German War Graves & Cemetery in Burundi / GEA

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Re: German War Graves & Cemetery in Burundi / GEA

Post by danebrog » 13 Feb 2021 11:35

Holger, Holger - slowly but surely you are giving "Uncle Ludwig" some serious competition.
Wirklich ganz Famos!
I really would love to get involved in the research on Wintgen's Spielwiese. But with two museums that I am now involved in maintaining, there is (unfortunately) absolutely no time for that.

Olli aus den Elbtalauen

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Re: German War Graves & Cemetery in Burundi / GEA

Post by Tanzania » 14 Feb 2021 09:59

Hi Oliver

Thanks for your statement. I respect always your feedback.
90% of the details are from Uncle Ludwig; - below with Uncle Wahle.

Major-General Kurt Wahle & Captain Ludwig Boell.jpg

Sounds maybe a bit abstract; - but everything is only for an extended vacation planning.
We want to make a loop to Rwanda and Burundi, among others, this summer. Ticket and
car are booked and hopefully Corona is not playing a prank. Please cross your fingers.

It's a shame that you don't have time now. Maybe in 2022; - the plan is to continue with the entire
campaign in Portuguese-East Africa / Mozambique, all the way down to Namacurra. Of course,
Uncle Ludwig will accompany us.
Cheers Holger
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“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. . . . All History was a
palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary” – G. ORWELL 1984

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Re: German War Graves & Cemetery in Burundi / GEA

Post by Tanzania » 18 Feb 2021 13:53

These three Map sections picture the situation and position of the six German Companies and Detachments at the end of
October 1915 at the border area, between Kamanyola & the Ruzizi-Arch and the southern Tshamata-Mauntain & Uramata.

41-1_Urundi-Congo Border between Kamanyola and Uramata.png
41-2_Urundi-Congo Border between Kamanyola and Uramata.png
41-3_Urundi-Congo Border between Kamanyola and Uramata.png
Original sources:

Luvungi had been so fortified in this way and the Belgian artillery so outnumbered the Germans, that Major-General Wahle
finally gave up the intention of another attack after receiving the Commando telegram of 11. November. However, he wanted
to pursue Lieutenant-Colonel v. Lettow-Vorbeck’ s proposal and lure the opponent out of his fortified positions in order to beat
him in the open field. The Germans were aware that, even if numerically inferior, they were tactically superior in open terrain.
Captain Wintgens in particular, as a true master of mobile warfare on a small scale, successfully demonstrated this time and

On 17. November, Major-General Wahle gave the order to undertake appropriate investigations. The start of this "offensive
reconnaissance" was set for 23. November. The concentration of the troops on 21. November at Rugombo had already been
decided and prepared when Major-General Wahle fell so unhappily on a reconnaissance ride on 19. November that he was
unable to attend in person. He returned afterwards the command to Captain Schulz.

On 21. November also Major Erich von Langenn-Steinkeller arrived in Rugombo. According to the order on 1. November, he
was supposed to take over the leadership of the enlarged `Detachment Urundi´. Major v. Langenn-Steinkeller was already,
with interruptions in spring 1915 in the Bismarckburg district, occupied with administrative tasks as Military commander for
Urundi since the beginning of the year. In the meantime the following events took place:

On 10. November, there was a skirmish between the patrol of Lieutenant d.R. Hermann Hausen of the 14. Reserve-Company
with a Belgian unit, on the western Congo-Mountains at the breakthrough of the Lubirizi-River. The opponent lost 5 dead and
one wounded. The German patrol, there was one dead and two wounded Askaris.

From 12. to 14. November, new reconnaissance results were obtained. These findings were also confirmed by locals, who
stated that another large Belgian base had been built 3 hrs. Southwest of Luvungi, and south of Bunjenjeri with 1,000 men.

On 19. November, Captain Paul Braunschweig, with most of his 14. Reserve-Company, had a heavy and long skirmish against
an enemy twice as strong on the Nurulambira-Mountain near the upper reaches of the Lubirizi-River. The enemy lost 20 dead
and two dozen injured. On the German side, the losses were relatively low with 3 dead, 12 wounded Askaris, and one missing.

As Commander of the `Schutztruppe´ in front of Luvungi, Captain Schulz planned a larger operation on the northern Ruzizi-Arch
near Kamanyola for the end of November. A detailed plan was worked out and the following commands issued:

"1. The enemy occupied the Kamanyola area with around 100 men. (The locals who lived there were armed with Albini-rifles
by the Belgians) Another strong Belgian post is located on the Nunja-Mountain and east of it on the Ruzizi. The Ruzizi crossings
are guarded by the local people. According to information from our scouts, these locals have been instructed to resist German
attacks until Belgian reinforcements arrive from Luvungi or Bunjenjeri.

2. I want to attack the enemy posts and positions at Sultan Kamanyola on 23. November at daybreak with the 22.-, 25.- and 30.
Field- Company. The aim is to weaken the opposing troops and to take away the herd of cattle, with the help of the two Sultans
and Kissaassi, who are in our area. The population of these cattle is a decisive factor in feeding the large number of
Belgian Troops gatherings throughout the Ruzizi Valley.

3. Luvungi and the surrounding positions will be taken under fired at on 23. November at daybreak by the C/73 field gun and
the 3,7-cm Revolver-Cannon and thereby deflected. The ordered companies arrive at the Shumani-Ford on 22. November at
9:30 a.m. and are given the following tasks:

3.a. The 22. Field-Company will occupy the `Big Kajange-Mountain´ in the Ruzizi-Arch with the order to secure in the southern
direction of Luvungi and Bunjenjeri and thus to vigorously counter an attack on our left flank. The M.G. the `Detachment Möwe´
is also provided with crew for this to the company, which is currently still with the 28. Field-Company.

3.b. The 25.Field-Company also advanced from the Ruzizi-Arch and secured the right flank to the north. Furthermore, it must
be ensured that the livestock of Sultan Kamaniola can be removed.

3.c. The 30. Field-Company, as well as a Platoon of the 28. Field-Company under the Company leader Captain Paul Rothert,
including the M.G. of the `Detachment Urundi´ remain at my disposal. First Lieutenant z.S. d.Sw. Konrad von Falkenhausen
and Lieutenant d.R. Lothar Bohlen are ordered to me as Ordinance officers. Private (?) Schneider member of Chief's staff of
the Western Commander in also remains at my disposal.

4. The 8.8-cm SK on the C/73 mount will be ready for action on 23. November at 7:00 am, north of the village of Wassaassa,
but on German territory in order to intervene in the fights at any time.

5. A platoon of the 14. Reserve-Company equipped with all Machine-guns of the company and also with the Machine-gun of
the `Detachment Urundi´ Department will be commanded by Lieutenant d.R. Hermann Hausen. The 3,7-cm Revolver-Cannon,
under Lieutenant d.R. August Batzner will also be ready for action on 23. November, 7:00 am on the `Small Kajange-Mountain´

6. Our posts on the Ruzizi-River remain in their positions and continue to observe the areas assigned to them. Mai-ya-Moto Post,
north of the Ruzizi-Arch and Kamanyola, will especially observe the areas and roads from the north. The other 2 Platoons of the
14. Reserve, Company under Captain Braunschweig remain at the disposal of Major-General Wahle in Rugombo.

7. In addition to the signal post of the 30. Field Company on Suria-Mountain, another signal-post (heliograph) will be installed
and set up by the 14. Reserve-Company on 23. November on the `Small Kajange Mountain'. (Occupied by the signalling-staff
and a European). The second signal apparatus of the 14. Reserve-Company is operated by personnel from the 30. F.- C. The
second heliograph of the 30. Field-Company remains at my disposal. If heliographs cannot be used, flags and flare pistols must
be used. Continuous waving of the wise flag means: Luvungi or Bunjenjeri troops are approaching. All communications will be
always in Swahili language. A repeated shooting with the signal pistol (white star) means: All subordinate troops gather in the
direction of the ferry at Mai-ya-Moto.

8. As pocket ammunition for all `Schutztruppen´-members, 150 cartridges, as machine-gun ammunition per rifle 4,500 rounds.
Equipment for Askaris, field march without blankets and without a tent. Bringing the knapsacks and bags are free. Askaris and
Europeans will take food for a day. The 22. Field-Company ensures that from 23. November, noon in Mai-ya-Moto, boiled flour
porridge (Ugali) is available for all troops.

9. The Warundi Sultans Wassassa and Kissassi and their people report to me at the Shumani-ferry station on the Ruzizi on 22.
November at 9:30 p.m. in the evening. Each company carries light pistols.

10. Wounded will be transported to the Shumani-ford or the ferry at Mai-ya-Moto. At Shumani, Medical Sergeant (?) Bärenroth
and at Mai-ya-Moto Medical Doctor Dr. Karl Lowes will be responsible for first medical care and for the further transport of the
wounded to the Rugombo field hospital. Sergeant Garlof Hottendorf and a Group from the 28. Field-Company remain there and
secured the Shumani ferry.

11. I will be with the 30th Field Company.

The operation started as planned on the German side. The 22. Field-Company occupied the "Great Kajange Mountain" without
encountering the enemy. The 25. Field Company met the enemy on 23. November, shortly after sunrise. However, this backed
down on Kamanyola, whereupon the 25. F.-K. followed this enemy and occupied the settlement for a short time. This opponent
then withdrew to the north-western Congo Mountains. The livestock were driven off as planned. Captain Schulz stopped with the
30. Field-Company and half of 28. Field-Company on the `Big Kajange-Mountain´ and secured against Luvungi and Bunjenjeri.
However, this opponent did not react and remained in his fortified positions. It was only when the Germans marched back that
2 opponent Companies followed cautiously. As a result, the machine guns under Lieutenant d.R. Hermann Hausen were able
to intervene quite successfully from the “Small Kajange-Berg”. In the crossfire of the machine guns from this Mountain and the
25. Field-Company, the opposing units suffered many dead and wounded. The 25. Field-Company have two wounded Askaris.

However, the actual purpose of the enterprise of getting the opponent to fight in the open field was not achieved. This operation
was known to the troops as the "Ox-Battle of Kamanyola". During this operation, Staff-Sergeant Sabath fired at the positions of
Luvungi with the C/73 Field-gun. For the first time he used a method of indirect aiming and adjustment for artillery that he had
designed himself. According to the judgment of Lieutenant-Commander a.D. Werner Schönfeld, who was present at that time in
Urundi, this equipment and the using has proven itself very well.


Lieutenant-Commander Schönfeld was at this time in the western part of GEA to take over command of the somewhat mysterious
Detachment-T, a special-commando that should to attack the Lukuga fortifications on Lake Tanganyika. He also used this artillery
equipment from Sabath half a year later very successfully against the South Africans on the Eastern Front, at Mlembule and Tuliani,
in summer of 1916. As responsible artillery commander, he personally directed the fire of several guns from the SMS `Königsberg´
(Two 10,5-cm SK L/40 C88 and one 8,8-cm SK L/30 C89) from the Kanga-ridge, east of the Nguru-Mountains. This artillery mission
was the most successful of the entire campaign in German-East Africa; - the attacking South-Africans were held up for weeks and
suffered heavy losses. Incidentally, it wasn´t the identical 8,8-cm SK gun that was used at Luvungi in November - December 1915.

For further backgrounds and details, see later: Part VII –– 3. - MILITARY- TECHNICAL ORDNANCE EXCURSUS (Subpart E)

2 Belgian guns immediately responded to the Fire of the strong-smoke C/73 Field-gun led by Staff-Sergeant Sabath. Its location
was clearly visible after each shot through the thick cloud of black powder smoke. Nevertheless, the enemy did not succeed in
hitting the German gun, as the Belgians could not watch their own artillery impacts and therefore could not correct their own guns,
as Staff-Sergeant Sabath changed his positions more frequently. In contrast, the shots from his C/73 Field-gun were very good
and a Belgian one is said to have been hit.

In the period that followed, however, the Ruzizi front was quiet. Only the Belgian artillery fired at the German positions more often.
Occasionally the German artillery replied and fired also a few shots.

On 2. December 1915, Major-General Wahle set out for Lake Kivu to meet with Captain Wintgens in Shangugu near the northern
Ruzizi. On December 8th, however, he was back in Rugombo.

On 27. November, the 23. Field-Company under Captain d.R. Rudolf Klinghardt had also unexpectedly arrived in Rugombo, but
was not taken any more into action.

On 4. December, a patrol under Lieutenant d.R. Bernhard Wunder of the 30. Field-Company clashed with an enemy patrol, south
of the Lubirizi-River, east of the rising Congo Mountains, inflicted the loss of 4 dead and 4 wounded, without any losses of his own.

On 10. December 1915, Major-General Wahle wrote a report to the Commando in which he particularly emphasized the passivity
of the Belgians. The Belgians would avoid any fight, although with 2,500 troops they had a clear superiority. With the exception of
Luvungi, the opponent would have given up all positions between the Ruzizi River and the western Congo Mountains. Wahle also
mentions the increased difficulties that arose when crossing the Ruzizi, as the beginning of the rainy season made the river swell.
To the south of Tshiwitoke the floodplains that had arisen formed an excellent obstacle for the enemy. Nevertheless, the German
Patrols would constantly harass the enemy, explore enemy positions and interrupt communication routes. In this respect, the
achieved results were to be seen as a success, as the enemy continued to move further to the western Congo Mountains and the
Belgians left their area west of the Ruzizi more and more to the `Schutztruppe´. In view of the size of the Belgian Congo, this had
no strategic effects.

In December 1915, the `Detachment Urundi´ under Major v. Langenn-Steinkeller war responsible for securing the border between
Kajaga on Lake Tanganyika and Uramata on the Kagunusi-River. To the north of this, until after Mai-ya-Moto, the Companies were
entrusted with tasks for more offensive scouting and combat patrols under Captain Schulz. (14. Reserve-, 22.-, 23.-, 25.-, 28.- and
30. Field-Company) The 10.- and 14. Field-Company, which were promised to the Western Commander-in-Chief, Major-General
, had not yet arrived.

The state of health of the `Schutztruppen´- units in the Ruzizi valley also gave rise to legitimate concerns. In this area, especially in
the lowlands and swamps in the immediate vicinity of the river banks, as well as the narrow basins, some diseases were endemic.
In the Ruzizi-Valley, malaria was particularly prevalent and the secondary diseases of so-called relapsing fever (black water fever)
and brain-malaria were particularly high. The troop's overall health was slowly but surely deteriorating. It was therefore ensured that
all units were relocated to higher regions at regular intervals. Medical and drug care must generally be described as inadequate.
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“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. . . . All History was a
palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary” – G. ORWELL 1984

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Re: German War Graves & Cemetery in Burundi / GEA

Post by Tanzania » 18 Feb 2021 14:05

Due to its strategic location, Kigoma was the main supply base in the west of GEA until 1916. The central railway ended in Kigoma
and the port was also the largest as a starting point for transports to northern Usumbura and other deliveries to Urundi and Rwanda.
The photo below, shows a Field-Company of the `Schutztruppe´ in Kigoma, gather together behind the warehouse of the station; -
still armed with the old, strong-smoke, single-shot rifle Mauser 1871. The photo comes from the collection of Commander Gustav
, military commander in Kigoma, and was most likely taken in the second half of 1915. (The scaffolding in the background
shows the expansion of the "Hotel zur Kigomabucht", owned by Johannes Wagentrutz, who started the expansion still mid of 1915.)

42_Field-Company in Kigoma in III-IV 1915.jpg
Original source: http://www.ub.bildarchiv-dkg.uni-frankf ... 7_0096.jpg

For the troops in Ruanda, at Kissenji at the northern end of Lake Kiwu, only one Doctor, Dr. Karl Lowes war responsible, since
the second Medical officer, Dr. Curt Petzoldt had been returned to the Bukoba district. For the entire units between Lake-Kiwu
and Lake-Tanganyika, only three troop doctors were available: The Medical officers Dr. Gerhard Grothusen and Dr. Johannes
and Senior physician d.R. Dr. Wolfgang Gothein.

Major General Wahle planned another operation as a `Reconnaissance offensive´ for the mid of December, which should start
from the German post in Shangugu and target the stronger enemy position in Nya Lukemba at the southern end of Lake- Kivu.
(From an administrative point of view, however, this was no longer Urundi, but in German time already belonged to the Rwanda.
Internally, I have and will divide this is also in different contributions in the AHF; - German War Graves & Cemetery in Rwanda.)

On 14. December, Major General Wahle received a Commando telegram dated from the11. December, ordering the 23.- and 25.
Field-Company to march to Kissenji in Rwanda and the 22. Field-Company to Morogoro. The first two Companies marched north
to Lake Kiwu on 16. and 18. December, while the 25. Field-Company marched south on 17. December and was shipped with the
“Goetzen” from Usumbura to Kigoma. Furthermore, the Western Commander should move his headquarters back from Rugombo
to Kigoma.

On 16. December, by order of Major General Wahle, the 8,8-cm SK L/30 was transported back to Usumbura to be reinstalled on
the M.P.L. C/89 Navy-mount at the stern of the “Goetzen”.

On 20. December, Captain Schulz take over the Command from Wahle for the remaining troops; the 14. Reserve-Company, the
28.- and 30. Field-Company, the C/73 Field-gun and the 3,7-cm Revolver-cannon.

On 26. December, Major v. Langenn-Steinkeller, returned back to Usumbura, after a short consultation with Major-General Wahle
in Kigoma, and from then on took over the border protection on the lower Ruzizi with the `Detachment Urundi´.

At the end of 1915, calm finally returned in the Ruzizi valley, on both sides of this border-river.


The following is a list of the `Schutztruppen´- units that were deployed and came into action in the Ruzizi Valley. Of course,
this can only be a snapshot, since between October and November 1915 the staffing and positions changed several times.
In some cases names of Platoon- and Company-leaders can hardly be researched continuously over a long period of time.

Western Commander-in-Chief: Major-General a.D. Kurt Wahle
Operation-Commander in front of Luvungi: Captain Hans Schulz
Adjutant: First-Lieutenant z.S. d.S. Konrad von Falkenhausen and Lieutenant d.R. Lothar Bohlen

14. Reserve-Company, Company-Leader: Captain Paul Braunschweig
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant Gunnar von Kleist
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Hermann Hausen
Platoon-Leader: Sergeant d.R Willy Förster (-? -)

22. Field-Company, Company-Leader: First Lieutenant d.R. Dr. Edwin Niemir
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. a.D. Bernhard Count v. Matuschka, Baron v. Toppolczan u. Spaetgen
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Bernhard Wunder
Platoon-Leader: Staff-Sergeant d.L. Ernst Thielemann

25. Field-Company, Company-Leader: First Lieutenant d.L I Hans Müller
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Uriel Baron Raitz von Frentz
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Otto von Scherbening
Platoon-Leader: Staff-Sergeant (-? -) Kühne

28. Field-Company, Company-Leader: Captain Paul Rothert
Platoon-Leader: First-Lieutenant d.R. Alexander Herrgott
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Artur Heekt
Platoon-Leader: Staff-Sergeant d.R. Ernst Dieterle

30. Field-Company, Company-Leader: Captain Wilhelm Bock von Wülfingen
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Dr. Hans Kolewe
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Bernhard Wunder
Platoon-Leader: Staff-Sergeant d.R. Werner Baron von Stosch

Artillery-Detachment, one 8,8-cm SK, one 7,85-cm C/73 Field-gun, one 3,7-cm Revolver-gun
Gun-leader: Lieutenant d.R. August Batzner
Detachment & Gun-leader: Staff-Sergeant d.R. Herrmann Sabath
Gun-leader: Artillery-First-Mate d.R. Ludwig Vogt

Detachment v. Debschitz, Detachment-Leader: First Lieutenant d.L. II Wolf von Debschitz
Platoon-Leader: First-Lieutenant z.S. Job Odebrecht
Platoon-Leader: Lieutenant d.R. Max Wentzel

Detachment Urundi, Detachment-Leader: Major Erich von Langenn-Steinkeller
Platoon / Section-Leader: Staff-Sergeant Johann Schmelzer
Platoon / Section-Leader: Staff-Sergeant d.R. August Thomsen
Platoon / Section-Leader: Staff-Sergeant (-? -) Ascan Roderich Lutteroth

Something more needs to be said about the translations of Ludwig Boell's manuscript. The original text passages, some of
which are in a very cryptic telegram style, contain terms that are no longer used in today's colloquial German. Torn out of
context, a number of passages would no longer be understandable even in German. The length of sentences with a number
of inserted subordinate clauses and lists are also no longer appropriate.

Even then, the statements in the original telegrams and their content led to misunderstandings among those involved, as the
above examples show; - and that with people like Lettow-Vorbeck and Wahle themselves, who even knew each other well
personally. English is a very simple language, which may be one of the reasons that it became the world language. However,
this also means that during the translating from German into English, the exact meaning is often lost if certain processes are
not described in more detail for explanatory purposes. But the translations in these articles are of course still a long way from
today's colloquial English. The spellings of geographical locations made by different phonetics between German, French and
English have been adapted to the Anglophone spelling for better recognition. (Sample – German: Russissi / English: Ruzizi)

How difficult and time-consuming translations of Ludwig Boell's extensive works are, is shown, among other things, by the
advance notice by South African military historian David Brock Katz in his English review from 2017. “Ludwig Boell and the
Other Side of the Hill: The East African Campaign in the First World War from the German Perspective.
” At that time he
noticed that he was in work with the translation of Ludwig Boell's German book: The Campaign in East Africa 1914-1918.

Will be continued with: 4. – MILITARY- TECHNICAL ORDNANCE EXCURSUS (Subpart E)
Cheers Holger
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. . . . All History was a
palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary” – G. ORWELL 1984

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