German War volunteers and secret agents in Africa and Middle East until 1918

Discussions on all aspects of the German Colonies and Overseas Expeditions. Hosted by Chris Dale.
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Tanzania
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German War volunteers and secret agents in Africa and Middle East until 1918

Post by Tanzania » 29 Jul 2017 16:28

German War volunteers and secret agents in Africa and Middle East until 1918

This thread does not necessarily belongs to the topic ''German Colonies'', but could be classified under the second heading
''Overseas Expeditions''. It concerns the participation of volunteers and secret agents in operations of the Central Powers
in Africa and the adjoining Middle East until 1918. The general tread is of course a cross-cutting theme to other sub forums.

Austria-Hungary 1867–1918 and The end of the Ottoman Empire 1908-1923



For example, Chris Dale have explained, as usual in an excellent way very detailed one type of missions on his webpage:
The German Mission to Afghanistan 1915-16 (The Niedermayer-Hentig Expedition)

Further background information for this single example can be seen here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niedermay ... Expedition
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_O%27Dwyer
“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: German War volunteers and secret agents in Africa and Middle East until 1918

Post by Tanzania » 29 Jul 2017 16:34

The first case deals with a certain gentleman Friedrich Salomon Hall:

The German war volunteer (Captain?) Friedrich Salomon Hall . . . and an unusual family history (Part I)

It is Wednesday, 3rd February 1915, at 10:00 p.m. in the evening. Turkish units are still in the assembly area on the east bank
of the Suez Canal and have already missed the actual start of the common main attack at this time. Two confidential reports of
German officers which participate the attack, mention here first time the name of a certain, Hall.
01_MKr_1782_2_0019.jpg

Translation:
“The attack which the detachment Magdal ought to have carried out at the same time against Ismailiyah was omitted.
[ . . . ]
All the efforts of the Major Fischer, and of a German war-volunteer Hall to bring the infantry out of the positions in
which they had fortified themselves at two or three kilometres before the canal, were vain; It was confined to an
ineffective cannonade against enemy ships; The enemy did not show any infantry at Ismailiyah at all.”

Source: Confidential report of Colonel Kressenstein to the Chief of the Military Mission about the first expedition against
the Suez Canal from 21. February 1915, page 19, Bavarian State Archives, Bavarian State Archives in Munich, Division
IV of the War Archives of February 1915, File number MKR .: 1782/2.



German original documents indicate that the focus of the attack was directed against the line Tusum-Serapetum, behind the
bend of the Suez Canal south of Ismailia. The opponent, on the other hand, should have the impression that the main attack
was concentrated on Ismailia and El Ferdan. The detachment Magal with the 68th Turkish Infantry Regiment should take over
this distracting attack. Major Herbert Fischer was deputy commander of this Regiment and immediate witnesses. His force was
located on the right flank of the strongest attack colony of the first squadron in the centre with the aim of Ismailia at Lake Timsah.
Fischer described also the presence of a second Officer, Captain Hall with whom he goes forward together during the attack.
02_MKr_1782_2_0022.jpg
Translation:
"At ten o'clock in the morning, the advance had begun, unloaded, with a set up bayonet; In front of 3 companies in
a density firing line, 1 company behind right and left wing, machine gun company and 6 guns behind the centre.
Despite the lack of time, the zeal was still missing.
[ . . . ]
It was not possible for me, despite the help of Captain Hall, to advance the troops. We both German officers walked
alone on foot and tried to force the troops by commandos with our own example."

Source: Transcript of the report of Major Herbert Fischer, page 2+3, Jerusalem, 17. February 1915, to the Imperial
Ottoman Colonel and Chief of the Staff of the Eighth Army, Mr. Freiherrn Kreß von Kressenstein, Bavarian State
Archives in Munich, Division IV of the War Archives, File number MKR. 1782/2, 25. 2. 1915.
(A very good background is summarized here: The Battle of the Suez Canal, Egypt, 28 January - 4 February 1915)
http://alh-research.tripod.com/Light_Ho ... ry-3-1915/




That Friedrich Hall really participated in the attack on the Suez Canal in February 1915, confirmed the lower document.
03_Certificate from Curt Pruefer for Friedrich Hall.jpg

Original Source:
https://books.google.de/books?id=0vi4Cg ... ll&f=false

Translation:
From my activity at the IVth Ottoman Army in the World War during the years 1914-1916, I am aware that Mr. Friedrich Hall has
participated as a volunteer and without any compensation in two military-political expeditions in the Red Sea region, use his life's
great courage and devotion.
(Signature) Prüfer
Performer Legation councillor in the Federal Foreign Office
The date, 23. December 1933 on this document, that is, after the National Socialists' onslaught on 30 January of the same year,
would be an explanation for omission of the second, Jewish-sounding first name, Salomon. Presumably Prüfer wanted to work
with this letter for Friedrich Salomon Hall.




The signature "Prüfer" on the upper paper is very interesting as it is the German dragoman (translator), political and military
adviser as well as staff of the Federal Foreign Office, Dr. Curt Max Prüfer (1881-1959). Prüfer was also a participant in the
Turkish-German attack on the Suez Canal in February 1915, as the lower photo shows. It is also to be assumed that auditors
and Hall personally met on site.
04_Dr. Curt Max Prüfer .jpg

Original Source: http://menadoc.bibliothek.uni-halle.de/ ... nfo/884309
“From shadow theatre to the empire of shadows”, The career of Curt Prüfer, Arabist and Diplomat, Arnoud Vrolijk, 2006.


Will be continued . . .
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 volunteers and secret agents in Africa and Middle East until 1918

Post by Chris Dale » 13 Feb 2018 02:16

This is all great information, thank you Holger.

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