Swords of the German Colonial and Overseas Forces


A collection of Schutztruppe Swords
(See Siebentritt Collection Page)

  Although swords were usually kept for parades rather than active duty all German officers and senior NCOs in the armed forces were entitled to carry them. As well as German officers and senior NCOs, some other branches of the overseas troops carried swords-
  • Mounted other ranks in the East Asian Expeditionary Corps
  • Mounted other ranks in the Tsingtao Marine Artillery Battery
  • Junior NCOs from Sergeant upwards in the Polizeitruppe and Landespolizei
  • Mounted other ranks in the Tsingtao Chinese Police
  • African officers (Effendi) in the East African Schutztruppe
  • African Senior NCOs in the East African Wissmanntruppe
  • African senior NCOs in the Togo Polizeitruppe

The type of sword and its decoration depended on the owners arm of service and rank. Many types of sword were in service, some are photographed below. The manufacturer and unit markings on swords were the same as on bayonets and are described on the Bayonets Page.


Highly Recommended External Link- Traditionsverband has four excellent articles by Rolf Selzer on the swords of the Schutztruppe. They are entitled "Die Offizierseitengewehre in den deutschen Schutzgebieten" in the "Magazin" section. In the same section are other articles on Polizeitruppe and Landespolizei swords.

Please respect the generosity of the owners of these bayonets in sharing their copyrighted photos with us by not reproducing them without prior permission.

(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

A German Colonial Sword Photo © Leonid Lantsman
This is the typical kind of dress sword carried by the Schutztruppe and Polizeitruppe from the mid-1890s until the First World War. Note the large imperial eagle on the hand guard and crowned imperial monogram on the grip. This particular sword is marked as having been made by "Weyerburg Kirschbaum & Cie Solingen".

East Asian Officer's Sword Photo © François Fischer

This is an officer's sword from the East Asian Occupation Brigade. Like the swords of the Schutztruppe it has an imperial eagle displayed on the guard.

A Naval Dress Sword from the depot unit of the III. Seebataillon Photos © Dow Cross

The markings "III. St. S.B. 37" show this oversize or Grosser 1870/1880 pattern Naval sword to have been issued to the depot unit ("Stamm") of the III. Seebataillon based at Cuxhaven in Germany. Note the ornately decorated grip and hilt and the officer's sword knot.

A Naval Sword from the East Asian Marine Detachment Photo © Dow Cross
The markings "O.M.D.1 3" show this sword to have been issued to the 1st Company of the East Asian Marine Detachment ("Ostasiatische Marine Detachment, 1.Kompanie").

A Prussian Infantry 1852 Sword from the II. Seebataillon Photos © Chris Wood

The markings "II.S.B.56" on this Prussian 1852 Infantry Short Sword show it to have been issued to the II. Seebataillon, weapon number 56. On the other side is a Prussian crown and W (for Wilhelm I) and "7_" with the last digit of the date missing and cancelled markings for previous issue "4.15".
A Selection of Dragon Swords from the The Wehrgeschichtliches Museum Collection, Rastatt (left and centre) and © Doppler Collection (right)
Three "dragon swords", each of the 1889 Prussian model but with a Chinese dragon on the hilt rather than a German eagle or state emblem. The sword in the centre is for an officer, while those on the left and right are for other ranks. It has long been debated as to whether these swords (and the similar Dragon Belt Buckles) were made for the German East Asian troops or for the Chinese army. German eye witnesses to the Boxer Rebellion report finding such swords in Chinese positions at Taku and in Chinese arsenals (see Dragon Article- "China-Waffen" at Traditionsverband), yet the caption in the Rastatt Museum says they were a private purchase option for the German East Asian Expeditionary Corps.

Dragon Sword for a German Officer Photos © History by George!

This Dragon sword also has the Imperial monogram, "WII" on the grip and so unlike most dragon swords was probably not made for export to the Chinese army but for a German officer serving (or formerly serving) in China. This sword also has a German officers Portepee Sword Knot attached. The dragon sword was never officially authorised for German officers but does appear to have been privately made for some. Note the maker's mark for "Weyerburg Kirschbaum & Cie" of Solingen on the blade (see right).

Please contact me here if you have more information or photos on this topic. 

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