German Youth Group Uniforms: Gun Clubs

Figure 1.--This is an Edelknaben coronation ceremonies. The boy in the middle is the Edelknabenkoenig and hand over a medal to one of his ministers.

HBU have noted some gun clubs or marksmanship groups, but currently have only some limited information about them. These groups are of historic foundation in Germany. We thougt that guns were very restricted in Europe, but there appear to be quite a few gun clubs in Germany where boys receive markmanship training and participate in target shooting contests. This has been the subject of some debate in Germany. As far as we know this was a West German activity, but since reunification in 1990 may have spread to East Grmany as well. We know of two different groups, Edelknaben and Pagencorps.


Marksman Clubs in Germany, espcecially in Nordrhein-Westfalen and Bavaria have a long tradition. Many of these groups were founded at the end of the 19th century date back to 18th century and the Napoleon Wars at the beginning of the 19th century. At this time, citizens formed some battalions to defend the hometown. This is the reason for militaty look of many marksman club uniforms. The keepsake of this tradition is one the goals of the marksman clubs. The greatest public festivals in Germany, for example "The Oktoberfest in Munich", "The Neusser Schuetzenfest" or the "Düsseldorfer Rheinkirmes" developed from some marksman traditions. Most markman clubs today use air guns for boys in their competitions, but a few uses old traditional weapons like the Armbrust. Because of the viloence and deadly incidents at schools in Germany and the United States, a great discussion about the markmanship clubs in Germany has occurred. Some say that the markmanship clubs might be a danger for the children. But because the proper handling of weapons is an important point of working with youth in the clubs, the complaints about the clubs have declined in recent years.


We note the boys in gun clubs wearing different kinds of uniforms. We are not sure what they wore before World War II. We havevnot found any ohotgraphs of the gun clubs during the NAZI era. These clubs could not be incorporated within the Hitkler Youth as they were adult clubs and the boys were involved as youth auxileries of the adult clubs. We do note the clubs after the War. We see boys wearing regukar suits to award ceremonies. After the War the Allies were concerned with de-Nazification and anti-militarism. Thus weariung a military styled uniform would probably have aroused unwanted attention, in additin to the guns themselves. After the occupatioin ended (1960s), we begin to see fancy military styled uniforms. Some were very basic, but others were quite elaborate.


We know of two specific organizations, Edelknaben and Pagencorps.


This German group was identified on television as Edelknaben. "Knaben" means "boys". So we know this is a boys' group. The boys are members of a shooting or markmanship club. The group's name translates as "nobel boys". There seem to be a number of these groups in various German cities. The boys here are participating in a parade. I am not sure if it is a civic parade or their own group parade. They appaear to wear a mid-19th century styled unifom rather like the Franco-Prussian War when Germany achieved its independence, but with short pants and white kneesocks which were not worn until much later.


This is another youth group similar to the Edelknabencorps. It's called Pagencorps and it is another shooting club group. We have liitle information about this group other than it is associated with gun clubs. Like the Edelknabencorps they have destinctive, but quite different uniforms. The Pagencorps uniforms seem to date from the 17th century. We do not know why these uniforms were adopted.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web Site:
[Return to the Main German country page]
[Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Essays] [Garments] [Organizations] [Religion] [Other]
[Introduction] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Questions] [Unknown images]
[Boys' Uniform Home]

Created: September 15, 2003
Last updated: 4:09 AM 9/3/2009