The Kolonialmuseum Linke Collection, Rödelsee

These photographs were taken by Arne Schöfert (editor of ) on a visit to the Linke Museum of the German Colonies in Rödelsee, Germany in 2006. The impressive collection of exhibits, photographs and documents mostly consists of items from German South West Africa.

If you ever have a chance to visit Bavaria, a day out at the museum would be fully recommended. Rödelsee is about 40km East of Würzburg near to Kitzingen. The address is-

     Kolonialmuseum Linke,
     Hauptstrasse 7,
     D-97348 Rödelsee-Fröhstockheim

See the website at Linke-Kolonialmuseum

Admission costs only 2 €uros and is possible by prior appointment only. Contact the curator Norbert Linke at or on (+49)9323-1510.

Please respect Arne's generosity in sharing these photos with us by not reproducing them without prior permission.

(Click on the pictures below to enlarge)


The photograph above left shows a South West African Schutztruppe 1897 Home Uniform as worn by a Sergeant (note the rank lace on the collar and cuffs). The uniform is in grey cloth with blue piping, collar and cuffs. On the right breast is worn a sharpshooters lanyard in twisted imperial colours- black/white/red. On the left breast we see several medal ribbons including, from left to right, the 1914-18 Honour Cross for Combatants (with the badge of the Colonial Lion Order), the South West Africa Campaign Medal (for the Herero Rebellion 1904-08) and a third Bavarian medal. The headgear is a traditional Schutztruppe Südwester in grey felt with blue hatband and edging. Confusingly this figure has the belt buckle and bayonet (with NCOs bayonet knot in imperial colours) as worn by the rank of Sergeant and below, while also carrying the sword worn by the ranks of Vizefeldwebel and above. The sword presumably comes from a different soldier.

The blue banner in the lower background is from a Colonial War Veterans Union ("Kolonialkriegerverein").

The photograph above centre shows a South West African Schutztruppe 1896 Corduroy Uniform as worn by the South West African Schutztruppe on active service in cold weather. The uniform consists of a Kord Waffenrock with blue piping, collar and cuffs. The trousers are matching khaki corduroy. The peaked cap is also in matching corduroy with a blue hatband and piping and a single imperial cockade. The equipment worn is the standard type for personnel in South West Africa. 

The photograph above right shows a South West African Schutztruppe 1896 Khaki Uniform as worn on active service in hot weather. The tunic and matching trousers are piped in blue. On the left arm can just be seen the three chevrons of a Vizefeldwebel. On the right breast he wears parade cords in black/white/red for NCOs and an impressive medal display including, from left to right, the Iron Cross, the 1914-18 Honour Cross for combatants, the Württemberg Military Merit Medal in Silver, the China 1900-01 Campaign Medal for combatants, the South West Africa 1904-07 Campaign Medal with three campaign bars in bronze for combatants, the Württemberg long service medal issued in white metal for nine years service and the Prussian first class long service medal for 21 years service (much of which was probably earned on double time for colonial service). The peaked field cap is in grey to match the home uniform with blue hatband and piping for South West Africa and a single imperial cockade on the front.
A display of many items from the colonies dominated by a large imperial flag. This is the company flag from the 7th South West African Schutztruppe Field Company, the famous "Camel Riders". Herr Linke, the owner of the museum in Rödelsee, is the grandson of Vizefeldwebel Leonhard Köberlein of the 7th Company who saved the flag after the South West African surrender in 1915.

Other items seen here are photos, documents and antelope horns from Africa.

  A display including a print of a painting by Carl Becker showing a horseback Schutztruppe trooper.   A display including a photograph of an officer (possibly a Major of the Medical services- Sanitätstruppe) Note the broad officers' Litzen on the collar.
A display including the shoulder boards and peaked cap of a train or transport NCO in South West Africa (note the winged wheel badge above the imperial cockade) on the left and a Schutztruppe pharmacist (Apotheker)'s peaked cap on the right (defined by the red hatband and piping and officials' imperial eagle above the cockade).   A display including a written draft for 510 Reichsmarks to the Schutztruppe commander in South West Africa on the left, a pair of the "swallow's nest" shoulder insignia worn by native Schutztruppe or Polizeitruppe musicians in East Africa, Cameroon and Togo in the centre and a bandsman's black/white/red twisted instrument cord on the right.   A cavalry bugle used by the Schutztruppe in South West Africa. Note the cord in twisted black/white/red.
Various bits of kit used by the South West African Schutztruppe including two canteens and a felt covered aluminium water bottle with a cork stopper.   A pair of field glasses with their carrying case commonly used by officers in the South West African Schutztruppe.   A pair of riding boots as were standard issue to the Schutztruppe in South West Africa. They were usually worn with a leather strap attached over the front to fix the spurs in place.
A pair of camel bags used by the South West African Schutztruppe   A horse saddle with full kit used by the South West African Schutztruppe   Another horse saddle used by the South West African Schutztruppe
A stirrup used by the South West African Schutztruppe camel riders.   Medical bags used in South West Africa. The tropical helmet is also from South West Africa, although not of Schutztruppe issue it may have been used by a doctor or colonial official.   A Machine gun belt and ammunition boxes for the Maxim Machine gun used by the South West African Schutztruppe. The Germans first used Maxim machine guns during the Herero Rebellion in South West Africa to devastating effect.
A heliograph communications system used by the South West African Schutztruppe.   A wooden commemorative plaque for Schutztruppe Gefreiter Wilhelm Siebel who died on November 26th 1904 in South West Africa.   A three pointed imperial flag of the type used to drape outside buildings. This one was once used outside the Colonial Ministry Office (Reichskolonialamt) in Berlin.
  short, a visit to the Rödelsee German Colonial Museum would be a very interesting day out...

 All photographs on this page taken by A Schöfert © 2006

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