The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

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Peter H
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The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 05 Apr 2006 07:48

Of interest:

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/ ... hp?t=11411
Niedermayer joined the Bavarian army as an officer candidate in Field Artillery Regiment 10 on 15.7.05. Leutnant 8.3.07. A precocious military-political traveller, he was off on an expedition through Persia, Russia, and India on leave from 1912-14. Promoted Oberleutnant 7.1.14 and Hauptmann 17.8.16.

Originally a deputy battery commander in Bav Feldart Rgt 10, it was soon realized that his special background suited him to more unusual postings in the war, and he was dispatched back to Persia at the end of 1914. (He was technically attached to the General Staff from 1917, but apparently without ever going through the Staff courses, based solely on his unusual background experience in the Middle East.) In 1915 he was in Mesopotamia and into Afghanistan, and began his legendary exploits as "the German Lawrence" wandering about far in the rear, attempting to bring in neutral Persia and Afghanistan on the side of the Central Powers.

For his actions in the rear of Russian Turkistan, breaking through the Russian lines at Hamadan with valuable information, he was awarded the MMJO and personal lifetime nobility as "Ritter von" Niedermayer to date 5 September 1916.

In 1917 he perambulated through western Persia, Iraq, Palestine, and led a counter-force against Lawrence to Tafile on the Hejaz rail line.

Reaching the Persian Gulf, Ritter von Niedermayer's "private expeditionary force" of 140 men in local dress and 236 pack animals eventually regained the Turkish lines with only 37 men (among them his sidekick, the German Consul and political officer Wasmuss--who I believe later wrote memoirs). Niedermayer is given some credit for convincing the Afghans to eventually take on the British--but only in 1919, after all the Germans were gone!

Like his "opposite number" Lawrence, Niedermayer tied down vast numbers of enemy troops fruitlessly seeking him across vast areas, wild goose chases that accomplished as much as entire divisions, without the cost or risk.

Although sought for political arrest by the British at the end of the war, he slipped through and got safely back to Germany, participating in the Freikorps Epp liberation of Munich from the Reds in May 1919.
Has anyone any photos or furthur details on the Germans in Persia/Afghanistan/Mesopotamia?They wore Schultztruppe uniforms?

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lettow4beck
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Post by lettow4beck » 06 Apr 2006 03:38

Actually the person known as the "German Lawrence" was Herman von Wassmuss, the German consul in Shiraz, Persia, who led bands of Bakhshiri tribesmen against the British around Shiraz, and to some extent had a major impact on the outcome of the war, not because of his exploits, but because he lost his codebook, which was recovered by the British. This enabled them to decode the Zimmermann telegram. He also gained the support of the Swedeish trained and led Gendarmerie that fought against the Russian led Persian Cossacks (in which Reza Pahlavi, later Shah, was a colonel). He was the inspirarion for the Greenmantle figure, and a book entitled "The German Lawrence" was written about him by Sir Percy Sykes (his nemesis) in the 1930s. There is a very good book on the topic of the Germans in Persia and the Afghan Expedition of Niedermeyer call "Like Hidden Fire" by Peter Hopkirk available through Amazon. For a book review see Chris Dales book reviews on the site German Colonial Uniforms. There is a picture in the book of some of the expedition members wearing police uniforms from DSWA. See Chris' site for an example of this too.

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lettow4beck
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Post by lettow4beck » 06 Apr 2006 03:39

Oops, I meant to say Bakhtiari tribesmen, not Bakhshiri.

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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 06 Apr 2006 12:48

A realistic account of the operations in Persia is given by by Oberstleutnant Hans von Kiesling, the last Chief of Staff of Feldmarschall Colmar von der Goltz Pascha, in his book "Mit Feldmarschall von der Goltz Pascha in Mesopotamien und Persien"
Leipzig 1922.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 06 Apr 2006 13:50

Thanks gents.

Werner Otto von Hentig (1886-1984) was also the diplomatic brains on the Afghanistan-Mission.It appears he got out of the region by trekking thru China and arriving in Shanghai.Then he managed to get home vias the United States.Later the German Ambassador to Indonesia in the early 1950s.

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Peter H
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 08:55

Film stills from the Channel 4 documentary The First World War,Episode 4 Jihad.

Members of the first Afghan mission,see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niedermaye ... Expedition
The mission faltered from conception.In an ineffective ruse, the Germans attempted to reach Turkey by traveling overland through Austria-Hungary in the guise of a traveling circus, eventually reaching neutral Romania. Their equipment, arms, and mobile wireless stations were confiscated by Romania after Romanian officials discovered the wireless aerials sticking out through the packaging of the "tent poles". Replacements could not be arranged for weeks, while the delegation waited at Constantinople. To reinforce the Islamic identity of the expedition, it was suggested that the Germans wear Turkish army uniforms, but this Germans refused. Differences between Turkish and German officers, including the reluctance of the Germans to accept Turkish control, further compromised the effort.Eventually, the expedition was aborted.
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Peter H
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 08:59

Niedermayer,before and after
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Peter H
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 09:02

Second Afghan Mission,in transit 1915
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Peter H
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 09:03

More
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Peter H
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 09:05

Entering Kabul
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Peter H
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 09:07

Niedermayer seated second from right
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Peter H
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 09:09

Boredom in Kabul---some Germans resorted to making their own home made schapps,no alcohol was available
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Peter H » 01 Nov 2011 09:12

I think this is Niedermayer again---with armed Mission members in Afghanistan
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Chris Dale
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by Chris Dale » 03 Nov 2011 00:53

Great photos again Peter!!! Lots I'd not seen before...
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James A Pratt III
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Re: The German Lawrence:Ritter von Niedermayer

Post by James A Pratt III » 13 Nov 2011 05:23

There is another book "Operations In Persia" a british official history that was so good the british had to classify it. Niedermayer as I understand it was jailed by the Nazis and later by the Soviets and died in a Soviet jail.

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