Battle of Kamina

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cj
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Battle of Kamina

Post by cj » 30 Jul 2006 20:59

Anyone know anything about the battle of Kamina? I've never seen anything beyond it being the decisive battle in WW1 Togo. Photos from WW1 Togo would be awesome, never seen any.

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 31 Jul 2006 01:10

Hi CJ,

I read in the British Official history of the War in Cameroon and Togo something to the effect that the Germans didn't fight much of a battle at Kamina, that although they were well entrenched they over estimated the size of the oncoming allied force and surrendered.

I'd like to hear anything elose that other forum users have read, maybe from German sources.

I'd also love to see any photos of the actual campaign in Togo.

Cheers
Chris

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Post by cj » 31 Jul 2006 07:15

I remember reading something to that effect and that what is known as the battle of Kamina wasn't even fought at Kamina. But the Book "First World War Day by Day" by Ian Westwell calls it a battle which in my mind has a different defenition than surrender. Second question, did any French troops participate against the Germans in Togo?

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Matt Walker
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Post by Matt Walker » 31 Jul 2006 12:49

Hi cj,

Sorry there isn't much detail in this passage, but it does mention French troops fighting in Togo:

"A British column, entering Togo from the Gold Coast, seized Lome on 12 August, and with the assistance of three French columns, two of Senegalese and one of irregular cavalry from Volta, ended all German resistance quickly on 26 August 1914. A French column under Colonel Maraix took the important German naval signal station at Kamina on the following day."

From 'Paths of GLory' by Anthony Clayton

* The 'Volta' mentioned seems to be in what is now Burkino Faso

More info:

"Militarily speaking, Togoland had only one asset - a powerful radio station at Kamina, capable of transmitting news of Allied shipping or troop movements to German East or German South West Africa, or to Berlin. The West African Frontier Force (WAFF) had been formed by the British from units in their various West African colonies: nearly 14,000 from Nigeria, almost 10,000 from the Gold Coast. Sierra Leone contributed about 650 men, The Gambia some 350. To silence the radio station, WAFF forces from the Gold Coast and French troops from Dahomey invaded Togoland on the outbreak of war in August 1914. On 24 August the Kamina station was destroyed, and two days later the Germans surrendered power in Togoland."

Image
picture of British Gold coast MG section

The dates on the two sources seem to be a bit confused, but I hope this helps anyway.[/img]

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 31 Jul 2006 13:58

A good link on Togoland:

http://www.traditionsverband.de/download/pdf/togo.pdf

A photo is shown of RSM Alhaji Grunshi,the Gold Coast Regiment.Said to have fired the first shot by a British or Empire soldier in WW1,on the 12th August 1914.

Photos also show the German machine guns encountered at Nuatja,the holding position before Kamina.The battle there lasted all of the afternoon of the 22nd August 1914 and the British native troops(encountering machine guns for the first time) suffered 21 killed and 54 wounded.The Germans decamped from their holding position during the night due to a French column coming down from the north.Otherwise they had successfully blocked the British advance.

The Kamina capitulation on the 26th August is said to have yielded 260 German prisoners and 1,000 rifles.Supposedly the British Captain Bryant also found dum-dum bullets and charges of violating the Hague agreement were brought against the German Governor(Major) von Döring.These charges were later dropped.

The Funkstation at Kamina:

Image
http://www.reynier.com/Histoire/Colonis ... Togo23.jpg

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 31 Jul 2006 14:13

All German Pows and civilians in Togoland and Kamerun in the areas controlled by the French were moved to the French colony of Dahomey.This lead to claims of brutuality and "concentration camps" run by the French.I have no figures on the number involved but many died of disease in Dahomey.

All British held Pows and suspect German civilians were shipped to Queensferry,Wales.

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Post by Scarlett » 31 Jul 2006 14:15

In Toge there was no German Schutztruppe, but only a Polzeitruppe, which consisted of
two German officers, six German Polizeimeister and 560 African NCOs and policemen.
This force was scattered about in the country in small posts.

August 12, 1914 the British Gold Coast Regiment landed in Lome, the capital and main port with
57 British offiders and NCOs and 535 African soldiers, the French had already invaded the coastal
region from Dahomey with 8 French and 120 Senegalese tirailleurs.

The British pushed north along the railway and the only road leading into the interior.
August 15 there was a small skirmish when they met German policemen.

By August 18 the British and the French forces joined and together marched north.
They found the German police and some volunteers entrenched on the north bank of
the Chra-river. A fighting started in the dense bush, British and French lost contact and
could not dislodge the Germans force, but had to withdraw after eaching a point 50 yards
from the German trenches . The Allied Forces lost 23 dead and 50 wounded,
the german losses being only slight.

The next morning the German force had disappeared.

In the night 24/25 August the Germans blew up the wireles station in Kamina.
In the morning of August 25 a German officer was sent to the British to ask for terms.
In the meantime two other forces, one British, one French had invaded Togo.
The British informed the German, that only unconditional surrender was accepted.
The German position was untenable, surrounded by enemy troops, so
Major von Doering, the acting German governor, surrendered unconditionally on August 26.

That was the end of the shortest colonial campaign in WWI.

Based on Byron Farwell, The Great War in Africa New York London 1986
Last edited by Scarlett on 31 Jul 2006 14:27, edited 2 times in total.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 31 Jul 2006 14:20

Accounts mention that the Polzeitruppe commander Pfaeler was killed on the 13th August while leading two train loads of Polzeitruppe down south to stall Bryant's advance from Lome.

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Post by cj » 31 Jul 2006 19:11

Does anyone know why they dropped the charges on von Döring? Were the charges bogus or were they dropped when Kaiser Wilhelm II started appealing to President Wilson for action against Belgium's extensive use of dum-dum shells?

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Post by Scarlett » 01 Aug 2006 14:25

Peter H wrote:Accounts mention that the Polzeitruppe commander Pfaeler was killed on the 13th August while leading two train loads of Polzeitruppe down south to stall Bryant's advance from Lome.


AFAIK Hauptmann Pfaeler was killed, when there was a rebellion of some black police-soldiers, who fired around.

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Post by Scarlett » 01 Aug 2006 14:36

cj wrote:Does anyone know why they dropped the charges on von Döring? Were the charges bogus or were they dropped when Kaiser Wilhelm II started appealing to President Wilson for action against Belgium's extensive use of dum-dum shells?


There were no dum-dum-bulletts, but some of the German reservists and some officers used
hunting ammunition, the nose of the bullett being lead. This was not correct. Why they did so I don't know.
Correct ammuniton was used for the machine-guns and by the native police-soldiers..

The second charge was equipping native auxiliary troops with weapons against white soldiers.
This charge was dropped as the British did the same.

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Post by Peter H » 01 Aug 2006 14:46

Thanks Scarlett.

It also says here that a Europäerkompagnie was formed?

http://www.zum.de/psm/imperialismus/kol ... atlas5.php

Regards
Peter

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Post by Scarlett » 01 Aug 2006 15:12

Peter

I have no information about it, but it doesn't seem improbable.
At the time of the surrender there were about 200 Germans present,
all reservist as there were only 2 officers and 5 Polizeimeister in the
force at the time of the outbreak.

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 02 Aug 2006 00:16

It seems an excellent discussion is going on here about this little known campaign! I've only got a couple of small things to add from the British "Official History of the War- Togoland and Cameroons" (Battery Press)....

On the subject of a European Company, yes as noted there were enough reservists called up in Togo to constitute a company. My doubt however is if they were actually formed into a company or posted along with African police units as needed. The Official History says "The Germans, whose force appears to have consisted of one German and seven or eight native companies, totalling about 300 Germans and 1,200 natives, had been expected to offer a much stouter resistance...". I wouldn't take this as fact though. As we know the native police were not organised into Companies, and their force was probably much smaller.

It also goes on to describe the "elaborate network of trenches and dugouts with which Kamina was surrounded". A captured German Sgt Major blamed the German surrender of Kamina on "many of the Germans had little or no military training, and also that, though the Kamina position was well entrenched, it was too large for the available force, and was commanded on all sides by surrounding hills". Also mentioned in another part of the text is the unreliable nature of some of the native police troops.

Another interesting point mentioned in the book is the issue of the "dum dum" bullets. In the book's appendix is printed the correspondance between the British and German commanders prior to the surrender. Major von Doering says "it was alleged that my troops have made use of certain bullets which do not conform with the stipulations of the Geneva Convention..... I know nothing of this matter; and that, officially, only bullets covered with jackets as well as regualtion solid lead bullets have been issued as equipment. If bullets which are contrary to regualtions have indeed been found on individuals, then I would submit that we have never reckoned with a war in Togoland, and that those liable for military service went on active service without any special plan of mobilisation, partly direct from thier civil posts- thus the exchange of any irregular sporting cartridges, which they may have had, may perhaps in a few cases have been impossible. I express my regret on account of the incident in question."

Very intersting that sojme of the POWs went to Queensferry, that's not too far from my home town...

Cheers
Chris

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Post by Chris Dale » 02 Aug 2006 00:25

Here's a photo I found on a website called Casglu'r tlysau - Gathering (or collecting) the jewels http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/subjects/379 . It shows German POWs arriving at Queensferry in 1914, the date shown however is too early for them to be Togo POWs though.
Cheers
Chris
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