Thursday, December 22, 2016

Owikokorero Officer Casualties and Medical Personnel in Bivouac.

I've been looking for an un-watermarked version of this historic image for a long time.  It was taken during the German-Herero War in 1904 shortly after the battle of Owikokorero, where an advanced party from Major von Glasnapp's Ostabteilung was ambushed and took very heavy casualties,   10 out of 11 officers in the engagement were hit, with 7 outright fatalities.  The Major commandant was lightly wounded in the head, and the other two more seriously wounded officers appear in this image, along with some of the expedition's medical personnel.

Lying in the cot is Oberleuntnant zur See Friedrich Hermann, part of the Landungskorps from S.M.S. "Habicht".  He was in charge of a machine gun section and was shot through the left shoulder and also in the left hip.  Seated to his right is Marine-Leutnant Theobald Schäfer, who was also adjutant of the Ostabteilung.  He was shot through the bone of his left underarm and also in the buttocks.

They are attended by several known medical officers.  Standing in the rear at right is Marine-Assistenzartz Dr. Janßen.  Seated third from the right is one-year Schutztruppe medical volunteer (Einjährig-freiwilliger) Dr. Kräger, and seated to his right is Marine-Stabsartz Dr. Wiemann.  Following the death at Owikokorero of Marine-Oberassistensartz Dr. Wilhelm Belden of the Landungskorps from S.M.S. "Habicht", these were the three senior medical personnel attached to the Ostabteilung along with a 30 man medical department.  Possibly the other Germans in the image were part of that hospital section.

The two native auxiliaries remain unidentified.  They could be orderlies or batmen (bambuse) or they could be soldiers serving with the column.  They do not appear to be wounded.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Images of Native Auxilaries in German Service in DSWA

The participation of some indigenous people on the German side was awkward fact of the colonial wars in southwest Africa between 1904-1908.  The bulk of the German forces used in these conflicts were imperial Schutztruppen on detached service from their parent units, augmented by local reserves from the settler population, along with certain marine and naval elements that deployed at the outbreak of the Herero War.  Nonetheless,  there were three native auxiliary units - the Rehoboth Bastards, the Witbooi Orlam (ǀKhowesin) and a half company of Bethanie Orlam (ǃAman) - that fought alongside the Germans in 1904.  There were also indigenous people who accompanied the Schutztruppe in the capacity of officer's servants (bamusen), wagon drivers (treibern), and occasionally even as soldiers attached to predominantly white units, as depicted in the photograph above.  Standing at the far right is a soldier identified as farbiger (colored) Abraham.

The following images from German archives and period publications depict native auxilaries with the Schutztruppe in DSWA both prior to the German-Herero war and during that conflict.  Some of them served with the Germans prior to 1904 and against them afterwards.  The Witboois and some of the Bethanie men fought against the Germans during the Nama War of 1904-1908 after serving with them against the Herero. The Rehoboth Bastards fought by their side throughout, but so did individual Hereros..

Witbooi native auxiliaries (at right) in Okahandja in 1904
Mounted Witboois 1904
Witboois in Windhuk
Baster Company

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Askari Releases Mounted Schutztruppen

Askari Miniatures has filled a much needed gap in 28mm Colonial German wargaming with the release this March of four sets of Mounted Schutztruppen - horses and camels.  They are the same excellent quality as previous releases of Schutztruppen in this scale, which run closer to 26mm than true 28mm but still work with the larger scale.  The sets includes six troopers on either horses or camels, and a 3 person command pack with bugler, NCO and officer for each time of mounted troops.  One interesting feature is the ability to include rifles either in their scabbards or withdrawn.

I plan to pick up several of these sets.  Mounted officers are very rare in this scale from any current manufacturer, as indeed are mounted troops.  The camel riders will only be used in the final expedition of the Nama War in 1908, though they were around in SWA afterwards.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Schutztruppe Feldwebel Shoulder Insignia

Reproduction DSWA Feldwebel Shoulder Insignia
Here is a modern recreation of the shoulder insignia of a senior NCO in the Deutsch Südwestafrika Schutztruppe.  The feldwebel was the highest level NCO in Imperial Germany and functioned as Company Sergeant Major.  The triangular chevron with four metallic silver stripes (with blue cloth backing for DSWA) was worn by the feldwebel on the left shoulder as a detachable shoulder patch with hooks at the corners.  However, such chevrons were only worn with the tropical uniforms (either white or khaki (feldrock) and also the kord litewka.  The home and kord waffenrock uniforms, on the other hand, featured collar and cuff rank insignia instead. 

The diligent painter, therefore, should indicate NCO rank based on the appropriate style for the uniform. Senior NCOs (feldwebel or vice-feldwebel) also wore the closed sword knot without fringe (Portapee), as seen on the feldwebel in the image, below.