Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

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Chris Dale
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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Chris Dale » 10 May 2013 00:25

We have permission to show photos of the SMS Königsberg guns from the albums of Sergeant Southern of the British Army's 29th Motor Ambulance Convoy taken in East Africa. These photos were originally shared by "The Mons Star" at - http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forum ... pic=191808

Image

This photo shows Sergeant Southern of the British Army's 29th Motor Ambulance Convoy next to an SMS Königsberg gun. The barrel of the gun has split and bent. Note the barrel flange and Krupp gun carriage with the right wheel off.

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Chris Dale » 10 May 2013 00:30

The second interesting photo in this album-
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This photo shows Sergeant Southern and other members of the 29 MAC next to an SMS Königsberg gun limber and carriage. This photo is labelled as having been taken in Helada. I cannot find anywhere called Helada in modern Tanzania. The name is probably spelled differently today. Can anyone suggest what it might be called these days?

The photo shows a Dar limber in the foreground with what are probably farm machinery wheels. In the background is a Krupp carriage. The barrel of the gun cannot be seen and it is unknown if this is the gun as seen in the previous photo.

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Chris Dale » 10 May 2013 00:45

The third and final photo-

Image

This photo shows Sergeant Southern and other members of the 29 MAC next to an SMS Königsberg gun barrel. This photo is labelled as having been taken in Mtama, which is near Mahiwa. Mahiwa is of course where Wenig destroyed gun number 9. If this is gun 9 Mahiwa it has lost the Krupp carriage it once had. The breech on the left appears to be damaged. The photo is a bit too blurred to be sure if it has a flange or not. The barrel end is however intact so this cannot be the same gun as the first photo. It could however go with the limber and Krupp carriage in the second photo.

More fodder for debate...

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Chris

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by CPT Bob » 11 May 2013 12:41

I traveled to Uganda several years before I retired from the Army and I took many photographs during the visit. Several years after I retired I was sorting through a box of old documents when I “found” the photos of the Konigsberg gun & plaque. I decided to do a little research and quickly found that two “facts” were widely repeated; “only two Konigsberg guns were known to exist” and “one gun went to Kampala”. That did not sound correct to me! There were only ten guns! How hard could it be to track them down??? Six or seven years have passed and I am still at it. Ha!!

The story, “One gun went to Kampala”, is not correct; the gun that was captured at Mwanza went straight to Jinja.

A mislabeled postcard from the 1920’s caused some of the confusion. A 13cm German gun that was captured on the Western Front and was (and still is) displayed in Entebbe as a war memorial caused more confusion (and still does). Someone associated “the K-gun story” with the gun at Entebbe and History became “one gun went to Kampala”. Without the internet, it could be easy to mix up these facts.

The old postcard of the Jinja Gun is c. 1920’s. The two locations cited on the card are incorrect. I do recall high-ground to the east of the cannon. The Commander and his Staff had their quarters up on that hill, and in the background (under the barrel near the pedestal) is probably the Commander’s “Villa”. A 1963 map shows the buildings on the high-ground. I believe the gun was always displayed in Jinja at the main gate to the KAR barracks. English tourists returned home with postcards that were printed with incorrect captions.

A captured German 13cm Kanone L/35 M09 was originally displayed as a WW1 Memorial in Entebbe. It was there in 1936. The KAR only fought in East Africa; therefore, that 13cm gun was probably a prize from the Western Front and shipped to Uganda as a “trophy”. (They shipped them all over the world, including one to my hometown of Easton, Pennsylvania.) Oversized statues of Ugandan soldiers were added to the monument relatively recently, making the large gun appear much smaller.

Ugandan “tourist information” describes Muzinga Park like this:

“The Muzinga Park monument is the most historical tourist attraction in Entebbe. Found right opposite Entebbe Municipal Council building, this monument was left behind by Tanzanian troops after they ousted the late Ugandan President, Idi Amin Dada. When they tried to blow up the municipal building, they were discouraged by gunfire from the soon to-be-defeated Ugandan troops and abandoned the plan. They abandoned their cannon and it stands to date. It has been turned into a tourist attraction, with statues of two soldiers built next to it as a way of remembering what happened that day. Around the cannon and statues was built a park with chairs where people can sit and enjoy the scenery.”
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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by CPT Bob » 11 May 2013 12:46

The Mwanza gun after its capture, a postcard for the 1920's and the gun's current location.
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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by CPT Bob » 12 May 2013 16:18

“Postcard History” versus “the Congo Guns”

The story “one gun went to Leopoldville and one gun went to Stanleyville” is not exactly true.

One gun was taken to Stanleyville. The other gun was taken to Boma, which was the capital of the Belgian Congo until 1926. A copy of the “Batiment du District” postcard is dated 1923.

Another widely published Belgian postcard shows a “105mm cannon captured at Tabora”. It is a total fraud! The photo was actually cropped from a much larger German photograph of a defensive position in the Rufiji Delta.
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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Kallag » 12 May 2013 17:10

Bob,

Thank you for a very interesting post.

Your information is fascinating and will go a long way in 'getting the facts straight'. I'm sure that this new information will trigger further debate and assist in establishing the correct details about the various Konigsberg guns.

By pure coincidence, I have just now seen an equally interesting post about one of the guns on the WW1 History Forum (see http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forum ... 8530&st=50)

There appears to be some work ahead in updating the available information about some of guns.

Kallag

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Chris Dale » 12 May 2013 21:18

Thank you Kallag for that link! Glad to see there's a worldwide team of us trying to solve this mystery, by pooling our resources I'm sure we can get to the bottom of it!

Bob, so good to see you hear :welcome:

Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce Bob who has been the man behind most of the information I started this thread with.

Cheers
Chris

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by CPT Bob » 14 May 2013 12:50

I understood the “true meaning” of the IWM’s initial response to my inquiry about the Konigsberg Gun photo; the gentleman who answered my question was not trained in analyzing photographs of military equipment. That is OK if he wasn’t…… but I was! I knew exactly what I was looking at, so I gathered other photos for comparison and showed them to Chris. He agreed.

I feel foolish for having not done something much sooner than I did; several weeks later I went to the IWM’s web-site, entered “Konigsberg” in the Search window, and then went “click”!

“Voila!”……this reference; “Naval Disposals document (EN1/1/TRO/047)”.

I sent an e-mail containing this reference to a different department at the IWM. Michael Gordon (Project Assistant, War Memorials Archive) kindly responded and passed my request to his colleague, Sarah Henning (Museum Archivist). She looked in the file and promptly answered all my questions. In return, I sent her some information about the Konigsberg Guns, which she promised to pass on the “department” to which we all originally wrote for their future reference.

Bob

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by CPT Bob » 14 May 2013 13:04

Several weeks ago I was trying to identify the General Officer standing in the background of the “Kahe-platform” photo. (I believe it is Major General Sir Reginald Hoskins, commander of the KAR.) The gentleman standing at the far left of the photo (I will call him “Mr. Mustache”) looked familiar, and I found him posing in Bagamoyo with the little dog.

I gave his two friends a closer look. They were posing as if they were “Caesar and his Generals”, but I noticed no one was wearing General Officer’s rank on their lapels. They all were wearing shoulder boards, and the gentleman on the right had the biggest ones. I Googled “Royal Navy Officer’s shoulder board rank”, and there they were!

The older gentleman on the right is Rear Admiral Sir Edward Francis Benedict Charlton, KCB KCMG JP. Between 1916 and 1918 he was the Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope Station. In September of 1916 his flagship was anchored off Bagamoyo.

The man in the center appears to be wearing Captain’s rank, and he is likely Captain W. B. Wilkinson(?). The “smiling guys” in the background are probably the Petty Officer and the Chief Mate who were responsible for moving the “trophies” to the site and displaying them for the photo-shoot.



(A few notes and thoughts to share)

Imperial War Conferences were held from 21 March to 27 April 1917 and from 12 June to 26 July 1918. Admiral Charlton definitely attended the first conference, and most likely attended the second one. (No positive proof, yet!)

The IWM’s accession register states the gun from the Konigsberg was acquired from the Admiralty on the 24 July 1918.

In London, the Admiralty had possession of the gun and the Admiralty displayed the gun; therefore, the Admiralty (not the Army) was probably responsible for bringing the gun back to London from Africa.

Did Admiral Charlton bring the gun back to London? When was it first displayed at the Admiralty? Did it come from Bagamoyo? Did it come from Dar-es-Salaam?

More importantly, what happened to the gun when they moved it from Hove c. 1937?

We shall see!

Bob
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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by CPT Bob » 14 May 2013 16:30

Another clue…. but no answer!

The 1918 Imperial War Conference was 12 June to 26 July. The Admiralty gave the gun to the IWM on 24 July 1918. The citation noted earlier states that the gun was displayed along the Mall in the autumn of 1918. The postcard and artwork suggest the autumn.

Bob
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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Chris Dale » 14 May 2013 20:57

Great detective work Bob! One doubt I have about this theory is that the IWM photo shows a straight and intact shield whereas the captured at Bagamoyo photos show a damaged or partially removed shield. I guess they could have fixed it, but would they have gone to that bother or just taken it off as on the Mombassa gun?

Actually I've never seen any of the K'berg guns in Africa with their Krupp shields on...

Cheers
Chris

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by danebrog » 15 May 2013 11:44

From GWFs Bushfighter Harry:

In The Navy Everywhere by Conrad Cato (http://archive.org/details/navyeverywhere00cato ) on page 158 is a footnote. This refers to the Konigsberg gun captured at Bagamoyo and it states:
In the autumn of 1918 this gun was exhibited in the Mall near the north door of the Admiralty.

TEXT p 158:
As soon as our men had landed. Sub. -Lieutenant Manning was sent in charge of a machine-gun section
to rush the hill and capture the 4-1. This he did very skilfully, taking cover as soon as he reached the
top of the rise, and peppering the Germans relentlessly, until they abandoned their gun and took to
their heels. In addition to the gun, over 80 rounds of ammunition were found in the magazine near by,
and a few days later both gun and ammunition were shipped to Zanzibar, where they were on view to
admiring crowds of natives.'
So you may trace the initial movement.......

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Chris Dale » 15 May 2013 13:02

Good work Danebrog...

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Re: Missing Gun from the SMS Königsberg

Post by Chris Dale » 23 May 2013 14:11

Another thing I thought it might be interesting to look at was a map of where these places we keep mentioning are-

Image

Map showing in German East Africa and its railway line and in Red the Königsberg Guns and their actions. The map clearly showed a new point that I had previously not considered- whenever possible guns the SMS Königsberg guns were moved by rail. It also shows a timeline of the East African Campaign as the Germans retreated from British and Dominion forces in the North and the Belgian Force Publique in the West.

(Original Map from http://www.ibiblio.org/HTMLTexts/Albert ... ter14.html another good map to compare it to is this one of the campaign- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World ... Africa.jpg ).

Again with these studies, it is difficult to be 100% certain about some of the places as their names and spellings have changed in different languages over the years and similar names are attached to different towns at times.

Shown on the map is the River Rufiji, in the delta of which the SMS Konigsberg was sunk and from where they were salvaged (marked K'berg in red).

The guns were then all dragged North up to Dar Es Salaam (underlined in red) where some were fitted with new carriages. Five were deployed in defence here, two went further North to Tanga (also underlined in red) the remaining three were sent Westwards to the great lakes.

Looking at the order in which the guns were captured or destroyed tells a history of the East African campaign 1916-17-

1 Kahe (shown in red on the Northern border) this gun had been at Tanga until March 1916, then transported by rail to the frontier. Here the barrel blew as we've seen in photos and it was captured on 21st March 1916.

2 Kondoa Irangi (under lined in red just South of Kahe) this gun had been at Dar until April 1916. According to Kevin Patience's book it then suffered a barrel burst while in action on 18th May 1916.

3 Mwanza (in red on the coast of Lake Victoria) this was one of three sent West to the Lakes. It was gun was mounted on a fixed pivot stand with a range of fire across Lake Victoria. It was captured by a British KAR force on 14th July 1916. The gun is now in Jinja Uganda on the opposing shore of the lake.

4 Bagamoyo (underlined in red just North of Dar Es Salaam on the coast) this gun was at Dar until August 1916. It was captured by a British naval landing party from HMS Vengeance on 15th August 1916.

5 Mkuyuni (in red on the railway line between Tanga and Kahe) this gun was at Dar until March 1916. It was captured near the railway line by British troops (possibly KAR and Lancs) on 30th August 1916.
Then there's the two guns that went to Lake Tanganyika and were displayed in the Belgian Congo after the war.

6 Korogwe/Kahama. This gun was mounted the SS Graf von Götzen, before retreating inland on a Dar gun carriage. Sources say this was captured by the Belgian Force Publique at Korogwe 2nd September 1916. Interestingly Google maps show Korogwe (in red) is in between Mkuyuni and Tanga on the East side of the country. That's an odd place to get to from the Western Lakes, it's also not where the Belgian advance was going. Further searches on Google maps found another Korogwe at Kahama (in red) in the West (South of Mwanza), far closer to the Belgian advance and this is therefore more likely to be where the gun was captured. Holger's notes also record this as the correct Korogwe.

7 Tabora. This gun was mounted in a Fixed Emplacement on the shores of Lake Tanganyika at Kigoma. It then retreated from the Belgian advance to Tabora where it was captured by the Force Publique 18th September 1916. Note the railway line which the gun presumably used directly from Dar to Udjiji, then back to Tabora.

At this stage in the War von Lettow-Vorbeck's men were retreating from the British invasion in the North of the colony, while Wahle's men were retreating from the Belgians. By Septmber 1916 the railway line from Dar to Udjiji was in allied hands and the Schutztruppe were concentrated in the South of the colony.

8 Kibata (in red just below the River Rufiji) this gun was at Dar until August 1916 the moved South before being captured at Kibata on 15th January 1917 by British troops (either Baluchis or KAR). Could this be the gun in Bob's recent photo showing an emplacement on the Rufiji? None of the other guns appear to have been in the area, Holger's notes also have this gun recorded as being deployed on the Rufiji.

By this stage in the war the Schutztruppe were concentrated into a small area around Lindi in the South East of the colony. Here they slimmed down their force, ditched their last two guns and went on the offensive as a highly mobile unit in Portuguese East Africa. The last two guns fell to British Empire forces at -

9 Mahiwa (in red) this gun was at Dar until August 1916 then on a Krupp Carriage under Wenig. Wenig reports that the gun was destroyed. It fell into British or South African hands on 27th October 1917.

10 Massassi (also in red) this gun was originally at Tanga until June 1916. It fell into British hands (the British Column included KAR, Baluchis and Gold Coast troops) on 27th October 1917.

I hope this helps clarify our information a bit.
Cheers
Chris

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