Imperial German Colonial Awards

I.Imperial German Colonial Medals

Kaiser Wilhelm II

German colonial efforts in Africa and the Pacific began in earnest during 1884, but would come to an end during WW I when the German colonies were quickly occupied by enemy forces. The loss would be officially recognized by the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.

German African colonies included: (1) German East Africa (Tanganyika, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Kionga Triangle, the small border area of Tanzania and Mozambique); (2) Togoland; (3) German Southwest Africa (Namibia); and German West Africa (Cameroon). In the Pacific, the Germans held: (1) German New Guinea (the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands); (2) the Caroline Islands (Federated States of Micronesia); (3) the Northern Marianas; (4) Nauru; (5) Palau and (6) German Samoa. They also had Chinese Concessions at Tsingtao and Tientsin.

There are three German colonial medals, all of which were established by Kaiser Wilhelm II: (1) China Campaign Medal;. (2) Colonial Service Medal and (3) the Southwest Africa Campaign Medal and two veteran awards: (1) the Lion Order and (2) the Elephant Order. The Prussian Red Cross also issued a medal for colonial service as did various German states.

Imperial German Colonial Coats-of-Arms (Cameroon, New Guinea, Samoa, Southwest Africa & Togoland)

China Campaign Medal

The 35 by 32 mm China Campaign Medal was established during May 1901 and was awarded to all German combatants and non-combatants who served in the Boxer Rebellion between May 30, 1900 and June 29, 1901. It was designed by the Berlin sculptor, Walter Schott.

The bronze medal for combatants and those who tended the sick and wounded in the combat zone was edged with laurel leaves depicting a German eagle victorious over a Chinese dragon on the obverse. The reverse of the medal was also edged with laurel leaves and depicted a crowned Wilhelm II monogram and the motto DEN SIEGREICHEN STREITERN- 1900 CHINA 1901 (To the victorious fighters – 1900 China 1901). Approximately 50,000 combatant medals were manufactured by Mayer & Wilhelm of Stuttgart.

The non-combatant and support personnel version of the China Campaign Medal was made from polished steel and was inscribed, VERDIENST UM DIE EXPEDITION NACH CHINA (Served in the Expedition to China) on the reverse. Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 examples of the non-combat medals were manufactured by Mayer & Wilhelm. The non-combatant medal was not authorized campaign bars.

Private made versions in silver, silvered bronze and white metal alloy also exist.



Bars were either slip over or attached by prongs.

Combatant’s Medal with Bar TAKU and Non-Combatant’s Award

Combatant’s Medal with Bar PEKING and Reverse of the China Campaign Medal

*The PEKING clasp on the combat version was only authorized for the 251 members of the III. Seebattalion, who served under Leutnant Graf von Soden at the siege of the foreign legations in Peking. The bar was also issued by the Prussian Red Cross to five recipients of their Red Cross medal 3rd class, who served at the foreign legation.

Colonial Service Medal

The 35 mm Colonial Service Medal was established on June 13, 1912 (revised February 17, 1914) and awarded to all German combatants only (from the army, navy, Schutztruppe and Polizeitruppe) who served in colonial and overseas campaigns (except those campaigns covered by the Southwest Africa and China campaign medals). The obverse of the round medal depicts the right-side profile of the Kaiser. The reverse has the six straight-line inscription beneath the royal crown, DEN TAPFEREN SIEGREICHEN FÜR DEUTSCHLANDS ERHE (The brave victors for Germany's honor) framed by laurel leaves.

A very rare, very expensive smaller bronze version (28 mm) was awarded to native troops, known as the Askari, who served in the Schutztruppe and Polizeitruppe. Fewer than 3,000 of these smaller medals were actually created.

The single-line inscriptions on the brass combat bars designated the place and year(s) of the campaign. Official bars include:

DEUTSCH-NEUGUINEA with the following year(s) combinations: 1893, 1897, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1913/14.

DEUTSCH-OSTAFRIKA with the following year(s) combinations: 1888/89, 1889/90, 1889/91, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1897/98, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1905/07, 1911, 1912

KAMERUN with the following year(s) combinations: 1884, 1886/91, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1891/94, 1893, 1895/96, 1897, 1898, 1898/99, 1899, 1899/1900, 1900, 1900/01, 1901, 1901/02, 1902, 1902/03, 1903, 1904, 1904/05, 1905, 1905/06, 1906, 1905/07, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1908/09, 1911, 1912

PONAPE 1910/11.

SAMOA 1888

SÜDWESTAFRIKA with the following year(s) combinations: 1893/95, 1896, 1897, 1897/98, 1901, 1903/04.

TOGO with the following year(s) combinations: 1894/95, 1895, 1896, 1896/97, 1897, 1897/98, 1898, 1899, 1898/99, 1900, 1900/01, 1901, 1902, 1903.

VENEZUELA 1902/03.

Colonial Service Medal Obverse and Reverse

Colonial – China Medal Group

Southwest African Campaign Medal

The Southwest African Campaign Medal was established during March 1907 and was awarded to all German combatants and non-combatants who had served in the Herero and Namaqua Rebellions between 1904 and 1908.

The obverse of the round brass medal features a left profile view of a female warrior wearing a winged helmet and curved inscription, SUEDWEST AFRIKA on the left 1904-06 on the right. The reverse of the medal features a crowned Wilhelm II monogram above two crossed swords and surrounded by the circular inscription, DEN SIEGREICHEN STREITERN (To the victorious fighters).A polished steel version of the Southwest African Campaign Medal was awarded to non-combatants without bars. The reverse of the non-combatant medal reads, VERDIENST UM DIE EXPEDITION (For Merit to the Expedition). The crossed swords below the monogram are replaced by a laurel branch.

A total of sixteen 33 mm. long by 7 mm bars with raised inscriptions were authorized for award with the bronze medal. Official list of bars include: AUOB, FAHLGRAS, GROSS-NABAS, GROSS-NAMALAND, HEREROLAND (HERERO-LAND), KALAHARI 1907, KALAHARI 1908, KARAS-BERGE (KARASBERGE), NURUDAS (NARUDAS), NOSSOB, OMAHEKE, OMARURU, ONGANJIRA, ORANJE, TOASIS, and WATERBERG. The bar KALAHARI 1907 was only awarded to British troops (S Force Cape Colony Forces, Cape Mounted Riflemen,
Cape Mounted Police Troops 2, 3 and 4 and Scouts No 4 Troop) in the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope. The bar KALAHARI 1908 was only awarded to the British Bechuanaland Protectorate Police Force.

Southwest Africa Campaign Medal Combatant Award with Bar OMAHEKE and Reverse

Southwest Africa Campaign Medal Non-Combatant Award

KALAHARI 1907 and 1908 Bars

Close-ups of the Reverse of the Combatant and Non-Combatant Medals

Imperial German Southwest Africa Group with Bars; WATERBERG, HEREROLAND and KALAHARI 1908

Website Maintained by Vaudezilla