This is a photograph of a naval
machine gun unit in operation in German East Africa. It is quite probably a unit
from the SMS Königsberg. From the way the officer is making himself such an easy
target, mounted in a white uniform with a sword, it would seem this photograph
was more likely taken during a training exercise than in action.
The machine gunners wear white naval
summer uniforms with blue collars and khaki Bortfeldt tropical helmets. Note the
gaiters just visible in the long grass. They carry light equipment, ammunition
pouches, water bottles and an S98 bayonet on their belts and bread bags on
shoulder straps can all be seen. Note the naval rank insignia on the sleeve of
the NCO behind the gunners. Unfortunately his rank cannot be clearly made out.
Their machine gun is most likely the Maxim 1905.
The officer is mounted on a mule and
wears a white naval officers uniform with rank insignia on his shoulder straps.
He wears a white Bortfeldt helmet with gold cords around the hatband and a small
imperial cockade on the front (though the cockade is not visible in this
photograph). He wears khaki riding breeches tucked into leather gaiters. He also
carries a naval officers sword with the sword knot ("Portepee") just
visible. Naval officers sword knots were in white metallic lace with black and