Schutztruppe Mounted Equipment
Reproduced from the Doppler Collection by kind permission
(except where stated)



 


These photos show the unique mounted personal equipment worn by the German South West African Schutztruppe. The equipment itself consisted of a leather harness complete with 12 ammunition pouches, each with a strap holding down the pouch flap, stretching around the rear and buckled there. On the left hip was riveted a bayonet holder and on the right, a brass loop to attach a water bottle. Because this equipment was designed for mounted troops where the horse (or camel) could carry much of the load, no provision was made for back packs, tent sections, blankets, canteens or bread bags.

There were three slightly different types of the equipment issued. The first type had no additional pouches on the shoulder straps and therefore had only ten pouches. The second type (as seen in some photos below) added the two pouches on the shoulder straps. The third type retained the extra pouches but but added brass buttons to hold the pouches down (as seen here on the left).

This style of equipment was never issued to the regular German army in Europe. It was however worn by mounted troops of the Schutztruppe in Cameroon. When worn in Cameroon the harness was worn in a slightly different fashion with the straps crossing over the front as well as the back. Large stocks of this equipment were captured by South African forces when German South West Africa surrendered in 1915. It was thereafter used by them on campaign in German East Africa.

The South African National Museum of Military History also has an example of this style of equipment and ammunition pouches, photos of it can be seen on the page showing items from South African Museums.

This figure is wearing a Schutztruppe other ranks khaki uniform (see Schutztruppe Khaki Uniform Details Page). 

(Click on the pictures below to enlarge)

 
         

 

 

This photo shows the front of the equipment with six ammunition pouches across the front of the waist and one on each shoulder strap.

 

A closer look at the right hand side of the pouches and strap. Notice how the straps for the shoulder are buckled on the breast, making it easy to cross them over as worn in Cameroon. Note also the brass buttons added to each pouch.

 

A look at the left hand side of the ammunition pouches.

 

   
This photo shows the right hand side of the belt with its riveted loop to hold the water bottle.   The rear of the equipment with its crossed straps and additional ammunition pouches. Note that this example is unfortunately missing its belt buckle.   The left hand side of the belt with its riveted attachment for the bayonet.
   
These three photos show a different set of the mounted equipment (owned and photographed by an anonymous collector). This photo shows the full extent of the twelve ammunition pouches.   A closer look at the left hand side of the belt with its riveted bayonet holder.   A look at the right hand side of the belt with its riveted brass loop to hold the water bottle. Note the lack of buttons to hold the ammunition pouches down as opposed to the previous set of equipment.
   
A leather carbine pouch from German South West Africa as usually worn at the front right hand side of the horse's (or camel's) saddle.   A saddle bag as worn by horses and camels in the Schutztruppe.   The soldier's name tag from inside the saddle bag, identifying him as Musketeer Meyer.
   
A pair of officer's leather leggings from South West Africa.   This was the lance pennant in imperial colours used by mounted other ranks of the Schutztruppe in various colonies. The NCO's version was a black imperial eagle on a plain white background. Officers did not carry lances. By 1914 the pennant was seen more often on parade than in action as most horse back Schutztruppe served as scouts or mounted infantry armed with carbines rather than as cavalry with lances.   A pair of officer's spurs used by the Schutztruppe in South West Africa.
       
    A Schutztruppe saddle. The straps across the seat area would imply that this saddle was used on a pack horse or perhaps part of a machine gun team.    

 

 

 

 

 

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 All photographs on this page are copyright Doppler 2005
(except where stated)

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