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Title: My Reminiscences of East Africa
Author: Lettow-Vorbeck, General von
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                         TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.



                   _My Reminiscences of East Africa_

[Illustration: General von Lettow-Vorbeck.]



                           _MY REMINISCENCES
                            OF EAST AFRICA_

                    _By General von Lettow-Vorbeck_


               _With Portrait, 22 Maps and Sketch-Maps,
               ∷     ∷     and 13 Drawings     ∷      ∷
               By General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant_


                   _LONDON: HURST AND BLACKETT, LTD.
                       PATERNOSTER HOUSE, E.C._



PREFACE


IN all the German colonies, though but a few decades old, a life
full of promise was discernible. We were beginning to understand the
national value of our colonial possessions; settlers and capital were
venturing in; industries and factories were beginning to flourish.
Compared with that of other nations, the colonizing process of Germany
had progressed peacefully and steadily, and the inhabitants had
confidence in the justice of German administration. This development
had barely commenced when it was destroyed by the world war. In spite
of all tangible proofs to the contrary, an unjustifiable campaign of
falsehood is being conducted in order to make the world believe that
the Germans lacked colonizing talent and were cruel to the natives.

A small force, mainly composed of these very natives, opposed this
development. Almost without any external means of coercion, even
without immediate payment, this force, with its numerous native
followers, faithfully followed its German leaders throughout the whole
of the prolonged war against a more than hundredfold superiority. When
the armistice came it was still fit to fight, and imbued with the best
soldierly spirit. That is a fact which cannot be controverted, and is
in itself a sufficient answer to the hostile mis-statements.

It has not been possible for me to give an exhaustive account of the
operations of the German East African Protective Force. The existing
material is insufficient, much has been lost, and even now I am
unacquainted with various events, the actors in which have not yet
returned home. My own records have for the most part been lost, and I
had not the leisure to prepare a detailed description of the campaign
in East Africa in addition to my other duties. My account is therefore
necessarily incomplete. In the main I must rely upon my memory and on
my personal experiences. Errors in detail are unavoidable.

But in spite of this, the following account may not be without value,
nor perhaps without interest, since it shows how what is up to the
present the greatest drama in our colonial history was enacted in
the head of him who was destined to conduct the military side of it.
I have endeavoured to set down my recollections of East Africa as
they actually are, and thus at least to present what is subjectively
correct.



CONTENTS


  PART I

  EVENTS PREVIOUS TO THE ARRIVAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICANS

                                                                    PAGE

  CHAPTER I.: BEFORE THE OUTBREAK OF WAR                               3

  Reflections on the duties and purpose of the Protective Force.
  Details of the defensive capacity of the Colony. Distribution,
  armament and training of the Force. Military employment
  and mental attitude of the natives. Economic value of the
  country, and furtherance of the economic power of the natives.
  Horse-breeding and hunting. Several tours of inspection.
  National propaganda on the part of subsequently hostile
  Missions in the neighbouring territories.

  CHAPTER II.: THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR                               18

  Arrival of news of mobilization. Participation in the war
  or neutrality? The strength of the Protective Force and the
  English casualties. The English Consul and his activity. The
  Governor of the Colony, the supreme military authority, and the
  defence of the coastal towns. Preparations for mobilization.
  Lines of communication, maintenance and supplies. Sanitation.
  Malaria.

  CHAPTER III.: THE FIRST ACTIONS                                     27

  Bombardment of the wireless tower at Dar-es-Salaam.
  Negotiations for capitulation by the civil authorities. The
  _Königsberg_ and the _Möve_. Capture of Taveta. Transfer
  of the main body to the Northern Railway. New telegraphic
  communications. Bombardment of Bagamoyo. Attack on the British
  Uganda Railway. Attacks on British Karunga on Lake Nyassa.
  Guerilla warfare in the North.

  CHAPTER IV.: THE NOVEMBER ACTIONS AT TANGA                          35

  Reconnaissances at Tanga. Appearance of an English landing
  corps. Concentration of all available troops. First combats at
  Ras-Kasone. Reconnaissance in abandoned Tanga. The surroundings
  of the probable field of battle. Disposition of the companies.
  The hostile landing. The attack. Unfavourable situation of
  the defenders. Counter-attack by the reinforcements. Headlong
  flight of the enemy. Failure of the pursuit. Harassing the
  enemy at the landing-place. Enormous English losses. The
  trained bees. Negotiations for release of the wounded. Great
  booty. Our own losses. In the hospitals. Simultaneous events at
  Longido Mountain.

  CHAPTER V.: AWAITING FURTHER EVENTS                                 49

  Withdrawal of the troops to New Moshi. Work at Headquarters.
  Motor transport _versus_ carriers. Reconnaissances by motor.
  Supply and transport. Roads on the lines of communication. The
  burden of work and the joy of work. Abundant supplies. The
  starving Lieutenant. The joys of Sunday sport. Meat supply for
  the troops.

  CHAPTER VI.: FURTHER HEAVY FIGHTING IN THE NORTH-EAST               56

  Advance of hostile forces at Jassini. Reconnaissance in view of
  a possible battle. Advance of the German Companies against the
  English positions. Surprise and surrounding of the entrenched
  enemy. Bad fighting of the Arab Corps. Gallant defence by the
  enemy. Difficult situation of the attackers. The enemy hoists
  the white flag.

  CHAPTER VII.: GUERILLA WARFARE AND FURTHER PREPARATIONS             63

  Necessity for economizing men and stores. Care of the wounded.
  A wireless message from home. Raids in the Longido district.
  “A damned good piece of work.” Despatch of patrols to destroy
  the railway. Suffering and death in the steppe. Arrival of a
  relief ship. Feverish manufacture of ammunition. An advance
  near Oldorobo Mountain. Abundance of raw material and lack
  of finished articles. New industries to supply our needs.
  Roadmaking. Increase in numbers and fighting value of the
  troops.

  CHAPTER VIII.: AWAITING THE GREAT OFFENSIVE. ENERGETIC USE OF
      THE TIME AVAILABLE                                              73

  CHAPTER IX.: THE SUBSIDIARY THEATRES OF WAR. GUERILLA WARFARE
      ASHORE AND AFLOAT UNTIL NEW YEAR, 1916                          82

  Hostile Masai attack on Lake Victoria. The _Königsberg_ on the
  Rufiji. Her glorious end. Another success near Kilimandjaro.
  Determined attacks on the English railway. Attack and
  occupation of the English Camp on Kasigao Mountain. The enemy’s
  measures for protecting the railway. Fighting in the bush.
  Consideration of the possibility of resisting an attack by
  large hostile forces. Preparations for retiring to the South.
  Removal of stores. Determined defence of the position on
  Oldorobo Mountain. The new _Mungu_.


  PART II

  THE CONCENTRIC ATTACK BY SUPERIOR FORCES

  (From the arrival of the South African Troops to the loss of
  the Colony)

  CHAPTER I.: THE ENEMY’S ATTACK AT OLDOROBO MOUNTAIN                103

  Several advances by the enemy. The fantastic armoured cars.
  The artillery combat. The South African troops. Alleged cruel
  orders by the enemy. Reinforcement of the enemy near Mount
  Longido. Fight with an Indian patrol. Chivalry of the white
  officers. Our brave Askari and the misleading of the English.

  CHAPTER II.: FURTHER ADVANCE OF THE ENEMY AND THE ACTION AT
      REATA                                                          108

  Spies at work. The routes of the enemy’s advance. Possibilities
  of defence. The enemy attacks at Kitovo Mountain. The strong
  position on the line Reata-Kitovo. The _Königsberg’s_ gun.
  Reconnaissance by hostile cavalry. The enemy’s attack and
  attempt to surround us. Occupation of new defensive positions.
  The enemy’s withdrawal to Taveta. After the battle. Renewed
  forward movement by the enemy. Headquarters at Neusteglitz. A
  second relief ship.

  CHAPTER III.: RETREAT BEFORE OVERWHELMING HOSTILE PRESSURE         119

  Plans and considerations. Active attempts at reconnaissance by
  the enemy. Preparations for fighting. An attack on the hostile
  screen of patrols. Heavy losses. Fresh heavy attacks by the
  enemy (21st March). Failure of the counter-attack. An alarmist
  report: the enemy behind us. Retreat to Kissangire. The
  alarmist report proves to be false. Good spirits of the troops.
  Condition of the civilian population. Combat and surrender
  of the 28th Company at Lokisale (5th April). Bringing up
  auxiliaries. Concentration of the troops on the Central Railway.

  CHAPTER IV.: THE ENEMY’S ADVANCE IN THE AREA OF THE NORTHERN
      RAILWAY                                                        129

  Departure for Korogwe. At Handeni. News from Germany. Obstacles
  on the road. The swollen river. On horseback and by light
  railway to Kimamba. Reconnaissance south of Kondoa. Lines of
  communication and commissariat. In touch with the enemy. In
  position. The enemy seems to be evacuating his positions. An
  unexpected fight in the night. Our heavy losses. Successful
  patrols. Artillery duels. Obtaining supplies from the country.
  Failure of an attack by the enemy.

  CHAPTER V.: BETWEEN THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL RAILWAYS              140

  The enemy advances on the whole northern front. Simultaneous
  attacks from the South. Slipping away and outflanking the
  enemy. Looking for the enemy’s weakest point. The smart patrol
  leader. The enemy’s aerial activity increases. Further advance
  to the South by General van Deventer. Weak German forces
  resist on a long line. Fighting near the Central Railway.
  Reconnaissances. Heavy fighting with the advancing enemy. On
  the Wami River.

  CHAPTER VI.: CONTINUOUS FIGHTING NEAR THE RUFIJI                   149

  Hostile attacks from the south-west. What will the enemy do?
  An attempt to surround us. The action at Mlali. Retreat to
  Kissaki. The moral effect of our retreat. The Boma of Kissaki.
  Securing our cattle supply. Defeat of the enemy on the 7th
  September. Annihilation of another hostile detachment. German
  humanity—English gratitude. A surprise attack at Dutumi (9th
  September). Dutumi must be abandoned.

  CHAPTER VII.: HOSTILE ATTACKS IN THE SOUTH-EAST OF THE COLONY      159

  Our unfavourable position at Kilwa. Futile attacks by the
  enemy at Kissangire. Fat obtained from hippo and elephants.
  At Mpaganya. A pessimist sent about his business. Advance on
  Kissangire. The lost patrol. Successes at Kissangire. The
  Portuguese defeated at Newala. In Utete Camp. In a strong
  position at Kibata. Artillery preparations. Effect of heavy
  shell. An unsuccessful infantry attack. The military situation
  at the end of 1916. Powerful enemy attacks at Dutumi and
  Kissaki. The enemy fails to get behind us.

  CHAPTER VIII.: ANXIETIES AND HARDSHIPS DURING OUR STAY IN THE
      RUFIJI COUNTRY                                                 173

  The march through the Pori. Camp at Ungwara. The troops lose
  their way. Useless mouths. Steps to remedy the threatening
  shortage of food. Reduction in the number of carriers.
  Reduction of rations. Obstruction. The Askari women. Maize our
  help in trouble. A supply branch of the commissariat. Minor
  actions in the bush at Ungwara. The commencement of the rains.
  Measures for the protection of women and children. The troops
  continue their march to the South.

  CHAPTER IX.: THE END OF THE FRONTIER DEFENCE IN THE SUBSIDIARY
      THEATRES                                                       182

  On the Ruhuje and Ruaha Rivers. A hostile attack and its sudden
  cessation. The enemy’s mistake. Surrender of Major Grabert.
  Division of General Wahle’s force. The march to Tabora.
  Back to Kilima Njaro. Major Kraut’s march to the Rovuma.
  Supply difficulties and plans for the future. In the rich
  Portuguese territory. Patrols towards Kilva. A heavy defeat
  of the enemy. Experiments with bread-substitute. Primitive
  boots. The crowing cocks. Salt, fat and sugar. The medical
  service. “Lettow-Schnaps.” Bandages. Operations with primitive
  appliances.

  CHAPTER X.: LINDI AND KILWA                                        190

  Hostile reinforcements from the direction of Lindi. Flood of
  the Mbemkuru. German advance on Lindi. The enemy penetrates
  into the German camp at Lutende. A smart counter-attack.
  Further minor actions near Ulindi. We march off to the North.
  At Narungombe. Another victory. Too late! Enemy spies under
  the white flag. An Imperial greeting from home. The attack at
  Narunyu. The bomb in the dentist’s study. Removal of women and
  children to Lindi.

  CHAPTER XI.: IN THE SOUTH-EAST CORNER OF THE COLONY                207

  Concentric advance of the enemy. At Ruponda and Likangara. The
  enemy’s uncertainty. Rumours. Action at Mahiva. A brilliant
  victory. Changing the plan of attack. The tactics of the enemy
  commander. The end of the battle. Losses and booty. Another
  action at Lukuledi. Guerilla warfare.

  CHAPTER XII.: THE LAST WEEKS IN GERMAN TERRITORY                   216

  Consultation with the Governor. Considerations. Departure from
  Lukuledi. Minor actions in the bush. Shortage of ammunition
  and its consequences. Continuous advance of the enemy to
  Chivata. We avoid the blow by moving to Nambindinga. Schemes
  for voluntarily restricting the strength of the troops. On
  the Makonde Plateau. Shortage of water and food. Whither?
  Reorganization of the Force at Newala. The hostile patrol and
  its letter. At them! Out of sight of the enemy.


  PART III

  FIGHTING ON FOREIGN SOIL

  (From the Crossing into Portuguese East Africa to the Armistice)

  CHAPTER I.: ACROSS THE ROVUMA                                      229

  Crossing the river. The enemy’s camp at Ngomano. Assault on the
  Portuguese defences. The “Day of the old guns.” Rich booty.
  Continuing the march up the Lujenda. Looking for supplies.
  A transparent offer by the enemy. News of the surrender of
  Captain Tafel. Partition of the Force. Difficulties and
  unpleasantness. Capture of several Portuguese camps. Heroic
  action of Lieutenant Kempner. At Nangvare. Buffalo fat and
  forest fruits. Abundant supplies at Chirumba. Patrols. Approach
  of the enemy. Skirmishes. Enemy propaganda. Fresh courage and
  confidence.

  CHAPTER II.: EAST OF THE LUDJENDA                                  245

  Supply questions. In the rain. Tobacco. At Nanungu. Building
  pontoons. Patrols across the Msalu River. News of events in
  Europe. A pause in the fighting. Patrols to the coast. The
  precious Pori-pig. A new hostile deployment. The patriotic
  English. Defeat of the enemy at Mahue. Continual skirmishes.
  Against the enemy at Kireka Mountain. An action in the bush.
  A wrong report and its consequences. Casualties on both sides
  in the last actions. Captain Koehl’s successes. Continuation
  of the march to Koroma Mountain. A surprise. The Governor in
  danger. Unpleasant losses.

  CHAPTER III.: IN THE REGION OF THE LURIO AND LIKUNGO RIVERS        259

  On the road to Keriva. The sick and wounded. Camp on the Lurio.
  Müller’s detachment captures the Boma of Malema. Hostile
  forces approach from various sides. In a rich country. General
  Edwards’ precautions. Fighting in the bush. The march continued
  to Alto Moloque. The Orange-Boma. Continuous fighting by
  patrols. Nampepo Station and other settlements. On the Likunga
  River. Rich booty. The natives’ powers of estimation.

  CHAPTER IV.: ON TO THE SOUTH                                       270

  Where is the enemy’s ammunition dump? Looking for it.
  Awkwardness of long columns. Kokosani-Namekurra. Across the
  Lukungo. A success. At Namekurra. The fortified railway
  station. Artillery preparations and assault. Flight of enemy
  across the Namacurra River. The casualties on both sides.
  Extraordinary quantities of supplies and ammunition captured.

  CHAPTER V.: BACK NORTH TO THE NAMACURRA RIVER                      278

  Obstacles in the way of continuing the march to the South.
  The enemy’s operations and our own plans. Back across the
  Likungo. Marching in several parallel columns. A remarkable
  military situation. Looking for booty. At Ociva. The English
  and Portuguese prisoners. Capture of the Boma of Tipa. March
  to Namirrue. Reconnaissance of enemy’s position on the rocky
  mountain. Another enemy appears. Victorious battle with him at
  night. Confusion of the enemy’s columns. Fruitless pursuit of
  the fleeing enemy. The trench mortar and its effect. Assault of
  the rocky mountain. We march away to Pekera. Rest in the camp
  at Chalau.

  CHAPTER VI.: BACK TO THE LURIO RIVER                               289

  At Chalau. An English flag of truce. Approach of the enemy.
  Withdrawal across the Ligonja. At Ili. March to Numarroe.
  Preparing bread for the prisoners. A breakfast in the bush.
  Boma of Numarroe. Success of Goering’s detachment. Capture of
  the Boma. Casualties on both sides. On over the mountains to
  Rigona. Skirmishes. What next? Heavy fighting at Lioma. Heavy
  losses. No prospect of greater success. On to the North.
  Confusion of the detachments. A difficult march through the
  mountains. On the Lurio. Bad health of the troops. Heavy
  casualties on both sides. The influenza epidemic.

  CHAPTER VII.: ON GERMAN SOIL ONCE MORE                             303

  Rapid march to the North. Across the Lujenda. A rest-day at
  Mwemba. Hostile spies. Distant reconnaissance by patrols.
  To Ssongea. Homesickness of the Samarunga. Pangire Mission
  Station. Change of direction. Grave news from Europe. At Mbozi
  Mission Station. Patrol reports.

  CHAPTER VIII.: THE ADVANCE INTO BRITISH RHODESIA                   309

  On the march to Fife. The enemy in a fortified position.
  Fruitless bombardment and continuation of the march. Patrol
  fighting. Abundant supply of quinine captured. Studying the
  map. By forced marches into Rhodesia. Kajambi Mission Station
  and its frightened inhabitants. Capture of Kasawa. Natives
  pillaging by order of the English. On towards the Zambesi.

  CHAPTER IX.: THE ARMISTICE AND OUR RETURN HOME                     315

  The lost English motor-cyclist. Armistice. By cycle to the
  Chambezi ferry. Conditions of the Armistice. Conference with
  the British Commissioner. Situation in Germany. The Armistice
  and the situation of our troops. Release of the prisoners.
  Difficulties in paying off the Askari. March to Abercorn.
  “Surrender” and “Evacuation.” With General Edwards. Handing
  over arms. Fruitless opposition to English interpretation of
  agreement. By ship to Kigoma. Belgian hospitality. By rail to
  Dar-es-Salaam. Internment. Influenza and its victims. The loyal
  Askari. Endeavours to protect private property. Embarkation for
  home. At Rotterdam and at home. Retrospect and a glance at the
  future.



LIST OF MAPS

                                                                    PAGE

  Figs. i. and iii. Kilima Njaro                                       5

  Fig. ii. German East Africa. The Central Railway                     5

  Fig. iv. Battle of Tanga                                            37

  Fig. v. The Northern Railway                                        37

  Fig. vi. Subsidiary Actions up to August, 1916                      83

  Fig. vii. Battle of Yasin (Jassini)                                105

  Fig. viii. Kilima Njaro and Masai Desert                           105

  Fig. ix. Battle of Reata                                           105

  Fig. x. Battle of Kahe                                             105

  Fig. xi. Invasion of German East Africa by Belgian and British
                 columns, middle of 1916                             131

  Fig. xii. Retreat of German Main Force, August, 1916               131

  Fig. xiii. Battles of Kissaki and Dutumi                           161

  Fig. xiv. March of German Main Force, September, 1916, to
                  June, 1917                                         161

  Fig. xv. March of Major-General Wahle in the West                  183

  Fig. xvi. March of Main Force during operations on interior
                  lines west of Lindi, June to November, 1917        191

  Fig. xvii. Battle of Mahiwa                                        191

  Fig. xviii. The Action at the Kireka Mountains                     257

  Fig. xix. The Action at Namirrue, July 23rd, 1918                  285

  Fig. xx. Through Portuguese East Africa                            297

  Fig. xxi. The March into Rhodesia                                  311



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  General von Lettow-Vorbeck           _Frontispiece_

  General Map                         _Facing p._  32

  The Fallen                               ”       33

  Native Women                             ”       96

  Natives Bringing Food                    ”       97

  Masai                                    ”      128

  European Dinner-time                     ”      129

  Askari. A Halt                           ”      160

  The Banyan Tree                          ”      161

  Native Types (1)                         ”      192

  Native Types (2)                         ”      193

  Native Types (3)                         ”      224

  Native Types (4)                         ”      225

  Native Types (5)                         ”      256

  Native Types (6)                         ”      257



PART I

EVENTS PREVIOUS TO THE ARRIVAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICANS



My Reminiscences of East Africa



CHAPTER I

BEFORE THE OUTBREAK OF WAR


WHEN I landed at Dar-es-Salaam in January, 1914, I hardly suspected
the nature of the task that was to confront me in a few months’ time.
But during the past ten years the universal war had more than once
seemed so imminent that I was obliged seriously to consider whether the
force under my command would be called upon to take any part in that
conflict, and, if so, what its task might be. Owing to the position
of the Colony and the weakness of the existing forces—the peace
establishment was but little more than two thousand—we could only play
a subsidiary part. I knew that the fate of the colonies, as of all
other German possessions, would only be decided on the battlefields of
Europe. To this decision every German, regardless of where he might be
at the moment, must contribute his share. In the Colony also it was our
duty, in case of universal war, to do all in our power for our country.
The question was whether it was possible for us in our subsidiary
theatre of war to exercise any influence on the great decision at
home. Could we, with our small forces, prevent considerable numbers
of the enemy from intervening in Europe, or in other more important
theatres, or inflict on our enemies any loss of personnel or war
material worth mentioning? At that time I answered this question in the
affirmative. It is true, however, that I did not succeed in interesting
all authorities in this idea to such an extent as to cause all
preparations which a war of this kind rendered desirable to be carried
out.

It was to be considered that hostile troops would allow themselves to
be held only if we attacked, or at least threatened, the enemy at some
really sensitive point. It was further to be remembered that, with
the means available, protection of the Colony could not be ensured
even by purely defensive tactics, since the total length of land
frontier and coast-line was about equal to that of Germany. From these
considerations it followed that it was necessary, not to split up our
small available forces in local defence, but, on the contrary, to keep
them together, to grip the enemy by the throat and force him to employ
his forces for self-defence. If this idea could be successfully carried
out, we should at the same time protect our coast and our infinitely
long land frontier in the most effective manner.

In examining the question where to find a point so vital to the enemy
as to afford us the prospect of a successful attack, or, at any rate,
of a threat of such an attack, one thought at once of the frontier
between German and British East Africa. Parallel with it, at a distance
of a few marches, runs the main artery of the British territory, the
Uganda Railway, an object which, with a length of quite 440 miles, was
extremely difficult for the enemy to protect, and would, therefore,
if effectively threatened, require a large part of his troops for the
purpose.

[Illustration: Fig i. and iii. Kilima Njaro.

Fig. ii. German East Africa. The Central Railway.]

On my first journey of reconnaissance and inspection, commenced in
January, 1914, I went by sea from Dar-es-Salaam to Tanga, thence to
Usambara, and then on into the country round Kilima Njaro and Meru
Mountain. At Usambara I met an old friend whom I had known well
since our military college days (_Kriegschule_), Captain von Prince
(retired). He was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea that, in
case of a war with England, we East Africans should not remain idle
spectators, but should take a hand if there should be even a trace of a
prospect of relieving the pressure in Europe. At the same time, he was
in a position to inform me that in the Usambara country, round Kilima
Njaro, and near Meru Mountain, Volunteer Rifle Corps were being formed,
which in a short time would probably include all the Germans capable of
bearing arms in these northern territories. In view of the density of
the settlements in those parts, this was a fact of great importance.
The main contingent of the three thousand Europeans whom we were able
to enrol in the Protective Force during the course of the war was
furnished from these very territories lying along the Usambara Railway.
It was, indeed, difficult to introduce a workable military organization
among these voluntary associations, and to make effective use of their
abundant good will. Still, it was, on the whole, successfully arranged
that all, even those not legally obliged to do so, should be ready
in case of war to act under the orders of the Protective Force. The
District Commissioners also manifested the greatest sympathy; but they
also expressed the, unfortunately well-founded, doubt whether, in a
universal war which could certainly cut us off completely from the home
country and leave us to our own resources, such voluntary organizations
would possess the requisite cohesion. The armament was also in a bad
way; although almost every European possessed a useful sporting rifle,
the variety of patterns and the consequent difficulty of ammunition
supply had not yet been remedied. The proposals for arming these rifle
clubs with a uniform military weapon were still pending, and remained
undecided until the outbreak of war.

At Wilhelmstal I found a detachment of native police under an efficient
sergeant-major, who came from Ditmarschen. Whereas the Protective
Force proper was under the Commandant, the various police detachments
were under the civil authorities, and so each District Commissioner
had under his orders a detachment of one hundred to two hundred men,
for the purpose of collecting taxes and supporting his authority.
There prevailed a constant tendency to increase this police force more
and more, to the detriment of the Protective Force. In this manner,
alongside of the latter, a second force of the same strength had come
into being which was in its very nature a travesty of a military
organization, and could hardly be anything better. The District
Commissioner, a civil official, often understood little of military
matters, and handed over the training and command of his Police-Askari
to a sergeant-major of police. The latter often worked zealously,
with the old non-commissioned officer’s usual devotion to duty; but
he seldom received any guidance from a military superior, since the
police inspector, an officer, could only visit each district from time
to time. So the Police-Askari often became slack, and lacked the strict
discipline necessary to keep them fit for their duties, which demanded
reliability. To this was added a further defect which ought to have
been avoided. The police were partly recruited from the native N.C.O.’s
of the Protective Force. The latter was thereby deprived of its best
elements, who, after joining the police, lost their good military
qualities. This, of course, did not obtain in all cases. But, generally
speaking, it was the case that, in order to obtain a police force of
inferior military value which in the circumstances could never be of
any real use, the quality of the Protective Force was steadily impaired.

From New Moshi, the terminus of the Usambara Railway, I proceeded via
Marangu, where an English planter lived and where I met the English
Consul King, of Dar-es-Salaam, to the Kilima Njaro country, and thence
to Arusha. Several German planters, some of them former officers, whom
I visited at their estates during the march, assured me that the German
settlers in those parts formed a valuable source of military power.

At that time I made the acquaintance of the charming estate of
Commander Niemeyer (retired), whose wife entertained us with excellent
home-grown coffee. Later on she rather hindered us on one occasion:
when, during the war, her husband was in Engara-Nairobi Camp,
north-west of Kilima Njaro, we had temporarily lent her a telephone,
so that she could call up her husband. Immediately afterwards the
whole telephone service stopped, and after a long, long search, we at
last discovered that our kind former hostess had not switched off her
instrument and displayed no intention of doing so.

Close by was the plantation of Lieutenant-Commander Schoenfeld
(retired), who hospitably offered us a glass of very fine Moselle
wine, and did so with a military tone like a word of command which
even then characterized him as the energetic leader who was later to
defend the mouth of the Rufiji River against a superior enemy with such
stubbornness. Just short of Arusha we came to the coffee-plantation
of my old brother-cadet Freiherr von Ledebur, where at table I met
the charming old retired Lieutenant-Colonel Freiherr von Bock. We
talked about the Volunteer Rifle Corps which were being formed near
Meru Mountain, and I did not dream that a few months later this old
gentleman of over sixty would be one of our toughest patrol leaders
on the east side of Kilima Njaro, and would often with his few men,
who were mostly recruits, successfully engage several companies of the
enemy. His true chivalry and fatherly care soon won him the hearts of
his black comrades, to such a degree that he was in their eyes the
bravest of all Germans, and they clung to him with touching loyalty.

At Arusha the first inspection of a company of Askari was held.
The spirit and discipline of the black unit revealed the admirable
education they had received at the hands of my predecessor, Colonel
Freiherr von Schleuntz; but, in accordance with the hitherto accepted
principles of their employment, their training for fighting against
an enemy with modern armament had been developed to a lesser degree.
Like the majority of the Askari companies, this company was still armed
with the old 1871 pattern rifle, using smoky powder. The opinion was
widely held that for black troops this was more suitable than a modern
rifle with smokeless powder, for they had hitherto never been employed
against an opponent with modern armament, but only in native warfare,
where the larger calibre is an advantage, while the disadvantage of
smoke is of no consequence. After the outbreak of war, indeed, the
enthusiastic supporters of the 1871 rifle changed their minds. Against
an enemy provided with modern smokeless equipment the smoky rifle was,
not only at the long ranges obtaining in the open plain, but also in
bush-fighting, where the combatants are often but a few paces apart,
decidedly inferior. The man using smokeless powder remains invisible,
while the cloud of smoke betrays the enemy with rapidity and certainty,
not only to the sharp eye of the native Askari, but even to the
European accustomed to office work. Thus, at the beginning of the war,
the greatest reward which could be earned by an Askari was to give him
a modern captured rifle in place of his old smoky one.

In distributing the force by companies throughout the country it had
been necessary to accept the disadvantage that in many cases it was
impossible to employ them in large formations, or to train the senior
officers in this respect. It was evident that in war the movement and
leading in battle of forces greater than a company would be attended
with great difficulty and friction. According to my view, the force
had the double duty of preparing to meet an enemy from outside with
modern armament, as well as a native enemy within our borders; their
training for battle had therefore to take account of two distinct sets
of conditions. The exercises in native warfare presented a spectacle
which differed widely from our European inspections. At Arusha, on this
occasion, the company marched through thick bush, the “Pori,” and was
in native fashion surprised on the march. The enemy was represented
by Meru warriors, who, arrayed in full war-dress, with spears and
head-dress of ostrich feathers, remained concealed, and then at only
a few paces distance fell upon the Safari, the column of route, with
loud war cries. A fight at such close quarters, like the one in which
Zelewski’s expedition had been overwhelmed in 1891 at Iringa, is
decided at short range and in a very few minutes. The troops quickly
rally round their leaders and rush the enemy. In accordance with this
whole character of native warfare, careful and thorough musketry
training in the modern sense had hitherto been unnecessary. It was,
indeed, at a pretty low level, and it may interest the soldier to
hear that in some companies the average at two hundred yards standing
without rest barely attained Ring 3, and that only a few companies
got beyond Ring 5. Neither did the nature of native warfare provide
a sufficient inducement for thorough training with the machine gun.
Fortunately, however, I soon discovered among all Europeans of the
force a complete understanding of the importance of this arm, in
particular in modern battle. In spite of this not particularly high
standard of training, the results of field-firing, even at long ranges,
were not unsatisfactory, and in this the Askari profited in a high
degree by his sharp eyesight, which enabled him to observe his fire and
correct his aim accordingly.

The journey was continued via Ufiome Mission, where the excellent
Father Dürr was settled, to Kondoa-Irangi, Kilimatinde and back to
Dar-es-Salaam. The impression left by this first inspection was that
from a military point of view there was still a great deal to be done
if we wished to be properly prepared in case the English should make
war on us. Unfortunately I did not succeed in arousing sufficient
interest in the matter on the part of the authorities. The ruling
opinion was that we were on exceptionally good terms with the English,
and that a war, if it came at all, was still in the distant future.
Thus it happened that when war actually did break out but a few months
later we were unprepared.

For me, a new-comer in East Africa, the journey had not only been of
military interest. At Boma la Ngombe, a place between Moshi and Arusha,
a number of old Askari had been settled by the late Lieutenant-Colonel
Johannes; they were mainly engaged in cattle-dealing, and had become
well-to-do. The news of my coming had preceded me, and the people
appeared in full strength to greet me on my arrival. I had the
impression that this was not a mere show of loyalty; the people not
only told me enthusiastically of Germans under whom they had previously
served, but after the outbreak of war, unasked and without the
slightest pressure, they placed a large sum of money at our disposal to
help the force. In that district I also saw the first Masai, who, in
contrast to the majority of the East African tribes, are pure Hamites,
and live in a special reservation. It may be mentioned that Merker,
the best authority on the Masai,[1] considers them to be the original
Jews. They possess to a marked degree the characteristics of the pure
inhabitant of the prairie. Occasionally, one of these tall, slim,
and very swift men acted as my guide on hunting expeditions; their
vision and skill as trackers are astonishing. In addition, the Masai
is intelligent, and, at any rate towards strangers, an extraordinary
liar. He lives in closed villages of mud huts, and, like all nomads,
wanders with his herds over the prairie. He seldom enlists in the
force. In agriculture the Masai engages hardly at all, whereas among
the other tribes this forms the chief occupation and is a necessary
condition for close settlement. Thus the banana districts on the
eastern slopes of Kilima Njaro support a native Wajagga population
of some twenty-five thousand souls, and this number could easily be
increased. The great wealth of cattle in the neighbourhood of Arusha,
on the Masai prairie, and near Kondoa-Irangi, showed me that the
tse-tse fly, the principal enemy of African cattle, is comparatively
rare in those parts. As a comparison, I may state that the cattle in
the single district of Arusha are estimated to be more numerous than
in the whole of South-West Africa. At Kondoa-Irangi and Singida the
people had come from a great distance, and had lined the road to greet
me. No traveller who visits these countries can fail to observe that
in the fertile, elevated interior there is room for the settlement of
hundreds of thousands of Europeans. Here I would like to record an
impression which I only obtained later, during the war. At times we
passed through fertile districts which were completely forsaken by the
inhabitants, but which were known not to have been occupied even in the
previous year. They had simply moved away, had settled somewhere else
in the abundantly available, empty and fertile country, and had there
begun to cultivate fresh fields. If the country capable of cultivation
were fully utilized, it would probably be possible to support in German
East Africa, which has hitherto been inhabited by about eight millions
only, a population barely less than that of Germany. An Englishman
captured during the war at Mahenge remarked that it would be possible
to make East Africa into a second India, and I think he was right.
My experience in the war has confirmed my opinion that there exist
many possibilities of economic development, of which we had hardly an
inkling before the war.

At Singida I saw one of the stud-farms of the country. For breeding
purposes there were two horse stallions, no mares, a few Muscat donkey
stallions, and mainly country-bred donkey mares. Of the objects it was
sought to attain I could get no clear idea; in any case, the crossing
of horse stallions and donkey mares had produced no results. But the
district is extraordinarily suitable for horse-breeding, and the
Government Veterinary Officer Hiffmeister, who was stationed there,
was very inclined to settle in the country as a private farmer and
horse-breeder. Similar stud-farms existed at Kilimatinde, Iringa and
Ubena. From Singida to Kilimatinde I followed the Mpondi River; the
sportsman will be interested to know that this is the district in which
the best buffaloes in East Africa are said to be found. A few days
before I had successfully hunted buffalo, but I had not succeeded in
getting a shot at a powerful bull, and so, as far as time permitted,
I was out for buffalo. Besides a native boy, I had as trackers two
excellent Askari of the Konda Company. As soon as I arrived in camp at
the end of a march and dismounted from my mule, I would ask Kadunda,
one of these Askari, who had done the march on foot, whether he was
ready to hunt. He always agreed with the greatest enthusiasm, and
away we went through the bush, which was sometimes so dense that
one had to crawl under the branches in order to get through at all.
For the European not yet accustomed to the African climate it is
extraordinarily fatiguing to follow a trail through dense bush and high
grass reaching over one’s head for hours on end in the blazing sun. The
wounded buffalo is considered to be the most dangerous game in East
Africa; he often charges at once with great determination. At Mpondi, a
short time before, a wounded buffalo had attacked a hunter so suddenly
that the latter did indeed find himself seated on its neck, but would
hardly have escaped with his life unless at the critical moment his
sun-helmet had fallen off. The animal then proceeded to attack the
helmet, and the man managed to get a shot at its heart. From this and
similar tales it will be understood that as the trail gets warmer and
warmer, one’s excitement becomes intense and one’s senses more acute.
But although I often heard the buffalo breathing only a few paces from
me, the bush was so thick that I could not get a shot. I had already
abandoned all hope of success and had marched off with my caravan for
good and all, when at seven in the morning we crossed a perfectly fresh
buffalo trail. At this point the forest was clearer, and the guides
seemed keen to follow the tracks. So we let the caravan go on, and
after four hours of exhausting tracking got a sight of the buffalo.
In a clearing, at one hundred yards, I raised my rifle, but Kadunda
would not allow it, and insisted on our stalking the quarry, which was
passing us in quite open wood without undergrowth, up to within thirty
yards. Luckily the bullet cut the main artery; the buffalo fell at
once, and so any further possible developments of the episode were cut
short. As often happens, we discovered in the animal’s body a bullet
from a native gun. Besides this buffalo I had got a large number of
antelope and gazelle of various kinds; lions we often heard, but never
caught sight of.

On this march through the “Pori” I learned, to my astonishment, that
even in the interior of Africa it is no easy matter to disappear
without a trace. I had marched off without leaving word what road I
intended to take. Suddenly, in the heart of the bush, a native met us
on the march, and handed me the oversea mail. The fact is that in their
interchange of information the inhabitants tell each other everything
that happens in their vicinity. Calls, fire signals, and the signal
drums serve to exchange and quickly spread all news. The incredible way
in which the innumerable rumours spread abroad, with which I became
acquainted later on, is mainly due to this communicativeness.

After returning to Dar-es-Salaam from the first journey of inspection,
I immediately made arrangements for re-arming three more companies; up
to date only three companies had been equipped with modern rifles. It
subsequently became a factor of the greatest importance that, at any
rate, these arms, with the necessary ammunition, reached the Colony
just in time for the outbreak of war.

During a tour of inspection in April to Lindi, where I saw the Third
Field Company, I fell into a rocky hole and got water on the knee
so that I could not start my next long journey till the end of May.
Although the Central Railway was open for public traffic only as far as
Tabora, the construction had proceeded so far that I could reach Kigoma
(on Lake Tanganyika) by rail, and was thus already enabled to acquire a
superficial knowledge of this important means of communication which
connected our coast directly with the Lake and the rich countries
bordering on it, and indirectly with the Congo basin. At Kigoma the
steamer _Coetzen_ was still building, and to reach Bismarckburg I
made use of the small steamer _Hedwig von Wissman_. At Baudouinville,
in the Congo Territory, I paid a short visit to the Bishop of the
White Fathers, without suspecting how soon we would be at war with
that country. The wonderful church would be an ornament to any of our
towns. It had been built by the Fathers themselves and the interior was
decorated with rich carvings. Extensive, splendid orchards surround the
station. The plague of lions must, however, be very great; the Fathers
told me that a short time before a lion had one night jumped the wall
into the court and killed an ox.

Our reception was very friendly, and we were made welcome with a glass
of fine Algerian wine. We were also well received at Mwasyl Mission
Station in German territory, where there were also White Fathers,
mostly Belgians. During the war, however, we captured correspondence
which proved that the French missionaries, who also lived at stations
in the Tanganyika country, by no means confined themselves to spreading
Christianity but intentionally carried on a national propaganda
as well. One missionary’s letter defines the difference between a
_missionnaire catholique_ and a _missionnaire français_, remarking
that the latter is bound, in addition to spreading the Christian
faith, to carry on French national propaganda. It is well known that
this national propaganda is a work from which the German missionaries
generally refrained.

These missions, which are naturally to be found in the densely
populated and well-cultivated countries, exercise a remarkable
influence on the education of the natives. The missionary is mostly the
only permanently settled white man; he becomes well acquainted with
the country and people, and wins their confidence. The missions have
deserved extremely well by introducing European handicrafts; everywhere
one finds carpenters’ shops, shoemakers’ shops and brickworks.

My later tours disclosed that the extremely fertile country around
Langenburg and Ssonga, where there are many wheatfields (the density
of population is indicated even on the map by the numerous mission
stations), was protected by only one company, which was not even
connected by a direct wire. A telegram could only reach Langenburg
from Dar-es-Salaam by the English line through South Africa. The
communication by heliograph from Iringa to Langenburg was too
unreliable to be considered an efficient substitute. It may be
mentioned that in that country the natives have not only been educated
up to agriculture by the Missions and by the German Administration,
but that considerable native industries have been indigenous there for
a long time past. Where iron occurs one finds numerous forges, the
bellows being made in the primitive manner out of hides and perforated
branches. Very beautiful are the native weavers’ products; basket-work
is also done here as almost everywhere else in the Colony, and the
work not only shows good taste, but is so close that the natives use
wickerwork cups for drinking. The large herds owned by a few European
farmers suffered, owing to the poorly developed communications, from
the difficulty of reaching a market; this is especially the case with
Mbeya Farm, between Lake Nyassa and Tanganyika.

I camped at Mbosi Mission, and the local missionary, Bachmann, who had
known the country and the people intimately for many years past, told
me that a striking change was taking place in the views of the natives.
Foreign Arabs and Swahili were appearing in the country, and were
telling the people that the Germans would soon be going, and that the
English would take possession of the land; that was in June, 1914.

The continuation of my journey to Iringa brought me to the places where
the great chief Kwawa had defied the Germans in the early days, and at
Rugeno some of the many assembled natives were able to relate to me
what they had witnessed of the annihilation of Zelewski’s expedition on
the spot.

In the short period of peace-work that was vouchsafed to me, my
endeavours to obtain a thorough grip of all my duties in East Africa
could not produce results sufficient to secure me great personal
authority among Africans of long standing. I was still considered a raw
hand. All the same, my career in the service had prepared me to some
extent for the work that Fate had in store for me.

It was probably about the time when, as a cadet who had been
transplanted at an early age from my home in Pomerania, I was studying
Cæsar’s Gallic War, that the German Fatherland was presented by
Bismarck with its first colonies. In the year 1899-1900, when employed
on the General Staff, I studied our own colonies as well as many
foreign ones. During the troubles in China (1900-1901) I made the
acquaintance, both officially and socially, of all the contingents
engaged with us in East Asia, particularly the English. The Herero and
Hottentot Rebellion in South-West Africa (1904-1906) introduced me
to the peculiarities of bush warfare. At that time I gained abundant
personal experience, not only of natives, but also of Boers, both
on the Staff of General von Botha and as an independent Company and
Detachment Commander. The excellent qualities of this Low German race,
that had for generations made its home on the African veld, commanded
my respect. That the Boers would later take a decisive—and in a sense
tragic—part in anglicizing the German part of Africa I never dreamt.

In 1906, in South-West Africa, I was wounded. This brought me to Cape
Town, so that I also acquired a superficial knowledge of Cape Colony.
On my return journey I also touched at the future scene of my work,
German East Africa, for the first time.

Later, my position as Commander of the Marine Battalion at
Wilhelmshaven afforded me an insight into the inner life of our
thriving and growing navy, which was so closely connected with German
work overseas. I took part in exercises and cruises on large and small
ships, in naval manœuvres, and in a visit by the Fleet to Norway,
during which new views of general and military life continually
presented themselves.

Even after my return to the Army the alternation between regimental
and staff employment afforded me much inducement and opportunity for
comparison. In this manner my development had rendered me capable of
rapidly accommodating myself to new conditions. Grateful as I was for
every expansion of my horizon, I owe the best of all to the Army at
home, in which I had the privilege, under the guidance of admirable
commanders, of learning to know the spirit of military life and true
discipline, a spirit which was then properly understood.



CHAPTER II

THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR


EARLY in August, 1914, when on my way via the heliograph station of
Kidodi towards Kilossa, a special messenger brought me a telegram from
the Governor, to say I was to return immediately to Dar-es-Salaam; and
on the following day I received the news that His Majesty had ordered
mobilization, but that the state of war did not extend to the overseas
possessions. A telegram from the Secretary of State of the Imperial
Colonial Office called upon us to reassure the settlers.

In contrast to this a wireless message from the Admiralty Staff
mentioned England also among our probable enemies.

At Kilossa I managed to catch a goods train, and so arrived at
Dar-es-Salaam on the 3rd August. Here everyone was busy: the
declaration of war had arrived in the middle of the preparations for a
big exhibition, in the programme of which was included the ceremonial
opening of the Tanganyika Railway; numerous Germans had come on a
visit to Dar-es-Salaam and were now unable to get away. In order to
assist in the preparations for the exhibition, Captain von Hammerstein,
commanding the 6th Field Company in Ujiru, had also arrived there, and
it was very fortunate that I was able at once to employ this energetic
officer, who not only shared my views, but to whom I was also cordially
attached, for the work of mobilization.

The question which immediately forced itself upon us was whether,
in the now obviously imminent universal war in which England would
almost certainly join, the Colony would remain neutral or not. As I
have already explained, I considered it to be our military object to
detain enemy, that is English forces if it could by any means be
accomplished. This, however, was impossible if we remained neutral.
In that case the situation would be that we, who did not command the
sea, would have to remain inactive, with a force which, though small
at the moment, had behind it a loyal, very efficient population of
eight millions suitable for military service. England, on the other
hand, would have no need to employ a single man in East Africa on our
account; it would be able to take away the very last fit Askari, after
providing for internal security, for employment in other theatres more
important than East Africa. It would, therefore, obviously have been an
advantage for England if any agreement had existed which condemned us
to neutrality. But this was not the case: the Congo Act, which deals
with the Equatorial territories, only says that in case of conflict
between two of the Powers concerned, a third Power may offer its good
services as a mediator. But as far as I know this step was not taken
by any Power. We were therefore not obliged to restrict our operations
out of regard for any agreement. From a military point of view it was
a disadvantage, not for us, but for England, if war occurred in East
Africa. The fact that we were not obliged to remain neutral enabled us
to make use of our favourable coast as a base and refuge for the German
cruiser operations in the Indian Ocean. But, above all, we were able,
with our few thousand men, to contain throughout the whole duration of
the war an enormously superior force of the enemy.

At the outbreak of war the Protective Force consisted of 216 Europeans
(from whom a part must be deducted as on leave) and 2,540 Askari; there
were, further, in the Police Force, 45 Europeans and 2,154 Askari;
these were later increased by the ships’ company of the _Königsberg_
(which had put to sea), 322 men, and of the _Möve_, 102 men. The total
numbers enrolled in the Force during the war were about 3,000 Europeans
and 11,000 Askari.

These figures include all non-combatants, such as those employed on
police duty, medical personnel, supply and maintenance services, etc.
How many milliards it cost to try and crush our diminutive force the
English themselves will presumably some day tell us. We, on the other
hand, could probably have continued the war for years to come.

For the hostile strengths no authentic figures are at my disposal;
I quote from the statements of English officers and Press reports,
and they must bear the responsibility for them. According to them
over 130 Generals took the field against us, the total strength of
the hostile troops was about 300,000, the losses in European and
Indian dead amounted to 20,000; horses and mules, 140,000. These
numbers, especially those of the General Officers, seem even to me
rather exaggerated; I can therefore only repeat that they are taken
from English sources. In any event, however, their losses were very
considerable; and considering that the number of black soldiers who
were killed or died is not given, the total number of enemy dead can
hardly be under 60,000.

We should have been compelled, if a cruiser had sought shelter in our
harbours, to refuse to admit her, by reason of our neutrality, whereas
the favourable position and coastal development of East Africa made it
the natural hiding-place in cruiser warfare in the Indian Ocean. As
regards the agreements laid down in the Congo Act, it should be borne
in mind what it would have meant for our Navy if our colonies had been
declared neutral.

At Dar-es-Salaam it was very interesting during those days of tension
to watch the proceedings of the English Consul King. He was to be seen
everywhere, either in the Officers’ Club at a game of bridge, or at the
Post Office where our telegrams were handed in. The standing orders of
the English Expeditionary Force, which were subsequently captured at
Tanga, and which were mainly based on King’s reports, showed how active
this man had been in the time before the war, and how excellently he
was informed as to the internal conditions in our Colony. His judgment
on relevant matters extended so far that he even compared the relative
fighting value of the Europeans in different districts, and credited
those of Dar-es-Salaam with little “stomach for fighting.” To be
honest, it must be admitted that in the case of a large number of the
Germans in that place (and even of the local Government authorities)
it actually did take some time before they were imbued with that
warlike spirit without which the fulfilment of our task was simply
impossible.

Very difficult was the position of the coast towns, which were
inhabited by numerous Europeans (among them many women and children),
and which were of course exposed to bombardment by English men-of-war
at any minute. The Governor maintained that such a bombardment must
be avoided under all circumstances. According to an ordinance, which
certainly did not contemplate the case of foreign war, the supreme
military power in the Colony was in the hands of the Governor, and
communication with home having ceased, it was anyhow physically
impossible to get this altered. So I was obliged to make the best of
this, from a military point of view, very serious difficulty and to
reckon with the possibility that, if the Governor’s instructions were
faithfully executed, Dar-es-Salaam and Tanga for instance, the termini
of our railways and the obvious bases for hostile operations from the
coast towards the interior, would fall into the enemy’s hands without a
struggle.

My view was that we would best protect our colony by threatening the
enemy in his own territory. We could very effectively tackle him
at a sensitive point, the Uganda Railway, and one might almost say
that the numerous German settlers in the country traversed by our
Northern Railway (Tanga-Moshi) were already deployed for this object.
The Governor, however, did not agree with the proposal I had already
previously put forward in case of war, namely, to concentrate our
forces in the North near Kilima Njaro. But, in order to act at all,
it was obviously necessary to collect our troops, who were scattered
all over the country. As this could not be effected in the Kilima
Njaro country, as I wished, the concentration took place on the
heights of Pugu, a day’s march west of Dar-es-Salaam. At this place
the Dar-es-Salaam Company met those from Kilimatinde, Tabora, Ujiji,
Usambara and Kissendji, which came partly by march routes and partly
by rail. The Police, who, in accordance with the scanty preparations
already made, were to join the Protective Force immediately, were in
part, at any rate, placed at my disposal, a number of old Askari were
called up, and in this way four new companies (No.’s 15 to 18) were at
once formed. The German Reservists were mobilized as required, and each
company was brought up to an establishment of about 16 Europeans, 160
Askari and 2 machine guns.

In some cases difficulties occurred in calling the Europeans to the
colours. By mistake, the crews of a few ships of the East African Line,
lying in the harbour of Dar-es-Salaam, were informed, in response to
their application, by the Officer in Command at the Railway Station,
that there was no room for them in the Protective Force. Then, at
the suggestion of the Governor’s representative, a declaration was
submitted to them, according to which they were to engage in writing
to remain neutral during the war. Later on the men saw that this
constituted an offence against the law relating to liability for
service, and their own sound feeling was opposed to it. They appealed
to me, setting forth the circumstances; I had had no inkling of these
proceedings, and fortunately, as the declaration had not yet fallen
into the hands of the enemy, the intended decision could be reserved.

The number of carriers allotted to each company varied, and may
have averaged about 250. The stores of arms, ammunition and other
war-material, which were lying unprotected in the harbour of
Dar-es-Salaam, were distributed among various places in the interior
along the railway, where depots were established. The training of
the troops was at once vigorously proceeded with, and even then we
realized the value of rendering our head-dress unrecognizable by
means of grass and leaves, a measure proposed by a practical Company
Commander, Captain Tafel. The question of course was whether we, with
our Askari, would be able to fight modern troops; it was denied by
many an experienced hand. But from what I had seen during the revolt
in South-West Africa, from 1904 to 1906, I believed that courage and
military efficiency could be awakened in the East African native also,
who belongs to that same great family, the Bantu, as the Herero. That
certainly was a proof; but the matter was greatly simplified by the
fact that there was no possible alternative.

All questions of organization, which are usually carefully prepared
and considered in time of peace, had now to be dealt with and decided
on the spur of the moment. One of them was the extraordinarily
important one of establishing a service of subsistence and a complete
system of supply from the rear. The main point was to consider, in
the first place, the main roads, which were also important in a
military sense. Which roads might these be? It was immediately found
how disadvantageous was the absence of railway communication between
the Central and Usambara Railways. In time of peace, communication
had been effected by sea between Dar-es-Salaam and Tanga; this was
now impossible. Obviously the importance of a military use of the
lines had not been thought of. As a substitute, we had to develop
a road between Morogoro and Korogwe, on the Northern Railway. The
second road ran past the western side of the Masai Reservation, from
Dodoma via Kondoa-Irangi, and Ufiome to Arusha, and the third from the
rich district of Tabora, the capital of the Wanyamwesi country, to
Muansa, on Lake Victoria, into the country of the Wassukume, who were
recognized even by Consul King as the most important of our tribes.
This road was also valuable because by it we could draw on the rice
crops of Lake Victoria as well as on the abundant stocks of cattle.
Other roads connected Kilossa with the rich territory of Mahenge,
Iringa, and even Langenburg, which last provided us with a large part
of our requirements in wheat flour.

The provisional organization of the supply system having been fixed in
broad and general outline, it was not possible for the details of its
development to be worked out at Headquarters. Someone had to be found
whose past military career rendered him capable of working the system,
not only from the administrative point of view, but also in accordance
with the sometimes very urgent military requirements, and of adapting
it to them. Major-General Wahle, a retired officer, who happened to
have arrived on the 2nd August, on a visit to his son, and to see the
Dar-es-Salaam Exhibition, at once placed himself at the disposal of the
Force, and at my request took charge of the Lines of Communication. His
task was particularly difficult, because where there were no railways,
the bulk of the work had to be performed by native carriers. I have at
my disposal no figures showing the total number of carriers employed
for the service of the troops, and it is very difficult to arrive at it
at all definitely. It included men who only carried the loads from one
place to another before the permanent carriers took them over, but I
am sure I do not exaggerate in saying that, on the whole, hundreds of
thousands of carriers worked for the troops; and all of them had to be
fed and medically looked after.

Of our many other difficulties one of a special nature may here be
mentioned. The peace-time existence of the Europeans in tropical
colonies had, even for reasons of health, accustomed them to a certain
degree of comfort. When on _safari_ (a journey) in East Africa, it
is generally impossible to buy European food; but few Europeans had
learnt to live on the vegetable products supplied by the natives or by
Nature. Shelter is rarely to be had. Against mosquitos it is, however,
imperative to protect oneself. So the white official or soldier seldom
travelled with less than eleven carriers, who, besides his tent,
camp-bed and clothing, also carried a considerable quantity of food.
Such large numbers of carriers were, however, impossible for a force
which was to be mobile. Another difficulty was that nearly every Askari
had a boy. With these simple people, whose predilection for their
ancient traditions and customs is further confirmed by Islam, and
who are besides very proud and vain, it is particularly difficult to
interfere with such Dusturis (customs). In individual cases it was not
always easy for a Company Commander to find the happy mean.

In the tropical warfare which was before us medical care is one of the
most important factors. Generally speaking, the native is in a great
measure immune against malaria, and it does not often happen that an
Askari gets really ill with it; some tribes, however, like the Wajagga,
on Kilima Njaro, who inhabit elevated, non-malarial districts, and are
therefore not immune from early youth, suffer severely from malaria
as soon as they come down to the plains. From the evening until well
into the morning mechanical protection against the malaria mosquito
(anopheles), by means of a mosquito net, was strictly enforced for
every European. For many months I slept on the ground, and even then
the mosquito-net afforded me a high degree of protection; even so I
had malaria ten times, for in the field it is not always possible to
employ preventive measures to the extent that is desirable from a
hygienic point of view. In our endeavour to attach a medical officer to
every company we received most welcome assistance from the fact that
there was a considerable number of them on Lake Tanganyika, and in
the Southern territories on the Rovuma, who had come out to study and
combat sleeping-sickness.

The work entailed by all this business of mobilization not only kept us
going day and night, but also the native telephonist at Pugu, and it
was extraordinary to see the skill with which the black man worked his
instrument, both there and elsewhere. His great technical talent proved
of the greatest value to us. Of difficulties there was, of course, an
infinity. During the early days it happened that cattle coming from the
country north of Tabora for the civilian population at Dar-es-Salaam
met other cattle going in the opposite direction to feed the troops.
To this day I feel something of a physical shock when I think of a
collision at Pugu, between a train laden with the finest show cattle
going at full speed, and another one, which nearly produced a serious
reduction in the personnel required for working out our mobilization
scheme.

Our place of concentration at Pugu is some twelve miles inland from
Dar-es-Salaam. Our camp was situated on the slopes of the Pugu
Mountains. The forest is extremely thick, and the country densely
covered by plantations of natives and Europeans. In spite of its
somewhat elevated position, Pugu is quite in the hot coastal area, and
although in August we were still in the cold season, the temperature
was still what we describe as “tropical;” it is that oppressive,
somewhat damp heat, which makes long marches so exhausting for the
European. At that time we had tents for the Europeans and a camp-bed
with the inevitable mosquito net for everyone, so that in this respect
there were no difficulties. In case of sickness we had established a
provisional field hospital in the neighbouring Wichmann Plantations.
Our horses did not suffer unduly. But one after another all our animals
went down with tse-tse. In camp it was not possible to provide them, as
we could at Dar-es-Salaam, with tse-tse proof stables, fitted with wire
gauze similar to fly-proof windows.



CHAPTER III

THE FIRST ACTIONS


IN this Manner We Were Fully Employed in the Camp at Pugu, when, on
the morning of the 8th August, we heard heavy artillery fire from the
direction of Dar-es-Salaam. According to reports which soon reached us,
it emanated from two English light cruisers, _Astræa_ and _Pegasus_,
who were aiming at the wireless tower. This tower had been erected in
this exposed position because on the coast it could reach further out
to sea; it was of importance to us because the high-power station at
Tabora was not yet finished, and the two smaller ones at Muansa and
Bukoba were of only local use. The tower was not hit by the English,
but blown up by us, from a rather excessive fear of its falling into
the enemy’s hands. A short time later an observation officer reported
that the enemy was apparently preparing to land at Konduchi, a day’s
march north of Dar-es-Salaam. The formation of the coast rendered it
not unlikely. I therefore immediately ordered the seven companies
of Askari[2] available to march off, so as to seize the favourable
opportunity of surprising the enemy in the act of landing.

Before they marched off I had a conversation at Pugu Station with the
Governor, Dr. Schnee, who was passing through by train to Morogoro. He
seemed quite surprised by the English hostilities, and entirely agreed
with my proposal to attack them at Konduchi. On the way there I met
two gentlemen belonging to the Government at Dar-es-Salaam, who showed
me a document dealing with negotiations for surrendering Dar-es-Salaam
to the English. As the Governor had said nothing to me about it, and
I was also rather in a hurry, I only glanced superficially at it. It
did not occur to me that this might be any kind of agreement drawn
up with the consent of the Governor. But when, during the night, the
force had reached a mountain ten miles north of Dar-es-Salaam, and on
the next morning we obtained a view of the harbour and the English
cruisers lying off it, it became clear that the report of an attempted
landing at Konduchi was a mistake. We were able to establish the fact
that the English ships had communicated with the shore, and now it
did appear to me probable that negotiations with the enemy had taken
place. I now advanced on the town, and, as I could not but fear that
in the confusion of the moment a disadvantageous agreement might be
concluded at Dar-es-Salaam, I sent Captain Tafel on ahead. He was
to announce that I was taking over the executive power, and that
negotiations with the enemy must be conducted through me alone. It was
only from Captain Tafel that I learned that by order of the Governor
negotiations for surrender had actually taken place. My intervention
was not approved by the Governor, in whose hands, according to a
Protective Force Ordinance intended to meet quite different conditions,
supreme military power was actually placed. For the moment this had no
practical consequences. Only a few English Marines had landed, and had
already gone on board again. But for a soldier it was not inspiring
to find that here, under the very eyes of a thousand good troops, an
agreement had been concluded which forbade us to undertake any hostile
act in Dar-es-Salaam, while the enemy was not so bound, and that we had
received no information of a step of such great military importance.

The _Königsberg_ had already put to sea from Dar-es-Salaam several
days before, and the surveying vessel _Möve_, which was in harbour,
had been blown up by us on the 9th August. This brought the land
forces a valuable military increase, as the captain of the _Möve_,
Lieut.-Commander Zimmer, now came under my orders. Lieutenant Horn at
once proceeded with a few seamen to Kigoma, where he manned and armed
the small steamer _Hedwig von Wissmann_. On Lake Tanganyika he chased
the Belgian steamer _Delcommune_, which he surprised and shot to
pieces after a few days, thereby securing to us the extremely important
command of the lake. The ability rapidly to transfer troops from the
Central Railway towards Bismarckburg or Usambara depended entirely
upon unimpeded transport on Tanganyika, and played a part in the later
course of the operations.

In the north of the Colony, the 1st Company at Arusha had been
reinforced by the 13th Company, coming by rapid marches from Kondoa,
and by another company formed at Moshi from Police Askari. Further, a
large part of the Europeans of the northern districts had combined to
form a detachment under Captain von Prince. Most of those troops were
in the neighbourhood of Moshi. Taveta, which lies to the eastward,
in English territory, was held by the enemy, who thereby secured a
valuable sally-port against our European settlements in the north;
it was, therefore, an urgent matter for us to capture this important
point without delay. It took considerable time before we were able to
set the force in motion for this purpose. Many people believed that
on the strength of the Congo Act we were bound to remain neutral, and
naturally had little confidence in the instructions they received
from the new Commandant. It was not until the 15th August that the
weakly-held place was taken. The course of the fight proved that
the force still required much further training to render it fit to
carry out combined operations in unison in the dense bush. In this
area the command was assumed by Major Kraut, who happened to be in
the north-eastern frontier district for the purpose of frontier
delimitations. During the next few days the holder of the supreme
military power was successfully persuaded to agree to moving the bulk
of our forces to the Northern Railway. Simple as was this movement in
itself, under the conditions then existing, it required considerable
preparations. There were few Germans to be found who were so well
acquainted with the whole country between Dar-es-Salaam and Morogoro
on one side, and Tanga and Mombo on the other, that they could give
reliable information about roads and conditions of subsistence. It was
necessary to send out reconnaissance officers in order to determine
the roads on which a suitable quantity of supplies could be found. But
we could not afford to await the results of all these reconnaissances;
the marches had to be begun. According to European ideas the country
was sparsely populated; and on the existing maps the only notes as to
water and food showed whether the supplies available would suffice for
bodies of a strength equal to a company at most. Without preparation
one could therefore hardly put more than one company on each road
without distribution in depth; the training and skill in the collection
of supplies which the force had acquired by the end of the war were
at that time non-existent. Taking it all round, it came to this, that
the march and supply of a single company in the conditions there
prevailing required about the same consideration as would a division in
Germany. It was also necessary in this move to take into account the
risk arising from the fact that companies would for a prolonged period
be out of reach of orders. The only telegraphic communication between
the Central Railway and the north ran close along the coast, and could
therefore be interrupted whenever the enemy intended to do so.

However, the Director of the Postal Service, Rothe, and Secretary
Krüger displayed such adaptability in meeting the wishes of
the troops, and such energy in starting work on the new line
Morogoro-Handeni-Korogwe, and, under the pressure of circumstances,
temporarily overcame the normal torpor of the Tropics with such
success, that the line was completed in only a few weeks. Owing to the
destructiveness of the termites (white ants) it is the rule in time of
peace to employ iron telegraph poles, which, owing to the prevalence
of giraffe in this particular district, have to be very tall and carry
very heavy conductors. In the first instance, however, the construction
in this case had to be of a provisional nature, and this, and the use
of cable, caused continual breakdowns and repairs.

In the meantime I received reports of the advance of small hostile
detachments at Jassini, two marches north of Tanga, and this confirmed
me in the belief that the enemy intended to land in that district,
and would then rapidly advance into the interior along the Northern
Railway. Consequently, the various companies had marched off from
different points on the line Dar-es-Salaam-Mpapua, and were for the
most part converging on Handeni, while some were directed on other
points on the line Tanga-Korogwe, when I was called up on the telephone
at Pugu on the afternoon of August 23rd, by Lieutenant von Chappuis,
who was encamped at Bagamoyo with the 17th Field Company. He reported
that an English light cruiser was lying off Bagamoyo, and had called
upon the local Civil Administrator to destroy the telegraph station,
threatening to bombard the place in case of refusal. I ordered him to
assume control of the executive and to prevent a hostile landing by
force of arms. A boat from the man-of-war that attempted to land under
the white flag was therefore sent back, and the place was bombarded
in consequence, to the great amusement of the company and the native
inhabitants, since the enemy scored practically no hits.

At the end of August, Headquarters moved by rail to Kirnamba, near
Morogoro. On the way, General von Wahle, who was directing the service
on the Lines of Communication from Morogoro, wished me the best of
luck in the decisive action which we expected in the neighbourhood
of Handeni, and to which his son was also proceeding. From there
Headquarters travelled on towards Handeni in two requisitioned motors.
After about twenty miles we had to leave them, as the improvement
of this road had not been completed beyond that point. Captain von
Hammerstein and I went on on bicycles, and gradually caught up the
companies on the march. The anticipated landing of the enemy did not
take place, and early in September we reached Korogwe. In the meantime
an English cruiser had appeared at Tanga and towed away some lighters
lying there.

Our next duty was to organize the supply and transport services in
the north. Captain Schmid, who had until then directed them as Field
Intendant, had become sick, and it was difficult to find a suitable
successor. Fortunately we discovered one in Captain Feilke, of
the Landwehr, who had for many years directed the Prince Albrecht
Plantations in Usambara, a man of great experience. He was at the time
in the vicinity of Tanga, and had placed himself at the disposal of
the force. He had formerly been Adjutant of the 8th Jäger Battalion,
was fifty-two years of age, a man of much knowledge of the world and a
skilful officer; he thus combined in the happiest manner the military
knowledge and business talent necessary for the difficult post of
Intendant. He came immediately, and we drove to New Moshi together.
There I met Captain Kraut. On Kilima Njaro preparations had been made
for guerilla warfare by establishing supply depots, our patrols were
pushing beyond Taveta towards the British Uganda Railway, and numerous
minor encounters had already taken place. At that time, however, the
force lacked the experience necessary for carrying out distant patrols
like those which at a later stage led so successfully to interruptions
of the line. The first patrols had arrived at the Uganda Railway in
a half-starved condition and had been captured. From New Moshi I
went to Himo Camp, where Captain von Prince was holding a fortified
position. He accompanied me to Taveta, which was held by an advanced
post under an officer. Now we could discuss on the spot the problem of
transferring the main body of the Northern Force to Taveta. The local
native population was very numerous and placed entire confidence in
the European administrators appointed by the force: they continued to
sell their products in the market, and our mutual relationship was
completely satisfactory.

Directly war broke out the fear of a native rising had been expressed
in many quarters. Along the Central Railway there were wild rumours
about a revolt of the Wahehe—the warlike tribe who had so long defied
German authority in the Iringa country—and around Kilima Njaro a
rising of the Wajagga was feared. The authorities also thought that
the large number of black labourers on the European settlements in
the north were unreliable on account of difficulties of subsistence.
But none of these fears turned out to be justified. Later, a very
intelligent captured Belgian Askari told me outright: “You know quite
well that the natives always side with the stronger party,” and an
English Masai admitted frankly: “It is all the same to us whether the
English or the Germans are our masters.”

[Illustration: General Map of the Campaign in East Africa.

—— Track of the German Main Force. 1916-1918.]

[Illustration: The Fallen.

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

It was not till later, after the enemy had penetrated the country, that
the native became a real danger to us: and then it was, indeed, very
great. The native has a fine sense of the transfer of real power from
one hand to the other.

After returning for a short time to Korogwe, Headquarters moved to
New Moshi, and shortly afterwards to Taveta. Three companies who had
reached the Northern Railway from the Central Railway were concentrated
at Tanga, the remaining five were moved into the Kilima Njaro country.
At Dar-es-Salaam there remained for the moment only Captain von
Kornatzki with the newly-formed 18th Field Company.

During the following period several enterprises were carried out by
flying columns, of the strength of one company each, the intention
being to drive away the hostile detachments who were reported to be
guarding the watering-places in the adjoining English territory, to
inflict losses upon them, and so to open the way for our patrols to
operate against the Uganda and Magad Railway. Thus, at the end of
September, Captain Schulz had marched with his company from Kilima
Njaro down the Tsavo River to the Uganda Railway, where he had met
an enemy detachment of several companies, who had probably been
concentrated by means of the railway. North of Kilima Njaro Captain
Tafel had with his company and a detachment of fifty Europeans pursued
a column of English Horse, but had then been attacked by the latter
in his camp in the dense bush on Engito Mountain. This was the first
serious engagement fought by our Askari in the north. Although the
enemy consisted of English and Boer farmers, who were therefore good
horsemen and good shots, our Askari attacked them with the bayonet with
such dash, that out of a strength of eighty Europeans some twenty dead
were left behind, and their total casualties may therefore be estimated
at half their number.

In the same way the expeditions undertaken by Captain Baumstark, who
commanded the three companies at Tanga, led to fighting in the frontier
districts between Jassini and Mombasa. An equally important object of
all these enterprises was to secure the most indispensable information
about this theatre of operations, as it had not been reconnoitred in
time of peace, and the conditions as to water-supply and cultivation
were unknown to us. In this manner we gradually obtained a clear
idea of the country and its inhabitants. Along the coast the English
frontier district was well settled and highly cultivated. Further
inland it is a dry desert covered with thorn scrub and partly with
thick bush. Out of the desert rise a number of mountain ranges, which
often attain the character of steep masses of rock. The troops were
quartered in several fortified camps east of Kilima Njaro, but, owing
to the difficulty of communication from Taveta, Headquarters were moved
back to Moshi. Later, when the Director of the Field Postal Service
arrived, and I asked him what he thought of the line between Moshi and
Taveta, he could only describe it as “pretty.” The insulators were made
from knocked off bottle-necks, fastened to poles or branches of trees,
the wire had been taken from the fences of the plantations. But the
breakdowns really were so frequent that the great volume of reports and
information in connection with the working of Headquarters could not
have been carried on this line for a prolonged period.

Since the outbreak of war our communication with the outside world had
been to all intents and purposes cut off; at first, indeed, we did pick
up wireless messages from Kamina (in Togo), and then occasionally,
under favourable weather conditions, from Nauen (Germany); but
otherwise we had to depend for fresh news on picking up enemy wireless
messages, or on obtaining possession of enemy mails or other papers.



CHAPTER IV

THE NOVEMBER ACTIONS AT TANGA


CAPTURED English newspapers stated that it would be particularly
painful to Germany to lose her beloved colonies, its “little chicks,”
and that German East Africa was the most valuable mouthful. Captured
mails spoke of an impending attack by an Indian expeditionary force of
10,000 men, and, as I had from general considerations always expected a
hostile attack on a large scale in the neighbourhood of Tanga, I went
there at the end of October, drove all over the country in a car I had
brought with me, and discussed the matter on the spot with Captain
Adler, commanding the 17th Company, and with District Commissioner
Auracher. I was pleased to find that the latter was of my opinion that,
in the event of Tanga being seriously threatened, the prime necessity
would be unity of action, and I assured him that I would, of course,
undertake the responsibility for any consequences that might ensue.
This was particularly important for the reason that, according to the
Governor’s instructions, a bombardment of Tanga was to be avoided under
all circumstances. Opinions as to what should be done or left undone in
any given case might therefore differ very widely.

On the 2nd November, a few days after my return to New Moshi, a wire
from Tanga informed me that fourteen hostile transports and two
cruisers had appeared off the place. They demanded unconditional
surrender of the town; the negotiations were protracted, as District
Commissioner Auracher, who had gone on board, pointed out that he must
obtain special instructions, and prevented the threatened bombardment
by remarking that Tanga was an open and undefended place. Captain
Baumstark, who was with two companies in the frontier district
north of Tanga, was at once moved off towards Tanga. Similarly the
two companies of Europeans and the Askari companies were moved by
forced marches from near Taveta and Kilima Njaro to New Moshi. Two
lorries which were employed on supply work between New Moshi and
Taveta rendered valuable service in this move. My intention to collect
all available troops as rapidly as possible, to meet the obviously
impending landing at Tanga, could only be executed, in spite of
the long marches expected of the troops, if the Northern Railway
exerted its capacity to the utmost limit, and this, with only eight
locomotives, was asking a great deal. The railway is a narrow gauge
line of 190 miles, on which, in a fully-loaded train of 24 to 32
axles, only one company could be carried with complete baggage, or two
companies without either baggage or carriers. That the transport of the
troops could be carried out at all is entirely due to the willingness
of all those connected with it—I specially mention Railway Commissary
Kröber, who had been called up to the Force as a 2nd Lieutenant, and
the traffic director Kühlwein—who at Tanga conducted the trains up on
to the actual battlefield under fire. As early as the 2nd November the
troops actually at New Moshi, one and a half companies, were pushed
off by train, followed on the morning of the 3rd by Headquarters and
another company. Three other companies followed later. Similarly, all
the smaller detachments employed on railway protection duty were moved
to Tanga. The spirit of the departing troops was magnificent, but this
may have been due, not so much to the fact that the Askari clearly
understood the gravity of the situation, as that for him a trip in a
railway train is at all times a great delight.

[Illustration: Fig. iv. Battle of Tanga. Fig. v. The Northern Railway.]

Headquarters reached Korogwe in the evening of the 3rd November. I
went to the hospital that had been established there and talked to
the wounded who had come in from the action at Tanga on the 3rd. One
of them, Lieutenant Merensky, of the Landwehr, reported to me that on
the 2nd November, outpost and patrol encounters had taken place near
Ras-Kasone, and that on the 3rd the enemy, apparently several thousand
strong, who had landed at Ras-Kasone, had attacked the 17th Company
east of Tanga. The latter, reinforced by the Europeans and Police
Askari from Tanga under Lieutenant Auracher, had withstood the attack
until the first one and a half companies coming from New Moshi joined
in, rushing at once to attack the left flank of the enemy and driving
him back. Lieutenant Merensky had the impression that the enemy was
completely defeated, and that the attack was unlikely to be repeated.
The telegrams coming in piecemeal during the railway journey had not
afforded me a clear idea of the situation, when at 3 a.m. on the 4th
November, Headquarters left the railway four miles west of Tanga,
where we met Captain Baumstark. He had formed a different estimate of
the situation, and believed that, owing to the great superiority of
the enemy, Tanga could not be held against another attack. He had,
therefore, on the evening of the 3rd November, collected his own two
companies coming from the north, and the troops who had that day been
in action at Tanga, at a point four miles west of the town, leaving
patrols only in the place itself.

Whether Tanga was held by the enemy or not was not certain. Strong
officers’ patrols were at once pushed forward beyond Tanga towards
Ras-Kasone. Luckily Headquarters had brought a few bicycles, and so, in
order to satisfy myself quickly by personal observation, I was able to
go off at once with Captain von Hammerstein and Volunteer Dr. Dessel
to the railway station at Tanga, where I found an advanced post of the
6th Field Company. They, however, could give no accurate information
about the enemy, and so I rode on through the empty streets of the
town. It was completely deserted, and the white houses of the Europeans
reflected the brilliant rays of the moon into the streets which we
traversed. So we reached the harbour at the further edge of the town.
Tanga was therefore clear of the enemy. A quarter of a mile out lay the
transports, a blaze of lights, and full of noise: there was no doubt
that the landing was about to commence at once. I much regretted that
our artillery—we had two guns of 1873 pattern—was not yet up. Here,
in the brilliant moonlight, at such close range, their effect would
have been annihilating, the hostile cruisers notwithstanding.

We then rode on towards Ras-Kasone, left our bicycles in the German
Government Hospital, and went on foot to the beach, close to which,
right in front of us, lay an English cruiser. On the way back, at the
hospital, we were challenged, apparently by an Indian sentry—we did
not understand the language—but saw nothing. We got on our cycles
again and rode back. Day began to break, and on our left we heard
the first shots. This was the officers’ patrol under 2nd Lieutenant
Bergmann, of the 6th Field Company, who had met hostile patrols west
of Ras-Kasone. One of my cyclists now brought Captain Baumstark the
order to advance at once with all the troops to Tanga Station. For
the manner in which I proposed to fight the action, which was now to
be expected with certainty, the nature of the country was one of the
decisive factors. In the north, the houses of the European town at the
harbour provided cover from view, and therefore also from the fire of
the cruisers close by. The town was surrounded by continuous cocoanut
and rubber plantations, which extended almost to Ras-Kasone, and in
which, besides the native town, a few native patches of cultivation
were scattered about. Undergrowth occurred along a few points and the
ground was absolutely flat. It was probable that the enemy, whether he
landed at Ras-Kasone only, or simultaneously at several points, such
as Mwambani, for instance, would press upon our south, or right, wing.
Here, to the south of Tanga, the ground afforded us also the prospect
of greater power of manœuvre. I decided to meet the attack, which I
expected with certainty, on the eastern edge of Tanga, and to echelon
strong reserves behind our right wing for a counter-attack against the
enemy’s flank.

In allotting the various duties it was necessary to consider the
peculiarities of the different units. At that time each company had
different characteristics, according to its composition and its state
of training. The good 6th Field Company, which had in time of peace
received a careful training at Ujiji with both rifle and machine-gun,
was ordered to hold the eastern edge of Tanga on a broad front. On
its right rear, outside Tanga, was echeloned Baumstark’s battalion,
consisting of the 16th and 17th Companies, formed from the Police, and
several small units amalgamated into one company. To the right rear
again, on the telegraph-road Tanga-Pangani, I kept three good companies
at my own disposal, the 7th and 8th Rifle Companies, with three
machine-guns, composed of Europeans, and the 13th Field Company with
its four machine-guns. Headquarters remained for the present on the
Tanga-Pangani road and connected up to the telegraph line there. The
4th and 9th Field Companies and the two field guns (Captain Hering’s
Battery) were still on the way, and the time of their arrival was
uncertain. So the situation remained essentially until the afternoon.
In the hot sun of the Coast area we suffered not a little from thirst,
but quenched it with the milk of the young cocoanuts. There were other
drinks as well in Tanga at that time; we still had wine and soda-water.
Master-butcher Grabow even brought the troops hot sausages.

The proceedings on board the hostile ships were kept under constant
close observation. We saw every boat that left them, and its load.
I estimated the total troops landed up to midday at 6,000. But even
on this too low estimate I had to ask myself whether I dared risk a
decisive engagement with my thousand rifles. For various reasons I
decided that I would do so. It was too important to prevent the enemy
from gaining a firm footing in Tanga. Otherwise we should abandon to
him the best base for operations against the Northern territories; in
his advance the Northern Railway would afford him an admirable line
of communication, and he would be enabled continually to surprise
us by bringing up and pushing forward fresh troops and stores. Then
it was certain that we would be unable to hold the Northern Railway
any longer and that we would be obliged to abandon our hitherto so
successful method of warfare. Against these all-important practical
reasons, limited considerations such as the Governor’s order to avoid a
bombardment of Tanga under all circumstances could not prevail.

A few circumstances there were that favoured us. For one thing, from
personal experience in East Asia, I knew the clumsiness with which
English troops were moved and led in battle, and it was certain that
in the very close and completely unknown country in which the enemy
would find himself directly he landed, these difficulties would grow
to infinity. The slightest disorder was bound to have far-reaching
consequences. With my troops, of whom the Europeans were well
acquainted with the country round Tanga, while the Askari were at home
in the bush, I had a reasonable prospect of taking advantage of the
enemy’s weak points by skilful and rapid manœuvre.

On the other hand, if the affair miscarried, it would be a bad
business. Already my method of waging active war had met with
disapproval. If on top of that we were to suffer a severe defeat the
confidence of the troops would probably be gone, and it was certain
that my superiors would place insuperable difficulties in the way of my
exercising command. My decision was not easy, and as if the military
situation alone did not render it difficult enough, it was made
unnecessarily harder by the fact that the regulations did not allow
sufficient freedom to the responsible commander. But there was nothing
for it: to gain all we must risk all.

The same morning I personally ordered Captain von Prince to move into
Tanga with his two companies of Europeans, so that, in case of an
attack on the Askari Company holding the eastern edge of the place,
he could intervene rapidly without orders. I had already begun to
doubt whether the enemy would attack at all on the 4th November, when
at 3 p.m. an Askari reported to me in his simple, smart way: “Adui
tayari.” (The enemy is ready.) Those two short words I shall never
forget. The next moment the rifle fire opened along the whole front,
and one could only judge of the rapid development and the ebb and
flow of the action from the direction of the firing. One heard the
fire draw in from the eastern edge of the town to the middle: so the
6th Company had been driven back at this point. The enemy, with odds
twenty to one in his favour, had penetrated close up to the station
and into the town. Captain von Prince had immediately rushed up his
two companies of Europeans and at once prevailed upon the brave Askari
to stand and then to advance once more. The British North Lancashire
Regiment, consisting only of long-service Europeans, 800 strong, was
driven back with heavy losses, and the houses captured by the Indian
Brigade (Kashmir Rifles), who were advancing between that regiment and
the beach, were re-taken in stubborn street-fighting. But on the south
side of Tanga Captain Baumstark had also brought his companies into
action on the front, and after about one hour’s fighting I observed
the Askari at this point retiring through the palm-trees to the
Tanga-Pangani road. The European members of Headquarters at once ran
there and stopped them. To this day I can see the fiery and determined
Captain von Hammerstein, full of fury, throwing an empty bottle at the
head of a retreating Askari. After all, they were for the most part
young companies, only just formed, who were fighting at this point,
and they had been staggered by the intensity of the enemy’s fire. But
when we Europeans got in front of them and laughed at them they quickly
recovered themselves and saw that every bullet did not hit. But on the
whole the pressure on our front was so strong that I thought I could
not delay the decision any longer and must start my counter-stroke.
For this I had now but one company available, but it was the good 13th
Field Company. The 4th Company, whose arrival I was most anxiously
awaiting every minute, had not yet arrived.

The course of the action up till now had shown that the enemy’s front,
of which the flank was unprotected, did not reach further south than
the right wing of our own. Here, therefore, the counter-stroke must
prove annihilating, and no witness will forget the moment when the
machine-guns of the 13th Company opened a continuous fire at this
point and completely reversed the situation. The whole front jumped up
and dashed forward with enthusiastic cheers. In the meantime the 4th
Company had arrived; although, in consequence of a misunderstanding,
it did not prolong the outer flank of the 13th, but pushed in between
the latter and our front, still it did take an effective part in the
battle before dark. In wild disorder the enemy fled in dense masses,
and our machine-guns, converging on them from front and flanks, mowed
down whole companies to the last man. Several Askari came in beaming
with delight with several captured English rifles on their backs and an
Indian prisoner in each hand. The handcuffs, however, which we found in
their possession for use with German prisoners, were not used on them
by any of us.

At this time, in the dense forest, all units, and in many instances
friend and foe, were mixed up together, everybody was shouting at
once in all sorts of languages, darkness was rapidly setting in; it
is only necessary to conjure up this scene in imagination in order to
understand how it was that the pursuit which I set in motion failed
completely. I had been stationed on the right wing, and had quickly
despatched such units as were within reach at the moment to push with
energy towards Ras-Kasone. Then I had gone to the left wing. There
I found hardly any of our people at all; it was not till some time
afterwards, in the night, that I heard the sound of the nailed boots of
a party of Askari. I was glad at last to have a force in hand, but was
somewhat disappointed to find it was a detachment of the right wing,
under 2nd Lieutenant Langen, who had missed the way to Ras-Kasone and
had thus got on to our left wing. But even these difficulties were not
all. In some inexplicable way the troops imagined a Headquarter order
had been issued that they were to return to their old camp west of
Tanga. Only during the course of the night, at Tanga Railway Station,
did it become clear to me that nearly all the companies had marched off
for that destination. Of course they were ordered to return at once.
But unfortunately this caused so much delay that it was impossible
to bring Hering’s Battery, which had arrived later, into action by
moonlight against the ships.

The troops, whose great exhaustion was quite comprehensible, did not
get back to Tanga until the morning of the 5th November, and occupied
essentially the same position as the day before. It was not now
advisable to advance with all our forces against the enemy, who was
re-embarking at Ras-Kasone, as the country there was entirely open,
and commanded by the cruisers lying in its immediate vicinity. All the
same, the strong patrols and individual companies, who advanced towards
Ras-Kasone, in order to harass the enemy, succeeded in surprising
him by machine-gun fire directed on various detachments, a few boats,
and even the decks of the cruiser lying close to the hospital. During
the day, the impression that the enemy had suffered a tremendous
defeat grew stronger and stronger. It is true, the full extent of his
losses did not become known to us all at once; but the many places
where hundreds and hundreds of dead were piled up in heaps, and the
smell of putrefaction which the tropical sun brought out all over the
district, gave us some indication. Very cautiously we estimated the
killed at about 800, but I believe this number to be far too low. A
senior English officer, who had accurate knowledge of the details,
told me later, on the occasion of an action in which he stated the
English casualties to have been 1,500, that the losses at Tanga had
been considerably greater. I now think that even 2,000 is too low an
estimate. Even greater was the enemy’s loss in _moral_. He almost
began to believe in spirits and spooks; years afterwards I was asked
by English officers whether we had used trained bees at Tanga, but I
may now perhaps betray the fact that at the decisive moment all the
machine-guns of one of our companies were put out of action by these
same “trained bees,” so that we suffered from this new “training” quite
as much as the English.

The enemy felt himself completely defeated, and he was. His troops
had fled in wild confusion and thrown themselves head over heels
into the lighters. The possibility of renewing the attack was not
even considered. From prisoners’ statements and captured official
English documents it was ascertained that the whole Anglo-Indian
Expeditionary Force of 8,000 men had been thus decisively beaten by
our force of little more than 1,000 men. Not till the evening did we
realize the magnitude of this victory, when an English officer, Captain
Meinertshagen, came under a flag of truce to negotiate with Captain von
Hammerstein, my representative, for the handing over of the wounded.
Captain von Hammerstein proceeded to the hospital, which was full of
severely wounded English officers, and in my name agreed to their being
removed by the English on giving their word of honour not to fight
against us again in this war.

The booty in arms enabled us to re-arm more than three companies with
modern weapons, for which the sixteen machine-guns were particularly
welcome. The _moral_ of the force and its confidence in its leaders had
enormously increased, and at one blow I was delivered from a great part
of the difficulties which so greatly impeded the conduct of operations.
The continuous fire of the ships’ guns, which the closeness of the
country had rendered ineffective, had lost its terrors for our brave
blacks. The quantity of stores captured was also considerable; besides
600,000 rounds of small-arm ammunition the enemy had left behind
the whole of his telephone gear and such quantities of clothing and
equipment that we were able to meet all our requirements, especially in
warm coats and blankets, for at least a year. Our own losses, painful
though they were, were numerically insignificant. About fifteen (?)
Europeans, among them the splendid Captain von Prince, and fifty-four
(?) Askari and machine-gun carriers, had fallen. The Europeans were
buried in a worthy warriors’ grave in the shade of a fine Buyu tree,
where a simple memorial tablet is inscribed with their names. The work
of clearing up the battlefield and burying the dead meant several
days of most strenuous work for the whole force, as the streets were
literally strewn with dead and badly wounded. In unknown tongues they
begged for help which, with the best will in the world, could not
always be accorded at once.

At our main dressing station, in Tanga itself, our male and female
nursing personnel had conscientiously cared for friend and foe even
under the fire of the heavy guns of the ships. As recently as the
evening of the 4th November I had been to see the wounded. I little
thought that Lieutenant Schottstaedt, who was sitting there on a chair
with a severe wound in the chest, had but a few minutes to live. The
English Lieutenant Cook, of the 101st Indian Grenadiers, lay there with
a bad gun-shot wound in the leg. This bright young officer, who had
fallen into our hands in the hottest part of the fight on the Indian
left wing, maintained his cheerfulness in spite of his wound. With the
bulk of the other wounded, he was treated for nine months in the Field
Hospital at Korogwe by our best surgeon, _Stabsarzt_ Dr. Müller. He
was already walking about once more, when an unfortunate fall on the
stairs caused his death.

The fighting at Tanga was the first occasion on which heavy demands
were made on our arrangements for the care of the wounded. For this
purpose, hospitals had been established at Korogwe and at various other
points on the Northern Railway, to which the sick could be taken by
rail without being transferred from one method of transport to another.
No special hospital arrangements of a permanent nature had been made
for transport, but we never had any difficulty in improvising what was
necessary.

In spite of their undoubted defeat at Tanga it was probable that
British determination would not accept this decision as final. Even
after his defeat the enemy was still several times as strong as we
were, and would not improbably attempt another landing elsewhere. But
a cycle ride on the 6th November to Mansa Bay, in the North, convinced
me that the hostile ships had run in there only for the purpose of
attending to their wounded and burying their dead and had no intention
of landing. And the ships actually did steam off towards Zanzibar soon
after. At that time it was interesting to me to visit our Government
Hospital near Ras-Kasone, which had in the meantime been evacuated by
the English wounded released on parole. Among others I saw here two
German officers who had been wounded at Tanga on the 3rd November, and
others who had been wounded in an earlier action; from the hospital
they had been able to observe events behind the English front on the
4th November, the day when the principal fighting took place. With the
greatest excitement they had watched the landing at Ras-Kasone and the
advance on Tanga; in the afternoon they had heard the opening of our
decisive machine-gun fire and the bombardment by the ships’ guns, and
had then witnessed the wild flight of the enemy close by the hospital.
The numerous shells that had fallen near the hospital had fortunately
done no damage. Quite early on the 5th November they had suddenly heard
guns firing again, this time from the direction of Tanga; they realized
that they must be German guns. They were in fact our two 1873 pattern
field-guns, which, though too late to deal with the English transports
by moonlight, had at least managed to secure a few hits after daybreak.
A prolonged fire for effect was now unfortunately impossible, as the
smoke disclosed the positions of the guns at once and drew the fire of
the ships.

In the meantime it had become evident that the attack at Tanga was
not an isolated enterprise, but had been intended to form part of a
simultaneous operation on a large scale. Suddenly in the morning mist,
on the 3rd November, English troops appeared north-west of Kilima
Njaro, at Longido Mountain, which was held by Captain Kraut with three
Companies of Askari and a Mounted Company of Europeans. Just as orders
reached Longido Mountain by heliograph directing Captain Kraut to move
off to Moshi, the first shell arrived. The enemy, about 1,000 strong,
had ascended the great mountain, which lies by itself in the open
plain, at several points, being guided by Masai, who called out to
the outposts: “We belong to Captain Kraut’s men.” But our three Field
Companies deployed rapidly and succeeded in working round the enemy
detachment in the rocky ground and quickly repelled them. A hostile
detachment of mounted Europeans who became visible in the plain at the
foot of the mountain, and apparently intended to ascend it from the
south, or to act against our communications, was fired upon with effect
and quickly driven off.

Probably in connection with these events on the Northern Railway,
hostile enterprises took place on Lake Victoria. At the end of October
numerous Waganda warriors had penetrated from the North into the Bukoba
district. To meet this menace, a force of 570 rifles, 4 machine-guns,
and 2 guns left Muanza on the 31st October on board the small steamer
_Muanza_, with 2 tugs and 10 dhows (boats). Soon after the landing
these transports were attacked by English steamers, but got back to
Muanza without damage. An English attempt to land at Kayense, north of
Muanza, broke down under the fire of our detachment posted there.

Thus, at the beginning of November we were confronted with a concentric
attack on our Colony, planned on a large scale. Its failure made
everyone expect that we would be able to hold our own as long as the
home country could do so. But such scanty information as we could get
from there gave us confidence. At the time of the action at Tanga we
had, indeed, not heard the name of Hindenburg; but on the other hand we
knew nothing of our reverse on the Marne, and were still buoyed up by
the impression created by our victorious invasion of France.



CHAPTER V

AWAITING FURTHER EVENTS


THE danger threatening the Kilima Njaro country appeared to me to be
by itself a sufficient reason for rapidly moving the troops back to
the vicinity of New Moshi after the decisive success of Tanga, which
in any event could not be further exploited. The joy of the Northern
settlers, who, it should be noted, had furnished the bulk of the
Europeans who fought at Tanga, was indescribable. The first train,
which carried the European Company, returned to New Moshi bedecked
with flowers. I myself had still enough to do at Tanga, and did not
follow the troops to New Moshi for several days, where Headquarters
was reopened. Shortage of personnel prevented us from having separate
people for each duty. Officers of Headquarters had sometimes in an
emergency to act as riflemen or cyclists, the Intendant occasionally
did duty as an orderly, the clerk went into action with a rifle and
acted as orderly in battle. The work was greatly facilitated by the
fact that the railway station, constructed on European lines, afforded
us accommodation which, in spite of being rather small, enabled us to
settle most matters affecting the Staff only by word of mouth. We had
good telephone and telegraph installations, and were situated centrally
as the telephone and road systems, which we had either made or
perfected, and which led out in both directions towards Tanga, Taveta,
East Kilima Njaro, West Kilima Njaro and Longido, as well as to Arusha.
Sometimes the work would go on for a week at a time almost as in peace,
although the volume of work to be dealt with was greater. But although
hardly anybody at Headquarters was either trained or prepared for his
functions, harmonious and successful co-operation was secured. It was
based upon the best spirit, devotion to the cause, and the support of
good comradeship.

I myself went by car—for we had made a motor-road right up to Longido
Mountain—to the Engare-Nairobi (cold river), a small stream rising on
the northern slopes of Kilima Njaro, and flowing between it and Longido
through the prairie in a north-westerly direction. In this country
a number of Boer families were settled on farms. Kraut’s detachment
had moved their camp there, as their supplies, if they had remained
on Longido Mountain, would have had to make a two-days’ march across
the prairie, where they could not be protected, and were, therefore,
too uncertain. I satisfied myself that there was at this time no
opportunity for any enterprises north of Kilima Njaro, and returned
to New Moshi. The distance from New Moshi, where we collected a large
proportion of the supplies coming from Usambara and the country further
south by rail to Taveta, is thirty miles. Although we had available
only a few motors, namely, three cars and three lorries all told, they
were in the circumstances a considerable help. The road being well
made, the three-ton lorries could do the trip out and back in one
day in dry weather. As carriers took at least four days for the same
journey a calculation showed that one lorry could do the work of six
hundred carriers, who required subsistence in addition. The principle,
later maintained by the English, of replacing carriers and pack-animals
by mechanical transport, is further supported by the fact that men and
animals suffered severely from tropical diseases, whereas mosquitos
are powerless against automobiles. We, however, could not derive full
benefit from this advantage, since we had so few motors. Even in this
period, which, as far as transport was concerned, was one of quiet
and regularity, we had constantly to fall back upon carriers. To this
day I remember the joy of the Intendant when a column of six hundred
Wassukuma carriers arrived at New Moshi from about Muanza; they brought
rice, which was urgently needed, from Lake Victoria, via Kondoa-Irangi
to Kilima Njaro. If one remembers that this march required at least
thirty days, that the carrier needs one kg. (two lbs.) of food a day,
and that his maximum load is twenty-five kg. (fifty-five lbs.), it
is clear that these marches have to be arranged with great care and
directed through well populated and fertile districts if this method of
transport is to be of any value. If, in spite of these disadvantages,
carrier transport had to be resorted to on a large scale, it only shows
up the supply-difficulties we had to contend with. The Intendant,
Captain Feilke, was, however, a past master in handling the men and
looking after them. The carriers felt that they were well cared for,
and the word “Kommando,” which some of them took as a personal name,
became quite common. I myself was able, by means of the motors, to
carry out many reconnaissances and inspections of the troops. I could
reach Taveta, to which place some of the troops from Tanga returned, in
two hours from New Moshi; this would otherwise have taken four days;
later on I drove in one day from New Moshi to the Engare-Nairobi, round
the west side of the whole of Meru Mountain, and back to New Moshi, a
journey which could hardly have been accomplished with carriers in less
than ten days.

The success at Tanga called forth and revived the determination to
resist all over the Colony.

At Morogoro, on the 26th November, the Inspector of Lines of
Communication, Major-General Wahle, succeeded in obtaining the
Governor’s consent to the defence of Dar-es-Salaam in case of
attack. As luck would have it, this consent was given just in time.
On the 28th, two men-of-war, a transport and a tug, appeared off
Dar-es-Salaam, and demanded to inspect our ships lying in the harbour.
Among others, there was the _Tabora_, of the German East African Line,
which had been converted into a hospital-ship. As the English had on a
previous occasion declared that they did not consider themselves bound
by any agreement about Dar-es-Salaam, fresh negotiations would have
been necessary every time we wanted to escape a threatened bombardment.
Thus an endless screw was created. I now wired that the entry into
the harbour of a pinnace, demanded by the English, was to be resisted
by force of arms. Unfortunately, however, it had been conceded by the
German civil authority, against my opinion, and the Senior Officer
present at Dar-es-Salaam felt himself bound. The English, however,
came in, not with the one pinnace which had been agreed to, but with
several small vessels, and then proceeded to carry out demolitions on
board the _Tabora_, and even took some of her crew prisoners. This made
it only too evident, even to those who had hitherto been doubtful, how
misplaced our previous compliance had been. Captain von Kornatzky was
just in time to open effective machine-gun fire on the small English
vessels as they passed out by the narrow English harbour entrance.
Unfortunately, on this occasion, one of the German prisoners was also
hit. The necessary defensive measures had simply not been adopted in
time. This is a small example of the dangers and disadvantages that
arise when, in time of war, the military commander is constantly
interfered with in his decisions, and in the execution of operations
which are in the nature of things inevitable.

And, after all, the subsequent bombardment of Dar-es-Salaam did no harm
worth mentioning, for the damage done to a few houses can hardly be
considered as serious.

During the time of comparatively sedentary warfare at New Moshi the
material side of life was also pleasant. The Europeans, who mostly
belonged to the settler community of the northern territories, provided
most of their subsistence themselves; abundant supplies of rice,
wheat-flour, bananas, pineapples, European fruit, coffee and potatoes,
came in from the plantations. Sugar was provided by the numerous
factories, and our principal supply of salt came from the Gottorp salt
works, on the Central Railway, between Tabora and Lake Tanganyika. Many
plantations devoted themselves entirely to supplying the troops, and,
owing to the abundant labour available this change in production caused
no difficulties. But the transport system had also to work at high
pressure. The great road leading from Kimamba to Mombo and Korogwe,
on the Northern Railway, was continuously improved, so as to carry
the transport of the products from the area of the Tanganyika Railway
and further South, to the North. On this line alone at least eight
thousand carriers were continuously employed. It soon proved to be
practical not to make the carriers do the whole distance of a hundred
and ninety miles, but to distribute them on different stages. This made
it possible to quarter them permanently and to look after their health.
Experts in hygiene travelled up and down the road, and did what was
humanly possible for the health of the carriers, especially against
dysentery and typhoid. In this manner we established along this very
frequented route permanent carrier-camps a day’s march apart, in which
the men were accommodated at first in extemporized huts, which were
later properly completed. Camp discipline was strictly regulated. In
order to provide also for the many Europeans passing through, small
houses with concrete floors were put up; and individuals were enabled
to subsist on the supplies held on the line of communication, without
having to burden themselves with provisions to last for a prolonged
period, as is customary on journeys in Africa. The work on this line of
supply was the object of constant attention. Both Europeans and natives
had still to learn how to ensure the co-operation of such masses of
men, and to understand the importance of order and discipline in the
working of the transport for the health of all concerned.

At New Moshi Station both telephone and telegraph were working day
and night. Where the whole organization had to be improvised friction
was not altogether unavoidable. All the members of Headquarters were
extraordinarily hard-worked. But we did have bright intervals during
the strenuous work. The abundance of creature comforts enjoyed by
the Europeans in the North was shared by us at Headquarters. We were
literally spoilt by the number of gifts sent us by private individuals.
If one of us travelled on the Northern Railway, on which in time of
peace it was difficult to obtain a little food for love or money, he
was now cared for by someone at almost every station. I remember when
Lieut. Freiherr von Schroetter returned to New Moshi, very famished,
after carrying out some very exhausting patrols in the country north of
Erok Mountain. After having, according to normal ideas, been thoroughly
well fed from seven o’clock till eleven, he shyly asked if he might
have some supper. The next morning he started on fourteen days’ leave
to his plantation in Usambara, in order to recuperate and attend to
his business. After breakfast we gave him coffee, bread, butter and
meat, to take with him in the train, and had warned the various railway
stations to look after this completely famished patroller. So, after
half an hour, the station guard at Kahe offered him another breakfast,
at Lembeni the charming wife of the Station Commandant had baked him
a cake, and at Lame he was looked after by the commander of the local
Recruit Depot, Sergt.-Major Reinhardt. At Makanya the guard, Planter
Baroy, who belonged to the country, brought him home-made chocolate and
bullocks’ hearts—a fruit the size of a melon—at Buiko the hospitable
traffic manager of the Northern Railway, Kuehlwein, who had so often
entertained us in passing through, had prepared him a delicate meal. At
Mombo, where the supplies from the Usambara Mountains were collected,
and where we had established most of our workshops, our protégé was met
by Warrant Officer Meyer, of the Navy, with a sustaining supper. But
then we got a telegram: “Please do not order any more, I can’t eat any
more.”

Although this continuous feeding shows a spirit of sympathetic chaff at
the expense of the starving subaltern, it also proves, better than any
theoretical dissertations, how intimately all classes of the population
of the northern districts worked in with the troops, and how they tried
to anticipate our every wish. This co-operation continued as long as
the troops remained in the North.

Whenever duty gave us a chance we arranged for change and recuperation.
On Sundays we often went out together near New Moshi for a cheery day’s
shooting. Both carriers and Askari soon picked up their business as
beaters, and drove the game towards us in exemplary order, with loud
shouts of “Huyu, huyu:” “There he is.” For variety of game the country
provided more than one would be likely to find anywhere in Europe:
hare, various dwarf antelopes, guinea-fowl, several relatives of the
partridge, duck, bush-buck, water-buck, lynx, several kinds of wild
boar, small kudu, jackal and many other kinds of game abounded. Once, I
remember, to my astonishment, a lion silently appeared fifteen paces in
front of me. Unfortunately I had my gun in my hand, and before I could
put up my rifle, which was on my knees, he had as silently disappeared.
In the teeming Kilima Njaro country, and even more east of Taveta, our
shooting expeditions provided a welcome increase to our meat supply.
But in the main this depended on the cattle which the Masai brought us
from the Kilima Njaro and Meru country, but which also came from far
away near Lake Victoria.



CHAPTER VI

FURTHER HEAVY FIGHTING IN THE NORTH-EAST


BY the time we kept Christmas in the Mission Church at New Moshi, and
afterwards in our mess in the Railway Station, the military situation
north of Tanga had become sufficiently acute to indicate that decisive
events in this quarter were probable. During the last days of December,
our patrols, who in that district were on British territory, had been
gradually pushed back, and had concentrated south of Jassini, on German
territory. The combined force amounted to two companies and a corps of
some two hundred Arabs. The enemy had obviously been reinforced, and
occupied the buildings of the German plantation of Jassini. It looked
as though he intended to push gradually forward along the coast to
Tanga, securing the occupied country by a system of block-houses. In
order to investigate matters on the spot, I travelled early in January
with Capt. von Hammerstein to Tanga, and thence by car to Capt. Adler’s
camp at Mwurnoni, using the newly-completed coast road to the north, a
distance of thirty-eight miles. Lieut. Bleeck, of the Reserve, whose
numerous successful patrols in that country rendered him particularly
suitable for the purpose, accompanied me on my reconnaissance, from
which I learned that the country for miles round Jassini consisted
principally of a cocoanut plantation belonging to the German East
African Company, which was also planted with sisal, a species of agave
with sharp thorns. This sisal, which formed a dense undergrowth among
the palms, was in many places so interlaced that one could only force
one’s way through by enduring a quantity of very unpleasant pricks. It
is, of course, always difficult to make plans for an action in country
so totally unknown to one without the aid of a map, and relying only
on the reports of patrols. In this case we got over the difficulty as
Lieut. Schaefer, of the Reserve, who had been called to the colours,
had for years held the post of Assistant on this plantation, and could
therefore furnish exact information. A tolerably accurate sketch was
prepared, and the battle-names allotted to various localities were
entered on it. The general situation appeared to be that Jassini
was an advanced post, and that the main body of the enemy was in
fortified camps further north. It was to be assumed that an attack
on the advanced post of Jassini would entice the main body to leave
its camps and fight in the open (sic!). My plan was to take advantage
of this possibility. In order to engage the enemy while hurrying
from his places of assembly to the assistance of the advanced post,
in favourable tactical conditions, I intended to place my troops in
readiness on his probable lines of advance, in such a manner that he
would have to run up against them.

In this closely-settled country supply presented no difficulty, and
the necessary carriers could be provided by the numerous European
plantations. So the companies ordered up by telegraph from New Moshi
had only to be accompanied by their machine-gun and ammunition
carriers, a considerable advantage in arranging for their railway
journey. This was accomplished rapidly and without friction, thanks to
the proved capacity of the Commandant of the Line, Lieutenant Kroeber,
retired, of the Landwehr, and the understanding and consuming zeal with
which the whole personnel of the railway bore the unavoidable strain
without a murmur.

By the 16th January the companies from New Moshi had detrained a couple
of miles west of Tanga, and at once marched off towards Jassini,
as well as the troops from Tanga, for the immediate protection of
which only one company was left behind. On the evening of the 17th
January the force of nine companies, with two guns, was assembled at
Totohown plantation, seven miles south of Jassini, and orders for the
attack were issued for the following morning. Major Kepler, with two
companies, was directed to attack the village of Jassini, working
round by the right, and Captain Adler, with two more companies,
had a similar task on the left. To the north-west, on the road from
Semanya, was posted the Arab corps. Captain Otto, with the 9th Company,
advanced frontally by the main road on Jassini, followed immediately
by Headquarters and the main body, consisting of the European Company,
three Askari Companies, and two guns. The marches were so arranged that
the attacks on Jassini should take place simultaneously at daybreak,
and that all columns should mutually support each other by pushing on
with energy. Even before daybreak the first shots fell in the vicinity
of Kepler’s column, a few minutes later firing began in front of us
with Otto’s column, and then became general. It was impossible in the
endless dense palm forest to obtain an even approximate idea of what
was really happening. We were, however, already so close up to the
hostile position at Jassini, that the enemy seemed to be surprised,
in spite of his excellent intelligence service. This supposition was
afterwards, in part at least, confirmed. Of our rapid concentration
south of Jassini, and our immediate attack with such strong forces, the
enemy had actually had no idea.

Otto’s column quickly drove back an entrenched post in its front, and
Headquarters now made a circuit to the left through the forest, where
first one, and then two more companies, were put in so as to outflank
Jassini. What seemed curious was that in this move we came under a very
well-aimed fire at short range, possibly no more than 200 yards; and
it was not till much later that we learned that the enemy had not only
a weak post in Jassini, but that four companies of Indians were also
established there in a strongly constructed and excellently concealed
fort. Suddenly Captain von Hammerstein, who was walking behind me,
collapsed; he had been shot in the abdomen. Deeply as this affected me,
at the moment I had to leave my badly-wounded comrade in the hands of
the doctor. A few days later the death of this excellent officer tore a
gap in the ranks of our Staff which was hard to fill.

The fighting had become very hot. Two companies, although their
commanders, Lieuts. Gerlich and Spalding, had fallen had quickly
captured the fortified buildings of Jassini by a brilliant charge, and
had now established themselves close in front of the enemy’s position.
Soon the intervention of the enemy’s main force made itself felt. From
the direction of Wanga, in the north-east, strong hostile columns
arrived and suddenly appeared close in front of our companies, lying
close to the fortifications of Jassini. The enemy made three strong
attacks at this point and was each time repulsed. Hostile columns also
arrived from the north and north-west. Against that from the west the
Arab corps had done badly; the day before many of them had urgently
demanded their discharge. Now, when they were to lie in ambush on
the enemy’s road of advance, the tension became too great for them.
Instead of surprising the enemy by an annihilating fire, they fired
blindly into the air and then bolted. But luckily these hostile columns
then came on Captain Adler’s two companies, and were repulsed with
slaughter. Up till then the whole action had been in the nature of an
energetic assault; even the last reserve, the European Company, had, at
its urgent request, been sent into action. Towards noon the fighting
had everywhere become stationary before the strong defences of the
enemy. We had, as a matter of fact, no means of making a sufficient
impression on them, and even our field-guns, which we placed in
position at two hundred yards, produced no decisive effect. The heat
was insupportable, and, as at Tanga, everyone quenched his thirst with
young cocoanuts. I myself went with Lieut. Bleeck to the right wing, to
find out how things were going with Major Kepler’s column. At that time
I had not yet obtained a clear idea of the enemy’s defences, and so, on
the sands of a clear and open creek, which was then dry, we again came
under a very well-aimed fire. From a distance of five hundred yards
the bullets fell close to us, and the spurts of sand they threw up
made correction easy. The sand was so deep and the heat so great that
one could only run, or even walk quickly, for a few paces at a time.
Most of the time we had to walk slowly across the open and bear the
unpleasant fire as best we could. Fortunately it did no serious harm,
although one bullet through my hat and another through my arm showed
that it was well meant. On the way back from the right wing our thirst
and exhaustion were so great that several gentlemen, who were usually
by no means on bad terms with each other, had a serious difference of
opinion about a cocoanut, although it would not have been difficult to
get more from the countless trees all round us.

Headquarters had now returned to the Totohown-Jassini road. Along this
ran a light railway for the work of the plantation, the wagons of which
were now continuously employed in taking wounded back to Totohown,
where a hospital had been established in the European buildings.
Ammunition—of which the Askari carried about 150 rounds—began to
run short, and reports from the firing line that they could not hold
on longer became more frequent. Slightly wounded who had been tied up
and a mass of stragglers collected at Headquarters, whole platoons
had completely lost themselves, or had for other reasons left the
places assigned to them. All these men were collected and reorganized,
and thus a fresh reserve was made available. The ammunition in the
machine-gun belts was to a great extent expended, and fresh supplies
came up from Totohown by the light railway. The belt-filling machines
were fixed to the palm-trees and kept incessantly at work. It was
evident that we had already suffered considerable casualties. A
few wished to break off the action, as there seemed no prospect of
capturing the enemy’s defences. But the thought of the unpleasant
situation of the enemy, shut up in his works, without water, and having
to carry on all the occupations of daily existence in a confined space,
in a burning sun and under hostile fire, made it appear that if we only
held on with determination we might yet achieve success. The afternoon
and night passed in incessant fighting; as is always the case in such
critical situations, all sorts of rumours arose. It was said that the
garrison of the enemy’s works consisted of South African Europeans, who
were excellent marksmen; some people even declared they had understood
their speech perfectly. It was indeed still very difficult to form
a clear idea. My orderly, Ombasha (Lance-Corporal) Rayabu, at once
volunteered to make a close reconnaissance, crawled close up to the
enemy’s line, and was killed there. The native, who is at all times
easily excitable, was doubly so in this critical situation at night,
and I frequently had to take the men severely to task for firing
blindly into the air.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early on the 19th January the fire broke out again with the greatest
intensity. The enemy, who was surrounded on all sides, made a sortie,
which failed, and soon after hoisted the white flag. Four Indian
companies, with European officers and N.C.O.’s, fell into our hands.
We all remarked the warlike pride with which our Askari regarded the
enemy; I never thought our black fellows could look so distinguished.

Both friend and foe had been in an unpleasant situation, and were near
the end of their nervous strength. That is usually the case with any
soldier who takes his duty seriously. But the Askari now learned that
one must overcome one’s own feelings in order to obtain the superior
moral force necessary for victory.

I estimated the enemy’s casualties at 700 at least; the captured
documents gave a clear indication of his strength, which was more than
double our own. According to them, General Tighe, commanding the troops
in British East Africa, who had landed a short time before at Wanga,
had more than twenty companies assembled at and near Jassini, most of
whom had come by march route along the coast from the direction of
Mombasa. They were to push forward towards Tanga.

With the aid of the mechanical transport and the rickshaws, which
worked between the Field Hospital at Totohown and Tanga, the wounded
were moved from Jassini to the hospitals on the Northern Railway
quite easily in a few days. These rickshaws, small spring-carts (like
dog-carts), drawn by one man, which take the place of cabs at Tanga,
had been requisitioned for carrying wounded by the Senior Medical
Officer. The enemy had withdrawn into his fortified camps north of
the frontier, and a fresh attack on them did not seem to me very
promising. We immediately commenced patrol operations, as a support to
which we left a detachment of a few companies at Jassini; the bulk of
the troops was moved off again to the Kilima Njaro country. On the
march to the entraining station on the Northern Railway the troops
passed through Amboni Plantation. There the inhabitants of Tanga had
voluntarily provided food and refreshments; and after the tremendous
exertions entailed by the expedition to Jassini, with its continuous
forced marches, the exhausting heat, and the uninterrupted fighting by
day and night, the sulphur-laden Sigi stream was soon alive with white
and black bathers. All our toil was forgotten, and our spirits rose to
the highest pitch on receiving at this very moment, after a rather long
interval, another wireless message from home. It indicated that news of
the fighting at Tanga had probably just reached Germany, and contained
His Majesty’s appreciation of the success we had gained there.



CHAPTER VII

GUERILLA WARFARE AND FURTHER PREPARATIONS


DOCUMENTS which we captured later proved by figures that the enemy
moved troops from Lake Victoria towards Kilima Njaro. So the battle
actually did relieve other, far distant theatres. This observation
bore out the original contention that the best protection of the whole
territory consisted in taking a firm hold of the enemy at one point.
Whether the remainder of the Colony was also locally protected with
energy was not as important. All the same, I was greatly rejoiced when
in February, 1915, the Governor was persuaded to issue the order that
the coast towns were to be defended if threatened by the enemy. The
successes obtained hitherto had demonstrated that this local defence
was not hopeless, even against the fire of ships’ guns.

Although the attack carried out at Jassini with nine companies had been
completely successful, it showed that such heavy losses as we also had
suffered could only be borne in exceptional cases. We had to economize
our forces in order to last out a long war. Of the regular officers,
Major Kepler, Lieuts. Spalding and Gerlich, Second-Lieuts. Kaufmann and
Erdmann were killed; Captain von Hammerstein had died of his wound. The
loss of these professional soldiers—about one seventh of the regular
officers present—could not be replaced.

The expenditure of 200,000 rounds also proved that with the means
at my disposal I could at the most fight three more actions of this
nature. The need to strike great blows only quite exceptionally, and
to restrict myself principally to guerilla warfare, was evidently
imperative.

The guiding principle of constantly operating against the Uganda
Railway could, however, be resumed, as here it was in any case
impossible to act with larger forces. For it was necessary to make
marches of several days’ duration through the great, waterless and
thinly populated desert, which provided little sustenance beyond
occasional game. Not only food, but water had to be carried. This
alone limited the size of the force to be employed. Such expeditions
through districts providing neither water nor food require a degree of
experience on the part of the troops which could not possibly exist at
that stage of the war. A company even was too large a force to send
across this desert, and if, after several days of marching, it really
had reached some point on the railway, it would have had to come back
again, because it could not be supplied. However, these conditions
improved as the troops became better trained, and as our knowledge of
the country, which was at first mainly _terra incognita_, increased.

So there was nothing for it but to seek to attain our object by means
of small detachments, or patrols. To these patrols we afterwards
attached the greatest importance. Starting from the Engare-Nairobi,
small detachments of eight to ten men, Europeans and Askaris, rode
round the rear of the enemy’s camps, which had been pushed up as
far as the Longido, and attacked their communications. They made
use of telephones we had captured at Tanga, tapping in on the
English telephone-lines; then they waited for large or small hostile
detachments or columns of ox-wagons to pass. From their ambush they
opened fire on the enemy at thirty yards’ range, captured prisoners
and booty, and then disappeared again in the boundless desert. Thus,
at that time, we captured rifles, ammunition, and war material of all
kinds. One of these patrols had observed near Erok Mountain that the
enemy sent his riding-horses to water at a certain time. Ten of our
horsemen at once started out, and, after a two days’ ride through the
desert, camped close to the enemy. Six men went back with the horses;
the four others each took a saddle, and crept at a distance of a few
paces past the enemy’s sentries close up to the watering-place, which
lay behind the camp. An English soldier was driving the horses, when
suddenly two men of our patrol confronted him out of the bush and
covering him with their rifles ordered “Hands up!” In his surprise he
dropped his clay pipe out of his mouth. At once he was asked: “Where
are the missing four horses?” for our conscientious patrol had noticed
that there were only fifty-seven, whereas the day before they had
counted sixty-one! These four needed light treatment and had been left
in camp. The leading horse and a few others were quickly saddled,
mounted, and off they went at a gallop round the enemy’s camp towards
the German lines. Even in the captured Englishman, who had to take part
in this _safari_ on a bare horse, without much comfort, the innate
sporting instinct of his nation came out. With great humour he shouted:
“I should just like to see my Captain’s face now!” and when the animals
had arrived safely in the German camp he remarked: “It was a damned
good piece of work.”

This capture, increased by a number of other horses and mules we had
picked up, enabled us to form a second mounted company. We now had
two mounted companies, composed of Askari and Europeans mixed, an
organization which proved successful. They provided us with the means
of sweeping the extensive desert north of Kilima Njaro with strong
patrols who went out for several days at a time; they penetrated even
as far as the Uganda and Magad Railways, destroyed bridges, surprised
guards posted on the railways, mined the permanent way and carried out
raids of all kinds on the land communications between the railways and
the enemy’s camps. In these enterprises our own people did not get
off scot free. One patrol had brilliantly surprised two companies of
Indians by rifle fire, but had then lost their horses, which had been
left behind in hiding, by the fire of the enemy; they had to make their
way back across the desert on foot, which took four days, and they had
no food. Luckily they found milk and cattle in a Masai kraal, and later
on saved themselves from starvation by killing an elephant. But success
whetted the spirit of adventure, and the requests to be sent on patrol,
mounted or on foot, increased.

The patrols that went out from the Kilima Njaro in a more easterly
direction were of a different character. They had to work on foot
through the dense bush for days on end. The patrols sent out to destroy
the railway were mostly weak: one or two Europeans, two to four Askari,
and five to seven carriers. They had to worm their way through the
enemy’s pickets and were often betrayed by native scouts. In spite of
this they mostly reached their objective and were sometimes away for
more than a fortnight. For such a small party a bit of game or a small
quantity of booty afforded a considerable reserve of rations. But the
fatigue and thirst in the burning sun were so great that several men
died of thirst, and even Europeans drank urine. It was a bad business
when anyone fell ill or was wounded, with the best will in the world it
was often impossible to bring him along. To carry a severely wounded
man from the Uganda Railway right across the desert to the German
camps, as was occasionally done, is a tremendous performance. Even the
blacks understood that, and cases did occur in which a wounded Askari,
well knowing that he was lost without hope, and a prey to the numerous
lions, did not complain when he had to be left in the bush, but of his
own accord gave his comrades his rifle and ammunition, so that they at
least might be saved.

The working of these patrols became more and more perfect. Knowledge
of the desert improved, and in addition to patrols for destruction
and intelligence work, we developed a system of fighting patrols.
The latter, consisting of twenty to thirty Askari, or even more, and
sometimes equipped with one or two machine-guns, went out to look for
the enemy and inflict losses upon him. In the thick bush the combatants
came upon each other at such close quarters and so unexpectedly, that
our Askari sometimes literally jumped over their prone adversaries and
so got behind them again. The influence of these expeditions on the
self-reliance and enterprise of both Europeans and natives was so great
that it would be difficult to find a force imbued with a better spirit.
Some disadvantages were, however, unavoidable. In particular, our
small supply of ammunition did not enable us to attain such a degree
of marksmanship as to enable us, when we did get the enemy in an
unfavourable situation, completely to destroy him. In technical matters
we were also busy. Skilled artificers and armourers were constantly
engaged with the factory engineers in the manufacture of suitable
apparatus for blowing up the railways. Some of these appliances fired
according as they were set, either at once, or after a certain number
of wheels had passed over them. With the latter arrangement we hoped
to destroy the engines, even if the English tried to protect them by
pushing one or two trucks filled with sand in front of them. There was
abundance of dynamite to be had on the plantations, but the demolition
charges captured at Tanga were much more effective.

We occasionally got German newspapers, but we had had no private mails
for a long time. On the 12th February, 1915, I was sitting at dinner
in the Railway Station at New Moshi, when I got a letter from Germany.
It was from my sister, who wrote to say she had already repeatedly
informed me of the death of my brother, who had been killed on the
Western Front at Libramont on the 22nd August, 1914.

In April, 1915, we were surprised by the news of the arrival of a
store-ship. When entering Mansa Bay, north of Tanga, she was chased and
fired at by an English cruiser, and her captain had to run her aground.
Although during the ensuing weeks we salved almost the whole of the
valuable cargo, we found that unfortunately the cartridges had suffered
severely from the sea-water. The powder and caps deteriorated more and
more, and so the number of miss-fires increased. There was nothing for
it but to break up the whole of the ammunition, clean the powder, and
replace some of the caps by new ones. Luckily there were caps in the
Colony, though of a different pattern; but for months all the Askari
and carriers we could lay hands on were employed at Moshi from morning
till night making ammunition. The serviceable cartridges we had left
were kept exclusively for the machine-guns; of the re-made ammunition,
that which gave about 20 per cent. of miss-fires was kept for action,
while that giving a higher percentage was used for practice.

The arrival of the store-ship aroused tremendous enthusiasm, since it
proved that communication between ourselves and home still existed.
All of us listened with eagerness to the stories of the Captain,
Lieutenant Christiansen, when he arrived at my Headquarters at New
Moshi after his wound was healed. The terrific fighting at home, the
spirit of self-sacrifice and boundless enterprise which inspired the
deeds of the German troops, awakened a response in our hearts. Many
who had been despondent now took courage once more, since they learned
that what appears impossible can be achieved if effort is sustained by
determination.

Another means of raising the spirit of the force was by promotion.
Generally speaking, I could only make promotions to non-commissioned
rank, and within the commissioned ranks; but the grant of a commission,
which would in many cases have been well-deserved, was beyond my power.
Each case was very carefully considered, so as to determine whether
really good work had been done. In this way unmerited promotions, which
ruin the spirit of the troops, were avoided. On the whole, however,
we had to cultivate the moral factors less by rewards than by other
means. Decorations for war service were practically unknown among
us. It was not personal ambition to which we appealed; we sought to
arouse and maintain a real sense of duty dictated by patriotism, and an
evergrowing feeling of comradeship. Perhaps it was the very fact that
this lasting and pure motive remained unsoiled by any other purpose
that inspired Europeans and Askari with that endurance and energy which
the Protective Force manifested until the end.

In the Kilima Njaro country the English were not inactive. From
Oldorobo Mountain, seven and a half miles east of Taveta, which was
held by a German detached post under an officer, an attack by two
Indian Companies was reported by telephone one morning. Thereupon
Captain Koehl and the Austrian Lieutenant Freiherr von Unterrichter at
once marched off from Taveta; the two companies had become immobilized
on the steep slopes of the mountain, and our people attacked them on
both flanks with such vigour that they fled, leaving about twenty dead
behind, while one machine-gun and 70,000 rounds fell into our hands.
Other hostile expeditions were undertaken along the Tsavo River to the
north-east side of Kilima Njaro; they were based on Mzima Camp on the
Tsavo, which was strongly fortified and held by several companies.
The patrol encounters that took place north-east of Kilima Njaro all
ended in our favour; even the young Askari of the Rombo Detachment,
which had a strength of sixty and was named after the mission on
the Eastern Kilima Njaro, had unbounded faith in their commander,
Lieutenant-Colonel von Bock, who was over sixty years old. I remember
a wounded man who came from him to New Moshi, with a report for me,
and refused to be attended to so as to lose no time in getting back to
his commanding officer. In several fights, when the enemy occasionally
amounted to two companies, these young troops were victorious, and it
is a significant fact that among the English all manner of tales were
current about these actions. The British Commander-in-Chief sent me a
written complaint, saying that a German woman was taking part in them,
and perpetrating inhuman cruelties, an idea which was, of course,
without any foundation, and merely served to show the degree of nerves
with which the enemy authorities had become afflicted.

Notwithstanding the great amount of booty taken at Tanga, it was
evident that, as the war seemed likely to be prolonged, the stocks
in the Colony would become exhausted. The natives at New Moshi began
all of a sudden to wear silk: this was by no means a sign of special
extravagance: the stocks of cotton clothing in the Indian shops
were simply coming to an end. We had seriously to think of starting
manufactures ourselves, in order to convert the abundant raw material
into finished products. A curious existence now developed, reminding
one of the industry of the Swiss family Robinson. Cotton fields
existed in plenty. Popular books were hunted up, giving information
about the forgotten arts of hand spinning and weaving; white and
black women took to spinning by hand; at the missions and in private
workshops spinning-wheels and looms were built. In this manner, in
a short time, the first useful piece of cotton cloth was produced.
After various trials, the most suitable dye was obtained from the
root of a tree called Ndaa, which imparted a brownish-yellow colour,
very inconspicuous both in the grass and in the bush, and therefore
specially suitable for uniforms. The rubber gathered by the planters
was vulcanized with sulphur, and we succeeded in producing efficient
tyres for motors and bicycles. At Morogoro a few planters successfully
produced a motor-fuel from cocos, known as trebol, which was like
benzol, and was employed in the automobiles. As in former times,
candles were made out of tallow and wax, both by private persons and by
the troops, and also soap. Then again, the numerous factories on the
plantations in the northern territories and on the Tanganyika Railway
were adapted to produce various means of subsistence.

A particularly important item was the provision of foot-wear. The raw
material was obtained from the plentiful skins of cattle and game;
tanning materials from the mangroves on the coast. In peace time the
missions had already made good boots; their activity was now further
developed, while the troops also established tanneries and shoemakers’
shops on a larger scale. It is true some little time elapsed before
the authorities complied with the urgent and inevitable demands of the
troops in an adequate manner, and, in particular, before they placed
at our disposal the buffalo-hides necessary for making sole-leather.
So the old historic fight for the cow-hide revived again, _mutatis
mutandis_, in East Africa. The first boots made in any quantity were
turned out at Tanga. Although at first their shape needed improving,
they at any rate protected the feet of our white and black troops when
marching and patrolling in the thorn bush of the Pori. For the thorns
that fall to the ground bore into the feet again and again. All the
small beginnings of food-stuff production that had already existed on
the plantations in time of peace were galvanized into more extensive
activity by the war, and by the need of subsisting large masses. On
several farms in the Kilima Njaro country butter and excellent cheese
were produced in great quantities, and the slaughter-houses round about
Wilhelmstal could hardly keep up with the demands for sausages and
other smoked meats.

It was to be anticipated that quinine, which was so important for the
health of the Europeans, would soon become exhausted, and that our
requirements could not be met by capture alone. So it was a matter of
great importance that we succeeded in producing good quinine tablets at
the Amani Biological Institute in Usambara out of bark obtained in the
North.

The provision of proper communications for ox-wagons and motors
involved the construction of permanent bridges. Engineer Rentell, who
had been called to the colours, built an arched bridge of stone and
concrete, with a heavy pier, over the Kikafu torrent, west of New
Moshi. During the rains, particularly in April, no wooden structure
would have withstood the masses of water coming down the steep
river-bed, which was nearly 70 feet deep.

These examples will suffice to show the stimulating influence of the
war and its requirements on the economic life of the Colony.

The organization of the Force was also constantly improved. By
transferring Europeans from the Rifle Companies, when they were
numerous, to the Askari Companies, the losses of Europeans in the
latter were made good; Askari were enrolled in the European Companies.
In this way the Field and Rifle Companies became more similar in their
composition, which during the course of 1915 became identical. At
Muansa, Kigoma, Bismarckburg, Lindi, Langenburg, and elsewhere, small
bodies of troops had been formed under various designations, of the
existence of which in most cases Headquarters only became aware after
a considerable time. These units were also gradually expanded into
companies; in this way, during 1915, the number of Field Companies
gradually rose to 30, that of the Rifle Companies to 10, and that of
other units of company strength to about 20. The maximum total attained
was thus about 60 companies. Owing to the limited number of suitable
Europeans and of reliable Askari N.C.O.’s, it was not advisable still
further to increase the number of companies: it would only have meant
the creation of units without cohesion. In order, however, to increase
the number of combatants the establishment of the companies was raised
from 160 to 200, and the companies were allowed to enrol supernumerary
Askari. To some extent the companies trained their own recruits; but
the great bulk of Askari reinforcements came from the Recruit Depots
established in the populous districts of Tabora, Muansa and the
Northern Railway, which also provided for local security and order. But
owing to the great number of newly-raised companies the depots could
not furnish enough men to bring them all up to their establishment
of 200. The maximum strength attained by the end of 1915 was 2,998
Europeans and 11,300 Askari, including Naval personnel, administrative
staffs, hospitals and field postal service.

How necessary were all these military preparations was proved by the
news received at the end of June, 1915, that General Botha was coming
to the East African theatre from South Africa with 15,000 Boers. That
this information was highly probably correct had to be assumed from
the outset. The scanty wireless messages and other communications
about events in the outside world were yet enough to indicate that our
affairs in South-West Africa were going badly, and that the British
troops employed there would probably become available for other
purposes in the immediate future.



CHAPTER VIII

AWAITING THE GREAT OFFENSIVE. ENERGETIC USE OF THE TIME AVAILABLE


AT first, it is true, the anticipated intervention of the South
Africans did not seem to be materializing; the English were evidently
trying to subdue us with their own forces, without their assistance.
In July, 1915, they attacked the Colony at several points. East of
Lake Victoria large bodies of Masai, organized and led by Englishmen,
and said to number many thousands, invaded the country of the German
Wassukuma, which was rich in cattle. However, in the matter of
cattle-lifting the Wassukuma stood no joking; they gave our weak
detachments every assistance, defeated the Masai, recaptured the stolen
cattle, and, as a proof that they had “spoken the truth,” laid out the
heads of ninety-six Masai in front of our police station.

Against the main body of our force in the Kilima Njaro country the
enemy advanced in considerable strength. In order, on the one hand,
to ensure effective protection of the Usambara Railway, and the rich
plantations through which it passes, and, on the other, to shorten
the distance the patrols had to go to reach the Uganda Railway, a
detachment of three companies had been pushed out from Taveta to
Mbuyuni, a long day’s march east of Taveta. Another day’s march to the
east was the well-fortified and strongly-held English camp of Makatan,
on the main road leading from Moshi, by Taveta, Mbuyuni, Makatan,
and Bura, to Voi, on the Uganda Railway. Vague rumours had led us to
surmise that an attack on a fairly large scale in the direction of
Kilima Njaro was to be expected from about Voi. On the 14th July a
hostile brigade, under General Malleson, appeared in the desert of
Makatan, which is generally covered with fairly open thorn-bush. The
fire of a field battery, which opened on the trenches of our Askari,
was fairly ineffective, but the enemy’s superiority of seven to one was
so considerable that our position became critical. Hostile European
horsemen got round the left wing of our own; however, our line was
held by the 10th Field Company, which had distinguished itself in the
fighting near Longido Mountain, under Lieutenant Steinhäuser, of the
Landwehr, and it is a credit to this officer, who was unfortunately
killed later, that he held on, although our mounted troops fell back
past his flank. Just at the critical moment, Lieutenant von Lewinsky,
who was also killed later, immediately marched off to the scene of
action, arrived with a patrol, and took this dangerous flank attack in
rear. The English troops, consisting of natives, mixed with Europeans
and Indians, had very gallantly attacked our front, over ground
affording very little cover. The failure of the English flank attack,
however, set the seal on their defeat. At New Moshi Station I was kept
accurately informed of the progress of the action, and thus, although
at a distance, I shared in all the excitement from the unfavourable
period at the beginning until complete success was assured.

This success, together with the considerable booty, still further
increased the spirit of adventure among both Europeans and Askari.
The experience and skill that had by now been acquired enabled us
henceforth to prosecute our plan of sending out a continuous succession
of fighting and demolition patrols. I do not think I exaggerate in
assuming that at least twenty English railway trains were destroyed,
or, at least, considerably damaged. Picked up photographs and our own
observation confirmed the supposition that a railway was actually
being built from Voi to Makatan, which, being so easily accessible to
us, and so important, formed a glorious objective for our patrols.
The construction of this military line proved that an attack with
large forces was in preparation, and that it was to be directed on
this particular part of the Kilima Njaro country. The anticipated
intervention of the South Africans was therefore imminent. It was
important to encourage the enemy in this intention, in order that
the South Africans should really come, and that in the greatest
strength possible, and thus be diverted from other and more important
theatres of war. With the greatest energy, therefore, we continued
our enterprises against the Uganda Railway, which, owing to the
circumstances, had still to be mainly carried out by patrols, and could
only exceptionally be undertaken by a force as large as a company.

Closer acquaintance with the desert country between the Uganda Railway
and the Anglo-German border had revealed the fact, that of the various
mountain groups rising abruptly out of the plain, the Kasigao was well
watered and moderately populous. Being only from twelve to twenty
miles from the Uganda Railway, Kasigao Mountain was bound to afford a
favourably situated base for patrol work. The patrol of Lieut. Freiherr
Grote had already made a surprise attack on the small Anglo-Indian camp
situated half-way up its slopes. The riflemen of Grote’s patrol had
worked round the camp, which was surrounded by a stone wall, and fired
into it with effect from the dominating part of the mountain. Very
soon the white flag appeared, and an English officer and some thirty
Indians surrendered. A part of the enemy had succeeded in getting away
to the mountain and fired on the patrol as it marched off. It was then
we suffered our only casualties, consisting of a few wounded, among
whom was a German corporal of the Medical Corps. We had also, on one
occasion, surprised the enemy’s post on Kasigao Mountain by the fire of
a 2.4-inch gun.

Towards the end of 1915, the enemy having in the meantime shifted his
camp on Kasigao Mountain, we attacked him once more. During the night a
German fighting patrol, under Lieutenant von Ruckteschell, had ascended
the mountain in nine hours, and arrived rather exhausted near the
enemy’s work. A second patrol, under Lieutenant Freiherr Grote, which
was co-operating with Ruckteschell’s, had been somewhat delayed by the
sickness and exhaustion of its commander. Lieutenant von Ruckteschell
sent a reliable old coloured N.C.O. to the enemy to demand surrender.
He observed that our Askari was cordially welcomed by the enemy; he had
found a number of good friends among the English Askari. But, in spite
of all friendliness, the enemy refused to surrender. Our situation was
critical, in consequence of exhaustion and want of food. If anything
was to be done at all, it must be done at once. Fortunately, the enemy
in their entrenchments did not withstand our machine-gun fire and the
assault which immediately followed it; they were destroyed, and a
large number of them were killed in their flight by falling from the
steep cliffs. The booty included abundant supplies, also clothing and
valuable camp equipment.

The feeling of comradeship which our Askari had for us Germans, and
which was tremendously developed by the numerous expeditions undertaken
together, led on this occasion to a curious incident. After climbing
Kasigao Mountain by night, among rocks and thorn-bushes, an Askari
noticed that Lieutenant von Ruckteschell was bleeding from a scratch
on his face. He at once took his sock, which he had probably not
changed for six days, and wiped the “Bwana Lieutenant’s” face with it,
anticipating the somewhat surprised question with the remark: “That is
a custom of war; one only does it to one’s friends.”

In order to study the situation on the spot and to push on the attacks
on Kasigao, I had gone by rail to Same, thence by car to Sonya Mission,
and then either by cycle or on foot in the direction of the mountain
to the German border, where a company was encamped at a water-hole.
From there we had fair communication to Kasigao by heliograph, and we
were thus enabled to make good the success we had gained there. Troops
were at once pushed up, so that until the arrival of the South Africans
the mountain was held by several companies. It was, indeed, decidedly
difficult to keep them supplied; for although the German frontier
territory west of Kasigao was fertile, it could not permanently support
a force which with carriers amounted to about one thousand.

I then drove in the car round the South Pare Mountains, on a road
that had been made in time of peace. The construction of this road had
been dropped on account of expense, and for years the heaps of metal
had been lying unused at the roadside. The culverts—consisting of
pipes passing under the road—were to a great extent in good order.
But little work was needed to make this road suitable for supply by
lorry. Supplies were sent from near Buiko on the Northern Railway
by lorry to Sonya, and thence to Kasigao by carriers. The telephone
line was already under construction as far as the frontier, and was
completed in a few days’ time. From then on patrols pushing out from
Kasigao had several encounters with detachments of the enemy, and did
some damage to the Uganda Railway. But the ruggedness of the country
and the dense thorn-bush made movement so difficult that by the time
the South Africans arrived, we had not derived full benefit from
Kasigao as a base for patrols. However, the continual menace to the
railway had, at any rate, obliged the enemy to take extensive measures
for its protection. Wide clearings had been made along it, of which
the outer edges had been closed by thick zarebas (abattis of thorns).
Every couple of miles there were strong block-houses, or entrenchments
with obstacles, from which the line was constantly patrolled. Mobile
supports, of the strength of a company or more, were held in readiness,
so that, whenever the railway was reported to be in danger, they could
at once go off by special train. In addition, protective detachments
were pushed out in our direction, who tried to cut off our patrols on
their way back on receiving reports from spies or from observation
posts on the high ground. We also identified English camps on the high
ground south-east of Kasigao, as far as the coast, and also in the
settled country along the coast. They also received attention from our
patrols and raiders. Our constant endeavour was to injure the enemy, to
force him to adopt protective measures, and thus to contain his forces
here, in the district of the Uganda Railway.

While thus establishing points of support for our fighting patrols
from the coast to Mbuyuni (on the Taveta-Voi road), we worked in the
same sense further north. The enemy’s camp at Mzima, on the upper
Tsavo River, and its communications, which followed that river, were
frequently the objective of our expeditions, even of fairly large
detachments. On one occasion Captain Augar, with the 13th Company, was
surprised south-west of Mzima Camp in thick bush by three European
companies of the newly-arrived 2nd Rhodesian Regiment. The enemy
attacked from several directions, but being still inexperienced in bush
fighting, failed to secure concerted action. So our Askari Company was
able first to overthrow one part of the enemy’s forces, and then by
quickness and resolution to defeat the other, which had appeared behind
it.

Further north, also, there was some fighting in the bush which went in
our favour; we worked with whole companies and inflicted painful losses
on the enemy, who was often in greater force. North of the Engare Len
the 3rd Field Company from Lindi worked with special energy, and sent
its fighting patrols out as far as the Uganda Railway. The mere fact
that we were now able to make raids with forces amounting to a company
and more in the midst of a desert devoid of supplies, and in many
places waterless, shows the enormous progress the force had made in
this type of guerilla warfare. The European had learned that a great
many things that are very desirable when travelling in the Tropics
simply have to be dispensed with on patrol in war, and that one can at
a pinch get on for a time with only a single carrier-load. The patrols
also had to avoid camping in such a way as to betray themselves, and
as far as possible to carry food ready prepared. But if food had to be
cooked, this was particularly dangerous in the evening or morning; the
leader had to select a concealed spot, and invariably shift his camp
after cooking before going to rest. Complete hygienic protection was
incompatible with the conditions of patrol duty. A number of cases of
malaria invariably occurred among the members of a patrol after its
return. But as, in spite of the continual damage done to the enemy,
patrol duty only required comparatively few men, only a part of the
companies had to be kept in the front line. After a few weeks each
company was withdrawn to rest camps in healthy regions, European and
Askari were able to recover from their tremendous exertions, and their
training and discipline could be restored.

Towards the end of 1915 the shortage of water at Mbuyuni Camp had
become so serious, and supply so difficult, that only a post was left
there, the detachment itself being withdrawn to the westward to the
vicinity of Oldorobo Mountain. Meanwhile, the enemy’s camp at Makatan
grew steadily larger. A frequent train service was maintained to it,
and one could clearly see a big clearing being made to the west for
the prolongation of the railway. Our fighting patrols had, indeed,
many opportunities of inflicting losses on the enemy while at work, or
protecting his working parties, but the line continued to make progress
towards the west.

It was necessary to consider the possibility of the country through
which the Northern Railway passed soon falling into the hands of the
enemy. Steps had, therefore, to be taken to safeguard the military
stores in that district in time. Where railways were available this
was, of course, not difficult; but the further transport by land needed
much preparation. The bulk of our stocks of ammunition, clothing and
medical stores was at New Moshi and Mombo. It was evident that we would
be unable to carry away the factories, or parts of them, by land;
they must, therefore, be made use of and kept working for as long as
possible where they were. Assuming the enemy would attack from the
north, our evacuation would obviously be towards the south, and not
only the preparations, but the movement itself, must be started without
loss of time—that is, as early as August, 1915.

The Commandant of the Line, Lieutenant Kroeber, retired, therefore, in
an able manner, collected light-railway material from the plantations,
and built a line from Mombo to Handeni, at the rate of about two
kilometres (one and a quarter miles) per day. The trucks were also
brought from the plantations, and after mature consideration, man
draught was decided on in preference to locomotives. Thus our stores
were moved from the north by rail, complete, and in time, to Handeni.
From there to Kimamba, on the Central Railway, we principally used
carriers, except for a few wagons. It was, after all, necessary
not to hurry the movement unduly, for, in spite of all the visible
preparations for a hostile attack on the Kilima Njaro country, I still
thought it possible that the main force of the enemy, or at least a
considerable proportion of it, would not operate there, but in the
Bagamoyo-Dar-es-Salaam area.

At the end of 1915 the enemy was pushing his rail-head further and
further westward, and Major Kraut, who was opposing him, reinforced
his position on Oldorobo Mountain with three companies and two light
guns. This mountain rises from the flat thorn desert near the main
road, seven and a half miles east of Taveta, and dominates the country
for a great distance all round. Entrenchments and numerous dummy works
had been made, part being cut out of the rock, and formed an almost
impregnable fort. The disadvantage of the position was the complete
lack of water. A planter who had been called to the Colours, Lieutenant
Matuschka, of the Reserve, was an expert water finder; at Taveta he
had discovered excellent wells; but on Oldorobo no water was found,
although at the points he indicated we dug down more than one hundred
feet. Water had therefore to be taken from Taveta on small donkey-carts
to Oldorobo, where it was collected in barrels. This carriage of water
was an extraordinary strain on our transport. Strangely enough, it did
not occur to the enemy to interfere with it, and thus render Oldorobo
Mountain untenable. Instead of that, basing himself on his railway,
he pushed up to within about three miles of the mountain, where he
established strongly fortified camps. We had been unable to prevent
this, as, owing to difficulties of water and transport, larger forces
could only move away from Taveta for short periods. The enemy obtained
his water supply by means of a long pipe-line, which came from the
springs in the Bura Mountains. The destruction of the enemy’s reservoir
by patrols under Lieutenant von S’Antenecai, of the Reserve, only
caused him temporary inconvenience.

At this time, also, the first hostile aeroplanes appeared, and bombed
our positions on Oldorobo Mountain, and at Taveta and later even
New Moshi. On the 27th January one of these airmen, while on his way
back from Oldorobo, was successfully fired on and brought down by
our advanced infantry. The English had told the natives that this
aeroplane was a new “Munga” (God); but now that this new Munga had been
brought down and captured by us, it rather increased our prestige than
otherwise.



CHAPTER IX

THE SUBSIDIARY THEATRES OF WAR. GUERILLA WARFARE ASHORE AND AFLOAT
UNTIL NEW YEAR, 1916


WHILE employing the bulk of the Protective Force in the regions on the
Northern Railway we could not afford entirely to denude the remainder
of the Colony. In the interior it was essential to remain undisputed
master of the natives, in order, if necessary, to enforce the growing
demands for carriers, agriculture, supplies, and all manner of work.
Accordingly, the 12th Company remained at Mahenge, and the 2nd at
Iringa. In addition to their other duties both of them acted as large
depots, serving to fill vacancies at the front, and providing the
machinery for raising new units.

The commanders of detachments on the frontiers, who were far away from
Headquarters and beyond the reach of the telegraph, rightly endeavoured
to anticipate the enemy and to attack him in his own territory. Owing
to the lack of communications on our side this fighting resolved itself
into a series of local operations, which were quite independent of
each other. It was different with the enemy, who clearly endeavoured
to establish a proper relationship between his main operations and the
subsidiary enterprises at other points on the frontier.

In October, 1914, before the fighting at Tanga, Captain Zimmer reported
from Kigoma that there were about 2,000 men on the Belgian frontier;
and Captain Braunschweig sent word from Muansa that at Kisumu on Lake
Victoria there were also strong hostile forces, about two companies
at Kisii, and more troops at Karungu. According to independent native
reports, Indian troops landed at Mombasa in October and were then
transported towards Voi. In the Bukoba District English troops crossed
the Kagera, and the sub-station at Umbulu reported that the enemy was
invading the Ssonyo country. Obviously these movements were preparatory
to the operations which were to be co-ordinated with the great attack
on Tanga in November, 1914.

[Illustration: Fig. vi. Subsidiary Actions up to August, 1916.]

The means of intercommunication in the Colony were not sufficiently
developed to enable us rapidly to concentrate our main force, first
against one and then against another of these hostile detachments
deploying along the frontier. We had, therefore, to adhere to the
fundamental idea of our plan, of vigorously attacking the enemy
opposed to us in the area of the Northern Railway and on the Uganda
Railway, and of thus indirectly relieving the other points where
operations were in progress. Of necessity, however, these subsidiary
points had occasionally to be reinforced. Thus, in September, 1914,
Captains Falkenstein and Aumann, with portions of the 2nd Company,
had moved from Iringa and Ubena into the Langenburg District. In
March, 1915, the 26th Field Company was pushed up from Dar-es-Salaam
via Tabora to Muansa. In April, 1915, hostile concentration in the
Mara Triangle (east of Lake Victoria) and at Bismarckburg caused us
to waste much time in moving troops up from Dar-es-Salaam via Muansa
to the Mara Triangle, and via Kigoma to Bismarckburg. The latter move
was particularly delayed on Lake Tanganyika owing to the slow progress
being made on the steamer _Götzen_, which was building at Kigoma.

At first, the enemy’s attacks were principally directed against the
coast.

At the commencement of the war our light cruiser _Königsberg_ had left
the harbour of Dar-es-Salaam and had, on the 29th September, surprised
and destroyed the English cruiser _Pegasus_ at Zanzibar. Then several
large enemy cruisers had arrived and industriously looked for the
_Königsberg_. On the 19th October, at Lindi, a pinnace steamed up to
the steamer _Praesident_, of the East African Line, which was concealed
in the Lukuledi river. The local Defence Force raised at Lindi, and the
Reinforcement Company, were at the moment away under Captain Augar,
to repel a landing expected at Mikindani, so that nothing could be
undertaken against the pinnace.

It was not till the 29th July, 1915, that several whalers went up the
Lukuledi and blew up the _Praesident_.

After successful cruises in the Indian Ocean the _Königsberg_ had
concealed herself in the Rufiji river, but her whereabouts had become
known to the enemy. The mouth of the river forms an intricate delta,
the view being obstructed by the dense bush with which the islands
are overgrown. The various river-mouths were defended by the “Delta”
Detachment, under Lieutenant-Commander Schoenfeld; this detachment
consisted of Naval ratings, European reservists, and Askari, and its
strength was about 150 rifles, a few light guns, and a few machine
guns. The enemy made many attempts to enter the river-mouths with light
craft, but was invariably repulsed with severe loss. The _Adjutant_, a
small steamer which the English had taken as a good prize, and armed,
was recaptured on one occasion, and was used thenceforward by us as
an auxiliary man-of-war on Lake Tanganyika. Some English aircraft
had also come to grief in the Rufiji delta. A blockship, which the
English had sunk in the most northerly of the river-mouths, did not
close the fairway. The frequent bombardments by ships’ guns, which he
had no means of opposing, Lieut.-Commander Schoenfeld defeated by the
skilful design of his positions, and by shifting them in time. Early in
July, 1915, the English had brought to the Rufiji two shallow-draught
gun-boats, armed with heavy guns. On the 6th July they made the first
attack with four cruisers and other armed vessels, and two river
gun-boats. The enemy bombarded the _Königsberg_, which was at anchor
in the river with aeroplane observation. The attack was beaten off,
but when it was repeated on the 11th July, the _Königsberg_ suffered
severely. The gun-detachments were put out of action. The severely
wounded captain had the breech-blocks thrown overboard and the ship
blown up. The loss of the _Königsberg_, though sad in itself, had at
least this advantage for the campaign on land, that the whole crew and
the valuable stores were now at the disposal of the Protective Force.

Lieutenant-Commander Schoenfeld, who was in command on land at the
Rufiji delta, at once set himself with great forethought to raise the
parts of the guns that had been thrown overboard. Under his supervision
the ten guns of the _Königsberg_ were completely salved and got ready
for action again; five were mounted at Dar-es-Salaam, two each at
Tanga and Kigoma, and one at Muansa. For their transport he made use
of several vehicles constructed for heavy loads which were found on a
neighbouring plantation. In their concealed positions on land these
guns rendered excellent service, and as far as I know not one of them
was damaged on this service, although they were often bombarded by the
enemy’s vessels.

On the 26th September, by night, the steamer _Wami_ was taken out of
the Rufiji to Dar-es-Salaam.

At the end of August several boats came to Lindi from Mozambique with
men belonging to the steamer _Ziethen_, in order to join the Force.

On the 10th January, 1915, about 300 Indian and black troops with
machine guns landed on the island of Mafia. Our police detachment,
three Europeans, fifteen Askari, and eleven recruits, opposed them
bravely for six hours, but surrendered when their commander, Lieutenant
Schiller of the Reserve, was severely wounded, who had been maintaining
a well-aimed fire on the enemy from a mango tree. The English held
Mafia with a few hundred men, and also established posts of observation
on the smaller islands in the vicinity.

It was apparently from here that the work of rousing the natives
against us was undertaken. On the night of the 29th-30th July, 1915, we
captured a dhow at Kisija carrying propaganda papers.

The events at Dar-es-Salaam, where, on the 22nd October, the captain of
an English cruiser declined to be bound by any agreement, have already
been discussed.

On the outbreak of hostilities an aeroplane, which had been sent to
Dar-es-Salaam for the Exhibition, was taken into use, but was destroyed
by an accident at Dar-es-Salaam on the 15th November, when Lieutenant
Henneberger lost his life.

At Tanga things had been quiet since the big battle of November, 1914.
On the 13th March, 1915, a ship went ashore on a reef, but got off
again on the spring-tide. We at once began salving 200 tons of coal
which had been thrown overboard.

Several rows of mines which had been made on the spot, and could be
fired from the shore, proved ineffective, and it was found later that
they had become unserviceable.

On the 15th August, 1915, the _Hyacinth_ and four guard-boats appeared
off Tanga. Our two 2·4-inch guns were quickly moved from their
rest-camp at Gombezi to Tanga, and with one light gun from Tanga, took
an effective part on the 19th August, when the _Hyacinth_ reappeared
with two gun-boats and six whalers, destroyed the steamer _Markgraf_
and bombarded Tanga. One gun-boat was hit twice, the whalers, of which
one steamed away with a list,[3] four times.

Bombardments of the coast towns were constantly taking place. On the
20th March a man-of-war bombarded Lindi, when its demand for the
surrender of the troops posted there was refused. Similarly, the
country south of Pangani was bombarded on the 1st April, the island of
Kwale on the 12th, and the Rufiji delta on the night of the 23rd-24th.

For some months past hostile patrols had been visiting the Ssonyo
country, between Kilima Njaro and Lake Victoria, and the natives
seemed inclined to become truculent. As a result of their treachery,
Sergeant-Major Bast, who was sent there with a patrol, was ambushed
on the 17th November, 1914, and lost his life with five Askari. The
District Commissioner of Arusha, Lieutenant Kaempfe of the Reserve, who
had been called up, undertook a punitive expedition which reduced the
Ssonyo people to submission.

It was not until July, 1915, that any further patrol encounters
took place in this country; in one of them twenty-two hostile armed
natives were killed. At the end of September and early October, 1915,
Lieutenant Buechsel’s mounted patrol spent several weeks in Ssonyo and
in the English territory without meeting the enemy, as an English post,
which had evidently been warned, had made off.

On Lake Victoria the 7th Company at Bukoba and the 14th Company at
Muansa could communicate with each other by wireless. The command of
the Lake was undisputedly in the hands of the English, as they had
on it at least seven large steamers. But in spite of this our small
steamer _Muansa_ and other smaller vessels were able to maintain great
freedom of movement. While the Resident at Bukoba, Major von Stuemer,
protected the frontier with his police and with auxiliaries furnished
by friendly sultans, Captain Bock von Wülfingen had marched with
the main body of the 7th Company from Bukoba to Muansa. From here he
marched early in September, 1914, with a detachment composed of parts
of the 7th and 14th Companies, Wassakuma recruits, and auxiliaries,
along the eastern shore of Lake Victoria to the north, in the direction
of the Uganda Railway. On the 12th September he drove back a hostile
detachment at Kisii, beyond the border, but on hearing of the approach
of other forces of the enemy he withdrew again to the south. After
that the frontier east of Lake Victoria was only defended by weak
detachments.

Warfare near Lake Victoria was for us very difficult; there was always
the danger that the enemy might land at Muansa, or some other place
on the south shore, seize Usukuma and threaten Tabora, the historic
capital of the country. If, however, our troops remained near Muansa,
the country round Bukoba, and therefore also Ruanda, would be in
danger. The best results in this area were to be expected from active
operations under a united command. But the execution of this idea was
not quite easy either, for Major von Stuemer, who was the most obvious
officer to be entrusted with it, was tied by his work as Resident to
the Bukoba District, while that of Muansa was the more important of the
two.

At the end of October, 1914, an attempt to take back part of the troops
in boats from Muansa to Bukoba had been frustrated by the appearance
of armed English ships at the former place. Apparently the enemy had
deciphered our wireless messages and taken steps accordingly. On the
31st October a force of 570 rifles, 2 guns and 4 machine guns, left
Muansa for the relief of Bukoba on board the steamer _Muansa_, 2 tugs
and 10 dhows, but was scattered the same morning by hostile steamers
which suddenly appeared; they were, however, collected again at Muansa
without loss soon afterwards. On the same day the English tried to land
at Kayense, north of Muansa, but were prevented; a few days later, the
English steamer _Sybil_ was found on shore at Mayita and destroyed.

On the 20th November, in a twelve-hours’ action, Stuemer’s detachment
repulsed the English troops who had penetrated into German territory,
north of Bukoba, and defeated them again, on the 7th December,
at Kifumbiro, after they had crossed the Kagera river. On the 5th
December, the English bombarded Shirarti from the Lake, without
success, and Bukoba on the 6th.

Minor encounters between patrols constantly took place east and west of
Lake Victoria. On the 8th January the enemy attempted a more ambitious
operation; he bombarded Shirarti from the Lake with six guns and
with machine guns, and landed two companies of Indians as well as a
considerable number of mounted Europeans. Lieutenant von Haxthausen,
who had only 22 rifles, gave way before this superior force after
fighting 3-1/2 hours. The enemy’s strength was increased during the
next few days to 300 Europeans and 700 Indians. On the 17th January,
von Haxthausen defeated 70 Europeans and 150 Askari with 2 machine
guns on the frontier, and on the 30th January the enemy left Shirarti
and embarked for Karungu. I believe this withdrawal was a result of
the severe defeat sustained by the enemy at Jassini on the 18th. He
considered it desirable to re-concentrate his forces nearer the Uganda
Railway, where they would be more readily available.

On the west side of the Lake, Captain von Bock surprised a hostile post
of 40 men north of Kifumbiro and drove it off with a loss of 17 killed.

On the 6th March, 1915, English vessels had attacked the steamer
_Muansa_ in Rugesi Passage. _Muansa_ had sprung a leak and went
ashore close to the land. The enemy attempted to tow her off, but was
prevented by our fire, so that we were able, the next day, to salve
the steamer and get her away to Muansa, where she was repaired. The
difficulty of moving troops by water between Muansa and Bukoba rendered
the continuation of the single command unworkable; the officers
commanding the two Districts were therefore placed directly under
Headquarters.

The English attempted to land at Mori Bay on the 4th March, at Ukerewe
on the 7th, and at Musoma on the 9th; all these attempts were defeated
by our posts. At the same time, several patrol encounters occurred near
Shirarti, in which the commander, Lieutenant Recke, was killed, and our
patrols were dispersed. On the 9th March, Lieutenant von Haxthausen,
with 100 Europeans and Askari, defeated an enemy many times his
superior at Maika Mountain; the enemy withdrew after having 17 whites
and a considerable number of Askari killed. On our side, one European
and 10 Askari were killed, 2 Europeans and 25 Askari wounded, while one
wounded European was taken prisoner. Besides the 26th Field Company
already mentioned, Muansa was reinforced by 100 Askari from Bukoba
District, who arrived on the 6th April.

Early in April a few places on the eastern shore were again bombarded
from the Lake; at the same time some Masai made an invasion east
of the lake, killed a missionary and several natives, and looted
cattle. In the middle of April, Captain Braunschweig left Muansa with
110 Europeans, 430 Askari, 2 machine guns, and 2 guns, for the Mara
Triangle, and reinforced Lieutenant von Haxthausen. Over 500 rifles
remained at Muansa.

On the 4th May, in Mara Bay, an English steamer was hit three times by
a ’73 pattern field-gun, which apparently prevented a landing. On the
12th May 300 men landed at Mayita; but they steamed off again on the
18th June, towing the wreck of the _Sybil_ with them. By the 20th May
the enemy, who had 900 men there, had also evacuated the Mara Triangle,
and entrenched himself on several mountains beyond the frontier.
Bombardments of the shore took place frequently at that time.

Since early December, 1914, Major von Stuemer had held a very extended
position on the Kagera. Gradually the enemy, who was estimated at about
300 men, became more active. He seemed to be collecting material for
crossing the Kagera, and his ships appeared more frequently in Sango
Bay.

On the night of the 4th-5th June, on the Shirarti frontier, Becker’s
post of 10 men was surrounded by 10 Europeans and 50 Indians of the
98th Regiment. An armed steamer also took part. But the enemy was
beaten, losing 2 Europeans and 5 Askari killed.

I may here mention that the enemy’s armed scouts used poisoned arrows
on the Shirarti frontier also.

On the 21st June the English, with a force of 800 Europeans 400
Askari, 300 Indians, 3 guns and 8 machine guns, and supported by the
fire of the armed steamers, attacked Bukoba. Our garrison of little
more than 200 rifles evacuated the place after two days of fighting.
The enemy plundered it, destroyed the wireless tower, and left again
on the 24th towards Kissumu. He had suffered severely, admitting 10
Europeans killed and 22 wounded. The Germans had, however, observed
that a steamer had left with about 150 dead and wounded on board. On
our side 2 Europeans, 5 Askari, and 7 auxiliaries had been killed, 4
Europeans and 30 coloured men wounded, and we also lost the gun.

Of the events of the ensuing period it may be remarked that Bukoba was
bombarded without result on the 18th July. In Mpororo a great chief
went over to the English.

On the 12th September one of the _Königsberg’s_ four-inch guns arrived
at Muansa, where we had in process of time raised five new companies
among the Wassukuma people.

It seemed as though the enemy were rather holding back at Bukoba, and
moving troops from there to Kissenyi. On the 29th October the English
attacked with some one hundred rifles, machine guns, a gun, and a
trench mortar, but were repulsed, apparently with heavy casualties.
Hostile attacks on the lower Kagera on the 4th and 5th December were
also unsuccessful. Several detachments of the enemy invaded the Karagwe
country. The command at Bukoba was taken over by Captain Gudovius,
hitherto District Commissioner in Tangarei, who marched off from Tabora
on the 21st December, and was followed by the newly-raised 7th Reserve
Company as a reinforcement for Bukoba.

In Ruanda the energetic measures adopted by the President, Captain
Wintgens, produced good results. On the 24th September he surprised the
island of Ijvi in Lake Kivu, and captured the Belgian post stationed
there, and its steel boat. Another steel boat had been captured by
Lieutenant Wunderlich, of the Navy, who had moved to Lake Kivu with
some men of the _Moewe_, where he had requisitioned a motor-boat. On
the 4th October, Wintgens, with his Police Askari, some auxiliaries,
and a few men of the _Moewe_, drove back several companies of Belgians
north of Kissenyi, inflicting heavy casualties on them. After some
minor engagements, Captain Wintgens then inflicted a partial defeat
on the superior Belgian force of seventeen hundred men and six guns,
north of Kissenyi, on the 20th and 30th November, and again on the 2nd
December, 1914. Near Lake Tshahafi he drove out an English post. One
Englishman and twenty Askari were killed; we had two Askari killed and
one European severely wounded.

After that, in February, 1915, several minor actions were fought
near Kissenyi and on the frontier. On the 28th May, Lieutenant Lang,
commanding the small garrison of Kissenyi, beat off the Belgians, who
had seven hundred men and two machine guns. The enemy sustained heavy
losses; we had one European killed.

In June, 1915, it was said that over two thousand Belgian Askari, with
nine guns, and five hundred English Askari were concentrated near Lake
Kivu, the fact that the Belgian Commander-in-Chief, Tombeur, went to
Lake Kivu makes this information appear probable. On the 21st June the
Belgians attacked Kissenyi with nine hundred men, two machine guns and
two guns, but were repulsed. On the 5th July they again attacked the
place by night with four hundred men, and suffered severe losses. On
the 3rd August Kissenyi was ineffectively bombarded by artillery and
machine guns. In consequence of the crushing superiority of the enemy,
the 26th Field Company was transferred from Muansa to Kissenyi.

Immediately after the arrival of this company at Kissenyi, on the
31st August, Captain Wintgens defeated the Belgian outposts, of whom
ten Askari were killed. On September 2nd he took by storm a position
held by one hundred and fifty Askari, with three guns and one machine
gun. During the next few weeks minor actions were fought every day. On
the 3rd October an attack on Kissenyi by two hundred and fifty Askari
with a machine gun was repulsed, and fourteen casualties were observed
among the enemy. After that, possibly in consequence of the action at
Luwungi on the 27th September, considerable forces of the enemy were
discovered to have marched off for the south.

On the 22nd October another Belgian detached post of three hundred
Askari, with two guns and two machine guns, was surprised, when
the enemy had ten Askari killed. On the 26th November the Ruanda
Detachment, with one platoon of the 7th Company, which had arrived
from Bukoba, in all three hundred and twenty rifles, four machine guns
and one 1.45-inch gun, drove the enemy, numbering two hundred, out of
a fortified position, when he lost two Europeans and seventy Askari
killed, five Askari prisoners, and many wounded. We had one European
and three Askari killed, four Europeans, five Askari and one auxiliary
wounded. On the 21st December the enemy once more attacked Kissenyi
with one thousand Askari, two machine guns and eight guns, including
four modern 2.75-inch howitzers. He left behind twenty-one dead Askari,
three were captured, wounded, and many wounded were carried away. Our
force of three hundred and fifty rifles, four machine guns and two
guns, had three Askari killed, one European and one Askari severely
wounded.

On the 12th January, 1916, Captain Wintgens surprised a Belgian
column north of Kissenyi, killing eleven Belgian Askari. On the 27th
January Captain Klinghardt, with three companies, beat off an attack
on the Kissenyi position made by two thousand Belgian Askari with hand
grenades and twelve guns, inflicting severe casualties on them.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Russissi country there were also numerous engagements.
Successful minor actions between German patrols and Congo troops had
taken place on the 10th and 13th October, 1914, at Changugu, on the
21st and 22nd at Chiwitoke, and on the 24th at Kajagga.

On the 12th January, 1915, Captain Schimmer attacked a Belgian camp at
Luwungi, but the intended surprise was unsuccessful. Captain Zimmer and
three Askari were killed and five wounded.

Then, on the 16th, 17th and 20th March small patrol skirmishes took
place, and on the 20th May a Belgian post was surprised. There was thus
incessant fighting, which continued in June and July. In August the
enemy seemed to be increasing his forces in that region. The command on
the Russissi was now taken over by Captain Schulz; the forces we had
there now consisted of four field companies, part of the crew of the
_Moewe_, and the Urundi Detachment, which about equalled one company.
There were also two light guns there. On the 27th September Captain
Schulz attacked Luwungi, when we were able to establish that the enemy
lost fifty-four Askari killed, and we also counted seventy-one Askari
hit. So the enemy’s losses amounted to about two hundred, as confirmed
by native reports received later. We had four Europeans and twenty
Askari killed, nine Europeans and thirty-four Askari wounded.

Owing to the nature of the country and the relative strengths, we were
unable to achieve a decisive success on the Russissi. Only the Urundi
Detachment and one field company were, therefore, left there; two
companies left on the 18th and 19th December, 1915, to join Captain
Wintgens in Ruanda; three others moved to the Central Railway.

On the 19th October the enemy met the 14th Reserve Company, and
although outnumbering it by two to one, lost twenty Askari, while we
had three Askari killed and twelve wounded. Although the Belgian main
camp, which reliable natives reported to contain two thousand Askari,
was so near, it was possible to reduce the troops on the Russissi in
favour of other districts, since on both sides the conditions seemed
unfavourable for an offensive. The Urundi Detachment and the 14th
Reserve Company remained on the Russissi under Major von Langenn.

       *       *       *       *       *

On Lake Tanganyika, at the beginning of the war, Captain Zimmer had
collected about one hundred men of the _Moewe_, and in Usambara, about
one hundred Askari; in addition, he had a few Europeans who were called
up in Kigoma, also some one hundred Askari belonging to the posts in
Urundi and from Ruanda (Wintgens)—all told, about four hundred rifles.

On the 22nd August, 1914, Lieutenant Horn, of the _Moewe_, commanding
the small armed steamer _Hedwig von Wissmann_, fought a successful
action against the Belgian steamer _Delcommune_. The captain of the
_Moewe_, Lieutenant-Commander Zimmer, had gone to Kigoma with his crew,
after destroying his ship, which had been blown up in August, 1914. The
steamer _Kingani_, which had also been transported to the same place by
rail from Dar-es-Salaam, and several smaller craft on Lake Tanganyika,
were then armed and put in commission by Lieutenant-Commander Zimmer.
He also mounted a 3·5-inch naval gun on a raft and bombarded a number
of Belgian stations on the shore. He strongly fortified Kigoma itself,
and developed it into a base for naval warfare on Lake Tanganyika.

On the 20th November, 1914, the Bismarckburg Detachment (half company),
co-operating with the small armed steamers _Hedwig von Wissmann_ and
_Kingani_, drove off a Belgian company in the bay west of Bismarckburg,
captured four ·43-inch machine guns and over ninety miles of telegraph
wire, which was used to continue the line Kilossa-Iringa up to New
Langenburg, a work which was, from a military point of view, extremely
urgent.

Early in October attempts were made to complete the destruction of the
Belgian steamer _Delcommune_, which was lying at Baraka, on the Congo
shore, but without success. After bombarding her once more on the 23rd
October, Captain Zimmer looked upon her as permanently out of action.
On the 27th February, 1915, the crew of the _Hedwig von Wissmann_
surprised a Belgian post at Tombwe, and captured its machine gun.
One Belgian officer and ten Askari were killed, one severely wounded
Belgian officer and one Englishman were captured. We had one Askari
killed, one European mortally wounded, one Askari severely wounded.

In March, 1915, the Belgians made arrests on a large scale in Ubwari,
the inhabitants of which had shown themselves friendly to us, and
hanged a number of people.

According to wireless messages which we took in, several Belgian
whale-boats were got ready on Lake Tanganyika during June, and work
was being carried on on a new Belgian steamer, the _Baron Dhanis_. On
our side the steamer _Goetzen_ was completed on the 9th June, 1915,
and taken over by the Force. She rendered good service in effecting
movements of troops on Lake Tanganyika.

The Police at Bismarckburg, under Lieutenant Haun of the Reserve,
the capable administrator of the Baziots, had joined the Protective
Force. Several skirmishes took place in hostile territory, and in this
district also the enemy was, on the whole, kept successfully at a
distance.

It was not till early in February, 1915, that several hundred hostile
Askari invaded Abercorn, and some of them penetrated to near Mwasge
Mission, but then retired.

Then, in the middle of March, Lieutenant Haun’s force was surprised in
camp at Mount Kito by an Anglo-Belgian detachment. The Commander was
severely wounded and taken prisoner, and several Askari were killed.
Lieutenant Aumann, with a force subsequently formed into a company,
was detached from Captain Falkenstein, and covered the German border
in the neighbourhood of Mbozi, where, in February, 1915, detachments
several hundred strong had frequently invaded German territory; at the
end of March an unknown number of Europeans were reported in Karonga,
while at Fife and other places on the frontier there were some eight
hundred men. So the enemy appeared to be preparing to attack. He was
patrolling as far as the country near Itaka, and early in April it was
reported that Kituta, at the southern end of Lake Tanganyika, had been
entrenched by the Belgians. Major von Langenn, who, after recovering
from his severe wound—he had lost an eye—was working on the Russissi
river, was entrusted with the conduct of operations in the well-known
Bismarckburg-Langenburg country. Besides the 5th Field Company, which
he had formerly commanded, and which was stationed at Ipyana and in the
Mbozi country, he was also given the Bismarckburg Detachment, strength
about one company, and three companies which were brought up from
Dar-es-Salaam and Kigoma. During their passage to Bismarckburg on the
Lake successful actions were fought east of that place by our patrols
against hostile raiding parties of fifty to two hundred and fifty men.

[Illustration: Native Women.

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: Natives bringing food.

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

By the 7th May, 1915, Major von Langenn had assembled four companies at
Mwasge; a Belgian detachment stationed in front of him withdrew. On the
23rd May Lieutenant von Delschitz’s patrol drove off a Belgian company,
of which two Europeans and six Askari were killed. On the 24th orders
were sent to Langenn to move with three companies to New Langenburg to
meet the attack which was reported to be impending in that quarter.
General Wahle took over the command in the Bismarckburg area. The
latter arrived at Kigoma on the 6th June, and collected at Bismarckburg
the Bismarckburg Detachment, now re-formed as the 29th Field Company,
as well as the 24th Field Company and a half-company of Europeans
brought up from Dar-es-Salaam.

On the 28th June General Wahle attacked Jericho Farm with two and a
half companies, but broke off the engagement on realizing that this
fortified position could not be taken without artillery. We had three
Europeans and four Askari killed, two Europeans and twenty-two Askari
wounded. General Wahle was reinforced by two companies from Langenburg.

Since the 25th July, 1915, General Wahle was besieging the enemy,
who was strongly entrenched at Jericho, with four companies and two
1873-pattern guns. Relief expeditions from Abercorn were defeated, but
the siege was raised on the 2nd August, as no effect could be produced
with the guns available. General Wahle returned to Dar-es-Salaam with
three companies. The 29th Company remained at Jericho, the two guns at
Kigoma.

On the 19th June the _Goetzen_ towed off the steamer _Cecil Rhodes_,
which was lying beached at Kituta, and sank her.

During September and October there were continual skirmishes between
patrols on the border near Bismarckburg; Belgian reinforcements again
invaded the country about Abercorn. On the 3rd December it was observed
that the defences of Jericho had been abandoned and dismantled. A new
fort, north-east of Abercorn, was bombarded by Lieutenant Franken on
the 6th December with one hundred rifles and one machine gun; the enemy
appeared to sustain some casualties.

The English Naval Expedition, the approach of which, by Bukoma and
Elizabethville, had long been under observation, had reached the
Lukuga Railway on the 22nd October, 1919. We picked up leaflets which
stated that a surprise was being prepared for the Germans on Lake
Tanganyika; this made me think that we might now have to deal with
specially-built small craft which might possibly be equipped with
torpedoes. We had, therefore, to meet a very serious menace to our
command of Lake Tanganyika, which might prove decisive to our whole
campaign. The simultaneous transfer of hostile troops towards Lake Kivu
and Abercorn proved that an offensive by land was to be co-ordinated
with the expedition. In order to defeat the enemy if possible while
his concentration was still in progress, Captain Schulz attacked the
Belgians at Luwungi on the 27th September, inflicting heavy loss.

On the night of the 28th October the steamer _Kingani_ surprised a
Belgian working-party, who were constructing a telegraph line, and
captured some stores. In the mouth of the Lukuga river a railway
train was observed on the move. At last, the _Kingani_ did not return
from a reconnaissance to the mouth of the Lukuga, and, according to
a Belgian wireless message of the 31st December, she had been lost,
four Europeans and eight natives were said to have been killed, the
remainder to have been captured. Evidently, the favourable opportunity
for interfering with the enemy’s preparations for gaining command of
the Lake had passed.

Then, on the 9th February, 1916, another of our armed steamers was
captured by the enemy.

On Lake Nyassa the German steamer _Hermann von Wissmann_, whose captain
did not know that war had broken out, was surprised and taken by the
English Government steamer _Gwendolen_ on the 13th August, 1914.

On the 9th September, 1914, Captain von Langenn, with his 5th Field
Company, which was stationed at Massoko, near New Langenburg, had
attacked the English station of Karongo. In the action with the
English, who were holding a fortified position, Captain von Langenn
himself was severely wounded. The two company officers were also
severely wounded and taken prisoners. The German non-commissioned
officers and the Askari fought very gallantly, but were obliged to
recognize that they could do nothing against the enemy’s entrenchments,
and, therefore, broke off the hopeless engagement. Over twenty Askari
had been killed, several machine guns and light guns had been lost.
Reinforcements from the 2nd Company at once arrived from Iringa and
Ubena, and several hundred Wahehe auxiliaries were raised. Gradually
it turned out that the enemy had also suffered severely. He avoided
expeditions on a large scale against the Langenburg District, and so
this fertile country, which was so necessary to us as a source of
supply, remained in our possession for eighteen months.

Later on our company at Langenburg moved its main body nearer the
border to Ipyana Mission. On the 2nd November an affair of outposts
occurred on the Lufira river, and the steamer _Gwendolen_ on Lake
Nyassa was hit several times by our artillery.

Early in December, 1914, some fighting between patrols took place
north of Karongo, on the Ssongwe river. Lieutenant Dr. Gothein, of
the Medical Corps, who had been returned to us from captivity by the
English in May, 1915, told us that in the first action at Karongo, on
the 9th September, 1914, the enemy had had six Europeans and fifty
Askari killed, and seven Europeans and more than fifty Askari severely
wounded. The English spies were very active, especially through the
agency of the “Vali,” the native administrative official, on the
Ssongwe.

In May, 1915, we were able to effect several successful surprises
on the frontier. The rains were late, so that we could consider the
southern part of Langenburg District as safe from attack until the end
of June.

In June, 1915, when Major von Langenn had arrived with his
reinforcements, there were, contrary to our expectations, no
considerable actions. We made use of the time to dismantle a telegraph
line in English territory, and to put it up again in our own, in the
direction of Ubena. In August, the rumours of an intended attack by
the enemy were again falsified. It was not till the 8th October that
considerable hostile forces of Europeans and Askari arrived at Fife.
On this border also there were numerous little skirmishes. Towards the
end of the year the arrival of fresh reinforcements at Ikawa was also
established. In that region, on the 23rd December, 1915, Captain Aumann
repulsed a force of about 60 Europeans with 2 machine guns, who were
attempting a surprise.

On the shores of Lake Nyassa there were only insignificant encounters.

On the 30th May the English landed 30 Europeans, 200 Askari, 2 guns
and 2 machine guns at Sphinx Harbour. We had there 13 rifles and one
machine gun, who inflicted on them, apparently, over 20 casualties,
whereupon, after destroying the wreck of the _Hermann von Wissmann_,
they retired.



PART II

THE CONCENTRIC ATTACK BY SUPERIOR FORCES

(From the arrival of the South African troops to the loss of the
Colony)



CHAPTER I

THE ENEMY’S ATTACK AT OLDOROBO MOUNTAIN


EAST of Oldorobo the enemy now frequently showed considerable bodies of
troops, amounting to 1,000 or more men, who deployed in the direction
of the mountain at great distances, but did not approach it closely.
These movements, therefore, were exercises, by which the young European
troops from South Africa were to be trained to move and fight in the
bush.

Early in February the enemy advanced against Oldorobo from the east
with several regiments. For us it was desirable that he should take
so firm a hold there that he could not get away again, so that we
could defeat him by means of a counter-attack with Captain Schulz’
Detachment, encamped at Taveta. Other German detachments, of several
companies each, were stationed west of Taveta on the road to New Moshi,
and on that to Kaho, at New Steglitz Plantation.

On the 12th February again, European troops, estimated at several
regiments, advanced to within 300 yards of Oldorobo. Headquarters at
New Moshi, which was in constant telephonic communication with Major
Kraut, considered that the favourable opportunity had now presented
itself, and ordered fire to be opened. The effect of our machine-guns,
and our two light guns, had been reported to be good, when Headquarters
left New Moshi by car for the field of battle. Schulz’ Detachment was
ordered to march from Taveta along the rear of Kraut’s Detachment,
covered from the fire of the enemy’s heavy artillery, and to make a
decisive attack on the enemy’s right, or northern, wing. The troops at
New Steglitz advanced to Taveta, where some fantastic reports came in
about hostile armoured cars, which were alleged to be moving through
the thorn-bush desert. The imagination of the natives, to whom these
armoured cars were something altogether new and surprising, had made
them see ghosts. On arriving on Oldorobo, Headquarters was informed
by telephone that the enemy, who had attacked our strongly entrenched
front, had been repulsed with heavy losses, and that Schulz’ Detachment
was fully deployed and advancing against his right flank. The numerous
English howitzer shells which fell in our position on Oldorobo did
hardly any damage, although they were very well placed. In contrast
to the great expenditure of ammunition by the hostile artillery, our
light guns had to restrict themselves to taking advantage of specially
favourable targets, not only because ammunition was scarce, but also
because we had no shrapnel. The enemy retreated through the bush in
disorder. We buried more than 60 Europeans. According to prisoners’
statements and captured papers, three regiments of the 2nd South
African Infantry Brigade had been in action. According to the documents
it appeared that in recruiting the men the prospect of acquiring farms
and plantations had been used as a bait. The sudden illness of the
British General Smith-Dorrien, who was already on his way out to take
over command in East Africa, may not have been altogether inconvenient
to the English. The transfer of the command to a South African, General
Smuts, re-acted favourably on recruiting in South Africa. The training
of these newly raised formations was slight, and the conduct of the
Europeans, many of whom were very young, proved that many had never yet
taken part in a serious action. After the action of Oldorobo, however,
we observed that the enemy sought very thoroughly to make good the
deficiencies in his training.

In spite of pursuit by Schulz’ Detachment, and repeated fire opened
on collections of hostile troops, the enemy, owing to the difficult
and close nature of the country, made good his escape to his fortified
camps.

[Illustration: Fig. vii. Battle of Yasin (Jassini).]

[Illustration: Fig. viii. Kilima Njaro and Masai Desert.]

[Illustration: Fig. ix. Battle of Reata.]

[Illustration: Fig. x. Battle of Kahe.]

It was interesting to find, in several diaries we picked up, notes to
the effect that strict orders had been given to take no prisoners. As
a matter of fact the enemy had taken none, but it seemed advisable
nevertheless to address an inquiry to the British Commander, in order
that we might regulate our conduct towards the English prisoners
accordingly. There is no reason to doubt Brigadier-General Malleson’s
statement that no such order was given; but this case, and several
later instances, show what nonsense is to be found in private diaries.
It was quite wrong on the part of the enemy if he accepted the German
notes which fell into his hands as true, without detailed investigation.

At this time also the hostile troops on Longido Mountain had been
considerably reinforced. This mountain had been evacuated by the
enemy, probably owing to difficulties of supply, but had latterly
been re-occupied. The rock is covered with dense vegetation, and our
patrols had several times ascended it and examined the enemy’s camps at
close quarters. It is at any time difficult correctly to estimate the
strength of troops, but in bush country, where more than a few men are
never to be seen at a time, and where the view is constantly changing,
it is impossible. The reports of the natives were too inaccurate. On
the whole, however, we could but conclude from the general situation,
and from the increased quantity of supplies which were being brought
to Longido from the north, by ox wagon, without interruption, that the
enemy was being considerably reinforced.

His raids into the Kilima Njaro country had been repulsed with
slaughter. When a squadron of Indian Lancers moved south, between
Kilima Njaro and Meru Mountain, it was at once vigorously attacked
by one of our mounted patrols under Lieutenant Freiherr von Lyncker.
Our Askari had come to understand the great value of saddle-horses in
our operations, and charged the enemy, who was mounted, with the cry:
“Wahindi, kameta frasi!” (“They are Indians, catch the horses!”) The
Indians were so surprised by the rapidity of our people that they fled
in confusion, leaving some of their horses behind. Among others the
gallant European commander had been left dead on the field; he had not
been able to prevent his men from losing their heads.

I should like to remark generally that during this first period of
the war the conduct of the British regular officers was invariably
chivalrous, and that the respect they paid us was fully reciprocated.
But our Askari also earned the respect of the enemy by their bravery
in action and their humane conduct. On the 10th March the English
Lieutenant Barrett was severely wounded and fell into our hands;
owing to false accounts he thought his last moment had come, and was
surprised when our Askari, who had no European with them, tied him up
as well as they could and carried him to a doctor. In his astonishment
he remarked: “Why, your Askari are gentlemen.” How greatly the English
soldiers had been misled I learned on the 12th February from a young
South African captured on Oldorobo, who asked whether he was going to
be shot. Of course we laughed at him. No doubt, in a long war, cases of
brutality and inhumanity do occur. But that happens on both sides, and
one should not generalize from isolated cases, and exploit them for the
purpose of unworthy agitation, as has been done by the English Press.



CHAPTER II

FURTHER ADVANCE OF THE ENEMY AND THE ACTION AT REATA


AT that time we noticed the first parties of hostile spies, and
captured some of them. They were “Shensi” (innocent-looking natives),
who, as a proof of having really reached the objective of their
mission, had to bring back certain objects, such as parts of the
permanent way of the Usambara Railway. The general review of the
situation showed that the enemy was making a detailed reconnaissance
of the Usambara Railway and the approaches to it. A glance at the
map shows that a simultaneous advance by the enemy from Oldorobo and
Longido towards New Moshi was bound to entail the loss of the Kilima
Njaro country, which was of value to us from the point of view of
maintenance. If, however, we wanted to retire before a superior enemy
on our main line of communication, we should be obliged to move our
main forces along the Usambara Railway, thus making almost an acute
angle with the direction of an attack coming from Oldorobo. The
danger of being cut off by the enemy from this, our principal line of
communication, was for us very great. Should the enemy advance north
of Lake Jipe, he would be cramped by Kilima Njaro and by the steep
group of the North Pare Mountains. It is obvious that in that case his
advance directly on Kahe would be the most inconvenient for us, and if
successful, would cut the Usambara Railway, our line of communications.
But it would be even more serious for us if the enemy should pass south
of Lake Jipe, and press forward by the valley leading between the North
and Middle Pare, to the Northern Railway, south of Lembeni. Finally,
he could reach the railway by way of the valley at Same, between the
Middle and South Pare. In his advance on Lembeni and Same the enemy
would be able to make a road suitable for motor traffic with rapidity,
and in places without preparation, across the open plain, and to base
his operations upon it.

The small forces we had in the Kilima Njaro country—about 4,000
rifles—rendered it impossible to divide them in order to render
ourselves secure against all these possibilities. Even for purely
defensive reasons we must keep our forces concentrated and maintain
close touch with the enemy, in order to hold him fast where we were,
and thus keep his movements under observation. It was from the outset
very doubtful whether we could in succession defeat the two main
hostile groups, whose advance towards the Kilima Njaro country was to
be expected from Longido and Makatau, and which were each considerably
stronger than ourselves. There was no prospect of doing so unless our
troops could be moved with lightning rapidity, first against one of
the enemy’s forces and then, just as quickly, against the other. The
necessary preparations were made, and after personal reconnaissance,
a number of cross-country tracks in the rugged forest country north
of the great road which leads from New Moshi to the west were decided
upon. As it happened, no considerable use was made of these tracks.
It would not do to be afraid of trying anything ninety-nine times, if
there was a chance of succeeding at the hundredth. In following this
principle we did not do badly.

The enemy’s activity increased, and he displayed good training in
numerous minor encounters. He had also raised a number of new Askari
formations, largely recruited among the intelligent tribes of the
Wyassa country. Being only sparsely covered with bush, and therefore
very open, the desert country lying to the north-west of Kilima Njaro
did not favour sudden offensive operations by us; for this purpose the
dense bush district between Kilima Njaro and Meru Mountain itself,
which the enemy, coming from Longido, would probably have to traverse,
was more promising. Here we concentrated a detachment of some 1,000
rifles, composed of five selected Askari Companies. But, owing to the
limited range of vision, this detachment did not succeed in forcing
a decisive engagement on any of the numerous hostile columns which
pushed down to the south in the beginning of March. The enemy, also,
had great difficulty in finding his way; and we only learned from an
Indian despatch-rider, who brought a report to us instead of to his own
people, that the 1st East African Division, under General Stewart, was
in this district. As these encounters took place in the neighbourhood
of Gararagua, and south-west of that place, it was too far away for
our reserves at New Steglitz and Himo to intervene. (It is about two
marches from Gararagua to New Moshi.) Before the chance of doing so
arrived the enemy also advanced from the east. The direction taken by
the enemy’s airmen showed his evident interest in the country one or
two hours north of Taveta. One was bound to hit on the idea that the
enemy encamped east of Oldorobo did not intend to get his head broken
a second time on that mountain, but meant to work round the position
by the north, and so reach the Lumi River, one hour north of Taveta.
On the 8th March observers on Oldorobo noticed huge clouds of dust
moving from the enemy’s camp in that direction. Numerous motors were
also seen. From East Kitovo, a mountain four miles west of Taveta,
Headquarters also observed these movements. Our fighting patrols, who
were able to fire with effect on the hostile columns, and to take a few
prisoners, established with certainty that the enemy’s main force was
approaching at this point, and that General Smuts was present.

On the afternoon of the 8th March Headquarters observed strong hostile
columns near Lake Dsalla, who advanced from there in a widely extended
line of skirmishers for some distance towards East Kitovo. On this
occasion, and on many others, our want of artillery obliged us to
look on quietly while the enemy executed unskilful movements at no
great distance from our front. But it was evident that this enveloping
movement of the enemy rendered the Oldorobo position, to which we owed
many successful engagements during the course of the war, untenable.
I therefore decided to deploy the troops for a fresh stand on the
mountains which close the gap between the North Pare Mountains and
Kilima Njaro to the westward of Taveta. Kraut’s Detachment was ordered
by telephone to take up a position on the Resta-Latema Mountains, on
the road leading from Taveta to New Steglitz. North-west of Latema
Mountain, on the road from Taveta to Himo, Schulz’s Detachment
occupied the mountains of North Kitovo, and covered the move of
Kraut’s Detachment. These movements were executed by night, without
being interfered with by the enemy. On our extreme left wing, on the
south-eastern slopes of Kilima Njaro, Captain Stemmermann’s Company
blocked the road leading from Rombo Mission to Himo and New Moshi.
Rombo Mission was occupied by the enemy. Some of the natives made no
attempt to conceal the fact that they now adhered to the English. This
lends colour to the supposition that English espionage and propaganda
among the natives had for a long time been going on in this district,
and that the light-signals which had often been seen on the eastern
slopes of Kilima Njaro had some connection with it.

The mountain position taken up by us was very favourable as regards
ground, but suffered from the great disadvantage that our few thousand
Askari were far too few really to fill up the front, which was some
12 miles in extent. Only a few points in the front line could be
occupied; the bulk of the force was kept at my disposal at Himo, to
be brought into action according to how the situation might develop.
It was a time of great tension. Before us was the greatly superior
enemy; behind us, advancing to the south from Londigo, another superior
opponent, while our communications, which also formed our line of
retreat, were threatened by the enemy in the very unpleasant manner
already described. But, in view of the ground, which we knew, and the
apparently not too skilful tactical leading on the part of the enemy,
I did not think it impossible to give at least one of his detachments
a thorough beating. The positions on the line Reata-North Kitovo were
therefore to be prepared for a stubborn defence. From Tanga, one of
the _Königsberg’s_ guns mounted there was brought up by rail. The
reader will rightly ask why this had not been done long before. But the
gun had no wheels, and fired from a fixed pivot, so that it was very
immobile. It is therefore comprehensible that we delayed bringing it
into action until there could be no doubt as to the precise spot where
it would be wanted.

The situation now developed so rapidly that the gun could not be used
against Taveta. It was therefore mounted near the railway at Kahe,
on the south bank of the Pangani River, from which position it did
excellent service later in the actions at Kahe.

On the 10th March the enemy reconnoitred along our whole front. Mounted
detachments of about 50 men rode up, dismounted, and then advanced in
a widely extended line, leading their horses, until they were fired
on. This was their object. The fire disclosed our positions, although
imperfectly. This method of reconnaissance gave us the opportunity for
scoring local successes, which cost the enemy a certain number of men,
and brought us in some score of horses. From North Kitovo Mountain we
could plainly see how portions of our firing line, taking advantage
of favourable situations, rapidly advanced and fired upon the enemy’s
reconnoitring parties from several directions. To me the force employed
by the enemy in these enterprises appeared too large to be explained
by the mere intention of reconnaissance; they looked to me more like
serious but somewhat abortive attacks. It was not yet possible to
form a clear idea of the direction from which the enemy’s main attack
would come. The tactical difficulties of enveloping our left (north)
wing were far less, but this operation would prevent him from exerting
effective pressure on our communications. The direction from Taveta
through Reata towards Kahe would be the worst for us, but entailed
for the enemy a difficult frontal attack on the fortified heights of
Reata and Latema, which promised but little success even if made in
greatly superior strength. I, therefore, thought it advisable to move
Captain Koehl with two companies so close up in rear of Major Kraut’s
Detachment, which was on the high ground between Reata and Latema, that
we could intervene rapidly without waiting for orders. For the moment,
telephonic communication with our detachments was secure. But it was to
be anticipated that it would become at least very difficult, so soon
as any detachment moved away from the existing lines. There was no
material available for rapidly laying a cable that could follow moving
troops. We were also deficient of light wireless apparatus, by means
of which later on the English successfully controlled the movements of
their columns in the bush.

On the 11th March another aeroplane appeared over New Moshi and dropped
a few bombs. I was just talking to an old Boer about the fight on the
12th February, and saying that the English were incurring a grave
responsibility in ruthlessly exposing so many young men, who were quite
ignorant of the Tropics, to the dangers of our climate and of tropical
warfare. Major Kraut reported from Reata that strong hostile forces
were moving up towards his positions from the direction of Taveta. Soon
after, a powerful attack was made by several thousand men on the three
companies holding our position. Our three light guns could, of course,
not engage in a duel with the heavy artillery, and, as at Oldorobo, had
to restrict themselves to employing their few shells against the denser
masses of the enemy at favourable moments. Knowing the difficulties
of the ground, I thought the attack had little prospect of success,
but the two companies of Captain Koehl held in readiness behind Major
Kraut’s Detachment were, nevertheless, sent in to attack. Captain
Koehl, who had originally intended to attack the enemy in flank, which
would have suited the situation and proved decisive, was obliged to
recognize that in the unknown and dense bush this was impossible. The
time and place, and, therefore, the effectiveness of this attack,
would have become matters of pure chance. He, therefore, quite rightly
marched up to the immediate support of Major Kraut. From what I could
observe for myself from North Kitovo, and according to the reports
that came in, it appeared that the enemy wanted to keep us occupied in
front from Reata to Kitovo, while his decisive movement was being made
round our left wing. In the first instance large bodies of horsemen
were moving in that direction who appeared and disappeared again among
the heights and gullies of the south-east slopes of Kilima Njaro. The
11th Company, under Captain Stemmermann, which was on the slopes
above these horsemen, prevented them from reaching the summit. During
the course of the afternoon the leading horsemen had worked their way
through the dense banana-plantations to near Marangu. They appeared
to be very exhausted. Some of them were seen to be eating the unripe
bananas.

During the afternoon it became evident that the enemy was making a
strong frontal attack against Kraut’s Detachment on Reata and Latema
Mountain. But the telephonic reports were favourable: the enemy was
obviously suffering heavy casualties; hundreds of stretchers were
being employed in getting away the wounded. By evening all the enemy’s
attacks on our front had been repulsed with heavy losses. In the
darkness Captain Koehl’s two companies had pursued with energy and
opened machine-gun fire on the enemy when he tried to make a stand.
In the evening I had gone to Himo, and about 11 p.m. I was engaged
in issuing orders for an attack to be made early on the 12th on the
enemy’s horsemen, whose presence had been established at Marangu. Just
then Lieutenant Sternheim, commanding the guns with Kraut’s Detachment,
telephoned that the enemy had attacked once more in the night and had
penetrated into the Reata position in great force. This report made
it appear probable that this strong hostile force would now press
forward from Reata in the direction of Kahe, and cut us off from our
communications. To accept this risk, and still carry out the attack
on the enemy at Marangu, appeared to be too dangerous. I therefore
ordered the troops at Kitovo and Himo to fall back during the night
to the Reata-Kahe road. As a covering force Stemmermann’s Company was
for the time being to remain at Himo. This march was bound to entail
the unpleasant consequence that, at the very best, all communication
between Headquarters and the various units would cease. Anyone who has
experienced these night marches knows also how easily some parts of the
force may become entirely detached and cannot be reached for ever and
a day. Fortunately I had at least some knowledge of the ground, as we
moved across country to the new road, while we heard continuous heavy
firing going on on Reata and Latema Mountains. A few stragglers who
had lost their way in the bush came towards us; when we said we were
Germans they did not believe us, and disappeared again. On the new road
we found the dressing station. Here, too, the reports of the numerous
wounded were so contradictory and obscure that one could only gather
the impression of very heavy fighting in the bush at close quarters,
but failed to learn anything of its various phases or results. By and
by we got through on the telephone to Major Kraut, who, with part
of his detachment, was on the Kahe-Taveta road, on the south-west
slope of Reata Mountain. On the heights the fire had gradually died
down, and his patrols had found no more trace of the enemy on Reata
Mountain. Early in the morning of the 12th Major Kraut found some of
his detachment again in their old positions on the hills: the enemy had
fallen back to Taveta.

When I arrived at Reata Mountain at six in the morning the great
quantity of booty was being collected. Very great confusion had
occurred in the close-quarter fighting by night. English dead, who
were lying in the bush far in rear of the front of Kraut’s Detachment,
proved that certain detachments of the enemy had got behind our
line. Individual snipers, hidden away among the rocks, maintained a
well-aimed fire, and could not be dislodged. It was, however, clear
that the enemy had been repulsed with heavy casualties. Both our own
wounded and those of the enemy were got away without a hitch, and so
were the prisoners. With the detachments that were moving from the
vicinity of Himo through the dense bush to the Kahe-Reata road we had
no communication, and could expect to have none for several hours more.

In this situation it was regrettable that I had ordered the troops
forming our left wing, who had been posted between Kitovo and Himo, to
withdraw to the Kahe-Reata road. After giving up the high ground held
by our left wing the Reata position would in time become untenable, the
more so as it had no supply of water, which had to be brought up from
a place an hour’s march further back. It was impossible to turn back
the units of the left wing to reoccupy the Himo-Kitovo area, as we
were at the moment completely out of touch with them, and, as has been
mentioned, there was no expectation of regaining it for hours to come.
I decided to evacuate the Reata position, and after the battlefield was
cleared I returned with the line that was nearest to the enemy to the
water south-west of Reata Mountain. In the course of the day the other
detachments reached the Kahe-Reata road at different points further to
the rear and encamped.

Headquarters moved to New Steglitz Plantation. The buildings are
situated half-way between Kahe and Reata, on a slight elevation
affording a distant view over the forest, which is particularly dense
along the Kahe-Reata road. On the way I met Captain Schoenfeld, who
reported that he had mounted his 4-inch gun out of the _Königsberg_
near Kahe village on the south bank of the Pangani. After our
withdrawal the enemy occupied Reata Mountain and for a while fired into
the blue with light guns and rifles.

During the next few days we observed the advance of strong hostile
forces from the direction of Taveta to Himo, and the pitching of large
camps at that place. Against the Little Himo, a mountain in front of
our line which we were not holding, the enemy developed a powerful
attack from the east, across a perfectly open plain, which, after a
long and heavy bombardment of the empty hill, ended in its capture.
Unfortunately, we were unable to move our troops sufficiently rapidly
to come down upon this attack out of the thick bush. From the Little
Himo the enemy frequently bombarded the Plantation building of New
Steglitz with light artillery. Some weeks before, after a successful
buffalo-hunt, I had enjoyed a hospitable hour in the few rooms of this
building. The native who had guided us on that occasion had deserted
to the English. Now it provided decidedly cramped accommodation for
Headquarters and the telephone exchange. I myself was lucky enough to
find a fairly comfortable shake-down on the sofa, with the cloth off
the dining-table. Telephone messages and reports came in day and night
without ceasing; but they did not prevent us from making the material
side of our existence tolerably comfortable. We had a roof over our
heads, and the use of a kitchen equipped in European style, and carried
on our combined mess as previously at New Moshi. The circumstances
peculiar to East Africa make it necessary for the European to maintain
a number of servants which to home ideas seems excessive. Even now,
on active service, nearly everyone had two “Boys” who took charge
of the cooking utensils and provisions we carried with us, cooked
excellently, baked bread, washed, and generally provided us in the bush
with a good proportion of the comforts which in Europe are only to be
found in dwelling houses. Even in the heart of the bush I restricted
these alleviations as little as possible, out of consideration for the
strength, health and spirit of the Europeans. If, in spite of this,
Headquarters often preferred to occupy buildings, this was done less
for the sake of comfort than in order to facilitate the unavoidable
work of writing and drawing.

While we were at New Steglitz we received the surprising news
that a second store-ship had reached the Colony, with arms,
ammunition—including several thousand rounds for the 4-inch
_Könisgberg_ guns, which were now employed on land—and other warlike
stores. The ship had run into Ssudi Bay, at the extreme south of our
coast, and had immediately begun to discharge her cargo. In spite of
the great distance, and the exclusive use of carriers, the whole of
it was made available for the troops. This achievement was indeed
surprising, in view of the large number of hostile ships that were
blockading and searching our coast-line, and which were aware of the
arrival of the store-ship. But she probably surprised the English also,
for after discharging her cargo, she put to sea again, and disappeared,
much to the astonishment of the enemy. Chaff between the Navy and the
Army is not unknown even in England, and if the latter is reproached
for not having been able to finish us off, the former may be silenced
with the justifiable retort that it should not have allowed us to
obtain such great supplies of arms and ammunition. The bulk of the
stores was transported by land to the Central Railway, and was stored
along, or near it, at the disposal of Headquarters. Owing to our lack
of suitable artillery it was particularly advantageous that we were
quickly able to bring up the four field-howitzers and two mountain guns
which had come in the ship.

The store-ship had also brought out decorations for war service: one
Iron Cross of the First Class for the Captain of the _Königsberg_,
and enough of the Second Class to enable half her company to have one
each. For the Protective Force there were an Iron Cross of the First
Class, and one of the Second Class, which were for me, and a number of
decorations for the Askari. As regards the Europeans, we only heard
in September, 1916, by wireless that the decorations recommended by
Headquarters had been approved.



CHAPTER III

RETREAT BEFORE OVERWHELMING HOSTILE PRESSURE


IN our rear, Major Fischer, who with five companies had been employed
between Kilima Njaro and Meru, had evaded the enemy’s superior forces
by moving on New Moshi, and had been ordered up to Kahe. Captain
Rothert, who had been acting under his orders with his company and the
Arusha Detachment (strength about one company), had been energetically
pursued by the enemy, and had made his way by Arusha towards
Kondoa-Irangi. We could only expect to get into touch with him by the
wire which had been put up from Dodome, by Kondoa-Irangi to Umbulu,
and that only after a considerable time. By abandoning New Moshi we,
of necessity, left the road Taveta-New Moshi-Arusha open to the enemy.
The latter was thus also enabled to penetrate into the interior of
the Colony with his troops from Taveta by Arusha and Kondoa-Irangi,
and to act there against our communication at an extremely dangerous
point. From our troops concentrated in the neighbourhood of Kahe and
New Steglitz he had not much to fear during this operation. Although
we had brought up all our companies from Tanga, leaving there only the
troops absolutely indispensable for security, all we could do with our
four thousand rifles was to let the enemy run up against us on suitable
ground, and, possibly, to take advantage of any mistakes he might make
by skilful and rapid action; but the odds against us being seven to
one we could attempt no more. From an attack on an enemy superior not
only in numbers, but also in equipment, and holding fortified positions
into the bargain, I could not possibly hope for success. I could not,
therefore, accede to the requests of my company commanders that we
should attack, but this expression of a bold soldierly spirit gave me
strength and hope in the serious situation in which we were placed.
Minor enterprises, undertaken against the enemy’s camps by patrols
and small detachments, produced no results of consequence; but they
may have helped to make the enemy’s main force take some notice of us
instead of simply marching on past us. He certainly did push on to
the west from Himo, and heavy clouds of dust were seen moving to New
Moshi and further on to the west. But a large part of the enemy coming
from Himo turned in our direction. For the commander such situations
are extraordinarily trying; he is not master of the situation, and
must, of necessity, renounce the initiative. Only the most careful
reconnaissance may perhaps reveal some weakness of the opponent, and in
order to utilize this weakness and regain the initiative, not a moment
must be lost. Fortunately, however, the enemy did expose weak points of
which we were able to take at least partial advantage.

Owing to the dense bush and high forest in which our camps were hidden,
aerial reconnaissance can hardly have been any use to the enemy. The
bombs dropped by the enemy caused only a few casualties at Kahe, and
did not interfere with us in getting away our stores through that
place. In order to draw our fire, the well-known English horsemen
appeared once more north-west of New Steglitz in a widely-extended
skirmishing line. In front of them, hidden in the bush, were our
companies, ready to take hold immediately larger bodies should appear.
A counter-attack of this description was made late in the afternoon on
the 15th March, and with fair success. In order to become thoroughly
acquainted with the ground, European patrols were constantly moving
about, and I also made use of every available minute. Through the bush
we cut and marked tracks. By this means we could clearly indicate any
point to which a detachment was required to go.

On the main road leading from Himo to Kahe a strong hostile force
had also appeared and pushed close up to the front of Stemmermann’s
Detachment, which occupied a fortified position on this road at Kahe,
facing north. With considerable skill patrols worked close up to the
detachment, and so concealed the movements of the enemy. When I arrived
there in the afternoon of the 20th March, it was not at all clear what
was really going on in front. It was quite possible that the enemy was
merely making a demonstration in order to attack at some other, more
dangerous, spot. Such a manœuvre would have been very menacing to us,
as the close nature of the bush country would prevent us from detecting
it until very late, probably too late. I decided to drive the enemy’s
screen back on his position proper. Earlier in the day it had been
given out that the companies were to move off to their former positions
at one a.m.; the machine guns were left in our entrenchments so as not
to lose them, and as a measure of protection. It was bright moonlight
when the leading company was fired on, apparently by a hostile outpost,
or patrol, which moved off. After that we encountered several patrols,
but then, about three miles north of our own trenches, we came upon a
stronger opponent with machine guns. The very severe action which now
developed proved that we had come up against the enemy’s main position;
to assault it seemed hopeless. Leaving patrols out, I withdrew step
by step. Our casualties were not inconsiderable, and unfortunately
included three company commanders, who were difficult to replace; of
the three, Lieutenant von Stosch and Freiherr Grote died of their
wounds a few days later, while Captain Augar only became fit for duty
again after a long time and when provided with an artificial foot.

Our withdrawal, which the enemy probably took to be involuntary,
apparently led him to believe that he would be able to rout us next day
by a vigorous attack. The attacks made by powerful hostile forces on
the front of Stemmermann’s Detachment at Kahe on the 21st March were
unsuccessful; the enemy, composed mainly of South African infantry, was
beaten off with heavy loss. Our four-inch _Königsberg_ gun, directed
from elevated sites affording a good view, fired on the approaching
enemy, apparently with good effect. It may be assumed that part of
their severe casualties, which the English stated to have amounted on
this day to several hundred among the South African Europeans alone,
were caused by this gun. The enemy realized that he could not advance
over the field of fire extending for five hundred yards in front of
our trenches with any hope of success, and endeavoured to envelop our
right flank. But having previously reconnoitred and determined tracks,
we were also well prepared to execute a counter-attack, and in the
afternoon Schulz’s Detachment effectively struck at the enemy’s flank.
The last part of Schulz’s advance had, indeed, been very arduous owing
to the thick bush. The Askari could only work through it step by step,
when they suddenly heard the enemy’s machine guns at work only a few
paces in front of them.

Unfortunately, however, this counter-attack was not completed owing to
the events which occurred in the meantime on our left. The activity
displayed by patrols during the preceding days, and the clouds of
dust, had shown that strong detachments of the enemy’s horse, coming
from near New Moshi and keeping to westward of the Kahe-New Moshi
railway, were trying to work round our front, which faced north, and
of which the left wing was at Kahe Station. The continuation of this
movement would have brought them on to the railway in our rear, and
cut us from our communications while we were engaged with a superior
opponent with our front to the north. I had, therefore, posted a strong
reserve of eight companies in readiness at Kahe Station. But as I
thought it necessary during the action to remain at Kahe village, near
Stemmermann’s Detachment, I was unable to exercise rapid and direct
control over the reserves at Kahe. The dense vegetation prevented any
distant observation. The control of the reserve at Kahe had to be left
to the initiative of the commander on the spot and his subordinates.
The latter had observed that hostile troops had advanced through the
bush and occupied a hill south-west of Kahe Railway Station. One
company had, on its own initiative, attacked this force, but the
advance had broken down under shrapnel fire. Thereupon our four-inch
gun opened fire on these light guns and drove them off.

Late in the afternoon I received an urgent message that strong
forces of the enemy were advancing in our rear towards the railway
at Kissangire, and that the event we feared had actually occurred. I
was, therefore, compelled to issue orders for an immediate withdrawal
towards Kissangire. The enemy could not yet have reached there
in strength, and I hoped to defeat him there by rapidly throwing
all my forces against him. Thus it happened that Captain Schulz’s
well-directed counter-attack could not be carried through, or produce
its full effect. The transfer by night of our force across the Pangani,
which was close behind us, and over which we had previously made a
number of bridges and crossings, was effected smoothly and without
interference. Even on the following day the patrols we had left behind
found its north bank clear of the enemy. Our good four-inch gun, which
we could not take away owing to its lack of mobility, was blown up.
After midnight, that is, quite early on the 22nd March, I arrived at
Kissangire Station, and discovered to my very great astonishment that
all the reports about strong hostile forces moving on that place were
erroneous, and that our withdrawal had therefore been unnecessary. This
incident afforded me a remarkably striking proof of the extraordinary
difficulty of observing the movements of troops in thick bush, and of
the great care every commander must exercise in estimating the value
of such reports. But it also demonstrates how difficult it is for any
commander to combine his own powers of reasoning and his judgment of
the situation with the constantly conflicting reports, both of Askari
and Europeans, in order to base his decision on a foundation that
even approximately resembles the reality. In the African bush it is
particularly important, whenever possible, to supplement the reports
one receives by personal observation.

However, our withdrawal could not now be altered, and the most
important thing was to re-group our forces. In this operation the
decisive factor was water-supply. This, and the necessity for
distribution in depth, caused me to leave only a detachment of a few
companies on the high ground at Kissangire, from where it observed
the seven and a half miles of waterless thorn desert extending to
the Pangani. To the east of this detachment at Kissangire, under
Major von Boehmken, was Otto’s detachment, pushed up on to the North
Pare Mountains in order to close the passes leading over them. Major
Kraut took up a position on Ngulu Pass, between the North Pare and
Middle Pare ranges. The main body of the force settled down in several
fortified camps in the fertile Lembeni country.

In spite of the various withdrawals we had recently carried out, the
spirit of the troops was good, and the Askaris were imbued with a
justifiable pride in their achievements against an enemy so greatly
superior. Only a very few individuals deserted, and they were almost
without exception men whose cattle was in the territory now occupied by
the enemy, and who were therefore afraid of losing their property.

Almost the entire German civil population had left the Kilima Njaro
country; most of them had moved to Usambara into the Wilhelmstal
district. The Arusha country had also been evacuated, and the farmers
had moved off by ox-wagon by Kondoa-Irangi to Dodoma. The numerous
Greeks had for the most part remained on their coffee-plantations on
Kilima Njaro, and the Boers of British nationality had stayed in their
cattle farms, which extended from the north-west slopes of Kilima
Njaro northwards round Meru Mountain and along the western slopes of
the latter to the vicinity of Arusha. At Lembeni the regular course
of existence had not been interrupted; supply trains rolled right up
to the station; the companies which were not in the front line worked
diligently at their training, and Headquarters continued its work in
the railway station buildings of Lembeni just as it had done previously
at Moshi. Airmen appeared and dropped bombs, just as before.

The country was carefully prepared to meet various possible battle
conditions, passages were cut through the dense rhinoceros bush, and
a field of fire cleared where necessary. Personal reconnaissance took
up much of my time, and often led me to the companies encamped in
the thick bush and on the dominating heights. The troops had already
developed to a tolerable degree in adaptability, and in the art of
making the material side of their existence as comfortable as possible.
I remember with pleasure the occasions when, in a comfortably arranged
grass hut, I was offered a cup of coffee with beautiful rich milk,
prepared from the ground-down kernel of a ripe cocoanut. The North Pare
Mountains also were frequently the goal of my expeditions. Up there I
found a rich and well-watered area of primeval forest, through which
it was hardly possible to penetrate off the roads. The water-supply of
the country proved to be far more plentiful than the results of former
surveys had led us to expect; in this respect also it was shown how the
necessities of war cause the resources of a country to be opened up,
and utilized to an extent greatly exceeding previous estimates. The
natives of North Pare are, like those of Kilima Njaro, masters in the
art of irrigating their fields by means of the water coming down from
the mountains.

On the 4th April, one of my reconnaissances took me to Otto’s
Detachment on the Pare Mountains. From the north-west corner one had
a clear view of the enemy’s camp, lying down below at Kahe Station.
The obvious idea of bombarding it with one of our long-range guns—in
the meantime we had brought to Lembeni one 4-inch _Königsberg_ gun on
wheels, and one 3·5-inch gun mounted on a ’73 pattern carriage—could
unfortunately not be carried out. With rather too much zeal the
troops had thoroughly destroyed the permanent way of the line between
Lembeni and Kahe. With the means at our disposal it could not be made
sufficiently fit for traffic to enable us to move one of our guns up
and down on it with rapidity. All our observations and reports agreed
that the enemy, who had formerly often sent patrols and even stronger
forces to the south of Jipe Lake, no longer displayed any interest in
that district. He had in any case moved his principal forces towards
Kahe and also beyond New Moshi westward towards Arusha.

After passing a cold night on the damp height at North Pare I descended
to Lembeni on the 5th April. Here I found a report that on the
previous day Captain Rothert, who was encamped with the 28th Company
beside the Lolkisale, a high mountain in the Masai desert, two days’
march south-west of Arusha, had been attacked by superior forces. The
heliograph communication with Lolkisale from the south-west had then
been interrupted. It was not till later that the following facts became
known. Several mounted companies of the enemy, coming across the desert
from Arusha, had attacked the 28th Company, who were in position on the
mountain, from several directions. As our people were in possession of
the water they could well sustain the fight against the enemy, who had
none. On the second day of the action the situation became critical
for the enemy, because of this very absence of water. Unfortunately,
however, after Captain Rothert was severely wounded, this circumstance
was not properly appreciated on our side. The situation was thought to
be so hopeless that the company surrendered with its machine guns and
ammunition. On this occasion also some of the Askari gave evidence of
sound military education by refusing to join in the surrender. They,
together with the wounded, rejoined our forces near Ufiome, without
being interfered with by the enemy. There they met a new rifle company
and the Arusha Detachment, of which the former had arrived from the
Central Railway, the latter from the direction of Arusha.

The road to Kondoa-Irangi and the interior of the Colony was now hardly
closed to the enemy coming from Arusha. There were three companies
in the neighbourhood of Lake Kivu, in the north-west corner of the
Colony, under Captain Klinghardt, retired, who had done so well in the
actions at Kissenyi; they were moved by march route and on Tanganyika
steamer to Kigoma, and from there by rail to Saranda. From there again
they marched up towards Kondoa-Irangi. Captain Klinghardt was also
given command of the troops already north of Kondoa-Irangi (about two
companies) and of another company that came by rail from Dar-es-Salaam.
These movements would take a long time. Consequently, the good and
well-tried 13th Company, whose peace-station had been Kondoa-Irangi,
was at once brought by rail to near Buiko, whence it marched through
the Masai desert to Kondoa-Irangi. The march through this waterless
and little-known country had to be undertaken before the completion of
the reconnaissances, which were in progress; and to do so with what
was, according to African ideas, the large force of one company with
carriers, in the dry season, and before the heavy rains had set in,
involved some risk.

But this risk had to be run; for the force facing us at Kahe, after
its reconnoitring parties had been several times repulsed, was showing
no signs of advancing against us. At the time, therefore, the enemy
was evidently directing his principal effort towards Kondoa-Irangi.
As, for the reasons already set forth, it appeared unsound for us
to attack from Lembeni towards Kahe, I decided merely to occupy the
enemy station in the Kilima Njaro country, and to direct my main force
against the hostile group which had meanwhile pushed forward to near
Kondoa-Irangi. The execution of this project was not quite easy; much
time was needed to cover the distance of 125 miles from the detraining
stations on the Northern Railway to the Central Railway on foot, and
at any moment a change in the situation might render it necessary for
Headquarters immediately to make fresh dispositions. All the troops
must therefore be kept within reach. The various detachments could
not, as on the march from the Central to the Northern Railway, be set
in motion on different and widely-separated roads. The march of our
fifteen field and two mounted companies had to be made on one road. The
Force was thus confronted with an entirely novel and difficult task.
There was no time to lose. The detachments of Captain von Kornatzky,
Captain Otto, Lieutenant-Colonel von Bock and Captain Stemmermann,
each of four or three companies, were moved by rail at intervals of
one day, from Lembeni to Mombo and Korogwe. Thence they marched on to
Kimamba (station west of Morogoro) to the Central Railway. Manifold
difficulties arose. Hard and fast destinations could not be laid down
for the detachments for each day, more especially because heavy rains
set in which in places so softened the black soil that the troops could
literally hardly get along.

Thus it happened that one detachment made quite short marches, and
the one behind got jammed on top of it. This, however, was very
inconvenient, and interfered both with the regular service of supply
on the line of communication, and with the transport of the company
baggage, in which the relay-carriers belonging to the line of
communication had to be called in to assist. The companies now began,
according to ancient African custom, to help themselves, seized the
line of communication carriers, regardless of other orders, and simply
kept them. As the whole service on the communications depended upon
the regular working of the relay-carriers, it also became seriously
dislocated.

[Illustration: Masai.

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: European Dinner-time

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]



CHAPTER IV

THE ENEMY’S ADVANCE IN THE AREA OF THE NORTHERN RAILWAY


AFTER the trains had left Lembeni I handed over the command of all
the troops on the Northern Railway to Major Kraut. An independent
administrative service was also organized for them. Our railway journey
to Korogwe proved to us once more how closely the German population
of the Northern Territories were knit to the Force, and how they
appreciated its work. At every station the people had assembled,
sometimes from great distances; every one of them knew that our
departure from the Northern Territories was final, and that they
would fall into the enemy’s hands. In spite of this, their spirit was
gallant. A large part of the few remaining European provisions was
brought to us. The widow of the former Line-Commandant Kroeber, who had
recently been buried at Buiko, insisted on offering us the last bottles
of the stock in her cellar.

Major Kraut and Captain Schoenfeld accompanied me to Buiko, from where
we were able to view several portions of the ground which I thought
might become of importance in our future operations. These gentlemen
remained there in order to make more detailed personal reconnaissances.
From Korogwe our cars rapidly took us to Handeni, the head of the
light railway that had been laid from Mombo. On the way we caught up
our mounted companies, and the exclamation of the Civil Administrator
of Handeni: “Why, that’s the notorious poacher of Booyen,” showed me
once more that there were among our mounted troops men accustomed
to danger and sport, on whom I could rely in the troubles that were
to come. Handeni was the first collecting station for the stores
withdrawn from the north; Major von Stuemer, who had left his former
post at Bukoba in order to take charge of this line of communication,
which was for the moment the most important one, complained not a
little of the way in which the troops marching through had interfered
with the further dispatch of the stores. At Handeni, the seat of the
Civil Administration, where the supply routes from Morogoro, Korogwe
and Kondoa-Irangi met at the rail-head of the Mombo-Handeni line,
the war had called into being a European settlement that had almost
the appearance of a town. Lieutenant Horn, of the Navy, had built
cottages in the Norwegian style, which were quite charming to look at,
although at the moment the rain was rather against them. The interiors,
consisting for the most part of three rooms, were comfortably arranged
for the accommodation of Europeans. What was unpleasant was the
enormous number of rats, which often ran about on one when trying to
sleep at night. Captain von Kaltenborn, who had arrived in the second
store-ship which put into Ssudi Bay, reported himself to me here, and
was able to supplement the home news he had already transmitted in
writing by verbal accounts.

Proceeding the next day by car, we caught up a number of our
detachments on the march, and were able to remove at least some of the
various causes of friction between them. Telephonic communication was
rarely possible on account of earths caused by the heavy rain, and
breakages caused by columns of carriers, wagons and giraffes. It was
all the more important for me to traverse this area of breakdowns,
which cut me off from the troops and prevented my receiving reports as
quickly as possible. But that became increasingly difficult.

[Illustration: Fig. xi. Invasion of German East Africa by Belgian and
British columns, middle of 1916. Fig. xii. Retreat of German Main
Force, August, 1916.]

The rain came down harder and harder, and the roads became deeper
and deeper. At first there were only a few bad places, and twenty or
more carriers managed to get us through them by pulling and pushing.
The _niempara_ (headmen of carriers) went ahead, dancing and singing.
The whole crowd joined in with “_Amsigo_,” and “_Kabubi_, _kabubi_,”
and to the rhythm of these chants the work went on cheerily, and at
first easily enough. But on passing through Tulieni we found that the
rains had so swollen an otherwise quite shallow river, that during
the morning its torrential waters had completely carried away the
wagon bridge. We felled one of the big trees on the bank, but it was
not tall enough for its branches to form a firm holdfast on the far
side. It was three feet thick, but was carried away like a match. The
Adjutant, Lieutenant Mueller, tried to swim across, but was also swept
away, and landed again on the near bank. Now Captain Tafel tried, who
had recovered from his severe wound, and was now in charge of the
operations section at Headquarters. He reached the far side, and a few
natives who were good swimmers also succeeded in doing so. But we could
not manage to get a line across by swimming, and so there we were,
Captain Tafel without any clothes on the far side, and we on this one.
The prospect of having to wait for the river to fall was not enticing,
for I could not afford to waste one minute in reaching the head of
the marching troops. At last, late in the afternoon, a native said he
knew of a ford a little lower down. Even there it was not altogether a
simple matter to wade across, and took at least three-quarters of an
hour; we had to follow our guide carefully by a very devious route,
and work cautiously on from one shallow to the next. The water reached
our shoulders, and the current was so strong that we needed all our
strength to avoid falling. At last, in the dark, and with our clothes
thoroughly wet, we reached the far side, where we were met by three
mules and an escort of Askari sent back by a detachment which we had
luckily been able to reach by telephone.

We continued our journey the whole night through in pouring rain, and
had several times to ride for hours at a time with the water up to our
saddles, or to wade with it up to our necks; but at last, still in
the night, we reached the great bridge over the Wami, which had been
put up during the war. That, too, was almost entirely carried away,
but part was left, so that we were able to clamber across and reach
the light railway leading to Kimamba Station. This line, like that
from Mombo to Handeni, had been constructed during the war and was
worked by man-power. In their endeavour to do the job really well, the
good people took several curves rather too fast, and the trucks, with
everything on them—including us—repeatedly flew off into the ditch
alongside, or beyond it. At any rate, we had had enough and to spare of
this journey by water by the time we arrived in the early morning at
Kimamba. Vice-Sergeant-Major[4] Rehfeld, who was stationed there and
had been called to the Colours, received us most kindly. As there was a
clothing depot at Kimamba, we were, at any rate, able to obtain Askari
clothing to change into. When the remainder of Headquarters would turn
up with our kits it was, of course, impossible to say.

After discussing the situation with the Governor, who had come to
Kimamba for the purpose, I went next day to Dodoma. On the Central
Railway, quick working under war conditions, which in the north had
become everyone’s second nature, had hardly been heard of. Captain von
Kornatzky’s detachment, which had arrived at Dodoma shortly before us,
had some difficulty in obtaining supplies, although Dodoma was on the
railway, and could be supplied quickly. I got in touch by telephone
with Captain Klinghardt, who had occupied the heights of Burungi, one
day’s march south of Kondoa-Irangi, and on the next morning, with a few
officers of Headquarters, I rode off to see him. The road lay through
uninhabited bush-desert; it had been made during the war, its trace was
governed by the need for easy construction, and it touched settlements
but seldom. The Ugogo country is distinguished for its great wealth
of cattle. The inhabitants belong to the nomad tribes, who copy the
customs of the Masai, and are, therefore, often called Masai-apes.
We met many ox-wagons in which German and Boer farmers, with their
families, were driving from the country around Meru Mountain to Kondoa.
It was a scene, so well known in South-West Africa, of comfortable
“trekking,” in these vehicles so eminently suited to the conditions of
the veld.

The supply service of Klinghardt’s Detachment was not yet in working
order; we camped that night in the first of the small posts on the
line of communication. It was evident that the work of transport and
supply would have to be greatly increased if it was to maintain the
large number of troops now being pushed forward in the direction of
Kondoa-Irangi. There was another difficulty: up to date the various
Field Intendants had not been physically equal to the enormous demands
which the whole field of the work of maintenance made upon the head
of the service. Captain Schmid, of the Landwehr, had very soon been
succeeded by Captain Feilke, of the Landwehr, he again by Captain
Freiherr von Ledebur, of the Reserve, and this officer by Captain
Richter, retired, an elderly gentleman. The latter, unfortunately, had
just now, at the commencement of an important fresh operation, reached
the limit of his strength. Major Stuemer, retired, who had been working
on the line of communication at Handeni, had been obliged to take over
his duties, but had not yet had time to become thoroughly at home in
them.

By the evening of the following day we had completed our journey of
four marches, and reached Captain Klinghardt at the Burungi Mountains.
The detachments coming from the country of the Northern Railway were
following on behind us, and some days were bound to elapse before
they would all have arrived; so we had the opportunity of making
extensive reconnaissances. Here we had the great good fortune to make
the acquaintance of a perfectly new and excellent map. The District
Commissioner of Kondoa-Irangi had, when leaving his district, given
it with other things to a _yumbe_ (chief), who lived on the Burungi
Mountains, to take care of. It was in his possession that we found this
valuable property, the secrecy of which had thus remained intact.

Patrols of mounted English Europeans often came near our positions,
and it was known that stronger mounted forces were behind them. But
where they were was not known. Some reports stated that they were in
Kondoa-Irangi; others said south of that place, and others again placed
them on the road leading from Kondoa-Irangi to Saranda. An important
factor was that there were considerable native plantations at Burungi,
so that supplies were plentiful. It was, therefore, not necessary to
wait until the transport of supplies from Dodoma was in full swing.
The troops were more independent of the line of communication than
hitherto, and could draw the bulk of their subsistence from the
country. As soon as the rear detachments had closed up the advance
on Kondoa was started. South of that place we met only fairly strong
mounted protective detachments, who were quickly driven back, and
at the beginning of May, without any serious fighting, we obtained
possession of the great heights which lie four miles in front of Kondoa
village.

We had brought with us two naval guns, one 3·5-inch and one 4-inch,
on travelling carriages, and at once got them into action. From our
dominating position they bombarded, apparently with good effect, the
enemy’s camps south of Kondoa. The tents were at once struck. We
could see the enemy hard at work entrenching his positions, and his
vehicles hurrying away towards Kondoa. Several patrol encounters went
in our favour, and small hostile posts, that had been left out in
various places, were quickly driven in. From the south—that is, from
behind us—we saw a mounted patrol riding towards our positions. As
our mounted patrols were also out, I thought at first that they were
Germans. But soon the regular carriage of their carbines in the buckets
proved that they were English. They evidently had no idea of our
presence. They were allowed to approach quite close, and at the short
range they lost about half their number. From what we had hitherto
observed, it seemed probable that the enemy in our front was evacuating
his positions. On the 9th May, 1916, I decided, if this expectation
proved correct, immediately to take possession of the low hills now
held by the enemy. The conditions did not favour an attack, as our
advance was sure to be observed, and a surprise assault was out of the
question. But without surprise the attempt to capture the occupied
position by assault had no hope of success; the enemy was sufficiently
entrenched on the small hills, and the latter completely commanded the
ground over which the attack would have to be pushed home, and which
could only be traversed slowly owing to the low thorn-bush and the
numerous rocks.

I was with the companies that were following the advanced patrols;
the latter reported, shortly before dark, that the hills were
unoccupied. So our companies proceeded, and the commanders ordered up
the baggage in order to settle down for the night. I myself went to
the Headquarters Camp, which had remained on the big hills a little
further back. I tried to relieve my great exhaustion with a cup of
coffee and a little rum; but, knowing that I had no more orders to
issue, I soon fell fast asleep. Next to my sleeping place was the
3·5-inch gun. Towards eleven p.m. I was awakened by remarks made by
Lieutenant Wunderlich, of the Navy, who was in command of the gun; he
could not make out the frequent flashes he saw in the direction of the
enemy. Neither, at first, was I quite certain about them. But soon
there could be no doubt that these flashes, which became more and more
frequent, were caused by rifles and machine guns. When the wind shifted
the sound of the fighting became clearly audible. Contrary to all our
expectations, therefore, a stiff fight was taking place in our front,
but owing to the great distance, and the bushy and rocky country that
would have to be traversed, I did not think I could engage the reserves
I still had in hand with any prospect of success. It would take hours
to obtain even the very roughest idea of the situation, and the moon
would be up for barely an hour more. For well or ill, therefore, I had
to leave the fight in front to take its course.

Our companies had, indeed, found the high ground, which had been
examined by the patrols, to be clear of the enemy; but immediately
in rear of it was another rise, and on this was the enemy, in an
entrenched position, which our companies ran up against. In the close
country and the darkness no general survey of the situation was
possible, and connection between the various units was lost. Our Askari
established themselves in front of the enemy, and Captain Lincke,
who had assumed command after Lieutenant-Colonel von Bock had been
severely wounded and Captain von Kornatzky had been killed, came to the
conclusion that, although he could remain where he was, he would, after
daybreak, be obliged to abandon all hope of being able to move, on
account of the dominating fire of the enemy. As, therefore, no success
appeared attainable, he cautiously broke off the action while it was
still dark, and fell back on the position he had started from. The
enemy, consisting mainly of the 11th South African Infantry Regiment,
had fought well, and had repeatedly brought effective machine-gun fire
to bear on our companies. Considering the small number of rifles that
actually took part in the fight—about four hundred—our casualties,
amounting to about fifty killed and wounded, must be considered heavy.

During the following days we also proceeded to take possession of the
high hills lying further to the eastward, and drove off the mounted
detachments working in the foreground, inflicting quite unpleasant
casualties on them. It happened several times that out of parties of
about twenty men, none, or only a few, got away, and in the foreground
also a whole series of encounters ended in our favour. The heights held
by us afforded an extensive view, and with good glasses we several
times observed columns of hostile troops and wagons approaching
Kondoa from the north, and then turning east and disappearing into
the mountains. Our patrols, whom we sent far away to the enemy’s
rear, reported considerable bodies marching from about Arusha in the
direction of Kondoa-Irangi.

The English had at once taken over the civil administration at Kondoa,
and had cleverly ordered the _yumbi_ (chiefs) to come to that place and
given them instructions. Among other things, they imposed on them the
duty of reporting the movements of German troops. It was, therefore,
often advantageous for our patrols to pretend to be English while in
enemy country. The differences in uniform were not great, and the
prolonged period of active service had further diminished them; uniform
coats were often not worn at all, but only blouse-like shirts, and the
little cloth badges which the English wore on their sun-helmets were
not conspicuous. The difference in armament had often disappeared, as
some of the Germans carried English rifles.

On the whole, the enemy in Kondoa did not seem to be in great strength
as yet; but, even if successful, our attack would have to be made
over open ground against defences which with our few guns we could
not sufficiently neutralize. The certainty of suffering considerable
and irreplaceable losses decided me to refrain from a general attack,
and instead to damage the enemy by continuing the minor enterprises,
which had hitherto proved so advantageous. Our artillery—the two
mountain guns and two field howitzers, which had come out in the second
store-ship, had also arrived—fired upon such favourable targets as
presented themselves. The buildings of Kondoa-Irangi, where General van
Deventer had arrived, were also fired at occasionally by our four-inch
gun. To the west of our main force, on the Saranda-Kondoa-Irangi
road, our newly-raised 2nd Rifle Company had had several successful
engagements with portions of the 4th South African Horse, and had
gradually forced them back to the neighbourhood of Kondoa-Irangi.

The enemy now grew continually stronger. Early in June he also shelled
us at long range, about thirteen thousand yards, with heavy guns of
about four-inch and five-inch calibre. His observation and fire-control
were worthy of all respect; anyhow, on the 13th June his shell soon
fell with great accuracy in our Headquarters camp. I stopped my work
which I had commenced under cover of a grass roof, and took cover a
little to one side behind a slab of rock. No sooner had the orderly
officer, Lieutenant Boell, also reached the spot, than a shell burst
close above us, wounded Lieutenant Boell severely in the thigh, and
myself and a few other Europeans slightly. Otherwise the fire of the
enemy’s artillery did us hardly any material damage, but it was a
nuisance, all the same, to have his heavy shell pitching into our camp
every now and then.

We dispensed with the heavy work which the provision of good protection
against fire would have entailed, as the whole strength of our people
was required for patrols and outposts, and for collecting supplies. As
far as the eye could reach, the whole country was covered by native
cultivation. The principal crop—which formed the main supply of the
troops—was _mtema_, a kind of millet, which was just ripening. Most
of the natives had run away; the supplies from Dodoma had been unable
to keep up with us, and so our subsistence depended almost entirely on
the stuff which the foraging-parties of the companies were able to
bring in. In the hot sun the sheaves quickly dried on the rocks. All
the companies were busy making flour, either by grinding the threshed
grain between stones, or by stamping it into meal with poles in vessels
of hard wood, called _kinos_. The Europeans at that time could still
get wheat flour, which came up on the line of communication. The bread
we made before Kondoa out of a mixture of wheat flour and native flour
was of really excellent quality. Besides _mtema_ and other grains there
were also sugar-cane, _muhogo_ (a plant with a pleasant-tasting, edible
root), yams, various kinds of peas, and other native produce, besides
sufficient cattle. In this extremely rich Kondoa country the troops
could obtain a variety of food in abundance.

The enemy’s extension from Kondoa to the east drew our attention also
to this hitherto little-known country. Captain Schulz was sent there
with several companies, and found it to be an extraordinarily difficult
and densely-wooded mountain district, interspersed with settlements
of great fertility. A whole series of actions, in which one or more
of our companies were engaged, and which resulted in severe loss to
the enemy, now took place in this district. A strong hostile force
tried to penetrate between the companies of Schulz’s Detachment and
ourselves, probably with the intention of cutting off the detachment.
But this attempt failed completely. Our troops pressed forward against
this force from both sides and repulsed it. The old _Effendi_ (native
officer), Yuma Mursal, acted with great skill on this occasion; he
lay in ambush at a water-place, and fired at the English, who came
there for water, with good effect; according to his observation, six
of them were killed. During this period of fighting at Kondoa-Irangi
the enemy’s battle casualties gradually mounted up to a considerable
figure. If we add to them his losses by sickness, due to the youth
of his white troops, who were not used to the Tropics, and were
extraordinarily careless about precautions against tropical diseases,
the total losses incurred by him during the Kondoa-Irangi period can
hardly have been less than one thousand Europeans.



CHAPTER V

BETWEEN THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL RAILWAYS


I ASK the reader to imagine himself in the position of a Commander,
with insufficient means, exposed to attack by superior numbers, who has
continually to ask himself: What must I do in order to retain freedom
of movement and hope?

At the end of June, 1916, events in the other theatres of war began
to exercise a decisive influence on our operations at Kondoa. The
Belgians pushed in from near Lake Kivu and from Russisi, the English
from the Kagera, west of Lake Victoria, and, since the middle of July,
from Muansa also, and all these forces were converging on Tabora. Our
troops stationed in the north-west were all combined under the command
of General Wahle, who was at Tabora; and he gradually drew in his
detachments from the frontiers towards that place.

Owing to the difficulties of communication Headquarters had but meagre
information of these events. Hostile detachments were also pressing
in from the south-west, from the country between Lakes Tanganyika and
Nyassa. Before them, our company fighting in the neighbourhood of
Bismarckburg fell back slowly in a north-easterly direction towards
Tabora. The two companies left behind to secure the Langenburg district
gradually retreated on Iringa, followed by General Northey, whose
division was equipped with all the appliances of modern warfare.

On the Northern Railway, Major Kraut’s patrols, who started out from
his fortified position at Lembeni, had occasionally scored pleasing
successes. Several aeroplanes were brought down, or came to grief,
the passengers being captured and the machines destroyed. When the
heavy rains had ceased, the enemy commenced his advance from Kahe
along the Northern Railway, as well as east of it through the Pare
Mountains, and west of it along the Pangani. Hundreds of automobiles
and large numbers of mounted troops were observed. In order to avoid
the danger of being cut off by the greatly superior enemy, Major Kraut
withdrew his main body by rail to Buiko, leaving small detachments in
contact with the enemy. In this vicinity, as well as near Mombo, a
few actions took place, in some of which our companies drove through
the enemy, who tried to block the line, and fired on him from the
train. Being in superior force, the enemy was always able, with little
trouble, to execute outflanking movements with fresh troops, but their
effectiveness was greatly reduced by the difficulty of the country. It
seemed, therefore, as though the enemy frequently departed from this
idea and adopted a sort of tactics of attrition instead. To-day he
would attack with one portion of his force, then let that rest, and put
in another the next day, and a different portion again on the third.
In spite of all his obvious urging, and his favourable conditions of
supply, his advance was fairly slow. Major Kraut’s troops never got
into a really difficult situation; on the contrary, they were often
able to catch the enemy under fire unawares, and to gain partial
successes, which occasionally caused him very considerable losses, such
as Captain Freiherr von Bodecker’s rearguard action near Handeni.

In view of this concentric advance from all directions, the question
arose, what should be done with the main body of the Protective Force
now before Kondoa? For an attack the situation was altogether too
unfavourable. The problem, therefore, was, what should be the general
direction of our retreat? I decided on the Mahenge country. By moving
there we should avoid being surrounded, it was fertile, and suitable
for guerilla warfare. From there also it would be possible to withdraw
further to the south and to continue the war for a long time to come.

Another important consideration was the safeguarding of our stores
deposited along the Central Railway, particularly in the vicinity
of Morogoro. These were greatly endangered by the rapid advance of
General Smuts, who was opposing Major Kraut, and had penetrated far to
the south beyond Handeni. Although it was to be assumed that General
Smuts would be delayed by the continually increasing length of his
communications, he seemed to me to be the most dangerous and important
of our opponents. I therefore decided to leave in front of the Kondoa
force only a detachment at Burungi, under Captain Klinghardt, but to
march my main body back to Dodoma, proceed thence by rail to Morogoro,
and move up in support of Major Kraut. It turned out afterwards that
the English were informed of this movement down to the smallest
details, and that, for instance, they knew all about a railway accident
that happened to one company during its progress. When our companies
arrived at Morogoro and the Europeans there saw the splendid bearing
of the Askari they lost the last traces of their depression; every man
and woman had comprehended that our situation was indeed difficult, but
also that there was nothing for it but to go on fighting, and that our
Force was, from its whole quality and nature, capable of carrying on
for a long time to come.

Early in July I reached Major Kraut, who was holding a fortified
position on Kanga Mountain, north-east of Tuliani. I had expected the
Askari to be depressed by their retreat, but found them in excellent
spirits and full of confidence. In front of their position they had
cleared the foreground for 50 to 100 yards and were fully convinced
that they could beat off an attack.

I employed the time that elapsed before the arrival of the other
detachments in reconnaissance, and soon formed a mental picture of the
passes which led across the difficult rock and forest country westward
of our line of communication.

Owing to the remarkably dense bush an attempt to send a strong
detachment round the enemy’s camp to attack it in rear was
unsuccessful. But the enemy did sustain casualties through numerous
minor enterprises by our patrols, who fired at his transport columns
and the automobiles working behind his front. In this way also a Staff
car was once effectively fired on. The enemy’s patrols were also active
and several of his distant patrols had got behind us. One of them,
commanded by Lieutenant Wienholt, betrayed its presence by surprising a
column of our carriers and burning the loads. Among other things these
contained a quantity of trousers which had come out in the store-ship
and were anxiously expected. Wienholt, therefore, aroused painful
interest on the part of everyone. His patrol was discovered in camp in
the dense bush and surprised. He himself got away, and trusting to the
fact that it is not easy to find anyone in the African bush, wanted
to work his way alone through our lines and back to the English. Our
well-tried men, zan Rongew, Nieuwenhudgu and Trappel, who had effected
the clever capture of the horses near Longido Mountain, succeeded
in tracking and capturing him. On my return from a reconnaissance I
met Wienholt in our camp at Tuliani enjoying a cheery meal with his
captors. We could none of us help honestly admiring the excellent work
of his patrol, whose route was accurately marked on the map that was
captured in his possession. Wienholt was then taken to a prisoners’
camp in the interior, from which he escaped some months later while
bathing. In 1917 he did excellent work on patrol round Kilwa and
Livale, and also later on, in 1918, in Portuguese East Africa. I was
greatly interested in his description of an attack by a leopard which,
with great boldness, killed his companion in camp. I presume he has by
now given friends and acquaintances the benefit of his vivid account,
of which he unfortunately lost the original later on in a patrol
encounter.

Weeks now passed, during which the English annoyed us mainly by bombs
from aircraft. They had evidently found out the exact site of our
Headquarter camp at Tuliani. I remember one day when four aeroplanes,
against which we could do nothing, circled over our camp for hours and
dropped bombs. But we had learned to make ourselves invisible, and
only the European employed in the telephone hut was so badly hurt that
he lost his hand. An adjoining hut full of valuable documents was set
alight by an incendiary bomb.

My cars were then still working, and from Tuliani I was often
able quickly to reach Kraut’s Detachment in front by the good
line-of-communication road. Lieutenant-Commander Schoenfeld had there
made excellent arrangements for directing the fire of the 4-inch and
3·5-inch naval guns. From his observation posts on the heights of
Kanga Mountain one had a good view of the English camps. Some weak
German detachments had not followed Major Kraut from Usambara towards
Tuliani, but had escaped along the Usambara Railway towards Tanga.
There, and also near Korogwe, they had minor encounters with the enemy
and gradually fell back towards the south, on the east side of Kraut’s
Detachment. They were followed by more considerable portions of the
enemy. Gradually the force at Tuliani became liable to be circumvented
on the east, and to lose its communication with the Morogoro country,
which was so important for the supply of stores, ammunition and
food. At the same time General van Deventer, whose force had been
augmented to a division, advanced from Kondoa to the south, and Captain
Klinghardt retired before him, first to the south, and then towards
Mpapua.

The closeness and difficulty of the country caused Captain Klinghardt
to still further subdivide his already small force (five companies)
in order to watch and block important passes. The enemy followed
with a large number of automobiles, and occasionally one of them
was successfully blown up by mines sunk in the roads. Owing to the
unavoidable dissemination of Captain Klinghardt’s troops, and the
difficulty of maintaining touch between them, one part often could
not know what was happening to its neighbours. A large German mounted
patrol was attempting to connect up from the east with a detachment
believed to be at Meiameia, on the road from Dodoma to Kondoa-Irangi.
All unconsciously it rode straight into a hostile camp and was captured
almost without exception. The retirement of our troops from Kondoa,
who had not merely to escape, but also to inflict damage on the enemy,
was a very difficult manœuvre; the right moment to fall back, to halt
again, to advance for a sudden counter-stroke, and then break off
again quickly, and in sufficient time, is difficult to gauge. Reliable
reports were lacking. Owing to the scarcity of means of communication
the difficulties attending the retirement of several columns through
unknown country grew infinitely great. The influence of the commander
was often eliminated, and too much had to be left to chance. On the
31st July, 1916, the enemy reached the Central Railway at Dodoma.
Captain Klinghardt slipped off to the east along the railway. In
the actions which took place west of Mpapua several favourable
opportunities were not recognized, and neighbouring detachments, whose
assistance had been relied on, did not arrive in time. Such things
easily give rise to a feeling of insecurity among the troops and weaken
confidence and enterprise. The difficulties were accentuated in this
case by the fact that Captain Klinghardt was taken ill with typhoid and
became a casualty just at the critical moment. Captain Otto was sent
from Tuliani to replace him, and succeeded in once more collecting the
scattered parties and in establishing united control.

The 2nd Rifle Company also, which had been obliged to retire on Saranda
by the Kondoa-Saranda road, and with which all touch had been lost,
made a great circuit on the south side of the railway and rejoined
Otto’s Detachment. Owing to the numerical superiority of the enemy, in
the actions which now took place, Otto’s Detachment frequently found
itself exposed to an attack on its front while being enveloped on both
flanks. The enemy did not always succeed in timing these movements
correctly. Thus, at Mpapua, the frontal attack got too close to our
line and suffered severely; and the flank attack, even when directed
on the rear of our positions, produced no decisive effect. The short
range of visibility always enabled us either to avoid the danger, or,
if the opportunity was favourable, to attack the troops outflanking us
in detail. In any event, these outflanking tactics of the enemy, when
followed, as in this case, in extraordinarily thick bush, and among
numerous rocks, demanded great exertions and used up his strength.
Every day Captain Otto fell back only a couple of miles further to the
east, and in these operations the railway enabled him to change the
position of his big gun at will. When Otto’s Detachment approached
Kilossa it became necessary to move the main body at Tuliani also.
Headquarters and a part of the force moved to Morogoro, Major Kraut,
with several companies and a 4-inch gun, to Kilossa. At Tuliani Captain
Schulz took command.

I now considered that columns pressing on from the north would soon
reach the country west of Bagamoyo, and that at this place also troops
would be landed. In order to reconnoitre personally, I travelled to
Ruwa Station and thence by bicycle over the sandy, undulating road
to Bagamoyo. One day’s march south of Bagamoyo I came on the camp of
two Europeans: it was District Commissioner Michels, who wanted to
remove his threatened District Headquarters from Bagamoyo towards the
interior. The inhabitants were confiding and were living as in peace.
So far the universal war had passed them by without a trace. As time
pressed I had to turn back and Herr Michels’ fast Muscat donkey carried
me back to Ruwa in a few hours. On the next day, from Kidugallo, I
reconnoitred the supply depots established there and further to the
north by cycle and then returned to Morogoro. Other reconnaissances,
mostly also by cycle, took me to the mountains lying to westward in the
direction of Kilossa, and along the roads leading round the Uluguru
Mountains on the west and east. The passes leading from Morogoro up
the northern slopes of the gigantic Uluguru group, and down again on
the south side towards Kissaki, had to be examined on foot. Owing
to the pressure exerted by General van Deventer on Kilossa, and the
danger that Captain Schulz might also be circumvented at Tuliani, it
was imperative not to miss the right moment for withdrawing Captain
Schulz to Morogoro. But in order to retain the power of delivering
counter-strokes we had to hold on to the Tuliani area as long as
possible.

Captain Stemmermann’s Detachment, which had been pushed out a short
day’s march due north of Tuliani, was attacked at Maomondo by a strong
force of Europeans and Indians. The enemy was very skilful. A machine
gun of the 6th Company, placed on a rocky slope, was seized by a few
Indians, who had crept up to it from the front unobserved, and thrown
down the steep slope, so that it could not be found again. The enemy,
who had penetrated our lines, was thrown out again with heavy loss by
a counter-attack by the 21st Company. At close quarters the English
Major Buller, a son of the well-known General of the South African War
days, put a bullet through the hat of the Company Commander, Lieutenant
von Ruckteschell, but was then severely wounded by the latter. Major
Buller was got away to the German hospital at Dar-es-Salaam and nursed
back to health by the wife of his opponent, who was working there as
a nurse. During the actions at Maternondo English horsemen had worked
round farther to the west, and suddenly appeared in one of the mountain
passes leading from the west to Tuliani. In the dense bush the 2nd
Mounted Brigade, which had come from South Africa under General Brits,
apparently sustained heavy casualties.

With the consent of Headquarters, Captain Schulz now withdrew to
Derkawa, which is situated in dense bush on the Wami river, on the
road from Tuliani to Morogoro. Here he occupied a fortified position
on the south bank, where he was attacked on the 13th August by the
enemy pursuing from Tuliani, with a force of at least one brigade of
infantry, and General Brits’ Mounted Brigade, while simultaneously
another brigade, which had marched up the right bank of the Wami,
attacked him from the east. During the action continuous telephonic
communication was maintained with Captain Schulz from Morogoro. The
enemy’s losses were estimated at several hundred, and were afterwards
confirmed by the English. The attacks were beaten off, but in the dense
bush it was so difficult to obtain a clear idea of the situation that
it did not seem possible to achieve a decisive success. Captain Schulz
was chary of putting in the one formed company he had left. I approved
his intention of falling back to Morogoro at the end of the action,
as the general situation made it desirable for me to concentrate my
forces. After Major Kraut’s arrival at Kilossa I also brought Captain
Otto in to Morogoro, with part of his companies. Major Kraut had passed
behind Otto’s Detachment through Kilossa and after some engagements
at that place, he took up a position immediately to the south of it,
on the road to Mahenge. Even after the enemy had moved into Kilossa
telephonic communication with Kraut’s Detachment had continued to work
for a few hours through the enemy.

From that time on direct communication with Major Kraut was
interrupted. Signalling by helio did not work, and the wires which
led from Kissaki, and later from the Rufiji, to Mahenge, and thence
to Major Kraut, were not yet completed—in some cases not even begun.
With General Wahle at Tabora we had also had no communication since the
second half of July, that is, for over a month. Bagamoyo had fallen
into the enemy’s hands; and every day we expected to hear of the fall
of Dar-es-Salaam and to lose touch with that place.



CHAPTER VI

CONTINUOUS FIGHTING NEAR THE RUFIJI


IN order to oppose the troops of General Northey, who were advancing
from the direction of New Langenburg, Captain Braunschweig had
been dispatched from Dodoma at the end of June. He had taken up
reinforcements from Kondoa and Dar-es-Salaam to the two German Askari
companies that had slipped away from the New Langenburg country, and
had concentrated his own troops, totalling five companies and one field
howitzer, at Malangali. At that place his force had fought a brave
action with a superior force of the enemy, but had been obliged to fall
back towards Mahenge.

As the converging hostile columns were now approaching each other in
the direction of Morogoro, it became necessary to consider our future
plan of operations. The enemy expected us to stand and fight a final
decisive engagement near Morogoro, on the northern slopes of the
Uluguru Mountains. To me, this idea was never altogether intelligible.
Being so very much the weaker party, it was surely madness to await
at this place the junction of the hostile columns, of which each one
individually was already superior to us in numbers, and then to fight
with our back to the steep and rocky mountains, of which the passes
were easy to close, and which deprived us of all freedom of movement
in our rear. I thought it sounder so to conduct our operations that we
should only have to deal with a part of the enemy. Knowing that the
enemy, and General Brits in particular, had a liking for wide turning
movements, I felt sure that one column would move off from Dakawa,
where large hostile camps had been identified, or from Kilossa, in
order to reach our rear by working round the west side of the Uluguru
Mountains. This possibility was so obvious that I cycled out every day
to the mountains west of Morogoro, so as to get the reports from the
patrols in good time, and to supplement them by personal observation
of the clouds of smoke and dust. The latter soon put it beyond doubt
that a strong column was moving from near Dakawa towards the railway
between Morogoro and Kilossa. Patrols identified enemy troops that had
crossed the railway and were marching further south. The observers on
the mountains reported the clouds of dust to be moving towards Mlali.

As I meant to let this movement run its full course and then attack
the isolated detachment with the whole of my forces, I waited until I
thought it was near Mlali. On the evening of the 23rd August, Captain
Otto, who was encamped at Morogoro, was ordered to march off for Mlali
during the night with three companies. He arrived there early on the
24th, just as English horsemen had taken possession of the depot. When
I reached Otto’s Detachment the fight was in full swing. The country
was, however, unsuitable for short decisive strokes, owing to the many
steep hills which impeded movement. The other troops at Morogoro,
except Captain Stemmermann’s Detachment, were ordered up by telephone.
I myself went back again to Morogoro to talk things over. Stemmermann’s
Detachment, to which, on account of the roads, the 4-inch _Königsberg_
gun and the howitzer battery were attached, was ordered to fall back
along the eastern slopes of the Uluguru Mountains, and to delay the
enemy there. The passes over the mountains themselves were closed by
weak patrols. When I arrived once more at Mlali in the afternoon, the
fight was still undecided. At several points the enemy had been driven
back, and several people thought they had seen him suffer considerably.
But by nightfall we had got so entangled in the mountains, and every
movement had become so difficult and took so much time, that we
halted. We found the night very cold, lying out on the hills without
the carriers’ loads. Luckily, however, this fertile region had so far
hardly suffered at all from the war, and a fowl roasted on a spit soon
appeased our hunger.

The next morning numerous explosions in the German depots, which had
been surprised by the enemy, indicated that he had moved off and had
destroyed the 4-inch shells stored there. We surmised that he was
moving south-west, which eventually turned out to be the case. The
enemy was probably making a turning movement so as to reach Kissaki
before us. At the wealthy Administration Office at that place, 600 tons
of food supplies and the military stores removed from Morogoro had been
collected. Wild rumours exaggerated the actual facts, and stated that
strong forces had already reached the roads leading to Kissaki before
us. Although the wagon road stopped at Mlali, and the remainder of the
route to Kissaki consisted only of paths broken by many ravines and
obstacles, the possibility that the enemy might make a rapid march on
Kissaki had to be taken very seriously, and we had no time to waste. In
the evening we were most hospitably entertained by the Father at Mgeta
Mission. The buildings are charmingly situated in the deep ravine of
the Mgeta river, which in this part comes down very swiftly. The many
lights on the slope of the hill made one think one was approaching some
small watering-place in Germany. A few European women from Morogoro
were also staying there, and bade farewell to the Force for the last
time. With the exception of a few nurses all women had to stay behind.

The removal of our loads was carried out fairly satisfactorily.
The Force profited by the fact that owing to the insistence of the
energetic Captain Feilke, about a thousand native labourers, who had
until a few days previously been working in the forestry department at
Morogoro, were placed at its disposal. But the carrier question was
beginning to be difficult. The natives saw that we were evacuating
the country; a number of them, who had promised to come, stayed away,
to the despair of the sensible Chiefs, who would gladly have helped
us. As only small parties of the enemy appeared in the country round
Mgeta, it began to seem probable that his principal forces were making
a turning movement. Leaving a rearguard behind, which only followed us
slowly, our main body was, during the ensuing days, moved nearer to
Kissaki. One night an Askari appeared at my bedside, bearing himself
in a smart military manner: it was the Effendi Yuma Mursal, of the 4th
Field Company, who had been left behind sick at Morogoro. He reported
that a force of the enemy, as strong as that at Kahe had been, had
marched round the west side of the Uluguru Mountains from Morogoro, and
that a number of German Askari had found the recent fighting too much
for them. They had deserted, and were now plundering the plantations
south-west of Morogoro.

A telephone line was laid from Kissaki to us, by means of which Captain
Tafel kept us continually informed; up to date no enemy had been seen
at Kissaki. But to the west of us, patrols reported the enemy to be
marching to the south. I therefore moved to Kissaki, and had to destroy
some of our stores, which were collected in small depots along our
route. Unfortunately, in carrying this out, an efficient Ordnance
N.C.O. was accidentally killed, as had happened before on a similar
occasion at Morogoro. At Kissaki, several days passed before we came
seriously into collision with the enemy. It was not advisable to occupy
the Boma Fort itself; it consisted of a group of buildings surrounded
by a massive high wall, and was situated in the middle of a completely
cleared bit of country. The enemy could, therefore, only capture it by
a costly attack; but he had no need to assault it at all; by means of
artillery and bombs from aircraft, he could have made it intolerable
for us to remain in the cramped Boma, and we ourselves should then have
been forced to make a sortie over the open and to endure the fire which
the enemy would have been able to pour into us in perfect security. Our
defences were, therefore, placed a long way outside the Boma, covered
from the view of aircraft, and so arranged that they could be occupied
and evacuated unobserved.

It was not until I arrived at Kissaki myself that I obtained a proper
idea of the abundance of stores and supplies available there. I learned
that, contrary to my belief, practically nothing was stored further
south at Behobeho or at Kungulio, on the Rufiji. At Kissaki there
were large stocks, but notwithstanding the dense native population,
it was impossible to get them away. The numerous inhabitants, to whom
the war and the many Askari were something quite new, lost their heads
and ran away into the bush. The Civil Administration, which enjoyed
the complete confidence of the people, proved powerless against the
overwhelming influences now bursting in upon them. Even presents of
clothing, which were ordinarily so highly valued, failed to hold them.
It seemed as if all the evil spirits had conspired together to deprive
us of transport. Our column of several hundred pack-donkeys had been
driven over the mountains from Morogoro. It arrived at Kissaki late and
completely exhausted. Our ox-wagons, which had to go round the east
side of the Uluguru Mountains on account of the state of the roads,
seemed to be never going to arrive. The head of the Communications
Service could not find any other means of carrying away the stocks
which were essential to us for continuing the war. And yet it was
obvious that we must continue to fall back further south, towards the
Rufiji, before the superior numbers of the enemy.

One circumstance that brightened the gloom was that our great herds of
cattle, which had been grazing east of Mpapua, had been brought away
in good time. Several thousand head, mostly beautiful cattle, arrived
at Kissaki, and would have formed a most welcome mobile reserve of
supplies. But, unfortunately, our pleasure at this was diminished by
the frequent occurrence of the tse-tse fly at some places; if the
animals got stung by them they lost condition badly, and mostly died
after a few weeks. The bulk of the cattle was, therefore, driven on
into the healthy districts on the Rufiji. As for the rest, we simply
worked with energy at getting away the stores to Behobeho and on to
Kungulio, using the carriers belonging to the troops, all the people
we could raise in the district, and our few wagons. In order to effect
this, we had to gain time, and Captain Stemmermann, who was marching
round the Uluguru Mountains by the eastern road, could only be allowed
to fall back quite slowly before the hostile division which was pushing
after him with all its might.

I waited at Kissaki with the main body, in order to be able quickly
to recognize and make use of any favourable opportunity. As was to be
expected, the enemy had, owing to our withdrawal to Kissaki, abandoned
his concentration on Morogoro; he had sent a few detachments direct
over the Uluguru Mountains, but his other columns had separated and
followed us, extending far to the east and west. The hope of being able
to defeat one or more of these columns separately was fulfilled beyond
expectation. West of the Uluguru Mountains General Brits had divided
his division into brigade columns (two mounted and one infantry),
which had difficulty in keeping touch. Soon large hostile camps were
discovered a day’s march west of Kissaki, and on the 7th September,
1916, Captain Otto’s Detachment, which was encamped at a plantation
near Kissaki, was attacked by a large force of European horse, and
by native and white infantry. It turned out later that this force
consisted of General Enslin’s Mounted Brigade, and of portions of the
infantry brigade of General Brits’s Division. The turning movement
which the enemy was making round the left wing of Otto’s Detachment
was allowed to continue until the outflanking detachment had got right
round in rear of Captain Otto, near the Boma of Kissaki. Evidently the
enemy did not expect German reserves to be posted under cover still
further back. These reserves were now loosed upon him. The gallant 11th
Field Company, under Lieutenant Volkwein of the Reserve, worked through
the dense bush close up to the outflanking enemy, and immediately
attacked with the bayonet, cheering. With that the enemy’s beautiful
plans completely collapsed; our further advance simply rolled him up,
and he was completely defeated. The almost impenetrable bush made it
impossible vigorously to push the enemy, or to undertake a pursuit
on a large scale; but the bulk of his troops was broken up, and the
small fragments were scattered in the bush in hopeless confusion. The
led-horses and horse-holders were captured, and about fifteen Europeans
taken prisoner. Even the next day an English soldier arrived from quite
another direction; he had lost himself with his led-horses in the dense
bush and had no idea where to go. The man had plenty of humour; he
threw his rifle and ammunition across a small stream and said: “It’s
just luck; I might have taken the right road or the wrong one. I had
the bad luck to take the wrong one. That’s my fault.”

Tafel’s Detachment, which was encamped north of Kissaki, on the road
we had come by, had only partially joined in the fight on the evening
of the 7th. I had kept it back, as I thought that, simultaneously with
the attack on the 7th from the west, another one would be made from
the north along the road. And General Brits undoubtedly did hold this
perfectly sound intention; but the execution failed. General Nussy’s
Mounted Brigade, without having any idea of the action of the 7th,
marched along towards Tafel’s Detachment from the north on the 8th. It
was just as thoroughly beaten as its friends had been the day before.
In the dense bush it was, on the 8th, even more difficult to survey
the fighting, and a considerable number of prisoners taken by the 1st
Company managed to escape.

In the two days we took some thirty European prisoners, and some of
them were sent back to the enemy, on taking an oath not to fight again
in this war against the Germans or their allies. The humanity of this
step, which was, under tropical conditions, in the best interest of the
prisoners themselves, was not recognized by the English. They suspected
spying, seized the German envoy who brought back the prisoners, sent
him far into the bush with his eyes bound, and then let him go where
good luck might take him. It was a wonder that the man, who was
exhausted by prolonged wandering about, found his way back. This shows
how difficult the English made it for us to avoid unnecessary severity
towards the enemy. At the same time, the English private soldiers
had faith in the treatment we meted out to our prisoners. While the
battlefield was being cleared, in which both English and German medical
officers took part, wounded Englishmen begged to be treated by the
German doctor. And later on, also, wounded men remarked that they would
hardly have been cured if they had been treated by English medical
personnel.

It was my opinion that these satisfactory successes at Kissaki had
not brought us a final decision against the troops of General Brits,
and I still believe that in the dense bush and the rugged country an
energetic pursuit, which alone would have secured the desired result,
was impossible of execution. My attention was all the more drawn
towards the force pursuing Stemmermann’s Detachment, as it had already
come within two days’ march north-east of Kissaki. During the last few
days the situation there had not been favourable; the broken ground had
in several instances caused our already weak forces to be disseminated.
Some portions had been ambushed, the troops were very fatigued, and
several people were suffering badly from nerves. On the 9th September
Stemmermann’s Detachment approached the village of Dutumi, which
was known to me from previous reconnaissance. I thought the enemy
would press on on the following day, and considered the opportunity
favourable for achieving a success at Dutumi by rapidly moving my main
body there from Kissaki. In the evening we marched away from Kissaki
by the fine broad road, and reached Dutumi that night. Captain Otto
remained at Kissaki with five companies. On arrival I decided to make
use of the factor of surprise, and to make an enveloping attack in the
early morning on the enemy’s left wing, which was identified close
in front of Stemmermann’s Detachment. I knew that this wing was in
the plain, while, looking from our side, the enemy’s centre and right
stretched away to the left up the foot-hills of the Uluguru Mountains.
It was because of these foot-hills that the chances of attack were less
favourable on our left.

Early on the 9th September, Schulz’s Detachment attacked from our
right. Rifle and machine-gun fire soon started, and the enemy’s light
artillery also opened fire; but the thick high elephant grass, with
which the plain was covered, made it impossible to form a clear idea of
things. I thought the attack was going well, and proceeded to the left
in order to get a view of the situation. The heights there were also
densely overgrown. It was very fatiguing to get along and difficult to
find anybody. I was clambering about, fairly exhausted in the heat of a
tropical noon, when I luckily heard the sound of tin pots, and found
I was right in concluding that some European was just having lunch. It
was Captain Goering, who had taken up his post in the bush on a height
which afforded a good view. Here, towards three p.m., I received the
unwelcome news that the attack by Schulz’s Detachment on our right had
not attained its object. It had been simply impossible to get at the
enemy through the dense elephant grass. If, therefore, any decisive
action was to be taken on that day at all, it could only be done on our
left. Even here, owing to the difficult country, success was not very
probable. The advancing companies got into a very intersected mountain
tract, in which they shot at the enemy, and were shot at by him without
any result, and at dusk returned to their original positions.

During the following days the enemy directed his attacks mainly against
our left, and was frequently driven back by counter-strokes. But, on
the whole, it was evident that success was only possible if the enemy
proved very unskilful. On the other hand, our communications, which
from now on no longer ran to Kissaki, but towards Behobeho in the
south-east, were in a great degree threatened by the enemy. I therefore
abandoned Dutumi, and withdrew the main body an hour’s march to the
south, across the Mgeta river, where the Force occupied an extensive
fortified camp, which it continued to hold for months. By this move the
rich fields of Dutumi were unfortunately given up. In the poor country
of Kiderengwa we had to depend mainly on supplies from the rear, which
were sent up from the Rufiji. Unfortunately the fatigues of this
transport work, combined with sickness caused by tse-tse, very soon led
to the almost complete loss of our pack-donkeys. From Kiderengwa our
fighting patrols attacked the enemy’s communications, which ran to the
north-east from Dutumi, as well as the Dutumi-Kissaki road, which soon
became alive with enemy detachments and transport.

Various observations now concurred in disclosing remarkable movements
on the part of the enemy. Both east and west of the Uluguru Mountains
movements of troops in such strength were seen to be taking place
towards Morogoro, that the natives said: “_Wana hama_” (“They are
moving elsewhere”). A large number of the South African Europeans, of
whom, by the way, many had come to the end of their strength, were
sent home. Other observations disclosed a movement of troops towards
the east. Generally speaking, a period of rest ensued, which was only
interrupted by minor expeditions of patrols and occasional artillery
bombardments.

General Smuts realized that his blow had failed. He sent me a letter
calling upon me to surrender, by which he showed that, as far as force
was concerned, he had reached the end of his resources.



CHAPTER VII

HOSTILE ATTACKS IN THE SOUTH-EAST OF THE COLONY


MEANWHILE, the situation at Kilwa began to demand increased attention.
We had there only weak detachments for protecting the coast, which
consisted mainly of young, newly-enlisted Askari, and had been
organized as a company. This company was not sufficient, and there
was a danger that the enemy might march from Kilwa to the Rufiji,
or to Livale, and get in our rear. No doubt the enemy had some such
intention, and something had to be done to prevent it. Major von
Boemken, with three companies, had already marched off from the
battlefield of Dutumi for Kunguliu on the Rufiji, proceeding thence to
Utete by route march and on the stern-wheeler _Tomondo_. The _Tomondo_
was the only shallow-draught steamer on the Rufiji, and carried most
of the supplies, which came from the lower Rufiji to Kunguliu, whence
they were carried to the troops at Kiderengwa by donkeys and carriers.
It now required a certain amount of discussion before the civil
authorities would place the _Tomondo_ at my disposal for carrying the
necessary troops. At Kilwa the situation did not develop altogether
satisfactorily. It is true that a few minor engagements were more or
less in our favour, but, as so often happened during the war, we did
not manage to secure united control of our forces. Among other things,
the enemy succeeded in destroying a supply depot west of Kilwa, which
was too near the coast. The enemy cleverly incited the natives to
rebellion, and they rendered him valuable service as spies. Several
German reconnoitring detachments were ambushed and suffered severely.
The District Commissioner of Kilwa was taken prisoner. The awkwardness
of the already difficult situation at Kilwa was increased by the fact
that the District Commissioner’s Askari were not placed under the
orders of the military commander.

At the same time, the pressure of hostile forces was felt from the
direction of Dar-es-Salaam, in the north, towards the lower Rufiji.
Our weak detachments, which had fallen back from Dar-es-Salaam in a
southerly direction towards the Rufiji, and consisted principally
of a young company of Askari and part of the ship’s company of
the _Königsberg_, were not enough to protect the rich sources of
subsistence in the lower Rufiji country. But at the time this country
was what the Force depended on, for the middle Rufiji country was but
sparsely settled, and could not maintain both troops and carriers for
any length of time. In view of this necessitous situation, we had at
once started to grow maize in the fertile lowlands of Logeloge and
Mpanganya, but the harvest could not be expected before March, 1917. We
were, therefore, threatened by a great danger when several companies of
Indians attacked our advanced officers’ post in the Boma of Kissengire.
The enemy, who assaulted the steep walls without sufficient preparatory
fire, was driven off with considerable loss. Unfortunately, the
German commander, Lieutenant Baldamus, of the Reserve, who exposed
himself too freely to the enemy projectiles, was killed. But his
resolute and gallant defence secured us in the possession of the
seat of administration at Kissengire until the arrival of adequate
reinforcements; it is, therefore, due to this officer that we retained
control of the rich supply area of the lower Rufiji for months to come.

[Illustration: Askari. A halt.

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: The Banyan Tree.

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: Fig. xiii. Battles of Kissaki and Dutumi.]

[Illustration: Fig. xiv. March of German Main Force, September, 1916,
to June, 1917.]

It has already been mentioned that a pause in the operations had
occurred at Kiderengwa; an attack on the enemy, who was entrenched in
a strong position, promised no success. Headquarters accordingly left
only eight companies, under Captain Tafel, in the Kissaki-Kiderengwa
area (and this force was reduced later), moving with the bulk of the
troops to the lower Rufiji. The road to Kunguliu led past large lakes,
which, like the Rufiji, were full of hippopotami. Owing to the general
demand for fat, hippopotamus shooting became a question of existence.
One has to watch until the animal’s head is clearly visible, so as to
hit in a spot that will cause instantaneous death. The animal then
sinks, and comes up again after a little time when it can be drawn to
the bank by means of a rope, quickly made of bark. There it is cut up,
and the expert knows exactly where to find the white, appetizing fat.
The quantity varies: a well-fed beast provides over two bucketfuls. But
one has to learn, not only how to prepare the fat, but also how to kill
immediately with the first shot. Some foolish people had been reckless,
and in many places the dead bodies of wounded animals were to be seen,
which quickly decompose and become unfit for food. The elephant also
was now regarded in a new light; ordinarily the elephant hunter gauges
the length and weight of the tusk before firing; now the pressing
question was: how much fat will the beast supply? For elephant fat is
very good, and possibly tastes even better than that of the hippo.

At Kunguliu the herds of cattle we had brought along were driven
into the river, and swam across. Up till then the troops had crossed
by ferry, on which Herr Kühlwein, the former traffic manager of our
lost Northern Railway, now contented himself with the more modest
post of “Traffic Manager, Kunguliu Ferry.” When we arrived, a bridge,
three hundred and thirty yards long, had been completed, which was
also capable of taking vehicles. On the south bank we went into camp
near Niakisiku Plantation, belonging to Lieutenant Bleeck, of the
Reserve, who had been called up. The Europeans’ houses had been fitted
up as hospitals, and were fully occupied. At Logeloge we found the
Headquarters of the Line of Communication, where a large number of
roomy grass huts had been put up for the troops. The plantation itself,
belonging to a company, comprised extensive sisal fields. Food also was
cultivated in plenty. The country being free of tse-tse, supported a
large amount of cattle, and the survivors of our pack-donkeys had been
brought there from the tse-tse country north of the Rufiji. Here the
families of the Europeans still lived in their solidly-built houses,
and were thankful that the course of the operations had enabled them
to continue their home and business life undisturbed for more than two
years.

At Logeloge, and at the agricultural experimental establishment
of Mpanganya, which we reached next day, other Europeans of the
neighbourhood had also collected, and, where the existing buildings
failed to accommodate them, had built themselves houses with poles and
cane, or grass. Here an unpleasant symptom also made its appearance.
While the troops at the front were animated by the best spirit and
great enterprise, things behind the front were not always the same.
The people who understood least of the business always knew everything
better, and fostered a certain amount of discontent. That kind of thing
is catching, and in the long run undermines right feeling. Fortunately,
however, many of the troops behind the front had enough soldierly
pride to shut up the grousers pretty bluntly on occasion. In one of
the hospitals there someone was becoming rather too free with his
destructive criticism, and a wounded man answered: “I tell you what,
the Commandant is the brain of the Force, but you’re its backside!”
This unvarnished epithet was so apt, that it at once turned the laugh
on the side of the speaker, and polished away the spot of tarnish that
threatened to spread.

The question now was, whether we should first turn to the north against
the force at Kissengire, or against the one at Kilwa. The latter had
not, as Major von Boemken had feared, moved on towards Livale, but,
possibly influenced by the movements of our troops, had turned towards
the north. It thus worked into the Kibata country, which, though rich,
was very mountainous, and difficult for manœuvre, and as long as it
remained there I did not think it would be very dangerous. I considered
it sufficient merely to prevent it from pushing further towards the
Rufiji, for which a weak force of five companies, under Major Schulz,
was enough. Major von Boemken, who was anxious about Livale, had, with
two companies and a 4-inch gun, made his way into the neighbourhood of
Mpotora, a chance circumstance, from which, as will be seen, we later
reaped great benefit. I had, therefore, a free hand to move on towards
Kissengire. That was important, and enabled us to secure the rich
supply country north of the lower Rufiji, and to get away the valuable
stocks from thence to the middle Rufiji. Whether there would be an
opportunity of obtaining a success in the field it was not possible to
tell; but I thought that the enemy, since he had pushed troops from the
Uluguru Mountains in an easterly direction to the neighbourhood of
Kissengire, would exert some pressure from the north. So it was quite
possible that we might find a favourable opportunity for a fight. We
crossed the Rufiji at Utete in boats, and in a few days reached Makima,
one day’s march south of Kissengire. By that time a sufficient garrison
of two companies had been assembled at Kissengire, where it was
actively employed in strengthening the position. A little to the north,
at Maneromango, was a strong force of the enemy, and a European patrol,
which had started out from Kiderengwa, reported that hostile troops had
been moved from the west towards the Maneromango-Kissengire area.

A few days after leaving Kiderengwa this patrol had got into a
waterless country in terrible heat, and the various members had lost
each other in the dense bush. They made their presence known by firing,
and had no choice but to surrender to the English. Only the determined
patrol-leader had managed to escape to a native village, where the
inhabitants greeted him with apparent friendliness and brought him
eggs. As he bent down to take them, they fell upon him, and handed him
over to a patrol of English Askari concealed close by. An Askari with a
mule, who behaved rather arrogantly, was to escort the German back. On
the way the German, during conversation, drew his attention to faults
in his bridle, and succeeded in seizing the mule and riding off on it
with all speed. In the struggle which took place, he had seized the
Askari’s rifle and shot him with it.

To the east of Kissengire our patrols also pushed on to the north, and
quite a number of minor engagements took place in the bush, in which
the enemy at times suffered very severely. Further to the east, on
the coast near Kissiju, other hostile detachments were also roaming
about, and a small English man-of-war was there too. One morning
Captain von Lieberman, with the 11th Company, surprised this opponent,
and our Askari went for him with a will, cheering. The man-of-war was
also fired upon with the field gun, and apparently several hits were
obtained. After driving the enemy out of Kissiju, Captain von Lieberman
returned. We also operated against the enemy’s communications, and
small fights occurred almost daily.

The closely-settled country is of simply fabulous fertility. Besides
abundant flour, both Europeans and Askari had mangos, paw paws,
mustapheles, cocoanuts, and other tropical fruits. We were surprised
to see the large rice-fields, which were here close to the south side
of Dar-es-Salaam, seeing that in peace-time most of the rice had come
from India. Of cattle there was but little, but the companies began to
send out shooting parties into the prairie, which was full of game, and
extended especially on the western side of our positions. That there
must be game in the vicinity was proved by the presence of numerous
lions. Frequently a family of five lions wandered through our camp at
night, and occasionally killed animals in it.

While Headquarters was at Makima in October, a report came in which
caused me to suppose that the landing of strong enemy forces at Kilwa,
and the appearance of hostile detachments which, coming from the west
towards Livale, had arrived on the Mbaranganda river, formed part of a
big converging movement by the enemy against Livale. Strong forces of
Portuguese had crossed the Rovuma, invaded the highlands of Makonde,
and established themselves in the district of Nevala. The captain
of the _Königsberg_, Captain Looff, had, after the evacuation of
Dar-es-Salaam, proceeded by land, first to the _Königsberg’s_ old area
on the Rufiji, and then to Lindi. He had now taken over command in the
south. With the three newly-raised companies of Askari, the only troops
available there at the moment, he had entrenched himself in front of
the strong positions of the enemy who had landed at Lindi, covered the
removal of the cargo of the store-ship from Ssudi to the north, and
inflicted damage on the Portuguese, who had shown themselves on the
lower Rovuma, by means of minor expeditions. His force was, however,
rather too weak to enable him to turn against the Portuguese, who were
advancing in his rear about Nevala, with any prospect of a rapid and
decisive success.

It was, therefore, very convenient that, as already mentioned, two
companies and the 4-inch _Königsberg_ gun of von Boemken’s Detachment
happened to be at Mpotora. To command this detachment, Captain
Rothe, of the Reserve, was sent from the Rufiji, as he could in
the circumstances be spared from his duties as Principal Postmaster
(_Oberpostdirektor_), and had, at his urgent request, been placed at
the unrestricted disposal of the Protective Force. In a few days he
arrived from Niakisiku by cycle, took over his detachment, and led it
towards Nevala. Captain Looff took command of the whole force, the
Portuguese were thoroughly well hammered by the _Königsberg_ gun,
and their positions were captured by assault. We took a really very
considerable amount of booty, including four mountain guns, a number
of machine guns, several hundred rifles, much ammunition, several
automobiles, supplies, and all kinds of equipment. During the following
weeks we continually found quantities of buried stores and ammunition.
The very secret places were particularly well stocked. The Portuguese
were driven completely out of German territory, and pursued for some
distance into their own country. But consideration of the general
situation prevented me from carrying on the pursuit to the uttermost.
Rothe’s Detachment was brought back to Mpotora, in order to keep an
eye on the enemy at Kilwa, who grew continually stronger. Even before
this movement was executed, I considered it necessary to transfer
strong forces from the neighbourhood of Kissengire towards Kibata. No
opportunity had presented itself of fighting a decisive successful
battle north of the lower Rufiji; as I had expected, I was obliged to
proceed to a prolonged operation in the mountains of Kibata, which
offered but little prospect of leading to a decision.

The transfer of the troops towards Kibata took place at the end of
November, 1916. On the way we encamped at Utete, where roomy hospitals
had been established in the building of the Civil Government, and where
an officers’ mess had been established on a _baraza_ (an airy veranda).
The place was situated on dominating heights, and had been strongly
fortified with trenches and abatis, and commanded the lower-lying
and very extensive native town. Almost all night one heard the deep
grunting of the hippo, and one impudent lion, having failed in his
attack on a native, tried to kill another man in our camp. Fortunately
his quarry was taken from him at the last moment by a European, who
hurried to the spot, and several natives. Continuing, we reached
the Moboro-Kibata road. Captain Schulz, who had with his detachment
occupied a strong position two hours north of Kibata, was drawing his
supplies from the country round Moboro. Several depots on this road
were filled from the fertile country immediately surrounding them.
In addition, Captain Schulz sent out parties to buy supplies in the
districts near his camp, in which the whole wealth of the country is
revealed.

From a mountain near Mbindia, the camp of Schulz’s Detachment, one
could see a broad forest track passing over the heights. This was the
road for a 4-inch _Königsberg_ gun, which was being brought up to its
position before Kibata by Lieut.-Commander Apel. Chanting in rhythm,
hundreds of natives dragged the heavy load up and down the steep
slopes, over which a suitable track had been surveyed and cut through
the thick bush. Shortly after its arrival at Mbindia, the gun had been
placed in position on a mountain saddle from which, later on, the
bombardment was successfully carried out. One of the 4-inch howitzers
was also got into position further forward in a valley, so as to fire
over the high ground in front and reach the enemy’s camps. Detailed
reconnaissances had disclosed the possibility of moving our infantry,
concealed by the dense bush, into some high ground which commanded
the country north of Kibata. The weak hostile force holding this high
ground was surprised by an attack from the rear and quickly driven off.
Then another height was attacked, situated at a water-hole immediately
to the north of the solid European buildings. We could soon see our
Askari climbing up it, and establishing themselves on it about eighty
yards in front of a hostile position.

By this time the deployment of our artillery was completed; besides the
4-inch _Königsberg_ gun and the field-howitzer the two mountain guns
had been brought into action, in line with our infantry. We had delayed
opening fire on the buildings, where we saw numbers of men and animals
walking about on the bare hill-top, until everything was ready. One
company which had got round the enemy’s rear, and established itself
on his main line of communication, running from Kibata to Kilwa,
observed that the heavy shells falling near the Boma (Fort) caused a
frightful panic. Heaps of the enemy’s Askari ran away as fast as they
could, across the front of the company which was lying in concealment.
But unfortunately the company allowed itself to be deterred from taking
advantage of this favourable opportunity. It hoped that the scattered
parties of Askari would soon be followed by larger bodies, and did
not want to give away the chance of a surprise prematurely. But the
expected large bodies did not come, and thus, as unfortunately happened
often, a good opportunity was lost through waiting for a better. The
infantry attack on the above-mentioned heights immediately north of
Kibata had involved the loss of several very efficient Europeans.
Sergeant-Major Mirow was killed, Vice-Sergeant-Major Jitzmann was
shot in the leg and sustained a severe and very painful injury to the
nerve of his leg. He had previously often distinguished himself by his
untiring and successful raids on the Uganda Railway. Through prolonged
detention in hospital he was now lost to the Service, and fell into the
enemy’s hands before he was recovered.

It was very difficult to find one’s way in the extraordinarily rugged
mountains of Kibata. A number of reconnoitring expeditions were sent
out and after a few days we felt more or less at home. It was possible
to obtain a good view of Kibata and of the enemy’s communications, and
we ascertained that he was reinforcing his troops more and more. As
a matter of fact he employed at Kibata the main body of the division
landed at Kilwa. Our observations and the peculiarities of the ground
led us to expect that the enemy intended to work from Kibeta round our
right, or western, flank, and thus force us to evacuate the heights
commanding Kibata and its water-supply from the north. A direct attack
by the 120th Baluchis had been defeated with great loss to the enemy.
During the opening days of December we observed at first weak, and then
stronger detachments, which pushed forward from hill to hill towards
our right flank, and whose advanced parties soon reached a commanding
mountain, known to the English as Gold Coast Hill. Our counter-stroke
against this force was at first favoured by ravines and forests, and
our Askari surprised even us when they became visible close in front of
the enemy’s positions. Our guns were ready to fire, but unluckily the
first shell pitched among our own men, and the infantry attack, which
could only succeed by rapidity and surprise, failed. However, the fire
of our two mountain guns at under 1,800 yards, and of our howitzers,
which were further back, caused quite considerable casualties among
the Gold Coast Regiment. The enemy was on a narrow hog’s-back, the
steep slopes of which were for the most part bare. He could, therefore,
hardly withdraw, and in the hard ground entrenching took a long time.
We then surrounded the hill with infantry, and poured a converging
fire on the good targets presented to us. It became impossible for the
enemy to hold this highly important position any longer. After it was
evacuated we found a large number of graves, each for many bodies, and
at this point the enemy must have lost not less than 150 killed.

The advance of the Gold Coast Regiment had nevertheless been of
advantage to the enemy. My force being so weak—we had, all told, about
nine companies—I had withdrawn one of the two companies stationed in
the immediate vicinity of Kibata in order to employ it against Gold
Coast Hill. After I had returned to camp that night I heard the sound
of a number of small detonations emanating from the one company left
alone to face the enemy. It was only after some time that we recognized
this as a grenade attack, a manœuvre then unknown to us. Several
companies of the enemy attacked with such rapidity and skill, that they
penetrated the trenches of our weak company by surprise and drove it
out. The loss of this position deprived us of the possibility of firing
at close range from that very suitable height at hostile troops moving
about, or proceeding to their water-supply. Until then I had done so
with success, and had even occasionally sent up a light gun to the
place, withdrawing it again after it had ceased fire.

But the loss of this high ground and the casualties sustained in it
faded into insignificance beside the success achieved on Gold Coast
Hill. In spite of our inferiority in numbers, we completely dominated
the situation. Our patrols and stronger raiding parties worked right
round the enemy’s rear and pushed on to his communications. Minor
enterprises on his part produced no results. On the whole, the enemy
suffered very considerable casualties at Kibata, and I think they
should be estimated at not less than four hundred men. The operations
intended by him were also completely wrecked. There can be no doubt
that he waited to advance from Kilwa on Livale. Our vigorous action at
Kibata forced him to move from Kilwa against us, and to leave the rest
of the country and the whole of our supply and transport apparatus in
peace. Towards the end of December hostile planes appeared, cruising
about over our positions and dropping bombs. Although they now used
far more powerful bombs than formerly, they hardly inflicted any
casualties. On Christmas Day we saw a larger mass than usual falling on
the Boma of Kibata. We were disappointed in our hope that the enemy was
bombing his own camp; it was only a large quantity of cigarettes as a
Christmas present for the troops.

One day, during that period, I received a personal letter from the
British Commander-in-Chief, General Smuts, in which he informed me
that I had been awarded the Order Pour le Mérite, and expressed the
hope that his cordial congratulations would not be unacceptable to
me. I thanked him equally politely, although I at first believed that
he was confusing it with the Second Class of the Order of the Crown
with Swords, which I had received a short time before. I mention this
letter from General Smuts as a proof of the mutual personal esteem and
chivalry which existed throughout in spite of the exhausting warfare
carried on by both sides. On many other occasions also the enemy
intimated his great appreciation of the achievements of the German
forces.

At the end of 1916 I regarded the military situation in the Colony as
remarkably favourable, for I knew that the South African troops were
for the most part worn out with battle-casualties and sickness, while
a large proportion of the remainder were returning to South Africa at
the end of their engagements. Prisoners had repeatedly assured us that
they had had enough of the “picnic” in East Africa. The Indian troops
also, who had been in the field in East Africa for some length of time,
were reduced in numbers, while the late arrivals—we identified Indian
Pathan Regiments at Kibata—consisted largely of young soldiers. Other
regiments, like the 129th Baluchis, who had fought in Flanders, were no
doubt very good, but they might not be expected to stand the fatigues
of African warfare for a very prolonged period. The enemy’s Askari
were, generally speaking, new troops, and only a small proportion of
them had at that time been in the field. So we could continue calmly
to contemplate the continuation of the war for a considerable time.
I still believe that we would have succeeded not only in holding our
own, but even in beating the enemy, if he had not enjoyed the power of
continually filling up his reduced units and of bringing up fresh ones.
At the end of 1916 I did not know that this had already been effected
on an extensive scale. Among other reinforcements a strong brigade of
black troops had been brought from Nigeria to Dar-es-Salaam, whence it
had been moved on without delay to Dutumi and Kissaki.

In the early days of January, 1917, the five companies encamped
there under Captain Otto were attacked by General Smuts with at
least two brigades. In planning his attack the enemy had provided
for simultaneous wide turning movements, which, with his greatly
superior numbers, enabled him to bar the retreat of our troops towards
Kungulio. More than once our Askari had to clear their way with the
bayonet, and in the close country some of our companies got into very
awkward situations. In withdrawing to Behobeho our field howitzer,
having only a weak escort, was ambushed by a hostile force of several
companies, and was lost, after the whole detachment had been killed.
But in the end all portions of the detachment successfully avoided
being surrounded, and in assembling at Behobeho. At this place very
heavy fighting immediately took place, in which the enemy also fought
with great bravery. It was in this action that the old hunter Selous
was killed, who was well known even among Germans, on account of his
charming manner and his exciting stories. He had joined as a subaltern.
With a superior enemy before him and on both flanks, and behind him the
mighty Rufiji, crossed only by the one frail bridge, Captain Otto yet
succeeded in reaching the south bank of the river, with all his troops,
and in destroying the bridge, in accordance with his instructions.

We had also observed a wide turning movement which the enemy was making
from Kissaki further west towards Mkalinzo on the Rufiji, which now
became ineffective. The hostile brigade undertaking it did not reach
the south bank of the Rufiji in time to oppose Captain Otto’s passage,
and thus render his situation desperate; on the contrary, we gained
partial successes which were quite considerable. The enemy following
us from Behobeho came on very vigorously and passed a large part of
his force over the Rufiji at Kungulio in boats. Captain Otto held his
detachment in readiness a little to the south of the river, and now
attacked the enemy, of whom part only had crossed over, and completely
defeated him with heavy loss. This partial success was favoured by
the inaction of the hostile column, which, as already mentioned, was
making the turning movement by Mkalinzo. It consisted principally of
whites, and a part of the black Nigerian troops. Neither of them were
equal to the long march involved, and had therefore reached the Rufiji
exhausted and unfit for further operations. They remained out of action
for quite a long time, and the unity of General Smuts’ otherwise quite
well-planned operation was wrecked.

In consequence of the enemy’s advance in force at Kungulio, the danger
arose that he might gain possession of the middle Rufiji, and of the
country to the south of it. He might then easily seize the bulk of
our stores, and our whole system of communications, which for the
most part ran from the middle Rufiji towards Livale. It was therefore
necessary for me to meet his movements with our main body, which was
before Kibeta, and so I marched off with the greater part of it to Lake
Utungi, where I would be in a position to help Captain Otto, or to
seize any favourable opportunity that might offer.



CHAPTER VIII

ANXIETIES AND HARDSHIPS DURING OUR STAY IN THE RUFIJI COUNTRY


OUR march from Kibata was on the first day carried out according to
plan. On the following day I rode ahead with a few companions, in
the expectation that the troops who had several native guides with
them would not fail to find the way. In the Kissi mountains we came
upon large numbers of natives who, however, were very timid and often
deserted their flourishing rice plantations on our approach. Later in
the day I regretted that I did not appropriate some of this abundant
produce for our own use. During the midday heat we rested at Pori.
Some of my companions who knew the country called my attention to the
acid Mbinji fruit, which we found very refreshing. Unfortunately we
did not know at that time that the stone of this fruit, when roasted,
makes an excellent dish, tasting like our hazel-nut. The heat was
overpowering, but as we were in the neighbourhood of the enemy patrols
we had to keep a sharp look-out. The springs and water-courses were
now dried up; after a long search we at last found a small pool of
dirty water, which, however, we were told was not injurious to health.
Towards evening we reached the great deserted settlement. Here we
were fortunate enough to find a negro in the employ of the German
Government, who informed us that we were at Ungwara, our destination
for that day. After we had walked through the place, the man showed
us a pool near which we pitched our camp. My old black cook, the
bearded Baba, well known to many East Africans, had very nearly kept up
with our horses, and, following our trail, soon arrived. He had soon
prepared his _uzeli_ (boiled rice), and was sitting contentedly by the
fire. We watched him enviously, for we had nothing, and were waiting
for our baggage and the troops. But no one came and we lay down,
hungry, to sleep. The friend in need, however, was approaching in the
shape of a splendid sable-antelope, which in the brilliant moonlight
was coming down to drink. Almost simultaneously the rifles of two of
my companions, van Booyen and Nieuwenhuizen, experienced Boer hunters,
who had become Germans, rang out. We sprang from our blankets as though
we had received an electric shock, and within a short time the first
pieces of delicate flesh were roasting on the spit.

On the following day we reached Lake Utungi, where Captain Feilke was
awaiting us, and we refreshed ourselves with bread, coffee and sausage
made from antelope flesh. There was still no trace of the troops. They
had lost us in Pori, and almost all completely lost their bearings. One
detachment did not get into touch with us until several days later,
when they came upon our telephone line in the neighbourhood of Utete.
In view of the difficulty of communication, it had hitherto been
impossible to get an accurate estimate of the state of our supplies.
I had expected to find well-filled depots at Mpanganya on Lake Utungi
and in the neighbourhood of Madaba. This was why I had pressed on out
of the fertile country north of the lower Rufiji through Mpanganya to
the line-of-communication area. The question of supplies had developed
quite differently from my expectations.

In the line-of-communication area, in addition to the large numbers of
bearers necessary for the transport of war material to the south, a
numerous _personnel_ was maintained, who were employed on road-making,
building grass huts and for other purposes. Even in the small depots
there were always a number of men who, whenever possible, did nothing
but fetch supplies, which they ate themselves. Often the supplies
were even fetched by others who, in their turn, had to be fed. In
many places it was almost the case that a load of supplies collected
and forwarded by the fighting troops in the north finally landed in
a small depot, and were devoured by these people who had nothing
else to do. In view of the difficulties of transport, and the great
distances, even the energy and thoroughness of Captain Stemmermann,
who had taken charge of the depots, did not succeed in detecting and
putting a stop to these abuses. Further, there were too many people in
Africa whose propensity for diverting valuable energy to non-essentials
to the prejudice of the really important things that it would take a
very strong broom to sweep them away. The general result of all these
obstacles was that thousands and thousands of useless mouths were
devouring the supplies which had been collected with great effort in
the region occupied by the fighting forces. The depot did nothing for
the supplies, but, on the other hand, lived on them, and the most
serious point was that the moment was at hand when the areas from which
the supplies were drawn would have to be evacuated by the fighting
forces. It was a difficult situation. It was necessary to lose no time
in putting under cultivation the territory we were then occupying—that
is to say, the country round Madaba and Livale, and in the southern
parts of the Protectorate, which were likely to be the scene of the
subsequent operations. But months must elapse before any results could
be obtained from these measures. During these months we should have to
remain on the Rufigi and live there. Here, it is true, some hundreds of
acres of maize were standing, but even these would require months to
ripen. Until this time came the force could not move south; it would
have to remain in the unproductive area which it was then occupying.

The accomplishment of this task was difficult. The order had
at once to be given for the removal of every man who was not
absolutely indispensable for carrying on the war during the next
few months. This meant that thousands of bearers and workmen in the
line-of-communication area were sent home. The most serious drawback
to this step had to be reckoned with; we were sending over to the
enemy thousands of men from whom he was bound to gain detailed
information as to our strength, the condition of our supplies and our
internal organization. Nor was it enough to cut down the _personnel_
of our lines of communication. The non-combatant _personnel_ of the
companies was also reduced. Among other things, it was laid down that
henceforward no European should have more than five native attendants.
That sounds a generous allowance to European ears, but under African
conditions native attendance is really indispensable to the European.
He requires at least one man or boy to cook for him and attend to
his personal needs, and, in addition, it must be remembered that all
baggage, kit, rations, blankets and tent-material, has to be carried
whenever he moves. When one considers that in peace-time a travelling
official on a long _safari_ (journey) took with him from eleven to
thirteen bearers, in addition to two or three personal servants, it
will be understood how drastic this new order was and what a storm of
indignation it aroused. Fortunately I was in a position, when appealed
to on grounds of health and decency, to point to the fact that I myself
had for months managed with three, or at a pinch two, loads—that is,
four negroes—and had kept in good health. I am still particularly
grateful to those regimental officers who, as on so many other
occasions, saw the necessity of this vexatious regulation and set the
example. They upheld the tradition of our officer-corps by not claiming
any special comforts for themselves, and were the first to submit to
the unavoidable discomfort. I believe that among all the soldiers and
non-combatants up to the highest civilian official, there is not one
who still condemns this order, at first so strongly opposed.

But reduction of the number of food-consumers alone was not sufficient
to solve the problem of existence; the supplies would not go round. It
was already obvious that the supplies from the area of the fighting
force, which were, of course, being worked at high pressure, would not
suffice to feed us until the new harvest at the end of March. After
close and mature consideration, we found it impossible to avoid the
necessity of cutting down the rations, a measure which went very much
against the grain, as even the native, if he is to be relied on, must
be well fed. This gave rise to a fresh and much stronger outburst of
indignation. From all sides came telegrams and messages to say that
it was impossible to get the calories of nourishment necessary for a
fighting man from the daily cereal ration, fixed at six hundred grammes
of meal. But the hard fact had to be faced that only a certain quantity
was available, and we must make the best of it. The reduction of the
cereal ration could not be avoided. For the rest, each man and each
company would have to try to make good the shortage by hunting, which
in this region, where game abounded, could be managed with the exercise
of a little agility. But logic is apt to go to pieces with many people
when it comes to a question of daily food, and many did not scruple to
lay the whole blame for the at times barely sufficient ration at the
door of the wicked commander-in-chief, and even to do all they could
to have the daily ration increased to its former amount. This I had to
bear calmly, and I made my own observations as to who were the men to
make the best of an unavoidable necessity and who were not.

In carrying out these drastic measures new difficulties were
encountered. A crowd of Askari women had followed the force, and had
attached themselves to various camps on the Rufiji, where they were
very comfortable. I was most anxious to send them south, where the
question of supplies was less difficult. The necessary transport was
arranged for, and the women were given rations for the march. After one
short day’s march, however, the women simply lay down, and declared
that they could go no further. Their rations, which were intended to
last a considerable time, were all eaten by the third day, and they
were crying out for more. Some even went so far as to attack and beat
the European who was in charge of the transport. Even under a dark
skin the gentler sex did not always scruple to make full use of their
prerogatives, which are usually justified.

Finally we got over this difficulty, and a tolerable solution was found
to the ration problem. The Askari, to whom the position was explained,
saw the difficulty and were very reasonable. Skilled hunters were sent
to the different hunting-grounds, and the empty stomachs from time to
time more generously filled. I remember that with us on Lake Utungi our
two hundred blacks in one day completely devoured a big buffalo and an
elephant. It was often found possible to give a piece of antelope to
the passing caravans of bearers.

In the course of February the stores in our supply dumps, of which I
took stock every day, ran out. I began to fear that for reasons of
supply we would not be able to wait for the ripening of the corn on
the Rufiji. In that case, not only would the harvest be lost, but the
crops growing further south could not be used to the best advantage.
There we should have to use the grain that was actually ripe and pass
on, leaving the unripe portion standing. A lucky chance came to my aid
in this dilemma. I went one day from Lake Utungi to Mpanganya to see
Captain Tafel, who was handling the tactical and commissariat problems
there with admirable efficiency. I spent the night in his camp, and
he set before me an excellent dish of young maize prepared like
asparagus. This led us to speak of the maize fields of Mpanganya and
the neighbourhood. These were full of women and other natives who had
swarmed over them like a flock of birds, and were living on the young,
unripe corn. This was as bad economy as well could be, but it gave me
the idea that in case of need the maize crops could be largely used
before they were ripe. This need very soon occurred, and an experiment
with the ears which had ripened most showed that these could be
artificially dried and a very good meal made from them. After this, the
ripest ears were gathered daily, and as the whole crop ripened the food
situation improved from day to day. By 1st March it was found possible
to increase the ration to seven hundred grammes, or nearly the normal
allowance.

The increasing severity of the whole campaign called for a more
intensive and energetic exploitation of our food resources; the slow,
deliberate supply methods of the civil authorities, which had sufficed
for the first phase of the campaign, were no longer adequate. Twice, at
Kissaki and on the Rufiji I had been put in a most difficult position
with regard to supplies, which had almost made it impossible to carry
on the operations. A more efficient supply service which would know
the military needs, look ahead and work more quickly and energetically
was a vital necessity for the further carrying on of the campaign.
Fortunately I was able to convince the Governor on this point, and, as
a result, a new supply detachment was raised from the force, and sent
ahead to Massassi, via Livale. They established several subsidiary
detachments, which were attached to the administrative stations in
the Lindi area, and in this way worked side by side with the civil
authorities in organizing, and, later, in carrying out, the cultivation
and storing of food. In this way the desired impregnation of the
supplies and transport service with the necessary military spirit was
completely attained.

At this time there was no appreciable shortage of kit, and there was
also an adequate supply of arms and ammunition.

With a view to the envelopment of the enemy at Mkalinzo, where he
was reported to be in strong force, Captain Otto had marched his
detachment south from Kungulio. North of Mawa he covered the fertile
area of Madaba, and the line of transport and telephone communication
running from Lake Utungi, via Mawa to Madaba. On 24th January, 1917,
Captain Otto was attacked north of Mawa by several battalions of the
Nigerian brigade. The enemy was beaten off with heavy losses and
pursued several miles through the bush to an entrenched position, where
he took refuge. The troops under Captain Schulz, who had been left
behind after our departure from Kibeta, were gradually withdrawn to
Ungwara. They had been reinforced and relieved from time to time after
the fighting in the region of the Kibeta-Utete-Kissi mountains. Strong
enemy forces—identified as an infantry brigade—had followed them. In
spite of his numerical superiority, the single engagements were very
costly, and for the most part unfavourable for the enemy. Captains
von Lieberman, Goering and Koehl, and numerous patrol leaders on many
occasions completely routed more than twice their number of Indian or
negro troops, and captured rifles, machine guns and ammunition. The
long war had produced a large number of capable leaders, and their
example, as in the case of Lieutenant Kroeger, who was afterwards
killed, roused unbounded enterprise and daring. Over and over again,
and without stopping to ask the strength of the opposing force, this
officer, followed by a handful of men with fixed bayonets and cheering
loudly, had charged the enemy in the thick of the bush. He had even
trained the Askari. Several of these distinguished themselves as patrol
leaders, and when later the brave Effendi, of the 4th Field Company,
with his patrol, routed an entire Indian company, we owed the success
to this training at Ungwara.

Our line of communication to the south, passing through Madeba and
Livale, was in danger from a strong enemy force west of Kibata, and it
was necessary that we should afford it adequate protection. This meant
a gradual move south of our forces from the Rufiji, especially as our
supplies on this part of the river were coming to an end and the rainy
season was at hand.

It was particularly important that we should not evacuate this part of
the Rufiji until the rains had set in. This would mean a considerable
gain in time for us, as, during the actual rainy season and immediately
after, the operations would, of necessity, come to a standstill, and
the corn, particularly the _mtema_ (millet), would have time to ripen.

When the migrations of the ants warned us that the rains were at hand,
orders were given, as a precautionary measure, that the women, children
and non-combatants should as far as possible be transferred to the
north bank of the Rufiji, and thence transported to Dar-es-Salaam. This
step, which the approaching rains and the state of the supplies made
necessary, aroused much discontent, which I was obliged to treat with
the same indifference as the previous outbursts of indignation. I am,
however, still of the opinion that the timely removal of these people
was much better for them than spending part of the rainy season on the
drenched ground or in flooded dwellings with insufficient food.

The rains, which set in at the end of March, were particularly heavy
in 1917. The site of our camp, which was slightly elevated, became an
island, from which access to the outer world was only possible by boat
through the Rufiji wood. A number of people were drowned in the wood
during the rains; others had to take refuge for days in the trees.
The water rose so high that in Mpanganya it reached the high-lying
dwellings of the Europeans, and invaded the hospitals and disturbed
every kind of filth. It was impossible for women and children, sick
and wounded to remain, and after the withdrawal of the troops they had
to give themselves up to the English, who took pity on their need, and
provided them with food and transport.

The majority of the troops marched south out of the flooded districts
on the Rufiji and Lake Utungi in good time, after using up the
available crops almost to the last grain. The evacuation was carried
out gradually and in echelon; the greater part of the troops were
assembled in Mpotora, which was occupied by Captain Rothe, in a
fortified camp, with his two companies which had defeated the
Portuguese at Nevala. Only a few small detachments were left on the
Rufiji, and these were gradually reduced to the strength of patrols.
Four days’ march east of Madaba the detachments of Koehl and Goering
had the opportunity of some successful skirmishes against enemy
detachments on the western edge of the Matumbi Mountains. Gradually,
however, all these detachments were brought to Mpotora, and only
Captain Otto remained in the higher regions of Madaba.



CHAPTER IX

THE END OF THE FRONTIER DEFENCE IN THE SUBSIDIARY THEATRES


IN August, 1916, Major Kraut had gradually retired from Kilossa on
Mahenge, leaving only Schoenfeld’s division at Kidodi, on the Ruaha.
Captain Braunschweig’s force was embodied in Major Kraut’s command. Of
these Captain Falkenstein, with the 5th Field Company, had retired,
at the end of May, 1916, from Ipyana, and Captain Aumann, with his
company, from the Mbozi region in the direction of Lupembe and Maubire.
During the retirement there was continual skirmishing. Our weak
divisions had to make a stand against the pursuing enemy, at least a
brigade strong.

At the end of June, 1916, Captain Braunschweig, who was then at
Dodoma, was sent through Iringa, and his force was strengthened to
five companies by the addition of the Kondoa troops and others brought
from Dar-es-Salaam, including the two companies from Langenburg. One
hundred of the crew of the _Königsberg_ from Dar-es-Salaam and a field
howitzer were added to this force. At Malangali he accepted battle with
the enemy, and apparently inflicted heavy losses. Then, however, he
evacuated the position, and abandoned the howitzer, which was difficult
to move, first making it useless. The difficulties of Braunschweig’s
position were increased by the action of an important Wahehe chief in
his rear, who rebelled and went over to the enemy with all his people
and cattle. Captain Braunschweig then retired on Mahenge, fighting a
succession of minor rearguard skirmishes, and put himself under the
orders of Major Kraut.

[Illustration: Fig. xv. March of Major-General Wahle in the West]

After numerous minor engagements Major Kraut’s retiring divisions
established themselves on the line of the Ruhudje and Ruaha rivers.
In the fertile region round Mahenge the supplies were excellent, even
after the evacuation of a large part of the rice-field west of the
Ruhudje. On this river the enemy had established a strongly fortified
camp at Mkapira. With our insufficient resources it was impossible to
take this position by force, but there was a chance that by cutting
the enemy’s line of communication with Lupembe, we might force him to
evacuate the camp owing to shortage of food.

Major Kraut crossed the river with five companies and a light field
gun, and occupied a position in a semi-circle of hills in the enemy’s
rear and right across his line of communication. In the enemy’s front
weak forces covered the river bank on the Mahenge side. Unfortunately
the fortified positions of our companies were so extended that, owing
to the difficulties of the country, there was no guarantee that support
could be brought up in time. On the——, before daybreak, the 10th
Company on the right wing was surprised by a heavy enemy attack. The
enemy also cleverly took the company’s position in the rear and, after
inflicting heavy losses, put the machine guns out of action. On the
left wing Lieutenant von Schroetter’s company was also attacked from
all sides, and had to cut its way out with the bayonet, losing the
light field gun and a machine gun. In view of the heavy casualties of
the enemy, Major Kraut would have been able to remain on the west bank
of the Ruhudje, in spite of this partial disaster, but fighting could
be heard from the direction of Lupembe, where the 25th Field Company
was covering his rear. Major Kraut thought, wrongly, that there,
too, a sharp attack had been made, and, therefore, retired again to
the east bank of the Ruhudje. To his astonishment the enemy’s strong
entrenchments at Mkapira were found to be evacuated a few days later,
the enemy having withdrawn in the night. Closer inspection showed that
he had suffered heavy losses in the recent fighting. This, however, was
not enough to explain his withdrawal; this riddle was not solved until
later, on the appearance of General Wahle, with whom no communication
had been established.

In expectation of the opening of the big operations of 1916 the
reinforcements that had been provisionally sent to Victoria Nyanza,
Ruanda, the Russissi and the Tanganyika area were brought back and
embodied into our main forces along the North railway. A single command
for these minor theatres of war was required, and with this object a
“western command” was established under Major-General Wahle, who for
the most part co-ordinated and directed these operations from Tabora.
In April and May, 1916, when the British main forces in the Kilima
Njaro area had completed their march, and, after the rainy season,
were beginning a fresh advance to the south, English and Belgians from
Muansa, Lake Kiwu, the Russissi and Bismarckburg began to advance
concentrically on Tabora through these minor theatres of war. Our weak
divisions retired on this place.

Major von Langenn retired at once from Tschangugu to Issawi, followed
by Captain Wintgens from Kissenji. Heavy casualties were inflicted on
the pursuing Belgian brigades in successful rearguard actions. The
German detachment later continued its retirement on Mariahilf. The
danger to our district from the strong Belgian forces on our heels
had been correctly estimated by Captain Gudovius. When in June, 1916,
strong English forces advanced across the Kagera, he retired south from
Bukoba with his division. Owing to the difficulties of communication
and getting information, a part of his force unfortunately ran upon
strong Belgian forces in Ussuwi district. Captain Gudovius himself was
wounded in the abdomen and fell into the enemy’s hands. The engagement
went badly for us and cost us heavy losses. Individual bodies of the
detachment, however, managed to fight their way through to Muansa and
Uschirombo.

In the middle of July, 1916, the English succeeded in effecting a
surprise landing with about a brigade in the neighbourhood of Muansa.
There, too, there was some skirmishing, favourable to us, and there the
Commanding Officer, Captain von Chappuis, retired in the direction of
Tabora. The troops from Muansa and those under Major von Langenn and
Captain Wintgens established a new front, approximately on the line
Schinjanga-St. Michael, and repulsed several Belgian attacks. Captain
Zimmer had sunk the steamer _Goetzen_ at Kigoma and blown up the Wami.
He then retired slowly along the railway to Tabora. Captain Hering
von Usumbura followed suit. The fact that the operations were nearing
Tabora gave General Wahle the opportunity to bring up quickly part of
the troops from the north of Tabora, to make a dash west by rail and
retire again at once. In this raid the 8th Field Company completely
routed a Belgian battalion west of Tabora, and Wintgens’ detachment
brought off a successful surprise attack west and north of Tabora.
These minor victories were often considerable, and on several different
days of skirmishing the enemy losses amounted to hundreds; several
light howitzers were also captured in these raids.

On 2nd June, 1916, the 29th Field Company was surrounded in its
fortified position in the Namema mountains. In fighting his way
through, the brave company commander, Lieutenant Franken, was severely
wounded and taken prisoner. Lieutenant Hasslacher retired step by step
on Tabora. In an affair of patrols south of this place he met with a
hero’s death.

In this way the troops of the western command were actually assembled
at Tabora, and the moment had come for a systematic retirement to the
south-east. These last operations and the capture of Tabora were not
known at Headquarters until long afterwards. There was no means of
communication with the western command. Major-General Wahle was aware
that this retirement of our main forces was of first importance for
the Mahenge area. Accordingly he gave orders for the march. At first
the railway could be used for supplies and transport. The eastern
column, under Major von Langenn, marched on Iringa, the centre column,
under Captain Wintgens, on Madibira, and the western column, under
Lieutenant Huebener, on Ilembule. Major Wahle accompanied the centre
column. In this way they came upon the line of communication between
Neu-Langenburg and Iringa, and the enemy’s dumps along this line.
Huebener’s detachment lost touch, and surrendered, being enveloped by
a superior force of the enemy at Ilembule. Langenn’s detachment was
most unfortunately surprised by a burst of fire while crossing a ford
near Iringa and lost heavily. The subsequent attack on Iringa was also
costly and without success.

Wintgens’ detachment surprised enemy dumps and columns near Madibira,
and also captured a gun and some wireless apparatus. In spite of
several days of stubborn fighting, they were unable to take Lupembe and
the surrounding farms. The influence of Wahle’s advance immediately
made itself felt in the Mahenge district. The apparently strong enemy
troops, who from their fortified positions at Mkapira had carried out
the successful raid against Major Kraut, now felt themselves seriously
threatened in their rear. They evacuated their strong positions and
retired on Lupembe. General Wahle took over the command of all the
forces at Mahenge.

At the end of 1916 the troops of General Wahle’s western command were
grouped round Mahenge. From here he directed the operations extending
approximately to the line Ssongea—Lupembe—Iringa—Kidodi.

It has been said that all touch with General Wahle had been lost since
July, 1916, until in October, 1916, his patrols joined up with those of
Major Kraut south of Iringa.

It was not, therefore, until after the fighting at Mkapira that Major
Kraut, and through him Headquarters, learned of General Wahle’s
advance; the development of the situation made a very different
impression on the enemy. He must have regarded the advance of General
Wahle’s columns against the English line of communication from Iringa
to Langenburg, and Major Kraut’s accidentally simultaneous threat to
Mkapira, as a widely-planned joint operation, which was seriously
endangering his troops at Mkapira, even after Major Kraut had withdrawn
to the east bank of the Ruhudje. He avoided this danger by a hasty
retirement from Mkapira in a westerly direction.

General Wahle’s columns at once concentrated in the Lupembe-Mkapira
area. No news was received of Huebener’s western column. Its
capitulation was not known until much later.

Welcome though this reinforcement of the forces in the west was,
there were difficulties of supplies, and it became necessary to put
under cultivation a considerable area, stretching almost to Ssongea.
Major Grawert’s detachment advanced to Likuju on the Ssongea—Liwale
road, that of Major Kraut to the Mpepo region and Captain Wintgens’
surrounded an enemy detachment in a fortified camp at Kitenda. The
enemy quickly marched to the relief of this force, but the relieving
troops were driven off with heavy losses. At the same time the position
of Grawert’s detachment took a very unfavourable turn. The enemy had
succeeded in driving off this force’s live-stock. As other supplies
in the district were scanty, Major von Grawert, exaggerating the
difficulties of supply, thought his position hopeless and surrendered
in January, 1917. A transportable 8.8 air naval gun which had been
brought to Lihuju with great difficulty fell into the enemy’s hands,
as well as a number of good machine guns. In reality the position
of Grawert’s force does not appear to have been so desperate as he
supposed; at any rate, a strong patrol under Sergeant-Major Winzer, who
refused to surrender, made its way south without being molested by the
enemy, and, a few days later, found abundant supplies at small cost in
the districts west of Tunduru. The conduct of this patrol gave further
proof that there is almost always a way out, even of an apparently
hopeless position, if the leader makes up his mind to face the risks.

Meanwhile General Wahle’s supply difficulties were increasing. Whether
they could have been modified by ruthlessly reducing the number of
non-combatants, as had been done on the Rufiji, or whether the material
welfare of the western command could have been substantially improved
by greater care in procuring and rationing the available resources,
could not be decided from my position on Lake Utungi. The temporary
telegraph to Mahenge was very inefficient and often interrupted, and
it took several days to get a despatch through from General Wahle in
Mahenge to the troops. This made it difficult for me to get a view of
the situation from the incomplete information at hand. Suffice it to
say that the difficulties of supply in Mahenge were regarded as so
acute that it was not considered possible to keep such strong forces
concentrated there, and part of them would have to be withdrawn.

Kraut’s and Wintgens’ forces were marched west to Gumbiro, whence
they were to press on across the Ssongea-Wiedhafen road. It was
thought that they would find adequate supplies in the mountains south
of Ssongea. The report of this move reached me too late for me to
interfere. From Gumbiro Captain Wintgens turned north and, near Lake
Rukwa, successfully engaged an enemy column which had been following
him; on nearing Tabora he got typhus and was taken prisoner. Captain
Naumann led the force on until finally he surrendered to the pursuing
enemy column near Kilima-Njaro towards the end of 1917. It is to be
regretted that this operation, carried out with so much initiative and
determination, became separated so far from the main theatre of war as
to be of little use.

Major Kraut had separated from Captain Wintgens in Gumbiro, and,
carrying out General Wahle’s orders, had marched south. There was no
difficulty about crossing the line of communication Ssongea-Wiedhafen,
but as the enemy had strongly entrenched and secured his supply
dumps, no booty was captured. In the open little was to be found in
March, 1917, the poorest season of the year, a few months before the
new harvest. After some rearguard actions against English troops a
success was scored in a surprise attack on the small Portuguese camp at
Mitomoul, on the Rovuma. Major Kraut then followed the river downstream
to Tunduru and himself came to Headquarters to report. Two of his
companies remained at Tunduru to guard the fertile district. The other
three marched further east and were temporarily taken over by Captain
Loof at Lindi.



CHAPTER X

LINDI AND KILWA


THE operations of the last few months had narrowed the area from which
supplies for the troops could be obtained. The productive areas of
Lupembe, Iringa, Kissaki and the lower Rufiji had been lost, and the
newly-occupied districts included wide stretches of barren land. The
productivity of the more fertile areas was for the most part unknown;
for instance, it was not known until during the subsequent operations
what yield could be expected south-west of Kilwa and south-west of
Livale, for example. At that time I only had a general idea that the
eastern part of the Lindi area was very fertile and known as the
granary of the colony. But this fertile region, owing to its nearness
to the coast, was in a very precarious position, and it was already
necessary to consider what should be done if it were lost.

Our eyes naturally turned to the Portuguese territory across the
Rovuma, but we had even less information about this than about parts
of the German colony. Fortunately, however, a number of Portuguese
chiefs had immigrated into German territory out of hatred for their
oppressors, and, apart from this, we Germans enjoyed a very good
reputation among the intelligent natives of Portuguese East Africa,
many of whom worked on German plantations. Thus we were able to get
at least an approximate picture of the district east of Lake Nyassa,
and to take it as probable that south of the steppe-like zone of the
Rovuma, in the neighbourhood of Mwembe, several days’ march, broad and
thinly populated, lay a fertile region. An expeditionary force of a few
hundred rifles under Major von Stuemer, crossed the Rovuma south of
Tundura, and quickly took possession of Mwembe from where our patrols
explored the banks of Lake Nyassa as far as the neighbourhood of Fort
Jackson, and east half-way to Port Amelia.

[Illustration: Fig. xvi. March of Main Force during operations on
interior lines west of Lindi, June to November, 1917.]

[Illustration: Fig. xvii. Battle of Mahiwa.]

In view of the difficulty of communication—messengers from the
telegraph station at Livale took about three days to get to Tunduru
and five from there to Mwembe—it was difficult to get a clear idea
of the situation at Mwembe. We had no definite news until Lieutenant
Brucher personally reported at Headquarters in January, 1917. The
European potatoes he brought with him gave us good hopes that supplies
could be expected there. He reported that the country was fertile, as
was also the region round Tunduru, where the war had so far hardly been
felt. There were still large numbers of eggs and fowls in the richly
cultivated district. When Brucher slept on the ground in Tunduru, this
was regarded as a piece of bravado by the inhabitants, so little did
they know about war. In view of the difficulties of transport and the
constant movement of the troops, it became increasingly necessary to
make the force less and less dependent on their inadequate line of
communication. With this object the forces of Captains Goering and
von Lieberman were also moved to the region south of Kilwa, where,
according to the stories of some Europeans in the Kiturika mountains,
there was plenty of food. In order to relieve the transport of supplies
from the rear the troops were marched off to Kilwa without waiting for
further investigation, and it was fortunate that the reports as to the
fertility of this district were realized. In order to take the enemy,
who had already moved some small forces half-way to Livale, as far as
possible from south of his point of debarkation, and at the same time
to secure the fertile districts south of Kilwa to Mbemkuru, Goering’s
and von Lieberman’s divisions made a détour from Mpotora southwards and
pressed forward, Goering’s force following the coast straight to Kilwa,
and von Lieberman keeping further west and making for the Kilwa-Livale
road. A weaker force followed this road to Kilwa and served as a
reserve for the patrols, which several times surprised the enemy in
his camps and threw him back. Our patrols were soon swarming in the
neighbourhood of Kilwa. Several enemy dumps were surprised and part of
the garrisons killed. On one of these occasions brave Sergeant-Major
Struwe, who was afterwards killed, skilfully forced his way, with a
large part of the 3rd Field Company, inside a dump, and, taking cover
behind the sacks of flour, inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, who
appeared from outside in great force. It was difficult to get much away
from the dump, so the patrol had to content itself with destroying the
greater part of the stores. One patrol took a field gun with it—a
strange weapon for a patrol. After careful reconnaissance this reached
the coast at Kilwa—Kissiwami, and bombarded some of the transports
lying there.

[Illustration: Native Types (1).

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: Native Types (2).

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

In May, 1917, Captain von Lieberman, who, with the 11th and 17th
Companies, was occupying an entrenched position at Ngaula, a day’s
march south of Kilwa on the Kilwa-Livale road, was attacked by eight
companies with two guns. Lieutenant Buechsel, with his 17th Company,
made such a heavy flank attack that he completely routed, one after
the other, several of the enemy’s Askari companies, who took to
their heels, followed by the 40th Indian Pathan Regiment. The enemy
left about seventy dead on the field, and, as the English related
afterwards, it was only by chance that we did not find his guns, which
had stuck fast in a river.

On the whole it seemed to us that the enemy’s forces were once
more getting exhausted. Unless he brought over very considerable
reinforcements it was obvious that the forces available would before
long be worn out and his operations end in failure. It was already
apparent that they were involving a great strain. It had been
ascertained that a battery from the Indian interior had been brought to
Kilwa and that a large number of new Askari companies were being raised.

More dangerous than the enemy seemed to me the material position of
our men. The cargo of wheat from the relief ship was coming to an end,
and I thought it questionable whether bread could be baked from Mtama
flour alone, without the addition of wheat flour. At that time I still
regarded bread as an indispensable necessity for the nourishment of
Europeans, and therefore I made experiments personally in baking bread
without wheat flour. Unfortunately the results were unsatisfactory.
Afterwards, under the stress of necessity, we all produced excellent
bread without wheat. The methods differed widely. Later we made bread
not only with mtama, but also with muhogo, sweet potatoes, maize, in
short, with nearly every kind of meal, and with mixtures of all sorts
of combinations, and later still improved the quality by the addition
of boiled rice.

The necessary kit also required attention. A shortage of boots was in
sight. My experiments showed me that a European can go barefoot where
there are tolerable paths, but never through the bush. Sandals, which
anyone can make, given an odd bit of leather, proved helpful, but did
not take the place of boots. To be ready for any emergency, I had some
lessons in boot-making, and succeeded, with supervision, in producing
an object that at a push could be taken for a left boot, though it was
intended to be a right. It is very convenient for a European who knows
the simplest rudiments of this craft to be able to kill an antelope and
make a boot, or at any rate repair one, from his skin a few days later,
without the help of any of the tools of civilization. A nail must
serve as an awl, a tent-pole as a last, and the thread he can cut from
the tough leather of a small antelope. As a matter of fact, however,
we were never driven to these extremities, as we were always able to
obtain the necessary kit and equipment from captured stores, and many
captured saddles were cut up to make soles and heels for boots.

Every European was becoming more and more like a South-African
“Trekker” and was his own workman. Naturally, not always in person, but
within the small independent household, consisting of his black cook
and his black servant, which followed him about. Many had even provided
themselves with a few hens which they took about with them, and the
noise of these betrayed the position of German camps even as far as the
native settlements. An order issued in one force that the crowing of
cocks before 9 a.m. was forbidden brought no relief.

The important question of salt was very simply solved by the troops
at Kilwa, by the evaporation of sea-water. In order to secure the
supply, which was beginning to run short, against the loss of the
coast, salt-yielding plants were collected and the salt obtained from
their ashes by lixiviation. We got this idea from the natives of the
district, who supplied themselves with salt in this way. The salt thus
obtained was not bad, but was never required to any extent, as we were
always able to meet our requirements from the captured stores. The
large numbers of elephants in this district furnished us with fat;
sugar was replaced by the excellent wild honey which was found in large
quantities. The troops had made an important step forward as regards
supplies of grain. They found out how to ripen it artificially, and in
this way provided against want.

It should be noted here particularly that the Medical Corps, in spite
of the difficult and constantly changing circumstances of life in the
field, had succeeded in satisfactorily solving the important questions
of quinine and material for bandages. It has already been mentioned
that in the north quinine tablets of better quality than the English
had been added to the stock of Peruvian bark. After the evacuation of
the northern area a large consignment of Peruvian bark had been sent
to Kilossa. Through the efforts of the Deputy Staff Medical Officer,
Staff-Surgeon Teute, a part of this was transported further south. It
was of course impossible without the necessary apparatus to manufacture
tablets, but liquid quinine was produced by boiling Peruvian bark. This
had an infernal taste and was drunk unwillingly but with beneficial
results by the patients, among whom it was known as “Lettow-Schnaps.”

The other difficulty was the supply of bandages. To supplement the
stock of linen, which was beginning to give out, not only was clothing
of all kinds disinfected and used for this purpose, and then after
being boiled used again, but quite a good bandage-material was made
from bark. This idea, too, we got from the methods of the natives,
who for a long time had made clothing and sacks from Myombo bark.
The medical service had done everything humanly possible to keep the
troops alive and well. The great resource of this service and the
necessary husbanding of the primitive material available deserve
special recognition, as this service had always been accustomed under
the special conditions of a tropical climate, and rightly so, to be
very free with their stocks. The Staff Medical Officer, Staff-Surgeon
Stolowsky, and later his successor, Staff-Surgeon Teute, showed
exemplary devotion, energy and foresight.

The surgery was on an equally high level. The hospitals which, during
the early part of the campaign, had been accommodated for the most
part in solid buildings, and had worked the whole year round without
moving their quarters, had now to turn themselves into movable columns,
which might at any moment be called upon to pack up, with patients
and baggage, and keep up with the march in various directions of the
troops. All not absolutely indispensable material had to be eliminated,
so that the preparations for a surgical operation had always to be more
or less improvised. The operating-theatre was as a rule a newly-erected
grass hut. In spite of all this, Staff-Surgeon Müller, Dr. Thierfelder,
of the Imperial Medical Service, and others successfully performed even
serious operations, including several for appendicitis.

As has already been mentioned, the confidence even of the enemy in the
German medical service was fully justified. The successful and devoted
activity of these men went far to strengthen the mutual confidence
between white and black. In such ways as this the strong bond was
formed which united the different elements of our force.

At Lindi the enemy had strengthened himself more and more, and it was
reported that detachments were being transported by sea to Lindi,
which hitherto had been posted west of Kilwa. General O’Grady, who had
commanded a brigade at Kibata, also appeared at Lindi. The obvious idea
that the enemy would advance from Lindi against our weak forces and our
main supply area, as had been his intention earlier at Kilwa, appeared
to be materializing. Several attacks had been beaten off by Captain
Looff’s force west of Lindi. At the request of the Governor three of
the companies which had arrived under Major Kraut were not, as had
been the original intention, used to subjugate quickly and thoroughly
the rebellious inhabitants of Makonde, in the south-east corner of our
Protectorate, but were put under the command of Captain Looff. Two of
them took part in an attack on Sudi, south of Lindi, where the enemy
was strongly entrenched. The attack on the fortified position was
bravely launched, but suffered heavy losses, and could not be brought
to a successful conclusion.

Later, Captain Rothe was ordered to Lindi with reinforcements
consisting of three companies from Mpotora. But the rains spoiled our
plans. The crossing of the Matendu had already become difficult. All
the rain that had fallen in Donde district collected ultimately in
the valley of the Matendu, which in the dry season is simply a series
of pools. It had become a strong, rushing torrent, like the Fulda in
spate at Cassel, and tore up great trees in its course. By making use
of some islands, tree-trunks were got into position under the direction
of skilled engineers and a bridge to take transport was built; but
a sudden rise in the stream repeatedly swept it away, several men
being drowned. A footbridge further downstream met with the same
fate; a narrow suspension-bridge of ropes made from twisted bark was
only of slight service and was somewhat uncertain as, in view of the
alternation of strong sunlight and wet, there was always a danger of
the ropes rotting and giving way.

At Nahungu, on the Mbemkuru, similar conditions hindered Captain
Rothe’s march. The stream was so strong that the first attempt to
cross by the few ferry-boats available failed. Driven out of Nahungu
by scarcity of supplies, Captain Rothe marched into the fertile region
to the north-east, in this way seriously compromising the plans of
Headquarters. It was necessary that this fertile country north-east of
Nahungu should be spared to serve as a reserve for the forces south of
Kilwa and to provide for a strong reinforcement of these troops should
tactical reasons make this necessary. The time that was lost before a
message could be got through to Captain Rothe was very vexatious, but
finally his division was diverted towards Lindi again in time to take
part in some of the fighting.

In view of the need for reinforcement of our troops at Lindi owing
to increased tension of the military situation and the projected
transference of fresh troops to that area, General Wahle had been
withdrawn from Mahenge and had taken over the command of the Lindi
front; Captain Tafel succeeded him at Mahenge. In the middle of June,
1917, General Wahle had, after several engagements which had brought
to light a considerable increase in the enemy’s strength, retired so
far up the Lukuledi river that the enemy seemed to be incautiously
exposing his north flank.

I decided to make use of this advantage without, indeed, knowing
exactly how it was to be done. So much was clear: that only a surprise
attack promised success. I therefore advanced, with four companies and
the mountain-battery consisting of two guns, through Nahungu, along
the main road leading via Lutende to Lindi. At Lutende were encamped
Captain von Chappuis’ company and Lieutenant Wunder’s company, and
the rest were further back. I went on ahead to reconnoitre, with my
able companion Nieuwenhuizen, who had played the chief part in the
horse-drive on Erok mountain. From the height on which Chappuis’
company lay, there was an extensive view: one could see the different
farmhouses round Lindi and the Lukuledi river with the steamer
_President_, which had taken refuge there and been rendered useless. It
was, perhaps, fortunate that no wild pigs or bush deer had come within
range of our guns in this otherwise gameless district, for not far from
Chappuis’ camp we crossed the trail of a strong enemy patrol which must
only just have passed. The talk of the natives, too, led us to suppose
that they had recently seen something interesting. When we questioned
them they would tell us nothing. Making a wide détour, we arrived in
the evening, after dark, at the camp of Wunder’s company. We reported
our observations to the company commander and the capable guide
Inkermann, who died a hero’s death a few days later, warning them to
keep a sharp look-out. Orders were also given that this camp, situated
as it was in an open plain and exposed to fire from the surrounding
bush, should be moved. After a cup of tea we returned to our main force
about a quarter of an hour’s march to the rear.

On the morning of 30th June we heard increasing rifle-fire from the
direction of Wunder’s company. Assuming that the enemy had taken
advantage of the lie of the ground and was firing on the camp from
the surrounding bush, I immediately advanced with the three companies
to the right through the bush, so as to strike the road further south
and so take the enemy in the rear. Soon, however, we met some Askari,
who told us that a strong force of the enemy had forced its way into
the camp, taking the company by surprise and driving it out. A young
Askari complained to an old “Betschausch” (sergeant) of the third
company that the enemy had taken everything from them. “Niemaza we,
tutawafukuza” (shut your mouth, we’ll soon have ’em out), was the
defiant answer which at once shamed the excited youth into silence. The
sergeant’s answer indeed hit off the position. The enemy, consisting
of the 5th Indian Regiment and a few natives, had thought to find only
a weak German outpost. He had rashly penetrated into our badly-placed
entrenchments and was now in his turn exposed on all sides to a
concentrated fire from the bush.

The position was so clear that it called for the quickest possible
independent action by the subordinate leaders, and Captain von Chappuis
also attacked at once. Staff-Surgeon Mohn (afterwards killed), who had
remained in Wunder’s camp and had temporarily fallen into the enemy’s
hands, described the very harassing effect of our concentrated fire
at short range and the panic it caused among the enemy. Nevertheless,
the cover afforded by a few ravines and the undergrowth enabled some
of the enemy to get away. These fled wildly. A number so entirely lost
themselves that they were picked up in the bush days afterwards by our
patrols in a half-starved condition. We inflicted about 120 casualties.
In addition to recovering our own ammunition, which had fallen
temporarily into the enemy’s hands, we captured the enemy’s ammunition
which he had just brought into the camp, about a hundred rifles and
some machine guns. Among the severely wounded whom we took to the
English camp at Naitiwi, and there handed over, was the commanding
officer of the English regiment. He afterwards died of his wound.

We stayed a few weeks longer in the fertile district of Lutende and
tried with our patrols to inflict losses on the enemy, whose fortified
camps at, and south of, Naitiwi offered no prospect of successful
attack. Far to the south we often heard the explosion of air-bombs
and of the heavy guns which were bombarding Wahle’s division. Von
Chappuis’ company was marched to reinforce Wahle’s force. Apart from
some skirmishing our success at Lindi was followed by a lull in the
operations.

That this was only the prelude to new efforts on the enemy’s part was
borne out not only by the reports of the transport of strong forces to
Kilwa, and also by the fact that at the end of May General Hoskins,
who had taken over command from General Smuts, had been relieved by
General van Deventer. Once more a Boer was in command, and the rumours
that fresh European troops were being brought from South Africa seemed
to be confirmed. South of Kilwa the enemy attacked our nine companies
with three brigades, but Captain von Lieberman, who had taken over
from Captain Goering, the latter being seriously ill, succeeded with
extraordinary skill in beating off the superior forces of the enemy. On
July 6th, at least a brigade made a frontal attack on Captain Lieberman
at Unindi and was repulsed with heavy losses. The bold charge of our
companies cost us heavily too; among the casualties was Lieutenant
Bleeck, who received a mortal wound in the stomach while leading his
company. This brave and upright personality had done excellent service
both as a fearless patrol-leader and on the Headquarters Staff, and I
knew him intimately. Von Lieberman’s right flank was covered against
another enemy brigade by Captain Spangenberg with two of the nine
companies. He carried out his task and attacked the enemy brigade so
energetically with his two companies that, as we heard later, the
English reports spoke of an attack by very strong enemy forces.

In spite of this success at Unindi, the great superiority of the enemy
and the danger from enveloping movements to our supplies in the rear,
induced Captain von Lieberman to withdraw gradually south, fighting all
the time. I thought the moment had come to make a rapid counter-march
with the available companies at Lutende, and the mountain-battery come
unexpectedly to the aid of Captain von Lieberman and perhaps seize a
favourable opportunity to inflict a decisive defeat upon the enemy.
We moved due north from Lutende by forced marches and crossed the
Mbemkuru, now once more an insignificant stream, without difficulty,
two days’ march below Nahungu. The only opposition we encountered was
from swarms of wild bees which forced us to make a slight détour. North
of Mbemkuru we continued our march north into the Ruawa hills.

I made use of the two days required to muster the force again to
reconnoitre thoroughly the surrounding country, and on the 28th July,
to my astonishment, I learned accidentally from some natives that a
road through the mountains led almost in a straight line from our camp
to Captain Lieberman’s camp at the Narungomba water-hole, about six
hours’ march. A patrol of Europeans was sent at once to reconnoitre
this road. In the morning of the 29th July I heard from my camp at
Ruawa some explosions from the direction of Lieberman’s force. I did
not think this could denote serious fighting, as the sounds ceased and,
further, the patrol which I had sent to Lieberman’s force, and which
had returned that morning, reported that everything was quiet there. I
had, however, to change my mind when at noon van Rooyen, who was very
reliable, returned from a hunting expedition and reported that he had
certainly heard continuous machine-gun fire. The reader will, perhaps,
wonder that I had not already begun the march to Lieberman’s camp,
but it must be remembered that there was no water on the way, and my
men were very exhausted, while some had only just reached Ruawa. By
nightfall I was just three hours’ march nearer the scene of action, but
it was not until the night was well advanced that my companies had all
come up. A continuance of the march through the bush in pitch darkness
was hopeless; it was bound to lead to a good deal of misunderstanding
and would have meant a useless waste of the men’s strength, which had
already been severely tried.

At 3 a.m. the march was continued and soon after a report came from
the advance officer patrol that Captain von Lieberman had certainly
defeated the enemy, but, owing to shortage of ammunition, had marched
to Mihambia during the night. The rearguard had evacuated the springs
and at the time of the report was following the rest. My order to
hold the springs at all costs until my arrival at 6 a.m. to join in
the battle had, therefore, been disregarded owing to pressure of
circumstances. I now thought that the enemy, who was stronger than we,
would have strongly entrenched the springs position, as was his habit,
and that I should have to carry out any attack with thirsty troops.
That seemed to offer little prospect of success. Later, when I learned
the enemy’s real position, I inclined to the opposite view. In spite
of his superiority the enemy had suffered a severe defeat. His 7th
South African and 8th European regiments were almost broken up. Again
and again his infantry had hurled themselves in deep waves against the
front of our Askari regiments, and each time they had been driven back
by counter-attacks. A forest fire had broken out and spread among his
ranks. Finally the main body of his troops had broken away and fled
in wild disorder through the bush. Machine guns, masses of rifles and
hundreds of cases of ammunition had been left on the field. In this
condition, my attack, even after the withdrawal of Lieberman’s force,
would perhaps have sealed the doom of the enemy’s main body. It is
much to be regretted that at that time large numbers of the troops did
not show sufficient initiative to make good the shortage of German
ammunition during the battle itself, by using the enemy rifles and
cartridges which were lying about in quantities. We had been within
reach of a most important success which was snatched from our grasp by
accident. We must, however, be grateful for the feat of arms which the
7th Askari Company performed under the doubtless brilliant leadership
of Captain von Lieberman, against overwhelming odds.

I did not get a clear report of this action, however, until later. For
the moment I thought it right to march to Mihambia in order, by joining
with Lieberman’s detachment, to secure unity of command, to supply it
with sufficient ammunition to carry on and, if necessary, to raise
its _moral_ after the severe battle by a visible reinforcement. This
last turned out to be unnecessary; when I arrived I found Lieberman’s
detachment in excellent spirits, all the companies being proud to have
dealt such a heavy blow to the superior enemy. For me the operation
at Narungombe was a further proof how difficult it is in the unknown
African bush and in face of the uncertainty of communication, even
if other circumstances are favourable, to carry through an operation
in which several columns are taking part, so as to secure the
necessary unity of action on the battlefield. At Narungombe, where
all the conditions were as favourable as could have been hoped, the
decision was finally thwarted by slight mischances, and my belief was
strengthened that if I wanted to use different bodies of troops in one
operation it was necessary to secure the closest connection first.

The engagement at Narungombe brought the enemy at Kilwa to a standstill
for a considerable time, and the fighting was confined to patrols, who
inflicted losses on the enemy’s lines of communication, firing out
of the bush on his detachments and motor transport and attacked at
close quarters when a favourable opportunity offered. In order, for
one thing, to put this patrol work on a broader basis, but also to
counter the moving of enemy troops westward, and finally for reasons
of supply, I deployed the force laterally on the line Mihambia-Ndessa.
A large number of aircraft appeared over the fertile Ndessa district
against whose bombs we were defenceless, and some severe wounds
resulted; from this air-reconnaissance we could infer the enemy’s keen
interest in the district and soon it was reported that he was moving
still further west. Our patrols did such good work that from time
to time whole companies of the enemy were put to flight with heavy
losses. But the enemy continued his efforts to obtain information. He
hardly took the trouble to hide his intention when sending flags of
truce. I remember one occasion when the party bearing the white flag
arrived at our camp out of the bush; they had, therefore, not only
avoided the roads leading to it but had deliberately crossed them. The
closer proximity of the enemy made it more difficult for us to get up
our supplies, which were gradually running out. It was unavoidable
that the position of our requisitioning and hunting-parties should
become known to the enemy and that they should be surprised. The
influence of the enemy on the natives was shown by the fact that south
of Mihambia several villages had been suddenly deserted. I had long
regarded this phenomenon as a sign of the enemy’s intention to advance
in that direction. The state of our supplies made it impossible for
us to maintain so strong a force in the Mihambia-Ndessa area. As in
any case the evacuation of this area could not long be delayed, and
as the enemy west of Lindi was at the same time developing increased
activity in strong force on General Wahle’s front, I decided to join
General Wahle with some of the companies from Ndessa and perhaps bring
off the operation that had failed at Narungombe; a decisive success
by an unexpected reinforcement. On the 3rd August General O’Grady’s
forces had certainly suffered a serious defeat. An Indian regiment,
which had advanced through the gap between two strongly fortified
German outposts, was attacked by our reserves, held ready for such
a contingency, and almost annihilated. In the pursuit much valuable
material fell into our hands. The enemy, however, had renewed the
attack a few days later, and in face of the enveloping movement of his
strong detachments, General Wahle had fallen back on Narunyu and a
mountain of equal height south of the Lukuledi river.

Captain Koehl, with six companies and a battery, remained behind at
Ndessa; I crossed the river Mbemkuru below Nahungu with four companies
and two mountain-guns, and then marched diagonally across the Muera
plateau to the mission-station at Namupa. The prefect in charge
entertained us, among other things, with muhogo (a species of corn
with edible roots), prepared like fried potatoes, and supplemented the
scanty provisions of our Europeans with bananas and other fruit out of
his extensive gardens.

In the camp at Njangao the receipt of part of a German wireless message
directed to me, expressing his Majesty’s acknowledgments on the
occasion of the third anniversary of the outbreak of war, delighted us
all.

We pitched our camp with the first company at Njengedi, on the main
road between Njangao and Lindi, in the rear of Wahle’s division, in
unpleasant, rainy weather. I immediately set out for Narunyu to inform
General Wahle of our arrival. Here, in an almost impenetrable country
broken by numerous ravines, at the bottom of which lay deep swamps,
friend and foe faced one another in close proximity. Our men were
working at dug-outs covered by branches cut from the trees. Only five
of General Wahle’s seven companies were at Narunyu, the two others
being on Ruho Mountain on the south bank of the Lukuledi river. In
view of the danger of a surprise attack on our weak forces at Narunyu
I ordered them to be reinforced by the companies on Ruho Mountain and
marched two of those that had come with me to take their place. The
enemy attack on Narunyu occurred the following day. Captain Lieberman’s
Company from Ruho Mountain and the two companies I had brought with
me all took part in the engagement. The third company had literally
started their forced march to Karungu immediately after their arrival
at Njengedi. I can still see the Askari coming up just before dawn and
hear their shouts of delight at the thought of once more routing the
enemy.

Our attempt to envelop the enemy’s right wing, however, only served to
press it back; the bush was too thick for an offensive movement which
had to be developed at short range under a continuous machine-gun
and rifle fire. The darkness made it still more difficult to direct
the operations, and there is no doubt that in the confusion of the
two fronts in this broken country our detachments often fired on one
another: it was almost impossible to recognize friend or foe. For
instance, hearing loud sounds of shouting in front of me, in the
complete darkness of the bush, I thought this came from our enveloping
attack driving back the enemy. It was not discovered till some time
afterwards that this was the enemy and soon we heard him working at his
trenches. The exact location of his trenches gave us the advantage of
being able to get the range for the 10·5 cm. gun of the _Königsberg_,
which was with Wahle’s force. This was done with good results; at any
rate the enemy evacuated his trenches on the following day and retired.

The complete victory desired had not been attained and, in view of the
difficulties of the ground, could not be expected, as we had discovered
our strength to the enemy in the fighting of the 18th, and lost the
advantage of a surprise. Once more I had to content myself with delay.
In this fertile country there was no difficulty about holding our
ground from the point of view of supplies. The force has rarely been
so well fed as in the Lindi area. Great fields of sweet-potatoes
and muhogo stretched as far as the eye could see, and there was an
abundant supply of sugar-cane. The numerous Arab plantations indicated
the fertility and the ancient civilization of the country. We made
ourselves at home, and though rifle bullets often whistled through our
camp and aircraft dropped bombs on us, not much harm was done. On one
occasion the dentist, who had set up his surgery in a European house
and was giving us the attention we had long needed, was attending to a
patient when a bomb fell into the room. It was discovered later, when
the place was examined, that the planter kept his store of dynamite
in this very room. Fortunately the bomb did not touch this or both
patients and dentist would have been permanently freed from toothache.

It was no easy matter to decide what to do with the German women and
children, some of whom had fled from Lindi and did not know what to
do. A number of them had taken refuge in the planters’ houses, which
were within range of the enemy’s guns. In view of the restriction of
supplies and the difficulties of transport and accommodation, it was
desirable that these women and children should be sent back to Lindi.
Some were intelligent enough to see this. By means of a parley their
transference behind the British lines was duly arranged, and they were
able to leave for Lindi. For reasons unknown to me the English then
refused to keep to the arrangement, and the women and children, as well
as male non-combatants, gradually collected in the Catholic mission at
Ndanda. A military convalescent home had been quartered there for some
time and had developed into an important hospital. All the people who
were brought here found good food and accommodation in the spacious
buildings of the mission with its extensive gardens.



CHAPTER XI

IN THE SOUTH-EAST CORNER OF THE COLONY


WHILE at Narunyu there was a lull in the fighting for several weeks,
the enemy had shown considerable activity in the section of Portuguese
territory occupied by Stuemer’s force. Several English columns from the
south-west and south had concentrated on Mwembe, and Major von Stuemer,
not thinking himself strong enough to resist, had evacuated Mwembe.
The different companies had then gradually retired on the Rovuma.
North of this river Lieutenant-Commander Jantzen, who had been sent
from Headquarters to Tunduru, and under whom the various companies of
Stuemer’s force had re-formed, had taken over the command. Enemy forces
were also advancing on Tunduru from Ssongea.

It was difficult to obtain detailed information about the enemy. My
impression was that he wanted to bring our main force to a halt, invade
our supply-area in the Tunduru-Massassi-Ruponda district with strong
forces, and carry off our supplies. I did not then think it out of
the question that we might score a success, and I, therefore, marched
on the 10th September, 1917, with five companies, from our camps at
Narunyu towards Massassi. From there Captain Goering immediately
marched with three companies towards Tunduru; Jantzen’s division
stood north-east of this place. I reconnoitred the road to Tunduru on
a bicycle and feared that the difficulties of supply would be very
serious. These fears were unfortunately realized. Supplies from the
land could not be brought up and there was no time for a prolonged
operation that would allow of additional supplies being obtained from
Massassi.

The small English and Portuguese patrols which attacked our supplies
and transport from across the Rovuma to the south did not cause us to
hurry our movements. But the enemy from Kilwa, whom Captain Koehl’s
heavy attack from Mbeo-Chini and a number of lesser encounters had not
been able to stop, reached the neighbourhood of Nahungu. His flying
columns, for the most part mounted, outflanked Koehl’s force, and
pressed forward up the Mbemkuru river to Nangano. Communication with
Captain Koehl by means of the telephone-line from Nahungu to Nangano
was first interrupted for a few days, and then broken off completely.
The supply dumps fell into the enemy’s hands and were destroyed. To
provide against the interruption of the exposed telephone-line a new
line had been laid from Ruponda, running north-east, but connection by
messenger between this line and Koehl’s division took several days.

In view of the slow means of communication with Koehl’s detachment, it
was not possible to get an accurate view of the situation in time, and
as the intended success at Tunduru could not in any case be attained,
I marched the five companies from Massassi to Ruponda at the beginning
of October, and then further north-east, joining forces with Koehl’s
force at Likangara. On receiving the report that enemy detachments
were approaching Ruponda, I ordered the removal of the sick and the
stores from Ruponda to Lukuledi and Mnacho. On 9th October, 1917,
an enemy patrol was beaten off with some losses at Ruponda. On 10th
October a considerable force of the enemy—the 25th Indian Cavalry
Regiment was identified—assaulted Ruponda from several sides. The
withdrawal of our companies had, therefore, unfortunately been rather
premature; otherwise the enemy might have encountered some of our
passing companies at Ruponda and perhaps suffered a serious defeat. As
it was, there were no troops in Ruponda except a few of our patrols;
most of the sick fell into the enemy’s hands, and also some 90,000 kg.
of supplies. At Likangara there was no fighting worthy of notice. Some
enemy patrols and weak detachments did appear, but our fighting-force,
which was attacking the enemy’s main line of communication along
the Mbemkuru river, firing on and destroying motor-transport, and
capturing mails and supplies, led me to suppose that the strongest part
of the Kilwa force was recuperating further west in the direction of
Ruponda.

The increased enemy activity a few days’ march east of Likangara, where
he established requisitioning stations, as well as the stories of the
natives, made it seem probable that considerable enemy forces were
marching from Nahungu towards the south, and therefore against General
Wahle. Captured mails revealed the fact that in spite of his extensive
intelligence and spy systems the enemy was groping in the dark. He did
not know, for instance, where I was, although he seemed to place the
greatest importance upon knowing. The knowledge of my Headquarters
would tell him the probable position of our main force. While one
letter thought that I was in the neighbourhood of Lukuledi, another
professed to know that I was at Tunduru, and according to a third I was
at Mahenge. The talkativeness of these Europeans, who, in spite of all
warnings, cannot refrain from communicating to one another in their
private letters their knowledge and their conjectures about the war
situation, had in this case done good: there was so much gossip, the
rumours were so contradictory, and even the most improbable things were
so indiscriminately believed, that anything at all could be read into
the German correspondence. In spite of this unintentional misleading
of the enemy, it is difficult to understand how intelligent people can
entrust to the post important matters, the knowledge of which must be
kept from the enemy, knowing how unreliable the post is, and that the
letters often fall into the enemy’s hands.

It was clear to me that the enemy’s obvious uncertainty about the
situation would give me a great opportunity if it could be used quickly
and decisively. I ventured to hope that the intended decisive blow
might now be struck for which I had tried twice near Lindi and once at
Tunduru, and the success of which at Narungombe had hung on a hair. The
development of the situation on Wahle’s front seemed favourable for
this attempt. His forces had gradually withdrawn from the Mtua district
to Mahiwa. The enemy’s whole handling of the campaign suggested that
his various columns would press forward with all their weight and
try to crush us by a concentration from all sides. The enemy’s Lindi
Division was advancing energetically with the rest. General Wahle’s
nine companies, fighting stubbornly, had retired before them to Mahiwa.
I had a fair personal knowledge of the country at Mahiwa. It was very
probable that my march in that direction would not be observed by the
enemy in time.

On the 10th October, 1917, trusting in the fortune of war, I crossed
the Linkangara mountains to Mnacho with five companies and two mountain
guns. I arrived there at dark and left again at daybreak on the 15th.
On the narrow mountain paths the force got very scattered. The guns
were left far behind, and the pack-animals gave trouble. Askari and
bearers came to the rescue, and again and again Sergeant-Major Sabath
rose superior to the difficulties and brought his guns forward. It
surprised me that we were unable to get any information from Mahiwa,
but the rifle and machine-gun fire indicated that fighting was in
progress. Before dark I reached Lieutenant Methner’s company, which was
in reserve behind Wahle’s left wing. The enemy seemed to be attacking
this company with a view to enveloping it. His fire had the unfortunate
effect of causing the disappearance of my bearer, with my dispatch-box,
containing most important dispatches and maps: he did not return for
two days. The first two companies to come up were immediately thrown
against the enemy’s enveloping movement, and the enemy was thrown back.
The companies then dug themselves in. On the morning of the 16th I went
to reconnoitre, and found that the enemy had also entrenched himself
immediately in front, at a distance of sixty to a hundred metres. When
Lieutenant von Ruckteschell offered me a cup of coffee, care had to
be taken, as the enemy was keeping a fairly sharp look-out, and shot
with tolerable accuracy. I thought the opportunity favourable for a
determined surprise attack. It was decided to launch the attack at
noon, on the left (north) wing, and try to turn the enemy’s flank.
Goering’s detachment was to lead the attack.

After we had eaten our midday meal undisturbed, I went at once to
the left wing, where Captain Goering had just begun his advance with
his two companies. When he had crossed a wide depression in the
ground, to my surprise he changed direction still further to the
left. The companies were soon in action. Only gradually I realized
the significance of this surprising move. Captain Goering had come
unexpectedly upon a new enemy who had come from Nahungu and was now
attacking from the north. The force consisted of several battalions
and two guns of the Nigerian Brigade who knew nothing of our arrival
at Mahiwa and were expecting to smash General Wahle’s force by an
attack on his left flank and rear, while his front, facing east, was
vigorously attacked by a division. The Nigerian Brigade was as much
taken by surprise as Captain Goering and was not so quick to adapt
itself to the new situation. Captain Goering, closely supported by
the reserves, threw himself so vigorously against the enemy in the
bush that he ran through some of his detachments, threw them into
confusion, and finally put them to flight. An enemy officer in command
of an ammunition column took our men for his own, with the result that
we captured about 150,000 rounds of ammunition. A gun with ammunition
was taken by assault, and the killed did not consist wholly of
Nigerian Askari. On Captain Goering’s right, where two companies under
Lieutenant von Ruckteschell and Lieutenant Brucker, wounded in this
action, were fighting, the enemy was also thrown back some way into the
bush.

While this fighting was going on on the flank, and on the following
day also, the enemy attacked Wahle’s force with all his strength.
Here the enemy was in great superiority; wave after wave of fresh
troops were thrown against our front. There was a danger that General
Wahle’s front would give way, and the fighting was very severe. There
was also serious danger that our enveloping movement, in the very
difficult swampy ground of the bush, would be held up so long by weak
enemy forces that a defeat would be inflicted upon our front before it
could make itself felt. In that case the battle was lost. I thought it
expedient to increase the disadvantages that the enemy was bringing
upon himself by his costly frontal attack and used all my available
strength in such a way that the enemy by the increasing fierceness of
his frontal attack was bleeding himself to death.

The original intention of enveloping the enemy’s left wing was not
developed further on the following days, but, on the contrary, every
available company was withdrawn from the left wing to stiffen General
Wahle’s front. In this way we not only succeeded in holding our
ground, but, by immediately taking advantage of the enemy’s moments
of weakness to make heavy counter-attacks with our reserves, we were
able to inflict a real defeat. My, perhaps surprising, tactics were
prompted by the personality of the enemy commander. I had learned in
the engagement at Reata (11th March, 1916) that General Beves threw his
men into action regardless of loss of life and did not hesitate to try
for a success, not by skilful handling and small losses, but rather by
repeated frontal attacks which, if the defence held its ground and had
anything like adequate forces, led to severe losses for the attack. I
guessed that here at Mahiwa he was carrying out the same tactics. I
think it was by taking advantage of the enemy leader’s mistaken tactics
in this way that we were able to win this splendid victory. Until the
18th October, for four days therefore, wave after wave of the attack
broke on our front, but my own observation told me that the weight of
the attack here on the right wing was diminishing and that the enemy’s
defeat was absolute.

On the evening of the 18th October we had, with some 1,500 men,
completely defeated a whole enemy detachment at least 4,000, and
probably not less than 6,000, strong. With the exception of Tanga, it
was the most serious defeat he had suffered.

According to a high English officer the enemy lost 1,500 men; but
I have reason to believe that this estimate is much too low. Our
casualties were: 14 Europeans and 81 Askari killed, 55 Europeans and
367 Askari wounded, 1 European and 1 Askari missing. Considering the
smallness of our forces these losses were for us very considerable, and
were felt all the more seriously because they could not be replaced.
We captured a gun, six heavy and three light machine guns, and 200,000
rounds of ammunition.

The situation, unfortunately, did not allow us to take full advantage
of our victory; in our rear was the enemy who had occupied Ruponda
on the 10th October, advanced in strong force further south and on
18th October attacked Major Kraut at Lukuledi. It must be remarked in
passing that our troops which had fought under Lieutenant-Commander
Jantzen near Tunduru had gradually retired north-east to the upper
Mbenkuru and had reached Headquarters above Ruponda before the
occupation of that place by the enemy on the 10th October. Two of these
companies had reinforced the company which was guarding our supplies
near Lukuledi, and it was these three companies, under the command of
Major Kraut, which were attacked by a superior enemy from the north on
the 18th October.

The enemy, believed to be six companies of the Gold Coast Regiment, was
driven off, but in order to protect our supplies and material lying at
Chigugu and Chiwata, Major Kraut retired to the first of these places.
As well as Chigugu and Chiwata, Ndanda, where we had large stores of
war material, was also threatened by the enemy, who had doubtless, in
my opinion, been reinforced at Lukuledi. The enemy from Lukuledi might
at any moment attack our lines of communication, capture our stores and
supplies, and so put us out of action. We had no means of protecting
our lines of communication locally, for the few thousand men we had
were required for fighting. As, however, the force had to be kept
alive, the danger had to be overcome in some other way.

There was only one way: to beat the enemy decisively at Lukuledi. It
was necessary therefore to lose no time at Mahiwa, and, hard though
it was, I had to abandon the idea of an annihilating pursuit. When,
early on the 19th October, a few scattered detachments of the enemy
were seen and fired on, I had already begun my march with six companies
and two guns. On the next day at two o’clock we entered Lukuledi from
the east, and on 21st of October at dawn we attacked the enemy, who
was apparently taken completely by surprise. North of Lukuledi, on
the Ruponda road, Major Kraut’s column surprised the camp of the 25th
Indian Cavalry Regiment, which, with transport harnessed, stood ready
for the march on Massassi; the camp was taken by storm and the regiment
lost almost the whole of its transport horses, altogether 350. Whilst I
was engaged with the detachments of Koehl and Ruckteschell in a fairly
serious action against the enemy entrenched at Lukuledi, I waited in
vain for the intervention of Kraut’s force. An attack on the camp
without the advantage of surprise had little hope of success. When the
force began to come under the fire of the enemy’s mine-throwers on
the flank, I withdrew the greater part from the zone of the effective
cross-fire, after beating off a strong enemy attack, in order to avoid
unnecessary losses. A fresh enemy, in the shape of a company of King’s
African Rifles (English East African Askari), who appeared unexpectedly
from the bush, was quickly driven off. In this engagement Lieutenant
Kroeger fell at the head of his company. The action was then broken
off. No news came of Major Kraut until night; thinking he could no
longer attack successfully at Lukuledi, and hearing no sounds of
fighting, he had made a détour and then approached Lukuledi from the
south.

Owing to unfavourable circumstances we had not succeeded in inflicting
a decisive defeat on the enemy at Lukuledi, and the operation had
only in part gained its objective, but the enemy’s losses must be
regarded as serious. The impression made on him was even greater than
I had supposed. At any rate, it was reported that he had evacuated
Lukuledi and withdrawn to the north. Among our casualties were three
company-commanders killed. I can still see Lieutenant Volkwein,
severely wounded in the leg, limping through the bush at the head of
his company. I had also spoken with Lieutenant Batzner and Lieutenant
Kroeger shortly before they fell. Sergeant-Major Klein also fell, who
had so often led his patrol on the Uganda railway. He was a capable
machine gun leader. But our losses were not in vain. Our patrols
pursued the enemy and fired on his camp near Ruponda and also his lines
of communication. The impossibility of maintaining large bodies of
troops in the neighbourhood of Ruponda—our supplies collected there
had fallen into the enemy’s hands—forced me to give up all idea of
pursuing the enemy.

At that time I thought it possible that the enemy’s withdrawal from
Lukuledi might have been due to the movements of Captain Tafel’s force,
which was marching from Mahenge to join us. We had lost touch with
him since the beginning of October. He had received orders to retire
gradually before the strong enemy columns which were advancing on
Mahenge from the north (Ifakara), west and south-west (Likuju, Mponda),
and to try to get into touch with the main force under my command. I
thought it quite possible that he had already arrived in the district
of Nangano, or west of that place, and that the enemy had turned about
again out of anxiety for his lines of communication.



CHAPTER XII

THE LAST WEEKS IN GERMAN TERRITORY


ON 24th October, the Governor of Chiwata, which had become the
centre of the Administration, arrived at my camp east of Lukuledi
for a conference. I firmly stated my opinion that, in spite of all
difficulties of supply which must shortly arise in German East Africa,
the war could and must be carried on. One possibility that offered was
to base the operations on Portuguese territory. This could only be done
by evacuating German East Africa and invading Portuguese East Africa.

The question of supplies was becoming very serious; we had in our
stores only about 500,000 kg. of supplies. That would last us about
six weeks. But it had been found that these figures were deceptive.
The piled-up sacks had to a great extent lost weight and the grain had
been eaten by insects. The new harvest could not be expected until
March at the earliest. If the operations were to be continued it was
necessary from this point of view alone to move south. I was still
reckoning with the possibility that Captain Tafel’s force might arrive
in the neighbourhood of Massassi and Chiwata, in which case I should
hand over to him the supplies at Chiwata, while I crossed the Makonda
hills in the direction of Lindi with part of the Chiwata force and
attacked the enemy’s main line of communication on the Lukuledi river.
In whichever way the situation might develop, the Chiwata district was,
on account of its fertility, of the greatest importance to us. Chiwata
was, however, not protected and was further threatened by the fact that
enemy operations were taking place in the north against Mnacho, and
enemy mounted forces had been seen on the Lukuledi-Lindi road in the
neighbourhood of Ndanda. Also enemy aircraft were paying our camp at
Chiwata increasing attention.

These were my reasons for withdrawing from Lukuledi at the end of
October with the main part of my forces. It could not be foreseen
whether another opportunity would offer of making another attack from
Chiwata on one of the enemy columns that would be passing before long.
For the next few weeks the enemy’s pressure was again directed against
Wahle. Quite fresh troops were appearing there, among them the Cape
Corps of South African half-castes. This corps had been stationed along
the Central railway and had been brought up to reinforce General Beves’
troops, apparently via Dar-es-Salaam and Lindi. Fortunately General
Beves had not waited for this reinforcement before his defeat at Mahiwa.

General Wahle was retiring step by step up the Lukuledi river. I was,
unfortunately, not able to send him any support, but even had to draw
on his forces to have troops in hand ready for a favourable opportunity
for an attack and to protect the supplies. In the almost daily
bush-fighting of General Wahle’s force heavy losses were apparently
inflicted on the enemy, and he was held severely in check. There was,
however, no defeat and no considerable capture of booty, and meanwhile
our supplies were getting lower and lower. On 6th November, I rode
from Chiwata to Nangoo, near Ndanda, where, close behind Wahle’s
force, I found a suitable point of attack for the Chiwata troops. On
7th November I rode back from Nangoo to Chiwata, making a détour south
across the Makonde hills. On the same day enemy troops were again
reported at Lukuledi, and on 9th November an affair of patrols took
place at Chigugu, just west of Chiwata.

At this critical time, when the heads of the enemy columns were nearing
Chiwata, it was urgently necessary for us to throw all our strength
against one of these columns as soon as possible before the others
could intervene. The first essential to make this blow effective
was to bring the whole strength of our all too weak forces to bear
simultaneously. This depended chiefly on the supply of ammunition.
Our whole supply had dwindled to about 400,000 rounds, a very scanty
allowance for our 25,000 rifles and 50 machine guns in a serious
engagement, after which it would only be possible to continue the
struggle if ammunition were captured. For this the nature of the ground
was unfavourable. In the thick bush there was a tendency for each
individual to fire many rounds and make few hits, so that the supply of
cartridges was quickly used up without producing the decisive results
we needed. What made a satisfactory solution of the ammunition question
still more impossible was that the cartridges were for the most part
the smoky ’71 type, whereas only about one-third of the troops were
armed with ’71 rifles; the other two-thirds had modern German, English
or Portuguese rifles, and for these the supply of cartridges was very
small. What there were were required for our most important weapon, the
machine gun. It was a difficult position. There was nothing else for it
but to make the attack with only those troops who were armed with the
’71 rifle and to hold in reserve the rest, who had only twenty rounds
of ammunition suitable for their modern rifles, the rest being the
smoky ’71 type. The two forces would then be interchanged so that the
first, armed with the ’71 rifles, could hand them over to the relieving
force, taking the modern weapons in exchange. This meant that at the
best only one-third of the available strength could be in action at
the same time and even then would have to be very sparing with their
ammunition.

Our artillery ammunition had already been exhausted with the exception
of a few rounds for the two mountain guns and some Portuguese
ammunition. Our last field-howitzer, as well as the English gun
captured at Mahiwa, had burst. The last two 10·5 cm. guns from the
_Königsberg_ had been destroyed a few days before. On the day after a
German mountain gun had been destroyed and sunk at Kitangari. We were
thus left with one German and one Portuguese mountain gun. During the
last few months the lack of artillery ammunition had been so serious
that we had rarely more than three hundred rounds all told. That was
about the allowance per engagement for one of the numerous English guns.

Under such circumstances an attack could only promise success if the
situation was exceptionally favourable. This was never the case. The
patrols were kept active, and the enemy harassed as much as possible,
but otherwise there was nothing left but for General Wahle’s force and
the 11th Field Company, which had been left at Mnacho to bring away the
supplies, gradually to give way before the pressure of the enemy and
retire to Chiwata. On 10th November the Ndanda mission, immediately in
the rear of General Wahle, who was at Nangoo, was surprised by a strong
enemy force and captured. The field-hospital quartered there, and part
of our stores, fell into the enemy’s hands. Lieberman’s force, south of
Ndanda, ensured the retreat of General Wahle’s force, which ascended to
the Makonda plateau, by the road south-east of Nangoo, the road I had
reconnoitred on 7th November, and, by crossing the plateau diagonally
to Chiwata, escaped from the enemy’s trap. The 11th Company also found
its way to Chiwata from Mnacho, so that, with the exception of Captain
Tafel’s Detachment and some small bodies of troops further south, the
whole force was concentrated at Chiwata. The gradual transport of our
supplies from Chiwata east to Nambindinga had begun, and with that
our march to Kitangari. Meanwhile I kept an anxious look-out for a
vulnerable point in one of the enemy columns. On the 14th November I
thought I had discovered one.

A strong enemy column, to which belonged the 10th South African
Mounted Infantry, had passed close to our position while marching from
Lukuledi via Massassi, and had attacked Mwiti, two hours’ march south
of Chiwata. In this place, which until then had been only weakly held,
Lieberman’s force (three companies) had arrived the day before. In
spite of the shortage of ammunition there was, I thought, a chance that
by unexpectedly throwing into the fight Koehl’s force from Chiwata,
this enemy might be defeated separately. I was, however, very busy with
the preparations for the withdrawal to Nambindinga and unfortunately
let the opportunity at Mwiti pass without taking advantage of it.

There was nothing for it, then, but to retire gradually to Nambindinga.

Through the evacuation of Chiwata the European prisoners, as well as
the Indians, who had been carried to the hospital, and the hospital
itself, full for the most part of seriously wounded, fell into
the enemy’s hands. The march to Nambindinga was carried out under
continuous fighting between the 15th and 17th November. I wanted to
make the enemy complete the concentric march of his columns, advancing
north-west and south, so as to effect a junction; then, when the
enemy’s masses were helplessly crowded on a narrow area, I could march
where I liked. On November 17th I had to take a fateful decision at
Nambindinga. The continual bush-fighting was threatening to consume all
our ammunition. It would have been madness to go on with this fighting,
which could not bring about a favourable decision. We had therefore to
withdraw.

The supply question pointed the same way. Only by a drastic reduction
of strength could we carry on with the stores in hand. Our supply area
had been narrowed, fresh requisitioning had been interfered with by the
enemy, and the produce of the land exhausted. The supply of quinine
would last the Europeans a month longer. After the consumption of this
the Europeans would certainly fall victims to malaria and its attendant
evils; they would no longer be able to contend with the rigours of
a tropical campaign. Only by reducing the number of Europeans to a
minimum could enough quinine be ensured for each man to enable us to
carry on the operations for months.

At the same time we had to reduce our total strength. Our large force
with little ammunition was of less value in the field than a smaller
number of picked men with plenty of ammunition. It amounted to the
reduction of our strength to about 2,000 rifles, including not more
than 2,000 Europeans. All above this number had to be left behind.
It could not be helped that among the several hundred Europeans and
600 Askari that we were compelled to leave behind in the hospital at
Nambindinga, there were men who would have liked to go on fighting
and were physically fit to do so. Unfortunately, it must be admitted
that among those who were left behind at Nambindinga, even among the
Europeans, there were many who were not unwilling to lay down their
arms. It is, however, worthy of mention that not only the majority
of the Europeans, but also many Askari, were bitterly disappointed
at having to remain. We had repeatedly to refuse the request of a
brave Askari that he might come and fight for us. But when, two days
later, Lieutenant Grundmann, though severely wounded and scarcely
able to walk, reported himself, saying that he could not, in spite
of orders, bring himself to surrender, I have seldom been so pleased
as at this breach of discipline. It may be mentioned here that in
general the enemy, as far as I am in a position to judge, treated our
prisoners with humanity, but it seems to me that he was anxious to
convict us of cruelty to English prisoners, perhaps in order to justify
reprisals, perhaps for other reasons. Lieutenant Cutsch had been left
sick in Nandanda, and fell into the enemy’s hands. On the totally
unfounded and unproved evidence of a negro that Lieutenant Cutsch had
on one occasion, when commanding a patrol, burned to death a wounded
Englishman, he was put in irons and sent by sea to Dar-es-Salaam,
being imprisoned during the voyage just outside the ship’s roundhouse.
At Dar-es-Salaam he was locked up for several weeks in the prison
without a trial. When at last he was tried, it came out that the
charge of senseless cruelty rested purely on the lying evidence of
the negro. Again, General Deventer informed me that Captain Naumann,
who had surrendered near Kilima Njaro, had been tried for murder. He,
too, as I heard later, was kept imprisoned for a long time without a
hearing, until his innocence was finally established. I find it all the
more difficult to understand this mockery of justice, as the English
prisoners were always humanely treated by us, and were often better
cared for materially than our own people.[5]

These decisions placed the conduct of the war on an entirely different
basis. Hitherto we had stored the supplies in dumps and for the most
part had been able to satisfy our demands from these; the ammunition
also had been maintained from stores. This system had laid us more
open to attack and offered the enemy points of attack which we could
not protect. But by the methods adopted hitherto it had been possible
to keep the troops in the field at great strength, considering our
position, and to employ a great part of them on a small area for a
considerable period. It had further been possible to give a permanent
character, at any rate to some of our hospitals, where sick and wounded
could recuperate in peace, and in this way we could fill the gaps in
our front with refreshed and experienced men. This system had made
our operations dependent to a great extent on the situation of the
supplies and reinforcements, and had hindered freedom of movement.
The advantage, however, in our position of being able to employ
strong troops and with them successfully to engage, and often defeat
decisively, superior enemy forces was so great that I held to this
system as long as it was at all possible.

It was now no longer possible, and the advantages I have mentioned
had to be sacrificed under the pressure of necessity. It was
certainly questionable whether the reduced force could be maintained
without supply dumps, and without reinforcements the prospect of
remaining, after twelve days in the plains, with five thousand hungry
negroes and without supplies was not attractive. Should we succeed
in satisfying those requirements of the force which could not be
obtained on the spot, especially ammunition and arms, by means of
capture from the enemy—for the only possibility of renewing our
supplies lay in capturing the enemy’s—in sufficient quantities to
make the continuation of the war possible? That was the all-important
question. If we succeeded, however, in maintaining the force on the
new territory the increased independence and mobility, used with
determination against the less mobile enemy, would give us a local
superiority in spite of the great numerical superiority of the enemy.
In the unlimited territory at our disposal it would be possible to
withdraw from unfavourable positions. The enemy would be compelled to
keep an enormous amount of men and material continually on the move,
and to exhaust his strength to a greater extent proportionately than
ourselves. There was also the prospect of tying down strong enemy
forces and protracting the operations indefinitely if—my forecast
proved correct. This was at that time doubtful, but the risk had to be
taken.

We did not stay long at Nambindinga; this place situated on the
plateau had no water and the springs in the valley were within range
of the enemy’s guns and machine guns. Under the protection of patrols,
which held back the enemy at Nambindinga, Headquarters and the main
part of the forces arrived at Kitangari on 18th November. The enemy
did not follow, probably he could not. As had been foreseen, he had
strained every nerve to strike the so long hoped-for knockout blow at
Chiwata and had to re-form before undertaking further operations. At
Kitangari the old experience was repeated of finding that the supplies
stored there had been estimated much too highly. The supplies at all
serviceable would, all told, only feed the force for about ten days; we
could reckon on no appreciable addition to these stores from the region
south of Kitangari. The question in which direction the march should be
continued focussed itself in the main on the prospect of again finding
the means of adequately feeding the force. There was no time to be lost.

I knew that in the area along the Rovuma the English and Portuguese had
systematically destroyed our supplies. Our small dumps, requisitioning
stations and supply columns had been attacked and the supplies
destroyed. The natives had been influenced against us. The north
and south banks of the middle Rovuma were only thinly populated; at
Tunduru, further up the Rovuma, strong forces of both sides had been
engaged and the supplies there were probably exhausted. I could get
no reliable information about the Mafia plateau south of the lower
Rovuma. Even if, as many reported, this had been a richly-cultivated
district before the war it was very doubtful whether now, after strong
Portuguese forces had been billeted there for years, there would be
any food left. The most probable place for finding supplies seemed to
me at that time to be the district where Major Stuemer’s operations
had taken place: the corner between the Rovuma and the Ludjenda rivers
and further south in the region of Nangware and Mwembe. Even this was
doubtful, for here, too, war had interfered with the agriculture of the
natives. Meanwhile, of the various improbabilities this last seemed to
me the least improbable, and I decided to march at once up the Rovuma.

A determining factor in the choice of this direction was my wish to
equip my force for a prolonged period of action by a large capture of
ammunition and other war material. Previous observation and the reports
of the natives led me to believe that somewhere near the Rovuma the
enemy still possessed large stores. On 20th November we reached Nevale,
where we were joined by the patrols which had secured our southern
flank, and the reorganization of the force was finally carried through.
At Nevale the last men unfit for marching were left behind, and on
21st November we marched south to the Rovuma with 300 Europeans, 1,700
Askari, and 3,000 bearers and other natives. Every man was loaded to
his full capacity. In general, as the supplies were consumed, the
bearers no longer required were left behind, so as to keep the number
of consumers as low as possible. In many cases we had to refuse the
urgent requests of our good old bearers to remain with us, a large
number offering to carry on without pay, some even without either pay
or rations; these were ready to provide their own rations from what
we threw away and Pori fruit. The quartermaster at that time, Naval
Lieutenant Besch, reorganized the supplies and transport service very
efficiently. He deserves the chief credit for the force’s ability to
carry on.

As was to be expected, only small detachments of the enemy were
reported in the neighbourhood of the Rovuma. On 21st November we
arrived at Mpili, on the bank of the river, and were about to pitch
our camp when several shots passed close to a hunting party. On
reconnoitring we found in front of us a large pond, on the opposite
side of which horses were being watered. Behind rose a rocky mountain.
Soon afterwards a native, apparently a spy, appeared, bringing a
written message: “We are English cavalry, and we want to get into touch
with Portuguese infantry regiments.” Whether this was a ruse could not
be ascertained. It was clear that for the moment we had only to do
with a small squadron of cavalry. By a sharp attack the enemy was soon
routed and in the pursuit sustained several casualties: five European
prisoners belonging to the 10th South African Mounted Infantry were,
for reasons of supply, sent back to the enemy. The captured horses were
welcome as chargers and as a possible addition to our rations.

[Illustration: Native Types (3).

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: Native Types (4).

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

The rest of the march up the Rovuma progressed very slowly. A great
part of the force were unaccustomed to long route-marches. The columns
straggled endlessly. The Askari women followed singly, several hundred
yards apart. It was some time before they learned to keep to a regular
marching order. Incidentally it became obvious that in some companies
the Askari who had come with us had not been selected from the most
suitable point of view. In the reorganization of the companies which
had had to be carried out during the fighting, many good and reliable
men had been left behind, and replaced by others, stronger perhaps,
but less reliable. Many went into battle with their children on their
shoulders; it would have been better to choose an equally reliable man
who was not burdened by having to drag about a wife and family.

But it was too late now to alter anything.

Apparently we had quite got outside the enemy’s range of observation.
The aircraft which usually followed our marches were absent and no
bombs fell on our camps. Once an enemy supply column crossed the Rovuma
right into our camp. It was a welcome capture. Of grain we found
practically none in this district, but on the other hand, we shot
plenty of game. Several buffaloes and quite a number of antelopes,
particularly Wasserbok, fell to our guns. But we dared not delay; our
shrinking supplies urged us continually forward. Fortunately I had with
me a few Europeans who knew the country, and who, shortly before, had
been working near the confluence of the Ludjenda and the Rovuma. In
peace time a Portuguese station had been situated there, and even in
war a more or less strong garrison had been reported there. It might
be assumed that even now we should find some traces of the enemy. The
few natives we came across even spoke of a stronger garrison, amounting
to two thousand English or Portuguese. The natives’ figures could not,
of course, be relied on, but they strengthened my belief that in the
neighbourhood of Ngomano something might be done.



  PART III

  FIGHTING ON FOREIGN SOIL

  (From the Crossing into Portuguese East Africa to the Armistice)



CHAPTER I

ACROSS THE ROVUMA


EARLY in the morning of November 25th, 1917, our advance guard waded
across the Rovuma, a little above the Ludjenda confluence; the main
force of nine companies followed in the course of the forenoon, the
rearguard about two days’ march in the rear. Captain Goering with three
companies had crossed much further downstream to surprise a Portuguese
camp reported there. We had no news of Captain Tafel, and I thought it
probable that he would strike the Rovuma much further west.

The feeling that we were cut off from all support, as well as the
absolute uncertainty as to the fate before us, had produced what is
popularly known as “_allgemeine Wurschtigkeit_” (absolute callousness).
Undisturbed by the tactical situation, our hunting parties went on with
their work, and their shots were, as afterwards transpired, distinctly
heard by the enemy.

While crossing the river, many took a careful bath in full view of
the enemy; in many cases it required some effort to make clear the
requirements of the state of war.

On the south bank we soon came under fire. The company acting as
advance guard came upon enemy scouts, several of whom were killed. I
employed the next few hours, while the troops gradually came up and
covered the crossing of the rest, to reconnoitre. Not far from our
front, on the far bank of the Ludjenda river, signals could be heard
and men could be seen. We came close to the enemy camp and saw men
in white suits moving about, a few hundred yards away. Others were
building earthworks and a transport column was also observed. The
troops were certainly in great force.

While I was still considering whether, and in what way, a prospect
of attack offered, a column of Askari in khaki advanced from the
camp towards our troops. About a company of the enemy left the camp.
Guessing that the enemy was wisely about to attack our troops with all
his force while they were still occupied in crossing the river, I ran
back quickly and ordered those of our companies who had crossed first
to put themselves in a defensive position. The favourable opportunity
I had hoped for did not, however, materialize: the enemy did not come.
Thus I was again faced with the question what to do. I was doubtful
whether, in view of our large numbers of bearers, it would not be more
expedient to march past the enemy stationed here at Ngomano and advance
further up the Ludjenda river. Either the enemy would not hinder us,
or, if he did, he would have to emerge from his entrenched positions
and make up his mind for a difficult attack.

On the other hand, it was not unlikely that an attack by us on
the enemy camp would be successful, for its defences were not yet
especially strong. Reconnaissance had established that on the far bank
of the Ludjenda river a belt of thick wood led right up to the camp and
offered the opportunity of surprising the enemy here in strength, and
bringing off a decisive attack. I had not yet fully made up my mind
when Captain Müller decided me to take that one of the two decisions
which, though very risky, offered a prospect of the long awaited
decisive success and the capture of ammunition and war material which
had become an urgent necessity. No time was to be lost.

The attack was, therefore, made while part of the force was still
crossing the river. While our light mountain-gun fired on the enemy’s
entrenchments from the west, and while at the same time several
companies engaged the enemy on this side as also from the north,
Captain Koehl’s detachment crossed the Ludjenda half a mile above
Ngomano, marched through the high wood on that bank and made a
determined attack on the enemy’s camp from the south. I took up my
position on a little hill west of the camp, near our guns. Immediately
behind me the last company of General Wahle’s force to cross the river
was advancing along a valley. In front I had a fairly good view of
the enemy’s entrenched positions. The enemy’s machine guns were not
shooting badly, and their fire was at times directed upon our little
sand hill, from which I had to send into cover a number of Europeans
and Askari, who had collected there immediately and were visible to
the enemy. The clear ring of the enemy rifles, which we had heard
before, and the absence of trench-mortars, made it probable that the
enemy were Portuguese. We had already learned to distinguish clearly
between the dull, full detonation of our ’71, the sharp crack of our
S-rifle, the double report of the English rifle and the clear ring of
the Portuguese rifle of a little over 6 mm. calibre. Even our Askari
had noticed at once that in short skirmishes the speed with which the
enemy trench-mortars always got the range of our positions had been
very harassing.

Our ’71 rifles threw up so much smoke that it was impossible to guard
against this. To-day, however, there were no mine-throwers, and the
treacherous smoke of our good old rifles was not so bad. On the other
hand, when they did hit their target they made a very considerable
hole. Our Askari soon realized that to-day they were able to bring
their soldierly superiority to bear without being handicapped by
inferior weapons. “To-day is the day of the old rifles!” they shouted
to the German leaders, and from my hill I soon saw the firing line of
Koehl’s detachment storm the enemy’s entrenchments at the double and
capture them.

This was the signal for attack on the other fronts also. From all sides
they charged the enemy, who was badly shaken by the concentrated fire.
Scarcely more than 200 of the enemy force, about 1,000 strong, can
have survived. Again and again our Askari troops, in search of booty,
threw themselves ruthlessly upon the enemy, who was still firing; in
addition, a crowd of bearers and boys, grasping the situation, had
quickly run up and were taking their choice of the pots of lard and
other supplies, opening cases of jam and throwing them away again
when they thought they had found something more attractive in other
cases. It was a fearful _mêlée_. Even the Portuguese Askari already
taken prisoner, joined in the plunder of their own stores. There was
no alternative but to intervene vigorously. I became very eloquent,
and, to make an example, dashed at least seven times at one bearer I
knew, but each time he got away and immediately joined in the looting
somewhere else. At last I succeeded in restoring discipline.

We buried about 200 enemy dead, and about 150 European prisoners
were released after taking an oath not to fight again during this
war against Germany or her Allies; several hundred Askari were taken
prisoner. Valuable medical stores, so necessary to us, and, as a result
of the Portuguese experience of centuries of colonial campaigning, of
excellent quality, were captured, as well as several thousand kilos of
European supplies, large numbers of rifles, six machine-guns and about
thirty horses. Unfortunately we captured no native supplies. Almost
half of our force was re-armed this time with Portuguese rifles; and a
plentiful supply of ammunition was served out. A quarter of a million
rounds of ammunition were captured, and this number was increased in
the course of December to nearly a million. From captured dispatches we
learned that the Portuguese-European companies had only reached Ngomano
a few days before, in order to carry out the impossible English order
to prevent a German crossing of the Rovuma. It was really a perfect
miracle that these troops should have arrived so opportunely as to make
the capture of the place so profitable to us. With one blow we had
freed ourselves of a great part of our difficulties.

But yet another serious difficulty arose, which drove us remorselessly
on. This was the necessity of procuring food for our large numbers of
natives. Accordingly we advanced up the Ludjenda river. Day after day
our patrols searched for native guides and supplies. During the next
few days, however, they had little success. The natives, never numerous
in this district, had fled before the advance of the Portuguese,
fearing their ruthlessness and cruelty, and had hidden what stores they
possessed. One after another, mules and horses found their way into our
stew-pots. Fortunately this district is very rich in game, and the
hunter can always shoot one of the numerous antelopes or guinea-fowl.

Though at first our marching columns were too long and straggling, here
again practice made perfect. Bearers, boys, women and children, soon
learned to keep pace and distance as exactly as the Askari. Regularly
and in good order, the expedition wound along the narrow native paths,
and even through the thick bush, into the unknown land. Half an hour’s
halt was called after every two hours’ march; the rule was six hours’
march a day, _i.e._, about fifteen to twenty miles, and this was often
exceeded. The force was for the most part divided into detachments of
three companies, each with one supply train and one field hospital.
The advance detachment was a day’s march ahead of the main body, the
last a day’s march behind. At the head of each detachment marched the
fighting companies with their machine guns; they had with them only the
necessary ammunition and medical stores, and each European was allowed
one load of necessities. The Askari marched gaily forward, straight
as lances, and with their guns reversed over their shoulders, as has
always been the custom in the rifle regiments. Lively conversation
was kept up, and after the plundering of an enemy camp, which often
yielded rich booty, cigarette smoke rose on all sides. The little
signal recruits strode bravely forward, half-grown youths in Askari
uniform for the most part, carrying all their worldly goods in a bundle
on their heads. The Askari would call out their friendly, “Jambo Bwana
Obao,” or “Jambo Bwana Generals” (“Good-day, Colonel”), or a little
signalman would express his hope of coming some day to Uleia (Europe)
and Berlin. “Then the Kaiser will say to me, ‘Good-day, my son,’ and I
shall give him an exhibition of signalling. Then he will give me roast
meat and present me to the Empress. The Empress will say, ‘Good-day, my
child,’ and will give me cakes and show me the shop-windows.” During
all their talk the Askari kept a sharp look-out, and no movement in the
thick bush escaped their lynx eyes.

The head of the column investigated every trail, and from it gave the
number and the distance of the enemy. Equally soldierly were the
machine-gun bearers, mostly strapping Waniamwezi and Wazukuma. The
companies and detachments were followed by bearers with the loads of
supplies, baggage, camp-kit and stretcher cases. The loads, about 25
kg., were carried alternately on the head and shoulders. The endurance
of these men is enormous. They became more and more attached to the
troops. If ever the supplies were short and the hunting parties
unsuccessful, they would say, “Haiswu’b (it doesn’t matter), we wait,
get some another time.” Many marched barefoot and often got thorns in
their feet. Often one would promptly take his knife and calmly cut out
a piece of flesh from the wounded foot. Then he would start off again.
The bearers were followed by the women and the Bibi. Many Askari had
their wives and children with them in the field, and many children were
born during the march. Each woman carried her own Mali (property), as
well as that of her lord, on her head. Often they carried on their
backs a small child, his woolly head peeping out of the cloth in which
he was wound. The women were kept in order and protected by a European
or a trustworthy old non-commissioned officer, assisted by a few
Askari. They all liked gay colours, and after an important capture,
the whole convoy stretching several miles would look like a carnival
procession.

Even during the march the obtaining of supplies had to be attended to.
Hunting patrols marched ahead of the column or on the flanks in the
bush. Often they would remain behind near the old camping sites, where
game or traces of game had been observed. Other patrols followed human
tracks leading to settlements to requisition supplies. On arriving at
the camping-ground, four Askari and my boy Serubiti would cut down
branches and erect a frame for the tent sections or for a grass-hut.
Sometimes a raised bivouac of branches was arranged and covered with
grass. Soon afterwards the bearded Baba, my cook, would arrive and give
careful directions for the arrangement of the kitchen. The bearers
would come and fetch water, cut grass and firewood with their bush
knives. The hunting patrols brought in what they had shot, and soon the
smell of cooking rose from the camp-fires on all sides. Meanwhile,
parties of bearers had been threshing in the villages, and brought
back corn. In the Kinos (thick wooden vessels) the corn was crushed by
beating it with thick clubs, the dull thuds sounding far into the bush.
Messages, reconnaissance reports, and captured dispatches were brought
in; a box in a shady spot served as a desk. During the longer halts
a table was built of branches. The evening meal was eaten in company
with friends round the camp fire, the boys bringing cases to sit on.
The more lordly had deck-chairs. Then to bed under the mosquito-nets,
and in the early morning once more into the unknown. Should we find
supplies, and could we make what we had last out until we did? These
uncertainties cropped up every day afresh, and haunted us week after
week and month after month. The eternal marching was, as will be
understood, no mere pleasure. At—— I heard some remarks about myself,
such as: “Still further? The fellow must come from a family of country
postmen!”

When we reached the confluence of the Chiulezi, difficulties of
supplies had become so serious, and the district hitherto regarded as
fertile had so greatly altered, that I dropped my original intention of
keeping the force together. For the moment it seemed impossible, from
the tactical point of view also. From the English, who were probably
following us, we need not expect any strong pressure, owing to the
daily lengthening of their line of communication and the consequent
difficulty of bringing up supplies.

A written message from the British Commander-in-Chief, General van
Deventer, in which he summoned me to surrender, was brought under
protection of the white flag, and strengthened me in my belief that our
escape had taken him by surprise, and that our invasion of Portuguese
territory had put him at a loss. Neither he nor General Smuts had
ever thought of sending a summons to surrender when the situation
was favourable to the English. Why should they do so in a situation
like the present, or that of September, 1916, at Kissaki, which was
undoubtedly favourable to us? Only because they were at their wits’
end. That was indeed not difficult to see through. The time before the
setting in of the rainy season, at the end of December, was too short
to prepare for a fresh operation, and after the rains had begun the
enemy transport of supplies, which depended largely on motors, would be
faced with new difficulties.

We had, therefore, plenty of time, and could divide ourselves into
several columns without hesitation. We had nothing to fear from
temporary loss of touch one with the other. Accordingly General Wahle’s
detachment was separated from the rest, and marched through the Mkula
mountains, while I marched further up the Ludjenda.

The surrender of Captain Tafel, which I learned from General van
Deventer’s message, came as a severe and unexpected blow.

Captain Tafel had taken over the command at Mahenge from General Wahle,
when the latter left to take over the forces on the Lindi front. He
secured the fertile region of Mahenge to the north, with Commander
Schoenfeldt’s detachment of a few companies. The latter succeeded in
holding his ground with his weak force by skilful use of his 10·5 gun
from the _Königsberg_, and put his force in a very favourable position
materially by the cultivation of gardens and fields.

On the middle Ruhudje was a weak detachment under Captain Aumann,
and north-east of Ssongea Captain Lincke’s detachment near Likuju.
The latter engaged the enemy repeatedly, and in the barren district
suffered from lack of supplies. They therefore gradually retired north
to Mponda. There they were reinforced by two companies and one gun
from the main force. Captain Otto took over the command. In August,
1917, strong English and Belgian forces converged on Mahenge; Captain
Tafel had foreseen this, and withdrawn his supplies out of the Mahenge
district to Mgangira. On September 11th, Mahenge was evacuated.
Even though the individual engagements were often successful, the
superiority of the enemy made itself seriously felt, and the shortage
of ammunition handicapped more and more the Askari companies, mostly
armed with the smoky ’71 rifle.

I learned later through Captain Otto, who had fought his way through
to me with one of Captain Tafel’s patrols and joined me at——, that
Captain Tafel, from west of Livale, had marched south in three columns,
and on the upper Mbemkuru had fought several partially successful
actions, capturing large quantities of ammunition. He had then marched
further south to the Bangala river, and turned east when he thought he
was near Massassi. South of this place he heard from the natives that
the Germans had not been fighting north of Rovuma for several days.
Captain Tafel turned towards the Rovuma and crossed near the Nangala
confluence, hoping to find supplies on the south bank. His own were
literally exhausted. He found nothing and had no idea that about a
day’s march from him Goering’s detachment of my force had captured the
Portuguese camp and found enough food on the prosperous farms to enable
them to live well for fourteen days. Captain Tafel therefore returned
to the north bank of the Rovuma and surrendered to the enemy.

The news of Captain Tafel’s surrender strengthened my reluctance to
detach another part of my force, though, in view of my proximity, the
junction at which we were both aiming had as nearly as possible been
effected. I was straightway put upon the rack by the cessation of news
from Goering’s detachment with which, while it was at Ngomano, we had
kept touch by means of patrols. During the march up the Ludjenda, when
we had to keep the different detachments and companies further apart,
in order to facilitate the search for food, it was necessary to impress
upon subordinate leaders the importance of keeping the whole force in
touch. It was, however, not to be expected that these officers, who
later performed such excellent work as leaders of detachments, and
worked so successfully in co-operation with the rest, should possess
the necessary training from the beginning. The Governor had remained
with the force even after leaving the Protectorate, in accordance
with the regulation (certainly not intended to provide for war with
a European power) that he was the military head of the Protectorate.
He had interpreted this authority in such a way as to interfere
most seriously with that of the Commander-in-Chief, and had often
encroached upon my sphere of activity. I had been powerless to prevent
this, and now that we were outside the Protectorate I attached the
greatest importance to the fact that now, at any rate, I had a free
hand. Even if I did not yield to the Governor’s claims, it must be
understood that in the unprecedented military situation there were
enough differences of opinion to overburden the Commander-in-Chief,
who, whatever happens, is held actually, if not morally, responsible.

It was perhaps natural that at this time I was not always very gentle
and considerate to those around me. So it happened that those very
officers of my Staff who were working with the greatest devotion to
the cause and deserved the most recognition, were the objects of
much unjustified reproach. For not taking offence or allowing this
to prejudice the cheerful continuation of their work, they deserve
particular gratitude. It is largely to the work of these officers,
often carried out under adverse circumstances, that are due the
successes which the public is so generously inclined to place wholly to
my credit. For me, who have always delighted in the good comradeship
characteristic of our officer corps, this general atmosphere of
snarling and fault-finding was naturally not ideal. Fortunately,
however, it was only a passing phase.

Our position was now such that in case of an encounter with the
enemy we could not investigate his strength. We had no time for
prolonged reconnaissance. Perhaps this conviction, together with the
determination with which we attacked the Portuguese forces whenever
we met them, accounts for the fact that, during December, three more
Portuguese fortified positions were taken in quick succession. Of
decisive importance in these enterprises was the personality of the
officer in command who first engaged the enemy. He must lose no time,
and so could not wait for orders. On the 2nd November, Lieutenant
Kempner, commanding the 11th Company, which was acting as advance-guard
in the march up the Ludjenda, came upon a fortified Portuguese camp
at Nangwale. Like most Portuguese camps, it lay on a bare hill, with
a wide range of fire. The brave 11th Company at once deployed along
the edge of the bush, and advanced to the attack across three hundred
metres of open ground exposed to the enemy’s fire. The Askari, who
were carrying full marching kit, could not keep up with the company
commander and his Effendi (black officer). Lieutenant Kempner and
the Effendi leapt upon the enemy’s breastwork, and from there into
the enemy’s entrenchments, and so for a time found themselves alone
among the enemy garrison, consisting of a platoon. The latter were
so dumbfounded that, hearing the cheers of the oncoming Askari, they
at once obeyed the order to lay down their arms. In addition, a
considerable ammunition dump fell into our hands, as well as enough
rations to feed our whole force for several days. When the Portuguese
officer invited Lieutenant Kempner to a glass of special brandy and
found the bottle empty, its owner had further reason for being taken
aback, but with the difference this time that his enemy was taken aback
equally. An Ombascha (black lance-corporal) had the best of the joke.

I was filled with grave anxiety about the fate of Captain Goering, of
whom I had received no news. From General Wahle’s force, which had
marched up the Chiulezi river, we heard subsequently that they had
attacked and annihilated a force of several Portuguese companies in
a strongly entrenched position in the Mkula mountains. The repeated
attempts to establish communication with Wahle’s force by means
of the heliograph did not succeed, although the Portuguese in the
Mkula mountains had clearly observed our signals from Nangwale. The
Portuguese Europeans captured by our detachment had refused to give
their word not to fight against us again in this war. They had been
sent north to the Rovuma by General Wahle owing to the difficulty of
feeding them.

Captain Stemmermann succeeded, after several days’ siege, in capturing
another very strongly held and vigorously defended fortified position.
As the storming of this offered no prospects of success, the enemy’s
water supply was cut off, which made his position in the trenches
untenable, and forced him to surrender. Among our casualties,
unfortunately, were a number of very good native non-commissioned
officers. I was not present at the fighting at Nangwale, as I was
occupied in dealing with delays in the rear companies and arranging
that the march should be kept up to the intended standard. By a double
day’s march I easily made up for the delay this had caused me, and
arrived in Nangwale in time to superintend the division of the captured
stores. In the most favourable circumstances we were only living from
hand to mouth. At Nangwale, where six months before our troops had
found such a rich neighbourhood, the position was now quite different.
Apart from the captured stores there was absolutely nothing; even the
game in a considerable area round Nangwale had been shot or frightened
away. This was a disappointment, for I had hoped at this place to be
freed from the more ordinary difficulties of supplies. The force had,
therefore, to be split up. From the information of the prisoners and
captured documents it appeared that the garrison in Nangwale had been
fed by columns of bearers from the distant neighbourhood of Mwalis.
There must, then, be something to be found there.

On 5th December Captain Koehl, with five companies, a gun and an
ammunition column, left Nangwale to march to the Mwalia—Medo district.
I myself continued the march up the Ludjenda. Fortunately the assurance
of Lieutenant von Scherbening and other Europeans, who had already
patrolled this district, that we should soon come into a region rich in
supplies was confirmed. These supplies, however, were not excessive,
and we were very glad that they could be largely supplemented by
hunting. The enormous numbers of hippopotami which lived in the river
above Nangwale, often in large herds of from fifteen to twenty, had
become quite a staple dish. I myself could not resist having a shot at
a huge bull; the animal sank at once, the water above it swirling as
over a sinking ship. After a time it came to the surface again, feet
uppermost, and made little further movement. The animal was then drawn
to the bank with a rope. The numerous crocodiles made us cautious,
and many a good prize had to be left from fear of these. The flesh
of the hippopotamus tastes like coarse beef; the tongue, however,
is particularly delicate. The most valuable product, however, is
the excellent lard which the men had very quickly learnt to prepare.
Its snow-white, appetizing appearance now was quite different from
the dirty yellow of the first attempts on the Rufiji. On my many
reconnoitring and hunting expeditions into the bush the Askari,
who came with me and the bearers to carry the spoils of the chase,
gradually revealed some of the secrets of the bush. We had long ago
learned to make excellent spinach from different foliage plants (called
Mlenda); now they showed me many different kinds of excellent wild
fruit. We also learnt that the kernel of the Mbinji-fruit, the pulp of
which I already knew contains prussic acid, is quite free from acid,
and when roasted makes an exceptionally delicate dish, tasting like our
hazel-nut.

On the 17th December, 1917, Headquarters arrived at Chirumba (Mtarika).
Lieutenant von Ruckteschell, with his company, had gone on ahead and
had soon driven off the weak Portuguese outposts. This was a station of
the Portuguese Nyassa company; this merchant company also administered
the northern part of the colony. Further south, too, the administration
is in the hands of other private companies. The Portuguese official
in Chirumba, called Fernandez, seems to have been very capable. The
massive buildings of his station, situated at the top of a bare
eminence, were spotlessly clean. A trench ensured it against surprise.
Beautiful gardens with fruit and vegetables stretched along the bank
of the adjacent Ludjenda river. Avenues of mulberry and mango trees
fringed the carefully laid-out roads. Many species of this mango fruit,
known to the natives as Emben, were to be found in the station and
the neighbouring native villages. It was already beginning to ripen
and was so plentiful that it was found worth while to have the fruit
systematically gathered. The waste to which the natives are generally
prone was prevented as far as possible. The beautiful, sweet fruit was
enjoyed by all the Europeans and a great part of the natives, and, in
view of the shortage of sugar, for weeks provided a really valuable
addition to the supplies. When, on my arrival at Chirumba, I stepped
on to the veranda of the European house, Lieutenant Ruckteschell set
before me some hog’s lard, which I had not seen for a long time. Here,
as at many other Portuguese stations, there had been European pigs.

We remained here for several weeks. One detachment moved further
upstream and took possession of the small station of Luambala.
At the same time General Wahle marched to the prosperous station
of Mwemba, already known to us. The richly-cultivated triangle
Chirumba-Luambala-Mwemba and beyond the frontier was patrolled by our
requisitioning and reconnaissance patrols. The natives of this district
showed themselves for the most part intelligent and friendly; they
already knew that they had nothing to fear from the German troops. In
spite of that they had hidden their stores of food in the bush and
would let us have little or nothing. Our men had, however, long since
learned to examine closely, for example, a suspicious-looking tree
stump, and often found that it had been put together by hand and was
the hiding place for stocks of food. Others would drive their sticks
into the hollow ground of a freshly laid-out garden and found stores
of grain buried there. In short, many such hiding-places were found,
and when, at Christmas, we sat down to dinner in a large grass-hut,
we were relieved of the most pressing shortage of food. According to
the descriptions of our men the Ludjenda river was, during several
months of the year, so full of fish that they could be pulled out in
basketfuls. Oddly enough, on this occasion only very few were caught.
Most of them were sheat-fish, about eighteen inches long, and smaller
fish which were best fried crisp. These, too, contributed their modest
share towards the improvement of the rations.

Touch was kept with Koehl’s detachment in the neighbourhood of Medo
by means of a system of relays. I thought it probable that the enemy,
following his usual tactics, was preparing a great concentric movement
against us which would not be ready for at least a month. We could
thus rely on there being no considerable enemy activity until after
the rains, which would end at the end of February. About this time I
intended to concentrate my forces in the neighbourhood of Nanungu.
Until then we must husband our supplies in this area and live as
far as possible on what could be obtained in the outer fringe of our
present locality. At first there was not much game shot at Chirumba,
but the bag increased when we found considerable herds of antelopes
on the east bank of the Ludjenda, and particularly further upstream.
During the remainder of the dry season, while the river was low,
caravans of bearers were continually crossing the river by several
fords, carrying their loads to the dumps on the east bank. As well
as the fords, canoes made from hollowed tree-trunks were used for
crossing. Patrols were sent out for weeks at a time to collect supplies
and reconnoitre. Lieutenant von Scherbening, with his patrol, made an
expedition lasting months, marching from Chirumba via Mtenda, Mahua
and finally south, via the Lurio river, then up the Malema, where
they surprised the Portuguese Boma Malema. An Italian, who had been
hunting elephants on the Ludjenda and had joined us in a ragged,
starving condition, accompanied Lieutenant von Scherbening’s patrol.
The man’s health was, however, so undermined by lingering malaria and
his spleen so terribly swollen that he had to be carried from Mahua to
a plantation near Malacotera.

At the beginning of January, 1918, the English began to move. From the
south-east corner of Lake Nyassa two battalions—the 1st and 2nd King’s
African Rifles—began to advance towards Captain Goering’s detachment,
which had joined up with us and occupied the acute angle between the
Luhambala and Ludjenda rivers. He was covering the supply stores
further up the Ludjenda. On 9th January, in the forenoon, a detachment
of the enemy, attacking unsupported, was defeated. When, in the
afternoon, the enemy returned to the attack after the arrival of his
reinforcements, and at the same time an enemy force pressed forward in
a northerly direction toward the supply dumps on the east bank, Captain
Goering crossed to the east bank with the main part of his force. Only
a strong patrol was left in the old camp on the west bank, and they
held the enemy in check. At the same time an enemy force—the 2nd Cape
Corps of South African half-breeds was identified—was advancing on
Mwembe.

Then began innumerable small skirmishes and patrol actions, which
often put us in an awkward position, owing to our inability to protect
the bearers bringing up supplies. The English cleverly took advantage
of these difficulties to try to undermine the loyalty of our Askari.
Many were very war-weary. Added to this, there was in many cases the
feeling of uncertainty as to where the campaign was going to lead
them. The great majority of black men cling to their homes and their
relations. They said to themselves: “If we go further we shall come
into country we don’t know. We can find our way back from where we are
now, but soon we shan’t be able to.” The English propaganda, by word
of mouth and pamphlets, fell in many cases on fruitful ground, and,
as a result, a number of good Askari and even older non-commissioned
officers deserted. Small annoyances, such as are bound to arise—the
persuasion of the women and so on—all contributed to their decision
to desert. One old _sol_ (native sergeant-major) suddenly disappeared,
who had led a brilliant independent patrol and had brought a strong
detachment of bearers with their loads right through the enemy lines,
and for his good service had been promoted to “Effendi.” He, too, had
deserted. The impulsiveness of the black makes him very sensitive
to insinuation. But even if the English Colonel can boast of having
lowered the _moral_ of certain elements, this was only a passing phase.
The old lust of battle and the old loyalty returned, even among those
who had begun to hang their heads. The example of the faithful Askari,
who simply laughed at the mountains of gold the English promised them
if they would desert, won the day. In so long and trying a campaign
the _moral_ was bound to be low from time to time. It was no use to be
astonished and discouraged, the important thing was to fight against it
firmly, and for this the loyal elements, of which there were many, both
among Europeans, Askari and bearers, had firmly made up their minds.



CHAPTER II

EAST OF THE LUDJENDA


THE patrol of Captain Otto, who had been sent from Captain Tafel to
me after the latter’s surrender, and gave me details about the events
leading up to it, had arrived at Chirumba. Captain Otto, with two
additional companies, now marched to Luambala and took over the command
also of Goering’s detachment (three companies). As was expected,
the main pressure of the enemy was felt at Luambala, as also on the
east bank of the Ludjenda. It was clear that if the enemy advanced
downstream my position at Chirumba on the west bank of the river, in a
district where the supplies were being gradually exhausted, and with
the river swollen by the rains in my rear, was extremely unfavourable.

It was necessary to evacuate this position and to move my force,
while there was time, to the east bank of the Ludjenda. Unfortunately
the fords were impassable, owing to the height of the river, so that
the whole crossing had to be effected by means of the three canoes
available.

Gradually, and without interference, the companies were transferred
to the east bank. The supply question was beginning to become very
serious. Fortunately Captain Koehl, who, in the neighbourhood of Medo
and Namunu, had kept the very intelligent natives to the cultivation
of the quickly ripening grain, reported that a good harvest could be
relied on as early as the middle of February. But that was not for
another month, so we should have to try by every possible means to hold
out a bit longer at Chirumba. Welcome as the manna to the children of
Israel, the fungi which shoot up at this season helped to keep us from
starvation. I had already in Germany interested myself in mycology,
and soon found fungi closely related to our German species of mushrooms
and yellow boleta and others, in the African bush. I had often gathered
basketfuls in a very short time, and even though an excessive diet
of mushrooms is indigestible and not very sustaining, they were a
considerable help.

In torrential rain we marched east. The usually dry ravines had become
raging torrents. Trees, felled in such a way as to fall over the
stream, formed bridges, a hand-rail being improvised from poles or
bark lashed together. The mule I was riding on account of fever—I am
apparently very sensitive to malaria, from which I suffered a great
deal—as well as the few other riding animals that had not found their
way into the cooking-pot swam across. When we arrived at the camping
ground my men soon built me, on account of the damp, a raised shelter
of branches over which both my tent-cloths were laid as a roof.
Veterinary Surgeon Huber, who was responsible for the material welfare
of the staff, and under him our capable black cook, old bearded Baba,
at once got to work and, no matter how wet the wood, we were always
able in a short time to sit down to our meal beside the camp-fire.
Dr. Huber often managed even to have a grass roof erected for our
protection.

On sunny days tobacco was eagerly dried and cut. The efficient
Quartermaster-Lieutenant Besch, who was full of resource where the
comfort of the men was concerned, had thought of this and had collected
very good tobacco from the natives. But in spite of everything the
deprivations were very great and the insidious whisperings of the
enemy, that every native who deserted should be free to go home and
there live in comfort on his own land, did not always fall on deaf
ears. Even the faithful boy of one of our officers, whom he had served
for years, had one morning disappeared; probably his Bibi (wife) had
had enough of campaigning.

Captain Otto’s detachment marched from Uambala due east to Mahua, and
there, on the Lurio river, found a district rich in supplies. Goering’s
detachment, marching from Luambala across country to Mtende, found
considerable supplies on the way. In this district the harvest was
very much earlier than in German East Africa; the maize was beginning
to ripen and could to a large extent already be eaten. Headquarters
next moved from Chirumba to Mtende and, some days later, on to Nanungu.
Wahle’s detachment, which had followed us from Chirumba to Mtende, was
here cut off by several enemy companies which appeared unexpectedly
on a height on their rear and interrupted the messenger service and
the transport. General Wahle extricated himself by a détour from this
uncomfortable position and advanced nearer to Headquarters at Nanungu.

At Nanungu we found abundant supplies and we thought it expedient, as
before, to establish requisitioning stations and supply dumps in the
district between Nanungu and Namunu and further south. There was good
shooting, and the natives readily brought garden produce and honey
to exchange for meat or, preferably, clothing. Very welcome was a
delicate sweet, cherry-like Pori fruit, which ripened in millions in
the neighbourhood of Nanungu. I preferred to have it made into jam. We
also occasionally obtained other dainties, particularly pig-nuts, and
the crowing of cocks proclaimed far and wide that there were fowls and
eggs in the camps and among the natives.

The setting in of the rainy season did not quite coincide with the
forecasts of the natives. There were some sharp downpours, but in the
undulating country the water quickly ran off and collected in the main
artery of that region, the Msalu river, which was soon swollen so
as to form a strong obstacle. Over the Msalu river the post-service
official, Hartmann, who had joined the force as a Sergeant-Major, had
built a pontoon bridge which connected us with General Wahle’s force,
which was still on the west bank. The floating supports of the bridge
were boats made from bark. The necessity in this well-watered country
of being able to cross the swollen rivers without difficulty had drawn
my attention to this question. Hitherto our sole provision for such
contingencies consisted of a few hollowed canoes. Their continued
transport, however, was too difficult and their capacity too limited.
A planter named Gerth, who had joined us as a volunteer, interested
himself particularly in this matter and had himself instructed by the
natives of the district in the building of boats from bark. The ensuing
experiments soon produced good results, after which the building of
these boats, which took barely two hours to put together, for crossing
rivers was enthusiastically taken up by every company. Most of these
boats were not used, but they gave us a feeling of security that, if
necessary, even a full stream would not be impassable for our unwieldy
caravans and baggage.

When we became better acquainted with the neighbourhood, we found
fords over the Msalu which could be used even when the river was in
flood. Our patrols, in charge of Sergeant Valett and others, left our
fortified camp at Nanungu, crossed the river which formed the boundary
of our camp on the west, and went to look for the enemy in his camps at
Mtenda. One of these patrols, which was particularly strong and armed
with two machine guns, succeeded in surprising an enemy column west of
Mtenda. Our men, however, did not get away quickly enough to escape the
enemy’s covering force and, attacked from all sides, found themselves
in a difficult position. Both machine guns were lost and the Europeans
working them fell. Gradually the Askari all returned to Nanungu, but
the patrol leader, Sergeant-Major Musslin, who had got away from the
rest during the march, had fallen into the enemy’s hands. Another
patrol, with which Captain Müller crossed the Msalu to the north,
quickly drove off an English outpost at Lusinje. In the neighbourhood
of Lusinje, also the camp of the English, Lieutenant Wienholt, who, as
has already been mentioned, escaped from arrest and became one of the
best English patrol leaders, was captured. The natives were thoroughly
exploited by the English patrols and acted as spies for the enemy in
return for articles of clothing. The volunteer, Gerth, who has been
mentioned in connection with boat-building, was attacked and killed by
an English patrol while in the house of a native chief.

In the second half of March, 1918, our spirits were greatly raised
by the news, received by our wireless, of the powerful German March
offensive on the Western front. I laid a wager with the Staff Medical
Officer, Staff-Surgeon Taute, that Amiens would soon fall. I used
the period of rest that now set in for several weeks during the lull
in our operations to have my foot attended to. It had been bitten by
a sand-fly, and for the last six months had caused me inconvenience.
These sand-flies, which infested many of the camps, bore their way
into the flesh, round the edge of the toe-nails, causing painful
inflammation. If care is not taken they attack the flesh round them
and, according to medical opinion, the maiming of the feet frequent
among the natives is very often to be traced to the sand-fly. I,
too, was suffering from this inconvenience, and on the march the
inflammation constantly recurred. Fortunately Staff-Surgeon Taute,
using a local anæsthetic, was able to extract the nail.

I was also inconvenienced in another way. On a reconnoitring expedition
a blade of the tall grass, which grows above a man’s height, had
pierced my right eye. During the subsequent treatment it was feared
that the use of the lens might be affected by atropia; the result was
that I could not see properly with my right eye and was unable to
read hand-writing or sketch-maps. This was very awkward, as my left
eye had been so seriously injured by a shot wound received during the
Hottentot rebellion in South-West Africa, that I could only see through
it with the help of spectacles. Suitable spectacles could not, however,
be obtained, and so I was compelled to carry out various enterprises
without being able to see properly.

The patrols of Koehl’s detachment in the Medo-Nanungu district had
meanwhile reached the coast, after taking Portuguese fortresses on, and
far south of, the lower Lurio river, and carrying off a few guns and,
what was more important, rifles, ammunition and considerable supplies.
The natives showed themselves very friendly towards our men, whom they
regarded as their deliverers from Portuguese oppression. Patrols from
Otto’s detachment from Mahua had also reconnoitred as far as the region
south of the Lurio. Lieutenant Methner, so experienced in the ways
of the natives, and first _referant_ of our government, praised the
capacity and cleverness of the Portuguese natives and the intelligence
and far-sightedness of their local chiefs.

Lieutenant von Scherbening, who with his patrol had taken the Boma
Malema, reported that this neighbourhood was very productive. As a
specimen he sent us a captured pig to Nanungu. As it refused to walk it
was carried the 500 km. Unfortunately it turned out eventually not to
be a European pig at all, but a Pori pig, like those we frequently shot
in the bush.

Once more a time had come when it was difficult to obtain news of the
enemy, but a good deal could be conjectured from the incomplete maps at
our disposal. I could have no doubt that the imminent enemy operations
would be launched from the neighbourhood of Port Amelia with their main
force from the coast. The appearance of strong enemy forces at Mtende,
as well as the report, unconfirmed it is true, that troops were on the
march from the south-west towards Mahua, showed me that other troops
from the west were going to co-operate with the approaching attack of
the enemy main force. A situation seemed to be developing in which
I could make use of my inner line to attack one part of the enemy
singly. The enemy’s position with regard to reserves and supplies made
it obvious that the columns marching from the west could not be over
strong. This seemed to be the chance I had so long been awaiting. I,
therefore, remained with my main force at Nanungu and also recalled
Captain Otto’s detachment from Lurio. With these forces I intended to
assume the offensive in a westerly direction. Captain Koehl, whose
detachment was assembled at Medo, was charged with the duty of holding
up the enemy’s main force advancing from Port Amelia and retiring
gradually on my force.

Captain Müller, who, after years of work at Headquarters, had taken
over an independent detachment of two companies, was sent on from
the neighbourhood of Nanungu to Mahua to harass the enemy as far as
possible. He passed round Mahua and surprised, south-west of this
place, the fortified supply depot of Kanene. The defending English
European troops saw that all the stores were lost. To prevent this, at
least to some extent, they fell upon the stores of liquor in the camp
and were captured in a thoroughly intoxicated condition.

For myself, I, likewise, advanced in the middle of April in the
direction of Mahua, and during the march could hear from afar heavy
sounds of firing. At Koriwa, north-east of Mahua, Captain Müller had
attacked an enemy battalion under Colonel Barton, which had been making
a reconnoitring expedition and was at once attacked by our troops on
the march. In spite of the fact that on our side scarcely 70 rifles
took part in the action, our troops succeeded in enveloping the enemy’s
right wing, and from a large ant-hill poured upon him such a vigorous
and effective machine-gun fire that he fled wildly. He lost over 40
men in this action. Lieutenant-Commander Wunderlich, who had received
a severe wound through the abdomen, had to be taken to the hospital at
Nanungu, two days’ march distant, and died shortly afterwards.

The blow which I had intended to strike with the main force had already
been successfully carried through by Müller’s weak detachment. I,
therefore, turned with my main force to the district west of Nanungu. A
large force of the enemy had arrived meanwhile on the Msalu river and
had crossed it with several patrols. My calculation that I should be
able to surprise a strong body of the enemy immediately after crossing
the river was not fulfilled: the reports received had been incorrect.
However, in a whole series of minor engagements on the Msalu river and
further west our fighting patrols inflicted, gradually, severe losses
on the enemy and his patrols soon evacuated the east bank of the Msalu.
On 3rd May our supply patrols, whose duty it was to obtain further
supplies from the direction of Mahua, surprised, in the neighbourhood
of Saidi, strong enemy detachments which were seriously threatening our
field hospital and supply depots at Makoti.

Part of our stores had been brought to Makoti in readiness for the
operations planned to be carried out further west. Our fighting
patrols, which were sent out immediately, had several encounters with
the enemy near the Kireka mountain at Makoti. I thought at first that
these were only enemy patrols, so sent Captain Schulz there with a
strong patrol as a reinforcement, and myself marched on the 4th of May,
with the main body, to the Nanungu-Mahua road. From here I expected to
be able to carry out a swift attack on the enemy forces, which were
trying to surprise us somewhere in this neighbourhood. The general
situation was made clear when it was known that patrols had, in the
course of the day, encountered a new enemy near the Kireka mountain. An
enemy detachment had been thrown back and it was probable that strong
forces were in entrenched positions in the rear. In the morning of the
5th May I marched from my camp to Makoti. During the march I hoped
sincerely that the enemy would spare us the necessity of making the
attack on his fortified positions and that, as in view of the general
situation was not improbable, he would emerge from his entrenchments
and offer battle in the open. If this happened, and we succeeded
in attacking with our main force before the enemy was aware of our
arrival, a considerable success was probable.

At eleven o’clock in the forenoon I arrived at the Kireka mountain
and went on ahead to see Captain Schulz who, with his patrol, had
occupied some rocky grottos in the copse. As soon as I had arrived a
_sol_ (native Sergeant-Major), who had just returned from a patrol
expedition, reported that the enemy was advancing in great force
and must soon appear at close quarters. I passed on this report to
Lieutenant Boell, who had just brought up his company in the rear
of Schulz’s detachment, and instructed him to go up at once in case
of an enemy attack. I then went back and ordered the advance of our
companies which were gradually arriving. Meanwhile the fighting in
front began. The enemy, advancing in close order, had quickly thrown
back our patrols out of the grottos, but had then been completely taken
by surprise by the effective machine-gun fire of Boell’s company and
partially driven back. Goering’s detachment, coming up at that moment,
began an enveloping movement on the right, completely surprising the
enemy, who was rapidly driven back with very heavy losses.

After several miles of hot pursuit we reached the enemy’s
entrenchments. On our left wing, where two more companies had been sent
into action, the fight wavered, and it was difficult for me in the
thick bush to distinguish friend and foe. It was, therefore, some time
before I could get a clear idea of the situation on the left wing, and
it was not until I received a report from Major Kraut, whom I had sent
to investigate, that I realized that, in advancing, our left wing had
come under a withering enemy fire in a clearing which had brought it
to a standstill. A counter-attack by the enemy, which had brought him
very near to the position of our Headquarters, looked very dangerous.
Fortunately for us, however, just at this moment Lieutenant Buechsel,
whose company had been detached from the main force and so arrived
late, came upon the scene of action and was able to avert the danger.

Meanwhile, on the right wing, Captain Goering had realized that a
frontal attack on the enemy entrenchment offered no prospect of
success. He had, therefore, sent Lieutenant Meier with a strong patrol
round the enemy’s position to fire on the enemy mine-thrower from the
rear and if possible to capture it. This capture was not brought off,
for the enemy had at his disposal unexpected reserves which were able
to keep Meier’s patrol at a distance.

The action thus came to a standstill. When it had grown quite dark we
were close in front of the enemy. Shots were still being exchanged from
both sides, but only occasionally. The clerical work—even in Africa
there was writing to be done, though not as much as is usually the
case—was postponed during the fighting. A number of charges and other
tiresome details had to be written up. I was able from time to time
to talk personally with the company leaders, and called them together
for this purpose. I changed my own position as little as possible to
avoid difficulties and annoying delays in the dispatch and receipt of
messages. A meal was cooked further in the rear, where the dressing
station had also been established. We at Headquarters had our meal
prepared as usual by our black servants, who brought it up to the
firing-line.

In order to get the force in hand ready for further action, some parts
of it were withdrawn from the front line and mustered. I came to the
conclusion that it would be expedient to remain where we were for the
night, to be in readiness to renew the action on the following day, and
especially to cut the enemy off from his water-supply, which must be
somewhere outside the camp.

About midnight it was reported that one of our patrols had encountered
a strong enemy force on the Nanungu-Mahua road. I was afraid that this
force, which I took to be strong in view of its independent movement,
would advance further on Nanungu and capture our company’s stores
(ammunition, medical stores, supplies, etc.), which were on this road
as well as the depot at Nanungu. I therefore withdrew during the night
with the greater part of my force, via Makoti, to the Nanungu-Mahua
road. Only strong patrols remained in front of the enemy, but these
did not notice that the enemy, too, evacuated his position during the
night and withdrew towards Mahua. On 6th May it became apparent that
the report of strong enemy forces on the Nanungu-Mahua road, which had
caused my retirement, was incorrect. There was no enemy there. Captain
Müller, hearing the firing of the English trench-mortars, had, with
admirable initiative, immediately begun a forced march from his camp
north-east of Mahua, towards the sound and had apparently been taken
for the enemy.

When he arrived on the battlefield he found that the enemy had retired.
The enemy, consisting of four companies and a machine-gun company,
and to judge from his fortifications a thousand strong, had been
completely defeated by our force of little more than 200 rifles—we
were 62 Europeans and 342 Askari. He had lost 14 Europeans and 91
Askari killed, 3 Europeans and 3 Askari taken prisoner. In addition,
his hospital with about 100 wounded had fallen into our hands, and
according to the natives he had taken other wounded with him. Our
casualties were: 6 Europeans, 24 Askari, 5 other natives killed; 10
Europeans, 67 Askari and 28 other natives wounded.

While this gratifying success against the enemy’s western columns was
being attained, Koehl’s detachment had been engaged in continuous
fighting, often on a considerable scale, against the enemy divisions
which were advancing on Nanungu from Port Amelia. At Medo the enemy,
according to his own statement, suffered heavy losses in one
engagement west of Medo. Captain Spangenberg, with his two companies,
had succeeded in getting round the enemy, falling on and capturing
from the rear his light field howitzer battery. Nearly all the men and
horses of this battery were killed. Unfortunately it was not possible
to remove the guns and ammunition. They were rendered useless. But in
spite of this individual success, Koehl’s detachment had to retire.
The moment was approaching when the timely intervention of my main
force with Koehl’s detachment might bring about a decisive success
against General Edwards. Once more, however, the question of supplies
dragged our movements. The crops of the district had all been consumed,
except the Mtama, which ripens much earlier in this country than
in German East Africa. But it was not yet ripe. In order to avoid
having to withdraw simply for reasons of supply, we ripened the Mtama
artificially by drying it. This made the grain quite edible, and as
there was plenty of it in the district everyone got as much as he
wanted, and there was no want.

The condition of the crops prompted me to march with the main body of
the force further south-west, in the direction of Mahua, and pitch my
camp beside the Koroma mountain, not far from the Timbani mountain.
I intended, if necessary, to march further south, to avail myself of
the abundant crops in the fertile districts near the confluence of
the Malma and Lurio rivers. West of the Timbani mountain the country
was favourable for a decisive action against General Edwards, who was
following Captain Koehl’s detachment south-west from Nanungu. The
extraordinarily rocky and broken country near the mountain, and four
miles north-east of it, as far as the place to which Koehl’s detachment
had retired, was not favourable for the decisive attack I had in view.
On 21st May smoke indicated fresh enemy camps west of the positions of
Koehl’s detachment. I guessed that this new enemy would march on 22nd
May to take Koehl’s detachment in the rear from the west. Unfortunately
I omitted to give Koehl’s detachment definite orders to withdraw their
main force immediately from the unfavourable country to the south-west
of the Timbani mountain. Instead of a positive order I gave him
instructions which left him too much freedom of action.

Thus it came about that Koehl’s detachment did not get their bearers
with the ammunition and baggage on the march until the forenoon of the
22nd of May. Even then all would have been well if the Governor, who
had attached himself to Koehl’s division, had not marched at their
head. Not understanding the seriousness of the situation, he made a
considerable halt in the middle of this unfavourable country, where he
was exposed to a surprise attack from the enemy at any moment, without
being able to put up an effective defence. The bearers of Koehl’s
detachment, in spite of Captain Koehl’s orders, allowed themselves to
halt likewise. During the morning of this day, I once more personally
reconnoitred the very favourable country south-west of the Timbani
mountain, and met, among others, Lieutenant Kempner, who had been
wounded the day before with Koehl’s detachment and carried to the rear.
From Koehl’s detachment itself, where, since the morning, several
enemy attacks had been beaten off, sounds of distant fighting were
to be heard. There was telephonic communication with Captain Koehl,
and I returned about 11 a.m. to the Koroma camp without having any
idea of the situation of his transport. At noon I had just entered
the camp when suddenly there was a loud sound of firing, from a very
short distance, of trench-mortars, beyond doubt between us and Koehl’s
detachment. Immediately afterwards telephonic communication in that
direction was broken off. There was no alternative but to march my
whole force immediately from the Koroma camp against this new enemy.
I secretly hoped that, in spite of the unfavourable country, we
might perhaps succeed in taking him by surprise, and in inflicting a
decisive defeat. Barely an hour later we reached the Timbani mountain
and quickly threw back the advanced detachment of the enemy. A few
scattered men reported that the Governor and Captain Koehl’s transport
had been surprised by the enemy and all the baggage lost. The Governor
himself had only just managed to get away; others said he had been
taken prisoner. The enemy had opened a fairly lively fire with several
mine-throwers, and was attacked by our companies from several sides. He
had, however, taken up a good position, in which he entrenched himself
and had hidden part of the captured baggage. Unfortunately we only
recaptured a small quantity. But the enemy position was surrounded and
subjected to a concentrated and gruelling fire. According to a dispatch
captured later, the 1st King’s African Rifles alone lost about two
hundred men.

[Illustration: Native Types (5).

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: Native Types (6).

(From a drawing by General von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Adjutant.)]

[Illustration: Fig. xviii. The Action at the Kireka Mts.]

Several companies and patrols of Captain Koehl’s detachment took part
in this envelopment of the enemy. Captain Koehl himself had turned his
main force against the new enemy, attacking his rear, and hoped to be
able to defeat him while a strong patrol facing north-east held his
former enemy in check. This patrol, however, was much too weak. It was
pressed back, and had again to be reinforced with troops from Captain
Koehl’s detachment. Even though the enemy had without doubt suffered
on the whole considerable losses, a decisive success was unattainable.
The fighting was broken off at dark, and we withdrew to the favourable
country I had reconnoitred between the Timbani and Koroma mountains.

Meanwhile the Governor had found his way to the camp by the Koroma
mountain. He had lost all his belongings in the adventure, and was
looked after by Heder, a non-commissioned officer, and the trustworthy
and cautious leader of the supply column. I, too, came up to help the
Governor in his adversity, and honoured him with a pair of blue socks,
which his wife had made me at the beginning of the war, but which
unfortunately had faded.

Apart from the serious loss of about 70,000 rounds of ammunition,
we had also lost a considerable amount of notes—I believe it was
30,000 rupees. My desire to give requisition notes in preference to
bank notes, and so save a lot of transport of securities and avoid
unnecessary losses, had not been acceded. Millions of rupee notes
had been printed, the dragging about of which, in the present war
situation, was particularly burdensome. In order, at least, to avoid
similar losses in the future, the Quartermaster, on my instructions,
destroyed a great part of the notes which had been obtained with so
much trouble.



CHAPTER III

IN THE REGION OF THE LURIO AND LIKUNGO RIVERS


ON May 23rd the rest of our transport and the main body of the troops
were started off from Coroma camp on a track right through the bush
to Koriwa. The bulk of our carrier columns and the sick had gone on
ahead. The rearguard under Captain Otto remained a few days longer on
the Koroma Mountain and there successfully repulsed several hostile
attacks. It looked as if our enemy had once again collected the bulk of
his troops at Timbani, after the conclusion of a concentric operation,
and needed some time to reorganize his supply before resuming
his march. Returning patrols reported heavy motor traffic on the
Nanungu-Timbani Mountain road. Other patrols informed us that hostile
forces from the east were approaching the northern bank of the Lurio
river.

Unmolested by the enemy, I now made for the fertile district of
Kwiri, south of Mahua, and from thence on to the Lurio. It turned
out, however, that some of our seriously wounded and sick would not
be able to endure several days of such marches in their “Maschille”
(litters). Nor was it easy to ensure medical attention. We had too few
attendants to be able to leave the sick behind individually. So there
was nothing for it but to collect our invalids from time to time, turn
them into a complete Field Hospital, under a single medical officer,
and take our leave of them finally. Even the senior medical officer of
the Protective Force, Dr. Meixner, was left behind at Kwiri with one
such hospital. On that occasion I said farewell to Lieutenant Schaefer
who had rendered us such exemplary service in the preparations for the
action at Jassini, and was now stricken with black-water fever. This
experienced “African” was fully aware of his situation, but was as
cheerful as ever and faced his inevitable end, which was approaching
fast, with composure.

I did not wish to linger long north of the Lurio, for I thought that
this river, which had been very high only a short time before, would
be a serious obstacle. For that reason I proposed to cross it with our
large quantity of transport quickly and without let or hindrance. When
we actually reached the Lurio it appeared that at this time of the year
there were plenty of fords which offered a comfortable crossing. We
left some of our troops on the northern bank without anxiety as to the
drawbacks involved, and established a camp for the main body on the
southern bank. The country was very fertile and the inhabitants trusted
in us; good relations had been established by the earlier visits of the
patrols and raiding parties. One of my orderlies had a hearty reception
from some old acquaintances.

I was pretty sure that the English would attack us here and be
compelled to bring up ever more troops. If I only withdrew slowly
enough, the strong enemy forces would, I believed, probably follow,
but in view of their immense supply difficulties, it would be in vain.
In this way I might achieve my main purpose of gaining enough time to
raid the weaker hostile camps and posts further south. Captain Müller’s
detachment, which had been sent south, discovered one such camp at
Malema, the same place where our troops had won heartening successes
before.

After fighting for several days Captain Müller captured the Boma
Malema. It had been occupied by an English half-battalion which retired
south at night. Simultaneously a Portuguese patrol had gone north from
the Boma Malema and returned. Captain Müller took the latter for the
retreating English, attacked them on the march and was very astonished
to find that the killed were Portuguese.

After the action Captain Müller shifted his camp. In the move,
Lieutenant von Schroetter, who was ill with malaria, was left behind
for a short time and taken prisoner by an English patrol which suddenly
appeared upon the scene. When this patrol marched off to the Boma
Inagu he managed to escape, and rejoined us at length, quite exhausted.
But he lost all his belongings, and had nothing on his head—a very
serious matter under a tropical sun.

From the reports of the natives and our own patrols there was no longer
room for doubt that strong enemy forces, which had disembarked at
Mozambique, were marching west on the Boma Malema, and were already
only a few days’ march from that place. Simultaneous reports were
received that troops were also marching towards the Boma Malema from
the west, the direction of Malacotera. A few days later the enemy
following us from the north reached the Lurio, so we evacuated its
northern bank. From captured documents and the fighting that took place
on the northern bank, we judged that this hostile force was stronger
than I had suspected. Thanks to its light motor transport columns it
had been able to follow us up quickly with all its supply as well as a
body which I estimated at about three or four battalions with auxiliary
arms.

The country along the river Malema in which we had our camp was quite
extraordinarily fertile. The _mtama_ was perfectly ripe, and there was
an abundance of tomatoes, bananas, sweet potatoes (_batatas_) and other
fruits. The food was also very varied. Game and fish were plentiful.
The natives knew the German troops from previous acquaintance, and
were very friendly. When I rode from one detachment to another the
women came running out of their houses to see the “Njama” (animal,
game, flesh), a creature quite unknown to them. I was riding a horse,
of course! The fertile country was so extensive that we could not
even approximately exploit or protect it. We could not prevent it
supplying the necessities of life to the large number of Askari and
non-combatants with our enemies, as well as ourselves. We could not
deprive the enemy of the possibility of also making this prolific
region in a large measure into a new base and shortening his line
of supply. From our point of view the country was, if anything, too
fertile and we were not in a position, as on earlier occasions, to
exploit it to such an extent before we left that it was insufficient
to support the enemy masses. But at any rate it had the result that
for the moment we were very mobile as, thanks to our sojourn of several
weeks, our wounded and sick were so far recovered that all, even the
inmates of the field hospitals, were quite fit for marching.

This advantage would have been lost once more by any considerable
actions. I decided gradually to evacuate the region, in spite of its
extraordinary fertility, and slip through the ring in which the enemy
columns were enclosing me in the fertile district of the Malema river.
My idea was that a small part of my troops should hold off these enemy
columns and keep them so busy that they would think they were involved
in a serious affair, and attack my rearguard properly. In coming to
this decision, good service was done me by the orders of the English
commander which had fallen into our hands. He had no intention of
being “foxed” by us a second time, as he had been at Koriwa, and had
therefore arranged that whenever contact was established with us at any
point, several detachments should immediately execute a flank march
round us at a distance of five or six English miles. I told General
Edwards about this later on, and he was extraordinarily amused that
this had given me an intimation of his intentions, and enabled me to
take my counter-measures against them. It was obvious that if I only
echeloned my troops deeply enough the enemy’s enveloping detachments
would be placed in the greatest peril. They would find themselves
sandwiched between my detachments and in this way could be taken by
surprise in the flank or rear by my troops echeloned further back.
Unfortunately the execution of this plan was only imperfect. In the
very thick bush, however carefully one watched camp fires and the
dust, there were too few indications to follow a column properly and
it was very difficult for a column to keep its direction. In addition
there were a number of factors that threw out one’s calculations,
factors such as dense bush, marshes and water-courses. In spite of all
these obstacles, we succeeded every now and then in taking one of the
hostile enveloping columns by surprise and bringing it under fire.
The inevitable difficulties of moving separate columns in the thick
bush were even greater on the English side than on the German. When a
collision occurred there was often a complete mix-up in which neither
friend nor foe knew whom he had before him. On one occasion Lieutenant
von Ruckteschell’s detachment, which had been nearest to the enemy,
fell back on some of our troops which had been echeloned further back.
In so doing it came across a reconnoitring party in the bush, at a
distance of about thirty paces. This patrol was recognized as an enemy.
The machine guns were brought into position under the nose of the enemy
and without any interference on his part, and the patrol, which had
taken our men for English, was fired on lustily at point-blank range
and put to flight in a second.

In the same way our own patrols continually found themselves in the
middle of enemy troops. On one such occasion _Vizefeldwebel_ Schaffrath
made his patrol lie down in the high grass and then opened an effective
fire on the head of approaching enemy columns. Then he took cover
again. In this way he succeeded in the course of a few hours in
inflicting sensible losses on the enemy several times and capturing
some material.

I wanted to gain time by these holding actions, so that I could get
my main body into the country further south, which was supposed to be
fertile, according to report, and fall upon and drive away the smallish
hostile garrisons we expected to find there. The first objective
of this nature was the Portuguese _Boma_ Alto-Moloque. A captured
map showed that this had been the seat of a higher administrative
authority in peace time and the military station of a force exceeding
a company. Both natives and food must certainly be there. Between us
and Alto-Moloque lay the high range of Inagu. An English battalion in
its entrenched camp at Inagu barred the road which led from the Boma
Malema round the west side of the Inagu Mountains to Alto-Moloque.
It was therefore probable that our advance by that road would be
contested, and that would have been unpleasant in view of the length
of our carrier columns. In any case we should have been delayed and
our intended surprise attack on Alto-Moloque would have been spoilt.
But surprise I regarded as absolutely essential, as we suspected the
presence of ammunition and arms at Alto-Moloque.

Accordingly we left the enemy in peace in his entrenchments at Inagu
and marched round the east side of the Inagu Mountains on Alto-Moloque.
The strategic situation was somewhat remarkable, and well described in
the words of an old Boer, words that were not quite pure High German:
“Is das eine Komische Orlog; ons lopt achter de Portugies an, und de
Englanders lopt achter ons an” (_This is a funny war. We chase the
Portuguese, and the English chase us_).

We marched by native tracks or straight through the bush. Several
considerable streams had to be negotiated on the way. This district,
too, was fertile, and we soon came across unmistakable human tracks
leading towards Alto-Moloque, not to mention kraals, the first I had
ever seen. They were grass huts, very thick and carefully built. Ashes
were smouldering in places and the heads of hens which were lying about
were still fresh. We exchanged shots with some Portuguese patrols and a
few rifles with ammunition were captured.

No time must be lost, so Müller’s detachment, made specially mobile
by being relieved of all its transport, went on ahead and found in
Alto-Moloque only a few Portuguese officers and non-commissioned
officers who were just drinking coffee on the verandah of the very fine
European house. These were taken prisoner.

I now followed slowly with the main body. Our rearguard, under
Captain Koehl, had quite a series of little collisions, which in
bulk caused the enemy not inconsiderable losses. One of our Askari
patrols had been surprised and captured by a stronger enemy patrol
when engaged in foraging for food. These Askari subsequently looked on
while this English patrol fought quite a bloody action with another
English detachment in the thick bush and the occurrence gave them
their opportunity of escaping. The lack of caution which many of our
Europeans continually showed, in spite of all warnings, caused us many
unnecessary losses. There was one Askari, a particularly reliable and
intelligent man, whose father, the old Effendi Plantan, had already
been with Von Wissmann’s Zulu Askari, whom I had been only too glad to
take with me on patrol. He never came back from some quite unnecessary
mission on which he was sent, and was probably taken prisoner. It was a
phenomenon common to both sides that a large part of the losses in the
war in East Africa were unnecessary and due solely to thoughtlessness.

Koehl’s detachment gradually came up with the main body, which had
reached the Alto-Moloque-Inagu road at a European plantation which
was well stocked with provisions. From this place it had rung up
Alto-Moloque on the enemy’s telephone and received a reply, first from
a Portuguese, then from Captain Müller. Müller reported that only a
small amount of ammunition had been captured, and that the bulk must
have been got away to the south-east just in time by several carrier
parties. Strong patrols were immediately sent out after them.

When the main body entered Alto-Moloque on June 16th we found some very
fine and massive European houses. They were charmingly situated on a
little hill, and had a view for miles over the neighbouring forests to
the mighty rugged mountains in the distance. There were thousands of
orange trees in full bloom and our coloured men immediately christened
it the “Boma ja machungwa” (Orange _boma_).

The numerous maps and documents of all kinds which were found at
the station gave us a tolerably clear idea of the country towards
Quelimane. We could see that there was a telegraph wire from
Alto-Moloque to Quelimane via Ili. A large company, the Lugella
Company, had its headquarters at the confluence of the Lugella with the
Likungo. There were great plantations and factories and large supplies
of food. Above all, it looked as if preparations were in progress to
make this station a main supply depot for food and ammunition for
considerable bodies of troops.

If we wished to exploit the opportunity that this situation presented,
our subordinate commanders would have to act very promptly and must not
be hampered by too rigid instructions. The impression that I formed in
my mind rested in many respects on unproved assumptions. Our pursuing
patrols must be able to act according to circumstances independently
and rapidly if that original impression was not confirmed subsequently.
Time must not be lost, or the enemy would be able to get his supplies
away in time. He would have the advantage of a railway which began not
far south of the Lugella Company’s station and led south to the river
Namacurra, as well as the steamer which plied on that stream.

As so often happens, our pursuing patrols and companies were
occasionally found wanting in some respects. Yet it must not be
forgotten that besides many other qualities a very mature tactical
judgment is required to give an independent decision on the question
when the very exhausting pursuit of a fleeing foe is to be continued
at top pressure or should be broken off. To exploit the promising
situation to the greatest possible extent, on the very day of my
arrival at Alto-Moloque I had sent in pursuit the whole of Müller’s
detachment, which I had hitherto kept by me. In the course of various
patrols and raids in the neighbourhood we caught individual Portuguese
Askari who in many cases had set up off their own bats as little
tyrants in the villages of the district. The natives reported their
presence to us.

The region of Alto-Moloque turned out to be very fertile, as we
anticipated. We were therefore in a position to give Müller’s
detachment a greater start in following up the enemy. One of the
patrols of this detachment had captured a hostile supply depot near
Ili. An enemy carrier column, turned off by an Anglo-Portuguese
detachment which was now several days’ march east of Alto-Moloque, and
trying to pass through Alto-Moloque in ignorance of our presence, was
a welcome acquisition to our Intendant, who needed it to carry the
supplies captured at Ili. Unfortunately this intended removal succeeded
only partially, for a fresh English detachment appeared at Ili,
apparently from the direction of Inagu, and drove off our patrols.

The advance of our main body on Ili was contested by considerable
hostile patrols which were approaching the Alto-Moloque-Ili road from
the north. One of these patrols was immediately pursued energetically
and attacked in its camp, but I gained the impression that larger enemy
forces were advancing on us from the north of Ili and Alto-Moloque.
I had no intention of delaying, but wished rather to join up as
soon as possible with Müller’s detachment, which was on its way to
Lugella. Accordingly I marched south, skirting Ili and occupied the
Portuguese post of Nampepo. In this district, at about a day’s march
from each other, the Portuguese companies had established a number of
clean, well-arranged stations around which lay the fields, which they
cultivated. A whole series of these posts and their field-depots fell
into our hands during the march. Nampepo was one of them, only larger
than usual, and the centre of an extraordinarily fertile district. A
special feature of the Nampepo camp was our chase after domestic pigs.
Large numbers of these were running loose in the bush, so that we had
excellent sausages to eat, as well as roast pork and brawn. A German
planter named Hauter, from the district of Morogoro, who had delivered
large supplies of sausages to Morogoro during the war, had acquired
expert skill in preparing them, and this now came in very useful. He
now had the insides of pigs to practise on instead of the insides of
cows, and our enjoyment of this unwonted luxury was so great that we
did not allow ourselves to be disturbed even by the shots that fell
into our camp.

For as a matter of fact a considerable enemy column from the north
was approaching the station of Nampepo, which was held by Captain
Spangenberg with our outposts. From the commanding ground the approach
of a large enemy column could be noted quite easily. As a particularly
favourable opportunity for attacking it presented itself we did not
disturb the enemy in his approach. However, contrary to expectation, he
did not attack us. Pillars of smoke arising from the bush about 1,500
yards away showed us that he had encamped there. Our patrols which went
round the enemy crawled up to his camp at night and fired into it.
Koehl’s detachment had come up meanwhile and I marched off with the
main body to follow Müller’s detachment in the direction of Lugella.
Captain Spangenberg remained with our rearguard in touch with the
enemy, and then followed us at a distance of a day’s march.

Meanwhile Captain Müller’s detachment had succeeded in crossing the
Likungo river, near the confluence of the Lugella, at a ford. It
had been able to give an apparently severe drubbing to a Portuguese
battalion which had rushed up from the south to protect it. Several
machine guns were captured. The great depot of the Lugella Company fell
into our hands. It was possible to distribute a large amount of food
and clothing. The buildings themselves, which had been adapted for
defence, and about 300,000 kilograms of food were burnt.

As no other remunerative objective presented itself Captain Müller
considered he had fulfilled his mission for the time being, retired to
the southern bank of the Likungo and there awaited my arrival.

I was afraid that our wonderful captures of the last few weeks would
tempt some of our Europeans to help themselves to things improperly,
and I took advantage of the occasion to point out the evils of such
behaviour. It must not be forgotten that war booty belongs to the
State, and that the individual soldier has to notify to his superiors
if he happens to want any particular object he has captured. An
estimate is then made of the value of the object and he has to pay the
amount. It was important for me to maintain the _moral_ of our troops
unconditionally if I was to be able to appeal to their sense of honour
and make calls on their endurance.

A certain amount of ammunition was captured here and there, and,
further, a small Portuguese gun had fallen into our hands, but the
great haul of cartridges for which we had hoped and striven had not
materialized. I thought it extremely doubtful whether there ever had
been such large stocks at Alto-Moloque and Ili, and suspected that the
whole thing was a case of exaggeration of the approved native type.
That did not imply evil intentions on the part of those concerned. On
the contrary, the natives were well-disposed towards us. For example,
they brought back of their own accord one of our captured Portuguese
officers who had escaped. They also brought us some German black boys
who had been enjoying themselves looting, and had been caught and well
beaten by the natives, excusing themselves on the ground that they had
taken them for Portuguese!

It is an extremely difficult matter even for a European to estimate,
for example, the numerical strength of a detachment on the march. The
native finds it much more difficult, especially when it comes to larger
numbers. The words he so frequently uses, _mingi_ (much) or _kama
majani_ (as thick as grass) can mean 50 just as well as 5,000.



CHAPTER IV

ON TO THE SOUTH


HOWEVER, wherever these large ammunition depots might be, they had
certainly not fallen into our hands. We had to start out on the search
again. The whole strategic situation, as well as the documents we
captured, showed that they _must_ be somewhere in this region. There
was a high degree of probability that the more considerable stocks,
whose existence we suspected, were further south, either because they
had been there from the start or because they had been moved there as a
result of our approach. It seemed likely that before long they would be
transported to the coast and transferred to ships, in case of emergency.

During our march considerable patrols had reconnoitred the region
within a radius of a day’s march, and captured a few small enemy food
depots, but no arms or ammunition. Müller’s detachment, with which
we had joined up at Mujeba on June 27th, marched further south again
the same day. The natives told us of a large _boma_ at Origa, which
was said to be somewhere further south, near the coast, and to have
large ammunition supplies. Müller’s party was to find this _boma_. Our
directions were thoroughly inaccurate, as usual. I was quite certain
that on the march other and conflicting reports would infallibly
arrive. Unfortunately we had not a long time in which to test the
intelligence that came in. All we could do was to trust that it
contained at least an element of truth.

As the situation demanded, Captain Müller was given the greatest
freedom of action. If any promising objective presented itself during
his march, he was to decide without hesitation what his best course
was. I would bring up our main body and intervene unconditionally
in his support, and, in any case, I would accept the situation he
had created. The main thing was that he should not wait for special
orders and instructions. I realized that in acting thus I was in a
large measure placing the conduct of our operations in the hands of a
subordinate commander. It was only possible because that subordinate
commander possessed a very sound, tactical judgment and great
initiative.

Our leading troops, with their three weak companies, had to perform the
double function of cavalry sent out far and wide to reconnoitre, and
that of an advance guard led with the greatest energy. In any other
circumstances I should have been with the advance guard myself, in
view of its important task, so that I could have a surer hold on the
course of operations. Experience had taught me, however, that in view
of the distance between our columns, my presence with the main body was
indispensable, both to overcome obstacles quickly and to be able to
act in face of some unforeseen change in the situation. It must not be
forgotten that our whole advance was based on combination, and that, as
actually happened often enough, the unsuspected appearance of hostile
detachments from some other direction transformed the situation at a
blow and made fresh dispositions necessary.

Accordingly we marched by small native tracks or right through the
bush in single file. Owing to the great length of our columns, on a
day’s march of nineteen miles or so the head had to start off in the
dark—about 5 a.m.—if the tail was to reach the camp appointed the
same day, that is, late in the evening and just before darkness fell.
It was inevitable, because camping material had to be procured, wood
to be chopped, grass to be cut and shelters to be built, in case of
need, for the sick. For that reason our whole force could not march
concentrated. It was much too extended. Müller’s detachment, forming
the advance guard, marched one or two days’ march ahead. The rearguard,
Spangenberg’s detachment, followed the main body at a distance of about
a day’s march. Communication was maintained by means of runners.

In the reports which reached us by the runners of Müller’s detachment,
the name “Kokosani” was now perpetually recurring. Considerable enemy
depots, strongly protected by hostile troops, were to be found there,
so it was said. But where was this Kokosani? The word could not be
found on our maps. It gradually came to light that Kokosani was the
same place that figured on Portuguese maps as Namacurra. In any case,
all our previous intelligence, as well as a glance at the situation on
the map, showed that Kokosani must be our most promising objective. We
had no means of knowing whether it would be possible to capture this
place, probably very strongly fortified, with our relatively limited
resources. Only the attempt itself could enlighten us on that point.
Captain Müller had turned west towards the place independently. On the
way it became clear that, as the natives had told us, there actually
was a ford over the river Likungo.

I now marched on quickly with our main body, in order to join up,
and gave orders to the same effect to our rearguard under Captain
Spangenberg. In the afternoon of July 1st, the main force reached the
Likungo and immediately crossed it. The water of this great river, more
than four hundred yards wide, came up to our necks at the deepest parts
of the ford. It took each man about an hour to cross. When the troops
had successfully reached the western bank, we bivouacked, and next
morning continued our march in the tracks of Müller’s detachment ahead.

On the way some thirty natives met us. They had worked in Kokosani,
and told us that a large number of Portuguese and Askari were
encamped there, and that a number of chests had arrived. We had to
employ interpreters in our talk with these men, as they did not know
Kisuaheli. Several of our Askari were masters of the local tongue or
related dialects.

Before long we received an important report from the advance guard. On
the previous day Captain Müller had completely surprised the enemy at
Kokosani by an encircling move. Marching on the factory buildings from
the north in broad daylight, through a field of knee-high agaves and
without any cover, he had succeeded in getting into the Portuguese
entrenchments and, in several hours of very severe hand-to-hand
fighting, defeating the three Portuguese companies holding them, with
very heavy losses to the enemy. In the course of the action a number of
rifles, as well as two field guns with their ammunition, were captured.

I myself went on a little ahead of our main body, and in the morning
came across several extensive and well-arranged plantations. Next
I followed the track of a field railway, which ran along the main
road right through the fields, and after a short time joined up with
a standard-gauge line. As was to appear later, the latter led from
the river Namacurra northwards to the neighbourhood of Lugella. When
Captain Müller struck this standard-gauge line the day before, he held
up a train which had just come from Lugella. It is easy to realize the
mutual amazement when there descended from the train several Portuguese
non-commissioned officers whom Müller had captured at Lugella and
released again.

When I reached the factory buildings, Captain Müller came limping up to
me, pretty lame. He expressed his astonishment that I had brought my
detachment direct to Kokosani by the main road and without opposition,
for he thought that there must be quite two English companies somewhere
in the neighbourhood. He had not yet been able to ascertain their
whereabouts, but documents which Captain Müller had captured pointed
conclusively to their presence in the district. Müller also told
me that he had not yet found the considerable quantity of infantry
cartridges. All his people were still busy trying to find them and
anything similar.

When I considered the matter more closely, it seemed to me more
probable that the ammunition stores we were hunting for would not
be near the factory, but must be somewhere directly on the railway,
and, indeed, at its southern terminus. That was the place for a large
ammunition depot, for it must be the unloading point where the stuff
was transferred to rail from ships on the Namacurra. We had to find out
whether these deductions were sound. I went back immediately and met
the leading files of our main body among the plantations. The leading
companies were anything but pleased to have to retrace their steps in
order to follow the standard-gauge railway southwards. After the long,
tiring march a few complimentary remarks about my arrangements were
comprehensible enough. Fortunately for me, I did not hear them.

It was in a rather bad humour that the men at the head of the column
arrived in the neighbourhood of the railway-station. They did not
seriously believe in the possibility of a fight. It was upon them
suddenly, however, and several Askari were struck by hostile bullets
at quite short range and fell. The rest of our main force, which was
near at hand and ready for action, was brought up. When I arrived, the
situation was not at all clear; the enemy was obviously entrenched and
closer reconnaissance was in progress. An indecisive exchange of shots
now developed. It began to rain and was unpleasantly cold, so that
everyone felt thoroughly uncomfortable. I myself went to Lieutenant von
Ruckteschell’s company, which was lying opposite to and about ninety
yards from the corrugated-iron buildings of the station and directing
a well-aimed rifle and machine-gun fire from some high ant-hills every
time anything showed.

I considered that the situation at the moment was unfavourable to
storming the station. We would have been compelled to rush at the
enemy’s position through the thick bush, which was commanded by a most
effective hostile fire. That offered but little prospect of success. A
number of our men would probably not have joined in the rush at all,
and those who did and got close to the enemy’s fortress would probably
have been held up and found themselves unable to get on. We should,
therefore, achieve nothing.

On the other hand, my reconnaissance had brought the idea to my mind
that on targets, some of which were very visible, artillery fire would
be effective, especially from two sides. It would frighten the enemy’s
Askari and make them run away. That would be a favourable moment for
good machine-gun fire. But the day was already too far advanced, and
our gun was smashed, so that nothing definite could be ventured on for
that day. The larger portion of the troops retired to our camp, and
only three companies of Captain Poppe’s detachment remained in close
contact with the enemy.

The next day, July 3rd, we got our gun into working order again, after
strenuous efforts. As luck would have it, it was of the same model
as the guns Captain Müller had captured, and so, by interchanging
the individual serviceable parts of these three guns, we produced a
field-piece fit for use. There was thus a prospect of putting to good
use the two hundred rounds we had captured two days before. In the
afternoon the gun was to be brought up to within a few hundred yards
of the station, and open fire upon it. Another smaller, 4-cm., gun was
ready in the foremost infantry line—and therefore about a hundred and
twenty-five yards off—to start a cross fire. All our machine guns were
held ready. In the morning I had been to the factory buildings again
for a conference, and had told the civilian personnel there they need
not get frightened if they heard the sound of firing in the afternoon.
The white women and children had been very frightened by the fighting,
and some of them had fled into the bush.

I had gone back to our camp, extremely tired, when the sound of
fighting at the station suddenly made itself heard. We received a
telephone report that loud yells and cries of “hurrah” could be
heard coming from the station. By degrees the following facts were
established: the enemy was apparently tired of the well-aimed,
concentric fire which had been directed at them since the afternoon.
They were now being subjected to artillery fire from two sides at once,
and the moment there was the slightest movement machine guns opened on
them. Their young troops could not stand it, and were very restless.
Our companies recognized that this was their weak moment and used it
immediately, showing splendid initiative. They leaped up with loud
hurrahs, and the next minute were in the enemy’s position. The enemy
began to run away. The English maintained that they had been infected
by the example of the Portuguese. However that may be, they ran away
and our companies immediately went after them as hard as they could.
Our flying foes reached the river Namacurra, which ran immediately
behind their position, quickly pulled off their boots and dashed into
the water. Here most of the hostile troops were drowned, including
their commander, Major Gore-Brown.

Between July 1st and 3rd the enemy had 5 Europeans and 100 Askari
killed, 4 Europeans and about 100 Askari drowned, while 421 Askari
were taken prisoner. Of the Europeans (5 English and 117 Portuguese)
who also fell into our hands, 55 Portuguese escaped and 46 sick and
wounded Portuguese were left behind in the hospital at Kokosani. We had
8 Askari and 1 machine-gun carrier killed, 3 Europeans, 11 Askari and
2 machine-gun carriers wounded. At first it was quite impossible to
estimate, even approximately, what amount of ammunition and food we had
captured at the station. Seven heavy, 3 light machine guns and 2 guns
had fallen into our hands, but these 2 guns had been rendered useless.

More and more cases of captured ammunition were brought into our camp.
The Intendant, Lieutenant Besch (retired naval officer), was in despair
because he did not know where he was going to get enough carriers to
remove such vast stores. They included more than 300,000 kilograms of
food and the stocks from the Kokosani sugar factory. The amount of
booty enabled all our coloured men to receive as much clothing material
as they wanted, and my boy, Serubili, said to me: “This is a very
different matter to Tanga; we’re all getting as much sugar as we want
now.”

It is a fact that the whole camp was littered with sugar. Each of the
blacks was so well-off for food and clothing of all kinds that they
stopped stealing, as if by word of command. Everyone knows what that
means where blacks are concerned.

The booty included large quantities of European food and preserves.
Every European found himself well provided for for months ahead.
Unfortunately it was not possible for us to get away the whole stock
of excellent wine we had captured. After a sufficient quantity had
been set aside as a restorative for the sick, the rest had mainly to
be drunk on the spot. The risk of a wholesale “jollification” _that_
involved was gladly taken, and everyone was allowed to let himself go
for once, after his long abstinence.

In addition there was some fine schnapps in a large number of casks in
the Kokosani factory. These were being stored ready for the English
troops. With the best will in the world it was impossible to drink it
all, so we had to empty a large number of the casks into the Namacurra.

Column after column of carriers arrived in the camp with booty, and
the Intendant became more and more desperate. Affairs reached a climax
when a telephone message came from the station that a river-steamer
had arrived. An English medical officer, all unsuspecting of what had
happened at Namacurra, disembarked from it and closer examination
of the boat revealed the presence of a considerable consignment of
cartridges, exceeding three hundred cases.

In all we had captured about three hundred and fifty modern English and
Portuguese rifles, a welcome addition to our resources, which brought
our armament once more up to requirements. We were able to discard our
’71 pattern rifle almost entirely.



CHAPTER V

BACK NORTH TO THE NAMACURRA RIVER


IN face of the enemy’s orders we had captured I had to anticipate
that within a short time comparatively strong hostile forces would be
coming from Quelimane to attack us. The country between the Namacurra
and the Zambesi, however, offered a large number of river barriers,
so that a march to the Zambesi would be full of difficulties for us
and hinder our freedom of movement to an extraordinary degree. Equally
unfavourable for campaigning, from our point of view, was the country
south and south-west of our present halting-place. In the last resort
we should find ourselves cooped up on the Zambesi without being in a
position to effect a crossing of that mighty river which was commanded
by the enemy’s gun-boats.

I thought it better to abandon our previous march direction. Yet in
view of the total absence of news it was very difficult to say where
I ought to make for. Only one thing appeared to be clear—that the
enemy was not directly on our heels. At any rate our rearguard and the
patrols they had sent out behind them were not being pressed at all by
the enemy. It seemed probable that if hostile bodies were following
us at all they were engaged in trying to overhaul us on some route
parallel to that we had taken. If I were right in that view—and it
seemed to be confirmed by such reports as the natives brought in—we
could assume that the enemy was insufficiently informed of our presence
at Namacurra and further that the Portuguese soldiers among our
prisoners whom we had turned off could give him no clear or trustworthy
information.

We had, therefore, to devote all our efforts to making those fellows
believe we intended to fortify and put up a stiff defence of Namacurra
and, further, that we had our eye on Quelimane.

The unexpected disaster at Namacurra was bound to speed the steps of
the pursuing enemy. It was probable that his columns, advancing on a
parallel line to us, would overshoot the mark, especially as they must
be anxious about the important port of Quelimane. I therefore decided
to wait at Namacurra until the pursuing enemy columns had actually
shot ahead of me and then turn about to the north-east. What chiefly
influenced me in this decision was that a march in this direction,
leading towards Mozambique, on the main line of communication, would
cause the enemy anxiety, and as soon as he became aware of it he would
at once turn about to protect the neighbourhood of Mozambique with
its wealth of stores. If he did not do so we should have a free hand
at Mozambique. As the position would then develop the enemy would be
forced to undertake marches that would exhaust his troops, while we
gained time to recuperate our strength and allow our sick and wounded
to recover.

It was difficult to decide on the most favourable moment for our change
of direction north-east; we should have to rely to some extent on the
fortune of war. Even if I made the movement too soon and encountered
one of the enemy columns there was always a chance of defeating it when
cut off from the rest. The first thing, however, was to get safely
across the Likungo river again. The available information as to the
fords was very unreliable. In order not to use the same fords as before
I marched with my main body on the evening of 4th July to a crossing
further to the south. Lieutenant Ott, however, ascertained by personal
reconnaissance that no ford existed at the place of which we had been
informed. On the other hand, it was apparent from native information as
well as from tracks discovered that on the same day an English patrol
had halted in this neighbourhood. The position might become awkward. In
order to lose no time in investigation I marched along the west bank
of the Likungo to our previous ford. Unfortunately I had withdrawn the
covering force that had hitherto been left there and I did not know
whether it was free. I was therefore very relieved when on 5th July the
crossing was effected without further interference. Koehl’s detachment
was still at Namacurra and followed as rearguard.

When we were again marching as a single column through the bush,
the great length of the column was unwieldy and, in the event of an
encounter with the enemy, would be a source of danger. We therefore
tried to shorten the column and to march in two, and later in several
parallel columns through the bush. The disadvantage of this arrangement
was that instead of one head of a column having to cut a way through
the bush this had now to be done by several. But the advantages of the
shorter length outweighed this disadvantage.

Information from our patrols and from the natives indicated that the
march of the enemy columns to the south-west had not been pressed so
far as I had anticipated. Enemy troops were reported both between
the Moniga and the lower Likungo and also at Mujebain; in some cases
they were ascertained to be marching south-west. This brought about
the extraordinary situation that the enemy troops were marching in
several columns south-west while we were passing between these columns
in the contrary direction, north-east. This fact could not long
remain hidden from the enemy, especially as the patrols soon began
to come in contact, and the enemy troops, marching along the line
of telephone communication from Mulevalla to Murubella, crossed our
track. We continued our march to Oriva, threw back a weak Portuguese
detachment west of this place, and occupied Oriva itself on 14th
July. Unfortunately the abundant stores of supplies and ammunition
that we had expected to find at this station were not forthcoming;
apparently either the numerous enemy troops had drawn heavily on the
resources of the neighbourhood or the stores that had been originally
left here had already been removed. A small patrol, sent out to
Muatama under Sergeant-Major Hüttich, succeeded in surprising a small
mixed detachment of English and Portuguese; as it was unfortunately
impossible to get away the supplies found in this station the stores
had to be burned.

Meanwhile our attempts to get information from the natives as to the
whereabouts of supplies met with no success; it was impossible to wait
for the reports of other patrols dispatched to Murua in search of
supplies. Various patrol actions showed us that the enemy had meanwhile
become aware of the change in the situation and had accordingly turned
his columns about. Want of supplies forced us to continue our march,
and the attack of a mixed Portuguese-English column on our rearguard
under Captain Koehl could not be developed into a complete success
as our main force was already on the march. We halted for a few days
in the tolerably fertile territory between Oriva and Murua. Captured
papers showed us that an English patrol had closely observed our
movements.

It was interesting to notice that the English prisoners whom we
took with us, for the most part, accepted as a matter of course the
hardships of the long marches, the constant crossing of rivers and the
countless difficulties connected with supplies and transport; they
realized that we Germans had exactly the same hardships to endure as
themselves and were in addition burdened with a number of further
duties such as patrol expeditions, fighting, carrying of supplies
and watch-keeping. They bore everything with a certain humour and
it was obviously interesting to them to see the war from the German
point of view. It was quite otherwise with the Portuguese officers.
It is true they were in an unenviable position: for the most part
they were infected with syphilis and were carefully avoided by the
English prisoners. In addition they were not real campaigners. They
had received a generous share of the booty captured at Namacurra, but
had not learned how to make the best of it. They had at once consumed
the precious oil with rice and it was too much to expect that the
Germans should now share with them their own meagre ration. Marching
was a burden to them, their boots were torn to pieces—in short,
their spokesman, the general staff officer captured at Namacurra, was
continually complaining to me of the inconveniences which with the best
will in the world I could not help. He was continually asking to be
released. I should have been only too glad to consent if he would have
given his parole not to fight against us, but this he would not do. I
could not be expected to release people without any obligation and so
put them in a position to attack us again immediately.

Considerations of supply drove us on. After the failure of the Oriva
neighbourhood to come up to our expectations in this respect, I planned
to reach the territory east of the Ligonja, which was marked on the
map as thickly populated and well cultivated. On the way the advance
guard, under Captain Müller, quickly took Boma Tipa, where several
days’ supplies, particularly pig-nuts, fell into our hands. The weak
Portuguese garrison offered only slight resistance and then fled at
once; the leader, a Portuguese sergeant, was the only prisoner captured.

We had reached a high degree of efficiency in the rapid and systematic
distribution of booty; the main force hardly lost a day’s march and I
can still see the approving smile of one of the English prisoners who
seemed to have entirely forgotten that the Portuguese were his allies.
Apparently it amused them to see with what little ceremony we took from
them their depots one after the other, together with their supplies.
The captured enemy papers repeatedly gave us valuable information.
Two days’ march from Tipa lay another _boma_ called Namirrue, where
the Portuguese garrison had been strengthened by an English company.
Apparently considerable stores lay here. At any rate, according to
information, supply columns had been sent to replenish at Namirrue.
The English troops there probably belonged to an enemy force newly
appeared from the direction of Mozambique. It was impossible for the
enemy force to which we had hitherto been opposed, and which had taken
part in the general march south-west north-east, to have established
such a lead on us. Accordingly the advance guard with our gun at once
marched on Namirrue (the smaller gun had been put out of action at
Namacurra and left behind after firing its few cartridges). Captain
Müller was instructed to reconnoitre the position at Namirrue and act
independently as might be required. For the time being the main force
remained at Tipa, on the east bank of the Moloque. It was to obtain
supplies and hold up the enemy advancing from the south-west long
enough to allow Captain Müller the necessary time at Namirrue. It was
not long before small enemy reconnoitring forces appeared at Tipa, or
the west bank of the Ligonja, which at this point offers no obstacle
worth mentioning. There was a series of unimportant patrol engagements
on the east bank also. The rearguard, under Captain Koehl, carried out
a number of delaying actions at places along the Tipa-Namirrue road
which for the most part have already been mentioned. As I was not clear
whether the main force would find the best opportunity to attack in
Koehl’s position or at Namirrue I began by following cautiously with
him Müller’s detachment. The report then came in from Captain Müller
that an enemy force of some two companies was entrenched on the heights
at Namirrue and that he could not get at them even with his gun. On
the other hand, he reported that in all probability English troops
would come to the support of the enemy from the north or north-west.
There was a favourable opportunity for us to defeat these troops in
the open. I therefore marched the main force to Namirrue and on the
22nd July crossed the Namirrue river, about three miles above the rocky
hill occupied by the enemy. Camp was pitched on the east bank and
immediately there were patrol engagements. I myself, with Lieutenant
Besch, made a detour of the hill to join Captain Müller, who was
encamped immediately south-east of it. The enemy position had been
encircled with patrols and machine guns. On the heights above several
horses could be seen and, here and there, men too. Wherever a target
offered the enemy was fired on to prevent him from sending down men to
fetch water. It appeared, however, that the enemy must have been able
to keep himself supplied with water from a source unknown to us.

After drinking a cup of coffee with Captain Müller we went further
round the hill and came upon Lieutenant Kempner and other patrols,
keenly engaged on reconnoitring work. In order to keep under cover we
had to work our way partly through the thick bush and came on large
quantities of cow-itch: contact with this plant produces an intolerable
irritation of the skin. We were just in the middle of a thicket of
this plant when we heard lively firing from the camp of our main
force. At the same time the enemy in the hill fired several salvoes,
apparently as a signal to their friends. I was immediately convinced
that a not very strong enemy detachment was approaching which was
unaware of the arrival of our main force. I was seized with the desire
to use this rare opportunity at once with my full strength. I tried
with all haste to get to the main force, but the cow-itch hampered my
progress and the irritation was maddening. Eventually we reached the
camp before dark. My second in command, Major Kraut, had begun the
attack with small forces. In the bright moonlight I could still hope
to use the approaching night for a successful battle. All available
forces, with the exception of a company left to protect the camp, were
at once prepared for action. On the left wing, Captain Goering, who
was to undertake an enveloping movement, took his force round to a
position in the rear of the enemy. There he heard the barking of a dog,
ran forward at once and found the English commanding officer, Colonel
Dickinson, with his adjutant and a medical officer, telephoning in a
ravine and took them prisoner. Captain Goering at once attacked and the
detachments of Captains Spangenberg and Poppe, in front and on the left
wing, did the same. In a very short time the enemy, consisting of one
battalion, was completely overwhelmed and routed. All the detachments
engaged in a hot pursuit, but in the darkness and the thick bush touch
was lost with the enemy.

It turned out later that the enemy’s troops marching parallel with us
had crossed the Namirrue at the same time a little further upstream.
In view of the constantly changing situation, due to the continuous
movement of the forces and the impenetrable screen of the bush which
made it impossible to see far in any direction, and also owing to the
large number of his marching columns, it was quite impossible for the
enemy, in spite of the unremitting labours of his wireless service,
to obtain a clear picture of the situation as a whole and to keep
his subordinate leaders informed in time of all the changes of the
situation. In this case a column had become detached and had run upon
us with only a part of its strength: only one battalion had crossed the
river. In an exposed and very dangerous position this battalion had
been badly handled by our main force.

A company detailed for the further pursuit of the retreating enemy
returned the following day without having achieved anything more; here,
again, after such a favourable action the subordinate leaders and the
troops themselves could only with difficulty be persuaded to throw
themselves in to the last ounce to wring every possible advantage from
their success. Lieutenant Schroetter, who then for several days carried
on the pursuit in a manner in keeping with the situation, was unable
to effect more than a few patrol skirmishes. The enemy had, in the
meantime, gained too great a start. No information was obtained except
as to the very hurried flight of the enemy.

[Illustration: Fig. xix. The Action at Namirruë, July 23, 1918.]

I, with the main part of my forces, stood my ground. The full
exploitation of the success lay less in the pursuit of the beaten enemy
than in the chances offered by the situation of the enemy we were
surrounding on the hill, now that the help intended was for the moment
unavailable.

For the first time in this campaign we had captured a trench-mortar
with ammunition. The various parts were collected on the field of
action and the seventeen rounds of ammunition made ready for firing.
Experiments made with practice ammunition gave satisfactory results,
and we were able to arrange for the bombardment of the enemy among the
rocks at four o’clock in the afternoon. The command of this attack
was entrusted to Captain Müller, whose detachment had not taken part
in the fighting on the previous day and had known nothing about it.
To this detachment was added Lieutenant von Ruckteschell’s, which had
remained in the camp. The trench-mortar was placed in position on one
side of the hill, the gun on the other; our machine-guns were disposed
round the hill in readiness for the attack. At 3.45 Lieutenant von
Ruckteschell took leave of the English Colonel Dickinson, who had been
placed in his charge, saying that he expected to be back in an hour. At
4 o’clock the first round from our trench-mortar burst in the centre of
the enemy’s position. The enemy commander was just considering whether
he should make a sortie during the night. In a moment the hill burst
into life: everywhere men could be seen running up and down the rocks.
They were brought under the fire of our gun and machine guns. Very soon
the enemy showed the white flag, but continued to fire.

Lieutenant von Ruckteschell returned to his guest as he had promised,
an hour later, but unfortunately with a shattered leg. His orderly who,
when he was wounded, had tried to carry him out of the fight, was shot
down under him. Meanwhile Captain Müller had climbed the hill from
the other side and stormed the camp. It was occupied by a squadron of
mounted infantry of the Gold Coast Regiment of whom hardly one came
out alive. Even the horses were killed almost without exception. On
our side brave Lieutenant Selke was killed by an enemy bullet shortly
before the storming of the camp. He was buried on the battlefield. The
_matériel_ captured was small, but the two days of fighting had cost
the enemy heavy losses in men. His detachments, which were numerically
hardly less strong than our own, were literally annihilated. Here, as
at Namacurra, it turned out that the English had conscripted black
troops from German East Africa into their fighting force, including a
considerable number of old German Askari.

Our thorough work at Namirrue had been made possible by Koehl’s
detachment, consisting only of three companies, which had kept us free
from interference. This detachment had fallen back gradually from
Tipa on Namirrue, daily fighting rearguard actions with the enemy who
was pressing on with all his strength. They were now within half a
day’s march of Namirrue and I ordered them across to the east bank
of the Namirrue river. Patrols sent out to reconnoitre had meanwhile
learned from the natives that there was an enemy depot with a garrison
at Pekera. This seemed to me very probable, as Pekera lies in the
thickly populated area east of the Ligonja river, said to be a fertile
district. Our expectations were realized when after two days’ march
we arrived at Pekera. The mounted squadron of the Gold Coast Regiment
stationed there was at once destroyed and several motors were captured.
In the same way we quickly took possession of the Boma of Chalau and
a number of other stations where the Portuguese had stored large
quantities of supplies, particularly pig-nuts. Our patrols advanced as
far as Angoche and in a very short time we were masters of the wide
and exceptionally fertile district. One night some of the Portuguese
officer prisoners escaped and succeeded in joining the enemy troops at
Angoche. Apparently there were among these gentlemen some who knew the
country well by reason of their occupations in peace.

The period of rest during our stay in the Chalau district made it
possible for our sick and wounded, who had been brought with us on the
long marches, to recover; the fit, too, benefited by the respite. All
had suffered more or less from the uninterrupted marching and exertions
they had just gone through. It was noteworthy how the recent successes
brought out the warlike spirit of the bearers, who were for the most
part a very sound and reliable lot of men. A large number offered their
services as Askari. Even my old cook was not disinclined to take up
arms.

On 5th of August supplies began to run short and there remained as
our chief article of diet only the still bitter _muhogo_. Several
enemy patrols approaching us from the north-east showed me that the
enemy columns following us from the south-west had actually overtaken
us during our halt and were concentrating for an attack at Wamaka,
north-east of our camp.



CHAPTER VI

BACK TO THE LURIO RIVER


IN order to confirm the enemy in his mistake as to our objective I
marched on 7th August along the road to Wamaka and pitched my camp
three hours’ march north-east of Chalau, in a good supply area. Several
enemy patrols were driven off. From Wamaka an enemy officer appeared
with a flag of truce to announce that the English Commander-in-Chief
would like to arrange for an exchange of medical prisoners. He was also
instructed to inform me as to when and where equipment for the English
prisoners could be handed over to us. These very transparent proposals
showed me that the enemy had something serious in hand from the north
and was trying to make his task easier by enticing me into a trap.
Various enemy spies were captured and confirmed my belief. Their report
that the enemy intended to attack in three columns was in accordance
with the usual plan of such undertakings.

When several patrol and outpost actions on 10th and 11th August
indicated that a strong enemy column was advancing along the
Wamaka-Chalau road, I assumed that at least one other column would
be marching parallel with this further south; their objective was
obviously Chalau. I decided to engage this southern enemy column by
itself. The prospect of the success of my plan was certainly not great,
as the enemy was marching for the most part through the bush, avoiding
the paths. To meet such a development of the situation I had had a
path reconnoitred and marked. In spite of this our march, begun in
the evening of 11th August, lasted through the whole night. Not until
daybreak did we arrive east of Chalau at the place I had selected.
Strong patrols, among them a whole company under Captain Koehl, were
still on the march.

My general idea was a march west to enable me to turn either to the
Blantyre district or east of Lake Nyassa. Without any hindrance from
the enemy we crossed the Ligonja at Metil and the Tipa-Namirrue road.
There the grave of an officer of the 1st battalion 2nd King’s African
Rifles proved that the enemy column, which had first followed us
from Tipa to Namirrue, had gone round us to the north to Wamaka: for
this 1st battalion 2nd King’s African Rifles belonged to the force
which was now approaching from Wamaka. On the further march to Ili
we passed through the camps of the enemy forces which had come from
the south-west and had continued their march in the direction of
Alto-Moloque. They too had made a wide détour and had accomplished
correspondingly long marches. It was strange that all these enemy
columns should suddenly display such a high degree of mobility; they
had changed their supply system and, partially at any rate, left
their lines of communication. According to the reports of prisoners
they sent requisitioning parties on ahead to commandeer supplies
from the natives, which were then distributed among the troops. This
requisitioning of supplies seems to have been carried out with great
ruthlessness. The confidence which the natives had shown during our
recent stay in the Ili district had vanished. They now saw an enemy in
every Askari and individual men who were left behind were on several
occasions attacked by the natives.

When we came to Ili, the English telegraphic station situated there
was quickly captured. The papers found there gave useful information
as to the movements of the enemy troops. According to this there were
considerable stores at Numarroe and Regone; strong forces were to try
to overtake us from Alto-Moloque and Mukubi, while one column followed
immediately on our track. The enemy, who up to a short time back had
been groping in the dark, had apparently received, a few days before,
reliable information as to our movements. It was very difficult to find
the road to Regone, as no guides could be raised. From Ili, however,
a newly erected telephone line of copper wire led to Numarroe. If we
followed this line we were sure to come upon something useful. As a
matter of fact parts of the enemy columns were near us when we left
Ili. The patrols we had left behind even met some Askari whom they took
to be friends: they exchanged cigarettes and lights with these and did
not realize until afterwards that they were enemies.

During these days I was much occupied with a domestic question. The
supply of bread for the European prisoners became difficult in view of
the prolonged marches. The men were unskilled and not in a position to
help themselves. At last I succeeded in getting over the difficulty,
and had considerable quantities of flour prepared by other methods.
Captain Krüger, who had charge of the prisoners of war and died soon
afterwards, was already very ill and exhausted by hardships; with the
best intentions he had not always managed to find the ways and means of
meeting the wishes of the prisoners, which were often very exacting.

In the morning of 24th August we crossed the Likungo river, and
continued our march towards Numarroe. We could already see, several
miles in breadth, the hill and the buildings of Boma Numarroe.
During a halt we lunched in the congenial company of Lieutenant Ott,
Sergeant-Major Nordenholz and the other officers of the advance guard.
We had long grown accustomed during the halts to bring out, without
ceremony, a piece of bread and a box of lard or hippopotamus fat. Naval
Lieutenant Freund even still possessed some butter from Namacurra.
Even the Askari and bearers, who formerly used to wait for their meal
until camp was pitched, adopted more and more the “desturi” (manners,
customs) of the Europeans. As soon as a halt was called every black
would bring out his lunch. It was very jolly when the whole force
bivouacked in this way in the forest, in the best of spirits, and
refreshed themselves for fresh exertions, fresh marches and fresh
fighting.

We were still two hours east of Numarroe when the advance guard was
fired on. An enemy company had camped on our line of march and was
slowly and cleverly retreating before us from kopje to kopje in the
direction of Numarroe. Lieutenant Ott, who was shot through the chest,
was in a very serious condition. With the main body led by Goering’s
detachment, I made a detour, and, passing the enemy to the south, made
straight for the Boma of Numarroe. Before dark our gun was brought into
position and fire opened on the Boma and its entrenchments. Goering’s
detachment, without loss of time, made a still wider detour to the
south in order, by using a ravine, to come close up to the Boma in the
rear. The advance guard (Müller’s detachment), which was out of sound
of the fighting, was also quickly brought up. The enemy shooting was
not bad, and in spite of the distance the rifle bullets of the infantry
came very close whenever one of us exposed himself.

It soon grew dark; the firing increased and died down again, until
suddenly heavy firing was heard from the direction of Goering’s
detachment. Then there was silence. Goering’s detachment had surprised
the enemy in the rear and stormed some stubbornly defended trenches.
The retreating enemy was, however, not recognized as the enemy by
another German detachment and got away. The night was unpleasantly
cold; it was pouring with rain and our baggage had not yet come up.
On the following day 3 enemy Europeans and 41 Askari were buried by
us; 1 European and 6 Askari wounded, 1 European, 7 Askari and 28 other
blacks unwounded were taken prisoner. Among the prisoners was the enemy
Commander, Major Garrod, who commanded the half of the 2nd battalion
4th King’s African Rifles here. On our side, Sergeant-Major Nordenholz
was shot through the head; 6 Askari and 1 machine-gun bearer were
killed; 3 Europeans, 18 Askari and 4 machine-gun bearers were wounded;
40,000 rounds of ammunition and two light machine guns, in addition to
hand-grenades, medical stores and large quantities of supplies, were
captured. Among our wounded left behind in the clean, massively built
houses was Lieutenant Ott, cheerful as ever. Fortunately, his wound was
not so serious as was feared at first, but it was not possible to take
him with us.

On August 25th I wanted at all costs to reach the camp of Regone.
From captured papers I knew that valuable stores had been taken to
Regone to be safe from us, including trench-mortar ammunition. Regone
was probably, for the moment, still weakly garrisoned. In view of the
proximity of the enemy columns it might, however, be assumed that
August 26th would already be too late for a _coup de main_. The path
led through a pass in the steep rocky hills. During the march our
advance guard soon came upon the enemy and engaged him, while I, with
the main force, passed round this enemy and marched direct on Regone.
During the climb over the hilly country, where it was only possible
to see a short distance ahead, two German detachments, mistaking each
other for the enemy, nearly became engaged. The machine guns were
already in position when the mistake was fortunately discovered.

We then advanced further over the hills, while below us, already
considerably in the rear, could be heard the machine-gun fire of our
advance guard. The march was so difficult, and as we could only cross
the hills in single file, our column was so long that Regone, my
objective for that day, was not nearly reached. As a matter of fact we
had no exact idea where Regone was. Only the fact that we could see in
the distance the converging of several paths led us to conclude that
Regone must lie there. Half way to Regone we saw a large encampment
of tents which I took to be the other half of the battalion which had
marched from Regone to the support of Numarroe.

In pouring rain we had to pitch our camp in the bush. On the next day
the camp we had observed had been struck. The Boma of Regone was held
in considerable strength. An attack on this place over the bare hills
offered no prospect of success, and we confined ourselves to skirmishes
with patrols and single detachments. As I had seen from his papers,
the enemy had given orders that we should be allowed to strike at
Regone unhindered and then attacked in the flank or rear by the strong
reserves which lay outside. It was therefore necessary to exercise
particular caution, and the impetuosity with which Lieutenant Boell’s
company, in spite of all these considerations, advanced on the Boma
might have had serious consequences. Several enemy camps and columns
outside the entrenchments were surprised by our fire and some supplies
captured. The captured papers informed us of the approach of strong
enemy columns from the south and south-east towards Regone. But there
were also troops to the north; whether these were in the neighbourhood
of Lioma-Malacotera or at Malema could not be ascertained. It was,
however, certain that they were at hand and it was probable that they
were approaching Regone, and that from the north.

As a _coup de main_ against Regone offered no prospect of success, and
a prolonged enterprise, in view of the intervention to be expected from
outside, could not be relied on, I determined to resume the march.
On account of the obstacles formed by the rivers and swamps south of
Lake Nyassa, the line of march I had formerly decided on to the west
appeared ill-advised, especially as the enemy could, with the help of
steamers and railways, easily concentrate and maintain a force there.
A further march north seemed to me more practicable, passing the
lake on the east; it seemed probable that our return to German East
Africa would be a complete surprise to the enemy, who would take our
objective to be the natural capital of this district, Tabora. Under
this impression he might be expected, in order to save his main force
the difficult overland march to Tabora, to withdraw to the Portuguese
coast, take ship from there to Dar-es-Salaam, and proceed by rail to
Tabora. These calculations were to a large extent realized. It was
natural that, having reached the north end of Lake Nyassa, I should
continue my march, not to Tabora but in another direction, probably
west. In any case, the first thing was to reach the north end of the
lake. This could not be done in less than a month and meanwhile the
situation might alter considerably.

At Regone we observed the concentration of strong enemy forces, who
examined our camps immediately after our departure but followed us
only slowly. The country, with its numerous ravines and water-courses,
was particularly favourable to us. On the way to Lioma a considerable
enemy supply dump was captured, including a large quantity of
tobacco. Müller’s detachment, which had gone on ahead to Lioma, soon
reported the enemy occupation of this place, but could not obtain
any exact information as to his strength. I reached this advance
detachment on 30th August with the main force. The position of the
enemy entrenchments in the thick bush had not yet been located with
any exactness. Apparently he had only just arrived and had not yet
completed his works. I therefore attacked immediately. The detachments
of Müller and Goering marched round the enemy to take him from the
north. Meanwhile the main force gradually closed in along several
ravines in the forest.

In view of the lack of information I could get no clear picture of the
situation. Suddenly lively firing was heard from the rear, where our
carrier columns were still on the march. A strong enemy patrol had
unexpectedly opened fire on our bearers. A great part of our baggage
was lost. Captain Poppe, who with two companies was standing by in case
I required him, was sent to attack. He could no longer find the patrol,
but followed their line of retreat and came upon an entrenched camp
which he immediately stormed. Sergeant-Major Schaffrath was severely
wounded. These events were personally reported to me by Captain Poppe,
who was brought back severely wounded in the chest. He reported that
the enemy had been completely defeated, and that large captures of arms
and ammunition had been made. The companies of Poppe’s detachment had
pursued the fleeing enemy and come upon a fresh and larger camp. This
same camp was also attacked from the north by Goering’s detachment,
so that the enemy was taken under an effective cross fire. Meanwhile,
a new enemy, advancing from the north-east, was held up by Müller’s
detachment.

I did not get anything like a clear view of these different events
until I personally reconnoitred the position long after dark. On one of
these reconnaissances an enemy rifle-bullet, of which many were being
fired, passed through the trousers of one of my companions (Hauter, of
the Landsturm), struck my other companion, Lieutenant Besch, in the
thigh and severed the artery. Fortunately we were near the dressing
station. I was thus able to take leave of this officer, who had
hitherto acted as Quartermaster and at the same time had undertaken the
duties of orderly officer, with the knowledge that he would recover.
His few possessions he gave to his companions together with his wishes
for good luck for the future. I, too, was honoured with a handful
of cigarettes. It was my habit to smoke continuously during serious
fighting.

In the middle of the bush I met Lieutenant Von Ruckteschell with some
bearers, on his stretcher which he was forced to use temporarily
because of his wounded leg, which had not yet healed; he had kept the
column together as far as possible during the long march and now, rifle
in hand, was beaming with joy at the possibility of taking part in the
engagement with the enemy patrol which appeared on the flank and in our
rear. Part of our columns had lost their way in the thick bush and only
found us some hours later. After nightfall the dressing station in a
ravine had been filled with wounded. It was reported that Lieutenant
Schroetter and Naval Lieutenant Freund had fallen. In a further
patrol-attack, Sergeant-Majors Bolles and Hüttig accidentally came
close to the enemy positions and were fired on suddenly; Bolles fell,
Hüttig was captured, severely wounded. Sergeant-Major Thurmann had come
within five yards of the enemy trenches, and being an excellent shot he
repeatedly picked off from an ant-hill any of the enemy inside the camp
who exposed himself, until he, too, received a mortal wound.

Captain Goering, regarding it as hopeless to storm the camp, did not
attempt this and, after dark, withdrew the force, leaving only patrols
in front of the enemy. The main force was thus collected in several
groups north of the enemy camp, and I decided to evacuate the scene of
action on the following day and march on.

[Illustration: Fig. xx. Through Portuguese East Africa.]

By force of necessity we had to leave behind part of our sick and
wounded, as well as the sick prisoners, in charge of an English medical
officer, and at nine o’clock in the morning we began our march north
in several columns. We had no guides; the country was quite unknown to
us and I could only give the Commander of the advance guard general
instructions that I intended to pass round one of the hills that lay
before us to the north. Soon firing could be heard from the advance
guard. It gradually became clear in the bush that our advance guard had
turned against an enemy who had attacked in the rear from the left.
The shooting was at close range, and from Headquarters, which was with
the main body, seemed to come from a considerable force.

I sent back an Askari to lead the head of the main force to the place
where I was. The position certainly invited us to catch the enemy
between our advance guard and our main force, and overwhelm him. I
waited, but our main force did not arrive. At last I ran back and saw
from the tracks that the main force had been wrongly guided and had
marched past us a long way to the side. On the other hand, I saw the
head of Stemmermann’s detachment, to which the greater part of our
columns and our sick belonged, in the very act of marching unwittingly
straight into the enemy. There was just time to head off this
detachment. I myself now joined the advance detachments of Müller and
Goering, who had meanwhile continued their march further north. They
were following a road which led up the hill and was then completely
lost. I paid no further attention to the firing which I heard from time
to time further to the rear. In the late afternoon I was astonished to
notice that the rest of the troops had not followed the detachments of
Müller and Goering, but were marching along the valley to our right.
I had no idea that our column had meanwhile been fired on again by a
new enemy from the east and that a great part of a field hospital had
fallen into the enemy’s hands.

In order to bring the force together, I tried to descend from my
hill. The descent, however, proved impossible; the rocks were steep,
almost perpendicular. We continued along a native path, and evening
was falling when Captain Müller reported that this path, too, ended
abruptly in a precipice. Fortunately there was another small bypath.
This we followed and succeeded in climbing down. Even here it was very
steep in places, but the bare feet of the carriers gave them a good
foothold and I, too, after taking off my boots, managed the descent.
It was pitch dark and we had no water. At last, however, we found
some, and a load fell from my heart when we came upon the rest of the
force which, under General Wahle, had, on their side, been trying to
join us. On the 30th and 31st of August, we had lost 6 Europeans,
23 Askari killed; 11 Europeans, 16 Askari wounded; 5 Europeans, 29
Askari missing; 5 Askari taken prisoner; 48,000 rounds of ammunition,
important medical and surgical stores, a considerable number of rifle
parts and the whole transport of Müller’s detachment had been lost. The
enemy losses were also severe, as appeared from a casualty list of the
1st battalion 1st King’s African Rifles which was captured later. In
addition to this battalion part of the 3rd battalion of this regiment
and the 2nd King’s African Rifles had taken part in the fighting
against us.

Our men fought brilliantly; some of the carriers, it is true, had
been somewhat unnerved by the unexpected fire and more than 200 were
missing. There was no news of Koehl’s detachment, but our leaders had
become so experienced and skilled in bush warfare that there was no
need for me to be anxious. On the next day, on arrival at our camp, we
surprised an English supply column.

We then crossed the Cutea-Malema road on which enemy troops also
appeared, and then crossed the Lurio river at Mtetere. An English
requisitioning force fled and some supplies were captured. Here Koehl’s
detachment rejoined the main force. They had followed the enemy who
was following us and had ascertained that he was several battalions
strong. We then marched down the Lurio to the fertile district of
Mpuera. Here Sol (Sergeant-Major) Salim, who, during an earlier patrol
expedition, had married a wife who had followed him faithfully, left
her behind with her father, the local Jumbo, in view of her approaching
confinement.

As there was plenty of food in this district, I gave our troops,
who had been very exhausted by recent events, a day’s rest. It was
necessary, anyhow, in the interests of our numerous invalids. Captain
Koehl had been left behind with his company without transport so that
he could do the enemy as much damage as possible. He reported that
strong bodies of enemy troops had arrived in the neighbourhood and
east of Mtetere. It was clear that for the time being the enemy was
devoting his whole energies to pursuing us, and for that purpose had
concentrated all his forces. On that account I did not think the
moment favourable for some partial success, because it could not be
exploited, and an action would have cost us wounded whom we could not
take away with us. As my idea was to forage the district north of
Luambala for food, I was unwilling to postpone the march thither any
longer.

The day of rest, September 5th, was employed in completing our food
supplies from the fertile region of Mpuera, and early on the 6th we
continued our march in a northerly direction. It was to be assumed that
the enemy would march downstream, and therefore in a north-easterly
direction, in several columns. Our troops advanced in order of echelon
through the bush, and I expected any moment to come across the most
northerly of the enemy columns, but we crossed its probable course
without discovering its tracks. About midday we were approaching our
objective, a water-hole on Mount Hulua. Here our advance guard was shot
at and before long a lively action was in progress. Captain Müller, in
command of the advance guard, had stumbled on the rear of a hostile
column which was marching north-east on a course making an acute angle
with ours. He had immediately attacked the 2nd battalion 2nd King’s
African Rifles, which was at the end of the column, and put it to
flight, capturing the enemy’s field-hospital and his mule train.

I deployed Goering’s detachment on the right of Müller’s detachment,
and it quickly threw back part of the opposing forces, but did not
press on as the enemy deployed larger bodies—the 1st battalion of the
2nd King’s African Rifles and apparently parts of the 3rd battalion as
well.

Our left wing, which had arrived in rolling, open country in its
advance, and also collided with fresh hostile troops, had retired a
few hundred yards and occupied a slight eminence, giving a field of
fire of several hundred yards. I was not able to get a clear picture
of the situation until I went from the right wing, where I had joined
Goering’s detachment, back to the left.

The action was pretty violent and at length came to a standstill. We
now heard the sound of trench-mortar fire coming from the rearguard,
under Captain Spangenberg, whose arrival I was awaiting. The rearguard
had beaten off the attack of another enemy column at Mpuera and
driven part of it away in disorderly flight. In accordance with its
instructions it had followed the main body at seven o’clock in the
morning. It arrived on the battlefield about five in the afternoon, and
I considered whether I ought not to throw in all my reserves to inflict
a decisive defeat on the 2nd King’s African Rifles there and then on
Mount Hulua. I gave up the idea, however. Time was very short, for
there was only an hour to darkness, and I felt perfectly certain that
very early next morning fresh hostile forces would appear on the scene.
If we were to achieve a decisive victory it would certainly cost us
appreciable losses, and I was anxious to avoid such losses in view of
the small numbers—176 Europeans and 1,487 Askari—which our strength
return of September 1, 1918, revealed. Lieutenant Wenig (Navy), who had
been employed with his gun in Goering’s detachment, told me that he
had taken over the command of that detachment, because all the other
officers were incapacitated. Before long, Captain Goering, with a
severe wound in the breast, and Lieutenant Boell, with one in the head,
were brought to the dressing station.

Accordingly I would not commit our reserves to the confusion and
uncertainty of a night battle in the bush, and determined to slip away
from the battlefield in a north-westerly direction. It was soon quite
dark and our progress was very slow in the thick, high grass. After
going three miles we bivouacked. Our losses in the action of September
6th had been 5 Askari, 4 machine-gunners killed; 13 Europeans, 49
Askari, and 15 other natives wounded; 3 Europeans, 13 Askari, and 12
carriers missing; 3 Askari and 3 bearers captured. The enemy were seen
to have some 10 Europeans and 30 Askari hit, while 8 Europeans and 45
Askari were captured; those of the prisoners who were sick or wounded,
and our own more severely wounded, were left on the battlefield under
the charge of English R.A.M.C. Documents captured later on at Mwembe
showed that “Karturol” (abbreviation for “Column of the 2nd King’s
African Rifles”) had heavy losses on the 6th September and was put out
of action for a time.

The enemy did not molest our further progress. Captain Koehl had
remained behind with his company to the west of Mpuera, in order to
operate from the rear against the enemy and his communications. He
followed our trail, having slight encounters at Milweberg with the
1st battalion of the 4th King’s African Rifles, which arrived at that
point from the south on the 8th September. We moved in several columns
right through the bush, a region rich in game. We even killed several
buffaloes on the march. At Kanene we crossed the road that ran from
Lake Amaramba to Mahua. The enemy had burnt down the store at Kanene,
but we found ample supplies in the country itself, and the material
condition of the troops would have been good, if only the influenza
epidemic had not made such strides. About half had bronchial catarrh,
and from three to six men in each company had inflammation of the
lungs; as it was only possible for some eighty sick to be carried in
the whole force, about twenty men suffering with slight inflammation
of the lungs had to march at times. No satisfactory solution of the
problem of transport of sick was to be found, short of abandoning the
campaign; we could not simply leave the sick to die in the bush. This
difficult position inevitably placed the greatest possible strain
on the nerves of Surgeon-Major Taute, our splendid senior medical
officer. It was the greatest good fortune that this officer, singularly
gifted both in medicine and in organization, proved equal to his grave
responsibility. We owe it to the measures adopted by him, as well as
to the change of district and climate forced upon us by circumstances,
that the epidemic soon abated. A number of Askari and other natives not
in a fit state for heavy work followed the force slowly; many of them
lost courage when they continually found our camping-places empty. A
large number, however, caught up with us, especially when the force did
one of its short marches, or was able (a rare occurrence enough) to
take a day’s rest.



CHAPTER VII

ON GERMAN SOIL ONCE MORE


BUT we could not afford many halts. The military position imperatively
demanded that we should pass quickly through the districts to the east
of the centre of Lake Nyassa, which were not fertile and had been
largely stripped in the latest period of the war. Rapidity was all
the more essential as it was possible for the enemy to move troops by
sea to the north end of the lake and thus anticipate us by strongly
occupying the district there. As we approached the river Lujenda, the
ground became more mountainous and was scored with many water-courses
and ravines. We could not simply march by the compass, but had to have
regard to the watershed and keep along the mountain ridge. Fortunately,
the leader of the advance guard, Captain Spangenberg, found some
natives who acted as pathfinders and made it much easier to discover
a good route. But a certain amount of doubling was unavoidable, and
that retarded our progress, while the enemy were in a position to
move troops and supplies swiftly from Malacotera along a good road to
Luambala.

I was somewhat anxious to know whether the water of the river Ludjenda
would have fallen sufficiently to enable us to use the fords. It would
no doubt have been easy to construct bark boats, but the transport
of the whole force could hardly have gone smoothly forward, having
regard to the violence of the current. In any case, I thought it most
important that there should be no enemy opposition, and that again
made haste essential. Fortunately patrols which we sent ahead found
a ford below Luambala, where the wading of the river presented no
difficulty. Several slaughtered hippopotami enabled us to prepare
some fat again, and in the neighbourhood of Mwembe, which we reached
on the 17th September, we were able to replenish our supplies once
more. At this point we took our first day’s rest for a long time. It
was here at Mwembe that the lung epidemic reached its crisis. Since
the middle of August, 7 Europeans and about 200 natives had been
attacked, of whom 2 Europeans and 17 natives had died. The stores at
Mwembe had been destroyed by the weak enemy posts, but there were still
ample supplies to be had in the district. The question of carriers
began to cause anxieties. The men had been severely tested by the
continual marching, by the epidemic, and by the carriage of the sick;
and we were approaching their home districts. It was probable that
the Wangoni carriers would desert the moment they reached their home,
which lay to the north of the Rovuma. In the district of Mwembe and the
well-cultivated valleys of the river Luscheringo, several patrols of
the enemy “Intelligence Department” were encountered; true, they were
easily driven off, but their presence showed that the enemy was in the
main aware of our movements.

We sent long-distance patrols towards Mitomoni and Makalogi. To the
south of the Rovuma, after leaving the Luscheringo valley, the steppe
through which our march led us was amazingly rich in game, as was the
Rovuma itself, which we reached on the 28th September. But the big
game had its drawbacks, for once again a sentry was killed by lions.
We came on to German soil again, and stayed two days at Nagwamira;
we surprised several enemy depots and columns, which had had no news
of our appearance. The country was amazingly fertile, and the troops
were able to get thoroughly fit again. Our patrols sent out towards
Mitomoni reported a camp somewhat strongly held and the arrival of
reinforcements coming from the west. Ssongea, too, was occupied by
the enemy, but in what strength could not be ascertained. Various
reports, as well as the geographical position, made it likely that
reinforcements were also on their way to Ssongea from Lake Nyassa.

We continued our march, moving in the direction of Ssongea, and
southwards of this place came into thickly settled country. The
enemy wireless disclosed that enemy troops were present in Ssongea,
and that another column had arrived in the neighbourhood, in all
probability from Mitomoni. On the 4th October I passed Ssongea on the
west and continued to the north. When the advance guard under Captain
Spangenberg reached the high road from Ssongea to Wiedhafen, it was
attacked with trench-mortars by three enemy companies, which had come
from the west. The enemy was forced back a little. On account of the
hilly and ravine-scored nature of the ground and the advanced hour, it
was improbable that we could achieve a really effective success on this
day. By the morrow, however, there would be further enemy troops on the
spot. I accordingly carried the attack no further, and marched by to
the west of the enemy into a camp at the Peramiho mission station.

As we passed through the Wangoni territory, a large number of our
carriers deserted, as we had feared would happen. It would after all
have been asking too much of human nature, to expect that these men,
who had not seen their people for years, should now march straight
through their native district. The nigger’s love of home is too
strong. Even Samarunga, one of my own carriers and a very devoted and
trustworthy fellow, asked for leave to visit his village, which lay
near by. He came back faithfully enough and brought his brother with
him. The two then marched on with us, and Samarunga stayed on even when
his brother left. To revive his depression, I gave him some of my meat
ration, but on the next morning he proved to have disappeared after
all, having first put all my things in order.

To the north of Ssongea a few enemy reconnoitring patrols were again
met with. Day after day we moved through territory formerly fertile
and well settled. Thousands of farmers could settle there in a healthy
and beautiful climate. On the 14th October, we reached Pangire
(Jacobi), a pleasantly situated mission station, in which, before the
war, the missionary Gröschel had entertained me on my last tour. The
missionary’s family had been removed, but the natives, who were of
the Wabena tribe, had remained, and received us as in peace time, in
a most friendly manner. Several old Askari, also, who had left the
force for one reason or another, now reported again. Here, too, some
patrols were met with and driven off. In the Wabena country, which is
well stocked with cattle, our very scanty stocks were replenished, and
a mobile food-reserve thus constituted, which helped greatly to lighten
our transport. After we had quitted Pangire, a patrol that we had left
there was fired on by an enemy detachment. Near Ubena our rearguard,
under Captain Müller, was attacked by several enemy companies arriving
from the south. A fairly strong enemy column was thus following our
track. The free open steppes of Ubena were not favourable ground for us
to fight on, as they were commanded from long range by rifle and gun
fire. Several reports were also received of the advance on Ubena of
strong enemy forces from Mwakete; these reports proved to be in part
incorrect, and led to a short fight between two German patrols.

It was highly probable, and later it proved to be the case, that enemy
troops would be moved by water to the northern end of Lake Nyassa and
march from there on Ubena or further to the north. If I desired to give
up the march towards Tabora, and to move instead between Lakes Nyassa
and Rukwa, and later between Lakes Nyassa and Tanganyika, to Rhodesia,
the time for the change of direction was now approaching and there was
not a day to lose; this was all the more so as our freedom of movement
was severely restricted by the steep slopes of Mount Livingstone
and the hills round Mbeja. In settling our line of march we had to
bear in mind that our stocks of provisions had dwindled considerably
and required replenishing. Native information pointed to this being
possible in the region of Kidugala and Sombowano, while famine was said
to be raging in Ussangu, and especially round New Utengule.

On the 17th October, I quitted Ubena with the main body, leaving behind
there, sick or wounded, General Wahle, two other Europeans, and some
Askari. I reached Kidugala on this day. Koehl’s detachment followed on
the 18th October. On the same day, the Boma Ubena was occupied by some
100 enemy Askari, while 200 to 300 advanced northwards to the Iringa
road. We learnt from captured newspapers that Cambrai had fallen on
the 29th September and that the Belgians had advanced 3 kilometres west
of Roubaix. We read, too, of the cessation of hostilities in Bulgaria,
of the retirement of Count Hertling, and of the capture of St. Quentin
and Armentières. But positions could be given up for so many different
reasons that I did not attribute any decisive importance to this news.

Our further march past Ngombowano and Brandt led us through a district
well stocked with cattle. Missions and schools had been deserted,
but we were very glad to find garden fruits, especially mulberries
and peaches. In the bush we also found great quantities of wild figs
and other sweet and tasty fruits. Small patrol encounters indicated
that enemy troops were moving direct from Lake Nyassa northwards into
the Brandt district. In Ruiwa we found large English depots, and we
had to destroy a whole warehouse full of leather. We went on to the
mission of Old Utengule, also well known to me from peace time, and now
lying deserted. We then reached Mbozi mission, where the English had
assembled the men from the district, examined them, and sent them to
New Langenburg, probably in order to turn them into Askari there. At
Mbozi there was a large English depot, containing, among other things,
75 loads of salt and 47 loads of coffee.

It was difficult to feel our way through the district. In the main it
was but little known to us, and for years the enemy had been altering
it by building storehouses and transport roads. To have reconnoitred in
advance would have made too great a demand on our time and strength,
besides depriving us of the advantage of surprise. The inhabitants
were very hostile to the English and rendered us valuable service,
but their information was too often very vague. While we rested a day
in Mbozi and replenished our stores, our patrols were far afield, one
towards Galula (St. Moritz’ mission), another towards Itaka, one in
the direction of New Langenburg, and one in that of Fife. Some of them
would be away for weeks, and we could not wait for their reports.

This much, however, became clear, that a main communication road of
the enemy ran past Mbozi from Fife via Rwiba to New Langenburg. On
this road we captured a lot of stores and several supply columns on the
march. The existence of this road showed that a large English depot
must lie in the neighbourhood of Fife. It would probably be possible
to capture this by swift action, before stronger enemy forces arrived
there. On the morning of 31st October a fighting patrol was dispatched
against Fife. On the evening of the same day natives and patrols
reported the advance of strong enemy forces on the New Langenburg-Rwiba
road. In the early morning of the 1st November I moved off with the
whole force, advancing in the first instance towards Mount Rwiba. There
the track showed that a strong enemy column had passed the Rwiba hill
shortly before us, in the direction of Fife. This enemy force had not
been observed by a German fighting patrol that had been sent out to
Mount Rwiba.



CHAPTER VIII

THE ADVANCE INTO BRITISH RHODESIA


THE second patrol dispatched by us on the 31st October towards Fife
had halted at Mount Rwiba. I had now to advance with the whole force
towards Fife, in order to reach it before the enemy, or to attack if
our first patrol should prove to be engaged there. The ten-hour march
(actual marching time) from Mbozi to Fife was a tremendous strain on
the force, but the reports of our patrols, the track of the enemy, and
his notes found on the trees, proved beyond a doubt that the enemy
was doing everything possible to reach Fife on the same day, the 1st
November. The great distance which they, too, had to march justified
us in assuming that our patrol, which I expected would reach Fife on
the 31st October, or at the latest on the 1st November, would be equal
to preventing the enemy occupying the depot at Fife on the 1st. In the
course of the afternoon we fired on several patrols, without halting
in our advance. Late in the afternoon weak enemy detachments in the
hills near Fife were quickly thrown back. I myself, with Spangenberg’s
detachment, which had moved off the road to the right, advanced along a
mountain ridge on to a point where we judged that Fife would lie.

The ground was becoming more open, being mainly covered with knee-high
bush and grass, when a few hundred yards before us we observed men
moving about and tents pitched close together. The men were moving
about in such unconcerned fashion that I almost took them for our own
patrol, but at 200 yards we were received with violent and at first
very well directed rifle and machine-gun fire. It was fortunate that
our men did not answer it, for I had happened to get in advance and
was between the two parties. After a time the enemy, who had apparently
become very excited, began to fire high. It started to grow darker, so
that my patrol was able to get back to our line. We had, at any rate,
reached certainty. We knew that the enemy with a strength of several
companies was lying before us in an entrenched position with a good
field of fire. His advanced detachments had been thrown back. His
depots lay in part outside the trenches, and later fell into our hands.
I did not want to undertake the storming of the position, which would
have been costly, but the opportunity seemed favourable to bombard the
enemy, massed as he was in the position, with our trench-mortar, and
also from a height with our gun, as well as with rifle and machine-gun
fire if he should show himself. Our machine guns were accordingly
moved forward in the night close to his position and entrenched.
Reconnaissance for a good gun position was postponed to the next day.

It was probable that the opening of our trench-mortar and gun-fire
would lead the enemy advancing from New Langenburg to attack us. Such
an attack against our heights would have been very difficult. But
in spite of the bombardment on the 2nd November, which was observed
to cause some losses, no new enemy appeared. The definite success
for which we hoped against the camp was not achieved, since our
trench-mortar was destroyed at one of the first shots by a prematurely
bursting shell. Flat trajectory fire alone could do nothing against
the well-protected enemy. In the afternoon, therefore, our main body,
with its herds of cattle more than 400 strong, marched off, between
Fife and the Mwenzo mission towards Rhodesia. When we had reached
camp, we saw heavy columns of smoke rising from the depots at Fife,
to which Müller’s detachment had set fire after our departure. From
the direction of the Mwenzo mission we heard short bursts of fire on
several occasions.

Reports came in gradually from that direction. In addition to our
fighting patrols dispatched from Mbozi, other patrols of ours had
arrived, and had fought with English patrols, and also with each other.
One report stated that one enemy patrol had been observed with quite
dark uniforms, hitherto unknown, and that it must be some recently
arrived body. After many inquiries I finally ascertained that one of
our own patrols, whose equipment was certainly no longer quite in
accord with regulations, had been continually mistaken for the enemy.
In the Mwenzo mission itself there was a stationary enemy hospital,
from which we were able to replenish our medical stores. Our quinine
stocks were brought up to over fourteen kilos, supplies thus being
insured until June, 1919.

[Illustration: Fig. xxi. The March into Rhodesia.]

Various reports and statements of prisoners showed that enemy transport
was moving from the Broken Hill district to Kasama, and from there
onwards to Fife, with motor-cars and ox-wagons. Kasama itself seemed to
be a large place and an important road centre. In any case, we could
expect enemy depots on the way from Fife to Kasama, and Kasama itself
would be a valuable objective. So far as one could tell from the map,
the position also seemed to be such that we should be able there to
decide to go further southwards round Lake Bangweolo and reach the
Zambesi-Congo watershed, or to march further westwards between Lakes
Bangweolo and Moero. The information was certainly very uncertain,
resting almost exclusively on several Askari, who as children had been
employed in trade caravans in the neighbourhood of Lake Moero.

The important question of the nature of the rivers, and in particular
of the Luapala, which flowed from Lake Bangweolo into Lake Moero, was
for the time quite unsolved. We did not clear up these points until
we captured some maps and notes. About this time, according to these,
the Luapala was a mighty barrier; deep and in many places very broad;
it is enclosed by extended marshes. In the rainy season that was just
approaching, any attempt to cross the river in canoes would meet with
difficulties, since on our approach the canoes would certainly be
removed to the opposite bank or concealed. I devoted every minute to
the study of maps and travel-descriptions, burying myself in them at
every halt in the march. There was great danger that in ignorance of
our position we might run into an _impasse_ in this region of great
rivers and lakes.

The first thing was to sweep rapidly along the communication road
Fife-Kajambi mission-Kasama. Mobile detachments were sent on by forced
marches, capturing several small depots, taking their guards prisoner,
and also securing a few ox-wagon teams. Captain Spangenberg followed
immediately with three companies, and then the main body, at a distance
of about one day’s march.

The heavy marches and the deviation to the south-west, into quite new
and unknown territory, was too much for a number of carriers. On one
single day there deserted from the staff 20 Wafiri, who had their homes
in the region of Bismarckburg, and 13 carriers from other districts.

The main body arrived at Kajambi on the 6th November. The Catholic
mission station there consists of wonderful, spacious and massive
buildings. The missionaries had fled, quite unnecessarily. In the nuns’
house there was a letter for me from a Catholic nun. She was a native
of Westphalia, and as a fellow-countrywoman appealed to my humanity.
She would certainly have spared herself many discomforts if both she
herself and the other people attached to the mission had remained
quietly at their posts. We should have done as little to them as we had
done earlier to the old English missionary at Peramiho, near Ssongea.
The soil was extraordinarily fertile; in the mission garden magnificent
strawberries were growing. At midday we heard rifle fire from the
rearguard, which was encamped two hours’ march north-east of Kajambi;
Captain Koehl had remained there to gather supplies, and his Europeans
and Askari had largely been distributed into separate supply patrols.
In this situation he was attacked by an enemy patrol. Captain Koehl
extricated himself from this unpleasant position and on the next day
established his front by Kajambi mission, and we had the opportunity,
which we used with great success, to take the enemy under our fire
by surprise. On the 7th November our main body resumed its march on
Kasama. The enemy were not observed to be following up. If, however,
they were to press on behind us, it was to be assumed that questions of
supply would prevent their doing so in really great strength. We had
the prospect of swiftly seizing Kasama, and then of making this place
our base and giving battle under favourable conditions.

But these were hopes of the future; the first thing was to take Kasama
itself quickly; according to our information it was not strongly held,
but was well fortified. Captain Spangenberg with the advance guard
kept increasing his distance from the main body by longer and longer
marches. I followed with the main body; ample supplies were found, and
we also met with confirmation of the descriptions given in various
books to the effect that the forest is well stocked with tasty bush
fruits.

On the 8th November Spangenberg’s detachment had several patrol fights
to the north of Kasama, and on the 9th it took Kasama, whose garrison,
in the strength of half a company, retired to the southward. Only a
little ammunition was captured and there was little else of value
in the armoury. There was a large repair shop for motor and other
vehicles, and more than a score of Boer wagons were taken. There was
considerable booty in food supplies for Europeans. It was noteworthy
that an English company in Kasama—I think it was the African Lakes
Corporation—had given written instructions for the destruction of
its depots by the natives. These came in large numbers to loot, and
Spangenberg’s detachment found buildings and their contents largely
destroyed by looting natives. It is due to his action that among other
things the house of the British Commissioner, which was built and
furnished with great taste, was preserved.

During our advance from Fife it had appeared that the further we went
the fuller were the enemy depots. We gained the impression that we were
working up a line of communications which started around Broken Hill
or somewhat to the north of it, and was only just being established.
We had grounds for hoping that if we moved rapidly forward, we should
find depots even more plentifully stocked; and the documents taken,
besides information from natives, seemed to confirm this. Three days’
march further along the telephone line, large stores were said to be
lying at the Chambezi ferry, which had in part been brought thither by
boat. I myself on the 11th November cycled to Kasama and met Captain
Spangenberg there, and he immediately resumed his march, with two
companies, southwards, in the direction of the Chambezi ferry.

On the 12th November the main body reached Kasama. Towards evening
rifle and machine-gun fire was heard from the direction of our march.
Our rearguard had been attacked in its camp, two hours to the north
of Kasama. The enemy who had fought at Kajambi had not followed us
directly, but had taken a parallel course. In the evening Koehl’s
detachment arrived in Kasama. I had now formed the opinion that the
attempt on the Chambezi depot was the more promising and important
undertaking, especially as the whole position made it probable that the
pursuing enemy would continue to follow and thus again afford us an
opportunity to give battle.



CHAPTER IX

THE ARMISTICE AND OUR RETURN HOME


ACCORDINGLY only Koehl’s detachment remained at Kasama, with
instructions to follow us a day’s march behind. Early on November 13th
I followed Spangenberg’s detachment with our main body. I had gone on
ahead on a bicycle, selected the site for our camp and was waiting for
the troops to come up when Captain Müller appeared before me, also on
his bicycle, and reported that an armistice had been concluded. An
English motor-cyclist who was to have brought the news to the British
troops had apparently passed through Kasama and been captured there by
Koehl’s detachment. Thanks to the English telephone line, along which
we were marching, we were soon able to understand each other, and thus
did we get the news of the armistice.

The telegram of the motor-cyclist ran as follows:

       *       *       *       *       *

“12. 11. 18. To be fwded via M.B. cable and despatch rider.

“Send following to Colonel von Lettow Vorbeck under white flag. The
Prime Minister of England has announced that an armistice was signed
at 5 hours on Nov. 11th, and that hostilities on all fronts cease at
11 hours on Nov. 11th. I am ordering my troops to cease hostilities
forthwith unless attacked, and of course I conclude that you will do
the same. Conditions of armistice will be forwarded you immediately
I receive them. Meanwhile I suggest that you should remain in your
present vicinity in order to facilitate communication.—General van
Deventer. As message is also being sent to Livingstone, it is important
Karwunfor receives this same time as enemy; every effort must be made
to get message to him to-day.”

Our feelings were very mixed. Personally, as I had no knowledge of the
real state of affairs in Germany, I felt convinced that the conclusion
of hostilities must have been favourable, or at least not unfavourable
to Germany.

Spangenberg’s detachment, which was on ahead, had to be told as soon as
possible, and I immediately set out on my bicycle after it, taking with
me Haouter, a Landsturm soldier, as my sole companion. About half-way,
Reissmann’s cyclist patrol of Spangenberg’s detachment met me and
reported that Captain Spangenberg had arrived at the Chambezi. Although
I had no doubts about the correctness of the English news, our position
was very uncomfortable. We were in a district where there was little
food, and were therefore compelled to move on from place to place. This
circumstance had already compelled us to reconnoitre and secure for
ourselves the crossings of the Chambezi. If hostilities were resumed we
must be certain of a safe crossing. This was a burning question, as the
rainy season, meaning a great rise of this river, was near at hand. We
had already encountered heavy storms. I had, therefore, much to discuss
with Captain Spangenberg and the English officer who would presumably
be on the far bank of the river. In any case we must continue to
devote our energies to buying or getting food. Full of that idea, I
sent my companion back and cycled myself with Reissmann’s patrol to
Spangenberg’s detachment.

We arrived about eight o’clock, when it was quite dark. Captain
Spangenberg was away on a reconnaissance, but Assistant-Paymaster
Dohmen and other Europeans looked after me well as soon as they learnt
of my arrival. I was able to convince myself that the supply depot of
Kasama really existed. I tasted jam and other good things which had
been unknown to me hitherto.

When Captain Spangenberg came back he told me that he had already heard
of the armistice through the English. After I had gone to bed in his
tent, he brought me about midnight a telegram from General Deventer
which had been brought in by the English. It had come from Salisbury.
It stated that Germany had accepted the unconditional handing-over of
all troops operating in East Africa. Deventer added that he demanded
the immediate surrender of all our English prisoners of war, and that
we should march to Abercorn. All our arms and ammunition were to be
given up at Abercorn, but our Europeans were to be allowed to keep
their weapons.

The full text of the telegram ran as follows:

       *       *       *       *       *

“13. 11. 18. To Norforce. Karwunfor via Fife.

“Send following to Colonel von Lettow Vorbeck under white flag: War
Office London telegraphs that clause seventeen of the armistice signed
by the German Govt. provides for unconditional surrender of all German
forces operating in East Africa within one month from Nov. 11th.

“My conditions are. First: hand over all allied prisoners in your
hands, Europeans and natives to the nearest body of British troops
forthwith. Second: that you bring your forces to Abercorn without
delay, as Abercorn is the nearest place at which I can supply you
with food. Third: that you hand over all arms and ammunition to my
representative at Abercorn. I will, however, allow you and your
officers and European ranks to retain their personal weapons for the
present in consideration of the gallant fight you have made, provided
that you bring your force to Abercorn without delay. Arrangements will
be made at Abercorn to send all Germans to Morogoro and to repatriate
German Askari. Kindly send an early answer, giving probable date of
arrival at Abercorn and numbers of German officers and men, Askari and
followers.”

       *       *       *       *       *

This was news enough if it were confirmed, and showed the desperate
situation of the Fatherland. Nothing else could account for the
surrender of a force still maintaining itself proudly and victoriously
in the field.

Without being in a position to examine the ground in detail, I had to
tell myself that the conditions imposed upon us were inevitable, and
must be loyally carried out. I met the British Commissioner, who had
come from Kasama to the Chambezi rubber factory, at the river at eight
o’clock on the morning of the 14th. There I handed to him a telegram
to His Majesty, in which I reported what had happened and added that I
would act accordingly. The Commissioner told me that the German fleet
had revolted, and that a revolution had also broken out in Germany;
further, if he was to accept a report which was official but had not
yet been confirmed, the Kaiser had abdicated on November 10th. All this
news seemed to me very improbable, and I did not believe it until it
was confirmed on my way home months later.

All our troops, native as well as Europeans, had always held the
conviction that Germany could not be beaten in this war, and were
resolved to fight on to the last. Of course it was doubtful whether
our resources would last out if the war lasted several years more, but
we faced all possibilities tranquilly for at least another year. The
men were well armed, equipped and fed, and the strategic situation at
the moment was more favourable than it had been for a long time. The
Askari, it is true, saw that our numbers were dwindling—we were still
155 Europeans, comprising 30 officers, medical officers and higher
officials, 1,168 Askari, and about 3,000 other natives—but whenever I
discussed this topic with one of my orderlies he always assured me: “I
will always stick by you and fight on till I fall.” Many others spoke
to the same effect, and I am convinced that it was not merely a case of
empty words.

In the afternoon of the 14th November, I cycled back to our main body
and told the Europeans what I had learned at the Chambezi, and that it
was my intention to carry out the conditions which had been officially
communicated to me, conditions the accuracy of which I did not doubt.

Before the prisoners were released Colonel Dickinson, the most senior
of them, came to look for me to say good-bye. He said that his period
of captivity (it had been more than three months) had given him an
interesting insight into our camp life, our marching methods, and
the way in which we conducted our actions. He was full of praise for
the simplicity of our arrangements and the absence of friction which
distinguished our operations. There is no doubt he had been using his
eyes.

Our Askari were now informed of the turn of affairs. It was to be
anticipated that there would be difficulties when it came to settling
up with them for their pay, which was years overdue, and the same
applied to the carriers. Yet it was a matter of honour for us to see
that these people, who had fought and worked for us with such devotion,
should receive their rights. The sum involved—about one and a half
million rupees—was relatively small, and so Lieutenant Kempner was
sent out on a bicycle to get this sum from the English, or induce them
to procure it as quickly as possible. Our repeated efforts were without
result. We were told at different times and places that the matter
was “under consideration” by the War Office, and there it remained. I
never even received a reply to my telegram to the German Government
in Berlin. There was nothing for it but to draw up lists of all the
back pay that was due, and give the individual carriers and Askari
certificates against it.

We then marched by short stages through Kasama to Abercorn. The British
gave us further details about the armistice conditions. It appeared
that not “unconditional surrender” (as General van Deventer had said
originally) but “unconditional evacuation” was what was required.
I made several protests against the interpretation of the British
War Office, which made the word “evacuation” include surrender and
disarming, but I received no answer either from the Governments of the
allied countries and the United States, or from the German Government.
In view of the doubtful interpretation of the word “evacuation,” I
considered whether I should not cut short negotiations and march to
join the Belgians or somewhere else. But in comparison to the whole
series of peace conditions which affected the Protective Force, this
seemed a small point, and in the end I decided to go to Dar-es-Salaam,
as General van Deventer required, though certainly in the expectation
that in accordance with the terms the English would immediately send us
back from there to Germany. As will appear later that expectation was
not fulfilled.

Not far north of Kasama we came up with the enemy with whom we had
fought our last engagement. They were the 1st battalion of the 4th
King’s African Rifles. I had to refuse the invitation of Colonel
Hawkins (their estimable commander, who was barely thirty years old),
communicated to me on the march by Colonel Dickinson, to bring all the
German officers to lunch, much though I appreciated such an expression
of chivalry. Yet Colonel Dickinson did not neglect to pay me his
promised visit on one of the following days, and we had a very pleasant
hour over a cup of coffee. I must record that the officers of this
battalion, even in the somewhat difficult circumstances in which they
were placed, behaved with great tact and with that regard which is due
to an honourable foe. Hawkins told me that for reasons of supply he
would not have been able to follow us any further, and in fact we had
to help him out with cattle, of which we had an ample stock.

Lieutenant Kempner had gone on to Abercorn on his bicycle. When he came
back I went there myself in a car which General Edwards had sent for
me. My reception by General Edwards, as well as his Staff, was very
kind. I put forward my point of view to General Edwards that I did not
recognize any duty to surrender of our arms, but was ready to do so if
I was thereby conferring some advantage, not on ourselves individually,
but on the German Government. I was then informed that the arms we
surrendered would form part of the quantity which Germany had to hand
over to the Allied Governments in accordance with the terms of the
armistice. Further, the surrender of our arms should not have the
character of a laying-down of arms.

As regards the Askari and carriers, I was informed that the English
would take them to an internment camp at Tabora, until the question
of their pay had been settled and their repatriation arranged. The
Europeans were to be interned at Dar-es-Salaam until their ship left,
presumably, therefore, for a few days. Not only the Askari but the
Europeans at Dar-es-Salaam were kept behind barbed wire for a month and
a half and more.

The troops arrived at Abercorn on the 25th November. The English flag
was waving on the parade-ground where the handing-over of arms took
place, and this shows that the character of a surrender of our arms was
not altogether avoided. What we handed over was as follows:

1 Portuguese gun, 37 machine guns (7 German, 16 heavy and 14 light
English), 1,071 English and Portuguese rifles, 208,000 rounds,
40 rounds of artillery ammunition. The English were mighty quick
at getting away the surrendered material. There was not a single
modern German rifle among it! The strength of our troops was: the
Governor, 20 officers, 5 medical officers, a doctor of the Voluntary
Medical Detachment, a senior veterinary officer, a senior chemist, a
field-telegraph officer, 125 European other ranks, 1,156 Askari and
1,598 carriers. The arrival of individual detachments was delayed for
hours by heavy rain.

The camp for the Askari was surrounded by a thick thorn hedge, and
was much too small. This led to a good deal of bad feeling among our
Askari, which vented itself in frequent demonstrations against the
English Askari. But at length our people resigned themselves to the
uncomfortable conditions, and even General Edwards realized that the
treatment provided an opportunity for unnecessary friction. We were
not ordinary prisoners of war, whose escape he had to fear, but had
given ourselves into his hands voluntarily in the performance of an
unpleasant duty. He took precautions against similar occurrences during
our march to Bismarckburg, and we went there with Hawkins’ battalion
and without the slightest friction. On November 28th we bivouacked by
the mighty waterfall of the river Kalambo, three hours’ march from
Bismarckburg. Here we remained several days, as the departure of the
steamer from that place was being continually delayed. Many of my
officers continually badgered me to know whether we could not fight
on. These suggestions were far from comfortable, as I had already
quite enough to do to consider how we should get out of so unpleasant
a situation. But putting aside the difficulties involved, I could only
feel glad and proud of such a revelation of true soldierly spirit, a
spirit which did not shrink, even after we had handed over all our
arms, from storming an enemy camp and once more procuring for ourselves
the means to continue the war.

On December 3rd I received a telegram, dated the 2nd December, from
General van Deventer. It ran as follows:

       *       *       *       *       *

“I beg to acknowledge receipt of your telegram setting forth your
formal protest against your troops being treated as prisoners of war.
This will duly be forwarded to the War Office. Meanwhile I am sure you
will recognise that pending the receipt through the War Office of a
communication on the subject of the German Govt. I have had no choice
but to act in accordance with the orders of the War Office, and treat
your force as prisoners of war.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The same day the first lot of troops for transport went on board four
ships. One of them, the _St. George_, had, in addition to its crew of
English bluejackets and an escort officer, only the Governor and the
officers of our force with their black servants. For food the English
gave us corned beef, dates and biscuits, and Dr. Huber, the veterinary
officer, looked after our bodily welfare here on board as carefully as
he had done for so many years in the bush. The British commander, the
escort officer and the whole crew were extraordinarily kind. After a
short stop on the evening of the 3rd, at the Belgian station of Vua, a
violent storm arose in the night. It tore away the awning and, among
other things, carried off Dr. Huber’s coat. The English sailors did all
they possibly could for the Germans, who were quite wet through.

On December 5th we arrived at Kigoma. The place was under Belgian
control, and the Belgians received us with a hospitality which could
not have been anticipated. They displayed a tactful reserve to us which
had never been shown before. Tables covered with cloths had been set
out for all the Europeans, a sight we had not seen for years. Some red
wine was produced. The Belgian Governor had sent his orderly officer,
who spoke German fluently, to receive us officially, and I was glad
to take the opportunity, before we started on our railway journey,
to thank the Belgian commandant for the _camaraderie_ shown us,
_camaraderie_ which always exists among soldiers, even between enemies,
when they have a mutual regard for each other.

Among the English, too, examples of discourtesy on the part of
individual officers, who apparently had not been brought up in the
South, were absolutely exceptional. The senior men immediately adopted
a tactful attitude, whereas one or two juniors did otherwise—for
example, they were inconsiderate enough to want to keep a German
invalid out of the compartment. We Europeans were very well looked
after on the train, and it was like peace time to get a good night’s
rest by letting down the bunks and using a leather pillow.

There was quite a crowd of Germans on the station at Tabora. They
complained of many cases of theft on the part of the Belgians and
English. It is undoubtedly true that such outrages had taken place. We
stopped for the night at Dodoma and next morning had an opportunity of
fetching water and having a bath.

The news of the approach of our train had reached Morogoro, and when
we arrived there in the afternoon we once more found the German women
whom we had left behind us in and about Morogoro two years before. They
had tea and coffee waiting for us. They had arranged tables and baked
plenty of rolls and cakes. In addition they had got the finest fruit
for us. The English were almost as much interested as the Germans.
Besides a very amiable elderly medical officer I have a particularly
lively recollection of a tall, lanky corporal who had apparently drunk
a whole series of glasses to our health before our train arrived. I
managed to slip away from him at last.

We reached Dar-es-Salaam at seven o’clock on the morning of December
8th. The Europeans were well housed in tents in a camp within a
barbed-wire fence. Food was good and plentiful, and we were able
to buy necessaries of all kinds cheaply from the English canteen.
Governor Schnee and I were received by the Chief of Staff of the
British commander, General Sheppard, and conducted to our very pretty
house outside the camp. General van Deventer had very kindly sent a
luncheon there as a welcome to us. Major Kraut, Captain Spangenberg,
and Dr. Huber were all quartered here. We found General Wahle, who had
been left behind sick at Ubene and fallen into the enemy’s hands a
few months back. He had quite recovered. We had a common mess and our
freedom of movement out of the house was only limited to the extent
that we had always to be accompanied by a British officer as escort.
At the start these gentlemen were very unpunctual, but gradually
quite tolerable relations were established between us, and I had an
opportunity of visiting acquaintances in Dar-es-Salaam and arranging my
personal affairs. A car was also usually placed at my disposal. Major
Hosken, the Commandant of the prison camp, who had previously shown
himself extremely considerate to the captured German women and children
in Tanga, now again devoted himself to preserve us from unnecessary
annoyance.

On our railway journey we had already been surprised to find almost
more English Europeans at every station than we had in the whole of the
Protective Force. Dar-es-Salaam itself literally swarmed with white
troops. I estimated their number at not less than five thousand, and
hundreds and hundreds of motor lorries and cars were awaiting repairs
in the motor transport park.

This close concentration of human beings revealed its dangers when
Spanish influenza made its appearance. Escort officers told me that
frequently five or seven English officers had died of this disease
at Dar-es-Salaam. We soon came across its traces among ourselves.
Infection had probably taken place while we were on the ship on Lake
Tanganyika, and subsequently on the train. It spread from man to man in
the concentration camps in Dar-es-Salaam. Captain Spangenberg was going
about with me in the town shortly after his arrival at Dar-es-Salaam.
Then he felt ill, and though his iron constitution had successfully
overcome all the hardships of the campaign, he died in hospital on
December 18th of influenza and inflammation of the lungs.

Almost all the Europeans in our camp were attacked by it, and it was
very sad that in addition to Captain Spangenberg, nine other Europeans,
in all, therefore, ten per cent. of our strength, succumbed. Numbers of
our Askari interned at Tabora also died.

My comings and goings often took me to the Administration Staff
(corresponding more or less to our Commandant on the Lines of
Communication). After much questioning I had found it in my old house
which I had occupied before the war. Among intelligent Englishmen I
found the view prevailing that Germany must have colonies on economic
grounds, as well as on account of her over-populousness. England was
considered to have too many colonies. For the time being, at any rate,
she had not sufficient suitable personnel to manage them.

If the English, when telling us of the armistice, insisted on our
coming to Dar-es-Salaam at once, in order that we should be transported
punctually—that is, by the 12th December—they showed no haste
on their own part to carry out the terms of that armistice. Our
embarkation was continually postponed, and, finally, it did not take
place until the 17th January, 1919, five years to the day after I had
landed at Dar-es-Salaam.

       *       *       *       *       *

To describe my return home in detail would furnish material for a whole
book and could hardly be excelled for tragi-comic events. In addition
to 114 German soldiers, we had 107 women and 87 children on board, and
an escort of 200 British soldiers.

Voyaging by Cape Town, we reached Rotterdam at the end of February. The
large crowd of Germans who turned up to meet us at the quay showed me,
to my surprise, that our East African war had been watched very closely
in the homeland. Many Dutch also gave us proofs of goodwill.

In cold truth our small band, which at the most comprised some 300
Europeans and about 11,000 Askari, had occupied a very superior enemy
force for the whole war. According to what English officers told me,
137 Generals had been in the field, and in all about 300,000 men had
been employed against us. The enemy’s losses in dead would not be put
too high at 60,000, for an English Press notice stated that about
20,000 Europeans and Indians alone had died or been killed, and to that
must be added the large number of black soldiers who fell. The enemy
had left 140,000 horses and mules behind in the battle area. Yet in
spite of the enormously superior numbers at the disposal of the enemy,
our small force, the rifle strength of which was only about 1,400 at
the time of the armistice, had remained in the field always ready for
action and possessed of the highest determination.

I believe it was the transparency of our aims, the love of our
Fatherland, the strong sense of duty and the spirit of self-sacrifice
which animated each of our few Europeans and communicated themselves,
consciously or unconsciously, to our brave black soldiers that gave our
operations that impetus which they possessed to the end. In addition
there was a soldierly pride, a feeling of firm mutual co-operation and
a spirit of enterprise without which military success is impossible in
the long run. We East Africans know only too well that our achievements
cannot be compared with the military deeds and devotion of those in the
homeland. No people in history has ever done more.

If we East Africans received so kindly a reception in the homeland it
was because everyone seemed to think that we had preserved some part of
Germany’s soldierly traditions, had come back home unsullied, and that
the Teutonic sense of loyalty peculiar to us Germans had kept its head
high even under the conditions of war in the tropics.

It is true that that feeling has suffered eclipse in many of our people
under the impression of the present tribulations of our Fatherland.
But it is part of the flesh and blood of us all, and it is just that
enthusiastic welcome which hundreds of thousands of our countrymen gave
us that strengthens our conviction that, in spite of the momentary
distractions and perplexities, the healthy spirit of our German people
will prevail again and once more tread the upward path.



                                 INDEX


  A

  _Adjutant_ (steamer), 85.

  Adler, Captain, 35, 56.

  Aeroplanes:
    first appearance, 80;
    brought down, 86.

  Alto Moloque:
    surprise, 263;
    Portuguese officers taken prisoner, 263;
    large supplies of food, 265.

  Amaramba, Lake, 302.

  Amboni plantation, 62.

  Armistice, first news of, 13 Nov., 315.

  Arrival of first store-ship, 67;
    second ditto, 117.

  Artillery, 38, 46.

  Arusha:
    cattle extensive, 11;
    potentiality of the district, 11, 29.

  Askari:
    native soldiers, 27;
    training, 8;
    old, well-to-do, 10;
    back pay, 319;
    women follow our force, 177.

  _Astræa_, English cruiser, 27.

  Attendants reduced, 176.

  Augar, Captain, 35.

  Aumann, Captain, 84, 96, 100.

  Auracher, District Commissioner, 35, 38.


  B

  Bagamoyo:
    bombarded, 31;
    reconnoitre, 146;
    falls into enemy hands, 148.

  Bangweolo, Lake, 311.

  _Baron Dhanis_, steamer (Belgian), 95.

  Barrett, Lieutenant (English), 107.

  Barton, Colonel (English), 251.

  Bast, Sergt.-Major, killed, 87.

  Batzner, Lieutenant, 214.

  Baudouinville (Congo):
    White Fathers, 14;
    French missionaries, 14;
    native industry, 14.

  Baumstark, Captain, 33, 36, 38.

  Baziots, The, Administrator, 96.

  Becker’s post, 90.

  Before the war, re-arming companies, 13.

  Behobeho:
    field howitzer lost, 171;
    heavy fighting and Selous killed, 171.

  Belgian steamer _Delcommune_ shot to pieces, 29.

  Belgian Commander-in-Chief at Lake Kivu, 92.

  Bergmann, Lieutenant, 39.

  Besch, Lieutenant, 224, 246.

  Beves, General (English), 212.

  Bismarckburg-Langenburg operations, 96.

  Bleeck, Lieutenant, 56, 162, 200.

  Bock, Lieut.-Colonel von, 8.

  Bock, Captain von, 89, 136.

  Boell, Lieutenant, 138;
    wounded, 301.

  Boemken, Major von, 159.

  Bolles, Sergt.-Major, killed, 296.

  Boot-making experiments, 194.

  Botha, General, reported coming, 72.

  Braunschweig, Captain, 82, 149, 182.

  Bread without wheat flour, 193.

  Bridge building, 71.

  British North Lancashire Regiment, 42.

  British Regular officers chivalrous, 107.

  British treatment of German prisoners, 221.

  Brits, General, 147, 149.

  Brucher, Lieutenant, 192.

  Bueschel, Lieutenant, 87.

  Buffaloes, best in East Africa, 12.

  Buiko, 141.

  Bukoba, 88, 91.

  Buller, Major (English), wounded, 147.

  Burungi Mountains, 134;
    supplies plentiful, 134.


  C

  _Camaraderie_ of escort, 322.

  Carriers, numbers of, 22, 24.

  _Cecil Rhodes_, steamer, sunk, 97.

  Chalau taken, 287.

  Chambesi depot, 314.

  Chappuis, Lieutenant von, 31, 185.

  Chirumba station, 241.

  Chiulezi, 235.

  Chiwata, position, 217;
    ammunition shortage, 218.

  Christiansen, Lieutenant, 68.

  Cloth-making at Kilima Njaro, 70.

  Coast towns defence, 63.

  Command of Lake Tanganyika, 29.

  Communications cut off, 34.

  Concentration at Pugu, 21.

  Congo Act, against England, 19.

  Containing the enemy on Uganda, 77.

  Cook, Lieutenant, 101st Grenadier Guards, 45.

  Cotton spinning, 69.

  Cutsch, Lieutenant, 221.

  Cutting down rations, 176.


  D

  Dar-es-Salaam:
    first action, artillery fire, 27;
    negotiations for surrender, 28;
    English ships appear, 52;
    English Consul King, 20;
    internment at, 323;
    embarkation, 325.

  _Delcommune_, Belgian steamer, destroyed, 29.

  Delschitz, Lieutenant von, 97.

  Dessel, Dr., 38.

  Destructiveness of termites, 30.

  Deventer, General van:
    arrives, 138;
    at Kondoa, 144;
    at Kilossa, 146;
    at Kilwa, 200;
    calls for surrender, 235;
    telegram of Armistice, 315;
    conditions of Armistice, 317.

  Dickinson, Colonel (English), 284, 318.

  Discontent at Logeloge, 163.

  District Commissioner, 6.

  Dodoma, enemy reach, 145.

  Dsalla, Lake, 110.

  Dürr, Father, 10.

  Dutumi action, 156;
    abandoned, 157.


  E

  Edwards, General (English), 255, 262, 320.

  Embarkation, January 17th, 1919, 325.

  Enemy, The:
    vital point, 4;

  Enemy, The:
    propaganda captured, 86;
    scouts use poisoned arrows, 90;
    advances north-west and south-west, 140;
    take a rest, 158.

  Engare Len, 78.

  England among our enemies, 18.

  English Consul King, 20;
    naval expedition, 97;
    plans discovered, 290;
    recruits make good, 104;
    spies active, 99.

  Enslin, General, 154.

  Erdmann, Second Lieutenant, killed, 63.

  Erok Mountain ambush, 64.

  Europeans and natives interned, 320.


  F

  Falkenstein, Captain, 84.

  Fate of German possessions, 3.

  Feilke, Captain, 31, 51, 134, 174.

  Field companies increased, 71.

  Fife, enemy depots captured, 310.

  First action, Dar-es-Salaam, 27.

  First journey of inspection, 4.

  First Masai:
    pure Hamites, 10;
    original Jews, 10;
    characteristics, 10.

  Fischer, Major, 119.

  Franken, Lieutenant, 97, 186.

  French missionary propaganda, 14.

  Freund, Lieutenant, 291, 296.


  G

  Galula, 307.

  Gararagua encounters, 110.

  Garrod, Major (English), captured, 292.

  Gerlich, Lieutenant, killed, 63.

  German Fleet revolt, 318;
    patrol rides into enemy camp, 144;
    possessions, fate of, 3.

  German prisoners, British treatment of, 221;
    Reservists mobilized, 22;
    Revolution, 318;
    settlers source of military power, 7.

  Goering, Captain, 210;
    wounded, 301.

  _Goetzen_, steamer:
    building, 84;
    completed, 96;
    sunk, 186.

  Gold Coast Hill, enemy grenade attack, 169.

  Gore-Brown, Major (English), drowned, 276.

  Gothein, Lieutenant Dr., 99.

  Grabow, Master Butcher, 40.

  Grawert, Major von, surrenders, 188.

  Grote, Lieutenant, 75;
    died, 121.

  Gudovius, wounded and prisoner, 185.

  Guerilla warfare imperative, 63;
    commenced, 64.

  _Gwendoline_, steamer, 99.


  H

  Hammerstein, Captain von, 18 31, 38, 42, 44, 56, 58;
    died of wounds, 63.

  Handeni, collecting station, 130.

  Hasslacher, Lieutenant, killed, 186.

  Haun, Lieutenant, 96.

  Haxthausen, Lieutenant von, 89.

  _Hedwig von Wissmann_, steamer, 14;
    captured, 28, 100.

  Henneberger, Lieutenant, 86.

  Hering’s battery, 43.

  Hiffmeister, Veterinary Officer, 12.

  Himo, 32.

  Hindenburg’s name not heard of, 48.

  Horn, Lieutenant, 28, 94;
    builds cottages, 130.

  Hoskins, Major (English), 200.

  Huber, Dr., 323.

  Huebner, Lieutenant, surrenders, 186.

  Hulua Mountain, 300.

  Hüttich, Sergt.-Major, 280.

  _Hyacinth_, The, off Tanga, 86.


  I

  Ili, 266;
    return to, 290;
    English plans discovered, 290.

  Imminence of universal war, 3.

  Inagu, von Schroetter’s escape, 261.

  Indian Brigade, 42;
    Expeditionary Force, 25, 44.

  Influenza epidemic, 302, 324.

  Insufficient interest of authorities, 10.

  Internment of Europeans and natives, 320.

  Iringa, 15.

  Irangi:
    enemy shell headquarters, 138;
    food in abundance, 139;
    series of actions, 139;
    enemy casualties heavy, 139;
    general view of position, 140.


  J

  Jantzen, Lieutenant, 207.

  Jassini. _See_ YASIN.

  Jericho, 97.

  Jews, first Masai the original, 10.

  Jipe, Lake, 108, 125.

  Johannes, Lieut.-Colonel, 10.


  K

  Kaempfe, Lieutenant, 87.

  Kahe, 121;
    our retreat, 123.

  Kaiser’s, The, abdication, 318.

  Kajambi Catholic Mission, 312.

  Kaltenborn, Captain von, 130.

  Kanene, 250, 302.

  Kanga Mountain encounters, 142.

  Karongo, 98.

  Kasama captured, 313.

  Kasigao Mountain action, 75.

  Kauffman, Second Lieutenant, killed, 63.

  Kayense, 47.

  Kempner, Lieutenant, 319.

  Kepler, Major, 57;
    killed, 63.

  Kibata:
    occupied, 167;
    guns brought up, 167;
    congratulations of General Smuts, 170.

  Kidodi heliograph station, 18.

  Kifumbiro, 89.

  Kigoma (Tanganyika), 13;
    as naval base, 95.

  Kilima Njaro:
    supply depot, 32;
    activities at, 68;
    cotton shortage, 69;
    making cloth, tyres, motor fuel and boots, 70;
    bridge building, 70.

  Kilimatinde, best buffaloes in East Africa, 12.

  Kilossa, 145.

  Kilwa:
    demands attention, 159;
    Commissioner taken prisoner, 159;
    enemy dumps surprised, 192;
    bombarding enemy transports, 193;
    enemy’s strong forces, 200.

  Kimamba depot, 133.

  King, English Consul, 7, 20.

  _Kingani_, steamer, 95;
    lost, 98.

  Kirnamba, 31.

  Kissaki:
    stores destroyed, 152;
    enemy defeated, 153, 155;
    prisoners taken, 155.

  Kissangire Station, 123;
    minor engagements, 164.

  Kissenyi fighting, 92.

  Kissi Mountains, 173.

  Kissija:
    capture of enemy propaganda, 86;
    enemy driven out, 164.

  Kitangari, 223.

  Kitendu, enemy division surrounded, 188.

  Kituta, 96.

  Kivu, Lake, 91, 98, 126, 140, 185.

  Klein, Sergt.-Major, killed, 214.

  Klinghardt, Captain, 93, 126, 134, 142, 144, 145.

  Koehl, Captain, 68, 112, 179, 204;
    transport surprised, 256.

  Kokosani (Namacurra), 272;
    Portuguese heavy losses, 273;
    search for ammunition, 273;
    large supplies captured, 276.

  Kondoa:
    occupied, 135;
    fight in the dark, 137;
    English civil administration, 137.

  Kondoa-Irangi:
    enemy shell Headquarters, 138;
    food in abundance, 139;
    series of actions, 139;
    enemy heavy losses, 139;
    general view of position, 140.

  Konduchi, 27.

  _Königsberg_, The, 19;
    puts to sea, 28;
    destroys English cruiser _Pegasus_, 84;
    concealed in Rufiji delta, 84;
    blown up, 85;
    ten guns salved, 85;
    Adjutant recaptured, 85.

  Koriwa, Wunderlich wounded, 251.

  Kornatzki, Captain von, 33, 52.

  Korogwe, 31, 33, 36.

  Kraut, Major, 29, 182, 184, 323.

  Kraut, Captain, 32, 47.

  Kröber, Railway Commissary, 36, 57, 79.

  Kroeger, Lieutenant, killed, 214.

  Krüger, Secretary, 30.

  Kühlwein, Herr, 162.

  Kungulio:
    Enemy defeat, 172;
    hippo shooting, 160.

  Kurungu, our envelopment fails, 205.

  Kwiri, field hospital left behind, 259.


  L

  Lake Amaramba, 302.

    ”  Bangweolo, 311.

    ”  Dsalla, 110.

    ”  Jipe, 108, 125.

    ”  Kivu, 91, 98, 126, 140, 185.

    ”  Moero, 322.

    ”  Nyassa, 98, 306.

    ”  Rukwa, 189, 306.

    ”  Tanganyika, 29, 52.

    ”  Tshahafi, 92.

    ”  Utungi, 174, 177, 179, 188.

    ”  Victoria, 47, 88.

  Lang, Lieutenant, 92.

  Langenburg:
    fertility and native industries, 15;
    ours for eighteen months, 99.

  Langenn, Major von, 96, 98, 185, 186;
    division loses heavily, 187.

  Ledebur, Freiherr von, 8.

  Lembeni country, 124;
    aeroplanes brought down, 140.

  “Lettow Schnapps,” 195.

  Liebermann, Captain von, 164, 200, 202.

  Ligonja, 282.

  Lincke, Captain, 136.

  Lindi, 196.

  Lioma:
    retirement after heavy fighting, 296;
    transport detachment lost, 299;
    severe enemy losses, 299.

  Logeloge discontent, 163.

  Lolkisale Mountain:
    28th Company surrender, 126;
    Captain Rothert wounded, 126.

  Longido Mountain:
    English attack, 67;
    enemy reinforced, 106.

  Low level of musketry training, 9.

  Luambala, 242, 303.

  Lugella:
    depot captured, 268;
    no ammunition found, 270.

  Lukuledi, 213;
    conference on aspects, 216.

  Lupembe, enemy retire, 187.

  Luscheringe River, 304.

  Lusinje, Captain Wienholt captured, 248.

  Lutende:
    enemy surprised and routed, 199;
    English commanding officer wounded, 199.

  Luwungi, 92, 98.

  Lyncker, Lieutenant von, 106.


  M

  Mafia Island, English take, 86.

  Magad Railway, 65.

  Mahenge country, 141.

  Mahiwa:
    flank surprise, 211;
    severe fighting, 211;
    enemy defeat absolute, 211;
    guns and ammunition captured, 213.

  Mahua, 246, 250.

  Makatan, English defeat, 74.

  Makima headquarters, 165.

  Makoti, enemy retire with heavy losses, 254.

  Malangali action, 149, 182;
    Wahehe chief rebels, 182.

  Malaria, native immunity against, 24.

  Malema:
    fertility of, 261;
    enemy advance, 262;
    difficulties of bush tactics, 262;
    Boma captured, 260.

  Malleson, General (English), 74, 106.

  Mara Bay, 90.

  Marangu, 105.

  Masai, first, 10.

  Massako, 98.

  Matendu floods, 197.

  Matuschka, Lieutenant, 80.

  Mawa action, 179.

  Maximum strength, 72.

  Mayita, 90.

  Mbinji fruit, 241.

  Mbizi depot, 307.

  Mbosi Mission, 15;
    reports of English intentions, June, 1914, 15;
    country, 96.

  Mbuyuni, 73, 79.

  Mechanical transport, 50.

  Meda, 245.

  Medical supplies, 195.

  Meinhertshagen, Captain (English), 44.

  Meixner, Dr., 259.

  Merensky, Lieutenant, 36, 38.

  Merker, M., and the Masai, 10.

  Michels, District Commissioner, 146.

  Mihambia, bombs dropped, 203.

  Mirow, Sergt.-Major, killed, 168.

  Mkulu Mountain, 239.

  Mlali, enemy advance, 150.

  Mletere, 299.

  Mobilization, August, 1914-18, not extended to overseas, 18;
    Reservists, 22.

  Moero, Lake, 312.

  _Moewe_, steamer, 19, 28, 91, 94.

  Mori Bay, 89.

  Morogoro as base, 142;
    headquarters, 146;
    enemy converge on, 149.

  Moshi, 52.

  Mosquito, The, 25.

  Moving forces to Northern Railway, 29.

  Mpapua action, 145.

  Mpili, 224.

  Mpoororo, 91.

  Mpotora base, 181.

  Msalu river, 247.

  Mtende, 246, 248.

  _Muanza_, steamer, 47, 87, 88, 89.

  Mujeba, 270.

  Mujebain, 280.

  Müller, Staff Surgeon, 46, 196.

  Musketry training low level, 9.

  Musslin, Major-General, 248.

  Musoma, 89.

  Mwasge Mission, 96.

  Mwembe, 191, 242, 304.

  Mwenzo Mission, 311.

  Mwurnoni, 56.

  My early experiences, 16.

  Mzima Camp, 69.


  N

  Nagawamira, 304.

  Namacurra. _See_ KOKOSANI.

  Nambindinga, 220;
    reducing the strength, 220.

  Namirrue:
    enemy routed, 283;
    Colonel Dickinson captured, 284;
    Lieut. Ruckteschell wounded, 286;
    Lieutenant Silke killed, 286;
    enemy annihilated, 286.

  Nampepo, roast pork and brawn, 267.

  Namunu, 245.

  Nangwale, 238.

  Nanungu concentration, 242.

  Narungombe:
    enemy flee in disorder, 202;
    Liebermann’s great success, 202.

  Narunyu, enemy attack, 205.

  Native carrier difficulty, 24;
    interchange of communications, 13;
    method of warfare, 9;
    immunity against malaria, 24;
    industries, 15.

  Naumann, Captain, 189, 221.

  Naval guns salved from the Königsberg, 85.

  Ndanda Catholic Mission, 206.

  Nevale, 224.

  New Moshi, 32, 33, 36;
    headquarters, 49;
    pleasant times at, 59;
    aeroplane drops bombs, 113;
    abandoned, 119.

  New Steglitz headquarters, 116.

  New supply detachment raised, 179.

  News:
    from home, 67;
    of German Fleet revolt, 318;
    German Revolution, Kaiser’s abdication, 318.

  Ngaula, enemy routed, 193.

  Ngomano action, 230.

  Niemeyer, Commander, 7.

  Njango Camp, 204;
    telegram from His Majesty, 204.

  Nordenholz, Sergt.-Major, 291.

  Northey, General, 140, 149.

  North Pare Mountains, 125.

  Numarroe, 291.

  Nyanza hostile enterprises, 47.

  Nyassa, Lake, 98.


  O

  Old Askari, 10.

  Old 1871 rifle, 8.

  Oldorobo Mountain, 80;
    enemy retreat in disorder, 104;
    English recruiting bait, 104;
    English orders, “Take no prisoners,” 104.

  Old Utengule Mission, 307.

  Oriva occupied, 280.

  Ott, Lieutenant, wounded, 292.

  Otto, Captain, 58, 145, 172, 179.

  Our movements from North-West to Central, 127.

  Our departure from North final, 129.


  P

  Pangire Mission, 305.

  Pare Mountains, 125.

  _Pegasus_, English cruiser, 27, 84.

  Pekera captured, 287.

  Peramiho Mission, 305.

  Poisoned arrows used by enemy, 90.

  Police Askari, 6.

  Poppe, Captain, wounded, 295.

  Pori (bush) difficulties, 12;
    not easy to disappear in, 13.

  Portuguese:
    invade Makonde, 165;
    driven into their territory, 166;
    territory entered, 190.

  _President_, steamer, 84, 198.

  Prince, Captain von, 4, 32, 41, 45.

  Protective Force, 6;
    strength of, 19.

  Pugu, concentration of troops, 21.


  Q

  Quelimane, 265.

  Quinine production, 71.


  R

  Ras-Kasone, 36, 39.

  Rations cut down, 176.

  Reata-Kahe:
    our withdrawal by night, 114;
    evacuated, 116;
    enemy occupy, 116.

  Reata-Latima Mountain repulse, 114.

  Reata-North defences, 111.

  Recke, Lieutenant, killed, 89.

  Regone, 293.

  Rentell, Engineer, 71.

  Reservists mobilized, 22.

  Revolt of German Fleet, 318.

  Revolution in Germany, 318.

  Rifle, old 1871, 8.

  Rothe, Director of Postal Service, 30.

  Rothert, Captain, 119, 125.

  Rotterdam welcome, 325.

  Ruckteschell, Lieutenant von, 75, 147, 286.

  Rufiji, Delta, 84;
    loss of the Königsberg, 85;
    enemy advance on, 160;
    evacuated at rainy season, 180.

  Rugesi Passage, 89.

  Ruhudje, fighting on the, 184.

  Rukwa, Lake, 306.

  Ruponda, we lose supplies, 208.

  Russissi minor actions, 93.

  Rwiba Mount, 308.


  S

  Saidi, 251.

  Salt supplies, 194.

  Schaefer, Lieutenant, 57.

  Schaefner, Lieutenant, 259.

  Schimmer, Captain, 93.

  Schleuntz, Colonel von, 8.

  Schnee, Dr., 27.

  Schmid, Captain, 31.

  Schoenfeld, Lieut.-Commander, 7, 85, 144.

  Schottstaedt, Lieutenant, 45.

  Schroetter, Lieutenant von, 51, 260, 296.

  Schulz, Captain, 33, 94, 98, 130, 146, 163, 167.

  Second store-ship arrives, 117.

  Selke, Lieutenant, killed, 286.

  Selous killed, 171.

  “Shensi” spies, 108.

  Shirarti, 89.

  Singida stud farms, 11.

  Sisal plant, 56.

  Smith-Dorrien, General, 104.

  Smuts, General:
    takes over command from Smith-Dorrien, 104;
    at Kitovo, 110;
    at Handeni, 142;
    calls for surrender at Uluguru Mountains, 158;
    congratulates Von Lettow on decoration, 170;
    operations wrecked on Rufiji, 172;
    relieved by General Hoskins, 200.

  South Pare Mountains, 76.

  Spalding, Lieutenant, killed, 63.

  Spangenberg, Captain, 323;
    died, 324.

  Sphinx Harbour, 100.

  Ssongea, enemy at, 304.

  Ssonyo treachery, 87.

  Stemmermann, Captain, 113, 146, 153.

  Sternheim, Lieutenant, 114.

  Stewart, General (English), 110.

  Stolowsky, Staff Surgeon, 195.

  Store-ships arrive, 67, 117.

  Strength of Protective Force, 19.

  Struwe, Sergt.-Major, 192.

  Stud farms at Singida, 11.

  Stuemer, Major von, 87, 130, 134, 190, 207.

  Supplies devoured at depots, 174.

  Supply system, 23.

  Supreme military power, 21.

  Surgery under difficulties, 196.

  Surrender:
    Smuts calls for, 158;
    Deventer calls for, 235.

  Swahili, 15.

  _Sybil_, steamer (English), 88, 90.


  T

  _Tabora_, hospital ship, 51.

  Tabora retirement, 186.

  Tafel, Captain, 22, 28, 33, 132, 178.

  Tafeli surrender, 236.

  “Take no prisoners,” English order, 104.

  Tanga:
    hostile cruisers off, 35.
    plans for defence, 36;
    enemy attack, 41;
    British North Lancashire Regiment defeat, 42;
    enemy mowed down, 42;
    transfer of wounded, 44.

  Tanganyika, Lake, command of, 29.

      ”       Railway, 52.

  Taveta, 29, 33.

  Termites, 30.

  Thierfelder, Dr., 195.

  Thurmann, Sergt.-Major, killed, 296.

  Timbani Mountain, 256;
    Koehl’s transport surprised, 256.

  Tipa, Boma, 282.

  Tombeur, Belgian commander at Kivu, 92.

  Tombwe post captured, 95.

  _Tomondo_, steamer, 159.

  Treachery of Ssonyo, 87.

  Trench mortar captured, 286.

  Tse-tse fly, 11;
    plague, 26.

  Tshahafi, Lake, 92.

  Tuliani headquarters bombed, 143.

  Tunduru district, 192.

  Tunga:
    enormous booty, 45;
    our losses insignificant, 45.


  U

  Ubena, 306.

  Uganda Railway, containing the enemy on, 4, 77.

  Ukerewe, 89.

  Unconditional “surrender” or “evacuation,” 319.

  Unindi, enemy repulsed, 200.

  Universal war imminent, 3.

  Unprepared for war, 10.

  Unterrichter, Lieutenant von, 68.

  Usambara country, 4;
    volunteer rifle corps, 4.

  Utengule (Old) Mission, 307.

  Utungi, Lake, 172, 174, 177, 179, 188.


  V

  Victoria, Lake, 47, 88;
    in English hands, 87.

  Volunteer Rifle Corps at Usambara, 4.

  Vorbeck, General von Lettow-:
    landing at Dar-es-Salaam, 3;
    tour of inspection, 4;
    buffalo hunting, 13;
    water on the knee, 13;
    a raw hand, 16;
    early experiences, 16;
    had malaria ten times, 25;
    slightly wounded, 138;
    congratulated by Smuts, 170;
    experiments in bread-making, 193;
    wireless from Kaiser, 204;
    Deventer calls for surrender, 235;
    hippo shooting, 240;
    receives news of German offensive, Western Front, 248;
    operation on toe, 249;
    injury to eye, 249;
    Deventer’s telegram of Armistice, 315;
    and conditions of surrender, 317;
    sends telegram to Kaiser, 317;
    no reply from German Government, 319;
    declines Colonel Hawkins’ invitation, 319;
    Deventer’s reply to protest, 321;
    at Kigoma, 322;
    at Tabora and at Morogoro, 323;
    at Dar-es-Salaam, December 8th, 1918. Embarked January 17th, 1919,
          325;
    reached Rotterdam, 325.


  W

  Waganda Warriors, 47.

  Wahehe tribe, 32.

  Wahle, Major-General, 23, 31, 51, 97, 140, 184 _et seq._, 323.

  _Waimi_, steamer, 86;
    blown up, 186.

  Wajagga tribe, 24, 32.

  Wamaka, 288.

  Wangoni desertions, 305.

  Wassukuma people, 91.

  Water-finding, 80.

  Welcome at Rotterdam, 325.

  White Fathers, 14.

  Wienholt, Lieutenant, capture and escape, 143.

  Wienholt, Captain, captured, 248.

  Wilhelmstal native police, 6.

  Wintgens, Captain, 91, 185, 186;
    division captures gun, 187;
    taken prisoner, 189.

  Winzer, Sergt.-Major, gets through, 188.

  Wülfingen, Captain Bock von, 87.

  Wunderlich, Lieut.-Commander, wounded, 251.


  Y

  Yasin. _See_ JASSINI:
    enemy advance, 30;
    country, 34;
    English concentration, 56;
    our attack, 58;
    enemy surrender, 61.


  Z

  Zambesi Ferry, 314.

  Zelewski’s expedition, 15.

  _Ziethen_, steamer, 86.

  Zimmer, Captain, 28, 82, 93, 94.

_Printed at The Chapel River Press, Kingston, Surrey._



                              FOOTNOTES:

[1] M. Merker, “Die Masai,” Berlin, 1904 (2nd Edition, 1910).

[2] Askari are “soldiers,” not a distinct tribe.

[3] Seitenschlag.

[4] We have no corresponding rank. He is a reservist who has served as
a “One-year Volunteer,” but has not yet done enough reserve training to
qualify as an Officer in the Reserve.

[5] The English Government issued to us articles of food for the
English prisoners which we could not get for ourselves.





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