Armbands in the German
Imperial colours (black/white/red) were worn on the
upper left arm by different German colonial forces to aid
identification. They were worn most commonly in the First World War during the East African
campaign when regulation uniforms and insignia were not available and
the enemy was dressed very similarly. Examples had been seen on Witbooi auxiliaries on the German side in pre-war colonial campaigns
in South West Africa and were also known to have been worn by
the Tsingtao Chinese Police (who also wore the other style of armband
shown here) and most likely by other irregular units in the colonies.
During the brief
resistance in New Guinea, German reservists wore green armbands on the
left or both arms to identify themselves. Non-combatant German New
Guinea Police wore white armbands during the campaign.
Shown below are several
types of armband or brassard worn by the German colonial forces.
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East Asian Infantryman
He wears the 1900 East Asian Pickelhaube,
the 1904 East Asian field grey uniform with a brassard in the
imperial colours on the left forearm.
Photo from Bundesarchiv /