East Asian Expeditionary Corps
Khaki Summer Uniforms 1900-01

Figure 1
Prussian NCO
1st East Asian Infantry Regiment

Figure 2
Saxon Infantryman
2nd East Asian Infantry Regiment

Figure 3
Prussian Infantryman
East Asian Infantry

Figure 4
NCO Trumpeter
East Asian Artillery Regiment

Figure 5
Bavarian Officer
East Asian Infantry

Summer Uniforms of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps
On 6th July 1900 a khaki uniform for the East Asian Expeditionary Corps ("Ostasiatische Expeditionskorps") was authorised for Summer wear in China.

Other Ranks Uniform
The khaki drill tunic (“Drillichrock”) was an adaptation of the peacetime army drill jacket ("Drilljacke") dyed a yellow/khaki shade and with the metal buttons from the army's dark blue tunic ("Waffenrock"). It had six buttons down the front and two on the plain rear skirt with two buttoned waist loops to further support the belt. A buttoned pocket was added on the left breast, it had no hip pockets. The collar was small and standing while the cuffs were plain. The shoulder straps were removable and were the same as worn on the Litewka of the Winter Uniform. No collar patches or Litzen were worn on the khaki tunic.

Several variations on the cut of the Drillichrock tunic can be seen in period photographs. Some tunics had eight buttons instead of six, some had a single button on each cuff, some had two breast pockets while others had none.

NCOs rank insignia was worn in the form of lace around the upper edge of the collar and buttons towards the rear of the collar (see NCO Rank Insignia Page). Musicians' swallows nests, marksmanship awards and other specialist insignia were also worn (see Specialist Insignia Page).

Matching trousers were worn with the tunic, although khaki riding breeches do not seem to have been issued so mounted troops usually wore the dark blue riding breeches from their Winter uniform. On other occasions photographs show troops wearing their khaki trousers with blue Winter uniform tunics.

Officers Uniform
The officers khaki drill tunic was generally of better quality and varied from the other ranks tunic in that it had a stand and fall collar, four buttoned pockets, and a plain rear. Officers rank insignia was shown on their shoulder straps which were of silver braid with state coloured threads running through (see Officers Rank Insignia Page). Matching khaki trousers were worn.

The commander of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps, Field Marshall Graf von Waldersee and his bodyguard wore the Uniforms of the Imperial Staff in Palestine 1898.

Straw Hat- the East Asian Expeditionary Corps was issued with a newly designed straw hat ("Strohut") for wear in China. It was similar in shape to the Schutztruppe Südwester but made of woven straw. It had a brown leather internal hatband and chinstrap with a narrow band of colour around the base of the outside of the hat. This was in company colours (1st white, 2nd red, 3rd yellow and 4th blue). The brim of the hat was held up on the right hand side by a large imperial cockade with a small state cockade worn below it. Infantry from Bavaria, Saxony, Württemberg and Baden wore their own state cockades  (see Cockade Details Page), other arms of service and the Prussian infantry all wore Prussian cockades. Some photographs show the straw hat worn without a state cockade at all.

Officers straw hats had a yellow metallic lace band around the base of the hat, while general officers wore larger (4cm wide) band of gold lace. Officers cockades were also more elaborate (again see Cockade Details Page).

One photo (on the Boxer Aufstand website) shows a member of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps wearing a large number 4 in dark cloth on the front of his straw hat, presumably a regimental or company number. I have not seen unit numbers in any other period photographs.

The straw hat proved to be impractical and unpopular on campaign and on 12th August 1900 was officially replaced by the peaked field cap. The replacement was a gradual one and photographs show it still in use much later than this, some alongside the 1900 Khaki uniform introduced in February 1901.

Peaked Cap- The khaki peaked cap ("Bordmutze") was introduced to replace the straw from 12th August 1900 onwards. Troops going to China from this date onwards (including the 5th and 6th Infantry Regiments, the Jäger Company, one cavalry squadron, two field artillery batteries and one heavy artillery battery) were issued the peaked cap in place of the straw hat and troops already in China gradually received the replacement cap from there on.

It was a plain khaki cap with a khaki hatband with no piping, the same as worn by the III. Seebatallion. It had an internal wire retaining loop to hold the shape of the crown although the wire loop was often removed. Its peak was made of grey leather. One variation of the cap had a much larger peak, often causing the hat to be worn tilted towards the back of the head. It had a brown leather chinstrap attached on either side with a small brass button. A removable khaki neckshade was issued that attached to these two buttons. A small imperial cockade above a small state cockade was worn on the front of the cap (again see Cockade Details Page).

Tropical Helmet- the Bortfeldt Tropical Helmet (see Tropical Helmets Details Page) began to be introduced in advance of the new 1900 Summer uniforms (see East Asian Occupation Brigade Page). Some photographs show some infantrymen wearing the new khaki tropical helmet (with white hatband, imperial cockade on the right hand side and brass imperial eagle on the front) with the old Drillichrock, indicating that the tropical helmet was probably introduced a short time before the rest of the uniform.

The troops of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps wore the black jackboots from their home uniforms. Trousers usually tucked into the boots although some photographs show them being worn loose over the top of the boots. Mounted troops wore black riding boots, while officers wore privately purchased riding boots or ankle boots and gaiters.

The Illustrations

Figure 1 is based on a photograph of an NCO of the 1st (Prussian) East Asian Infantry Regiment in khaki field dress probably taken upon their arrival in Shanghai in September 1900. He wears the straw hat held up on the right hand side with a large imperial cockade above a smaller Prussian cockade (black/white/black). He wears the six buttoned khaki drill tunic, with the shoulder straps of the 1st East Asian Infantry Regiment and a strip of white lace with red and black threads along the top edge of the standing collar to denote his rank as "Unteroffizier".

He also wears a marksman's award in the form of a lanyard of twisted black/white/red braid across his right breast (see Specialist Insignia Page). As the East Asian Expeditionary Corps was an elite unit formed from the best volunteers from the whole German army, the incidence of marksman's awards was disproportionately high. Equipment and boots are made of blackened leather as was standard in the German army of 1900.

Figure 2 is based on a photograph of an Infantryman from the 1st (Saxon) Battalion of the 2nd East Asian Infantry Regiment. He wears a similar straw hat and khaki uniform to that of the pervious figure. The only differences being that he wears a Saxon cockade (white/green/white) below the imperial one on his straw hat and that his tunic unusually has eight buttons down the front and a button on each cuff.

Figure 3 is based on a photograph of an Infantryman of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps in full marching order. He wears the same khaki uniform and straw hat as the previous two figures. Although the colour cannot be made out in the original photograph upon which this illustration is based, I have illustrated him with a white cord around the base of his hat for the 1st company from each infantry battalion.

Equipment carried by the East Asian Infantry Regiments was the same black leather version as that carried by the regular imperial army of the time. He caries a hide covered back pack, with a tent quarter wrapped around its outside edge and canteen fixed to the back. The bread bag and water bottle are on the right hip while the empty bayonet scabbard is on the left hip.  

Figure 4 is based on a photograph of an NCO Trumpeter of the East Asian Artillery Regiment. He wears the peaked khaki field cap with removable neckshade issued to the East Asian Expeditionary Corps from August 1900 onwards. Only the East Asian Infantry wore the insignia of their home states, the cavalry, artillery and other arms of service all wore Prussian insignia irrespective of their home units. This NCO has an imperial cockade above a Prussian cockade on the field cap.

This NCO also wears the East Asian Expeditionary Corps khaki tunic with NCOs lace around the top and front edges of the standing collar, showing him to be an "Unteroffizier". The shoulder straps are red with a yellow flaming grenade for the artillery. He wears musicians' "swallows nests" in red and yellow on his shoulders and being a mounted bugler, the stripes on his swallows nests are sloped (see Specialist Insignia Page) His bugle is carried and wrapped with cords in state colours (black/silver for Prussia). He wears the dark blue/black riding breeches of his winter uniform.

Figure 5 is based on a photograph of an Officer of a Bavarian Infantry Company of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps. He wears the officers Drillichrock with four pockets, and the shoulder straps of a Leutnant in white metallic cord with threads of pale blue for Bavaria. His straw hat has an officers yellow metallic lace band around the hatband and a Bavarian cockade (white/blue/white) below the larger Imperial one. Around his neck he wears a dark coloured (possibly dark blue based on photos of surviving examples) neck stock ("Halsbinde"). This was a small removable collar worn by many officers in the field. He wears matching khaki trousers and privately tailored black riding boots.

His belt is that of a Bavarian army officer, similar to the Prussian one but with pale blue stripes and a buckle bearing the Bavarian Lion. On his belt is a binocular case and a pistol holster. He carries a sword with its knot also in the Bavarian colours.

Period Photograph of an
East Asian Infantryman
(see Full Version of this Photograph)
Photo © Doppler Collection


A Bayonet from the
2nd East Asian Infantry Regiment

(See Bayonets Page)
Photo © Roy Williams

East Asian Heavy Artillery 1900
The other ranks wear the 1900 khaki uniform with the artillery regiment's red shoulder straps (the yellow flaming grenade insignia cannot be seen in this photograph). The officers appear to wear privately purchased white tropical uniforms. All ranks wear the 1900 straw hat.
Photo © Peter Klein


Main Sources-
"Uniformierung und Austrüstung der Ostasiatischen Truppen des Deutschen Reiches 1900-1909" by Jürgen Kraus in Zeitschrift für Heereskunde Issue 375
"Unsere Truppen in Ostasien" - illustrated plates by Moritz Ruhl
"Deutsches Ostasiatisches Expeditionskorps 1900-01"- illustrated plates by Eberhard Hettler
"Deutsche Expeditionstruppen und Schutztruppen"- illustrated plates by Edgar Graf von Matuschka


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