Seesoldat of the III. Seebataillon



Photo Doppler Collection




This is a posed studio photograph taken in Tsingtao, China sometime between 1900 (but most probably later than that) and 1914. It shows an unknown Seesoldat of the III. Seebataillon (who were based at Tsingtao).

He wears the Seebataillon 1900 Grey Litewka which replaced the 1893 Dark Blue Litewkas sometime in the early 1900s. Certainly blue Litewkas were worn during the Boxer Rebellion and as late as the Herero Rebellion, but grey Litewkas were universal prior to the First World War. The Litewka had a stand and fall collar with white collar patches with yellow Litzen, a concealed front and the same white shoulder straps with yellow insignia as the home uniform (see right). The 1900 Litewka varied from its predecessor in that it was pale grey, had plain rather than gathered cuffs and had two hip pockets. The trousers are from the home uniform and are dark blue with white piping.

Notice the curious way in which old orthochromatic film shows yellow (most noticeably on the collar Litzen) as a very dark colour, much darker than natural. This was caused by the inferior photographic techniques of the time. See the Pickelhaubes Forum for more information on orthochromatic film.

He wears the Seebataillon peaked cap (see right) in dark blue with white hatband and piping and a black leather peak. It has a small imperial cockade at the front of the hatband. Other ranks usually wore peakless field caps, but were allowed to privately purchase the peaked version as usually worn by senior NCOs and officers.

He wears a polished black leather belt with an other ranks naval belt buckle (brass with a white metal centre bearing the imperial crown inside a wreathed motto "Gott mit uns" - see Belt Buckle Details Page). From the left side of the belt is hung a bayonet (although the exact model cannot be clearly seen) with an other ranks bayonet knot (which looks to be possibly all white in which case it denotes the 1st Company).

He carries a pair of white gloves in his right hand. This curious addition is commonly seen in posed photographs of the period. It is believed the practice was started by the Kaiser Wilhelm II to make his noticeably smaller left arm appear longer. It then became the fashion amongst the German armed forces to carry a pair of gloves in one hand.

Seebataillon Shoulder Strap
(See Seebataillon Blue Uniform Page)
Photo Doppler Collection

Seebataillon Peaked Cap
(See Field Cap Details Page)
Doppler Collection

Please respect the generosity of the Doppler Collection 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.

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