The Wissmanntruppe and the first East African
Schutztruppe were probably initially issued the S71 long bayonet. Though no
surviving marked examples have yet been found, the East African Schutztruppe
uniform regulations for German NCOs of 1891 confirm the use of the S71 as does
at least one period photograph and several contemporary illustrations. As well
as the bayonet, the Wissmanntruppe were issued short bowie knives carried in
plain leather scabbards.
Recommended External Link -
Edged Weapons of the Schutztruppe Pt4 at
The uniform regulations of 1896 authorised the
use of the shorter S71/84 bayonets, though they may have been issued
earlier, and these remained the main bayonet used by German NCOs and
Askaris in the Schutztruppe up until the First World War. Both the S71
and S71/84 fitted their Jägerbüchse 71
rifles. Interestingly period photos show leather scabbards used with the
S71/84 but those in modern collections have metal scabbards. It may be
that the leather scabbards rotted in the African climate and were later
replaced with metal ones from the kS98.
From 1912, the Mauser 98 Carbine began to be
issued in German East Africa and with it the kS98 bayonet. The process of replacement was not fully
implemented before the First World War broke out. While German NCOs and
some askaris had received the new carbine and bayonet, the majority of
askaris were still using the S71/84 with the Jägerbüchse rifle.
Leather grips and scabbards rotted quickly
in the hot, damp climate of East Africa. Leather gripped kS98 bayonets were sometimes
locally re-gripped before wood and composition rubber gripped bayonets were
Likewise leather scabbards that came with S71/84 bayonets were replaced by steel ones.
The bayonets of the East African Schutztruppe were unit marked "Sch D.O.A." for "Schutztruppe Deutsche Ost-Afrika" followed by a
three or four figure weapon number (for example "Sch. D.O.A. 1162."). No
other unit markings, such as Field Company
("Feldkompagnie") numbers were in common use. From the
weapon numbers in the examples noted below and others known to
exist, we can see a rough pattern emerge of how the East African
kS98 bayonets were numbered (the earlier S71/84 had their own
numbering system) and estimate their dates of issue.
Erfurt W07-W10 with leather grips
(sometimes later replaced with wood) are recorded numbering
Hörster W13 with wooden grips are recorded numbering between
Erfurt W14 with composite grips are
recorded numbering between 1250-1531.
It would appear from these
numberings that the kS98 bayonets (and therefore the Kar98az
rifles), were issued in three batches of five hundred, in c1910,
1913 and 1914. This would roughly tally with the known numbers
of Kar98az available to the Schutztruppe at the outbreak of war.
In November 1914 large
numbers of British bayonets were captured at the Battle of Tanga
along with other British weapons and ammunition. These were in use
by the Schutztruppe for the remainder of the war along with other British
bayonets captured later in the war. A British P'03 bayonet has been
reported with "16.F.K.44" markings. This may possibly for the 16.
Feldkompagnie of the East African Schutztruppe who were at Tanga and may
have captured the bayonet there from British or Indian troops. After the Schutztruppe invaded Portuguese
territory in 1917, they also used captured stocks of Portuguese Mauser-Vergueiro
rifles and presumably their bayonets too.
The ever efficient German East African
wartime factories also made their own
Ersatz Bayonets during the First
World War. From the few surviving examples that have been seen they
were very roughly made with
flattened steel blades and no hand grip, instead they have a simple fixing bracket for
the Askaris' Jägerbüchse 71 rifles.