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Derrittmeister Militaria

Southwest Africa Commemorative Medal

Southwest Africa Commemorative Medal

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Kaiser Wilhelm II created the South West African Campaign Medal (or "Südwestafrika-Denkmünze") in March 1907, which was granted to all Germans who served in South West Africa during the Herero and Nama Rebellions from 1904 to 1908. Non-combatants who assisted in the war effort also received the medal. The ribbon featured a white background with two black stripes on either side and red stripes in the middle. The medal was a brass disc with a female warrior wearing a winged helmet on one side, with the inscription "SUEDWEST AFRIKA 1904-06" around the edges. The reverse side of the medal showed a crowned "W II" monogram above two crossed swords, with the motto "DEN SIEGREICHEN STREITERN" ("To the victorious fighters") around the edges.

Brass clasps were available for purchase with the medal to commemorate specific campaigns such as "GROSS-NAMALAND," "HEREROLAND," and "WATERBERG." The Imperial War Museum displays a ribbon with 14 clasps, which is the complete collection of clasps awarded except for "KALAHARI 1907" and "KALAHARI 1908." It is unlikely that any individual soldier received all of these clasps, and the collection is more likely a compilation of different recipients.

The Kalahari clasps are exceptional because they were also awarded to British and South African forces who assisted the Schutztruppe. The South West African Campaign Medal with a bar for "Kalahari 1907" was granted to members of the South African Cape Mounted Police and Cape Mounted Riflemen for tracking down and killing Jacob Marenga and his Nama warriors when they evaded German capture by entering Cape Colony. Major Elliot, their commanding officer, also received the Prussian Crown Order, Second Class. Similarly, the South West African Campaign Medal with a bar for "Kalahari 1908" was awarded to members of the British Bechuanaland Protectorate Police Force for their assistance in tracking down Simon Koper and his Nama warriors when they evaded German capture by entering Bechuanaland.

Non-combatants received the South West African Campaign Medal in the same style as combatants, except that the medal was made of polished steel rather than brass. Non-combatant medals did not receive campaign bars. For more information, you may want to read "German Medals, British Soldiers and the Kalahari Desert" by Gordon McGregor and visit the Traditionsverband DSWA Medal 

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