Regimental nicknames? and East Asian troop numbers....

Hello folks,

I just stumbled across this website about the Lockstedter Lager training ground...." onclick=";return false;

This page is of particular interest to me as it gives the numbers of men, NCOs and officers who joined the East Asian Expeditionary Corps from each regiment. Fascinating!

But I also noticed the author has given some regiments nicknames...

The Grenadier Regiment König Wilhelm I. (2.Westpreußisches) Nr.7 has the name "Königsgrenadiere". That makes sense.

The Grenadier Regiment Prinz Carl v.Preußen (2.Brandenburgisches) Nr.12 has the name
"Kolonialregiment". I wonder why?

The Infanterie Regiment Herwarth v.Bittenfeld (1.Westfälisches) Nr.13 has the name
"Knäupkes", that sounds like a slang term, as does the Infanterie Regiment Freiherr v.Sparr (3.Westfälisches) Nr.16 with "Regiment Hacke Tau". I wonder what they mean?

Not every regiment in his list has a nickname but a lot do. I've never come across these before. Has anyone else?



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There's a list of them in the back of Reiner Herrmann's book Militärische Kopfbedeckungen der Kaiserzeit. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 978-3613020177.


Active member
Hacke Tau. This is quite a tricky one to pin down. I have looked at a couple of sources; one from the Zeitschrift für Heereskunde from 1960 and an entry in Walter Transfeldt's "Wort und Brauch in Heer und Flotte". It would appear that "Hacke Tau" is a Westphalian saying for "let them have it" (schlag zu) and was used during the Wars of Liberation and especially at Belle Alliance by Westphalians. It was then used as a Beiname or Spitzname for the original Westphalian regiments on the Prussian establishment.

Kolonialregiment is even harder to satisfactorily ascertain. According to the introduction in the recently published new edition of Walter Bloems's "Vormarsch" it derives from the fact that the regiment saw service in China and South West Africa. This is not entirely correct as only volunteers from many regiments and units made up the composition of the units formed for service in the German colonies. The regimental history published in 1895 has nothing to say on the subject and neither does another of Bloem's books - the regimental history of Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 12 published in 1940.

Hi Glenn,

Thanks for the information, the Hacke Tau definition is great. Fascinating military slang from a bygone age... the Kolonialregiment is partially explained on the wesite I quoted at-" onclick=";return false; . According to the site they contributed 1 officer, 7 NCOs and 51 soldiers to the China expedition, which is more than most regiments (though not as much as the Nr.16 "Regiment Hacke Tau"), perhaps they contributed many more to the DSWA reinforcements of 1904-08.

Thanks again for the help, Glenn!