Imperial German Marines, 1871–1918

Sergeant of I. Seebataillon in Full Dress.

At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War the North German Navy had one battalion of Marines stationed at Kiel. The Seebataillon had been established on 13 May 1852, and by 1870 its strength had increased to 22 officers and 680 men in five marine infantry companies. When the German Empire was established in 1871, the Navy of the North German Federation became the Imperial German Navy. The strength of the Seebataillon was increased to six companies. On 01 October 1886 the Seebataillon was split into two half-battalions, stationed at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. Battalion Headquarters remained with the I. Halbbataillon at Kiel. The II. Halbbataillon at Wilhelmshaven was commanded by the most senior company commander there. By Imperial Order of 12 March 1889 both half-battalions were increased to marine battalions with four companies each. The III. Seebataillon was raised on 03 December 1897 from Detachments of I. Seebataillon (1. and 2. Kompanie) and II. Seebataillon (3. and 4. Kompanie), and it was deployed to the German Protectorate of Kiautschou in China.

Inspektion der Marineinfanterie – Kiel

  • I. Seebataillon – Kiel
  • II. Seebataillon – Wilhelmshaven
  • III. Seebataillon – Kiautschou
  • Ostasiatisches Marinedetachement – Kiautschou


  • Kolonialmarine, 1:24 Mini-Forma D52
  • German Officers, 1:56 Copplestone Castings AF23
  • German Marines, 1:56 Copplestone Castings AFU1
  • German Seebataillon Officers, 1:62 Pulp Figures PGS 1
  • German Seebataillon NCOs, 1:62 Pulp Figures PGS 2
  • German Seebataillon Troops, 1:62 Pulp Figures PGS 3
  • German Seebataillon Troops, 1:62 Pulp Figures PGS 4
  • German Seebataillon with Maxim Gun, 1:62 Pulp Figures PGS 5
  • German Seebataillon advancing, 1:62 Pulp Figures PGS 6
  • German Seebataillon firing, 1:62 Pulp Figures PGS 7
  • German Marines Seebataillon, 1:64 Reviresco Ger28-24
  • German Marines Seebataillon Color Party, 1:64 Reviresco Ger28-25
  • German Marines Seebataillon Standing at High Port, 1:64 Reviresco Ger28-26
  • German Marines Seebataillon Mixed Combat, 1:64 Reviresco Ger28-27
  • German Marines Seebataillon Charging with Bayonet, 1:64 Reviresco Ger28-28
  • German Marines Seebataillon Standing Firing, 1:64 Reviresco Ger28-29
  • German See Battalion Skirmish with Command, 25 mm Old Glory CBP-03
  • German Seebataillon, advancing, 25 mm Ral Partha 88-317
  • Marine at ready, 25 mm Falcon Miniatures C-2008
  • Marine in Helmet, 25 mm Matchlock Miniatures FIN07D
  • Jäger/Landsturm (Shako, 1914), 1:76 Tumbling Dice OCINF27
  • Reserve Infantry/Landsturm conversions, 1:76 Airfix 01726; HäT 7001

German marines wore a light khaki tropical uniform with white shoulder-boards, black jackboots and leather equipment. The shoulder-boards carried the imperial crown above crossed anchors and the unit number in roman numerals. On campaign, the shako was replaced by a white pith helmet with a large silver badge depicting the imperial eagle on an anchor, and a small national cockade below the badge. The marines carried the infantry Tornister knapsack with the blanket-roll strapped to the outside of it. German Jäger or Landsturm infantry figures may be used to represent imperial German marines in Prussian Blue dress uniforms.

On 01 April 1958 the German Bundesmarine federal navy raised a Marine-Pionierbataillon at Wilhelmshaven-Sengwarden which was designated Seebataillon in 1959, and disbanded at Borkum on 31.12.1964.

Colonial Miniatures