Mauser Jägerbüchse 1871 used in South West Africa
Photos © Chris Wood

Calibre: 11mm
Length: 130cm
Barrel Length: 80.5cm
Magazine: N/A Single Shot

The Jägerbüchse was a light infantry version of the Gew71 and differed mainly in that it was 5cm shorter than the standard rifle. It was the main weapon of the askaris of the German East African Schutztruppe from the time of the Wissmanntruppe up until the First World War.

East African Schutztruppe Askaris firing the JB71
Note the large cloud of smoke produced.
Photo by Walther Dobbertin from Bundesarchiv / WikiCommons

  While its relatively large calibre made it ideal for use stopping charges of tribesmen, it was obsolete by comparison with the British, Belgian and Portuguese weapons of the First World War.

Not only was it a single shot weapon but like the other 1871 series Mausers, it was particularly unhelpful in that its ammunition gave up a large flame and a cloud of smoke when fired thus revealing the firer's position by both night and day. The cloud of smoke then often obscured the enemy's position before a second volley could be fired.

As well as being used by the askari of the East Africa, the JB71 was used by African troops in the Schutztruppe and Polizeitruppe of Cameroon and Togo prior to the introduction of the Kar98az. It also saw limited use by the South West African Schutztruppe and Landespolizei, again prior to the introduction of the Gew98 and Kar98.


This particular JB71 was made in Danzig (modern Gdansk, Poland) in 1880 and has an issue stamp identifying it as probably having been used by a Schutztruppe police unit at Bethanien in South West Africa. See below for more information and close up photographs.


The photograph above shows the breech, bolt and trigger mechanisms. Note the date of manufacturer 1880 on the breech.

The photograph on the left shows a close up view of the bolt. Note the 90 degree bend in the bolt handle. The standard JB71 had a straight bolt handle (see an example on the Collectible Firearms Website) as did most German rifles whereas carbines usually had bent bolts.

It may be that the replacement bolt was fitted by armourers in South West Africa as Schutztruppe G98 rifles were also adapted that way in South West Africa.

The photograph above shows the factory marking Danzig, a crowned W monogram for Kaiser Wilhelm I and various weapon number and inspection stamps.

The photograph below shows the stamp in the butt of this rifle. example shows an Imperial eagle and "ORTSPolizeibehörde Bethanien 359".  This would indicate that it was used by a Schutztruppe police unit at Bethanien in South West Africa, prior to the formation of the Landespolizei in 1905. 359 would be the weapon issue number.


Please contact me here if you have more information or photos on this topic. 

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