Battle of Kamina

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cj
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Post by cj » 02 Aug 2006 00:53

I'm still very confused on the topic of Hauptmann Pfaeler. Was he killed by his own native police troops, or on a train heeading south to confront the British? or, was he both, killed by his own men while on a train heading south to confront the British?

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Post by Utrecht » 02 Aug 2006 22:25

cj wrote:I'm still very confused on the topic of Hauptmann Pfaeler. Was he killed by his own native police troops, or on a train heeading south to confront the British? or, was he both, killed by his own men while on a train heading south to confront the British?
Hew Strachan wrote '''..the Germans' military commander, Captain Georg Pfähler, had been killed in action on 16 August.''

But, this website says that on 22 August Hauptmann Pfähler with 25 whites and 200 Man Polizeitruppen provided heavy resistance at the Chra River against the advancing enemy. Pfähler and six Germans were killed in this action.

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Post by Utrecht » 02 Aug 2006 22:58

I've written articles about the skirmishes on the five African fronts in the period 1914-1918 and the different accounts about the dead of Pfähler is only one of many, many subjects about the War in Africa (1914-1918) whereabout sources don't agree (that's why I am still not satisfied with these articles). But, what I can add about the Togo-campaign according to my article (mainly based on Hew Strachans book The First World War in Africa (a key section of the standard work To Arms) and the website mentioned above) is:

Although the war would go on for four more years the most important objective of the Allies in Africa was reached after only 3 weeks: the radio station of Kamina is at that time destroyed by retreating German troops, and so the station - consisting of 9 huge masts - was no longer able to communicate with Berlin, the German Navy in the Atlantic and the other German colonies ( in the first three weeks of the war the station had handled 229 messages).

Major Von Doering had hoped to save neutrality, but the 700 troops (mostly police troops) had to take up their outdated arms and fight the French and British and their Senegalese and Gold Coast troops. The Germans abandon the south part of the colony and after destroying the bridges position theirselves at the North bank of the Chra-river. After Lome is taken by the British and Anecho and Porto Seguro by the French, a assault is launched at the Germans near the Chra-river. The Britons lose 17% of their troops, but despite the succes the Germans see no other option than to destroy the radio station in Kamina at the 24th/25th and surrender the day after.

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Post by Seesoldat » 04 Jan 2007 22:35

Dear Members of this forum,

as a new member of this forum I read with growing interests this topic about the smallest african campaign in WWI. Two years ago I studied (I believe) nearly all available German, French and British sources on this campaign, got in contact with the main German scientist on German Togoland, Professor Sebald, and talked to relatives of participants of this small campaign. This led to a 2 hours lecture for the "Traditionsverband".

I can offer the following information as far as the Togoland-campaign concerns:

[b]German Situation:[/b]

The German colony was divided in 1 city and 7 rural districts. In case of war these districts had to mobilize their police force and all reservists - Germans and natives. Regular military units didn´t exist in Togoland in 1914. On August 6th, the following units were formed:

- Stammkompanie at Lome-City, Cdr: 1st Lt Mans, 171 men
- Company Misahöhe, Cdr: Dr. Gruner, 114 men
- Company Atakpame, Cdr: 1st Lt Stange, 1?? men
- Company Kete-Kratschi, Cdr: Cpt von Raven, 1?? men
- Company Sokode-Bassari, Cdr: Vet. von Parpart, 220 men
- Company Sansane-Mangu, Cdr: Cpt. von Hirschfeld, 180 men
- Detachment Lome-Land, Cdr: 1st Lt Schlettwein, 80 men
- Detachment Anecho, Cdr: ?, 80 men
- Europäer-Kompanie at Lome-City, Cdr: 1st Lt Fraeulin, 100 men

Further on the acting governor, Mj von Doering decided, that all Europeans had to form the "Europäer-Kompanie" in Atakpame for the protection of Kamina. He also ordered the other units to the vicinity of the district headquaters at Atakpame - but divided from the "Europäer-Kompanie".

[b]Allied Situation:[/b]

The deployment and strength of the British forces were described in detail in a former topic. Cpt Bryant assembled his forces with the main body around Ada for invading the coast and capturing the capital, Lome. A second force was assembled at Sekondi for reinforcing the main body. A minor third force was build up opposite Kete-Kratchi and the forth force around Gambaga in the north.

The French forces consisted the following units:

[u]Haute-Sénégal et Niger[/u]
2. Bataillon de Tirailleurs Sénégalais (BTS) with three companies
Gardes Indigène (one company of Natives)
-> They formed the northern group and were send into northern Togoland.

[u]Dahomé[/u]
Bataillon de Tirailleurs Sénégalais du Dahomé (BTSD) with three companies
Gardes Indigène (one company of Natives)
-> They formed with one company the southern group at the caost and with the remaining companies the main body as "Tscheti-group" araund the village of Tscheti in central Dahomé.

As far as the campaign itself concerns, there occured three minor and two mayor battles:

August 13th, skirmish at Bafilo:
The German forces of the districts Sansane-Mangu and Sokode-Bafilo rejected a French offensive of one company (northern force) to size their districts.

August, 13th skirmish on the Manu:
German attack on French posts along the Manu

August 15th and 16th, battle of Agbeluvoe:
This battle is worth an own topic ... The Germans attacked with three companies (Companies von Schlettwein, von Parpart and Stange) the peak of the advancing British forces and had all chances at their hands - but failed. They lost their over-all-commander, Cpt Pfaehler. He reconnoitered during the evening from a tree and was shot from his position by the besieged British. This led to vast desintegration of the German forces.

August 22nd, skirmish opposite Tscheti:
A German reconnaisance platoon ran into the advancing French "Tscheti-group" and was pulled back.

August 22nd, battle of the Chra:
The Germans had two companies (Mans and Raven) in a well entrenched position awaiting the advancing allied main body. The Allies attacked the Germans but were pulled back with heavy losses. Again the Germans hold the place in a mayor battle, but the German natives fled during the night.

As a result the Germans retreated with the remnants of their forces towards Kamina and surrendered the so called "Landesverteidigungstruppe" on August 27th with 207 Europeans. They did so without bringing their "Europäer-Kompanie" into battle.

Hoping to help you

Yours Markus

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Post by Chris Dale » 05 Jan 2007 01:49

Hi Markus,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for that information especially about the organisation of the German troops in Togo. I hope you will become a regular member of the forum!

May I also congratulate you on your website at http://www.marine-infanterie.de/ it is an excellent piece of work.

All the best,
Chris

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Many Thanks

Post by Seesoldat » 08 Jan 2007 10:37

Dear Chris,

thank you very much for your posting.

I have to add one more information:

The first british soldier who died in WWI was Lt George Thompson. He was killed in the battle of Agbeluvoe - in this small Togoland-campaign.

Yours Markus

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Post by Chris Dale » 08 Jan 2007 20:32

Seesoldat wrote: Two years ago I studied (I believe) nearly all available German, French and British sources on this campaign
Hi Markus,
In your studies did you find any photos of German troops or officers taken during the short campaign? I am especially looking for photos of the European Compnay.
All the best,
Chris

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Post by Seesoldat » 08 Jan 2007 22:46

Dear Chris,

to my mind unfortunately there are only very rare sources with photos from the campaign. I used for my lecture only two:

The Imperial War Museum in London

The collection of Wilhelm Scharck

The latter was published in a book: "Vor langer Zeit..." published by Hermann Scharck in 1993. In addition there was a seperate photobook - not available in usual bookstores.

Wilhelm Scharck led the Germann reconnaisance platoon opposite Tscheti on August 22nd which ran into the advancing French "Tscheti-group". Sergeant Scharck became POW after beeing left alone by his native police soldiers.

Unfortunately there are no photos of the "Europäer-Kompanie" known to me up to now.

Yours

Markus

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Post by Chris Dale » 08 Jan 2007 23:52

Thank you Markus,

I've tried asking at the Imperial War Museum... I'll try asking again! And thank you for the tip about Wilhelm Shark's collection, I'll try to find them somewhere. It is possible a large library has a copy.

You do seem to have looked into this topic very closely,

Cheers
Chris

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Post by cj » 16 Jan 2007 07:50

Image
original color photo of Togo polezeitruppen

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Post by cj » 28 Jan 2007 20:38

We seem to have only complicated the question of Hauptman Pfaler. was he...

1) killed by his own native troops

2) Died, how hasn't been said, while on a train south to confront the entente

or
3) Killed at Agbeluvoe while climbing a tree for a better view,

let's try to come to a single answer

also, does anyone have von Doring's full name?

thanks
CJ

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Post by cj » 28 Jan 2007 22:59

August, 13th skirmish on the Manu:
German attack on French posts along the Manu
Isn't the Manu a river in Brazil?

Are you referring to a Manu river or a town called Manu here??

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Cpt Pfaehler

Post by Seesoldat » 29 Jan 2007 14:49

My thesis is:

Cpt Pfaehler was killed by allied troops while sitting on a tree observing the enemy position in the village of Agbeluvoe.

Sorry, it was the Monu, not the Manu.
Nevertheless it is a river which marks the border between Togoland and french Dahomé in the coastal area.

Yours

Markus

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Post by cj » 30 Jan 2007 06:11

Thanks, where did you read about Pfaler?

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Post by Seesoldat » 30 Jan 2007 11:27

You can´t read this, because no official German source would agree with this "no-go" in military affairs. A German officer doesn´t climb on a tree and won´t be shot from it.

I talked about this problem to relatives of participants of the battle and to a German professor who visited the battlefield and interviewed people who gave evidence as far as this cicumstance concerns.

MF

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