Cameroon Polizeitruppe and Auxiliary Troops

Figure 1
Polizeitruppe
1889
Figure 2
Polizeitruppe NCO
c1890s
Figure 3
Polizeitruppe
c1890s
Figure 4
Polizeitruppe
1903
Figure 5
Tribal Auxiliary
c1900s

Figure 1 is based on a photograph of the Polizeitruppe in Cameroon taken in 1889 before any regular uniforms were introduced. In the photograph the police troopers ("Polizei-Soldaten") wear red fezzes with dark woollen pom-poms which may or may not also be in red. Around their necks are slung what look like canvas bags although some bags look more like animal hide. They all wear sarongs of a dark colour (most probably red, as it was cheap and easily available). Their rifles are probably obsolete by the standards of the day but appear to be breech loaders. Also in the original photograph is an African NCO who wears a similar red fez and a white uniform, possibly with lace on the cuffs.

Figure 2 is based on a photograph of a Polizeitruppe NCO in Cameroon taken in the 1890's. This was the first uniform issued to the African Polizeitruppe in Cameroon. It consisted of a lightweight naval style khaki top with a naval collar edged in red with red bands on each cuff. Trousers were three quarter length, in matching lightweight khaki. Curiously this uniform was also worn by the German New Guinea Polizeitruppe (see New Guinea Polizeitruppe Page). A red sash was worn by the Cameroon Polizeitruppe around the waist, as was also worn by the Togo Polizeitruppe. No footwear was worn. Underneath the khaki top this NCO wears a white naval style shirt with blue edging and three blue bars across the chest as was also worn by Africans in the Cameroon Schutztruppe.

The headgear was a red rolled felt fez with a blue/black tassle and a brass imperial eagle badge on the front (see right). This was the same as the rolled fez worn by the Cameroon Schutztruppe, although the Schutztruppe wore a white metal eagle.

Rank Insignia was worn in the form of red chevrons on the upper left sleeve (see NCO Rank Insignia Page), in this case the NCO is wearing four chevrons indicating he is a Sergeant Major ("Feldwebel").

The equipment worn is in brown leather. He carries two ammunition pouches either side of a blank brass belt buckle (see right). A rolled blanket can just be seen over his left shoulder, he may also be wearing a backpack underneath the blanket.

Figure 3 is based on a photograph of the Polizeitruppe in Cameroon taken in the 1890's. This view shows the rear of the naval uniform and collar as described above. This Polizei-Soldat is not wearing the red waist sash usually associated with the Cameroon and Togo Polizeitruppe. He wears the early style of ammunition pouches consisting of one large ammunition pouch centrally located on the front of the belt often with a matching one on the rear.  

Figure 4 is based on a photograph of the Polizeitruppe in Cameroon taken in 1903. By this time the naval style top had been replaced with the same style tunic as worn by the African Schutztruppe soldiers in Cameroon. It was a pocketless khaki tunic with four or sometimes (as in this case) five brass (for Polizeitruppe) buttons down the front. The stand and fall collar was edged in red and had a single red Litzen-style patch on each side. The cuffs had a bar of pointed red lace. Unlike the Schutztruppe, the Polizeitruppe wore the tunic tucked into a red sash around the waist. This police soldier has neither puttees not boots, but other photos show the Polizeitruppe in the early 20th century with puttees at least. 


Cameroon Fez
(See Imperial War Museum Collection Page)
IWM Collection

African Soldier's Buckle
(See Belt Buckles Details Page)
Photo Doppler

Cameroon Polizeitruppe kS 98 Bayonet
(See Bayonets Page)
 Photo Nate Freidlander

 

Figure 5 is based on a photograph of a Tribal Auxiliary serving with the Cameroon Schutztruppe taken probably sometime in the first decade of the 20th Century. As in the other African colonies, the German forces in Cameroon employed African irregulars to assist as guides, scouts and skirmishers. Cameroon had several very different indigenous peoples each with their own traditions and dress. Some, like the Hausa Muslims from the North, wore turbans and flowing white robes, rode decorated horses and were armed with swords, spears and obsolete firearms. Some, like the private armies of Bamum and Nso, styled themselves on the Germans and wore quasi-European uniforms (see King Njoya of Bamum's Private Army Page). Most of the auxiliaries from the thickly forested parts of Cameroon, as illustrated here, were very simply dressed. This auxiliary wears only his own roughly fitted cloth robe, dyed a dark colour (probably brown or dark red as these were the cheapest and most commonly available colours). Another auxiliary in the same original photograph is mounted and wears lighter robes, possibly in white or cream coloured cloth. Other photos of warlike Cameroon tribesmen of this period show them naked or wearing only a thin lion-cloth. Typically for Cameroon tribesmen this figure is armed with two throwing spears although some carried obsolete firearms, and carries a pouch possibly containing water or a few supplies.

 

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