German East African Polizeitruppe Artillery



Photo © Karsten Herzogenrath


This is a photograph of a unit of the German East African Polizeitruppe taken in East Africa probably sometime between 1900 and 1914. It shows them firing four artillery pieces. The guns appear to be 7.85 cm Leichte Feldgeschutz C73, of which there were twelve in East Africa in 1914, all under Schutztruppe command.

The askaris are wearing standard uniform for the East African Polizeitruppe of this period (see close-ups below). They wore the same uniform khaki tarbush and uniform with blue-grey puttees and brown leather boots and equipment as the Schutztruppe askaris but were distinguished by a white oval patch with a red letter P, worn on the upper left arm and a noticeably larger eagle worn on the front of the tarbush headdress made of yellow metal rather than the Schutztruppe's white metal. Tunic buttons for the Polizeitruppe were also yellow metal.

Note the German NCO on the far right of the group (see close-up below). He is wearing a regulation white tropical helmet, which would have had  small imperial cockade and from 1906 onwards, a small brass imperial eagle. His tunic is the standard white tropical tunic, similar to the Schutztruppe 1896 white tunic but without the piping, and with brass buttons. His shoulder straps display his rank and would be edged in Polizeitruppe red. He wears matching white trousers and shoes. His belt appears to be similar to that worn by Schutztruppe officers, in braided silk with stripes of facing colour. This may have been in the same imperial colours as the Schutztruppe. From the belt he carries a sword as authorised for all German NCOs in the East African Polizeitruppe.

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


A close up showing the C73 gun in action. Note the palm leaves as improvised camouflage.

A close up showing the askaris. Note the Polizeitruppe arm badges and S71/84 bayonets.  

A close up of the German NCO

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.

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