Infantrymen of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps



Photo Johan Jansens


This photograph shows a group of soldiers from the 1st East Asian Infantry Regiment ("1. Ostasiatische Infanterie Regiment") taken in Shanghai. In the group some soldiers wear the East Asian uniforms (authorised on 6th July 1900), while other have the newer 1900/01 uniforms (authorised on 9th February 1901). This would indicate that the photograph was taken in early 1901 shortly after the new uniforms had been issued but before they had fully replaced the older uniforms.

The figures on the far left, 5th left and 6th left are wearing the old dark blue peakless field cap with red hatband and piping as worn by the Prussian Infantry, usually issued as of July 1900 with both the Prussian and Imperial cockades. Interestingly only one cockade is worn here as per the regulations of February 1901 when state cockades were abolished for the East Asian Expeditionary Corps and only imperial cockades were worn henceforth. The others all wear the new 1900/01 khaki field cap with long grey leather peak, brown leather chinstrap and single imperial cockade.

The figures on the far left, 2nd left, 7th left and 9th left are wearing the the new 1900/01 khaki tunic with stand and fall collar, four pockets and concealed buttons.

The figures on the 3rd left, 5th left and 6th left are wearing the old 1900 khaki tunic with a small standing collar, a single breast pocket and six buttons down the front.

The figures on the 4th and 8th left are wearing the old dark blue Litewka with no visible pockets, a concealed front and a stand and fall collar with red collar patches for infantry. Both these men are senior privates ("Gefreiter") as is shown by the small buttons on their collars.

Most of the men have removed their shoulder straps. The two on the far right still have theirs with a large red "1" for the 1st East Asian Infantry Regiment. The figure in the centre wears musicians swallows nests and while the others all wear khaki trousers he still wears his old 1900 dark blue winter trousers.

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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