of an Askari of the German East African Schutztruppe, taken in East Africa probably sometime between the late 1890s and 1914. It is an excellent study and shows the typical uniform of an askari of this period.

He wears the Tarbush headdress, consisting of a khaki cover and neckshade over a reed or wicker frame. Note the horizontal lines of that frame can been seen towards the front. The white metal imperial eagle can also be seen on the front.

The tunic is plain khaki with a stand and fall collar, plain shoulder straps and cuffs with no pockets or piping. The trousers are matching khaki. The puttees would usually be dark blue/grey. It is difficult to tell their colour for sure in monochrome photographs. It may be that he is wearing locally produced khaki puttees. Unlike most askaris this man is barefooted. The Germans usually took good care of their soldiers feet and knew that local thorns and parasites could cripple a man, so usually had them all well booted and regularly inspected. But from period photographs such as this it seems that some askaris went barefooted at times.

This askari carries standard equipment, a backpack, rolled tent section (or blanket in this photograph) and 1887 ammunition pouches in brown leather. This photograph also shows excellent views of the askaris main weapons- the Jägerbüchse 71 rifle and S71/84 bayonet.

Askari S71/84 Bayonet
 (See East African Bayonets Page)
Photo © Chris Wood


Please respect the generosity of Jeff Hayes in sharing this photograph with us by not reproducing it without prior permission. 


Please contact me here if you have other photographs of the German colonies or the soldiers and sailors that served there. I am especially keen to hear from people with family photograph collections and am always happy to try to assist in identifying uniforms, units, places and dates for family history research.

Back to Main Menu for German Colonial Uniforms