Schutztruppe "protection force") was the official name of the colonial troops in the African territories of the German colonial empire from the late 19th century to 1918. Similar to other colonial armies, the Schutztruppen consisted of volunteer European commissioned and non-commissioned officers, medical and veterinary officers. Most enlisted ranks were generally recruited locally.
Military contingents were formed in German East Africa, where they became famous as Askari, in the Kamerun colony of German West Africa, and in German South-West Africa. Control of the German colonies of New Guinea, in Samoa, and in Togoland was performed by small local police detachments. Kiautschou in China under Imperial Navy administration was a notable exception. As part of the East Asian Station the navy garrisoned at Tsingtao the marines of 3rd Sea Battalion, the only all-German unit with permanent status in an overseas protectorate.