German Army Officers Seconded to the
In South West Africa, East Africa and Cameroon these army officers served alongside Schutztruppe officers. As Togo had no Schutztruppe, an army officer was permanently posted there from 1894 onwards to oversee the training of the Polizeitruppe in military matters and to lead them in action if necessary. The same principal was applied in New Guinea from 1911, also being a colony without Schutztruppe.
Uniforms of German Army Officers
Seconded to the Colonies
Along with such army insignia the blue Schutztruppe piping was still worn on white and khaki tropical uniforms and colony colours (blue for South West Africa, white for East Africa and red for Cameroon and Togo) were worn on the piping, collars and cuffs of the grey home uniform. Likewise the hatbands and edging of their Südwester hats and peaked field caps were in colony colours. From 30th August 1912 army officers seconded to Togo were authorised to wear yellow as a new colony colour, while officers in New Guinea were authorised to wear green and those in Samoa were authorised to wear light rose pink (although this last order was purely hypothetical as no army officers were seconded to Samoa). White metallic cords were worn around the hatband of the tropical helmet, as used by the Schutztruppe.
As with most German officers uniforms from all branches of service, the uniforms worn by army officers in the colonies were usually privately tailored and therefore slight differences of cut and shape occurred. This probably happened more so with army officers seconded to the colonies, as so few were selected their uniforms would often have been unique.
One very interesting example of a tunic worn by a Leutnant of the 99th Upper Rhineland Infantry Regt ("2. Oberrheinisches Infanterie Regiment. Nr.99") seconded to Togo is photographed in "Imperial German Field Uniforms and Equipment 1907-1918 Vol 3" by Johan Somers (see Book Reviews Page). It is a white tropical tunic of similar cut to many Schutztruppe tunics but has the shoulder straps of the 99th Infantry and unusually has Togo yellow piping around the collar, front and Swedish buttoned cuffs. This is curious as the colony piping did not usually apply to the white tunic (which was usually piped blue irrespective of colony) and also because Schutztruppe tropical tunics did not have buttoned Swedish cuffs, nor did the uniforms of the 99th Infantry Regt (which had Brandenburg style cuffs). I believe this illustrates the unique nature of these uniforms, and the levels of variation from standard regulations that were sometimes worn.
Another interesting existing piece is a white tropical helmet photographed in "Tropenhelme der kaiserliche Marine, der Ostasiatischen Truppen und der Schutztruppen" by Ulrich Schiers (again see Book Reviews Page). It has the uncommon all green cockade of the Duchy of Anhalt (only worn by the 93rd Anhalt Infantry Regiment- "Anhaltisches Infanterie Regiment Nr. 93") with a reserve cross superimposed. It is not known to which colony this Reserve Officer was seconded.
Figure 1 is based on a photograph of Oberleutnant der Reserve Valentin von Massow, a German Army Officer Seconded to Togo probably taken around 1898. Von Massow wears a privately tailored khaki uniform based closely on the Schutztruppe design but with a higher standing collar, scalloped pocket flaps and without the Schutztruppe blue piping.
His shoulder straps are those of a Prussian army officer, made of silver braid with black threads (probably with a brass numeral "4" and the red piping of von Massow's home regiment- the 4th Prussian Cuirassiers- although these details cannot be verified from the original photograph upon which this illustration is based) and with the single rank pip of an Oberleutnant (see Officers Rank Insignia Page). His buttons would likewise have been brass with a Prussian eagle on them as worn by his home regiment. On his left breast he wears what appears to be a Prussian Order of the Red Eagle medal with swords. He wears a privately purchased khaki tropical helmet with a dark hatband and a small imperial cockade above a small Prussian (black/white/black) cockade in the style of the regular army (the Polizeitruppe and Schutztruppe did not wear state cockades).
In the original photograph upon which this illustration is based, von Massow is seen only from the waist up and so details of his belt, trousers or boots cannot be known for certain. I have drawn him wearing matching khaki trousers over short brown leather boots. On campaign he would probably have worn leather gaiters and ankle boots, possibly with riding breeches and a pistol holster hung from his belt. The belt would probably either have been a plain leather privately purchased item or perhaps his home regiment's white and black horizontally striped officers belt (see Belt Buckle Details Page).
Figure 2 is based on a photograph of Oberleutnant von Schäfer, a German Army Officer Seconded to South West Africa, taken onboard the steamer "Lulu Bohlen" on his return voyage to Wilhelmshaven in April 1905. Von Schäfer had been in South West Africa during the Herero Rebellion serving as adjutant to the Seebatallion Marine Expeditionskorps.
While some other officers of the Marine Expeditionskorps in the original photograph upon which this illustration is based wear Schutztruppe uniform and Südwester hats, von Schäfer wears the uniform of his home unit the 123rd Württemberg Grenadier Regiment ("Grenadier Regiment König Karl (5.Württembergisches) Nr.123"). He wears a privately purchased Pickelhaube bearing the Württemberg Coats of Arms in white metal and a Württemberg cockade (black/red/black) on the left side. His officer's greatcoat is double breasted with white metal buttons bearing the Württemberg crown and an infantry red collar. The shoulder straps are in white metallic braid with Württemberg's black and red threads, the 123rd Regiment's crowned monogram ("K" for Karl) in white metal and a single white metal rank pip for an Oberleutnant. Under his greatcoat collar can be seen the red collar with white double Litzen of the 123rd Regt. The tunic would have been dark blue piped in red with the same shoulder straps, eight white metal Württemberg buttons down the front and Swedish style cuffs also bearing white double Litzen.
While on active service in South West Africa von Schäfer would probably have worn Schutztruppe or Seebatallion uniform, though this photograph taken before he arrived back in Germany shows that he did at least take his dark blue home uniform along to Africa, and may also have worn it there on formal occasions. At least one other period photograph shows a Lancer ("Ulan") officer in dark blue full dress in South West Africa.
Figure 3 is based on a photograph of a German Army Officer Seconded to Togo taken with the Lome Polizeitruppe in about 1910. This officer wears his uniforms exactly as prescribed by regulations. The uniform consists of a Schutztruppe 1896 khaki tunic piped in blue with matching trousers. Around his neck he wears a small white removable collar or neck stock ("Halsbinde"). Such collars were commonly worn by officers in the field. He wears a grey peaked cap to match the home uniform, piping and hatband in colony colour (in this case red for Togo, up until 1912 when it was replaced by yellow). The peaked cap has a small imperial cockade above a state cockade and the shoulders straps are those of an army Leutnant with an unidentifiable regimental numeral or monogram. His boots are probably privately tailored brown leather riding boots.
Figure 4 is based on a photograph of Oberleutnant Georg Mayer, a Bavarian Army Officer Seconded to New Guinea taken in training with the New Guinea Polizeitruppe and Reservists just prior to the Australian invasion in 1914. He wears a white tropical uniform, similar to that of the Schutztruppe but with Bavarian army officers shoulder straps in blue and white braiding, with a single pip for Oberleutnant. The backing for the shoulder strap would have been in regimental piping colour, in this case red for the 2nd Bavarian Heavy Cavalry Regiment ("2. Schweres Reiter Regiment Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand von Österreich-Este"). The tunic appears to be without the blue piping usually, but not always seen on Schutztruppe uniforms. His buttons would likewise have been brass, bearing the Bavarian lion. His trousers are khaki and are quite probably from a matching khaki uniform he may have owned, which would most likely have worn in action during the Australian invasion. His tropical helmet is white and has a small imperial cockade above a small Bavarian one (white/blue/white). He would again most likely have had a matching khaki helmet or at least a cover to wear over his white helmet in action.
List of German Army Officers Commanding the
Polizeitruppe of Togo and New Guinea
This list was compiled
with reference to the following recommended Sources-