Tag Archives: Schutztruppe

German East African Sun Helmet

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While the bulk of the fighting in the First World War occurred in Europe, notably on the Western Front, the conflict was truly a “World War” as soldiers fought in distant parts of the globe. One of the more colorful tales involved those of Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, who commanded the German colonial forces in German East Africa – today Tanzania.

During this campaign the Germans relied on field-made equipment, and utilized every piece of arms and ordnance at their disposal. Von Lettow-Vorbeck increased the strength of his military force by recruiting German colonists and from the indigenous population, but also by requisitioning a full company of sailors from the SMS Königsberg. It is possible the above helmet was used by one of those sailors.

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The Original Camouflage: Khaki Part III – German Khaki Through Two World Wars

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While late to the race for colonial empire Germany wasted no time trying to catch up, and it soon fitted its armies in khaki uniforms, even as the German presence in her colonies varied widely.

For use in Europe the German army adopted a field gray (“feldgrau”) that proved to be as unsuitable in Africa as the British scarlet had been in India. The Germans thus looked to its own tan-based uniforms. Continue reading