Protection force for Cameroon

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Imperial Protection Force for Cameroon was the official name of the military formation that the German Empire maintained in its colony of Cameroon . It existed from 1895 to 1916.

Lieutenant Max von Stetten and members of the Cameroon police force around 1894


The Imperial Protection Force for Cameroon emerged in 1895 from the Cameroon police force led by the Bavarian lieutenant and Africa researcher Max von Stetten . This was set up in August 1891 and was formally formed on October 16, 1891 as the Cameroon Police Force. After the Dahomey uprising of police soldiers of West African origin caused by unjust treatment in December 1893, the old police force was disbanded and converted into the protection force for Cameroon, following the example of the protection force for German East Africa . The formal establishment of the protection troops for German South West Africa and Cameroon took place through the Reich Law of June 9, 1895. The comprehensive regulation of the legal relationships of the Ksl. Protection troops in the African protected areas took place through the Reichsgesetz of 7/18 July 1896 (RGBl. P. 653) (Protection Troops Act). The preservation of these troops was the responsibility of the respective protected area ( Reich Law on Income and Expenditures of the Protected Areas of March 30, 1892, RGBl. P. 369).


The German colonial force in the 1900's not quite conquered Cameroon consisted of 15 German officers and 23 NCOs, the two Askari - companies commanded by 318 men. There were also 150 local police officers. During the advance into the central savannahs and southern Adamawa in 1908, several volunteer recruits from the tribes of the Bali Nyonga and Bamun were added. The Ewondo put riflemen under their own commanders, called nkukuma . By 1914 the number rose to 1550 Askari with 185 German officers. The paramilitary police force (founded in 1891) comprised 1,200 men and 30 officers.

Most of the local troops were recruited outside of Cameroon ( Liberia , Togo , Dahomey ), but the Ngumba , Ndu and some other tribes in particular supported the recruitment by the Germans, as they considered this to be less stressful than the dominance of the Fulbe, for example . In the course of the World War the colonial force was expanded to almost 10,000 men.

First World War and the end

Officers of the Cameroon Protection Force in the First World War. Colonel Carl Zimmermann in the center

After the outbreak of the First World War , the fighting began on August 24, 1914 with the gunboat Surprise shelling the coast of Cameroon . The French armored cruiser Bruix also shelled the coastal towns of Kampo and Kribi . The capital, Yaounde , was captured by British troops in 1914. The numerically and materially inferior (mainly due to lack of ammunition) the Schutztruppe was able to hold out against British, Belgian and French colonial troops in the mountainous center of Cameroon for two years under the leadership of their commander Carl Zimmermann . The majority of the troops with around 550 German and around 5000 African soldiers as well as civilian refugees crossed the border to the neighboring Spanish Rio Muni area in early February 1916 and were interned at Fernando Póo or in Spain . On February 20, 1916, the last garrison in Mora (North Cameroon) under Captain Ernst von Raben fell into the hands of the British colonial army after they had promised to withdraw freely.

The members of the protection force interned on Fernando Póo made up a considerable proportion of the total population there until 1918. With great freedom of movement, they could build their accommodation, plant plantations for their food supply and operate workshops for other consumer goods.

In October 1919, the official dissolution of all protection troops in Germany was ordered.

Commanders of the protection force for Cameroon

See also


  • Gisela Graichen, Horst Founder: German Colonies: Dream and Trauma. Berlin: Ullstein, 2005, ISBN 3-550-07637-1 .
  • Florian Hoffmann: Occupation and military administration in Cameroon. Establishment and institutionalization of the colonial monopoly of violence 1891–1914 . Cuvillier Verlag, Göttingen 2007 (also dissertation, University of Münster 2006)
  • Uwe Schulte-Varendorff: War in Cameroon. The German colony in the First World War. Berlin (Chr. Links Verlag) 2011. ISBN 3-86153-655-2 .
  • Hans Surén : Battle for Cameroon - Garua. Berlin (Scherl) 1934.

Web links

Commons : Schutztruppe of Cameroon  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Deutsches Kolonial-Lexikon (1920), Volume III, p. 321 ff.
  2. ^ Section after: Erwin Herbert, Ian Heath: Small Wars and Skirmishes 1902–1918; Nottingham 2003; ISBN 978-1-901543-05-6 , p. 139.
  3. Surén: Battle for Cameroon. P. 58ff.
  4. Jürgen Zimmerer: Colonial War , in: Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich, Irina Renz (eds.): Encyclopedia First World War. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2009, ISBN 978-3-506-76578-9 , p. 617.
  5. Jacqueline de Vries: Cameroonian Schutztruppe Soldiers in Spanish-Ruled Fernando Po during the First World War: A 'Menace to the Peace'? In: War & Society. Vol. 37 (2018), Issue 4: New research on the First World War, pp. 280–301 ( online version ).
  6. Uwe Schulte-Varendorff: "Schutztruppe" . In: Ulrich van der Heyden and Joachim Zeller (eds.): Colonialism in this country - A search for traces in Germany. Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2007, ISBN 978-3-86680-269-8 , pp. 386-390 (here: p. 389).