Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

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schutzearsch
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Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by schutzearsch » 05 Aug 2015 17:06

I wondered what what kinds of machine guns where used especially by the early Schutztruppe Units in der German colonies.
The site Savage and Soldier states that von Zelewski's punitive force had "severel machine guns and fields guns" when he and his force of about 320 men met their fate at Lugalu.
Others sources (books and websites) also state that the Germans used machine guns at the Battle at Lugalu which took place in 1891.

The Maxim gun was invented in 1883 or 1884 and saw it's first servis in 1886. But German Goverment and Military did not make introduce machine guns in the imperial army until 1901. 10 Years before Zelewski fought at Lugalo.

Savage and Soldier also states that each company (in any of ther german colonies in africa) had at least one machine gun (but they don't say if it was from the beginning or if they where equipped later).

So...
- Did the Schutztruppe (especially in German East Africa, but I'm also interessted in German West Africa and German South West Africa) use machine guns?
- Where they Maxim guns? Or where there maybe other machine guns in use (Gardner? Nordenfeld?)
- Where they issued by the German Army or Navy? Or where they maybe privately purchased by the early Schutztruppe leaders and founders like Wissmann and Francois?
- If they used Maxim guns which calibres where used? Early Maxims where chambered for .577/450 which was the standard british service rounds at the time. Did they use .577/450 Maxims? Or did they use Maxims chambered for the Patrone 88 of the 8mm Mauser round?

Sorry but I'm kinda obsessed with this. :D

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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by schutzearsch » 07 Aug 2015 20:52

I found something and I thought I share it...

I found this site http://www.maximgun.de it's in german and some areas of the side are blocked but the side is very informative.

It states that the German Imperial Navy used Maxim Guns at Samoa in 1888/1889

http://www.maximgun.de/das-maxim-in-der-welt/

I can't surely say that the people on the pic are german sailors but the straw hats match the clothing of navy sailors of that period in africa and the pacific (of any european and american navy sailors)

http://www.maximgun.de/maxim-gun-entwic ... odel-1887/
http://www.maximgun.de/maxim-gun-entwic ... odel-1889/

The webpage sates that the model 1887 was the first maxim for commercial use and that it could be outfitted to fire any 10mm or 11mm catridge used by european armies at that period. It also states that in 1888 italy ordered 26 maxims in an italien 10,4x47R Vetterli calibre and Austria ordered 31 Maxims in the 8x50R also in the year 1888.
Fruther the site sates that the model 1889 was a nesessary update since the model 1887 had problems fireing the new 7 and 8mm rounds that many european armies introduced in the years 1885-1890. The biggest problem seemed to have some problems with the lock the new smaller rounds where lighter and the new smokeless powder didn't create enough recoil.

Conclussion it is most likele that the Schutztruppe hat Maxim Guns in a common german calibre

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danebrog
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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by danebrog » 08 Aug 2015 06:57

All Maxim guns in Schutztruppe use were license produced and of course (german throughness) converted to standard army ammunition (8x57)
The only exception was the very first specimen used by Wissman. It was a "World Standard" model in 11mm Mauser/black powder from the evaluation tests and donated by Kaiser Wilhelm.

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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by schutzearsch » 09 Aug 2015 16:44

Thank you!

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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Tanzania » 16 Dec 2015 05:20

Photos of the Final weapon inventory of the Schutztruppe in Abercorn / BNR:

Image

Image

Source: http://www.abercornucopia.com/galleries-2/#/gallery-1/
“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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Chris Dale
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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Chris Dale » 03 Feb 2016 11:56

24 machine guns and 14 lewis guns very interesting. But isn't that an SS Marie 7.5cm Mountain gun in the foreground too?

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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by schutzearsch » 20 Apr 2016 16:24

Thank you Tanzania!

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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Tanzania » 07 Jul 2016 10:26

German MG´s in East-Africa with protective shields
Below are three photos with German Machine-Guns and there different (self-constructed) Protective shields.
Image
Image
Image
Depending on the thickness of the steel-material the shield weighed nearly 10 kg. The reason to protect the
shooter against enemy fire is clear understandable. But this need exists not only by the German Schutztruppe
in East-Africa, but throughout all theatres worldwide. What surprised me very much, that exactly in the bush-
fights in East Africa, which are often still characterised by mobile warfare, these relative heavy equipment was
used special by the Germans? I do not know photos with these protective shields by the British or the Belgians.

.
“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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Tanzania
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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Tanzania » 27 Jul 2016 11:36

By the way. This is also the attempt to review the display and written description in the photo of the upper post.
“One of the canons captured from the Germans at Ikawa near Nakonde.”
Image
This line leave the impression, that both pictured weapons (one MG and one 3,7-cm-Schnell-Lade-
Kanone L/30 (FK) Krupp/Gruson Model 1893) were captured from the Germans. This means that
both weapons are consequently under British ownership and the photo was taken also by the British.
What makes me suspicious is the Tropical Helmet from the men, first from left. Is this a British Model?
This would be a question to a Uniform expert. ( - :D - )
.
“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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Chris Dale
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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Chris Dale » 27 Jul 2016 22:07

Very good point Holger... I hadn't spotted that. I must say the profile of that helmet looks more German than British. It looks like a German 1891/96 helmet from the profile shape. It also appears to have a silver cord around the hatband, which would denote an officer in the German system. See the officer on the left of the photo below-

Image

The most common British helmets were Wolseley helmets (also worn by Wenig and Lettow-Vorbeck in wartime photos, the one below was also worn by a German officer, Hauptmann Franz Köhl and is now in the Bavarian Army Museum). As you can see the profile is quite different-

Image

I must say that identification by helmet shape is never an exact science. There were privately purchased helmets in use on both sides which blurs the possible results. One passage in "Blockade and Jungle" by Nis Kock/Christen P Christensen describes a scene where one German narrowly avoids shooting another German by mistake and only recognises the fact that he is friend rather than foe by the fact that his target has a long beard- the British were usually clean shaven while the Germans allowed their beards to grow on campaign... so combatants weren't looking for helmet shape to identify each other.

Another detail which points at these men being on the German side are the red fezzes and kahki tunics of the askaris. Again both sides used similar uniforms but the shape of these is more Schutztruppe than Kings African Rifles to my eyes...

Cheers
Chris

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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Chris Dale » 27 Jul 2016 22:08

What is that guy in the middle doing? He's hammering something into the ground. What is it and why?

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Tanzania
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Re: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Tanzania » 29 Jul 2016 04:38

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your comprehensive response. I saw you got my point, and I got yours. Yes of course;
if it would be a clear Germen helmet, it wouldn´t be proved automatically that this was German photo.


The most common British helmets were Wolseley helmets (also worn by Wenig and Lettow-Vorbeck in wartime photos,
the one below was also worn by a German officer, Hauptmann Franz Köhl and is now in the Bavarian Army Museum).
Thanks also for the reference of the Bavarian Armey Museum https://www.armeemuseum.de/en/
and the picture of the British Wolseley Helmet. (I haven´t been there before.)

The reference on the lower photo mentioned; “Hauptmann Franz Köhl 1918 in Tabora”. As far I
can see, the pictured Tropical Helmet looks like the older German Model with the German cockade.

Image



What is that guy in the middle doing? He's hammering something into the ground. What is it and why?
I expected this shows a smaller military forge with workshop and they are busy with rivet. The left `helmet´
men holds a puncher with pliers, the second swing the hammer to close the open side of the rivet and the
three Askaris / labours fixed the plate (additional self-constructed Protective shield for a machine Gun?)

Riveting process https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivet#/me ... veting.svg
Image

Cheers Holger
“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: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Tanzania » 29 Jul 2016 18:21

Coming back to the headline of the Topic; here are (for me) new photos with Schutztruppen MG´s
from the German photographer Walter Dobbertin (460 photos from him), stored at the Bundesarchiv.



Image
Original Source: http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archive ... [page]=149



Image
Original Source: http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archive ... [page]=174


Image
Original Source: http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archive ... [page]=138


Image
Original Source: http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archive ... [page]=105
“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: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by Tanzania » 21 Jul 2017 07:37

Let me add an interesting detail about the usage of MG´s in the 17. F.K. of the Schutztruppe in GEA.

The page below show the numbers of Machine-Gunners with names (!) and numbers of Porters / Ruga Ruga,
for heavy-, and light MG´s = A.G. = Automatisches Gewehr = Automatic Rifle = captured British Lewis Gun
MG of 17. F.K.JPG
Source: Hermann Friedrich Sabath Nachlass-Akte N1170, Ordner 15, ohne Jahr, Bundesarchiv Koblenz.



I know photos with Lewis Gun´s by Commonwealth forces during The East African campaign, but not by German units.
The photo below picture, by German captured Lewis MG´s, but not in Africa by the Schutztruppe.
THE_BATTLE_OF_THE_SOMME,_JULY-NOVEMBER_1916_Q_55482.jpg
Original Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... _55482.jpg

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: Machine guns (Maxims) of the Schutztruppe

Post by stevebecker » 22 Jul 2017 01:24

Mates,

It was common practice for German and Ottoman Armies in Palestine to use the captured Lewis guns.

Enclosed is a Orbat mention by the 3rd (Ottoman) Cavalry Div around Oct 1917

shown Oct 1917 Allied reports 6th Cav Regt (500 men 8 MG's) 8th Cav Regt (500 men 8 MG's) (7th Cav Regt + Bty 4xguns T/det to Arabia)

att 125th Regt (16th Div) 650 men? 12 MGs including 8x Lewis guns)

Also captured German/Ottoman Documents record the issue of an AR (Auto Rifle) into units during 1918, most I believe could be a Bergman LMG as these started to arrive late 1918 with the German Asia Corps, but also could be captured Lewis guns?

A further British Intell report dated 28 Aug 1918

Gives these details on the latest Turkish Army reforms to their MG units.

The MG strength per Infantry Regt

Regt MG Company - 8 Mgs

Bn MG Company - 6 Mgs and 3 AR (automatic Rifles)

each Infantry Company - 3 AR (automatic Rifles)

Another document records;

Shown June 1918 British reports;

4th Army has 75 Auto Rifles and 231 Mgs

7th Army 86 Auto Rifles and 321 MGs

8th Army 154 Auto rifles and 332 Mgs

Cheers

S.B

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