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Prior to the First World War, Germany had built up a small world-wide empire in an effort to compete with their main rivals, the British and the French. Part of Germany’s empire was located in Africa and in particular Südwest Afrika or what is today know as Namibia.


The German military force that garrisoned Südwest Afrika consisted of the Schutztruppe, a force that was specifically recruited for colonial service, separate from the main German military establishment (the biggest distinction is that it was a “national” force that belonged to no individual German state). However, members of the German Army were often seconded to the Schutztruppe and there are records of Chevaulegers having served (and died).

At it’s height, the Schutztruppe consisted of some 17 companies, all mounted (one rode camels) for maximum mobility in a mostly arid/desert country with almost no roads or other transportation infrastructure. Below are some illustrations of the Schutztruppe:


Sudwest Afrika12

German Collumn


And yes, even camels were used. One company of Schütztruppen were mounted on camels.

kamelkorps2 Sudwest Afrika2

The above pictures provide just a hint at the harsh conditions that the Schutztruppen of Südwest Afrika had to contend with and it severely tested the abilities of both horse (and in some cases, camel) and rider. I hope to add some more to this in the future.