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Old 08-25-2009   #1
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Bookh Boer Rebels and the Kaiser,s Men

Links to Militaria at the bottom of the page

The relationship between the Boers and the German nation was an unusual one. During the Boer war there was great support for the Boer struggle within Germany and the Kaiser sent a telex to the Boers voicing his support for their war efforts.

The Boers were armed with weapons made by Mauser and Krupp. Although the Boer Commandoes fought in a manner foreign to European battlefields the Artillery was well trained in European methods. Major Albrecht, the officer commanding the Orange Free State artillery was a German Veteran.

A German Freikorps of Volunteers was formed who fought on the Boer side. This included German Officers and Graf Zeppelin who was killed at the battle of Elandslaagte. Another prominent European volunteer killed in action was the French colonel Villebois de Mareuil, a Foreign Legion officer serving on the Boer side.

Above: Major Albrecht in the German influenced uniform of the Free State Artillery.

Above: German volunteers at X-Mas 1899
During the war Boer emissaries toured Germany collecting funds for the war effort and later for the widows and orphans who had lost family during the war.

Although there was no official monetary aid from the German government men like Koos Jooste, an ex member of Danie Theron’s elite scouting corps spent years gathering funds in Germany. Long after the war he managed to eke out an existence, living off the Boer legend.

In the latter stages of the war the Kaisers support waned as he recognized that alienating the British by supporting a small nation on the tip of Africa was potentially more trouble than it was worth.

Right: The "Burenwirt", one of the Bars/meeting halls near München where the pro Boer associations met. It seems this bar was owned by a Boer.

At the end of the war a number of Boers fled over the border to German South West Africa to avoid surrendering to the British and having to lay down their arms. Among them were figures like Manie Maritz who after a time spent in the German colonies would return to South Africa and astonishingly be given command of the Union of South Africa troops along the border to GSWA.

At the outbreak of the First World War the Germans equipped the Burenfreikorps and supported Maritz when he went into open rebellion, fleeing to GSWA where he hoped to raise an invasion force with German help (see HERE), with which he could help topple the Union Government. The Rebellion was short lived and numerous accounts show the German frustration with the untidy and disorderly Boer conduct, ironically the same individualistic conduct that had enjoyed German admiration during the Boer war.

Left: General Kemp (left) and an unknown rebel (middle) in uniforms issued by the Germans. Maritz is on the right.
General Louis Botha led the South African troops into German South West Africa, at his side a mixture of officers and men of British and Boer extraction. The Germans proved less apt at irregular warfare than the Boers had been a little over a decade before and the campaign was quickly wrapped up.

Old wounds heal slowly and in the 1920s and 1930s there was still a strong Boer force that was waiting for the moment that South Africa would shake off British influence. Certain sections of Boer society were involved in Right wing organizations that were loosely copied from the Freikorps and the National Socialist storm troops that followed.

Manie Maritz, Boer War hero and 1914 rebel evolved into a true anti Semite in the 1930’s publishing his memoirs in a poisonous volume called “My Lewe en Strewe” (My life and struggle) which now focused his spite on the problems of “World Jewry”.

At the outbreak of the Second World War there was once again a South African movement that was eager to support the Germans in exchange for independence from Great Britain.

On the political scene Pro Nazi Dr. Daniel Malan called a vote that brought the Union of South Africa to within 13 votes away of staying Neutral in the War.

Right: A Boer war era German Beerglass with the flags of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. On the banners it says "Long live Uncle Paul (Kruger) and his band of Boers"

On the underground scene a group of Afrikaaners was ready to resort to violence to topple the Pro British Government. Although they played on the theme of “keeping the flame alive” their efforts and achievements were minimal and can in no way be compared with the legendary Boer commandoes who had fought a running battle with the might of the British Empire just 40 years before.

In May 1948 the Afrikaaner political right took power the Democratic way, by that time any interest in South Africa from the German side was limited to tourism.

Ephemera and collectables relating to the Boers can readily be found in Germany. Countless postcards (HERE) were printed during the war, either to raise funds for the Boers or simply to make fun of the British.

An amazing amount of books were published during and after the war as Pro-Boer associations, German volunteer combatants and novelist fell over themselves to bring the war to print in the German language. It can be said that there is more written in German about the war from the Boer side of the war than in any other language, Afrikaans included. See (HERE)
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #2
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Oberleutnant Friedrich Freiherr von Hadeln led a reconnaissance section during the war in German South West Africa. He played a prominent part in supporting the South African rebel forces and was involved in the German attack on Kakamas, the only invasion of a British Commonwealth town by German forces in the First World War.

Background to the Raid:

At the end of 1914 South Africa was in a predicament. The government had entered the war on the side of the Allies, but many high ranking officers had gone into open rebellion and had taken to the field with groups of Boers who thought the time had come to finally kick the British out of southern Africa. Amongst the most dangerous rebels was Manie Maritz, commander of the troops on the South West African border who instead of getting ready to attack the Germans, crossed the border and joined them.

Riding to join Maritz was General J.C.G Kemp, another hero of the Boer war. He had led his group of 800 men on a dramatic chase of 700 miles through the Kalahari Desert losing most of their horses and almost 300 men. By the end of the chase most of his men had lost their horses and were marching and fighting on foot. The conditions endured by Kemp and his pursuers can best be summed up by a doctor in the Loyalist Govt forces who wrote “I had seen Kemp’s pursuers pass through Prieska and, when they came back disappointed over his gallant escape, I saw their over-ridden, starving horses so desperately hungry that they devoured the guide ropes of a number of our tents”.

Leutnant von Hadeln, Kommandant D. F. Flemming, General J. C. G. Kemp, Veggeneraal A. P. J. Bezuidenhout. Flemming and Bezuidenhout were part of Gen. Kemp's commando that trekked through the Kalahari desert to meet up with Gen. Maritz. (This superb Photo courtesy of Gordon McGregor)
Kemp and his men joined Maritz and his men as well as a “Burenfreikorps” that had been been formed in South West Africa from Boers who lived there.

Maritz had promised the Germans more than he could deliver. Although they were keen to see a rebellion in South Africa the general lack of discipline of the Boers did little to satisfy the German sense of order.

Maritz’s organisational skills were disastrous. At the end of January 1915 Maritz and his men were to attack the Loyalist government forces at Upington. To support them the Germans sent a detachment under Major Ritter to attack Steinkopf. Hearing of the failure of Maritz’s attack Major Ritter changed direction towards Upington hoping to support the Boers but then changed direction again and headed towards Kakamas, a town along the Orange river about fifty km south of Upington. Here, for want of a better target Ritter decided to attack. The detachment had 205 men, four artillery pieces and four machine guns.

Left: Typical terrain in the area in which the raid took place.

A member of the detachment wrote:

The advance went through areas where there was little or no fodder or water to be found. There had been no possibility to arrange for supplies along the way as the orders had come at such short notice. The Boers under Maritz had left eight days earlier and on the evening of the 31st of January, as we left Ukamas, we received the news that despite an initial success at Upington, they had been beaten. In the following days we heard that they had negotiated with the enemy and that most had surrendered. Maritz had returned with a handful of followers, Hausding's battery and the machine guns. In spite of this setback our advance continued. There was no specific goal, but Kakamas on the Oranje River was where we headed.

Right: A map of the GSWA-South Africa border. From Gerald L'Ange's excellent book "Urgent Imperial Service"

On the morning of the first of February we reached Nakab, on the border.
There was not a single blade of grass and very little water. Not all the horses were able to drink before we left that night in spite of the men working all day on the well. That night we marched to Esterhuizenputz, a farm with good grazing, but only one well. Once again the men spent the day trying to get water for the horses. There was barely enough for the horses of the 1. Komp. and 2. Batt. The 8. Komp. had to move ten km further to Longklipp where the horses could drink from a muddy pond.
During the night we marched fifty km to Ceydas on the Molopo where once again we found bad grazing and little water. Once again during the day the men and animals had little rest.

A "Bastard" (from the Bastard tribe) was questioned about Kakamas. He informed us that there were two ferries across the river and that about 1000 soldiers were encamped there. We were also told that telephone cables ran along our side of the river. That evening we marched through Luriputz whose superb well had unfortunately been destroyed. At this point our excess baggage was sent back. In the night of the third-fourth of February we halted about five km form the Oranje River. We had covered 175 km from Ukamas. The Patrol Abteilung von Hadeln, always a number of hours ahead to reconnoitre the way, had captured an ox wagon with natives. A "Bastard " was questioned. Hauptmann Petter was told that the ferries were approximately 1.5 km apart and that there was an enemy encampment on our side of the river. It was decided that the Abteilung von Hadeln would overpower the enemy post just in front of us on the road to Kakamas, then advance to the lower ferry. The rest of the troops would curve to the left to attack the upper ferry. To protect the remaining baggage wagons a section of the 8. Komp. remained to the rear.

Above: The Iron Cross 2nd class award document to Freiherr von Hadeln (The Iron Cross is not his)

In reality the ferries were five km apart and during the march contact between the two groups was lost. The two companies and artillery battery (the left wing) advanced rapidly, guided by a "Bastard" on horseback. At sunrise we stood on the last heights looking down to the river 1000 m below us, the fertile ground flanking the Oranje River and its canals.

Enemy concentrations were only to be seen on the far side of the river.

The town of Kakamas consisted of isolated houses surrounded by gardens, spread along the banks of the river for a number of kilometers.

War Graves at Kakamas, including that of Reiter Kriegsfreiwilliger Hendrik Lerm of Abteilung von Hadeln, killed at kakamas on the 4th of February 1915.

Up on the heights we had to decide our course of action. Crossing the river would be pointless as there was no place to cross back to our side. Time was our enemy as reinforcements would soon be on the way from Upington and they could easily cut off our retreat. Behind us the narrow mountain pass at Bisjepoort was critical to our withdrawal. After coming so far we could not turn around without having done something, so an attack on the houses on our side of the river was ordered.

Once we had secured the river bank we could at least let the horses drink. There were few enemy soldiers on our side and soon the 1. Komp. and two sections of the 8. Komp. were at the river. The artillery destroyed the ferry and fired on the enemy positions on the far side of the river, then advanced to join the infantry. There was no news from von Hadeln”s detachment. The patrols sent to establish communications with him were missing. Hauptmann Petter therefore decided to march along the river with the men of the 8. Komp. and the artillery battery and to connect up with von Hadeln. Hauptmann Petter rode with me on this mission, and we were soon under fire from the front and both flanks.

Leutnant Moebius and one of his men were killed while riding ahead of the column. Leutnant d.R. Voigt of the 2. Gebirgsbatterie was also killed. The clock was ticking against us and due to the danger of enemy reinforcements arriving from Upington Hauptmann Petter called off the march.

Above: The award document for Von Hadeln's wound badge, issued in 1936. I have been unable to find out exactly when he was wounded.
The two sections of the 8. Komp. were sent back to join the baggage column. The 1. Komp. and artillery retired to the heights where they stayed until about one pm. A message had arrived from von Hadeln asking for artillery support. The enemy occupied the heights in front of his position covering the way that led down to the Oranje. His detachment would suffer heavy losses if forced to withdraw without the artillery to aid it. Half of the 2. Gebirgsbatterie under the command of Leutnant d.R. Bertram was sent to support von Hadeln and his men. At three pm the main column had assembled at the baggage column. Hauptmann Petter announced his intention to take the 8. Komp. to go to von Hadeln's aid but this was vetoed by Major Ritter. Time was running out, the column had to cross through the narrow Bisjepoort before the arrival of the enemy troops from Upington. With heavy hearts we pulled back leaving the Abteilung von Hadeln and the two supporting guns to their fate. We were delighted to get news at six pm that the Abteilung had succeeded in breaking contact with the enemy and had retreated, supported by the two guns.

We were all weak from exhaustion and thirst, the Abteilung von Hadeln suffering most as they had not been able to water their horses at the river and had also spent the last three days and nights doing reconnaissance patrols. Luckily it rained at Bisjepoort and the animals were able to drink from puddles. By early morning we had crossed the narrow pass at Bisjepoort. I received orders to bring up the rear, encouraging the last stragglers, exhausted men from the 1. Komp. A message arrived that the enemy was advancing from Upington. When the last of the stragglers arrived at Ceydas (on the road to Ukamas) the rest of the column continued the withdrawal. The enemy had reached Luriputz and had found no water. When they saw we had already crossed the narrows at Bisjepoort they turned back. We heard that a number of their men and many animals died of thirst and exhaustion on their return journey. Our slow withdrawal continued under the hot sun, Major Ritter hoping that our exhausted men could avoid a skirmish with the enemy. A number of horses and mules died of thirst along the way. On the evening of the fifth of February we reached Longklipp, There was not a single drop of water. We marched through the night and in the morning we arrived at the border at Nakab. Here there was very little water. Most of the animals had to continue 18 km further to Ariams where they stampeded into the water, a number of animals dying in the process.

We arrived back at Ukamas on the morning of the seventh. A large percentage of the horses had died, the remaining ones would needing a long time to recover if they recovered at all...

We had achieved...nothing. Yet every man who had participated would look back on the endeavour with pride. We had acted with discipline and courage. We had continued our march in spite of thirst, deprivation, exhaustion and extreme heat.

According to L'Ange The Germans lost 7 officers and men killed. 6 were wounded and 16 captured. The Germans wrote that the South Africans had cleverly exploited the terrian and that "Their marksmanship, even at far distances, was good, resulting in heavy losses of horses and mules".

For the further adventures of Freiherr von Hadeln go HERE

To continue to the Group of a man who was opposing the rebellion and attack at Upington click HERE
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #3
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Lt. Col. H.F. Trew, commander of General Botha’s bodyguard was with General Botha as they rode towards the rebel positions after a skirmish in 1914.

“We again rode forward, and a little incident then occurred which showed me what a terrible strain the whole affair had been on General Botha. We came to a place where several dead men (rebels) were lying. General Botha halted his horse beside one of them, and said, “This is terrible, that was Commandant XXX, he was one of my best men in the Boer war.” Then with tears in his eyes, he went on, “You Englishmen will never understand how hard this is for me.”

Hendrik Stephanus Pretorius was one of “Botha’s men”, a Botha man in the Boer war, during the 1914 rebellion and in the war in German South West Africa.

His medal application forms for his Boer war medals place him as a captain on the Staff of General Louis Botha. His WW1 medal application form shows him forming “Pretorius’ Calvinia Commando” after the outbreak of the Rebellion in North Western Cape province. He then served as the Staff Captain of Southern Force, first engaged in action against Manie Maritz and his rebels at Upington, then participating in the advance into German South West Africa.

Right: General Botha during the Boer war

Above: The Medals of Major H.S. Pretorius, DTD, DSO.
There are many gaps in Pretorius’ career, the most frustrating one being where he served before joining Botha’s staff in December 1900. His medal application form hints at service elsewhere, but as is often the case, the details are very sketchy. One can assume that appointments to Botha’s staff were went hand in hand with a certain level of experience and qualification and it was therefore unlikely that someone joining the Boer forces in December 1900 would have found such a position when there were any number of eager young soldiers who had experience and zeal.

Pretorius’ immediate superior was J.P. Jooste who describes the job they did as very dangerous, requiring men with initiative who were able to serve as scouts and despatch riders taking Botha’s orders through enemy occupied territory to the leaders of his various Commandos.

Serving closely with Botha in the field Pretorius fought in Natal, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. He was wounded near Ermelo but stayed in field until the end of the war.

On the staff his immediate superiors were P. Jooste and Louis Esselen, close friends and associates of Botha in the years following the Anglo-Boer war.

At the outbreak of the First World War General Botha was convinced the only honourable thing for the Union of South Africa to do was to enter the war on the side of the British Empire. Many of his oldest Friends were of a different opinion and South Africa was plunged into a small but painful rebellion in which old comrades found themselves on different sides of the battle field.

At the outbreak of the Rebellion Manie Maritz, commanding the Union of South Africa’s troops on the border to German South West Africa took men from the commandos in his district and started to act out his plan of crossing the border to offer his services to the German Army who in turn were supposed to help him invade the Union.

Seeing the danger Botha rushed a group of select men into the area to take command of Maritz’s commandos and secure the area. Amongst them was H.S. Pretorius who took command of one of the fragmented sections of the Calvinia commando on the 14th of October 1914. He commanded the unit until the 31st of January 1915 and officially left to join the staff of Colonel J.L, van Deventer on the 1st of February 1915. Pretorius was in Upington when Maritz and his rebel forces attacked the town. The rebels were defeated and in the ensuing chase the Maritz’s men suffered an embarrassing defeat.

Not far away a group of German raiders under Major Ritter attacked Kakamas in an effort to relieve the pressure on Maritz (See Here).

A number of Calvinia commandos were killed before the Germans pulled back worried that the South African forces at kakamas would be reinforced by troops from Upington.

In February 1915 when Pretorius left to join van Deventers staff. The Calvinia commandos were amalgamated to form the Calvinia-Kenhardt commando. It was formed out of the following Commandos: Louw’s Calvinia Cdo., Pretorius’ Calvinia Cdo., Kenhardt Cdo., Vermaas's Scouts.

Pretorius was promoted to Major in the 4th Mounted Brigade (Supernumerary list) and attached to the staff of Southern Force. See HERE
He was mentioned in Despatches for distinguished service in the field and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (5th Sup. Lon. Gaz. 22.8.1918). It is interesting to note that although awarded for “services rendered in connection with military operations in German South West Africa, van Deventers original recommendation for the award centered on the activities in the Cape province during the rebellion.

“Had it not been for this officer who was a highly trained staff officer my task in the North Western Districts of the Cape Province would have been of the utmost difficulty. I recommend him for special recognition.”

In 1921 he was awarded the newly introduced “Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst”, the Boer version of the D.S.O.

This was awarded for “Outstanding and varied service on the staff of the commanding general”.

The combination of the D.T.D. and D.S.O. is very scarce indeed. Very often it meant that an officer (like Pretorius) were commanding units of men who 12-14 years before had been fighting each other.

A dispatch from Colonel J.L. van Deventer shown below illustrates the confusion that reigned in the Northern Cape as soldier turned to rebel turned to prisoner. Van Deventer was Pretorius’ immediate superior during the rebellion and during the campaign in German South West Africa. Van Deventer had known Pretorius and Maritz during the war when he served on the staff of General Smuts.

From Colonel J.L. v. Deventer
To General the Hon’ble J.C. Smuts, Pretoria

Sir, I have the honour to inform you that the strength of my commandos is approximately the same (viz. 1800 to 2000 men) as when I reported to you last. Since my first report there has been an addition of 150 men from Victoria West and 200 men from Springbok, but I have given permission to approximately the same number of burgers to proceed with the carrying on of their farming operations and vocations. With reference to my previous telegrams I have to report that on the 25th instant at Breekkirrie 5 officers (of whom 1 is a German Officer) and 94 rebels have voluntarily surrendered to Capt. J. Naude with 2 maxims, 101 horses, 5 mules, 99 rifles, 118 bandoliers, 99 saddles complete, a quantity of ammunition and a pair of mules. On the 26th and 27th instant 5 officers and 111 rebles were captured at Brandvlei and Onderste Doorns together with 110 horses, 100 rifles, some revolvers and 70 waterbottles; 111 rebels were captured and not 124 as previously stated in my telegram. On the 29th instant 1 officer and 8 rebels were captured at Loriesfontein with horses saddles etc. In addition 5 officers and 45 rebels were captured. One of their officers Capt. or Commandant Joubert and some rebels tried to escape at Katkop; Joubert and a certain Jan Steenkamp were wounded on this occasion. John Wahl who in company with 5 rebels left the Bokveld to join Maritz, was captured together with 5 rebels. A certain Commandant Kamfer with 17 rebels fled in the direction of Langeberg. He had escaped on the 27th instant at Loeriesfontein. In all probability Capt. Baukes and 60 rebels will surrender today to Commandant Studer. As to this you will receive my further report.

Above: Maritz (middle) and a couple of his men. At the end of the Boer war Maritz and his men fled to German South West Africa to avoid surrendering to the British. While in GSWA he made contacts that would facilitate his flight to GSWA during the 1914 rebellion.

The success is due to the rapidity with which I moved my commandos. The rebels everywhere ran up against my commandos and there was no chance for them to break through. The release on parole subject to bail of the members of the Active Citizen Force, has given general satisfaction. Many of the rebels are desirous of joining our forces but I have not availed myself of their services. They state that they had been misled and the position misrepresented to them. I would suggest that as soon as we have settled with the rebels in the Free State and Transvaal the services of the rebels who surrendered voluntarily be utilized in connection with G.W. Africa (German South West Africa), for having compromised themselves with their whilom friends, the Germans, they will have to fight for fear of falling into the enemy’s hands. The rebel officers have been sent to Carnarvon whence they will be taken by rail to Kimberly. As to this I have notified the D.S.O. Kimberly.

Where must the rebel officers who are captured at Springbok be sent to? I would suggest that these be taken to Port Nolloth, if possible. I am informed that the enemy was seen between Steinkopf and Groot River and that they have destroyed a bridge. I was under the impression that General Lukin had taken the necessary measures to operate against the enemy there, but this does not appear to have been the case.

Right: The road to Calvinia in the Northern Cape Province

Hitherto I have not received any official information as to General Lukin’s departure else I would have taken steps to prevent the unrestrained movements of the enemy. I have now however made arrangements for a few commandos to proceed in that direction. In the meantime I have directed Commandant Studer and the Magistrate at Springbok to mobilize an additional 200 men to resist the enemy, pending the arrival of the other commandos. I should like to know the position in regard to the Free State and Cape Province to enable me to decide whether I should retain commandoes for the area between Kenhardt and Carnarvon and Victoria West. A few commandoes are for the present remaining at Brandvlei and Tweerivier with a view to eventualities. If there was no danger of the rebellion spreading from the Free State and Transvaal to this area, I would strengthen my commandoes in the direction of Steinkopf and Springbok. I will be responsible for the positions Steinkopf Ramansdrift etc., pending the receipt by me of further instructions. With reference to a telegram received yesterday from Defence Q.M.G. I beg to state that the saddles, rifles and maxims captured by me are required by me for my commandoes and that I have competent men to work the maxims. I should like to know in which direction the commandoes at Upington, Kenhardt and Prieska are to move so as to enable me to make the necessary arrangements for operating against the enemy. I should very much like to have added to my commandoes if at all possible, an efficient battery of field guns and a battery maxim guns. I should like to be informed as to the actual position of the rebellion in the Transvaal and Free State. I will be necessary to crush the rebels with the greatest possible expedition and at any cost. I can give you the assurance that the rebellion is disapproved of in the districts controlled by me and that they support the Government, especially as they are just now experiencing what rebellion really means. Had I not acted so expeditiously the consequences might have been disastrous. On my arrival here a general feeling of fear and alarm prevailed amongst the people but owing to the success obtained the position has been reversed. The public is cheerful and satisfied. For your information I beg to enclose declarations by the following rebel officers’ viz. Capts. Hattingh and A. Louw and Lieuts. Dreyer and Rood and Commandant J. Wahl; also letters signed by Major Ben Coetzee and Capt. de Villiers, which speak for themselves. The letters were handed in at Struisvlei where they also left their arms. A list of the prisoners’ names has been forwarded to Secretary for Defence

I have the honour etc. etc.,

J.L. v. Deventer Colonel
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #4
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Before recounting the tactical operations, a brief review of South African tactics as they had been developed in the past by operations under the Commando system may help to a better understanding of the incidents in this campaign.
In the past, the life and environment of the South African had fully developed every possibility presented by the horse and rifle. In later years opportunity for this was restricted, but the tradition was there, and certain standards of riding and shooting are maintained and live on as an ideal in the minds of the younger generation who eagerly avail themselves of the facilities offered by the Defence Force to realize this ideal of individual development as a marksman and rider. The tactical result of this is a soldier who can deliver quick, sure and economical fire while availing himself of every scrap of cover as he works forward, who can ride over almost any ground and who uses his horse to rush the fire position from where he will have the best advantage over his opponent. But his traditions lean towards independent action, fire control is difficult and manoeuvre control would have been impossible were it not for the commando influence. In the chapter on Organization of the troops, it was pointed out that the result of forming the commando out of recruits from the same area, was cohesion and good understanding within the Unit. Besides this there are Commando traditions, individual and collective, the recruit knowing what the “Some.where.burg” Commando, to which he belongs had done when his father was member of it, he further knows what is generally done on Commando and what not, so that every trooper has a general knowledge of elementary tactics.
These factors and the interrelation between officers and men, produce a curious phenomena that tactically the Commando operates more by instinct than on command. Like a herd of antelope, moving off or wheeling simultaneously, the Commando performs many operations without command and with a spontaneity that gives them a whirlwind character.
On getting fire unexpectedly the head of the column will extend automatically and with inconceivable rapidity, and will further almost invariably do what a skilled tactician would have commanded under the circumstances, either making use of the ground on which deployed or charging forward or backwards to a better fire position.
Every trooper of a Commando knows nearly as much about the general situation as the Commanding Officer. The information of the scouting patrols had been discussed the night before, the Commandant had told his friends what the Generals opinion was and the family spirit of the unit after having digested all the information available, seems to suggest the best course for all concerned when the time for action comes.
What may be called the herd instinct, not unkindly but appreciative of all its qualities that have contributed to the success of this campaign, is also to be seen on the march. No orders, and no disorders, in the early morning or midnight march off. The men wake, saddle and move off at the appointed time, the only discoverable intimation of which may have been a remark by the Commandant the previous night on the bad luck of again having to march at one o’clock.
The operations of a commando are thus spontaneous and natural while those of a regular unit appear artificial and restrained in comparison. But while the high qualities of initiative, cohesion, individual efficiency and the rapid appreciation of a situation are very valuable, the inclination to independent action is always a danger.
The ultimate tactical value of a Commando Unit depends on how far the officers have realized this fact, some having increased the tactical efficiency by wisely not interfering with what was good but using powers conferred by the Defence Act to tighten up and train with a view to better cooperation with other units, while others have merely destroyed what was good without substituting what was required.
In general however, the troops had the good qualities associated with the Commando while Defence Force training had developed the ability to operate brigaded.

Northern Force

The scarcity of water anywhere within striking distances of Walvis Bay or Swakopmund probably accounts for the fact that the enemy did not dispute the landing of Colonel Skinner with 7 guns of the Artillery Brigade, 1 Mounted Regiment and 2 Infantry Brigades at Walvis Bay on Christmas Day 1914. A few days later Colonel Skinner advanced on and occupied the port and town of Swakop, the enemy outposts retiring after inflicting light casualties by sniping and exploding several observation mines laid where the advancing troops had to pass over them in close formation. The occupation of these two places was consolidated and the construction of a railroad from Walvis Bay to Swakop was commenced. On the 23rd February an advance in force was made to clear the country in the vicinity of the Swakop River and the railway to Karibib. General Botha had arrived in February and the Northern force had been increased by a Battery of Field Artillery and a Mounted Brigade. The enemy retired before this advance with a loss of 12 prisoners and the country was cleared for a distance of 20 miles inland as far as Rossing and Heigamchb.
The reconstruction of the railway line could now proceed and advance depots were established for the next forward move. On the 18th March another advance was made which the enemy determinately but unsuccessfully disputed on the 20th of March at Riet, Pforte and Jackhalswater, retiring on the night of the 20th with considerable loss.
On the 26th of April the enemy attacked the Railhead and Railway Protective Troops under Colonel Skinner at Trekkoppies (see Diagram 5a). The attack, which was with the object of covering the enemy retirement northwards from the Karibib area, was repulsed with considerable loss to the enemy. Preparations were now complete for the advance on Karibib (See Strategic Operations and Diagram5a), and the advance which commenced on the 27th April ended at Karibib on May 5th after slight enemy resistence at Otjimbingue.
Windhuk was occupied on the 12th of May and on the 18th of June the advance Northwards was commenced (see diagram 6) The 5th Mounted Brigade under Brig General Manie Botha had an important and successful action at Osib, Elephants Neck and Otavifontein on July 1st.
The 1st Mounted Brigade under Brig General Brits captured the Namatoni garrison after slight resistance on the 6th of July, and the 2nd Mounted Brigade and the right wing of 3rd Mounted Brigade, under Brig General Myburgh, drove the enemy from Chaub on the 4th of July and captured the Tsumeb garrison after slight resistance on July 6th.
Besides numerous advance guard, patrol and outpost encounters the Northern Force thus had one defensive action (Trekkoppies) and seven offensive action, of which the Riet Pforte, Trekkoppies and the Elephants Neck Otavi will now be described in more detail.

The Riet Pforte action

From diagram No7 it can be seen that the topography of the Riet Pforte area is in a high degree suitable for defence towards the West from where the Union advance would come. The “Langer Heinrich” or Riet Berg, a bare open sloped hill more than two thousand feet above the river bed, extends for many miles eastward along the south bank of the Swakop River for twenty miles to the Geisib Berg North Eastwards having only a few narrow gaps.
The old railway line from Karibib to Swakop passes through one of these gaps. This line which had taken up before the war on completion of the Northern better graded line was relaid by the enemy from Karibib over Jackalswater to Pforte. From Jackalswater a branch line, not shown on diagram No.7 was laid over Modderfontein nearly to Riet. The enemy was thus able to have railway transport from his base almost into the fire position.
The nearest water to the West is at Husab where the Union Force had established their furtherest advanced depot.
The Pforte position was known to be occupied by at least 2 mounted companies (German company 175 to 200 rifles) and a section of Field Artillery. The Riet position by at least four mounted companies and a battery of Field Artillery, while a general reserve of two batteries and four or five companies was at Jackalswater and Modderfontein.

On the 18th of March the Union Forces of:

Transvaal Horse Artillery Battery (4 Guns) and 1st Mounted Brigade under Colonel (later Brig General) Brits
4th Permanent Battery (4 guns) and 2nd Mounted Brigade under Colonel Alberts

left the camps at Nonidas and arrived at Husab on the morning of the 19th after a thirty mile waterless march. On the evening of the same day they left Husab, the force under Colonel Brits being ordered to march South of and along the Swakop river with the enemy positions at Riet Berg as the objective to be attacked the next morning at day break. On the maps the available, the Riet or Langer Heinrich Mountain was shown isolated from the mountains to the East and with a road passing through the gap. The force under Colonel Brits was therefore instructed to detach the Bloemhof Commando of 300 Rifles to make a detour southwards until they got on the road shown and to attack the rear of the Riet position. This however was a topographical error on the map, the Riet mountain being connected by very formidable hill features which did not even present a bridle path so that this detachment had to return. The force under Colonel Alberts was ordered to advance with the battery of Artillery and the Right Wing of the Brigade under Colonel Commandant Badenhorst, direct against the Pforte position while the Left Wing under Colonel Commandant Collins was to make a detour to the North and advance from the North West on Jackhalswater detaching a force to cut the railway North East of Jackhalswater to prevent the enemy training reinforcements down from Karibib. The Force under Colonel Brits got into action with the enemy at 5.30 on the morning of the 20th, finding them holding the Riet Berg from the highest peak downwards along a spur to the bed of the Swakop River. (see diagram No.7)
Colonel Brits attack developed towards his left but was held up, the country being very rough and offering no possibility of getting round that flank. In the afternoon he developed an attack from his right, direct on the enemy left position. This attack had made considerable progress by nightfall having nearly carried the highest peak from where the whole enemy position could be rolled up, when the enemy retired under the cover of darkness.
The situation with the Right Wing of the 2nd Mounted Brigade under the Brigade Commander Colonel Alberts and Colonel Commandant Badenhorst the Right Wing Commander, was as follows.
At 6.30 the Battery of Artillery and the Right Wing of the Brigade under Colonel Commandant Badenhorst, direct against the Pforte position while the Left Wing under Colonel Commandant Collins was to make a detour to the North and advance from the North West on Jackhalswater detaching a force to cut the railway North East of Jackhalwater to prevent the enemy training reinforcements down from Karibib. The force under Colonel Brits got in action with the enemy at 5.30 on the morning of the 20th, finding them holding the Riet Berg from the highest peak downwards along a spur to the bed of the Swakop river. (See diagram No.7), Colonel Brit’s attack developed towards his left but was held up, the country being very rough and offering no possibility of getting round that flank. In the afternoon he developed an attack from his right, direct on the enemies left position. This attack had made considerable progress by nightfall having nearly carried the highest peak from where the whole enemy position could be rolled up, when the enemy retired under cover of the darkness.
The situation with the Right Wing of the 2nd Mounted Brigade under the Brigade Commander Colonel Alberts and Colonel Commandant Badenhorst the wing Commander, was as follows…
At 6.30 in the morning the Ermelo and Standerton B Commandos were a few miles ahead with instructions to attack the Pforte Gap area. When at point H on the diagram they recieved heavy artillery fire from the enemy position at D as the ground was quite open affording no cover whatever they were forced to deviate considerably before getting to their objective. At the same time Swart’s Scouts were in the action at the gap marked F. This was lightly held by the enemy but was heavily mined with contact mines which however failed to explode or were discovered in time. On getting through this gap the Scout Corps made a wide detour and got into action at L near the railway at 7.00 am. Here we have an instance of rapidity of Commando tactics, a force attacks and carries a position and within about thirty minutes has travelled at least eight miles and is in action again.
A mounted body of the enemy (marked at E on diagram 7), moved as on the diagram to intercept the scouts, while at the same time the enemy artillery was withdrawn from position D to the new position shown on the diagram. The main body of the right wing then cleared the ridge on either side of gap D and poured through the gap taking up positions K and L shown on the diagram, a manoeuvre which was also performed at full gallop.
The country on which the operations now took place was more undulating and afforded cover. On the diagram the features are not shown as they will obscure what is already a somewhat complicated diagram, also the distances between troops are exaggerated for the sake of clearness, the position L being much nearer the enemy than shown.
By the time the position K and L were taken up the two commandos shown at H had got into action at their objective, soon getting a high point of the ridge in their possession. From the diagram it will be seen that the situation was now likely to confuse the unit commanders, the air was dense with the fine dust raised by the retreating troops and the heat mirage which becomes troublesome very early, also helped to obscure vision.
Commandant Piet Botha, from the point he had gained on the ridge saw artillery almost immediately below him, firing eastwards, while he had to deal with the enemy still holding the ridge close to him. He personally descended the ridge to find out what artillery this was and so dense was the dust that he was right up to the enemy section before he could distinguish them. On the pretext of having come to demand their surrender he interviewed the Commanding Officer and returned to the ridge from where the rifle fire of his troops soon became inconvenient to the Officer he had interviewed. By about 8.30 the section of artillery was captured as also 9 officers and 200 other ranks of the enemy force in this particular area, the broken ground and dust haze however making escape easy. A small body of enemy held out till 3 p.m. when they surrendered on the point of the ridge marked G, this and the spent condition of the horses prevented the troops from operating further towards the enemy at Jackalswater on that day.
The Left Wing of the 2nd Mounted Brigade which had to cut the railway east of the junction of the branch to Riet, arrived at the place marked M on the diagram, about 5 a.m.. Discovering that the guides had led them too far Westwards one detachment was sent to cut and hold the railway at N while another detachment occupied the Jackhalswater station.
The enemy General Reserve attacked them at 6.30 and as they had no artillery and were unfavourably disposed in three detachments they had to retire at about 10 a.m. with the loss of 43 men taken prisoners in consequence of their horses being killed.
This force although unable to realize the whole their mission which was to block the enemy line of retreat as well as divert his general reserve and intercept his reinforcements from Karibib (of the latter they captured one troop train with infantry which however had to be abandoned when retiring) contributed considerably to the success of the operations. If the strong general reserve of the enemy which at all cost had to keep their line of retreat open had been free to devote their attention to the Pforte situation, the position of the troops shown at L in diagram 7 would have been extremely uncomfortable.
The sincerity of the left wings endeavour is clear from the fact that the German General Reserve was in no condition to interfere to their left or rear after the left wing of the 2nd Mounted Brigade had retired but were satisfied to remain at Jackhalswater holding the position, which covered the general retirement that night.
The enemy losses on this day were…
2 Field guns, 9 officers and 275 other ranks prisoners while 4 officers and 12 other ranks killed were left on the field together with one officer and 20 other ranks wounded.

The Union casualties were:
2 officer and 11 other Ranks killed
5 officer and 36 other ranks killed
43 men captured at Jackhalswater.

The result of the days operations was that the pick of the German troops had with considerable loss, in one day been turned out of strong and carefully prepared positions which topographically were ideal for their purpose. They had every advantage, interior lines, local knowledge of the intricate terrain, water, and railway transport nearly to their fire positions.
The reasons of their subsequent reluctance to try tactical conclusions with the Union troops are thus not difficult to conjecture.

The action at Trekkoppies

While the strategic direction of advance was along the Swakop river the Northern Force had also to reconstruct the railway to Karibib (see diagram 5 A) so as to have no delay in achieving the final strategic objective after the first was obtained. Colonel (now Major General) C.P.B. Skinner was in command of the troops protecting this reconstruction.
On the 26th of April his force consisting of the 2nd Transvaal Scottish, 1st Rhodesian and 2nd Kimberley Battalions were at Trekkoppies while Colonel Skinner personally was about eighteen miles in advance with his mounted troops (Imperial Light Horse, three squadrons).
At 1 a.m. on the 26th April these mounted troops located an enemy column marching South and later on one going South West.
Leaving two troops to observe the enemy Colonel Skinner returned to Trekkoppies to await the enemy attack. The section of Heavy Artillery had been withdrawn a few days previously to take part in the advance on Karibib so this force had only one 15 pdr Armstrong Field Gun converted into an Anti Aircraft gun. At 5.45 the enemy blew up the railway to the North of the camp by mistake instead of the South. At 7.40 the action began by the enemy shelling with two batteries of Field Artillery from a range of hills that extended parallel to the railway line to the N.W. The range was about 5000 yards. Under cover of this fire the enemy dismounted attack developed from the North and mainly from the West where cover was better for an advance.
At 10.30 this attack had spent itself, and the Kimberly Battalion, which had borne the brunt of the attack, together with the Transvaal Scottish and the Imperial Light Horse Regiment counter attacked towards the enemy right. The counter attack without artillery support could however not make much progress in the face of the enemy artillery fire which now increased in intensity to cover his retirement. At 11.30 the enemy artillery withdrew and the action terminated. The Section Armoured Cars effectively cooperated although the ground was most unfavourable.

Union casualties
3 officers 6 other ranks killed
2 officers 12 other ranks wounded

Enemy left
2 officers 5 other ranks killed
2 officers 12 other ranks wounded
13 prisoners

The attack was repulsed before the reinforcements that had been sent to take part in the action.

Actions at Elephants Neck and Otavi.

On the 30th of June 1915 General Botha the Commander in Chief was at Omarassa with the center of the strategic advance consisting of the 5th and 6th Mounted Brigades, the 1st Infantry Brigade being two days march in the rear.
The enemy was known to hold the Elephants ridge (diagram No. 8) in strength with his camps and depots at Otavi and Otavifontein. It was known that the enemy had heavily mined the gaps and flanks of the Elephants ridge from where he had a good view and command of the flat plain below. There was no water between Okaputa and Otavifontein.
The 5th Mounted Brigade under Manie Botha was ordered to march that night from Okaputa at 6 p.m. on to Otjikurume while the 6th Mounted Brigade under Brig. General Lukin had to march from Omarasen half an hour later, the intention of the Commander in Chief being to have the 5th Brigade as his right and the 6th as his left in the attack on the Elephants Ridge the next day.
The 5th Mounted Brigade got into contact with the enemy outposts (see diagram 8) while it was still dark and rushed them at such a rate that they had no time to let off the rockets and light signals prearranged to warn the main body. Brig. General Manie Botha who appreciated the possibility of the situation, pursued the outposts with his whole Brigade in the hope of surprising the main body instead of continuing his march to Otjikurume as ordered. His initiative in accepting the responsibility of such a deviation from his orders was rewarded by there being a considerable element of surprise in his attack on the Western flank of the Ridge at about 6.30 a.m.
Owing to the want of water near the Ridge, the enemy did not hold it in full strength but relied on timely warning, which failed, to garrison from the main body at Otavi and Otavifontein. By about 7 a.m. the western flank was turned and what other enemy troops were further East on the Ridge had retired. Advancing a few miles the 5th again got into action with what was probably belated reinforcements from Otavi.
This action, which was the most severe of the day, was fought on the flat, dense bush country, the enemy right still clinging to the hill West of the railway line (diagram No.8). After a few hours the enemy retired to the western flank of the Otvavi range and the 5th again got into action at about 12 noon driving the enemy further North on the the Khorab hills where the final surrender took place eight days later.
About 9.30 a.m. the Commander in Chief General Louis Botha and Brig. General J.J. Collyer the Chief of Staff met with Brig General Manie Botha near the West flank of the Elephants Ridge. The Brigade Commander of the 5th then explained his reasons for departing from his orders and also his action in engaging his whole brigade without retaining a reserve. A portion of his Brigade once committed to a running fight in close country densely covered with bush, became difficult to direct or recall. What has previously in this chapter been said about the Commando psychology may now help to illuminate the situation in which Brig General Manie Botha found himself. He is one of those officers who perfectly realizes the strength and limitations of the commando spirit, so he decided to push the attack and bring all his force into action in support of the portion committed. The result of his rapid action was that the enemy who hoped to, for once at least, have their own way tactically, only succeeded in bringing a small portion of their force into action the remainder having rapidly to retire under cover of rearguard actions at C and D on diagram No.8.
General M. Bothas command numbered 4 guns and 1958 officers and other ranks. The German strength at Otavi and Elephants Neck was 36 guns 22 machine guns and 3372 officers and other ranks.
A study of diagram No.8 will show that there is a great deal of truth in the Chief of the German Staffs declaration a few days later at the armistice interview, that if they only had one hours time to occupy their carefully selected positions, General Louis Botha with his two Brigades would never have got back to Okaputa. In numbers the Commander in Chief, General Louis Bothas force of two mounted Brigades was about equal to the German force which however in Artillery outnumbered the Union guns by more than four to one, besides having the advantage of an ideal position as can be seen from the diagram. Had the Union troops been checked and held up for one day they would have been forced to return the forty miles to Okaputa for water. That the German troops with fresh horses would then have become an inconvenient factor can be imagined.
The 5th Brigade in the running fight captured men from the 1st, 2nd and 5th Regular Companies and from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Reserve Companies, so it cannot be said that the German Outpost line was weakly held.
The union casualties were 4 killed and 12 wounded.

General Botha's first operational order:

Before concluding the history of the tactical operations of the Northern Force, it may not be out of place to give a copy of the first Operation Order issued by the Commander in Chief, General Louis Botha. The document is not only of historical interest by being the first to direct the operations of the Northern Force but instructive as to the general conditions and difficulties. The Order was in connection with the advance on Heigamchab and Goanikontes which was not seriously resisted by the enemy.


General Headquarters, Swakopmund 22 Febuary 1915

Reference to map S.1 issued herewith.

1) The following information as to the enemy’s disposition is mainly based upon intercepted wireless telegraph messages and has NOT been verified by actual observation.
The information should, therefore, be regarded as the best obtainable but as based mainly on assumption.
Our position at Swakopmund has since the arrival of our troops been under close observation by the enemy who occupies a position in contact with our outposts on the East of the town.
The strength of the forces occupying this position is unknown but as far as can be ascertained no troops other than the 2nd reserve company have been in the position. The peace strength of a mounted company is 120 men which may have been increased to 150 or even more.
At Goanikontes there are apparently the headquaters of the 2nd reserve (Captain Schultetus) and whatever strength of that company is not at any time immediately before Swakopmund, the 5th reserve company (Captain Ohlenschlager) half a battery of mounted artillery and six machine guns.
Unless other troops happen to arrive at a time when an attack is made on Goanikontes therefore a liberal estimate of the force of the enemy to be expected there would be 300 mounted men, 2 mounted guns and six machine guns.
No information is to hand of the existence of any hostile force at Heigamchab.
There is however a force of the enemy at Jackalswater and it is reasonable to assume that some connecting force may be at Heigamchab. The presence of such a force should, therefore, be calculated with and steps should be taken to guard against its sudden arrival. Nothing is known about the strength at Jakalswater but from indications it would seem that about 500 mounted troops, a battery of Field Artillery, and a mounted Battery may perhaps be there.
This is, however, merely assumption on meager data. In any case no reinforcement from Jakalswater could probably reach Goanikontes in less than five hours.

2. It is the intention of the General Officer Commanding in Chief simultaneously to attack the enemy in his positions immediately East of Swakopmund and at Goanikontes early on the morning of Tuesday the 23rd instant.
For this purpose the forces disposable will be divided into three forces and a general reserve, and a special task will be assigned to the 1st Imperial Light Horse.

A Force will be under the command of Colonel P.C.B. Skinner, and will consist of:
4th Permanent Field Artillery
D and F Batteries Heavy Artillery
3rd Infantry Brigade

B Force will be under the Command of Colonel J.J. Alberts and will consist of:
The Right Wing, Second Mounted Brigade
Two Mounted sections machine guns to be detailed by Major Giles who will accompany B Force.

C Force will be under the command of Colonel Commandant W.R. Collins and will consist of:

The Left Wing, Second Mounted Brigade, less such portion of that Wing as is detached for the General Reserve.
One mounted section machine guns to be detailed by Major Giles.

The General Reserve will consist of:

That portion of the Left Wing, 2nd Mounted Brigade of which the horses are judged to be unfit for the duty assigned to C Force under the command of Colonel Commandant L.J. Badenhorst.
Rand Rifles
1 mounted section (I.L.H.) Machine Guns.
The General Reserve will be under the direct command of the General Officer Commanding in Chief who will exercise general control over the whole operations.

3. The attack on the enemies positions immediately East of Swakopmund will be carried out by A Force under the command of Colonel P.C.B. Skinner to whom the hour of the commencement of the attack will be communicated.
B Force under the command of Colonel J.J. Alberts will move on Goanikontas from Swakopmund at an hour and under instructions which will be communicated to Colonel Alberts.
C Force (under the command of Colonel Commandant Collins) will move on Goanikontas from Swakopmund at an hour and under instructions which will be communicated to Colonel Commandant Collins.
The 1st Imperial Light Horse, under the command of Major H.G.L. Panchaud, will move from Swakopmund at the same time and in company with C Force leaving that force at a point and under special instructions which will be communicated to Major Panchaud.
The Mounted troops from the 2nd Mounted Brigade for the General Reserve, and the Rand Rifles, will parade at a point and an hour which will be communicated to Colonel Commandant Badenhorst and Lieutenant Colonel Purcell respectively.

4. The line of defence hitherto occupied at night by infantry of the 3rd Infantry Brigade will be taken over on the night of the 22nd 23rd instant at 8.00 p.m. by the South African Irish under the command of Lieutenant Colonel F.H. Brennen, V.D.
The Officer Commanding, 3rd Infantry Brigade, will indicate the line of defense to be occupied to Lieutenant Colonel Brennen who, immediately the line has been occupied by the regiment under his command, will report in writing to that effect to the Chief Staff Officer at General Headquarters.

5. The Staff Officer Signalling will make arrangements for communications between the forces in agreement with the plan of operations which will be communicated to him, and will especially ensure as rapid and effective communication as possible between Goanikontes and General Headquarters.
The Staff Officer Signalling will not later than 6.00 acquaint all Commanders of forces and detached units with the details of the scheme of intercommunication, (including the strength of personnel and nature of means of communication allotted to each Force or Unit) and will report to the Chief Staff Officer in writing that this has been done when all acknowledgements of these details have been received from the Commanders referred to.

6. Medical units are allotted as under:

To Force A
B Section 2nd mounted brigade Field Ambulance
To Force B
B Section 9th mounted Brigade Field Ambulance
To Force C
A Section 9th Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance
Sick and wounded will be evacuated to Swakopmund.

7. An officer from each of the following units will report at General Headquarters at 10 minutes to six o'clock this evening to take the official time in agreement with which all movements will take place.
S.O. Signalling, Headquarters Staff.
A Force
B Force
C Force
4th Permanent Field Artillery Battery
Heavy Artillery Brigade
1st Imperial Light Horse
Portion of 2nd Mounted Brigade in General Reserve
Rand Rifles
2nd Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance
9th Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance
Commanding Officers of the Units referred to will arrange for the correct time being made known in their commands after receiving it from General Headquarters.

8. Two days rations will be carried by B Force and one days rations by the remainder of the troops mentioned in this Order.
Commanding Officers will make the best possible arrangements to carry as substantial a feed as possible for the horses in the nosebags.
9.Every Commander of a Force or detached unit will be held responsible for assuring himself that every unit attached to his command reports at the proper hour and moves off with his Force.
10.Hand flags for officers will be issued for the purpose of identifying bodies of our own troops.

11 The General Officer Commanding in Chief will be at the trenches now occupied by the Transvaal Scottish East of the Lazaretto.

Signed J.J. Collyer, Colonel
Chief Staff Officer

The enemy did not resist the landing of the first Union troops under Colonel, later Brigadier General P.S.Beves, at Luderitz Bay on the 18th of September 1914. The reasons for not doing so probably also being the want of water anywhere within striking distance but out of range of the escorting cruisers guns. The union troops were reinforced later (see Chapter on Organisation) and commenced by Brigadier General Sir Duncan Mackenzie, the opposing enemy force being commanded by Major von Bauzus.
The Central Force had a long period of defensive waiting until the Union Government had its hands free from the incubus of the Rebellion and could prosecute the South West campaign vigorously. Then the Central Force cooperated by exerting strategic pressure inwards until it came before Aus where the strong positions of the enemy and the want of water for the union troops made a direct attack inadvisable before strategic pressure from the other union forces had influenced the situation. This pressure caused the enemy to evacuate Aus and retire Northwards.

General Mackenzie following up with his three mounted brigades. In addition to a number of patrol, outpost and advance guard encounters, the central Force had one important tactical operation near Gibeon.


Brig General MacKenzie left Aus on the 16th of April with one 6 gun battery of Field Artillery and three Mounted Brigades. After a march of 160 Miles he was near the point of C (on diagram No.9) at 6 p.m. on the 26th April. Here he received intelligence that an enemy force under Major von Kleist with two guns was at Gibeon Station. There was also a train with steam up at the station.
Brig General MacKenzie then pushed on with the intention of capturing this body of the enemy. When at point B on diagram No.9 he detached Colonel Royston with one Brigade and one Regiment and instructed him to make a detour to the East, get astride the railway North of Gibeon and cooperate in the attack on the enemy next day at dawn. General MacKenzie with the remaining half of the force marched on and bivouacked at point K.
Colonel Royston got on to the Railway at A about 1 p.m. the next morning. He had disposed his force unfavourably and when attacked by the enemy had to retire with the loss of 3 officers and 41 other ranks killed 49 wounded and 72 missing.
This was about 3 a.m. on the 27th of April.
At 5 a.m. on the 27th April Brig General Mackenzie advanced from his bivouac at K on the enemy at Gibeon.
The enemy was disposed at H about 2.5 miles North of Gibeon station, from where they were driven to the second position D on the diagram. About 8 a.m. they were driven from the second position D with the loss of their two guns, the 72 prisoners captured early that morning from Colonel Roysten at A were also recovered here.
Brig General MacKenzie in this operation under his personal conduct, lost three killed and 13 wounded, the enemy leaving 11 killed, 30 wounded and 188 prisoners on the field.


This force of about 5000 rifles and one battery of Artillery was, on the 1st January 1915, disposed as on diagram No.3, previous to that date having had the task of resisting any German advance into the Union or preventing any rebel bodies from escaping into enemy territory. The enemy force immediately opposed to it was under Major Ritter and was based on Keetmanshoop. Ritters force comprised a battery of Artillery and four mounted companies together with a body of rebels numbering about 800 under Maritz and Kemp. This latter body which acted independently had been reinforced by the Germans with a mounted company and an artillery battery with 4 field guns and two pompoms.
Besides a number of patrol, outpost and advance guard encounters, the Southern Force had three defensive actions and three offensive engagements in the course of its work of exerting strategic pressure from the South and South East.

Defensive action at Nydasputs
About 400 rifles of the Southern Force were camped at Nydasputs 45 miles N.W. of Upington, and were attacked there at daybreak on the 18th January by about 800 enemy and the Artillery under Maritz and Kemp. They were compelled to retire with the loss of 9 killed 20 wounded and 170 prisoners. The enemy loss could not be ascertained. The experienced enemy troops, of the same tactical quality as the Union troops and superior by two to one besides having Artillery, had availed themselves of all the advantages derivable from an intimate knowledge of the methods and weak points of the Union Commandos, and it required some dexterous handling to extricate the somewhat rawer Union troops without greater casualty.
Defensive action at Upington
On the 24th January, the same enemy force under Maritz and Kemp, but reinforced by 300 German Rifles under Schoeman, attacked Colonel J. van Deventer at Upington. The Union forces, 12 commando units, about 2400 rifles, and a six gun battery of artillery, were attacked at dawn, the attack lasting till about 12 noon when it had spent itself. Colonel van Deventer then counter attacked and pursued the enemy for some distance.
Union casualties 7 killed 24 wounded
Enemy casualties 18 killed and 23 wounded 85 prisoners.
The result of this action was that Kemp surrendered unconditionally with nearly the entire force a few days later Marittz and Schoeman with a few followers and the Artillery retiring on the enemy troops under Major Ritter.

Defensive action at Kakamas
Kakamas was occupied by 5 commando units (bout 1600 rifles) disposed on both sides of the Orange River which was in flood. This unfavourable disposition was due to the fact that as late as December 22nd the enemy had attacked Nous 17 miles South of the river at Schuit Drift. As there were interests to be protected on both sides of the river at Kakamas the disposition remained as during the time when the place was threatened from both sides. On the morning of the 4th February Major Ritter with a force of 4 guns and about 400 rifles attacked the Union Troops on the North bank of the river. By about 11 a.m. the attack was beaten off, the enemy leaving 12 killed and 12 prisoners on the field but removing his wounded.
Offensive action at Nabas.
During the advance of the Southern Force towards Keetmanshoop Major Smith was instructed to attack Nabas, about 10 miles North of Ukamas (diagram No.4). His force numbered 270 rifles and the enemy was about 160 rifles strong. On the morning of the 8th of March, Major Smith surprised the enemy and compelled them to retire with the loss of all their transport and supplies and leaving 1 killed and 3 wounded on the field.

Offensive action at Platbeen.
In the course of the further advance to Keetmanshoop Colonel D. van Deventer with about 300 rifles of his brigade attacked the enemy numbering about 200 rifles at Platbeen on the morning of 27th March, Colonel van Deventer compelled the enemy to retire with the loss of their transport and supplies, 14 prisoners and 6 wounded.

Offensive action at Kabus
On the 20th April, Colonel D. van Deventer with about 1400 rifles of his brigade, attacked the enemy numbering 2 guns and about 300 rifles at Kabus. He was later on reinforced by 300 rifles from Berranges Eastern Force and the enemy then retired with the loss of 2 killed and 16 wounded, the Union casualties being 10 wounded.

This force was constantly engaged in advance guard and patrol affairs. It had no defensive actions of any magnitude and had four offensive engagements.

Offensive action at Rietfontein.
On the 19th March, Captain van Vuuren of this force with 1 command squadron (about 100 rifles) attacked about 200 enemy rifles at Rietfontein. The enemy retired with the loss of their transport and supplies at this place and left 4 killed, 20 wounded and 2 captured in the field. The Union casualties were 1 killed and 2 wounded. In view of the importance of the water at Rietfontein and the enemy superiority in numbers, Captain van Vuuren may be considered as having operated in a highly creditable manner.

Offensive action at Koes
On the 5th April, Colonel van Zyl with 2 commando squadrons attacked the enemy at Koes. With a loss of one man wounded, Colonel van Zyl captured one prisoner and several hundred head of cattle.
Offensive action at Kiries West
On the 16th April the enemy with 2 guns and about 300 rifles was attacked at Kiries West by Colonel Berrange who had 1 Regular Regt. (5th Regt. South African Mounted Riflemen) and 2 Commando Regiments. The enemy retired with a loss of 4 killed, 1 wounded and 8 captured. The union loss was 1 killed and 1 wounded.

Offensive action at Kabus
On the 20th April Colonel D. van Deventer of the Southern Force had commenced an attack on this place at dawn (see OperationsSouthern Force, action at Kabus) later in the day he was reinforced by 300 rifles from Colonel Berranges Eastern Force. This reinforcement largely assisted in the success of the operations on that day, the enemy retiring with a loss of 2 killed and 16 wounded. The Union casualties being 10 wounded.
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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This page is courtesy of Walter Nuhn who kindly gave permission to use a chapter of his fantastic history of the campaign in German South West Africa in a translated form. It deals with the fighting at Gibeon Station, the biggest loss suffered by the Schutztruppe in the campaign. We once again meet Freiherr von Hadeln who had invaded South Africa HERE . On this page we see his award document for the Iron Cross 1st Class.

Close to the abandoned railway station at Gibeon is a small graveyard with 41 tombstones

Here lie buried 41 soldiers, German and South African, who died in the fighting at Gibeon Station on the 27th of April 1915. (To see the list of killed, wounded and captured during the battle see HERE)

They are small losses compared to those suffered on the battlefields of Europe, but heavy losses in an African context. It was the biggest single loss suffered by the German Schutztruppen in German South West
The road to Gibeon

On the nineteenth of April Hauptmann Kleist had left Keetmanshoop, heading north with the troops who had occupied the southern sector.

He had vague orders to make a "fighting retreat, hold the enemy back where possible and avoid being cut off from the main force".

With 6-700 men and two field guns he was faced by 14,500 South African troops; a difficult task, especially when one reckons with the traditional mobility of the South African mounted troops.

Kleist´s force consisted of the reconnaissance sections von Hadeln, Goedecke and Schonert, the 4th Feldkompagnie and the 1st and 3rd Reservekompagnie as well as two field guns of the Halbbatterie Kuntze.

Kleist´s force pulled back along the railway line running northwards.

Leaving Aus and heading for Bethanien, then continuing to Berseba was the South African "Central Force" under General McKenzie. Made up of the 7th, 8th and 9th Mounted Brigades as well as the 12th Citizen Force artillery battery they were suffering from the usual lack of water. As there was little or no water between Aus and Berseba McKenzie had to wait a day between the departures of each mounted brigade in order to let the wells along the way replenish.

Right: German troops at one of the vital water holes.

The first brigade to leave was the 9th which left on the 15th of April following the railway line to Schakalskuppe.

Along the way their reconnaissance troop found a fence that had been erected across the railway line. After a careful search of the area they found 15 mines buried in the sand. If the brigade had tried to bypass the fence they would have suffered heavy losses.

After they had exploded the mines the brigade set up its night bivouac. They continued their march the next day. Thirst became an issue as the wells had run dry before all men and animals had had a chance to drink.

Below left: A German Schutztruppe bayonet serial numbered K.S. 1516 captured by South African forces in German South West Africa

The next stop was at Kubis. Here once again the well ran dry before the brigade had received its water ration.

The march continued the next morning, north of the railway line towards Bethanien. The terrain changed from fine sand to rock surrounded by rugged hills. Many of the horses lost their shoes.

On the third day they reached Bethanien. Early the next morning they continued on to Besondermaid. Here at last they found a large watering hole. They had covered 180km in four days!

McKenzie joined the brigade in Besondermaid and was informed by indigenous spies that a large German unit was approaching Berseba. This was in fact a small Schutztruppe detachment under the command of Merensky and Meyer who were escorting farmers fleeing with their cattle.

McKenzie called for the brigade to saddle up and after just six hours of rest they pulled out that same night, headed for Berseba.

Early on the morning of the 22nd of April the brigade rode into the town where they found a patrol under the command of Lt. d. Res. Ferse. The Germans gallantly opened fire but were soon forced to pull back, the South Africans on their heels. Merensky, along with four men and the farmer column fell into the South Africans hands.

Berseba had a good water supply and the 9th Brigade stayed for a day to allow the other brigades to catch up.

In the meantime Berranges "Eastern Force", which was heading for Itsawisis, had reached and occupied Stammpriet. Joined by the troops of Dirk van DeVenters who were operating on their left flank they headed north-northwest passing Spitzkop, a waterhole 35km east of Keetmannshoop, on to Daweb.

On the nineteenth a patrol spotted German troops at the German training ground at Kabus (eight km east of the railway lines). Berranges columns changed direction and headed for Kabus. The German 4th Feldkompagnie under Schoepffers was assembled here ready to defend the railway line. On the morning of the twentieth they were joined by the 3rd Reserve
Kompagnie under Oberleutnant Hepke arriving from Keetmannshoop. The Aufklärungs Abteilung von Hadeln was also present at the fight.

By this time the 1400 men of Dirk van Deventers column were approaching Kabus from the south. They were advancing along the dried river bed and road from Keetmannshoop. They ran into the 3rd Reserve Kompagnie which was in position to the south of Kabus.

In the following exchange of fire the South Africans advancing along the dried riverbed were beaten back. Those along the road pulled back to wait for Berrange´s attack from the east.

Berrange´s spearhead, the Betchuana Mounted Rifles under the command of Colonel Cowen arrived on the battlefield and moved north and northwest to cut off the Germans' path of retreat. Here, at Itsawisis, lay the main body of German troops under Hauptmann von Kleist.

The Germans resisted and after a couple of hours managed to push Cowen's troops back.

At about one pm Kleist sent orders for the defenders of Kabus to break off the fight and pull back to Itsawisis.

The two companies and Reconnaissance Abteiling von Hadeln arrived safely at 15:00 and an hour later the whole Abteilung Kleist moved North. The South Africans pulled into Kabus soon after.

On the evening of the next day Abteilung Kleist arrived at Tses where it set up camp.

On the next day Hauptmann d. R. Meyer who, like Leutnant Ferse had escaped from Berseba, arrived. He reported that Berseba was in South African hands.

Patrols reported that the South Africans in Kabus were not preparing to move and in spite of Hauptmann Meyer´s warnings about the strength of the Union troops in Berseba von Kleist decided to attack.

A flying column under Oberleutnant Goedecke with 150 men was to strike at the occupiers at Berseba then pull back towards Gankobis, a warm spring on the Fish River. Von Kleist would be lying in wait with the rest of the Abteilung to strike a blow at the pursuing South Africans.

At first all went well. Early on the morning of the 23rd Goedecke´s column approached Berseba from the southeast and sent a small group of men into the town to stir up the hornets' nest. It seemed to work. In wild west style the troops rode shooting into the village disturbing the South Africans at breakfast.

They left at full speed, the Union troops hot on their heels.

Leaving the village they rejoined their comrades and spurred their horses, making for the Fish River, the whole of the 9th Mounted Brigade in hot pursuit.

The chase went on for hours over rocky ground. Every now and then an exchange of fire took place each time the South Africans tried to move around the flanks and cut off the German retreat.

Each time the Germans escaped. All in all just nine exhausted stragglers were captured. The column kept an eager eye out for the rest of the Abteilung. They should already be in position and should have heard the gunfire.

At around noon they reached the Fish River. They descended the steep side and crossed the river bed to the other side.

Here the pursuers gave up the chase. A huge cloud of dust caused by the approaching Abteilung Kleist was on the horizon. For reasons unexplained they had not left their encampment the night before to head for the Fish River but had awaited daybreak before starting the march for Ganikobis. They would arrive too late to spring the trap.

The 9th Mounted Brigade had taken up the chase leaving their blankets, coats and rations behind. They were to spend an uncomfortable night in the bitter cold next to the Fish River.

On the next morning (the 24th of April) McKenzie's other two brigades arrived. The hard driving general was forced to give his exhausted brigades a rest. The men, but especially the horses, were able to put the Fish River water and grazing to good use.

The flying column and Kleist's Abteilung had rejoined forces. Considering himself outnumbered Kleist left Ganikobis on the night of the 23rd following the railway northwards towards Gibeon, passing through Aritetis and Gruendorn.

They reached Gibeon at noon on the 24th and set up camp three km to the north of the town.

Right: A proud Schutztruppler with his bayonet.

Kleist came to the conclusion that McKenzie's troops must be exhausted by their forced march from Aus to Berseba and that they would not be able to continue their pursuit. He reckoned he would be able to rest his troops and horses for a day or two.

A terrible miscalculation that did not take the mobility of the South Africans riders into account.

Before the end of the day McKenzie's scouts reported dust clouds near Aritetis. He assumed the German rearguard was retreating to the north.

Rapid action was called for to catch the Germans at Aritetis, just ten km distant.He immediately gave orders to his brigade to saddle up and that night they took up the chase.

A disappointment awaited in Aritetis. The enemy had flown the coop. The next morning the chase continued. Gruendorn was reached that day, but the enemy had already pulled out and had a few kilometers' lead.

Impatient for action a portion of the central force pushed north that night until it reached point 152 on the railway line, just eighteen km from Gibeon.

Arriving here the South African signalers found uncut German telephone lines. They connected their telephone and to their amazement they found the Germans talking openly.

"Where is the enemy?" answered by "We don't know". Then another voice "Patrols report they saw the enemy yesterday, it cannot be. It must have been dust clouds".Then a message from Mariental "The Hauptmann does not believe the Englanders are near Gibeon", then another voice "Last night we heard the Englanders were close to Gibeon. This cannot be true. They must have been dust clouds. As far as we know they have not crossed the Fish River. We intend to take the women to Kalkrand this evening".

Then the most important message from Gibeon to Mariental. "In case the Engländers take this place we will pull back to a new position. The troops are getting ready to march out". Then "Plan to leave Gibeon with the last train tonight. Telephone lines will be destroyed".

The march seems to have been delayed as the departure was then ordered for the morning of the 27th with the destination Kranzplatz.

McKenzie was able to deduce that the enemy was pulling back and that a train was to leave Gibeon Station.

At 19:00 on the night of the 26th a patrol was able to confirm that a locomotive stood under steam at the Gibeon station. There was lively activity at the station as men and supplies started arriving. The time to strike had come. Mckenzie quickly developed a plan of attack.

Two days earlier (on the 24th) the 7th (Camel) Kompagnie had arrived in Gibeon. The high command had sent them from the Malta Heights to join in the defence of Gibeon. Hauptmann von Kleist had sent them onward to do a reconnaissance in the direction of Koes and Hasuur and made an error thinking his left (east) flank was now secure.

Above: A period drawing of an "Officers patrol" by a Schutztruppe reconnaissance section

On the 26th a message arrived from a patrol led by Leutnant d. R. Hoenck with the information that the enemy had not progressed further than Tses. A complacent Kleist decided further patrols and advance guard posts were not neccessary. A fatal error!

That night a soldier of the 4. Kompagnie captured a lone Union soldier who had been seperated from his patrol. Shortly afterwards, at 22pm a series of explosions occurred to the north of the German position. What had happened?

At 20:00, about an hour after he had received the German telephone messages, McKenzie sent Captains Nicholson and Grier with a party of 30 Scouts and Pioneers to the north of Gibeon. They were to blow up the railway tracks to prevent the train from escaping.

Below: A map that is essential for understanding the events below

The night was crystal clear as the patrol rode off; 45 minutes behind them came Lt. Col. Royston's 9th Brigade. They were to curve around Gibeon and ride to the north where they would set up a defensive line to cut off the path of retreat of the German forces.

Mckenzie would then attack from the south.

At first all went according to plan. The Scout/Pioneer patrol made a wide curve around Gibeon station then moved back in to reach the railway line. They then rode three km to the north keeping a wary eye open for the guard posts Kleist should have had in position. Here they blew up sixteen lengths of line before riding back to join Royston who was now about three km to the east of the station.

The Germans were rudely awakened by the explosions. Right away the Abteilung moved northwards on both sides of the railway line. The train moved north as well. After half an hour they had their first contact with the South Africans. Kleist had his men dismount and form a defensive position around the train.

Shortly afterwards, at about 2am, the 1st Reserve Kompagnie and the Abteilungs Schonert and von Hadeln were involved in heavy exchanges of fire with enemy squadrons. The artillery half battery Kunze joined the fight with its field guns.

The squadrons belonged to Royston's brigade. Shortly before midnight they had arrived at their position, six km to the north of Gibeon. He had placed three squadrons along the railway line with one in reserve. He then made a tactical error and placed the rest of the brigade off to the east.

The ground was flat and offered no cover in the bright moonlight. Unfortunately for Royston his scouts had not seen two drainage ditches that ran off from the railway lines not far from his position.

These had been occupied by the Germans and with their machine guns they were able to place the South Africans, caught in the open, under a withering fire.

The fighting went on until about 2am when Lt. Col. Davies, commanding the Imperial Light Horse (the bulk of the squadrons on the railway line) decided to pull back his men and rejoin McKenzie's main force.

This proved difficult as friend and foe lay so close together. The order to pull out was whispered from man to man in order to keep the pullback secret from the Germans.

The move was only partially successful. Three squadrons pulled back but the fourth, a squadron of the Natal Light Horse under Captain Branford, did not get the order due to a gap in the lines.

At dawn, after hesitation on the part of von Kleist, the Schutztruppe attacked and Branford and his squadron were forced to surrender.

Royston, who, at the time Davies ordered the pullback, was off trying to arrange the evacuation of his unit’s horses out of enemy range, joined his troops to the east of the railway lines at about 3am. Here they waited for daylight. Losses had been heavy. 24 dead, 49 wounded and 72 captured.

Oberleutnant von Hepke, on his own initiative took a patrol to the east where he saw dust clouds arriving from the south. The Germans were in danger of being encircled. The suggestion was made that the Abteilung should escape to the north but astonishingly von Kleist refused. he wanted to await the dawn attack and did not want to abandon the train. This, in spite of the fact that there was no material and equipment to fix the rails.

The Germans returned to their former positions with their prisoners, congratulating themselves on their victory. By 6am however they saw four large dust clouds. The dreaded encirclement had become a reality and McKenzie’s troops were arriving from all points of the compass... and in large numbers.

Probably thinking that he only had Royston's troops facing him and underestimating the threat Kleist tried first to save his supplies and gave his men the order to engage the enemy advancing from the station.

At 4am, two hours before sunrise, McKenzie had given his men orders to move from their staging area to start the attack on Gibeon station. he planned to attack from all sides and had one regiment moving in from the south, a second from the west and a third from the east.

Hepke with the 3rd Reserve Kompagnie was the first to be engaged by the South Africans' rifles and machine guns and he was forced to move his troops to the west of the railway lines where Schoepffers 4th Feld Kompagnie was. The 4th was however already under heavy fire from the Union troops on the west flank.

When McKenzie's six field guns opened up and found the range, Kleist gave the orders to abandon the supplies and train and pull back to the high ground between Kranzlatz and the railway line.

This message arrived rather late at the 3rd Reserve and 4th Feld Kompagnie and they ended up taking most of the enemy fire as they fought a rearguard action, all the while pulling back.
Nice to see you make it this far down the page!!

As a treat... von Hadeln's Iron Cross award document above.
The Reuter correspondent Rayner wrote:

"The Germans, keeping a sharp eye on the prisoners, were in a hurry to move as they saw our troops advancing in open order. Only when the 12th Battery opened fire did things change.

Our advance was like a hurricane, the Germans had the choice of fighting or surrendering. Most chose to fight and there were intense rearguard actions. They had excellent machine gunners but nothing could stop McKenzie's advance.

The 12th (Citizen) Battery fired excellently, moving from one position to the next. Their fire knocked out one and then another carriage. Advancing, they managed to capture a field gun and four machine guns that were abandoned due to the destroyed carriages".

The two companies pulled back step by step moving from one position to the next to avoid being encircled but managed to slow down the Union advance.

The troops further north moving to Kranzplatz were also in danger as the South Africans moved in from the east and west.

The ring tightened and Kleist gave up the plan to move to Kranzplatz and ordered a movement northwards. Here they were to march along the Fish River bed road, along the path to Mariental. The pull back began to resemble a rout. Anyone on a slow horse or whose horse was hit by enemy fire had no chance. They were overrun and captured.

A Union soldier wrote:

"No sooner had our artillery opened fire than we were ordered to gallop forward. We were charged with adrenaline and it
was amazing how our horses scented this. The poor beasts had been exhausted by the forced marches in the preceding days,but they now took off like oat fed horses on a fox hunt.

We galloped from hilltop to hilltop, jumped over bushes and rocks, and then opened fire on the Germans along the road. We took turns holding the horses so everyone had a chance to shoot. As we rode forward and saw the dead and wounded men and horses we got a shock".

The Union prisoners had to be released when they and their guards came under artillery fire upon reaching the heights near Gibeon.

The chase continued over 35km and ended at 11:30 when Kleist’s heavily decimated troop reached Jakalsfontein where the sunken riverbed came to an end and led up onto a high plain.

At this point the German rearguard took up their positions and after the last stragglers arrived they managed to stop the Union advance.

In view of the total exhaustion of his troops McKenzie was forced to break off the chase. Since leaving Aus they had covered 350 km over very difficult terrain, with miserable rations and very little fodder for the horses.

On both sides the losses had been heavy. McKenzie's force had suffered 24 killed (all at Gibeon railway embankment) and sixty wounded.

The Germans had lost eleven other ranks and one officer killed and eleven wounded. six officers and 180 men had been captured. Much material had been captured; two field guns, three machine guns and many rifles. A locomotive and all the supply wagons of the Abteilung von Kleist had gone into the bag. Also captured were large quantities of ammunition and other supplies.

That evening von Kleist reached Mariental with his troops. From here they marched, unmolested by the enemy, towards Rehoboth which they reached on the 2nd of May.

At Rehoboth they were loaded onto a train and were transferred over Windhoek (Where the 3rd Reserve Kompagnie stayed) to Okahandja. Here they had to disembark as the railway line to Karibib had already been reached by the enemy. From here they continued on foot to the Waterberg where the main German troop body was camped.

After the fight at Gibeon the whole Union Southern Army was dissolved. McKenzie’s Central, Van Deventers Southern and Berrange's Eastern forces moved north to Windhuk without meeting resistance. From here they were shipped back to South Africa. The southern phase of the GSWA campaign had come to an end.

For the German troops Gibeon was the second painful defeat, the first having been at Riet/Pforte. It was the heaviest loss of the GSWA campaign. It was particularly painful as there was no possibility of resupply. The amount of German troops, weapons, horses and material in GSWA was finite.

At first the fight at Gibeon had been to the Germans advantage.

Initially the fact that Royston's reconnaissance (probably due to lack of time) had not seen the drainage ditches had meant that the Germans had had excellent positions for their machine guns and were able to fire very effectively on the Union troops.

"In their joy the men of the Schutztruppe shook hands, danced and sang as they smashed the captured rifles on the wheels of their supply wagons".

Everyone thought it was a victory. The enemy had been beaten. Nobody had the idea that there may be more troops than just Royston's and that the dust clouds may signal the arrival of reinforcements. Three hours later the shoe was on the other foot. Another three hours later and Kleist`s troops were beaten, decimated and demoralized in open flight to the north.

Kleist was lucky that McKenzie had failed in his main mission, cutting off the German retreat to prevent Kleist joining up with the main force.

Above: Better times, the Schutztruppe horselines before the war.
Oberleutnant Schmitt wrote...

"Even if the Abteilung was outnumbered, this second defeat (after Pforte) was unfortunate. It could to a certain degree have been avoided if the commander had taken more care. There were not enough patrols or advanced guard posts. Orders were lacking during the fight. It may seem hard when I (who was not involved) write this, but the negative judgment of Hauptmann Kleist's capabilities was echoed by all his officers and men.It was a great error to entrust the most difficult military task of the moment, i.e. evacuating the Southern Sector, while fighting a rearguard action, and avoiding losses... to an officer so obviously rendered ineffective by the climate and alcohol".

Like at Riet/Pforte the Germans had again critically underestimated the fighting discipline, tenacity, spirit and mobility of the union troops.

"We thought it impossible that the British would achieve what they did... under heavy fire during their advance they kept their formation (especially the Natal Carbineers) and the speed with which they dismounted, fought and were then again in the saddle astounded my comrades and me . When one considers it was a running fight their accuracy was astounding. We had always been under the impression that the South Africans had no discipline, but in view of the excellent way they moved and fought, we realized our error. Their artillery was excellent, the shooting precise. We had thought it impossible to drag
field guns over such rough terrain...."

For an alternate map to the events at Gibeon, the South African version is HERE

General McKenzie's report of the battle can be found HERE

I very, very, very much recommend Walter Nuhn's "Auf verlorenem Posten- Deutsch Südwestafrika im Ersten Weltkrieg"

To return to the war in Africa click HERE
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #6
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Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #7
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Usually only a footnote in the general history books the First World War in Africa is a fascinating subject. From the Deserts of German South West Africa to the fever ridden swamps and bush of German East Africa, the main protagonists were the German Schutztruppen and South African loyalist troops "Botha's men".

This section will include as yet unpublished orders of battle and accounts of the 1914 SA rebellion.

The wonderful staff at the South African National Defence Force Archives in Pretoria made it possible to mine this information.

Louis Botha makes a small alteration to the face of Africa...
One of the most important documents I found in a trip to the South African Defence Force Archives was an Order Of Battle compiled in 1915. It is, to the casual reader, a long, boring list of units. To anyone with an interest in South African medal groups 1914-1915 it is a godsend. It goes a long way to clearing up the evolution of the commandos and other units. It has the units listed during the rebellion and later in GSWA.

The Battle of Sandfontein was by later standards merely a skirmish. An account of the battle will be posted elsewhere in the site, the following link has a list of the Dead, Wounded and POW's and should be of interest to collectors, especially those with Transvaal Horse Artillery Trio's.

A detachment under Major Ritter left German South West Africa to attack Kakamas in the Union of South Africa. For a German account of the raid as well as rare documents to Oberleutnant Friedrich Freiherr von hadeln please see HERE

Disaster at Gibeon! An account of the fighting at Gibeon by the German author and colonial expert Walter Nuhn who kindly allowed me to use this translated article about the fighting at Gibeon HERE

The text of Brig. General Mackenzies report about the actions of Central Force in German South West Africa including a casualty list. It deals mainly with the action at Gibeon.

A useful research tool is the following list of soldiers killed in action during the rebellion and in GSWA

South African Mounted troops crossing one of the few rivers in GSWA
The medals and write up about Lt. William Owen, wounded at Sandfontein and possibly the first South African casualty of the first world war.

A detailed account of the battle of Sandfontein along with the official report can be found here.

The skirmish at Hamakari was part of the battle at the Waterberg. It was an opening act to the extermination of the Herero in 1904. The award documents to German Schuztruppe field gunner Heinrich Teske are shown with the article.

A very important roll of Officers serving in the South African Mounted Brigades in German East Africa can be found HERE.

General Smuts sent back three dispatches from German East Africa. They are essential for an understanding of the campaign. They can be found HERE

Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #8
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A List of casualties for the Govt troops in the 1914 South African Rebellion (SA) and for the South African troops in German South West Africa 1914-1915 (SWA)

For clarification, there are two Zandfontein's
Zandfontein refers to a farm in GSWA where a battle between South African and German troops took place.
Zandfontein OFS refers to a farm near Senekal (Orange Free Stae) where skirmishes took place between Govt troops and rebels.
For the Rebellion: Winstead Farm is near Groblershoop, Mushroom Valley and Doornkop are near Winburg
For the campaign in GSWA: Riet, Pforte, Jakhalswater and Trekkpoje are near Swakopmund

Pte Private Cpl Corporal Sig Signalman
Bgr Burger Rfn Rifleman Capt Captain Adj Adjutant Sgt Sergeant
Maj Major SM Sergeant Major Bdr Bombadier
Tpr Trooper Const Constable Cmdt Commandant
QMS Quarter Master Sergeant RQMS Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant
BSM Brigade Sergeant Major SSM Staff Sergeant major

Name/Initial/Rank/Unit/Place of death/Date of death

Aldridge JA Cpl 5th South African Mounted Rifles Zandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Allen T Sig Natal Telegraph Corps 19150114 Swakopmund SWA
Anderson WE Pte 7th Inf Kimberley Regiment Trekkopje 19150426 Trekkopje SWA
Antel JA Pte Natal Light Horse Kheis Drift 19141118 Winstead, Hay SA
Austin PG Pte Brands Horse 19141220 Bloemfontein SA
Badenhorst JG Bgr Kalahari Horse Rietfontein 19150320 Reitfontein SA
Baily EA Cpl South African Mounted Rifles Pienaars River 19141123 Kroonstad Old SA
Bands WJ Pte Natal Light Horse Kheis Drift 19141118 Winstead, Hay SA
Bekker HM Rfn South African Mounted Rifles Pienaars River 19141125 Uitvlugt, Hammanskraal SA
Botes FJ Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein SA
Braithwaite C QMS 11th MR Potchefstroom Ruiters 19150420 Keetmanshoop SWA
Breytenbach HJ Cpl Middleburg Commando Riet/Pforte SWA 19150320 Leeupan, Hendrina SA
Brokensha HV Lt Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Bukes R Lt 11th MR, Potchefstroom Ruiters 19150327 Potchefstroom SA
Bulakoff P Sig 18th MR, Griqualand West Ruiters Upington 19150124 Upington SA
Burger CZ Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Namacunde 19170206 Obido SWA
Burger RA Const 2nd Military Constabulary Namacunde 19170206 Obido SWA
Burger SW Rfn South African Mounted Rifles Nooitgedagt 19141216 Burgerville, De Aar SA
Burnett GM Pte 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Walvis Bay 19150121 Swakopmund SWA
Buys JZ Sgt Boshoffs Commando Zandfontein OFS 19141120 Senekal SA
Buys SB Pte 9th Mounted Rifles Virginia Siding 19141116 Virginia Siding SA
Cameron TA Cpl 7th Inf Kimberley Regiment Trekkopje 19150426 Trekkopje SWA
Cameron Wm Lt 8th Inf Kimberley Regiment Trekkopje 19150426 Trekkopje SWA
Carter E Lt 9th Mounted Rifles Witsand 19141118 Witsand SA
Clayton PT Bgr Winburg Commando Doornberg 19141108 Winburg SA
Coetzee CF Pte 11th Inf Kimberley Regiment 19150225 Luderitz SWA
Cooper HE Cpl South African Field Telegraph 19150624 Omaruru SWA
Coulter P Cpl 5th South African Mounted Rifles Nakop 19140916 Upington SA
Cronning P Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein SA
Croon F Tpr 5th MR Imperial Light Horse 19140927 Luderitz SWA
Daly CV Cpl Natal Light Horse Kheis Drift 19141118 Winstead, Hay SA
De Jager JJ Pte Natal Light Horse 19150506 Gibeon SWA
De Koker HJ Bgr Brands Horse Mushroom Valley 19141112 Winburg SA
De Meillon CK Capt 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Aus 19150222 Aus SWA
De Meyer WA Bgr Ermelo Commando Riet/Pforte SWA 19150320 Goedgevonden, Klerksdorp SA
De Villiers DJ Cmdt Zoutpansberg Commando Rooidam, Gordonia 19141127 Pietersburg SA
De Wilde AC Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein SA
Dempers HJ Lt Uys Scouts 19150408 Swakopmund SWA
Devanner HJ Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141106 Zandfontein SA
Deverell F Cpl South African Police Nooitgedagt 19141216 Pretoria New SA
Dewrance HJ Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141106 Warmbaths SA
Donaldson JM Bgr Brands Commando Mushroom Valley 19141112 Winburg SA
Downing MO Sgt 8th MR Middelandse Ruiters Lutzputs 19150118 Tarkastad SA
Du Plessis PA 10th Dismounted Rifles 19141115 Pretoria SA
Du Plessis PW Cpl Lemmers Scouts 19150512 Omaruru SWA
Du Preez FJ Sgt Pietersburg Commando 19150430 Karibib SWA
Du Preez FJJ Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein SA
Du Preez GJ Lt 18th MR Griqualand West Ruiters Upington 19150125 Upington SA
Du Toit JJ Bgr Potchefstroom Ruiters Vetrivier 19141107 Kingswood, Bloemhof SA
Dyke ESC Pte 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Walvis Bay 19150121 Swakopmund SWA
Eaton WRS Bgr Bothas Commando 19141119 Zandvliet, Winburg SA
Elliot D Bgr Winburg Commando Doornberg 19141108 Winberg SA
Engelbrecht AAJ Bgr Middleburg Commando 19150430 Swakopmund SWA
Erasmus AH Bgr Bethal Commando 19141213 Dreifontein near Trichardt SA
Erasmus PJ Bgr Cradock Commando 19150124 Cradock SA
Esterhiuzen JC Bgr Mushroom Valley 19141112 Winburg SA
Etzebeth J Sgt Kalahari Horse 19150413 Keetmanshoop SWA
Fenton HJ Pte Cradock Commando Schuitdrift 19141210 Schuitdrift, Gordinia SA
Ferguson JH Bgr Bothas Scouts 19150617 Omaruru SWA
Filer DA Cpl 7th Inf Kimberley Regiment Trekkopje 19150426 Trekkopje SWA
Fletcher HM Sgt Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Flynn ED Pte Natal Light Horse Winstead 19141118 Winstead, Hay SA
Fourie LJ Cpl South African Mounted Rifles 19141221 Pretoria New SA
Frames HR Tpr Enslins Horse Virginia Siding 19141116 Brixton SA
Franks M Cpl Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Frazen Rfn South African Mounted Rifles Nooitgedagt 19141216 Pretoria new SA
Friend C Adj Myburg Commando Mushroom Valley 19141112 Winburg SA
Froude WGF Lt 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Rooidam 19141125 Rooidam, Gordonia SA
Fuller CL Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Furner WG Tpr 1st MR Natal Carbineers 19141125 Upington SA
Galpin RH Pte Graff Reinett Commando Steenkampspan 19141126 Steenkampspan, Gordonia SA
Geldenhuys ERJ Capt Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein SA
Goetz HB Lt De La Reys Commando Nooitgedagt 19141116 Potchefsroom SA
Good AH Pte 7th Inf Kimberley Regiment 19150426 Swakopmund SWA
Gowar NS Rfn Eastern Rifles 19141116 Heuningspruit SA
Grace TJ Sm Imperial Light Horse Rooidam 19141125 Rooidam SA
Greef HJ Bgr Krugersdorp Ruiters Vetrivier 19141107 Kingswood, Bloemhof SA
Greyling AJ Pte Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Grobler AP Pte 4th Inf 1st Eastern Rifles 19141017 Luderitz SWA
Grobler GJ Bgr Van Deventers Horse Zandfontein 19141109 Weltevrede, Rooiberg SA
Grobler S Bgr Ermelo Commandos 19141130 Vrede SA
Gronau CH Pte 5th MR Imperial Light Horse 19140926 Luderitz SWA
Hains RS Lt South African Mounted Rifles 19141105 Boksgurg SA
Handfield CR Cpl Natal Light Horse 19150506 Gibeon SWA
Hannum JT Sgt De La Reys Commando Nooitgedagt 19141216 Pretoria New SA
Hanthorne CJ Pte Natal Light Infantry Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Hardie JS Sgt Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Harley GA Rfn 4th South African Mounted Rifles Ramans Drift 19140914 Warmbad SWA
Harmse P South African Mounted Rifles Witsand 19141118 Witsand, Hay SA
Harmse WC Bgr Pietersburg Commando 19150617 Windhoek SWA
Harris AE BSM 8th Bat Citizens Force Artillery Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Harris RS Pte 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Harrison F Capt 7th Inf Kimberley Regiment Trekkopje 19150426 Trekkopje SWA
Hattingh DC Bgr Groblers Commando 19141102 Reitz SA
Hayward PM Pte De La Reys Commando Nooitgedagt 19141216 Pretoria New SA
Heinze HW Cpl South African Police 19141109 Pretoria Old SA
Hill WA Pte Natal Light Infantry Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Hitchcock HH Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Olievenbosch, Rooiberg SA
Hobson NS Lt Graaff-Reniett Commando 19141125 Ebenezer Farm, Pearston SA
Hohls SJL Tpr 4th MR Umvoti Mounted Rifles 19141120 Kestell SA
Holtzhauzen LC Bgr Bothas Scouts Otavifontein 19150701 Otavifontein SWA
Jackson GA Pte Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Jacobs PJ Bgr 1st Mounted Brigade Pforte SWA 19150320 Hoopstad SA
Janneskewitz EJ Cpl Heidelberg Commando 19141202 Kameelpoort, Reitz SA
Jansen DLC Bgr Naudes Commando 19141120 Lemoenplaats, Vredefort SA
Jeffery AG Tpr 1st MR Natal Carbineers Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Johnson WS Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Warmbaths SA
Jones CE Rfn South African Mounted Rifles Pienaars River 19141123 Brixton SA
Jooste FPJJ Bgr Krugersdorp Commando Riet/Pforte 19150320 Swakopmund SWA
Jordaan T South African Mounted Rifles Witsand 19141118 Witsand Hay SA
Joubert JJ Bgr Middelburg Commando 19150703 Tsumeb SWA
Joyner DK Rfn 5th MR Imperial Light Horse 19141216 Aus SWA
Kahts A Bgr Piet Retief Commando 19141116 Bloemfontein SA
Karremaker PA Tpr 14th Mounted Regiment 19141117 Senekal SA
Keeping HT Cpl 12th Bat Citizens Force Artillery 19141217 Luderitz SWA
Key FA Bdr Citizens Force Artillery Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
King A Capt Reserve Mounted Rifles Pienaars River 19141123 Pretoria New SA
Kirsten JF Bgr Rustenburg Commando 19141115 Rustenburg SA
Klerk J Capt Intelligence 19141118 Bloemfontein SA
Knott PMG Cpl 5th South African Mounted Rifles Namacunde 19170206 Obido SWA
Kobus WC Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Kock HBJ Bgr Vreyheid Commando 19141209 Kestell SA
Kotze GHD Bgr Brands Commando 19141125 Senekal SA
Kritzinger WD Pte Middelandse Ruiters Lutzputs 19150118 Lutzputs, Upington SA
Laarsen A Bgr Smiths Commando 19141121 Valsfontein, Hoopstad SA
Lambie A Pte 7th Inf Kimberley Regiment Trekkopje 19150426 Trekkopje SWA
Lane CM Rfn South African Mounted Rifles Nooitgedagt 19141216 Pretoria New SA
Le Roux DHG Rfn 4th South African Mounted Rifles Namacunde 19170206 Obido SWA
Lennox FG Pte Natal Light Horse Kheis Drift 19141118 Winstead Hay SA
Levine C Sgt Krugersdorp Commando Jakhalswater SWA 19150320 Randfontein SA
Liddel WW Pte 1st MR Natal Carbineers 19141130 Upington SA
Lilford NF Bgr Brands Commando Mushroom Valley 19141112 WinburgSA
Linde GJH Bgr Lemmer Scouts 19150512 Omaruru SWA
Lindsay G Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Lister H Cpl Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Loots JJJ Pte Britstown Commando 19141111 Kalkfontein farm, Britstown SA
Lottering CJ Bgr Rustenburg Commando 19141031 Klipkop, Rustenburg SA
Louw JLA Cpl Naudes Scouts 19150102 Upington SA
Mansfield WFE Bgr Brands Commando Mushroom Valley 19141112 Winburg SA
Mapham GW Geysers Commando 19141205 Warmbaths SA
Marais G Spr 2nd Armoured Train Virginia 19141116 Virginia Sidings SA
Marais KC Bgr Cradock Commando Schuitdrift 19141221 Schuitdrift SA
Mare W De La Reys Scouts Nooitgedagt 19141216 Pretoria New SA
Matheson RT Lt Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
McDonald GG RQMS 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
McLean R Cpl Natal Light Horse 19150506 Gibeon SWA
Mey JA Bgr Ermelo Commando Jakhalswater SWA 19150320 Lileburn, Carolina SA
Meyer FW Bgr Potchefstroom Commando Riet/Pforte SWA 19150320 Potrchefstroom SA
Miller S Bgr Brands Horse Mushroom Valley 19141112 Winburg Jewish SA
Miller S Bgr Geysers Commando 19141205 Warmbaths SA
Minnaar WLV Lt Carnarvon 19141223 Goodhouse
Mitchell F SM 5th Mounted Brigade Otavifontein 19150701 Otavifontein SWA
Morrow G Const South African Police Nooitgedagt 19141216 Braamfontein SA
Moult E Rfn South African Mounted Rifles Nooitgedagt 19141216 Pretoria New SA
Mulder BHJ Pte 8th MR Middelandse Ruiters 19150118 Cradock SA
Mutlow DB Rfn 5th South African Mounted Rifles 19141008 Upington SA
Mynhardt ZA Bgr Pietersburg Commando 19150617 Windhoek SWA
Nagel L Bgr Jones Pretoria Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein, Waterberg SA
Neethling JHS Lt South African Service Corps 19150204 Kakamas SA
Nel DG Bgr A Commando Zandfontein OFS 19141120 Senekal SA
Nel JD Bgr Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein SA
Nel JP SM Ermelo Commando Riet/Pforte 19150320 Swakopmund SWA
Nichols C Pte Natal Light Horse 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Niehaus 9th Mounted Rifles Witsand 19141118 Witsand SA
Nix JL Bgr Hoopstad Commando 19141123 Plessisrust, Hoopstad SA
Nolte JE Capt Heidelberg Commando 19141029 Primrose, Germiston SA
Norman CG Bgr Ermelo Commando 19150323 Karibib SWA
Northway FL Lt 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Oberholzer ME Brands 'B' Commando Zandfontein, OFS 19141120 Fauresmith SA
Oldwage SP Pte 18th MR Griqualand West Ruiters Upington 19150125 Upington SA
Olivier JWJ Bgr De Venters Commando 19141202 Bolivia, Reitz SA
Olson KLE Pte 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Oosthuizen NJ Bgr Frankfort Commando 19141218 Villiers SA
Opperman ASA Bgr Geysers Commando 19141125 Renosterpoort, Rankins Pass SA
Opperman DJE Bothas Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Pretoria New SA
Owens J Cpl 5th South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Oxenham WP Cpl 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Rooidam 19141125 Rooidam, Gordonia SA
Pascoe FD Pte Natal Light Infantry Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Pearce CH Pte Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Pescod CH Sgt Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Petersen TM Bgr Bloemhof Commando 19141116 Klerksdorp SA
Pexton H Tpr 1st MR Natal Carbineers Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Pfohl RF Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Namacunde 19170206 Obido SWA
Pickering NJ Cpl 8th Batt Ciizens Force Artillery Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Polden JJA Pte 12th Infantry 19150121 Luderitz SWA
Potgieter JH Pte 18th MR Griqualand West Ruiters Upington 19150125 Upington SA
Potgieter PJ 1 Pte Hanover/Colesberg Commando Lutzputs 19150118 Lutzputs SA
Potgieter PJ 2 Pte Hanover/Colesberg Commando Lutzputs 19150118 Lutzputs SA
Potgieter SP Bgr Rustenberg Commando Zoutpansdrift 19141031 Bethani, Rustenburg SA
Pretorius NT Tpr Colonel Badenhorst Column 19150318 Brixton SA
Pretorius PH Rfn South African Mounted Rifles 19141128 Pretoria New SA
Putter NJ Bgr Potchefstroom Ruiters Vetrivier 19141107 Kingswood, Bloemhof SA
Quinn JP Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Reid GS Pte 8th Infantry Trekkkopje 19150426 Trekkopje SWA
Richter JH Bgr Brands Column Mushroom Valley 19141112 Glen Gary, De Wetsdorp SA
Rossouw PAA Pte Springbok Commando Nous 19150123 Modderfontein, Gharies SA
Ruxton WR Cpl 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Rooidam 19141125 Rooidam, Gordonia SA
Sacks B Tpr Bloemhof Commando 19150416 Swakopmund SWA
Scheepers FJJ Sgt Waterberg Commando 19141120 Grootvlei, Nylstroom SA
Scheepers TE Tpr A Commando Zandfontein, OFS 19141220 Senekal SA
Seyffert WJ Bgr Potchefstroom Commando Riet/Pforte SWA 19150320 Goedgvonden, Klerksdorp SA
Shaw TH Tpr Celliers Commando 19141205 Henneman SA
Short JG Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Smit CJ Bgr Pietersburg Commando 19150525 Karibib SWA
Smit JJ Sgt Carnarvon Commando 19150203 Warmbad SWA
Smith N Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Namacunde 19170206 Obido SWA
Spargo E Cpl Natal Light Infantry Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Speight W Sgt Natal Light Horse Kheis Drift 19141118 Winstead, Hay SA
Spencer J Cpl 5th MR Imperial Light Horse 19141014 Upington SA
Steenkamp AJH Bgr Brands Horse Mushroom Valley 19141113 Bloemfontein SA
Steenkamp C South African Mounted Rifles Witsand 19141118 Witsand SA
Stephensen JW Sgt 8th MR Middelandse Ruiters 19150118 Fort Beaufort SA
Strydom GJ Pte 5th Mounted Brigade Otavifontein 19150701 Otavifontein SWA
Stumke JCA Lt Intelligence Corps Loubosch 19140929 Loubosch, Gordonia SA
Swanepoel JH Bgr Britstown Commando Kantorragas 19141113 Kantorragas, Kenhardt SA
Tapp AH Pte Natal Light Infantry Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Trollip NRP Tpr 8th MR Middelandse Ruiters Lutzputs 19150118 Bedford SA
Twine RF Cpl 1st South African Mounted Rifles Namacunde 19170206 Obido SWA
Van Baalen JP Rfn 5th South African Mounted Rifles 19140915 Warmbad SWA
Van Den Berg JD Bgr Pietersburg Commando 19150501 Karibib SWA
Van Den Heever JO Bgr Pietersburg Commando 19150430 Karibib SWA
Van Der Gryp WFR Lindley Commando 19141118 Bronkhorstfontein, Senekal SA
Van Der Hoven FH SSM Middleburg Commando Riet/Pforte SWA 19150320 Bethel New SA
Van Der Linde MS Bgr Reddersburg Commando Mushroom Valley 19141112 Winburg SA
Van Der Merwe JC Bgr T Bothas Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein, Waterberg SA
Van Der Merwe JL Const 2nd Military Constabulary Namacunde 19170206 Odibo SWA
Van Der Merwe PVS Lt 14th Mounted Regiment 19141117 Senekal SA
Van Der Ryden JH Bgr Britstown Commando 19141125 Grootdrink, Kenhardt SA
Van Der Westhuizen B Bgr Jagersfontein Commando Zandfontein, OFS 19141120 Koffiefontein SA
Van Der Westhuizen N Sgt South African Field Telegraph 19150114 Prieska SA
Van Heerden HS RQMS 8th MR Middleandse Ruiters 19150118 Kaalplaats, Cradock SA
Van Jaarsveld JC Bgr Oppermans Commando 19141207 Loopspruit, Bronkhorstspruit
Van Niekerk H Pte Kenhardt Commando Nous 19141222 Bladgrond Suid, Kenhardt SA
Van Niekerk ID Const 2nd Military Constabulary Namacunde 19170206 Odibo SWA
Van Rebsburg JHC Bgr Pietersburg Command 19150510 Karibib SWA
Van Rensburg DC Bgr 5th Mounted Brigade Otavifontein 19150701 Otavifontein SWA
Van Tonder WM Bgr Carolina Commando Riet/Pforte 19150320 Swakopmund SWA
Venter AJ Bgr Middelburg Commando 19150430 Swakopmund SWA
Visser EPJ Pte Springbok Commando Nous 19150123 Nousmond, Kenhardt SA
Vosloo JA Sgt Cradock Commando 19150124 Cradock SA
Ward SC Bgr Winburg Commando Doornberg 19141108 Winburg SA
Waters GJ Rfn 1st South African Mounted Rifles Sandfontein 19140926 Warmbad SWA
Watt JR Maj Natal Light Infantry Gibeon 19150517 Gibeon SWA
Wayland R Bgr Van Zyls Commando Xoungs Farm 19141116 Xoungs Farm, Witsand Hay SA
Webber RB Capt Rustenburg Commando Zoutpansdrift 19141101 Pretoria New SA
Wentworth EV Pte Light Horse Kheis Drift 19141118 Winstead hay SA
Whatmore WJL Pte 5th Inf Kaffrarian Rifles 19150415 Luderitz SWA
White EB Bgr Bloemhof Commando 19150416 Swakopmund SWA
Wiese C Bgr Britstown Commando Krantzkop 19141121 Krantzkop, Gordonia SA
Will Am Sgt Hanover/Colesberg Commando Lutzputs 19150118 Lutzputs, Upington SA
Will FG Lt Hanover/Colesberg Commando Lutzputs 19150118 Lutzputs, Upington SA
Williams C Capt Sutherland Commando 19150116 Goodhouse SA
Williams S Pte Natal Light Horse Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Wills JR Cpl 7th Inf Kimberley Regiment Trekkopje 19150426 Trekkpoje SWA
Winslow RL Pte 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Kolmanskop 19140925 Luderitz SWA
Winslow WL Pte 5th MR Imperial Light Horse Kolmanskop 19140925 Luderitz SWA
Woolley RC Cpl 4th MR Umvoti Mounted Rifles Gibeon 19150527 Gibeon SWA
Wrighton A Lt Geysers Commando Zandfontein 19141108 Zandfontein, Waterberg SA
Uys JN Lt Wolmaranstad Commando Riet/Pforte SWA 19150320 Rietkuil, Wolmaranstad SA

Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #9
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William Owen enlisted at the Cape Mounted Rifles recruiting office in London, England. He signed up on the 3rd of December 1899 and was soon on a ship bound for South Africa where he joined his unit to fight in the Anglo-Boer war. He served in the Transvaal, Orange Free State and finished the war in the Cape Colony where the C.M.R. spent frustrating but sometimes exciting months chasing groups of Cape Rebels through the bush.

In 1902 Owen was one of 18 men sent to London as part of the Coronation contingent before returning to South Africa to continue his service in the C.M.R.

On the right is a picture taken of Owen as a member of the coronation contingent.

The C.M.R. had established their headquarters at Umtata with bases in the outlaying districts. The C.M.R. could best be likened to a frontier police unit, although trained as soldiers their duties ranged from recording births to hunting murderers and it required a special kind of man to carry out the task. The men patrolled the bush, dealing with brandy smugglers, witchcraft, health inspectors and jailors. They formed the function of Commissioners of Oaths and customs officers.

Left: A Cape Mounted Rifleman in 1913

A few extracts from "Boot and Saddle" by P.J. Young can give an idea of the life Owen led from 1902 to the outbreak of the first world war.

"The life in the barrack-room was dull and somewhat petty. To live, work, eat, drink and sleep together on terms of equality presented a unique opportunity to understand each other. Some played games, some talked football, others got into endless arguments on various topics. The latter sometimes caused friction, finally ending up by one man inviting another to "step outside". The recruits arrived in small batches at Umtata and had to adapt themselves to the conditions that they found to be already in existence. The standard of discipline was high. A particle of impertinence offered to the most Junior N.C.O. was a crime and was punishable as such.

The average C.M.R. was a man with a good deal of simplicity. His code of living was simple; he saw life as a series of incidents with which he had to deal in a practical way. His pleasures were few: tennis, football, a gymkhana now and again, and an occasional "smoker". There was little opportunity to cultivate the mind, and our quarters, hopelessly bare and crude, offered no inducement to the exercise of individual taste. Few books came our way; we read anything. Our religion was relegated to the dim background of our mind. Socially we saw too much of each other on the outposts, and were hard put to find some diversion. Nevertheless, on the whole there was a good deal of lightheartedness."

In 1906 Owen was part of a small group of 6 Maxim machine guns (1 officer and 20 men) who were sent to Natal to help suppress the Zulu Rebellion, often named the "Bambata Rebellion" after the rebel leader. Chief Bambata ruled the Amazondi tribe in the area near the Tugela river. The C.M.R. detachment was engaged in a number of skirmishes with some hopelessly outgunned rebels and the detachment returned to the Cape without loss.

Queen's South Africa medal with "Cape Colony", "Orange Free State" and "Transvaal" bars named to "3491 Pte W. Owen C.M.Rifles"
King's South Africa medal with "South Africa 1901" and "South Africa 1902" bars named to "3491 Corpl W. Owen Cape M.R."
Natal Rebellion medal with "1906" bar named to "Cpl W. Owen Cape Mtd. Rifleman"
1914-15 star named to "Lt. W. Owen 1st S.A.M.R."
War medal named to "Lt. W. Owen"
Victory medal named to "Lt. W. Owen"
Coronation medal unnamed
In 1911 Owen was promoted to Sergeant and in 1913 the various Mounted Rifles units were merged into a Brigade with 5 units. The Cape Mounted Riflemen became the 1st South African Mounted Riflemen. In that year the S.A.M.R. was called to Johannesburg, where they participated in crushing the riots of the striking gold mines. In this action, 22 miners were killed and 200 wounded. While they were in Johannesburg Owen was promoted to Lieutenant.

Lt. Owen's participation in the First World War is described in the Battle of Sandfontein. Owen was captured along with his unit but he was sent back to the South African positions that same day due to the severity of his wounds. He had to have particles of shot removed from his face and was blinded for life. He was released from service as an honorary Captain and after his release his private life took a series of depressing and dramatic turns, largely due to his own making.

For a link to the casualties in the battle click HERE

The ambulance with which the Germans sent the blinded Lt. Owen back to the Union lines
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-25-2009   #10
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The Herero campaign in German South West Africa can with good reason be considered the first Genocide carried out by a Western nation in the 20th century.

A certain group of modern historians argues that it was not the German intention to exterminate the whole tribe, but period literature makes no effort to hide the fact that the soldiers involved were by no means disturbed at the thought of wiping out the race, or by the methods used.

Right:Award document for Heinrich Teske's Colonial commemorative badge

Gustav Frenssen wrote a book about the campaign that sold very well in Germany and seems to have captured the "Zeitgeist" of the German thoughts on the campaign. In "Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest" Frenssen, a nominee for the Nobel prize for literature, writes of the actions of the Schutztruppe and fate of the Herero as if if were simply a natural chain of events.

"We arrived at a place where the grass was flattened. I fell to my knees and examined the tracks. Countless children's feet intermingled with some adults. Large groups of children accompanied by their mothers moving to the North East. I walked a bit further to a tree and pulled myself up into the lower branches. There I saw it. Just 100m away on the moonlit slope, hundreds of huts with their low entrances and glowing embers. The crying of the children and the barking of a dog. There lay thousands of women and children under the grass roofs. Behind them on the slopes going to the top of the "Berg" stood more huts, difficult to see in the darkness, from there came the sound of barking dogs and cattle. I stared wide eyed at the scene and made note of the position. The thought went through my head "There lays a Race, with all its children, all its possessions... surrounded on all sides by shot and shell, sentenced to die"... I felt a shiver down my spine..."

It must be noted that Peter Moor does not find the notion to be disturbing, in fact, like in much period literature, the author finds it justifiable.

"I joined them and listened eagerly to what they had to say. They spoke of the past 15 years of struggle in the colony, and of the last three months of fighting. I was astonished that such hardship and glory had taken place and that not a word had been written about it, that so much German blood had been spilled in this hot and dry land.
Then the topic changed to the reasons for the rebellion. An older man who had lived in the colony for years spoke...
"Children, why are you so surprised? They were herders and free, and we are busy turning them into possession less workers. That angered them. They did what our ancestors in Northern Germany did in 1813, this is their liberation struggle."
"But with such barbarity!" protested someone.
The older man was unimpressed "Do you think it would have been different if our whole race had risen up against an oppressor? And are we not just as hard on them?"
The conversation turned to what we Germans wanted here in this land. It was agreed that it should be clear what our goals were. The missionaries came and said "You are our brothers, we want to give you faith, love and hope." and the soldiers and settlers said "We want your land, your cattle and to turn you into our workers."
It was ridiculous, it was either right to colonise, take away rights and turn into servants... or to Christianise and preach of brother love. Either one, or the other, to love... or to rule. Before or against Jesus. The missionaries were confusing them saying "You are our brothers!"... They are not! They are our servants, to be treated fairly but strictly. Our brothers? maybe in 100 or 200 years, first they must learn what we had to learn, to build dams and wells, to dig and plant maize, to build houses and weave cloth. Maybe then they will be brothers. You don't join a club until you have paid your dues!"

The skirmish at Hamakari was one of the first actions in the battle at the Waterberg. The headquarters column of the Schutztruppe was racing forward to capture the wells, with them was "Peter Moor", Hauptmann Max Bayer and Gefreiter Heinrich Teske, a artillery man in the 5th field artillery battery. The battery was one of a number of units which had been hastily formed with volunteers in Germany to help crush the rebellion.

Accounts of the skirmish can be found in most books dealing with the campaign, including detailed accounts in the "Peter Moor" story and number of works by Max Bayer (one of which is extensively quoted below).

On the right is a map that shows the position of the headquarters column at the moment they were surrounded. The 5th battery with Heinrich Teske was in the middle of the "Igl" but was later to move to the boundaries and engage in direct fire.

To continue to Teske's awards and an account of the battle, please click here.
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-27-2009   #11
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German South-West Africa,1914-1915

Watse vlag is daar in die agtergrond.??????

The South African campaign in German South-West Africa, 1914-1915

by Hamish Paterson

‘Urgent Imperial service’

On 9 July 1915 the German forces in South-West Africa (now Namibia) surrendered to the Union Defence Forces under the command of the prime minister of the Union of the South Africa, General Louis Botha. The Union Defence Forces had barely been in existence for three years when they secured what was seen at the time as the first major allied success of the First World War. This victory was achieved with a minimum of casualties in a war which has become a byword for slaughter. This and the ascendance to power in South Africa in 1924 of the National Party/Labour Party Alliance meant that the campaign would be largely forgotten, the National Party having opposed South Africa’s undertaking the campaign on behalf of the British Empire. Even today, very little has been published on this campaign and copies of the two main works, Collyer’s 1937 staff history and the 1991 popular history by L’Ange, are difficult to obtain.

This begs the question: why should we revisit the German South-West Africa Campaign? There are several reasons. Firstly, it was the only major campaign undertaken by a Dominion with very little Imperial support - mainly in the form of the provision of Royal Navy protection, a unit of Royal Navy armoured cars, aircraft for the South African Aviation Corps, and 20 000 Portuguese Model 1904 Mauser-Vergueiro rifles and twelve million rounds of ammunition. Secondly, owing to the young age of the Union Defence Forces, to fight the Germans, South Africa had to rely on the expertise and skills developed by the Cape colonial forces, Natal militia, Transvaal volunteer force and the commandos of the former Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. There was also the question of mobilising men who had been on opposing sides only twelve years earlier, during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 to 1902, many of whom perceived Germany to have been one of their major supporters during that conflict and some of whom saw the First World War as an opportunity for the former Boer republics to regain their independence. Those who were closer to the seat of power saw things differently. Botha and Smuts considered that the terms of the Treaty of Vereeniging were generous and that oaths of allegiance were binding. With the formation of the Union of South Africa, they felt that independence had effectively been achieved. Amongst those of British descent, the cause of the Empire enjoyed wide support.

The ‘urgent Imperial service’ which was requested of the Union of South Africa involved the capture of the ports of Lüderitz Bay and Swakopmund and the silencing of the radio transmitters there and especially of the powerful one in Windhuk which, when conditions permitted, was capable of sending signals to Nauen in Germany. The ports could be used as bases for German raiders, controlled and fed intelligence via the coastal wireless transmitters. These facilities, positioned as they were on the jugular vein of the British Empire, had to be denied to the German Reich. Capturing the ports called for an amphibious operation, which presented its own difficulties. For the Union Defence Forces, this type of operation was entirely new, but a land attack from the south was a logistical nightmare. The South African railheads at Steinkop and Prieska were between 80km and 480km from the border with German South-West Africa. In either case, the campaign would entail crossing a desert barrier before the more hospitable inland highlands could be reached. With military transport beyond the ports and railheads still dependent on animal traction, the pace of the campaign would be determined by the ability of the South African logistical apparatus to bring water to the forward troops and the provision of water would depend on how quickly railway lines could be constructed or repaired.

Officers of the Pretoria Regiment pose in front of a dune, Lüderitz Bay, German South-West Africa.

On 21 August 1914, while a group of senior officers met under the chairmanship of General (later Field Marshal) J C Smuts, a report was published in The Star about a German force digging trenches on a kopje in South African territory near Nakob. This invasion of South African territory was a highly provocative act. On the same day, some South African farmers who were returning to South Africa from South-West Africa were ordered by the Germans to go to Keetmanshoop. The farmers refused and an exchange of rifle fire followed, leaving one German soldier dead. These events helped to justify Botha’s decision to go to war with Germany.
The offensive in the south

At the senior officers’ meeting, the decision was taken to occupy Lüderitz Bay and to use naval gunfire to destroy the wireless station and harbour facilities at Swakopmund. Another force, Force A, was to land at Port Nolloth and operate against the southern border of German South-West Africa while Force B, based in Upington, was to apply pressure to the German colony’s eastern border. Force B, to be composed of mounted rifle units and machine guns, was to assemble at Upington under the command of the district staff officer of Military District No 12 (Prieska), Lt-Col S G Maritz. Mobilization of the Active Citizen Force (ACF) had already begun on 6 August and many ACF units were concentrating in Cape Town.

On 31 August 1914, Force A, consisting of two 4-gun artillery batteries, five regiments of South African Mounted Riflemen (three squadrons each), the Witwatersrand Rifles, a section of engineers and an ammunition column under the command of Brig-Gen H T Lukin, began landing at Port Nolloth.

Mounted units, such as the Witwatersrand Rifles (above), faced considerable challenges in the desert.

Force B was drawn from independent mounted and dismounted rifle squadrons which had been formed in 1913 and the machine gun sections of Prince Alfred’s Guard and the Kaffrarian Rifles (now the Buffalo Volunteer Rifles). Maritz’s mounted rifle unit resembled Boer commandos and did not have the formal structure and longer history of mounted rifle regiments like the Imperial Light Horse and the Cape Light Horse. There were considerable problems concealed within the force, not least of which was that Col Maritz had been in contact with the Germans and had been plotting rebellion since 1912. As events would show, he was unlikely to undertake his part in the Union Defence Forces’ plan.
The third force, Force C, was assembling in Cape Town and was waiting to go to Lüderitz Bay. The Union Parliament convened on 9 September and, on 11 September 1914, adopted a motion (92 votes to 12) which assured the King of the Union’s continued loyalty and support and endorsed all measures necessary to cooperate with the Imperial Government to maintain the security and integrity of the British Empire. Military preparations started to gain momentum, but so did those of the group who were opposed to South Africa’s participation in the war on the side of the Allies.

On 14 September, the South African Mounted Riflemen (SAMR) took Raman’s Drift. The next day Brig-Gen C F Beyers, commandant-general of the Active Citizen Force, and Major J C Kemp, district staff officer, Military District No 7, resigned their commissions. That evening, General Koos de la Rey was killed when Beyers’ car drove through a road block. This event delayed Kemp’s and Beyers’ plans. On 16 September, the Vrij Korps, a unit of Afrikaners who had refused to accept British rule and had gone into exile in German South-West Africa offering their services to Germany, attacked the South African Police Station at Nakob. The six-strong SAMR detachment was overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, a naval bombardment on 14 September had destroyed the wireless station at Swakopmund and, on the following day, Force C, consisting of one six-gun battery, a squadron of the Imperial Light Horse, the Transvaal Scottish, the Rand Light Infantry and a section of engineers, sailed from Cape Town, landing its scouts on the evening of 18 September and making an unopposed landing the next morning. Thus far, the Union Defence Forces’ plans were working. However, a disastrous advance to Sandfontein saw Col Grant’s SAMR, supported by two guns of the Transvaal Horse Artillery, surrounded and overrun on 26 September, while, at Upington, Maritz refused to move, claiming that his men were ill-equipped, untrained and not strong enough to operate against the Germans. His refusal to move contributed towards the Germans' ability to destroy Grant’s force at Sandfontein.

Maritz’s behaviour meant that action had to be taken. The Imperial Light Horse (ILH) was despatched to Upington from Cape Town and the Durban Light Infantry (DLI) was sent from Durban. The two units met at Prieska and reached the railhead, 198km from Upington, on 2 October. On being informed that reinforcements would be arriving, Maritz replied that he did not need them to defend Upington. That afternoon he proceeded towards the border with German South-West Africa. He went into open rebellion on 9 October, the day on which the DLI reached Upington. Maritz’s rebellion triggered a wider rebellion in South Africa which diverted troops who were to be deployed in German South-West Africa. On 8 December, the rebellion in the Orange Free State was over and by mid-December it had ended in the Transvaal.

Meanwhile, on 26 September 1914, Force C eliminated the German outpost at Grasplatz. In the aftermath of the defeat at Sandfontein, Force D, consisting of two ACF mounted rifle regiments and a further five infantry battalions, a six-gun battery of field artillery and two four-gun heavy artillery batteries, landed at Lüderitz Bay, allowing a slow advance to be undertaken inland to Aus, to where the Lüderitz Bay wire transmitter had been moved. To get there, however, the combined Forces C and D had to cross a 129km stretch of desert.

The Germans believed that, with their aid, the desert would destroy Central Force. Owing to superior logistics, however, Central Force triumphed. The main challenge lay in rebuilding the railway so that water could be supplied to the front line troops. On 8 November 1914, Central Force was able to take Tschaukaib and although no German soldiers were captured, 32km of intact railway line and an intact overhead water tank fell into South African hands. There the advance halted until 13 December 1914 when Central Force made its next advance. Three battalions of infantry were brought up to Tschaukaib in preparation for a raid on Garub. The raiding party encountered a well-entrenched German position which included two Maxim guns and a Pom-Pom. With no artillery, the raiding force could not dislodge the Germans and a stalemate ensued until a large force was seen leaving Aus. As it was likely that this force included artillery, the South Africans decided to withdraw and to consolidate the Tschaukaib position. Difficulties in providing water forced the replacement of the mounted rifle regiments with infantry. The Tschaukaib garrison also had to deal with intense heat, prolonged sandstorms, and intermittent air attacks.

Garub was finally occupied, unopposed, on 22 February 1915. To turn it into a base for the attack on Aus, the water holes had to be developed. By 22 March, the daily yield from the Garub wells was 270 000 litres of water and three mounted brigades were finally brought forward to Garub in preparation for the attack. On 26 March, General Louis Botha conferred with Brig-Gen McKenzie at Lüderitz Bay. Operations in the north had yielded documents indicating that the Germans had stripped the southern theatre in order to face the northern thrust from Walvis Bay. On the night of 28 March, the wireless transmitter went silent, further evidence of the imminent abandonment of Aus by the Germans. The last Germans departed on the night of 30 March, when Central Force left Garub. Aus, its formidable defences abandoned, was entered without opposition.

The Germans retreated northwards and the scene was set for a prolonged pursuit. It took nine days before the wells at Aus were able to support Central Force’s mounted troops. On 14 April a flying column was formed, consisting of three brigades of mounted rifles (two regiments per brigade) and one field gun battery. Leaving Aus on 15 April 1915, it covered 185km in four days, the mounted brigades having to move at intervals of a day to conserve water. The column followed the railway line to Kuibis, after which it cut across country to Bethanie and on to Besondermaid, where it surprised a group of six German soldiers. After a six hour rest, the advance continued, Berseba being reached at dawn on 22 April 1915. Here, two German officers and 28 men were rounded up after a chase. An NCO, who managed to escape, reported the presence of South African troops at Berseba, but the Germans were doubtful and a force approaching Berseba was surprised to find that South African troops were indeed in possession. Rifle fire provoked an instant pursuit which, after several hours, resulted in the capture of several prisoners.

At Berseba, the mounted brigades were united and the pursuit continued with the troops on short rations. On reaching Grundorn on 26 April, they found the telegraph line to be intact, enabling the interception of German telephone messages, which revealed that the Germans were unaware of the proximity of the South African flying column and intended leaving Gibeon that night. If the Central Force column moved fast enough, it might trap the German force. Scouts reported that a train was getting up steam in Gibeon Station and that there was much movement of supplies from the village to the station, but the Germans took their time leaving, not realising how close the Central Force was. The attack opened when a party of South African scouts and engineers was sent forward to blow up the railway line to Windhuk. Three mounted rifle regiments, the Umvoti Mounted Rifles, the 2nd Imperial Light Horse and Natal Light Horse, under the command of Col J P Royston, moved in after the demolition team.

Royston’s orders were to cut the German line of retreat, but he made several mistakes in deployment. The most serious of these was that he positioned his force too close to where the railway line had been blown up. A German patrol, sent to investigate the explosion, soon located his force, which was also unwisely deployed parallel to, rather than across, a possible German retreat. Poor reconnaissance on the part of Royston’s force also enabled a German machine gun to wreak havoc on the South African position from a nearby railway culvert. Inexplicably, too, Royston himself then went to the rear to bring up the Umvoti Mounted Rifles. In his absence, the commander of the 2nd ILH gave the order to retreat to the horses. When Royston returned, he ordered a general withdrawal. In the confusion that followed, a squadron of the inexperienced Natal Light Horse, left behind, was forced to surrender shortly after dawn. Royston withdrew his men 4,8km to the east to await daybreak.

The defeat of Royston’s force led the Germans to believe that they had removed the immediate threat to their position at Gibeon. The stocks of captured rifles were smashed and attention was given to the wounded. There were celebrations and a shaking of hands, but these were short-lived because already Brig-Gen McKenzie was beginning his attack from the south. By dawn, McKenzie’s men were closing in on Gibeon Station. A train in the station with steam up was immediately shelled by the 15-pr guns of the 12th Citizen Battery. The train crew surrendered immediately because the train was packed with explosives which, had they been detonated, could have destroyed everything within a range of 0,8km. The capture of these explosives was the first significant South African success during the battle for Gibeon. A running fight ensued when McKenzie tried to pin the Germans with his centre while attempting to outflank them on the left and right. The return of Royston’s force gradually forced the battle to the west. The pace of the action forced the Germans to abandon their artillery and machine guns and, eventually, after losing a quarter of their force, both field guns, and four of their six Maxim machine guns, they made good their escape. The South Africans lost 24 killed and 66 wounded, but recovered the captured men of the Natal Light Horse. The outcome of the action was that it cleared the southern regions of the German forces, preventing the onset of guerrilla operations there or a German threat to the flank of South Africa’s northern thrust.

The northern offensive

In the north, the early German victory at Sandfontein and the armed rebellion in South Africa had caused a delay in the defence of Walvis Bay and the securing of Swakopmund. On 25 December 1914, two infantry brigades (three battalions per brigade), a mounted rifle regiment, and seven field artillery guns, landed at Walvis Bay. Swakopmund was occupied, unopposed, on 3 January 1915. General Louis Botha arrived there on 10 February. On the following day, he assumed command of Northern Force with an additional two mounted brigades and a field gun which allowed the field artillery to be organized into two field batteries, one for each of the mounted brigades. Two more infantry battalions also arrived, and six heavy guns, forming one four-gun battery and a two-gun section. Except for the 1st ILH, Botha’s mounted troops consisted of commandos. On 23 February, having familiarised himself with the terrain and the strength of the German forces, Botha ordered Col P C B Skinner’s infantry and Col Alberts’ mounted brigades to move forward from Swakopmund. Skinner’s force captured Nonidas without incident, but the mounted brigade experienced some losses in a rearguard skirmish after its scouts lost their way, delaying the advance and enabling the Germans to slip away. At Heigamchab, 40km up the Swakop River, two options opened up for Botha: to advance along the Swakop River or along the railway line. He opted for the river route, a decision marked by a good omen - the Swakop River had one of its rare floods. In addition, wireless intercepts revealed that heavy rain had fallen inland and as far south as Keetmanshoop and Aus, raising hopes that there would be grass for the horses of the mounted brigades at Riet. The main difficulty lay in the shortage of transport. To sustain the advance, the daily lift of supplies from Walvis Bay had to be increased, entailing the suspension of either the railway construction or the river advance. Accordingly, Botha halted railway construction from 23 February to 3 March 1915. All mounted troops except the Imperial Light Horse were withdrawn to Walvis Bay so that they could be fed.

Infantry garrisons were in place at Goanikontes, Heigamchab, and Husab, and Skinner’s brigade was covering the construction of the railway line, but the Germans failed to interrupt the South African supply route up the Swakop. This may be attributed to a different approach to the defence of South-West Africa by the more passive Major Victor Francke, who replaced the late Colonel J von Heydebreck, architect of the trap at Sandfontein. The interception of German wireless messages also greatly facilitated Botha’s plans.

By 18 March 1915, the South Africans were ready to advance on Riet and Pforte, positions held by the Germans. The Riet position was strong, the Germans having made good use of the banks of the Swakop River and the Langer Heinrich range of hills. By dawn, 20 March 1915, the South Africans were in position to strike, success depending on the effectiveness of flank attacks. The South African right flank attack stalled because the Langer Heinrich proved to be impassable to horses. The attack on the Pforte position was more successful, Col Alberts launching attacks simultaneously on the railway gap on the South African left and on the nek at the foot of Husab Berg. Artillery fire kept the attack on the railway at bay, but the nek was taken and two commandos were immediately rushed up to consolidate the position and to launch further attacks. Dust and uncertain light played havoc with the effectiveness of the German machine guns and eventually the railway was occupied and the German line of retreat was cut. This forced the Germans to redeploy, ending their artillery fire and thus enabling the commandos to capture part of Pforte Berg. The reserves and the artillery moved through the captured nek and, at 08.30, after two hours of fighting, the German force surrendered. Col Alberts’ men captured 209 Germans and two guns; additional prisoners were taken when a small group at the railway gap surrendered after being subjected to artillery fire.

In the third action of the day, the long outflanking movement by the left wing of the 2nd Mounted Brigade under Col W R Collins led to the cutting of the railway line just west of Jakkalswater and a brief skirmish with the German reserve. Forty-three men, whose horses had been killed by artillery fire, were taken prisoner. The victory at Pforte led directly to the German withdrawal from the Riet position but pursuit was out of the question owing to a lack of water and the spent condition of the South Africans’ horses. On 21 March 1915, the South Africans made a reconnaissance to Modderfontein. The result was the capture of the camp there together with a large quantity of supplies and, most significantly, documents showing that most of the German forces were in the north. Again, logistics prevented pursuit - the expected grass at Riet had failed to materialise and the mounted troops had to be withdrawn to Swakopmund so that the horses could be fed from the ships. The mining of water holes and other places frequented by soldiers added to the delay. An infantry garrison (DLI) replaced the mounted brigades and a commando was placed on reconnaissance duty.

Supplies had to be built up at Riet before an advance could be attempted. In the meantime, the Northern Force was forced to eat the oxen of the heavy artillery. Logistic concerns continued to plague Botha when he ordered the resumption of the advance on 26 April 1915. Some relief came in the form of the arrival at Swakopmund of the Royal Navy’s No 1 Armoured Car Division, the vehicles requiring less water than an equivalent number of mounted riflemen.

On the night 25/26 April 1915, the Germans attacked the railhead at Trekkopies. Out on reconnaissance when a force was detected marching towards his camp, Col Skinner left two troops to shadow the enemy while he returned to camp and ordered the Rhodesian Regiment and two heavy guns to be brought forward from Swakopmund. At 05.45 the Germans blew up the railway line to the north of Skinner’s camp, but failed to cut the South Africans' line of communications. At 07.40, the Germans launched an attack with artillery and mounted infantry, advancing on foot from the north and west, but were repulsed by the infantry and the Royal Navy’s armoured cars. Skinner began a counter-attack at 10.30, but, owing to a lack of artillery, it failed to make much of an impression. The South Africans suffered nine killed and 32 wounded to seven Germans killed, fourteen wounded and thirteen unwounded prisoners left on the battlefield.

The strike from Riet had been entrusted to the 1st and 2nd Mounted Brigades under Brig-Gen C J Brits, and the 3rd and 5th Mounted Brigades under the command of Brig-Gen M W Myburgh. Brits’s force mustered 4 273 rifles and the equivalent of two artillery batteries. Myburgh controlled 4 595 men and two artillery batteries. There was also an infantry brigade available for field operations. The lines of communications were protected by an infantry brigade, two infantry battalions, two squadrons of the Southern Rifles (a dismounted rifle regiment serving in the infantry role), the Royal Navy armoured cars, the Imperial Light Horse, and four guns.

By 28 April 1915, Northern Force’s preparations were complete. Setting its sights on Tsaobis, Gen Myburgh’s force began to advance along the edge of Khomas Highland. General Brits’s objective was Kubas, with support provided by Col Wylie’s infantry brigade. By the following day, Gen Myburgh’s men had taken Kaltenhausen after undertaking a march without much water over heavily-mined terrain. Losses were slight, mainly owing to the alertness of the troops and their bypassing of the narrow parts of the tracks. Water was obtained from the Swakop and grazing at Otjimbingwe, which was reached on 30 April 1915. As the South Africans moved northwards, the Germans retreated north of the Swakopmund-Windhuk railway line, abandoning Windhuk to prevent being caught between the Northern Force and the Southern and Central forces, thus prolonging their campaign. On 12 May, Windhuk surrendered to General Botha, fulfilling the requirements of the urgent Imperial service, but it then became necessary to eliminate the remaining German forces.

After the surrender of Windhuk, General Louis Botha reads out the proclamation at the Rathaus.

Once again, logistic difficulties brought military operations to a halt. For ten days from 5 May 1915, South African units facing the German forces along the Usakos-Okahandja railway suffered severe shortages of rations and other supplies. On 15 May 1915, the railway had progressed sufficiently to resume the supply of the Northern Force. The South Africans were building up strength in preparation for further action when the Germans asked for an armistice to discuss peace terms, proposing that a neutral zone be set up south of 22° latitude, north of which they would retain control. General Botha made it clear that he would only accept total surrender, but the Germans rejected this, believing that they could sustain themselves in the north.
The South Africans then prepared a strike force consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th Mounted Brigades, the right wing of the 3rd Mounted Brigade, and the 1st Infantry Brigade, supported by five field batteries (each comprising four 13-pr quick-firing guns), a battery of 4-inch guns, a battery of 6-inch guns, a battery of 6-inch howitzers, two 12-pr naval guns, and two 5-inch howitzers. Logistic support was provided by 532 wagons and, for the first time in the campaign, units had more than two days’ supplies on hand. By 17 June 1915, the strike force was ready to be deployed.

On the left, at Klein Aus, was Brig-Gen Brits’s force (Colonel-Commandant L A S Lemmer’s 1st Mounted Brigade). Brig-Gen Lukin’s 6th Mounted Brigade was at Usakos and Col P S Beves’ 1st Infantry Brigade was at Erongo. On Lukin's right, Brig-Gen H W N (Manie) Botha's 5th Mounted Brigade was based on Johann Albrecht’s Hohe and Brig-Gen Myburgh’s command (Colonel-Commandant J J Alberts’ 2nd Mounted Brigade and Colonel-Commandant Jordaan’s right wing of the 3rd Mounted Brigade) held positions between Wilhelmstal and Okasise.

The advance began on 20 July 1915, Myburgh’s command embarking on a long outflanking drive which would take them past the Waterberg, through Grootfontein, and finally to Tsumeb, effectively preventing a German retreat north of Khorab. Lukin’s command moved up the railway line to attack the Germans at Kalkveld, but before they reached this position, the Germans had retreated. Meanwhile, Brig-Gen Brits moved his brigade from Otjiwarongo to Etosha Pan and then turned south-east to prevent a German retreat in that direction. The pursuit along the railway continued and on 1 July 1915, the South Africans caught up with the Germans at Otavi before they could properly deploy their 3 400 men, 36 guns and 22 machine guns against 3 200 South Africans and eight guns. Four men were killed and seven wounded before the South Africans forced the Germans to abandon Otavi and to retreat to Khorab. The South Africans then paused to recover their strength.

On 3 July 1915 an emissary arrived from the German governor, bringing a proposal that the German forces and their equipment be interned until the end of the war. This was flatly rejected by General Botha, who immediately set about continuing his preparations to advance, South African aircraft monitoring the German position at Khorab. A second emissary from the German governor then arrived, asking for South Africa’s terms for a cessation of hostilities and requesting a meeting. General Botha agreed to this and the meeting was conducted at Kilometre 500 at 10.00 on 6 July1915. General Botha’s terms were that regular officers would be released on parole, other ranks would be interned, and reservists would be allowed to return home. All machine guns, artillery, stores and transport, however, were to be handed over. The Germans had three options: to surrender, to resume fighting to the end, or to resort to guerrilla warfare. They were very unhappy about handing over their artillery and requested an extension of time. Eventually, however, Botha lost patience and informed them that unless the terms were accepted by 02.00 on 9 July 1915, fighting would resume. Acceptance of the terms was received at 02.30 and at 10.00 the Germans formally surrendered.

South Africa celebrated wildly. The British Imperial Forces in France cheered the victory. However, in a war marked by blunder and butchery, the low casualties of a campaign of manoeuvre would ensure that the victory would be forgotten, and the triumph of the Pact Government in South Africa in 1924 would consign the first permanent Allied victory of the First World War to virtual oblivion.


J J Collyer, The Campaign In German South West Africa, Government Printer, Pretoria, 1937.
G L’Ange, Urgent Imperial Service, Ashanti, Rivonia, 1991.
A C Martin, The Durban Light Infantry, Volume I, The Headquarters Board of The Durban Light lnfantry, Durban, 1969 (Other regimental histories of the units which took part in the campaign were also onsulted, but the Durban Light Infantry history is the most detailed and contains information not found elsewhere concerning significant operations during the campaign).
A G McKenzie, Delayed Action, privately published, undated.
W S Rayner and W W O'Shaugnessy, How Botha & Smuts Conquered German South West, privetely published, 1915.
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-27-2009   #12
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World War I

[edit] South-West Africa Campaign (1914–1915)

In sand, South West Africa Campaign, WWI. Note oxen.

The same guns and "Percy Scott carriages" were used by South African forces against German forces in the South-West Africa Campaign in World War I. Guns were landed at Lüderitz Bay in October 1914 and later at Walvis Bay in February 1915 and moved inland across the desert in support of South African troops.

[edit] Western Front (1914–1917)

On 1900 Mk I "Woolwich" carriage, Sausage Valley, Somme 1916.

Germans with captured QF gun, on "Woolwich" carriage, in Belgium

Up to 92 QF 4.7 inch guns on more modern Mk I "Woolwich" carriages dating from June 1900 with partially effective (12 inch) recoil buffers, and on heavier "converted" carriages from old RML 40 pounder guns, went to France with Royal Garrison Artillery units, mostly of the Territorial Force, in 1914–1917.
They figured prominently in the early battles, such as at Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 where there were 32, and only 12 60 pounders, assigned to counter-battery fire. General Farndale reports that counter-battery fire there failed to deal with the German artillery, but ascribes the failure to the as yet imprecise nature of long range map shooting, and the difficulty of maintaining forward observers on the flat terrain.[8]
By the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9 May 1915 the barrels of the 28 guns of the 3rd and 8th Heavy Brigades and the 1st West Riding and 1st Highland Heavy Batteries engaged were now so worn that driving bands were stripped off shells at the muzzle, limiting accuracy.[9] In addition two guns in the armoured train "Churchill" were in action at Aubers Ridge. Thirty-three 60 pounders were available. Counter-battery fire again failed due to the inaccuracy of the worn-out guns and also because the army still lacked accurate means of locating enemy guns[10], as air observation and reporting and use of radio was only beginning.
The inaccuracy through wear and relatively light shell diminished their usefulness in the developing trench warfare, and they were replaced by the modern 60 pounder guns as they became available. At the Battle of the Somme in June–July 1916 there were 32 4.7-inch (120 mm) guns and 128 60-pounders engaged.[11] The last were however not withdrawn until April 1917. Guns withdrawn from the Western Front were redeployed to other fronts such as Italy and Serbia.[12]

[edit] Battle of Gallipoli (1915)

Dragging the gun up to its position at Anzac, July 1915.

Gun in emplacement at Anzac, Gallipoli.

A 4.7 inch gun was used by the 1st Heavy Artillery Battery, a joint unit of Australians and Royal Marines, on Gallipoli to counter long range Turkish fire from the "Olive Grove" (in fact "Palamut Luk" or Oak Grove)[13] between Gaba Tepe and Maidos. Lt-Colonel Rosenthal, commanding 3rd Australian Field Artillery Brigade, noted : "I had made continual urgent representations for two 4.7-inch guns for right flank to deal with innumerable targets beyond the range of 18-prs., but it was not till 11 July that one very old and much worn gun arrived, and was placed in position on right flank, firing its first round on 26 July.[14]" This gun was destroyed and left behind at the withdrawal from Gallipoli but later salvaged as a museum piece.[15] The burst barrel is on display at the Australian War Memorial.
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-27-2009   #13
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LOL Waste vlag wapper hier op die foto
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-30-2009   #14
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1910 Germany sends a diplomatic note to Great Britain stating that Germany "presume[s] that the Government of Great Britain will agree to the eastern boundary of the German Territory being formed by a line ... following the thalweg of the Zambezi". This note also links the south-western Caprivi Strip border between the Okavango River south of Andara and the Chobe River (the Germans insist on a border which is parallel to the latitude while the British insist on a border which runs parallel to the northern border with Angola and which is 20 English miles wide) with the Oranje River border, which they want to follow the thalweg of the river and not, as agreed in 1890, the northern high-water line of the Oranje River. Great Britain feels it is in a strong position concerning the Caprivi Strip border, but in the case of the Oranje River border it feels its position is doubtful. Thus Great Britain ignores the note and the situation regarding the Zambezi border is only rectified in 1933, while the position regarding the southern border of the western Caprivi Strip is not resolved, and the border not demarcated, until 1965. The dispute around the south-western Caprivi Strip border, were the British border position to be followed, would result in a loss to the German colony of 7 km at the Okavango River and 48 km at the Chobe River.
The Topnaar Nama (#Aonin) Chief, Piet ||Haibeb, dies (perhaps in 1909). Successor is Tuob Jonas |Khaoreb (until 1914).
The Ovambo workforce has increased to 6 000 (from 1 700 in 1907).
"Black" South African workers employ strike actions, public meetings and other forms of protest to combat injustice and maltreatment.
Some 1 400 "whites" (1 200 Germans) live in Lüderitz, while the Swakopmund population comprises some 1 500 "whites", and several thousand "blacks" and "coloureds". The latter do not live in separate " locations" but are scattered around the town.
Near Cape Cross a single diamond is discovered.
Around this year salt production on a small scale commences in the Panther Beacon Pan, nine kilometres north of Swakopmund.
The Central Mining and Investment Corporation commissions the Kohero Tin Mine.
The lighthouse tower at Swakopmund is extended by a further 10 m to 21 m.
A new navigational light tower is erected at Diaz Point in Lüderitz.
First radioactive materials are discovered near Rössing.
The Colonial Railway Draft Bill of 1910 makes provision for the reconstruction of the Windhoek-Karibib state railway line to the broader "Cape gauge" standard, and for the construction of a new north-south Cape-gauge line from Keetmanshoop to Windhoek. Construction of the north-south Windhoek-Keetmanshoop line begins from both ends. The Rehoboth station is planned at 98 km, i.e. 11 km from the town of Rehoboth, at the request of the Basterrat (Council of Basters). Construction is undertaken by the Deutsche Kolonial Eisenbahn Bau und Betriebs Gesellschaft.
During the main phase of "white" settlement the Colonial Government begins with the establishment of "native reserves" and game parks. The later South African " homeland policy" is merely a continuation of the German colonial policies in the territory.
Of the total area of German South West Africa, 13% is now farm land in "white" hands.
In Swakopmund Rudolf Kindt establishes the newspaper Südwest - Unabhängige Zeitung für die Interessen des gesamten Schutzgebietes.
In the Kavango the Uukwangali King Himarua dies. His successor is the Hompa Kandjimi Hawanga who rules until 1924. He has family connections to the Uukwambi royal house in Ovamboland. It is during his reign that the missionaries and the colonial administrations start to make a significant impact on the Kwangali area. The Uukwangali kingdom straddles the border between Angola and Namibia. This means that when Hawanga and his people are threatened by the Portuguese authorities, he moves south and when menaced by the German/South African administrations he goes north. Shortly before the death of Hompa Himarua, the Germans establish a police station at Nkurenkuru. Hompa Kandjimi and his two brothers, Sirongo and Siteketa, are fighting against the neighbouring Kavango kingdom of Mbunza. After some disputes between the two brothers, Siteketa flees to the Hompa Nyangana of Gciriku. In spite of this Siteketa is killed by Kandjimi.
A fresh attempt to open the "treasure house" of the Kaokoveld is made by the 1910-1912 expedition of J. Kuntz, a geologist. For the first time he reaches the main village Ombepera (west of Otjiyandjasemo) of Ovatjimba Chief Kasupi from the east.
Hans Richard Kaufmann becomes the new Caprivi Strip District Governor. Kaufmann proposes shifting the Caprivi Strip capital from Schuckmannsburg to Sambala at the Kwando River ( Mashi River), due to the unfavourable conditions resulting from regular flooding of the Zambezi River and a malaria epidemic. This proposal is rejected by the Windhoek Administration.
07.02. The post office at Richthofen is closed.
20.02. Bruno Helmut Erich von Schuckmann takes leave and is dismissed.
27.02. The post office at Abbabis is closed.
05.03. The Bondelswarts Chief Johannes Christian dies in South Africa.
12.03. Hatzamas Post Office is re-opened and is now called Hatsamas Post Office.
30.03. OMEG sells the Otavi railway lines from Swakopmund to Tsumeb, Otavi to Grootfontein and Onguati to Karibib, as well as the water supply system in Usakos, to the German Administration. All other private railway lines are also taken over by the state, but are still leased to private companies. On 01.04. the OMEG railway is leased back to OMEG.
31.03. Joachim von Heydebreck succeeds Ludwig von Estorff as Schutztruppe Commander.
April The Windhoek-Karibib railway broadening project is in full swing.
16.04./03.05. The Territorial Council (Landesrat) convenes for the first time.
30.04. All ground works of the Windhoek-Karibib railway broadening project are completed.
21.05. Father Joseph Gotthardt establishes a Roman Catholic mission station at Nyangana.
31.05. Walvis Bay becomes part of the Cape Colony within the Union of South Africa.
02.06. The last train travels on the lower section of the state railway line. The Jakkalswater and Khan stations are closed. Some trains still travel at irregular intervals in the years to come (until 1914).
01.07. The post office at Haris is closed.
10.07. A post office is opened at Conception Bay (Empfängnisbucht).
30.08. Governor von Schuckmann leaves the colony. His successor is Theodor Seitz.
Arrival of the new Governor, Theodor Seitz, in Swakopmund, 1910
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks
Sept./October Cape workers ("Cape Nguni") employed in Wilhelmstal on the Karibib-Windhoek railway broadening project attempt to contact railway officials and are attacked by soldiers. At least 14 die.
22.09. Von Lindequist announces that the railways will now be named the Deutsch-Südwestafrikanische Eisenbahn (DSWAE).
01.10. A post office is opened at Fahlgras (Windhoek).

Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-30-2009   #15
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Some South African Boers fight alongside the Germans. The skirmish of Rooisvley under the command of Commander Andries de Wet ensues (Another battle takes place at Keimoes on 22.10.). The last battle of the Boer Free Corps is fought in Upington (24.01.1915). The Boers surrender on 31.01.1915.

First World War

Skirmish at Kummernais, August 1914
Skirmish at Beenbreck, September 1914
Skirmish at Nakop, September 1914
Skirmish at Ramansdrift, September 1914
Battle of Sandfontein, September 1914
SA Shelling of Swakopmund, September 1914
Skirmish at Walvis Bay, September 1914
Attack on Fort Cuangar (Angola), October 1914
Skirmish at Naulila (Angola), October 1914
Demolition of Railway Line Port Nolloth-Steinkopf by Germans, October 1914
Skirmish at Keimoes, October 1914
Skirmish at Rooisvley, October 1914

Attack on Fort Bunya (Angola), November 1914
Attack on Fort Dirico (Angola), November 1914
Attack on Fort Shambyu (Angola), November 1914
German Conquest of Fort Mucusso (Angola), November 1914
Skirmish at Naulila (Angola), December 1914
Skirmish at Nous (south of Stolzenfels), December 1914
Battle of Upington (South Africa), January 1915
Conquest of Goanikontes, February 1915
Skirmish at Kakamas, February 1915
Demolition of Railway Line Pomona-Bogenfels by SA, February 1915
Battle of Pforte-Jakkalswater-Riet, March 1915
Battle of Gibeon, April 1915
Skirmish at Kabirab, April 1915
Skirmish at Kabus, April 1915
Skirmish at Heuras, April 1915
Skirmish at Uitdraai, April 1915
Skirmish at Garies, May 1915
Battle of Sam-Khubis, May 1915
Battle of Otavifontein, July 1915
Skirmish at Ghaub, July 1915 (last skirmish during World War One)
Battle of Omongwa, September 1915

Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-30-2009   #16
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Südwestafrika - deutsche Kolonie von 1884 bis 1919
Verwaltungszentrum Windhuk
Geschichte - Deutsch-Südwest im 1. WK - Ansichtskarten - Briefmarken - Farbfotos - Schutzvertrag

Deutsch-Südwestafrika Karte von 1912
Wappen Deutsch-Südwestafrika
Deutsch-Südwestafrika Briefmarke

"Deutsch-Südwest-Afrika - Bismarckstraße - Lüderitzbucht" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

Bezeichnung im 19. Jahrhundert:Bucht von Angra Pequena und Hinterland
Heutiger Landesname: Namibia
Jahr der Besitzergreifung:1884 durch Heinrich Vogelsang
Gesamtbevölkerung:1897: 2628 Europäer, davon 1221 Deutsche
1904: 200 000 Einheimische, 4 800 Europäer davon ca. 2 500 Deutsche
Bewohner:Zahlreichste Bewohner sind die Hereros, ein Bantustamm, nach Schinz geschätzte 86 000 Menschen (andere Schätzungen sprechen von 35 000 - 45 000 Hereros). Sie bewohnen das innere Hochland nördlich vom Swakop, nordwärts bis jenseits Waterberg, ostwärts bis zum 18. Grad östlicher Länge von Greenwich, 80-90000 km². Die Bergdamara (nach Missionar Viehe geschätzte 35 000), durchaus verschieden von den "Hottentotten", kommen südlich von der Etoshapfanne in ganz Deutsch-Südwestafrika vor und leben in kleinen Abteilungen zwischen den Herero und "Hottentotten". Die "Hottentotten" (ca. 10 000) oder Nama finden sich in Groß-Namaland und einem Teil des Kaokofeldes. Die Ovambo (ca. 60 000), ein Bantustamm im Ambolande, zwischen dem 18. Grad südlicher Breite und dem Kunene. Die Buschmänner, einige Tausend an Zahl, führen in der Kalahari und in dem Gebiet zwischen der Etoshapfanne und Damaraland ein ungebundenes Leben. Die Bastards, stärkste Niederlassung bei Rehoboth (sämtlich Christen), sind Mischlinge von Europäern und "Hottentotten" (nach Wagner 2000 Menschen). Die weiße Bevölkerung beträgt nach der Zählung vom 1. Januar 1897 2 628 Personen, davon 1 221 Deutsche.
"Hottentotten" ist eine zeitgenössische Bezeichnung für das Volk der Nama. Holländische Siedler gaben ihnen, ihrer eigentümlichen Sprache wegen, den Namen "Hottentotten" (Stotterer). Sie selbst bezeichnen sich als Khoi-Khoi (die wahren Menschen) oder als Nama - nach ihrem Siedlungsgebiet Namaqualand, das wiederum nach einem Herrscher aus grauer Vorzeit benannt ist.
Das Wort "Bastard" wurde in Südwestafrika nicht in demselben Sinne gebraucht wie in Europa. Vielmehr versteht man hier unter dieser Bezeichnung ausschließlich einen Abkömmling der von Buren und Namafrauen stammenden Mischlinge. Da diese Abstammung bereits mehrere Menschenalter zurücklag, wurde der Name Bastard zu einer vollgültigen Stammesbezeichnung, die damals in demselben Sinne gebraucht wurde wie etwa die Stammesnamen der "Hottentotten".
Fläche:835 100 qkm (Deutsch-Südwestafrika ist ungefähr 1,5 mal so groß wie das Deutsche Reich)
Währung:Mark und Pfennig
Eisenbahnkilometer 1914:2104 km
Hauptwaren, Handel und Verkehr:Die Schiffsverbindung mit Deutschland bewerkstelligt seit 1898 die Woermann-Linie am 25. jeden Monats. Die Schiffsverbindung zwischen Kapstadt und Walfischbai übernimmt der Küstendampfer "Leutwein", Abfahrt alle 5 Wochen. Verkehrsmittel im Innern für Personen und Frachten ist der Ochsenwagen; mit 10 bis 20 Ochsen bespannt, diese legen täglich, beladen mit 30 bis 50 Zentnern, 18 bis 35 km zurück.
Der Bau einer schmalspurigen Feldbahn von Swakopmund nach Windhoek wurde von der Regierung im Jahre 1897 in Angriff genommen.
Eingeführt werden fast alle Gegenstände des europäischen Marktes, insbesondere Getränke, Tabak, Kaffee, Konserven, Mehl, Reis, Bekleidungs- und Schmucksachen. Einfuhr 1897: 887 325 Mark.
Ausgeführt werden Viehhäute, Hörner, Straußenfedern, Harze, Gerbstoffe, Guano (Cap Cross), rohe Felle. Ausfuhr 1897: 1 246 749 Mark.
Bewässerung und Bodengestalt:In seiner ganzen Ausdehnung ist Deutsch-Südwestafrika eine bis zu 1 200 m anfangs sanft, dann meist steil ansteigende Terrassen-Landschaft, die sich ca. 300 km vom Meere entfernt landeinwärts zu senken beginnt. Die Breite des wüsten Küstengürtels beträgt mehrere Tagesreisen, doch bilden die größeren Flüsse Oasen. Als Hafenplätze werden benutzt die Lüderitzbucht (Angra Pequena), der Sandwichhafen, die englische Walfischbai an der Mündung des Kuisseb, und Swakopmund an der Mündung des Swakop. Im Innern befinden sich vereinzelt und unregelmäßig verteilt zahlreiche Gebirgszüge, Kuppen und Bergreihen, die um mehrere 100 m über das Durchschnittsniveau der Landoberfläche emporragen (Gneis und Granit). Im Süden das 2000 m hohe Karasgebirge, zwischen Rehoboth und Windhoek das Auasgebirge (2130 m hoch), weiter nördlich der Omatakoberg (2680 m hoch). Nach Osten fällt das Plateau zu der im Innern 500 m tiefer gelegenen Kalaharisteppe ab. Die der Küste vorgelagerten Guanoinseln (zwischen 24° 37' und 28° S), sowie das Territorium der Walfischbai sind im Besitz der britischen Kapkolonie
Sämtliche vorhandenen Flüsse können zu Verkehrszwecken nicht benutzt werden. Nur der Orange und Kunene, sowie der sich in den Ngamisee ergießende Okavango haben das ganze Jahr hindurch fließendes Wasser, die übrigen sich in den Atlantischen Ocean ergießenden Flüsse liegen während des größten Teils des Jahres trocken und bilden selbst zur Regenzeit selten ununterbrochene Wasseradern (Swakop, Kuisseb). Quellen finden sich in größerer Zahl im Hererolande; hier ist auch die Regenmenge bedeutender als in Groß-Namaland.
Klima:Das Klima ist im Sommer heiß, aber trocken und gesund. Der Winter ist durchaus gemäßigt und Nachtfröste sind im Innern nicht selten. Der Küstenstrich ist gleichmäßig kühl und hat bis 50 km landeinwärts nur Nebelniederschläge. Vorherrschende Winde aus südlicher Richtung, in der wärmeren Jahreshälfte (Oktober - März) auch Winde aus nördlicher Richtung, welche die Hauptregenzeit von Januar bis März verursachen.
Verwaltungsbezirke:An der Spitze steht der Gouverneur. Das Schutzgebiet gliedert sich in die 6 Bezirke: Keetmannshoop, Windhoek, Otyimbingwe, Gibeon, Swakopmund und Outyo. Diesen sind eine Anzahl von Ortspolizeibehörden unterstellt. Die Bergbehörde befindet sich in Windhoek.
Stationen (von N nach S und W nach 0 geordnet:Offizierstationen:
Grootfontein in Damaraland, Franzfontein, Outyo, Omaruru, Okahandya, Swakopmund, Otyimbingwe, Windhoek,(Iobabis, Gibeon, Keetmannshoop.
Otavifontein, Cap Cross, Okombahe, Gr. Barmen, Haigamkhab, Ururas, Rehoboth, Grootfontein im Namalande, Koes, Lüderitzbucht, Uhabis, Warmbad, Ukamas, Marienthal, Khabus, Haaseuer.


Reichskommissare und Gouverneure
5/1885 - 8/1890 Dr. Heinrich Ernst Göring, Reichskommissar, späterer Landeshauptmann1839 - 1913
8/1890 - 3/1891Louis Nels (stellvertretend)1855 - 1910
3/1891 - 15.03.1894Hauptmann Curt von François, späterer Landeshauptmann1852 - 1931
15.03.1894 - 19.08.1905Major Theodor von Leutwein, Landeshauptmann, ab 1898 Gouverneur1849 - 1921
19.08.1905 - 11/1905Lothar von Trotha (stellvertretend)1848 - 1920
11/1905 - 20.05.1907Friedrich von Lindequist, Gouverneur1862 - 1945
20.05.1907 - 20.06.1910Bruno von Schuckmann, Gouverneur1857 - 1919
28.08.1910 - 09.07.1915Dr. Theodor Seitz, Gouverneur1863 - 1949

Curt von Francois, 1. Kommandeur der Schutztruppe in DSW (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

Theodor Gotthilf Leutwein
Kommandeure der Schutztruppe
01.06.1894 - 06.01.1895Major Curt von Francois
1852 - 1931
10.11.1897 - 16.05.1904Oberst Theodor Gotthilf Leutwein
1849 - 1921
17.05.1904 - 21.05.1906Generalleutnant Lothar von Trotha
1858 - 1910
22.05.1906 - 31.03.1907Generalmajor von Deimling1853 - 1944
01.04.1907 - 19.03.1911Oberst Ludwig von Estorff1859 - 1943
19.11.1912 - 1914Oberstleutnant Joachim von Heydebreck1861 - 1914
1914 - 1915Hauptmann Victor Franke
1866 - 1936

Victor Franke
Die Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Südwestafrika (1914) besteht aus 6 Stabsoffizieren, 13 Hauptleuten, 70 Oberleutnants und Leutnants, 2 Feuerwerksoffizieren, 9 Veterinäroffizieren, 1 Kriegsgerichtsrat, 1 Kriegsgerichtssekretär, 2 Intendanturräten, 5 Intendantursekretären, 1 Intendanturbausekretär, 4 Proviantamtsinspektoren, 2 Bekleidungsamtsinspektoren, 2 Stabsapothekern, 1 Zahnarzt, 1 Waffenrevisor, 11 Waffenmeistern, 4 Magazinaufsehern, 20 Unterzahlmeistern, 5 Oberfeuerwerkern und Feuerwerkern, 2 Schirrmeistern, 342 Unteroffizieren, 1444 Mannschaften. Die Schutztruppe gliedert sich in 9 Kompanien, 3 Batterien und 2 Verkehrszüge.


Ursprünglich war das Land von Buschmännern und Bergdamaras bewohnt. In der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts erfolgte von Nordosten her über den Okawangofluß die Einwanderung der Hereros und kurz darauf von Süden her über den Oranje in mehreren Zügen die der Hottentottenstämme. Der Name "Hottentotten" ist eine zeitgenössische Bezeichnung für das Volk der Nama. Holländische Siedler gaben ihnen, ihrer eigentümlichen Sprache wegen, den Namen "Hottentotten" (Stotterer). Sie selbst bezeichnen sich als Khoi-Khoi (die wahren Menschen) oder als Nama - nach ihrem Siedlungsgebiet Namaqualand, das wiederum nach einem Herrscher aus grauer Vorzeit benannt ist. Zu Begin des 19. Jahrhunderts folgten die Afrikaner-, Bersabaer- und Witboi-Hottentotten. Den kriegerischen Stämmen der Einwanderer gelang es schnell die ursprünglichen Bewohner des Landes zu unterjochen und teilweise auszurotten. Zwischen den Hereros und den "Hottentotten" kam es zu jahrzehntelangen Kriegen. Anfangs waren die Hereros im Vorteil, als aber Ende der 60er Jahre des 19. Jahrhunderts Hendrik Witbooi die Führung übernahm, konnten die "Hottentotten" das Gleichgewicht einigermaßen wieder herstellen.
12. März 1878
Die Walfischbai und das Land 15 Meilen im Umkreis werden für britischen Besitz erklärt. 1880 ziehen sich die Engländer wieder zurück und behaupten nur die Walfischbai. Im gleichen Jahre sucht Bismarck bei der Londoner Regierung um Schutz für die Rheinische Mission in Südwestafrika gegen die "Hottentotten" und Hereros nach. Das Gesuch wird in London abgelehnt.

Der Bremer Kaufmann Lüderitz ersucht die deutsche Regierung um Schutz für die von ihm zu erwerbenden Gebiete um Angra Pequena. Noch bevor dieses Gesuch bei dem Auswärtigen Amt eingeht, fragt Bismarck in London an, ob England Anspruch auf jene Gebiete erhebe. Er erhält eine ausweichende Antwort.

Adolf Lüderitz
* 16.07.1834 in Bremen
Ertrank Ende Oktober 1886 im Oranjefluss
Kaufmann mit mehreren Faktoreien in Westafrika. Er erwarb 1883 das Gebiet um Angra Pequena (Lüderitzbucht) nebst dem angrenzenden Küstenstrich (Lüderitzland).

Heinrich Vogelsang landet in Angra Pequena und erwirbt dort für Lüderitz käuflich Land. Im Oktober desselben Jahres kommt Lüderitz persönlich nach Südwestafrika.

Januar 1884
Das deutsche Kanonenboot "Nautilus" unter Vizeadmiral Aschenhorn besucht die Küste Südwestafrikas mit dem Auftrag, die Lüderitzschen Erwerbungen zu besichtigen.

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Gouvernements-Haus, Windhuk" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

8. April 1884
Adolf Lüderitz reicht dem Auswärtigen Amt ein Gesuch um Schutzgewährung für seine Erwerbungen in Südwestafrika ein.

24. April 1884
Die Besitzungen des Kaufmanns Lüderitz nördlich vom Oranjefluss in Südwestafrika "werden unter deutschen Schutz gestellt". Bismarck teilt dieses telegrafisch dem deutschen Konsul in Kapstadt und brieflich dem deutschen Botschafter in London mit.

7. August 1884
Von dem Kapitän zur See Herbig wird in Anwesenheit von Offizieren und Mannschaften der Korvette S.M.S. Elisabeth in Angra Pequena, das zunächst nur aus drei der Firma Lüderitz gehörenden Blockhäusern besteht, die deutsche Flagge gehisst. Das Gebiet erstreckt sich von dem Nordufer des Oranjeflusses bis zu 26 Grad rechte auf und beschränkt die Tätigkeit der Gesellschaft auf ihren eigenen Farmbetrieb. Die Geschichte dieser ersten kolonialen Siedlungsgesellschaft ist bezeichnend für das geringe Interesse der Deutschen; um 200 000 Mark Kapital zusammenzubringen, brauchte es zwei Jahre Zeit.

In Angra Peguena, der späteren Lüderitzbucht, wird die deutsche Flagge gehisst.

Von einer Expedition an den Oranje kehrt Adolf Lüderitz nicht zurück und gilt seither als verschollen.

Hauptmann von Francois bildet die erste Schutztruppeneinheit mit 20 Soldaten.

8. August 1892
Verleihung von Land-, Bergbau- und Eisenbahnberechtigungen im Damaraland an den Rechtsanwalt Dr. Scharlach und den Kaufmann C. Wichmann zu Hamburg. Diese so genannte Damaralandkonzession wird am 12. September mit Genehmigung der Reichsregierung an die zu diesem Zweck in London mit einem Anfangskapital von 300 000 Mark gegründete South Westafrican Company Limited weiter übertragen. In dem Konzessionsgebiet liegen die Kupfergruben von Otavi. Das Protokoll wird seitens der Kolonialabteilung des Auswärtigen Amtes von Dr. Kayser und von Schelling und seitens der englischen Gesellschaft von George Wilson und Dr. Scharlach am 14. November unterzeichnet. Das Kapital wird im Jahre 1902 auf 20 Millionen Mark erhöht. 1906 baut die Gesellschaft die Otavibahn, welche 1910 von der Regierung übernommen wird.

Aufstand der "Hottentotten" unter Hendrik Witbooi.

"Der verwegene Hottentottenhäuptling Hendrik Witbooi" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)
Kapitän der Witbooihottentotten Hendrik Witbooi ( um 1835 - 1905)

12. April 1893
Hauptmann Hugo von Francois führt mit seinen gemischten Truppen in den Witbooikämpfen einen Präventivschlag gegen Hornkranz und lost damit einen vermeidbaren Kolonialkrieg aus.

27. August 1894
Major Leutwein beginnt mit seinen gemischten Truppen den Sturm auf das Lager Hendrik Witboois in der Naukluft. Hendrik Witbooi ergibt sich am 15. September 1894 und gibt Leutwein das Versprechen, den "...Deutschen künftig Heeresfolge gegen innere und äußere Feinde zu leisten...". Hendrik Witbooi steht über 10 Jahre und in 6 Feldzügen zu seinem Wort.

25. Juli 1895
Major Leutwein wird Landeshauptmann.

Die Postbeförderung wird nach Versuchen mit Pferden, Reitochsen und Dromedaren endgültig mit Ochsenkarren durchgeführt.

Der Ort Tsaochabmündung (Ort an der Mündung des Tsaochab) oder Tsaochabmund wird endgültig in Swakopmund, aus ersterem Wort entstanden, umbenannt. Seit 1903 schreibt man Windhuk statt Windhoek.

Aufstand der "Khauashottentotten" und der Osthereros.

Erhebung eines kleinen Unterstammes der "Hottentotten" (Afrikaner) im Südosten von Deutsch-Südwestafrika.

Nachdem zunächst die gewöhnlichen deutschen Briefmarken in Deutsch-Südwestafrika verwendet werden, erhalten die Wertzeichen den schwarzen Aufdruck "Deutsch-Süd-Westafrika", der 1898 in "Deutsch-Südwestafrika" geändert wird. 1900 werden die Kolonialmarken mit dem Schiff eingeführt. 1914 wird anlässlich der Windhuker Landesausstellung der erste und einzige Kolonialsonderstempel benutzt.

Die Rinderpest, von Südafrika eingeschleppt, wütet im Lande. Rund 60% des Viehbestandes der Einheimischen und 30% der Weißen gehen verloren. Händler und Spekulanten kaufen Farmland auf, wofür die Reichsregierung in Berlin auch den Ankauf von Hereroland erlaubt. Im Lande herrscht große Teuerung; u. a. steigen die Preise für Rindfleisch auf das Dreifache (45 Pfennig für 500g). Wer seine Schulden nicht zurückzahlen kann, verliert erst das Vieh und dann das Land. Besonders die Hereros leiden unter dieser Politik.

17. März 1898
Aufstand der "Swartbooihottentotten", die sich im Kaokofeld ergeben.

16. Jan. 1899
Gründung des "Windhoeker Anzeiger", der ersten der in den deutschen Kolonien erscheinenden Zeitungen.

16. Januar 1899
Da Deutsch-Südwestafrika keine Telegrafenlinien hat und Telegramme von der Heimat in die Kolonie und umgekehrt auf indirekten, sehr umständlichen Wegen befördert werden müssen, schließt die Reichsregierung mit der Eastern and South African Telegraph Company in London einen Mietvertrag auf 20 Jahre ab. Von dem Hauptkabel Mossamedes (Angola)-Kapstadt soll ein T-Stück eingeschaltet und in Swakopmund gelandet werden. Der Kapitän des englischen Kabeldampfers bringt das Kabel, angeblich versehentlich, im englischen Walfischbai an Land.

13. April 1899
In Swakopmund wird die erste Telegrafendienststelle mit internationalem Dienst eröffnet. Von da ab beginnt der Bau umfangreicher Telegrafenlinien in der Kolonie. Auch Heliographenlinien sind vor dem großen Aufstande 1904 eingerichtet worden.

1. Juni 1899
Erste landwirtschaftliche Ausstellung in Windhuk.

20. Juni/ 1. Juli 1902
Die erste deutsch-südwestafrikanische Eisenbahn von Swakopmund nach Windhuk durch die dort 100 km breite Sandwüste (Namib) wird eröffnet. (382 km lang; bis 1637 m ü. M.) Der Bahnbau war durch Eisenbahntruppen aus der Heimat begonnen worden.

Nördlich der Mündung des Swakop wird aus Betonkörpern und Steinschüttung eine 370 m lange Mole erbaut, die aber nach zehn Jahren bereits versandet ist. 1911 wird ein neuer Molenbau von 650 m ) Länge begonnen. 1914 sind 240 m fertig gestellt. (Baufirma Grün & Bilfinger.)

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Mole von Swakopmund" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

Wegen eines Streites Einheimischer um einen Hammel kommt es zu einer Schießerei, bei der der Distriktchef Jobst, Unteroffizier Sney, ein Siedler, ein Bondelwartskapitän und Andere zu Tote kommen. Die Bondelswarts flüchten daraufhin, versorgen sich mit Waffen aus Südafrika und ermorden mehrere Deutsche und Einheimische. Daraufhin führt die Schutztruppe eine Strafexpedition gegen die Bondelswarts im Süden der Kolonie durch, während dessen Verlauf sich unerwartet Anfang 1904 die Hereros erheben.

12. Januar 1904
Beginn des Hereroaufstandes:
Die Kapitäne der Hereros hatten im Norden der Kolonie große Landflächen an Händler und Spekulanten verkauft, die Hereros nutzten diese aber weiter als Weideland für ihre großen Vieherden. Siedler erschossen daraufhin die Rinder der Hereros und immer öfters kam es zu Schießereien zwischen den Hereros und den Einwanderern. Gouverneur Leutwein berichtete dem Kolonialamt in Berlin von den Sorgen und Problemen, aber nichts tat sich. Noch einmal wanden sich "Herero-Großleute" an den deutschen Gouverneur, mit der Bitte, ein großes Hereroreservat von Otjituepa bis Omitava zu bilden.
Schließlich kam zu Plünderungen deutscher Siedlungen und teilweise brutalen Morden an rund 150 deutschen Siedlern, darunter auch 5 Frauen. Auch wurden von den Hereros viele Angehörige des Damara-Volkes ermordet. Anfangs versuchen die Schutztruppen vergeblich den Hereros Herr zu werden; nur 766 deutsche Soldaten standen einigen Tausend gut bewaffneten Kämpfern der Hereros entgegen. Die Hereros gingen sogar in die Offensive, brachten den Deutschen eine Niederlange nach der anderen ein und belagerten bzw. besetzten Ortschaften im Aufstandsgebiet. In Berlin schrillten die Alarmglocken und man stellte eiligst ein Marineexpeditionskorps zusammen. (weiterlesen hier: Hereroaufstand).

27. Januar 1904
Hauptmann Franke entsetzt das von den Hereros eingeschlossene Okahandja und am 4. Februar Omaruru.

9. Februar 1904
Ein erstes Marineexpeditionskorps landet in Swakopmund. Es dauert jedoch noch ein halbes Jahr bis die Deutschen die Initiative zurückgewinnen können.

August 1904 "Schlacht am Waterberg" und Niederschlagung des Hereroaufstandes.

1904 - 1908
Die "Hottentotten" unter Hendrik Witbooi erheben sich (Oktober). Witbooi fällt, sein Nachfolger Simon Copper muss in die Kalahari zurückmarschieren. Gegen ihn geht der Zug des Hauptmanns von Erckert mit seinen Kamelreitern bis tief in die Wüste, wobei Erckert am 16. März 1908 den Tod findet.

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Kriegsgefangene Hottentotten" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)
Nachdem der Leutnant a. D. Troost vom Auswärtigen Amt die "Konzession zum Betrieb eines öffentlichen, gewerbemäßigen Gütertransportunternehmens mittels Motorwagen in Deutsch-Südwestafrika" erhalten hat, bringt er zwei Lastzüge nach der Kolonie, die jedoch vollkommen versagen. (Der eine in der Namibwüste stecken gebliebene Wagen neben der Eisenbahnlinie wird vom Volkswitz "Tröster in der Wüste" benannt.) Die später, erst 1912, vom Gouverneur eingeführten Kraftwagen erwiesen sich ebenfalls, da zu schwer, als ungeeignet. Erst die Truppen der Südafrikanischen Union haben 1914 die richtigen Wagen, leichte Ford, gewählt, die sich bewährten.

2. - 4. Januar 1905
Gefecht bei Groß-Nabas.

1905 - 1907
Gouverneur von Lindequist macht sich um die Hebung der Viehzucht besonders durch Einführung von Karakulrammen aus der Buchara verdient.

20. Oktober 1906
Einführung der Schulpflicht für die Kinder der weißen Bevölkerung im Alter von 6-14 Jahren.

23. März 1907
Die Bondelswarts unterwerfen sich. Der Friede mit den aufständischen Stämmen wird in Ukamas geschlossen.

12. März 1907
Der Reichstag bewilligt die Kosten der Eisenbahn Lüderitzbucht-Keetmannshoop sowie die geforderten Kriegskosten.

31. März 1907
Aufhebung des Kriegszustandes.

1. April 1907
Die Eisenbahn Swakopmund-Windhuk wird wieder von der Zivilverwaltung übernommen.

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika - zerstörte Wagenbauerei" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

14. Mai 1907
Der Reichstag bewilligt 5 Millionen Mark für die durch den Aufstand geschädigten Siedler.

18. Juli 1907
Beginn der Verschiffung größerer Mengen von Kupfererzen aus Swakopmund.

31. August 1907
Abnahme der Eisenbahnstrecke von Lüderitzbucht bis Aus.

4. Oktober 1907
Verordnung der Reichsregierung über die Einrichtung einer Landespolizei in Deutsch-Südwestafrika.

20. Oktober 1907
Grundsteinlegung des Elisabethhauses in Windhuk.

31. Oktober 1907
Gründung der Deutschen Farmgesellschaft für Südwestafrika 1907 unter Beteiligung der Liebig-Kompagnie.

12. November 1907
Bildung einer Deutsch-Südwestafrikanischen Züchtereigenossenschaft in Omaruru.

8. Dezember 1907
Gründung des Farmerbundes.

April 1908
Erste Diamantfunde in Lüderitzbucht, im Juni Diamantfunde bei Kolmanskop.

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Diamantenfelder bei Bogenfels" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

Fertigstellung der Bahn Lüderitzbucht-Seeheim-Keetmannshoop-Seeheim-Kalkfontein (545 km).

1908 - 1910
Hauptmann Streitwolf (kaiserlicher Resident des Caprivizipfels) unternimmt im Auftrag des damaligen Gouverneurs von Schuckmann eine Expedition durch den Caprivizipfel.

28. Januar 1909
Veröffentlichung der deutschen Regierung über die Selbstverwaltung in Deutsch-Südwestafrika.

28. Mai 1909
Erster Farmertag in Windhuk, am nächsten Tage wird die erste 1909 Landesausstellung eröffnet.

Der Frauenbund der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft eröffnet in Keetmanshoop das Heimathaus, in dem auch eingewanderte Mädchen bis zur Erlangung einer Stellung Aufnahme finden.

Dezember 1911
Eröffnung des Betriebes der Eisenbahn Keetmanshoop-Windhuk (Karibib). (697 km.)

4. Februar 1912
Die Küstenfunkstation in Swakopmund und etwas später, am 3. Juni, eine solche in Lüderitzbucht, werden in Dienst gestellt. Der Bau der Großfunkstation Windhuk wird erst einige Tage nach Beginn des Weltkrieges fertig gestellt. (Letztere stand mit der Funkstation Kamina in Togo und Nauen in Verbindung.)

27. Mai 1913
Errichtung eines Landwirtschaftsrates.

9. Juni 1913
Gründung der Landwirtschaftsbank für Deutsch-Südwestafrika

14. August 1913
Die Ausgabe deutsch-südwestafrikanischer Hypothekenpfandbriefe wird genehmigt.

22 August 1913
Eröffnung des Johanniterkrankenhauses in Keetmanshoop.

9. September 1913
Einführung der Kaiserlichen Bergwerksverordnung von 1905 im Gebiete der Kaokoland- und Minengesellschaft.

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Bahnhof von Keetmanshoop" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

24. September 1913
Gründung einer Fleischverwertungsgesellschaft in Okahandja.

27. November 1913
Gründung einer Genossenschaftsbank für den Norden in Omaruru.

Eröffnung des Elisabethhauses (Wöchnerinnenheim) in Grootfontein.

5. Januar 1914
Eröffnung des Erholungsheims in Swakopmund.

21. Februar 1914
Verordnung zum Wehrgesetz für die Deutsche Schutztruppe. Wehrfähige Reichsangehörige, die sich dauernd im Schutzgebiet aufhalten, sind verpflichtet, ihre Dienstpflicht bei der Schutztruppe zu erfüllen.

22. Februar 1914
Studienreise des Professors Fritz Jaeger zur Erforschung der Etoschapfanne und des Kaokofeldes.

Juni 1914
Die ersten zwei Flugzeuge im Schutzgebiet sollen der Postbeförderung dienen.

4./5. August 1914
Die Kriegserklärung Englands an Deutschland wird über Lome in Togo nach Lüderitzbucht übermittelt; am 6. August wird diese Nachricht von Nauen aus direkt funkentelegrafisch bestätigt und gleichzeitig der Belagerungszustand vom Gouverneur Dr. Seitz erklärt. Am 7. August erfolgt die allgemeine Mobilmachung im Schutzgebiet.

8. und 13. August 1914
Die Küstenfunkstationen Lüderitzbucht und Swakopmund werden abgebrochen.

2. September 1914
Erstes Patrouillengefecht bei Beenbreck.

9. September 1914
Die Regierung der Südafrikanischen Union beschließt nach Überwindung innerer Widerstände den Krieg gegen Deutsch-Südwestafrika. Am 13. September überfallen Unionsstreitkräfte die deutsche Polizeistation Ramansdrift und beginnen damit die Feindseligkeiten.

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Ausmarsch der Truppen von Outjo" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

10. September 1914
Die Deutschen besetzen die Walfischbai.

18. September 1914
Die Lüderitzbucht wird von den Unionstruppen besetzt. Vier Tage 1914 später werden die ersten deutschen Männer in das "concentration camp" (Konzentrationslager) bei Pretoria, später in das von Pietermaritzburg abtransportiert; im Oktober folgen dorthin Frauen und Kinder.

23. September 1914
Eine deutsche Kolonne dringt nach Überschreitung des Oranje über Unionsgebiet gegen Ramansdrift vor.

23. und 24. September und 30. Oktober 1914
Beschießung von Swakopmund durch englische Hilfskreuzer.

26. September 1914
Der Kommandeur der Schutztruppe, Oberstleutnant von Heydebreck, vernichtet in dem Gefecht von Sandfontein 8 feindliche Schwadronen und nimmt 15 Offiziere und 200 Mann gefangen.

Oktober 1914
Bis Anfang Oktober haben die Truppen der Union an der Küste Lüderitzbucht, im Süden Ramansdrift und im Caprivizipfel Schuckmannsburg besetzt.

9. Oktober 1914
Das erste Gefecht des Burenfreikorps unter Kommandant de Wet bei van Rooisvley. Als am 8. September die Mobilmachung in der Südafrikanischen Union angeordnet wird, billigt ein kleiner Teil der Buren das Eingreifen der Regierung Bothas in den Weltkrieg nicht und greift zu den Waffen. Die Aufständigen gehen zum Teil über den Oranje nach Deutsch-Südwestafrika, wo sie sich zu einem Freikorps zusammenschließen. Der Rest der aufständigen Buren kämpft in der Union weiter. Das letzte Gefecht findet am 24. Januar 1915 bei Upington statt. General Maritz führt die Abteilungen Maritz, Kemp, Stadler.

12. November 1914
Der Kommandeur der Schutztruppe, Oberstleutnant von Heydebreck, wird bei der Explosion von Gewehrgranaten am 9. November in Kalkfontein-Süd schwer verwundet und erliegt den Verletzungen. Sein Nachfolger im Kommando ist der Major und spätere Oberstleutnant Franke.

18. Dezember 1914
Im Oktober besuchen der Bezirksamtmann Dr. Schultze, Jena, und die Leutnants Loesch und Roeder auf Einladung des Kommandanten das im Ovamboland an der Grenze Angolas und Deutsch-Südwestafrikas gelegene portugiesische Fort Naulila und werden dort hinterlistig getötet, obwohl sich Portugal nicht im Krieg mit Deutschland befindet. Zur Vergeltung erstürmt Hauptmann Weiß (mit Leutnant Bieder) an der Spitze seiner 6. Kompanie und mit Teilen der 2. Batterie Fort Naulila im Ovamboland.

"Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Feste in Keetmanshoop" (zeitgenössische Postkarte)

11. Februar 1915
General Botha übernimmt den Oberbefehl über die Unionstruppen, von denen eine Abteilung bereits am 25. Dezember in Walfischbai gelandet war.

20. März 1915
Die Gefechte bei Pforte-Jakalswater-Riet veranlassen die Schutztruppe, die Räumung des Südens einzuleiten.

7. April 1915
Die Landesmitte und Windhuk werden geräumt.

5. Mai 1915
Die einzelnen Abteilungen der Schutztruppe müssen ständig verlustreiche Rückzugsgefechte gegen einen weit überlegeneren Feind bestehen. Der Oberkommandierende, General Botha, zieht in Karibib ein. Gouverneur Dr. Seitz verlegt seinen Sitz von Windhuk nach Grootfontein. Windhuk muss am 12. Mai durch die Stadtverwaltung dem Feinde übergeben werden.

21. Mai 1915 Einzelnen Abteilungen der Schutztruppe leisten weiterhin Widerstand. Die Hauptkräfte der Schutztruppe versammeln sich zwischen Kalkfeld und Waterberg. Die zwischen dem Gouverneur und General Botha an der Giftkuppe stattfindende Unterredung verläuft ergebnislos.

19. Juni 1915
Unionstruppen (etwa 35 000 Mann, ihre Gesamtzahl beträgt 60 000) treten von der Staatsbahn aus den Vormarsch nach Norden an. Der Rest der Schutztruppe zieht sich auf die vorbereitete Stellung bei km 514 der Otavibahn zurück und trifft am 26. in Otavi ein.

1. Juli 1915
Rückzugsgefecht bei Otavifontein (800 Deutsche gegen 8000 Unionssoldaten).

6. Juli 1915
Die während des Krieges im Norden errichtete Funkstation Tsumeb muss übergeben werden. Der Rest der Schutztruppe versammelt sich in Khorab.

9. Juli 1915
Bei km 500 der Otavibahn wird der Waffenstillstandsvertrag mit den für die Schutztruppe ehrenvollen Übergabebestimmungen von Dr. Seitz, Oberstleutnant Franke und General Botha unterzeichnet.

16. August 1915
Ganz Deutsch-Südwestafrika wird von der Südafrikanischen Union besetzt. Der Caprivizipfel wurde bereits 1914 von Großbritannien annektiert war bis 1929 Teil der britischen Kolonie Betschuanaland, dem heutigen Botswana.

Anfang 1919
Die Reichpost in Berlin gibt am Sammlerschalter die letzten Deutsch-Südwest-Afrika-Briefmarken aus.

28. Juni 1919
Das Deutsche Reich verliert mit dem Versailler Vertrag nun auch völkerrechtlich die Kolonie. Südwestafrika wird Mandatsgebiet des Völkerbundes unter südafrikanischer Verwaltung. Der Versailler Vertrag (Artikel 119) erlaubt den Engländern, mehr als 6000 Deutsche auszuweisen. Nach 1920, als die Südafrikanische Union das Mandat übernahm, erfolgten keine weiteren Ausweisungen.

November 1919
Die deutschen Beamten werden ausgewiesen. Der Ausweisungsbefehl lautet wörtlich: "Offiziere, Verbrecher und Beamte werden nach Deutschland abtransportiert" Der Abtransport geschieht dementsprechend in unwürdigster Weise.

10. Januar 1920
Der Versailler Vertrag tritt in Kraft. Übertragung des Völkerbundsmandats für Deutsch-Südwestafrika an die Südafrikanische Union.

Vignette zum Verlust der Kolonie Deutsch-Südwestafrika
Im "Londoner Abkommen" zwischen Großbritannien und Deutschland wird das Heimatrecht der deutschen Siedler garantiert.

27. Oktober 1966
Die Vereinten Nationen entziehen Südafrika das Mandat. Beginn des Kriegs zwischen SWAPO und südafrikanischen Truppen.

21. März 1990
Verabschiedung der Verfassung; Wahl Sam Nujomas zum Präsidenten. Namibia wird unabhängig.

An die deutsche Kolonialzeit erinnern heute noch viele Ortschafts-, Straßen-, Geschäfts- und Produktnamen. Ebenso zeigen viele Gebäude, besonders in Swakopmund, Lüderitz, und Windhuk, deutschen Einfluss. Heute leben in Namibia circa 20 000 Deutsche, Deutsch ist eine der Umgangssprachen Namibias (Amtssprache Englisch).
<--- Reiterstandbild vor der alten Veste in Windhuk im Jahr 2000.
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Military History Journal - Vol 5 No 3

The Third Man: Willy Trück and the German Air Effort in South West Africa in World War I

by S. Monick
Published sources refer to two aircraft and their pilots as constituting the German air strength in World War I in South West Africa. Capt Arthur Blake, in his work Vlieghelde van Suid-Afrika (1) refers to two aircraft operating against South African forces in this sphere of operations. He refers to an Aviatik, the career of which ended on 29 May, 1915, when it crashed into a thorn tree; and to an LFG Roland (Luft Fahrzeug Gesellschaft), which crashed in April 1915. The Aviatik and LFG were flown by pilots named Fiedler and Von Scheeler, respectively. There was, however, a third pilot operating in German South West Africa in 1914-15, not mentioned in published sources; one Willy Trück. Trück was sent to Karibib by the Automobile En Aviatik aircraft factory in Germany, with the object of testing local flying conditions. His mission coincided with the outbreak of World War I, and Trück and his aircraft (an un-named military prototype bi-plane) were accordingly impressed into the German war effort. Trueck was told to report for special instructions in Windhoek. The reliability of his aircraft may be gauged by the fact that, whilst flying over Okahandja en route to Windhoek, the engine cut out and the pilot was compelled to make a forced landing in a dry river bed. (The engine failure was due on this occasion to a short circuit.)
Windhoek was contacted but the sum of his instructions was to be told to return to Karibib and await the arrival of some military commanders. Trück's problems were seriously compounded by the fact that, two weeks after receiving instructions from Windhoek, he was informed that he would not be receiving any petrol. The remainder of the twenty barrels that he had brought with him from Germany would have to suffice. This prohibition was not really surprising when one considers that there were absolutely no petrol depots in South West Africa. Indeed, there were only approximately six motor cars in the entire territory and these - not surprisingly - had also been requisitioned by the German forces.

Willy Trück (center) between two bodyguards
Airman Trück was instructed to load his aircraft and the remaining petrol on to a train and to report to the military base at Kalkfontein Zuid. In the final weeks of the war in South West Africa Trück's base was Aus, 225km from Luderitz Bay. Journey's end for the aeroplane was Tsumeb, where it was burnt to prevent its falling into South African hands at the close of the campaign. This probably occurred before the evacuation of Aus by German forces in late March 1915.
There are three interesting diary entries relating to German aircraft activity in South West Africa in November and December 1914. The diary was compiled by Cpl Douglas Scott King (2), of the Kaffrarian Rifles. The first entry, dated Thursday, 12 November 1914, reads:
'German aeroplane passed over our heads before breakfast. My piquet never saw it - althou' we heard it. Fired on by camp.'
A fuller entry, for Sunday 29 November 1914, reads:
'This morning the aeroplane paid us a second visit. Jove! but it was a lovely sight seen miles off high in the air about 4 000 ft. and getting more distinct as it neared us. On the approach to our camp - which by the way is called Haalen Burg - wejust walked a few yards away from our lines. It flew right over our camp and was greeted with a regular hail of rifle shoots [sic] but all to no purpose. It flew on and on till It appeared a mere speck over Kolman's Kop. Now the fun commenced - as it flew over us it very calmly dropped two bombs and shells on us. One exploded and the other failed - no damage was done. But laugh! Pheeeeeuw!. I've never laughed so much in all my life. The shell that exploded took 12 seconds to fall to the ground - and world's records were broken by dozens whole-sale. Fat omcers legging it for "dear life".'
One cannot help feeling that Cpl Scott King and his comrades were far less amused at the third attack, recorded in the diary entry dated Thursday, 17 December 1914, which reads:
'A very misty morning - but I'm darned if that confounded aeroplane didn't come again. It dropped two shells near our big guns - both exploded. 4 men hurt - and one killed - no guns damaged.'
There is good reason to believe that Cpl Scott King's airborne adversary was Airman Trück (if not on all three occasions, then on certain of them). This may be deduced from the fact that Cpl Scott King's diary entry for 15 December 1914 commences 'Arrived at Tschaumaib. . .' The place name bears a close resemblance to Tsumeb which, it will be recalled, was the scene of the incineration of Trück's aircraft. This would strongly suggest that the Kaffrarian Rifles came within the orbit of Trück's operational activity. (However, a note of caution should enter at this point. In his biography of Dr John Weston (3), C.G. van Niekerk comments that the two other German aircraft in the South West Africa theatre commenced bombing operations in early November.)
If, indeed, the aeroplane in question was Trück's (especially in the attack of 17 December), then the bombs which descended upon Cpl Scott King and his comrades were incredibly effective, in view of their improvised nature. For they consisted of a piece of stove pipe, a spring, and several pieces of wire. To these were attached an artillery shell. The device was released on to its target by tugging at the wire; whereupon the shell zig-zagged a course to the ground and actually exploded.
Trück and his fellow pilots had to contend with potential (if not actual) fire power more intense than small arms. South Africa's first anti-aircraft gun was employed in South West Africa. This was affectionately nicknamed 'Skinny Liz' and consisted of a converted 15 pr BLC (breech loading cannon). It is referred to on p44 of the Official History of the Great War, 1914-1918, within the context of Trekkopies. The only official record of this weapon being fired in anger is contained in a report of 2 Battery, South African Mounted Rifles, which describes an unsuccessful engagement with a troublesome German aircraft. The aircraft in question is described as being a Taube monoplane. However, as no Taubes are known to have operated in this theatre of operations, it may well have been the LFG Roland; as this aircraft contained important features of the Taube (although it was a bi-plane).
Mr. Trück, a retired farmer, is 91 years of age this year, and lives with his wife in Sea Point, Cape Town. Cpl Scott King did not survive the Great War, and died on 22 March 1915, in German East Africa, as a result of wounds sustained whilst serving with the 4th South African Horse.
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-30-2009   #18
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Die Schutztruppe in Deutsch-Südwestafrika
Zum Jubiläum ihres 25jährigen Bestehens am 16. April.
von Hauptmann a.D. E. v. Perbandt.
Am 16. April 1914 blickt die Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Südwestafrika auf ein 25jähriges Bestehen zurück. Und reich an Erlebnissen sind diese 25 Jahre für die Truppe sowohl wie für von ihr beschützte Kolonie; reich an Erlebnissen in kriegerischer wie in kulturfördernder Hinsicht. Auch sei gleich hier gesagt, jederzeit und an jedem Ort hat die Truppe so voll und ganz ihren Mann gestanden, daß ohne sie Deutsch-Südwestafrika heute nicht das wäre, was es ist — eine ausichtsreiche deutsche Siedlungskolonie.
Im Jahre 1883 hatte der Bremer Kaufmann Lüderitz in Angra Pequena (Lüderitzbucht) und im Hinterlande von den eingeborenen Häuptlingen Erwerbungen gemacht, die trotz heftiger Einsprüche der Engländer durch ein Telegramm Bismarcks vom 24. April 1884 an den deutschen Konsul in Kapstadt unter deutschen Schutz gestellt wurden. Diese Erwebungen vergrößerten sich bald, und schon nach einigen Jahren stellte es sich heraus, daß ohne irgendeine militärische Kraftentfaltung nicht auszukommen war. Auf Veranlassung der deutschen Regierung wurde infolgedessen im Jahre 1888 von der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft für Südwestafrika. die inzwischen Rechtsnachfolgerin des verunglückten Lüderitz geworden war, eine "Gesellschaftstruppe" aufgestellt. Trotz verhältnismäßig — oder besser unverhältnismäßig — hoher kosten, die diese Pseudotruppe verursachte, konnte sie ob ihrer allzu kümmerlichen Gestaltung nichts leisten. Deshalb ordnete Fürst Bismarck am 16. April 1889 an, daß eine stattliche Truppe gebildet wurde, die dem Hauptmann C. von François, der sich in Afrika schon einen Namen gemacht hatte, unterstellt wurde. Aus dieser Truppe entwickelte sich dann die heutige Kaiserliche Schutztruppe, und das eben genannte Datum wurde durch Allerhöchste Kabinettsorder zum Stiftungstage der Truppe bestimmt. Ich kann nun nicht auf alle Phasen der Entwicklung der Truppe eingehen, ich will nur erwähnen, daß sie sich, neben ihrer legitimen Tätigkeit, alles selbst schaffen mußte, was zu ihrem Dasein notwendig war und wurde.
Im Jahre 1893 begannen die ersten Kämpfe der inzwischen mehrfach verstärkten Truppe. Am 12. April 1893 überfiel der Hauptmann v. François mit zwei Kompagnien Hoornkranz, die Zwingburg des mächtigsten und unbotmäßigsten der Hottentotten Kapitäne, Hendrik Witbois. Die Hottentotten entflohen, ohne wesentlich geschwächt zu sein, in die Berge, von wo aus sie ihr räuberisches, das ganze Land beunruhigende Treiben sehr bald fortsetzten. Übrigens hat Hendrik Witboi diesen Überfall dem Hauptmann v. François nie vergessen, weil dieser ihn ausführte — ohne Hendrik vorher "den Krieg erklärt" zu haben! Er revanchierte sich dem inzwischen zum Major beförderten François gegenüber durch einen dauernden Kleinkrieg, der die Truppe zwang, immer auf der Hut und immer auf den Beinen zu sein. Im Juli 1894 kehrte François nach Deutschland zurück, er wurde ersetzt durch den inzwischen bereits im Schutzgebiet eingetroffenen Major Leutwein, in dessen elfjährige Tätigkeit als Landeshauptmann, Gouverneur und Truppenkommandeur die hauptsächlichsten Kämpfe gegen fast alle Eingeborenenstämme Südwestafrikas fallen. Nach vielen Kreuz- und Querzügen Leutweins zur Befriedung des Landes wurde es nachgerade eine dringende Notwendigkeit, zunächst einmal den Hauptfriedensstörer Hendrik Witboi unschädlich zu machen. Leutwein erbat hierzu Verstärkung aus Deutschland, die ihm auch mit 250 Mann und den dazugehörigen Offizieren gewährt wurde. Nachdem diese im Schutzgebiet eingetroffen war, brach Leutwein, von Swakopmund aus, unverzüglich gegen Hendrik auf, der sich im Naukluftgebirge stark verschanzt hatte. Am 27. August bereits begann der Sturm auf Naukuft, der mit großer Bravour auf beiden Seiten und mit dem Erfolg ausgefochten wurde, daß Hendrik sich mit seiner Werft weiter ins Gebirge zurückziehen mußte. Unter vielen anderen war bei diesem Sturm auch der Hauptmann v. Estorff, der tapfere Führer der Sturmkolonne und spätere langjährige Kommandeur der Truppe, verwundet worden.
Dem Schreiber dieses gelang es dann mit den Resten zweier Kompagnien, unter wiederholten schwierigen Kämpfen, Hendrik so erfolgreich durch das Gebirge zu hetzen, das er sich schachmatt am 14. September dem Landeshauptmann Leutwein unterwerfen mußte. Erwähnen muß ich bei diesen Verfolgungskämpfen das Gefecht bei Gurus, das den 2. und 3. September über, Tag und Nacht, andauerte und bei dem unter anderem der erste Offizier der Truppe gegen die Eingeborenen fiel. Es war dieses der Dragoner Premierleutnant Diestel, ein ebenso tapferer wie liebenswürdiger Offizier. Den Unterwerfungsvertrag, den Hendrik damals abschloß, hat er volle zehn Jahre ehrlich und redlich gehalten, bis der große Aufstand 1904/07 auch ihn wieder auf den Kriegspfad lockte. Ruhe zog aber mit dieser Niederwerfung Witbois noch nicht ins Land ein, und die Truppe mußte bald hier, bald dort einschreiten, wenn es auch zunächst nicht zu größeren Kämpfen kam. Leutwein legte in dieser Zeit befestigte Stationen im Hererolande an, die später, namentlich im großen Aufstande, wertvolle Dienste geleistet haben. Hatten bisher hauptsächlich die Hottentotten Schwierigkeiten gemacht, so fing nun ein Teil der Herero, die Ostherero oder Owabandjeru, an aufsässig zu werden; dauernde Grenzverletzung ihrerseits waren die ersten Anzeichen kommender Wetterwolken.
Im März 1896 brach der Aufstand aus. Die um Gobabis sitzenden Owabandjeru hatten sich mit dem Stamm der Khauashottentotten verbündet, und nur unter sehr verlustreichen Kämpfen konnte die damals gerade sehr schwache Schutztruppe Herr der Aufständischen werden. Auch bei diesen Kämpfen — ich nenne nur Gobabis, Siegesfeld, Sturmfeld (Otyunda) — wurde mit einer Tapferkeit ohnegleichen gekämpft. Ich muß dabei die beiden Attacken erwähnen, die von berittener Infanterie mit aufgepflanztem Seitengewehr bei Gobabis und Siegesfeld unter Hauptmann v. Estorff und den Leutnant Lampe, Helm und Eggers gegen einen übermächtigen Gegner geritten wurde. Der Feind war über diese Kühnheit so erschreckt, daß er floh. Leutnant Lampe blieb mit noch manch anderem Braven auf dem Felde der Ehre, Helm und Eggers wurden schwer verwundet. Am 2. Juni konnte die Truppe siegreich in Okahandja einziehen. Die beiden Häuptlinge der Aufständischen — Nikodemus und Kahimema — waren gefangen und wurden standrechtlich in Okahandja erschossen. Doch auch nach diesen Siegen mußte die Truppe bis zum Jahre 1898 noch wiederholt eingreifen. Bald saßen die Unruhestifter im Süden der Kolonie, bald im Norden. Hier kam es anfangs des Jahres 1898 gegen die Zwartboihottentotten zu ernsteren Kämpfen. Erst nachdem der stellvertretende Truppenkommandeur Major Müller eine starke Kriegsmacht zusammengezogen hatte, gelang es diesem, die Hottentotten am Grootberge so zu schlagen, daß sich auch dieser Stamm ergeben mußte.
Jetzt erst trat bis zum Jahre 1903 Ruhe ein, die nur durch unbedeutendere Vorkommnisse hier und da gestört wurde. Aus scheinbar geringfügigen Ursachen brach im Oktober 1903 in Warmbad der Aufstand der Bondelzwarthottentotten aus, dem gleich anfangs der Distriktchef Leutnant Jobst zum Opfer fiel. Unter einem beträchtlichen Aufgebot von Kräften gelang es dem Gouverneur Leutwein, diesen Aufstand zu dämpfen und durch den Frieden von Kalkfontein (27. Jan. 1904) einstweilen abzuschließen. Dieser Friede wurde aber nur vereinbart, weil Leutwein seine Truppen zu ernsteren Zwecke gebrauchte. Inzwischen war nämlich der sogenannte große Hereroaufstand im Norden und in der Mitte der Kolonie ausgebrochen. Diesem Aufstand der Herero schloß sich dann Ende 1904 auch derjenige fast aller Hottentottenstämme des Namalandes an. Treu blieben nur die Rehobother Bastards und die Bersebanerhottentotten mit einem Teil der Bethanier. In dieser nun folgenden, mehrere Jahre dauernden Kriegsperiode, die die Kolonie aus des Abgrunds Nacht zu neuer Morgenröte und zu hell erwachendem Tage führte, sind eine solche Menge wundervoller soldatischer Taten vollbracht worden, daß ich bedaure, sie hier nicht alle nennen zu können. Ich behaupte aber, daß die ca. 600 Millionen Mark, die die Niederwerfung des Aufstandes dem Reiche gekostet hat, nicht umsonst betahlt worden sind, zeigten diese Kämpfe doch, welch ein tapferes, kameradschaftlich erzogenes, zu jeder Mühsal bereites Offiziers- und Soldatenmaterial wir in unserem Heere besitzen. Und ich glaube, daß diese Gewißheit uns für die Zukunft mehr wert ist als die 600 Millionen Mark, die nebenbei noch zu einem guten Teil der Kolonie zu dauerndem Vorteil gereicht haben.
Die ersten Anzeichen des Hereroaufstandes machten sich im dezember 1903 bemerkbar, im Januar 1904 begann er mit der Ermordung von ca. 150 Europäern, die zerstreut im Schutzgebiet wohnten. Die Stärke der Schutztruppe war für Ereignisse, wie sie jetzt hereinbrechen sollten, durchaus unzulänglich, "aber" — sagt Dr. W. Külz in seinem ausgezeichneten Buche "Deutsch Südwestafrika im 25. Jahre deutscher Schutzherrschaft" — "die sicherste Gewähr für erfolgreiche kriegerische Tätigkeit lag in dem vortrefflichen kriegerischen Geiste, der die ganze Truppe beseelte und sie für die Stunde der Gefahr auch in den schwierigsten Lagen zu größter Hingabe befähigte." Dieser Geist zeigte sich sehr bald in dem kühnen Zuge des Hauptmanns Franke, der nachmals so berühmt geworden ist. Er befand sich mit seiner Kompagnie auf dem Wege nach dem Süden zur Unterdrückung des Bondelzwart Aufstandes. In Gibeon mußte er kehrtmachen, und er legte nun mit seinen Reitern in vier Tagen ca. 400 km zurück, entsetzte Windhuk, befreite unter schweren Kämpfen Okahandja und kam gerade noch rechtzeitig genug vor seinem eigenen Garnisonorte Omaruru an, um ihn vor dem Verderben zu retten. Es folgte nun in diesem Feldzuge in fast ununterbrochener Reihenfolge ein kühne Tat der anderen. Nicht unerwähnt darf ich das Eingreifen der Marineinfanterie und Major v. Glasenapp, jetzt General und Kommandeur der Schutztruppe, lassen. Diese Truppe war die einzige geschlossene, in Deutschland für Übersee bereitstehende Macht, die nach Ausbruch des Aufstandes auch in kürzester Zeit als erste Verstärkung nach Südwest abging. Sie hat unter den allergrößten Strapazen, zu fuß, vom Typhus fast dezimiert, die denkwürdigen und sehr verlustreichen Gefechte von Owikokorero und Okaharui geschlagen. Leider fiel bei dem ersten, neben vielen anderen Tapferen, auch der Oberleutnant Eggers, der schon zweimal in Südwest verwundet worden war. Eggers war einer der vorzüglichsten Offiziere der Truppe, wie einer der besten Kenner des Landes und der Sprache der Herero.
Ebenso fiel hier noch ein anderer alter Afrikaner, der Hauptmann a. D. v. François, ein Bruder des ersten Truppenkommandeurs. Glasenapp selbst wurde verwundet. Weiter seien genannt die blutigen Kämpfe des Generals v. Trotha, der inzwischen zum Kommandeur der sehr verstärkten Truppe ernannt worden war. diese Kämpfe am Waterberge besiegelten den Untergang des einst so stolzen Hererovolkes. Die Herero waren noch nicht niedergerungen, als auch der Aufstand der Hottentottenstämme im Süden der Kolonie ausbrach. Er begann mit der Ermordung des Bezirkamtmanns von Gibeon, Hauptmann v. Burgsdorff, durch die Witbois. Burgsdorff war so lange der beste und vertrauteste Freund Hendriks gewesen. Oberst Leutwein war inzwischen krank nach Deutschland zurückgekehrt, auch der General v. Trotha hatte Südwest verlassen, und so blieb als Kommandeur der Oberst Deimling, jetzt Kommandierender General des XV. Armeekorps, im Schutzgebiet. Oberst Deimling mußte zwar auch vorübergehend krankheitshalber seine Tätigkeit draußen unterbrechen, während welcher Zeit ihn der Oberst Dahme vertrat, doch ist es seiner Energie und seiner Verantwortungsfreudigkeit in erster Linie zu danken, daß der sehr schwierige Kleinkrieg gegen die Hottentotten zu glücklichem Ende geführt wurde.
Unter Deimling kommandierten Männer wie die schon wiederholt genannte Oberstleutnant v. Estorff, Major Maerker, jetzt Oberstleutnant und Kommandant von Borkum, der früher schon in Ostafrika und Asien tätig gewesen war; Hauptmann v. Heydebreck, jetzt Oberstleutnant und Kommandeur der Truppe, und viele, viele andere, die mit Auszeichnung genannt werden müßten. Aus den Kämpfen gegen die Hottentotten seien besonders erwähnt das ca. 50 Stunden dauernde Gefecht bei Gr. Nabas am 2., 3. und 4. Januar 1905, das die Abteilung des Majors Meister unter unsäglichen Mühen, fast verdurstet, gegen Hendrik Witboi ausfechten mußte, und die vielen Gefechte gegen die tapferen Freischarenführer Morenga und morris. Während des Gefechtes von Gr. Nabas erlag seinen dort erhaltenen Wunden der Major Frhr. v. Nauendorf. Er starb als Held. Erst am 23. Dezember 1906 wurde der Aufstand, nachdem die Truppe fast 40 Monate lang im Felde gestanden hatte und Hendrik Witboi gefallen war, durch ein Abkommen, das Oberstleutnant v. Estorff nach langen Verhandlungen mit den Bondels traf, beendet. Nur Morenga und Simon Copper waren noch nicht besiegt. Morenga entzog sich unserer Verfolgung dauernd, indem er im entscheidenden Moment auf englisches Gebiet übertrat; dort erholte er sich, sammelte neue Kräfte und kämpfte weiter. Endlich im August 1907 ereilte auch ihn sein Schicksal, er wurde auf englischem Gebiet bei einer Verfolgung getötet. Simon Copper hatte sich mit seinem Volk, den Franzmannhottentotten, in die Kalahariwüste zurückgezogen; von dort aus beunruhigte er unsere Kolonie. Erst im März 1908 gelang es dem Hauptmann v. Eckert, auch diesen Gegner unschädlich zu machen.
Geradezu mustergütig hatte Eckert diesen Zug vorbereitet, der seine Abteilung 200 km weit von ihrem Standort in die Kalahariwüste führte. 11- 16 Tage waren die Kamele, auf denen die Truppe beritten war, ohne Wasser geblieben, und nur der eisernen Energie des Führers war es zu danken, daß dieses letzte gewagte größere Unternehmen der Truppe und zu gutem Ende geführt wurde. Im Gefecht bei Seahub (16. März) war Hauptmann v. Erckert einer der ersten, der fiel, aber die brave Truppe kämpfte trotz dieses für sie und die Kolonie außerordentlich schweren Verlustes unter Hauptmann Gruner weiter. Die Franzmannhottentotten wurden auseinandergesprengt und endgültig niedergerungen. Vereinzelte Kämpfe sind auch noch nach diesem Erckertschen Zuge vorgekommen, aber im allgemeinen herrscht seit jener Zeit ruhe in der Kolonie.
Sollte aber doch wieder einmal Unruhen oder gar Aufstände im Schutzgebiet ausbrechen, was ja in einer so weit vom Mutterlande liegende Kolonie nie ganz ausgeschlossen ist, namentlich wenn der Reichstag mit seinem unglücklichen Prinzip der Truppenverminderung im gleichen Tempo wie bisher fortfährt, dann stehen der braven Truppe wenigstens die damals fehlenden Schienenwege zu schnellerem Anmarsch und schnellerer Konzentration zur Verfügung. Ebenso wird die Verproviantierung durch die Eisenbahn eine leichtere und gleichmäßigere sein. Die Truppe aber wird stets mit gleichem Eifer und gleicher Hingabe ihre schwere Arbeit tun.
Zum Schlusse sei mir gestattet, zur Illustration des Gesagten noch einige Zahlen zu nennen.In den jetzt 25 Jahren ihres Bestehens hat die Truppe 346 Gefechte ausgefochten. Sie hat verloren an Toten: 85 Offiziere und Sanitätsoffiziere, 1613 Unteroffiziere und Mannschaften. Dazu kommen vom Marineexpeditionskorps: 7 Offiziere und 85 Mannschaften; von Landwehr, Reserve und Freiwilligen: 16 Offiziere und 195 Mannschaften. An verwundeten: über 100 Offiziere und über 1000 Mannschaften.
Die Stärke der aktiven Truppe schwankte zwischen ca. 300 Köpfen zur Zeit des Naukluftfeldzuges, ca. 750 Köpfen zu Beginn des Großaufstandes und ca. 1900 Köpfen am heutigen Tage. Ihr Höchstbestand war ganz vorübergehend im großen Aufstande, einschließlich aller Garnison- und Etappenbesatzungen, Train- usw. Kolonnen, ca. 16 000 Mann.
Die Kommandeure der Truppe waren, mit ihren heutigen Chargen: Major C. v. François, Generalmajor Leutwein, General der Infanterie v. Trotha, General der Infanterie v. Deimling, Generalmajor v. Estorff, Oberstleutnant v. Heydebreck.
Ich möchte nochmals erwähnen, daß die Truppe neben ihrer hier in großen Zügen geschilderten Kriegstätigkeit auch ganz erhebliche Friedensarbeit geleistet hat. Dazu gehören: Anlage von Kommunikationen, Errichtung von Stationen, Unterkunftsräumen, Magazinen und anderen Bauwerken, Herstellung der Landungsbrücke von Swakopmund und anderes. So darf die Truppe, wenn sie auf die verflossenen 25 Jahre zurückblickt, dieses mit Stolz tun in freudigen und ernsten Gedanken an das, was sie für Kaiser und Reich im schwarzen Erdteil geleistet — und gelitten hat:

Wer so wie sie gekämpft hat und geblutet,
Wer so wie sie das Reichspanier geführt
Durch Trümmerstätten, Leichenfelder, Wüsten
Stets makellos — der Lorbeer ihm gebührt.

Schau auf nach dort, mein deutsches Volk, und hoffe,
Wenn je vor Sturm und not Kleinmut du hast verspürt,
Erhebe dich an deiner Söhne Taten —
Heut aber alle kommt und gratuliert!

Quelle: Reclams Universum, Weltrundschau, März 1914, von rado jadu 2000
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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Old 08-30-2009   #19
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Die Buren-Rebellion: Freund und Feind im Hexenkessel
Wie die Schutztruppe plötzlich Verbündete bekam und sie wieder verlor
von Golf Dornseif

Zu den seltsamsten "Nebenkriegsschauplätzen" in Südafrika und Deutsch-Südwestafrika kochte ab September 1914 die Rebellion burisch-südafrikanischer Truppenteile bei Upington hoch, die schliesslich etwa tausend Tote und zahllose Verwundete kostete sowohl auf Seite der Aufständischen als auch in den Reihen vieler Regierungstruppen (burischer und britischer Abstammung). OberstIeutnant S.F. Maritz war der Kopf der "Verschwörung gegen die britische Krone".

Nach dem erfolglosen Burenkrieg um die Jahrhundertwende hatten die "burgher" den britischen Kolonialherren niemals ihre Niederlage verziehen und sich nur zähneknirschend in ihr Schicksal gefügt. Ihr Traum galt nach wie vor einem unabhängigen "Oranje Vrij Stad" und einem ebenso unabhängigen Transvaal. Als in Europa der Erste Weltkrieg ausbrach und Grossbritannien plötzlich von Südafrika "Vasallentreue" einforderte, um Deutschland (in allen Erdteilen) nieder zu ringen, platzte vielen Buren der Kragen.

Germany mochte vielleicht ein Feind der Engländer sein (oder auch umgekehrt), aber die Kap-Holländer sahen nicht den geringsten Grund, um auf Londons Befehl über ihre netten Nachbarn in Deutsch-Südwest herzufallen und sie umzubringen. "Das ist nicht unser Krieg, lasst uns in Frieden" tönte es aus fast allen Buren-Kehlen.

1914 war die Union of South Africa – juristisch betrachtet – erst vier Jahre alt. Der Waffengang in Europa schlug als Nachricht wie ein Blitz ein: War dies nicht eine grossartige Gelegenheit, das britische Joch abzuwerfen, die Freistaaten Oranje und Transvaal wieder zu beleben und sich friedlich mit den deutschen Nachbarn in Windhoek zu arrangieren?

Auf diesem Foto lässt sich nicht auseinander halten, wer Angehöriger der Schutztruppe ist oder als aufrührerischer Überläufer plötzlich deutsche Uniform trägt, Diese eigenartige Waffenbrüderschaft nach Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkriegs hatte nur wenige Monate Bestand.
DLouis Botha, Buren-General und Politiker von hohem Rang, versuchte verzweifelt seine Landsleute zur Vernunft zu bringen. Sein alter Freund und Kampfgefährte aus dem "Boer War", General Koos De La Rey, stand unter dem verhängnisvollen Einfluss des Farmers Niklaas van Rensburg, der in der Gegend von Lichtenberg als "Schicksalsdeuter" von jung und alt verehrt wurde. Die früheren Buren-Republiken würden bald wieder aufblühen – so Rensburgs Vorsehung – und man müsse jetzt "losschlagen" ... Eine verführerische Vision!

Am 21.August 1914 traten alle südafrikanischen Kommandeure zu einer geheimen Konferenz im Hauptquartier Pretoria zusammen, um den Angriff auf Deutsch-Südwestafrika vorzubereiten.
Vorsitzender war der Verteidigungsminister General Smuts, flankiert von Brigadier-General C.F. Beyers (Chef der Bürgerwehr-Einheiten Citizen Forces, also der Reservisten) sowie Brigadier-General Sir Timson Lukin, Oberbefehlshaber der Permanent Force (Berufsarmee), zusammengesetzt aus fünf Regimentern der South African Mounted Rifle Men (Kavallerie). Nur eins dieser Regimenter – Cape Mounted Rifle Men – konnte als voll ausgebildetes Militär bezeichnet werden. Bei den übrigen handelte es sich um Angehörige von berittenen Polizei-Verbänden.
Weitere Konferenzteilnehmer: Sir Duncan McKenzie, zuvor Kommandeur in der Provinz Natal; Colonel P.S. Beves, Chef des Kadettenkorps; Colonel P.C.B. Skinner, als britischer Ausbildungsoffizier zur besonderen Verwendung, und Sir William Hoy, Generaldirektor der Südafrikanischen Eisenbahngesellschaft.

Man diskutierte eine Invasion in Lüderitzbucht, um die Telegrafenstation zu übernehmen, während die Royal Navy Swakopmund von See aus beschiessen und die dortige Funkanlage ebenfalls ausschalten sollte.
General Sir Timson Lukin hatte die Aufgabe, in Port Nolloth einzufallen und nordwärts vorzudringen, um die südafrikanischen Truppen in der Region Lüderitzbucht zu entlasten. Eine dritte Streitmacht unter dem Befehl von Lieutenant-Colonel S.F. Maritz (Nördliche Kap-Region United Defense Force UDF) war dazu vorgesehen mit Schwerpunkt Upington die Ostgrenze von DSWA rasch überwinden zu können.

General Louis Botha, Prime Minister der Union of South Africa und Commander-in-Chief der vereinigten britischen und burischen Streitkräfte im Kampf gegen die deutsche Schutztruppe vom September 1914 bis August 1915.
General Beyers hörte sich diese "planmässigen Heldentaten" mit gemischten Gefühlen an , denn er war strikt dagegen, ohne allerdings irgendetwas zu sagen, sodass alle Anwesenden nicht im geringsten an Beyers Solidarität zweifelten.

Rückblickend kann man feststellen, dass Beyers zu den tragischen "Helden der Rebellion" zählte. Als der Erste Burenkrieg ausbrach, war Beyers erst 20 Jahre alt und befasste sich mit seinem Jura-Studium in Pretoria. Wegen militärisch-strategischer Begabung machte er rasch Karriere und rückte zum Kommandeur auf. Schliesslich blieb er Delegationsleiter bei den Friedensverhandlungen in Vereeniging und anschliessend "Speaker" im jungen Parlament von Transvaal. Die weitere politische Laufbahn verlief eher schleppend, und Beyers nutzte ein Angebot als Commander der UDF Citizen Forces (Reservisten-Truppe). Damit hatte er einen wichtigen Schlüssel in der Hand, um die Feindseligkeiten gegen Deutsch-Südwestafrika einleiten zu dürfen.

Die Verschwörer sammeln sich

Lieutenant-Colonel "Manie" Maritz, stationiert in Upington, nutzte bald die Gelegenheit einer "Grenzland-Inspektion", um diskret Verbindung mit der Schutztruppe aufzunehmen und hatte bereits 1912 erste Fühler in Richtung Windhoek ausgestreckt, um Bundesgenossen zu gewinnen.

Am 23.August 1914 ritt Maritz nach Schuit Drift, angeblich zur Klärung von Grenzstreitigkeiten, überquerte den Flusslauf und suchte drüben einen deutschen Polizeiposten auf, um mit dem Schutztruppen-Kommandeur in Keetsmanshoop zu telefonieren. Maritz entschuldigte sich zunächst wegen der Reibereien mit Farmern und fragte dann den zuständigen deutschen Offizier unverblümt: "Können wir Waffen und Munition von der Schutztruppe bekommen, um einen Aufstand gegen unsere Regierung in die Wege zu leiten?" – Der verblüffte Schutztruppen-Chef bat um etwas Geduld und wollte Windhoek informieren.

Kavalleristen der regierungstreuen Unionstruppen nach der Gefangennahme burischer Aufständischer. Fast alle wurden später amnestiert und von der burischen Bevölkerung als Helden gefeiert.
Am 26.August 1914 sprach sich die National Party, gegründet von General J.B.M. Hertzog im Januar 1914, energisch gegen militärische Aktionen jeder Art aus, um deutsches Hoheitsgebiet zu erobern. Diese Partei hatte sich im Streit von Bothas South African Party getrennt, um die "burische Identität" besser bewahren zu können.

Nun tauchte Major Christoffel Kemp auf, Kommandeur des South African Defense Forces Training Camp in Potchefstroom (Östliches Transvaal), und erklärte seinen Rücktritt. Genau so reagierte Beyers zwei Tage später am 15. September 1915, nachdem ihn ein Kurier von Maritz erreicht hatte. Die Presse berichtete darüber am 21.September 1914 mit allen Einzelheiten, und die Regierung geriet in helle Aufregung.

Beyers versicherte öffentlich: "Unsere Regierung verbreitet zur Ablenkung und Kriegshetze das Ammenmärchen, die deutschen Truppen hätten in Europa Kriegsverbrechen und Grausamkeiten gegenüber der Zivilbevölkerung in den Nachbarstaaten begangen. Wir haben in unserem eigenen Heimatland zahlreiche Grausamkeiten (der Briten) verziehen, jedoch nicht vergessen, die während des Burenkriegs begangen wurden an unseren Frauen und Kindern auf den Farmen und in den Concentration Camps ..."

Beyers beschuldigte auch die Regierung Südafrikas, sie verbreite die Lüge, dass Deutschland die Union of South Africa früher oder später "annektieren" wolle, was einfach lachhaft sei angesichts von nicht mehr als etwa 3000 Schutztruppe-Angehörigen. General Smuts konterte mit der Behauptung, dass die Deutschen bereits die Grenze am Oranje verletzt hätten und sofort "bestraft" werden müssten.

Am Abend des gleichen Tages, an dem Beyers seinen militärischen Abschied nahm, reiste er mit einem Personenkraftwagen nach Potchefstroom, begleitet von General Koos De La Rey, und geriet zufällig in eine Strassensperre der Polizei, die eine berüchtigte Verbrecherbande – die Foster Gang - erwischen wollte, nachdem diese Täter am Morgen einen Kriminalbeamten ermordet hatten und mit einem Auto geflohen waren.

Kurze Zeit vor dem Aufbau der Sperre war an anderer Stelle ein Arzt von der Polizei in seinem Wagen erschossen worden, weil er die Stop-Zeichen missachtete und mit Vollgas weiterfuhr. Beyers und De La Rey hatten Glück trotz hoher Geschwindigkeit, machten sich aber verdächtig und wollten später einer anderen Polizei-Blockade bei Langlaagte entkommen.

Diesmal stiess ein Polizist sein Bajonett zwischen die Speichen eines Hinterrads, und ein anderer Beamter feuerte mit dem Revolver auf den zweiten hinteren Reifen. Die Kugel verfehlte ihr Ziel, prallte vom Strassenpflaster ab und traf – als Querschläger – De La Rey im Rücken. "Jetzt hat's mich erwischt" waren seine letzten Worte zu Beyers.

Der Tod des beliebten Burenkriegshelden erregte grosses Aufsehen im Land, aber eine Untersuchungskommission fand unter anderem heraus, dass die beiden Herren auf dem Weg zu einer Verschwörer-Konferenz waren, um Hochverrat zu begehen – zumindest hatte es den Anschein. Zuverlässige Beweise fehlten im Prozess.

Die Tage nach der Beisetzung des hohen Offiziers verliefen stürmisch mit Aufrufen zu Volksabstimmungen wegen des Kriegseintritts und zur Gehorsamsverweigerung unter dem Motto: "Wir haben nichts gegen die Deutschen, das sind gute Nachbarn der Buren!" – General Louis Botha beschwichtigte mit dem Hinweis, dass nur Berufssoldaten eingesetzt werden sollten, also keine Einberufenen der Reserve (wie befürchtet). Kriegsfreiwillige seien allerdings willkommen.

War Deutschland übervölkert?

In einer öffentlichen Ansprache verstieg sich General Botha zu der grotesken Behauptung, dass Deutschland übervölkert sei und deshalb Pläne zur Eroberung von ganz Südafrika im Sinn habe – weit über DSWA hinaus. Dieser Gefahr müsse Einhalt geboten werden, denn die Union liege wie ein fettes Lamm bereits auf der Schlachtbank ..." Ein Überfall der Schutztruppe stehe unmittelbar bevor (am 28.September 1914).

Bothas abenteuerliche Logik ohne jeden Beweis gipfelte in der Analyse, dass Südafrika gar keine andere Wahl habe als Grossbritanniens Wunsch zum Kriegseintritt zu folgen, denn ..."sonst schicken die Engländer ersatzweise Australier hierher oder gar indische Soldaten, um die deutsche Schutztruppe zu besiegen ... und dann dürfen diese Inder zur Belohnung in Südafrika siedeln und Familien gründen und Kinder kriegen und uns schliesslich unterbuttern!"

Diese rassistischen Spekulationen machten Eindruck beim Burenvolk, das sich für auserwählt hielt und auf keinen Fall zusätzliche Einwanderer nicht-weisser Hautfarbe hinnehmen wollte. "Nach dem Sieg über die Deutschen" – so lockte Botha geschickt – "schenken uns die Engländer zur Belohnung ganz Südwestafrika, und wir bekommen eine zusätzliche Provinz in der Union!" – "Aber als Neutrale haben wir natürlich nichts zu lachen ..."

Anfang Oktober 1914 erfuhr die breite Öffentlichkeit nach und nach Einzelheiten über einen Krieg gegen DSWA, der längst begonnen hatte, ohne dass sich die Kriegsherren und Politiker um des Volkes Stimme und die Zerrissenheit der Buren kümmerten: Grossbritannien musste zufriedengestellt werden, das allein zählte jetzt!

Rechts im Bild Buren-Rebell Major Christoffel Kemp, prominenter Rädelsführer der Verschwörung gegen Grossbritannien, in der Mitte ein Unbekannter, rechts der aufständische Burengeneral Manie Maritz. Major Kemp ist bereits deutsch uniformiert, Maritz trägt noch südafrikanische Montur.
General Sir Timson Lukin hatte den Oranje überquert, Lieutenant-Colonel R.C. Grant war bei Sandfontein vernichtend geschlagen worden und in deutsche Gefangenschaft geraten und Lüderitzbucht liess sich als Eroberung bezeichnen – eine gemischte Bilanz.

Unterdessen blieben die Rebellen nicht müssig und verbreiteten überall Flugblätter im Land mit der Aufforderung, den Kriegsdienst zu verweigern (gegen die Deutschen), dem Vrij Korps beizutreten und die deutsche Unterstützung anzunehmen, sich vom britischen Zwang zu befreien. Die Schutztruppe bot Kanonen, Granaten, Munition, Handwaffen, Pferde, Verpflegung usw. zur Allianz.

Die meisten Südafrikaner englischer Muttersprache und zahlreiche Buren solidarisierten sich allmählich mit Grossbritannien und wollten gegen die Schutztruppe ins Feld ziehen, obwohl die lautstarke Opposition bei Veranstaltungen mit faulen Eiern um sich warf, die Kriegstreiber niederschrie und sogar in Verbindung mit Gottesdiensten randalierte. Der Riss ging durch viele Familien – für und gegen Britannias Ruf zu den Fahnen ...

General Christiaan De Wet und Major Kemp sprachen am 3. Oktober 1914 vor 800 Menschen im Lichtspieltheater (Lyrie Bioscope Hall) zu Potchefstroom, und die Versammlung endete in Tumulten: tote Katzen wurden auf das Podium geschleudert, Fensterscheiben zertrümmert, Fäuste geballt und Beleidigungen ausgetauscht.
Cberstleutnant Grants vernichtende Niederlage bei Sandfontein stärkte die Gemüter der Separatisten, die mit der Schutztruppe friedlich zusammenleben wollten und weitere Schlappen fürchteten angesichts der hervorragenden deutschen Kampfmoral zu dieser Zeit. In Europa – so war zu vernehmen – hatten die Alliierten ebenfalls einen schweren Stand gegen des Kaisers Truppen.

General De Wet hielt am 16.September 1914 mit seinen Leuten die deutsche Grenzpolizeistation Nakob, – und drei Tage danach eroberte sein Vrij Korps Rietfontein weiter nördlich in der Einöde. In dieser verworrenen Lage wollte man nicht die Frage beantworten: Welche Truppe mit welcher Gesinnung und in welcher Zusammensetzung konnte welchen Punkt auf der Landkarte – diesseits oder jenseits der Grenze – am welchem Tag in wessen Interesse diskret "übernehmen" ... ???

Jedenfalls hatte die Schutztruppe gute Laune und "spendierte" den auftauchenden Rebellen mehrere Geschütze mit deutschem Bedienungspersonal sowie noch reichlich Munition und ein paar Maschinengewehre. Auch General Andries De Wet war guten Mutes und zierte seinen verwegenen Hut mit einer langen schwarzen Straussfeder. Nun flatterte von den Transportwagen die "Vierkleur" (vierfarbige) Flagge der ehemaligen Republik Transvaal munter im Wüstenwind.

Louis Botha, der gehorsame Untertan Grossbritanniens, hatte jetzt die undankbare Aufgabe, generalstabsmässig den Aufstand der eigenen Blutsbrüder so schonend wie möglich niederzuschlagen, ohne ein Blutbad zu riskieren. Dazu waren ausschliesslich Einheiten burischer Herkunft geeignet. Von den 30.000 Soldaten der Union im Einsatz gegen die Aufrührer waren 20.000 "burgher" unter burischen Kommandeuren. Die Regierung forderte jedoch auch den Einsatz britischer Truppen, darunter die Durban Light Infantry , in der Kap-Provinz.

Vom Fleischer zum General

Im Hauptquartier sickerte die Geheimdienst-Information durch, dass General Maritz ein Geheim-Abkommen mit Gouverneur Seitz geschlossen hatte, doch waren keine Einzelheiten bekannt geworden. General Smuts forderte Maritz auf, sich sofort in Pretoria zum Rapport einzufinden, aber Maritz reagierte nicht. Am 2. Oktober marschierte Maritz mit 200 Getreuen westwärts, vielleicht deshalb, weil er nahe Schuit Drift General Sir Timson Lukin unterstützen wollte. Aber am 9. Oktober biwakierte die Truppe in Vanrooisvlei (auch Van Rooyens Vlei genannt) direkt an der Grenze zu Deutsch-Südwestafrika und General Maritz verkündete seinen Soldaten in einer Ansprache, dass er sich mit den Deutschen arrangiert habe, dass Südafrika jetzt unabhängig sei als Burenrepublik und sich im Kriegszustand mit Grossbritannien befinde.

General Louis Botha auf seinem Feldklappstuhl mit Angehörigen des Stabs während der Verfolgung des Rebellen-Generals Andries De Wets nahe der Ortschaft Reitz im sogenannten Freistaat.

Militär-Experten in Pretoria hatten lange vor diesem Ausbruch immer wieder vor Maritz und dessen Wankelmut gewarnt und darauf hingewiesen, dass man ihm kein Kommando anvertrauen dürfe wegen seiner schillernden Vergangenheit: Während des Burenkriegs diente "Manie" Maritz als Offizier bei seinen Landsleuten im Kampf gegen die Briten, weigerte sich aber nach dem Friedensschluss in Vereeniging einen Treue-Eid auf die rechtmässige Regierung zu leisten. Er siedelte als Farmer und Geschäftsmann in Madagaskar, reiste danach ins deutsche Südwestafrika, nahm dort sogar die deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft an und unterstützte die Schutztruppe als Offizier und Militärberater bei der Bekämpfung des Herero-Aufstands. 1906 kehrte Maritz nach Transvaal heim, geriet in die Fänge der Justiz und hatte grosse Mühe den Verdacht des Verrates zu entkräften (mit einem Aufenthalt im Gefängnis).

1910 arbeitete der Glücksritter vorübergehend als Fleischer in Braamfontein und Johannisburg, ehe er einen Job bei der Polizei bekam. Sein nächster Sprung ging in Richtung Reservisten-Ausbildung (Union Defense Force), wo man ihn zum Stabsoffizier aufrücken liess unter dem Patronat von General Beyers. Stationiert war Maritz in der nordöstlichen Region der Kap-Provinz auf einsamem Posten, jedenfalls ideal gelegen für geheime Treffen mit Abgesandten der Schutztruppe in unmittelbarer Nachbarschaft. Brigadier-General J.J. Collyer beschrieb Maritz als "einen hervorragenden Guerilla-Kämpfer, oft jähzornig und heimatverbunden bis zum Extrem ..." Also kein Feind Britanniens, aber konsequent unabhängig.

Maritz vertraute nicht allen Untergebenen, vor allem nicht den Angehörigen der Active Citizen Force (also der Milizionäre) im Ausbildungslager Upington und liess einen Teil während eines Appells zur Auszahlung der Löhnung entwaffnen – vor allem den Trupp mit vier Maschinengewehren. Dann forderte Maritz in einer Rede alle Anwesenden auf, sich sofort zu entscheiden: entweder die Rebellion mitmachen oder – entwaffnet – die Einheit verlassen!

Leutnant Cecil Freer, dem die Maschinengewehre mit dem zugehörigen Personal unterstanden,wollte plötzlich seine MG zurück haben und schlug "ein Duell mit Säbeln, Revolvern oder Fäusten" allen Ernstes vor. Maritz lachte ihn aus, erklärte seine Gegner zu Gefangenen und vertraute nur noch 180 loyalen Buren unter seinem Kommando. Seine "Gefangenen" übergab er der Schutztruppe, was gut vorbereitet schien. Der kecke Leutnant (ein Reservisten-Zahnarzt) gab klein bei.

Am 12. Oktober 1914 sah sich die Regierung genötigt, das Kriegsrecht zu erklären und zwar für das ganze Gebiet der Union of South Africa. Familie Maritz geriet ebenfalls in Aufruhr: Der Onkel des Rebellen-Chefs, Gert Maritz, schrieb einen Brief an die in englischer Sprache gedruckten Zeitungen, äusserte seine Verachtung wegen des schändlichen Landesverrats und enterbte den Neffen.

Die Schutztruppe drängte Maritz, möglichst rasch Upington zu erobern, doch Maritz zögerte mit der Ausführung, weil er zunächst die Pläne von Beyers und De Wet prüfen wollte. Lediglich Kakamas kapitulierte vor Maritz, und er rief dort theatralisch eine Republik aus. Einige Truppenteile sollten Calvinia und Carnarvon mit der Bevölkerung überreden, sich dem Aufstand anzuschliessen. Das misslang gründlich: die Einwohner weigerten sich, anrückende Regierungstruppen entwaffneten alle Revolutionäre nach kurzer Zeit. Loyale Buren unter Brigade-General Koen Brits besetzten Keimoes und wurden dort von Maritz am 22. Oktober 1914 angegriffen. Maritz erlitt einen Knieschuss und zog sich nach Kakamas zurück, wo Brits zwei Tage darauf siegte.

Maritz konnte nicht mehr reiten, liess sich in einem Auto (ohne Treibstoff) von Eselgespannen ziehen und floh nach Jerusalem ins deutsche Schutzgebiet ...

Eine Kettenreaktion des Aufruhrs

Erst wurden die Unionstruppen bei Sandfontein vernichtend von der Schutztruppe geschlagen, etwa zwei Wochen später verbreitete sich überall die Nachricht von der Rebellion des Generals Maritz und so schien es logisch, dass nun die historischen Buren-Provinzen Oranje Vrij Stad (Oranje Freistaat) und Transvaal die Ohren spitzten und losschlagen wollten, um sich von den Briten zu "befreien" ...

In Lichtenburg (Provinz Transvaal) meuterten mehrere "Commandos" (burische Truppenteile), die vor dem Einsatz gegen die Deutschen standen. Die Männer stoppten Eisenbahntransporte, beschlagnahmten Vorräte und traten als "Unabhängige" auf. General Beyers sammelte seine Getreuen in der Region Magaliesberg und missachtete einen Appell der Niederländisch-Reformierten Kirche, in dem die Rebellion verurteilt wurde "als unchristlicher Affront gegen den Friedensvertrag mit den Briten nach dem Burenkrieg, unterzeichnet in Vereeniging, und als Todsünde wider Gott, unseren Herrn ..."

Beyers Aufstand dauerte nicht lange. Nach einer Woche tauchten Einheiten der Regierung auf bei Kommissie Drift nahe Rustenburg, und auf einmal wollte keiner mehr Revolutionär gewesen sein. Beyers musste fliehen und schloss sich dem Rebellen Major Kemp an, dessen Gefolgsleute bei Treurfontein Tote und Verwundete durch Zusammenstösse mit den Regierungseinheiten zu verzeichnen hatten.

Jetzt standen den Rebellen-Chefs etwa 2.000 Männer zur Verfügung, und Beyers warb überall um Freiwillige zur Verstärkung. Zugleich wollte er bei der Schutztruppe Waffen und Munition anfordern, weil Maritz dies zugesagt hatte. Mit 800 Soldaten begann Major Kemp am 2. November 1914 seinen "legendären Treck", der in die Kriegsgeschichte eingehen sollte.

Beyers eilte zurück in den Freistaat mit 1200 Leuten, um sich De Wet anzuschliessen. Unterwegs erreichte ihn die Nachricht vom Angebot einer Begnadigung durch die Regierung, falls er seine Waffen niederlegen und heimwärts marschieren würde. Kein Buren-Kämpfer musste mit einem Prozess vor dem Militärgericht um Leben und Freiheit fürchten – so hiess es – und der gegenwärtige Feldzug gegen Deutsch-Südwestafrika stütze sich ausschliesslich auf Freiwillige.

Captain A.W. Burton vom Medical Corps der Unionstruppen war als unparteiischer Arzt unermüdlich mit seinem Maultiergespann und einem primitiven Karren unterwegs, um den Verwundeten aller dort kämpfenden Streitkräfte sowie der Schutztruppe beizustehen, unterstützt von mutigen Sanitätern und Heilgehilfen.
Am 16. November 1914 zerstreuten sich Beyers Truppen endgültig, nachdem sie zuvor mehrfach Tote, Verwundete und Gefangene eingebüsst hatten im Verlauf von Zusammenstössen mit loyalen Einheiten. Bulfontein hiess der Schlusspunkt. Beyers, eskortiert von wenigen Freunden, wollte sich nicht beugen, tauchte hier und da im Freistaat auf und blieb zuletzt am Val River mit reissendem Hochwasser in einer Falle stecken. Alle kapitulierten mit Ausnahme von Beyers und einem engen Freund des Generals. Sie wollten mit ihren Pferden den Fluss durchschwimmen, wurden vom Ufer her beschossen und ertranken ...

Major Kemp in der Kalahari Wüste

Unterdessen suchte Major Kemp mit seinem "Commando" Zuflucht in der unwirtlichen Kalahari. Vorräte beschaffte sich der Rebell in der Ortschaft Schweizer-Reneke. Weiter ging der Ritt Richtung Kuruman, gegründet von dem Missionar und Forscher Robert Moffatt, dessen Tochter dort David Livingstone heiratete. Die Militärs in Kuruman wollten Kemp nicht beistehen, während die örtliche Polizei und Verwaltung tatenlos zuschauten wie sich Kemp Waffen. Munition und Pferde beschaffte. Ortskommandant Rechtsanwalt Frylinck "verdrückte" sich mit seinen 80 Männern in die Wüste und wollte lieber seine Ruhe haben und erst einmal abwarten.

Einige Zeit verging – dann entschied die unschlüssige Bürgerwehr doch anders, vereinigte ihre Kräfte mit 300 loyalen Kuruman Commandos aus der Umgebung und verfolgte Kemp im vorsichtigen Abstand. Major Kemp änderte nunmehr seine Pläne, weil er das Risiko der wasserlosen Wüste Richtung Schutztruppe scheute und gab als Marschrichtung den Oranje-Fluss im Süden an. Jetzt drohte ihm aber Gefahr von loyalen Kräften in Upington.

Es kam zu Gefechten mit dem Kuruman Commando bei Witsands, und eine Abteilung der Transvaal Scottish Regiments musste passiv in der Nähe zuschauen "auf höheren Befehl". Diese Truppe wusste (noch) nicht, dass Regierungsgeneral Louis Botha aus psychologischen Rücksichten keine Beteiligung britischer Einheiten bei der Niederschlagung der Rebellion wünschte (aus Furcht vor stürmisch zunehmender burischer Solidarisierung im ganzen Land). Es durfte zu keinem massiven Bürgerkrieg kommen!

Überdies blieb das Imperial Light Horse Regiment in Wartestellung und konnte Bothas Zögern nicht begreifen, denn er vermied öffentliche Kommentare wegen seines Verhaltens. Immerhin erwischten die Light Horse Kavalleristen mehr oder weniger zufällig einen seltsamen Mann, der mit einer weissen Flagge auftauchte und sich den Vorposten in der Wüste näherte. Er sei Franzose, komme von Major Kemps Leuten und wolle mit den Regierungstruppen zusammenarbeiten, weil er alle Pläne Kemps kenne. Eine Durchsuchung ergab, dass der verdächtige Mann eine schriftliche Botschaft in der Kleidung versteckt hatte, die von Kemp stammte und an General Maritz adressiert war. Das genügte, um ihn als Spion zu erschiessen (nach einem Militärgerichtsverfahren vor Ort).

Drei Tage später stiess das Imperial Light Horse Regiment (ILH), vereinigt mit dem Natal Light Horse Regiment und einigen "Burgher Commandos", bei Rooidam auf Kemps Soldaten, ungefähr einige hundert Rebellen. Die Aufrührer waren hervorragende Scharfschützen und verwendeten die gefürchteten Dum-Dum-Patronen, die schreckliche Verletzungen verursachen.

(Anmerkung: Ein Dum-Dum-Geschoss ist ein Infanteriegeschoss mit abgekniffener Spitze und dadurch frei liegendem Bleikern, das einen Menschen innerlich "zerfetzt". Benannt nach dem Standort der Bengalischen Artillerie bei Calcutta, wo solche Geschosse zuerst hergestellt wurden um die Jahrhundertwende. Nach dem Völkerrecht 1868 sind Dum-Dum-Geschosse als Kriegswaffen nicht zugelassen und wurden historisch gesehen nur selten verwendet in der jüngeren Vergangenheit. Technische Details: Entweder ein Halbmantelgeschoss mit frei liegendem Bleikern oder Hohlspitzgeschoss, dessen ummantelte Spitze eine zylindrische Bohrung aufweist. Dum-Dum-Wirkung ist Sprenggeschoss-Wirkung).

Kemps Commando kämpfte sich durch bis Swartmodder, wenige Kilometer vor der Grenze zu DSWA. Mit einem genialen Schachzug – neidlos anerkannt von allen Experten – versteckte Kemp seine Scharfschützen zwischen Dünenwällen als Nachhut, hielt die Verfolger auf Distanz und rettete seine Hauptstreitmacht mit Bravour über die Grenze hinweg zu den Deutschen. Ein Vrij Korps stiess hinzu und folgte dem Beispiel. Major Kemp hatte sich rund einen Monat lang wacker behauptet und war zuletzt von 500 Getreuen umgeben – ursprünglich zählte seine Schar 800 Köpfe. Es gab kaum noch Pferde, man marschierte erschöpft Richtung Schutztruppe.

Bei Nakob traf Kemp seinen General Maritz (auf deutscher Seite) und konnte auf 700 Meilen Fluchtweg zurückblicken voller Strapazen.

Fortsetzung folgt in Transvaal

Nach General Beyers Tod wollte Christiaan Muller östlich Pretoria eine neue Rebellenfront aufbauen, geriet jedoch in die Hände einer Polizei-Einheit und musste aufgeben. Jopie Fourie, ein weiterer Rebellenführer, hatte seine letzte Chance in Nooitgedacht am 15. Dezember 1914 bei einem verzweifelten Bajonett-Angriff in einem trockenen Flussbett (ausgeführt von Polizei). Wiederum verwendeten die Rebellen Dum-Dum-Patronen, und die Polizisten erlitten schwere Verluste.

Jopie Fourie musste vor einem Kriegsgericht wegen Hochverrat erscheinen und wurde vier Tage nach seiner Verhaftung zum Tod verurteilt und von einem Exekutionskommando erschossen. Er blieb der einzige "Märtyrer" des Buren-Aufstands, weil alle übrigen (abgesehen von kurzen Haftstrafen und Geldbussen) amnestiert wurden als Zeichen der Versöhnung.

Im Vrij Stad der Oranler verlief der Aufruhr günstiger als in Transvaal, angeführt von General De Wet. Am 28.Oktober 1914 besetzte er die Gemeinde Vrede mit 800 seiner Leute und begann einen Streit mit dem Magistrat, weil er früher einmal fünf Schillinge Geldstrafe zahlen musste "wegen Körperverletzung, begangen an einem Schwarzen vor Ort".

De Wet beabsichtigte, so bald wie möglich mit General Maritz zusammen zu treffen, Pretoria zu erobern und dort eine Freie Buren-Republik auszurufen. Bis zu seinem Eintreffen in Lindley konnte De Wet etwa 1200 Reitersoldaten aufweisen, viele neu angeworben (in Räuberzivil gekleidet). Läden wurden geplündert, Vorräte aufgestockt. Bei Winburg leisteten Regierungstruppen heftigen Widerstand, und der Kampf wogte hin und her bis zum Sieg der Aufrührer. De Wit erlaubte wiederum Plünderungen von Ladengeschäften, Privathäusern und anderen Einrichtungen. Der Magistrat geriet in Gefangenschaft, der Bürgermeister steckte Prügel ein. Nun marschierten 4.000 Männer mit dem General in bester Laune.

Mit aufgepflanztem Bajonett umringten Infanteristen der Regierung ihre gefangenen Buren-Rebellen, nachdem man in Upington kapituliert hatte. Im Hintergrund die Niederländisch-Reformierte Kirche. General Botha vermied sorgfältig allzu hartes Zupacken durch Engländer.
General Botha näherte sich wenige Tage danach Winburg und fand eine verwüstete Stadt vor wie noch nie erlebt. Die Regierungssoldaten sangen den jüngsten Schlager der Saison: "It's a long way to Tipperary ..." Die Nächte waren eiskalt, das Militär fror erbärmlich in dieser Jahreszeit mit einschneidendem Temperaturwechsel rund um die Uhr.

Botha zwischen allen Stühlen

General Botha hatte es versäumt, die Politiker Hertzog und den letzten Freistaat-Präsidenten Steyn ins Vertrauen zu ziehen und sie um Hilfe zu bitten, damit General De Wet endlich einlenken konnte ohne weiteres Blutvergiessen. Steyn erklärte, dann würde er sein Gesicht verlieren als Gegner jeder militärischen Aktion mit Ziel Deutsch-Südwestafrika. Beyers und De Wet wollten sich nicht mit einer möglichen Amnestie "einkaufen" lassen.

Botha erklärte einmal nach dem Ende der Auseinandersetzungen voller Bitterkeit: "Die letzten drei Monate (Oktober bis Dezember 1914) waren die schlimmsten und schmerzhaftesten meines Lebens, und General Smuts hatte die gleichen Empfindungen. Es war entsetzlich, immer wieder alte Kameraden aus dem Burenkrieg unter den Toten der neuen Rebellion entdecken zu müssen ..."

Nächste Etappe nach Winburg war Mushroom Valley, wo Botha seinen Gegner de Wet vorzufinden hoffte, südöstlich gelegen. Man schrieb den 12. November 1914 – General Lukin und Koen Brits sowie Colonel Brand sollten mit ihren Einheiten hinzu kommen (und die Schutztruppe für eine Weile vergessen). Botha traf mit seinem grossen grünen Vauxhall Kommando-Auto im Morgengrauen ein, das er wechselweise mit seinem Pferd nutzte.

Botha setzte sich – wie gewohnt – auf seinen geliebten kleinen Klappstuhl, griff zum Fernglas und fixierte De Wets Kommando, etwa drei Kilometer entfernt. Die Cape Field Artillery preschte heran, und Botha befahl: Skiet!" – De Wets Männer sprangen in Panik auf ihre Gäule und liessen alles liegen, ohne ihre Einkreisung zu erkennen. Es gab 3.000 Gefangene und 22 Tote nach einem kurzen Kampf. General De Wet entkam mit wenigen Vertrauten, aber seine letzten Aktionen blieben ohne grosse Wirkung.

Nach vier Tagen griff er Virginia Station an und musste ausweichen. Immer mehr Männer "verkrümelten" sich angesichts der bevorstehenden Niederlage. Ab Vryburg ritten bloss 100 Männer zur Kalahari mit, um DSWA zu erreichen und Maritz sowie Kemp zu finden. Coen Brits blieb ihnen hart auf den Fersen, teils mit Automobilen, teils zu Pferd (wegen Treibstoffmangel). Nachschub lieferten die Kamelreiter der südafrikanischen Polizei in Morokwen.

Am 2.Dezember 1914 – drei Wochen nach dem Gefecht bei Mushroom Valley – stellten die Verfolger General De Wet im Britischen Protektorat Betschuanaland während einer Rast am Molopo Fluss. De Wet wollte mit zwei Offizieren entkommen, aber alle Pferde waren zu erschöpft für eine weitere Flucht. So kam es zur Gefangennahme des Rebellen-Führers, der über Hennig Vlei die rettende Schutztruppe im Visier hatte.

Im westlichen Freistaat verlief die Rebellion auf anderen Geleisen: Der Rechtsanwalt Rocco de Villiers besetzte mit seinen Anhängern Parys, Vredefort und Kopjes für kurze Zeit. Im Osten agierte der Geschäftsmann Wessel Wessels, der freimütig mit Deutschland sympathisiert hatte und England zum Teufel wünschte. Am 24.Oktober 1914 führte Niklaas Serfontein, Parlamentsabgeordneter für die Kleinstadt Frankfort, einen Angriff gegen die Gemeinde Reitz, harrte dort einen Monat lang aus, wohlgelitten von den Einwohnern, und musste erst am 4.Dezember 1914 vor Regierungstruppen fliehen.

Wessels hatte unterdessen Harrismith am 2.November 1914 eingenommen, die Stadt geplündert und die Gleise der Bahnstrecke zerstört (in Richtung Natal). Die 2oo Mann starke Bürgerwehr ergab sich "schlafend im Rathaus ..." – Die Verteidiger von Bethlehem wehrten sich energisch und blieben standhaft, sodass Wessells weiter zog.

Die Rebellion hatte auch ihre komischen Aspekte, was man kaum für möglich hält: Als die Aufrührer in Heilbron plünderten, hinterliessen sie in den Läden Bescheinigungen mit folgendem Text: "Bezahlung der Ware erfolgt durch den späteren Gewinner der gegenwärtigen Auseinandersetzung". – Als die Kleinstadt Reitz von burischen Regierungstruppen erobert wurde, waren die Bewohner verblüfft über die "Befreiung durch unsere Leute" – wie es hiess. Eine alte Frau fragte einen Sergeanten: "Aber – wo zum Teufel – sind die verdammten Engländer?" Und die Antwort lautete: "Liebe Frau, beruhigen Sie sich, WIR sind die verdammten Engländer ... ausnahmsweise!" – Wessels ergab sich mit 1200 Kämpfern am 8.Dezember 1914 in Tiger River und wurde amnestiert. Andere Kommandanten verheimlichten ihren Männern die gebotene General-Amnestie und liessen sie sinnlos weiter schiessen bis zum bitteren Ende.

Maritz gibt nicht auf

Während überall im Land die Rebellen kapitulierten oder auseinander liefen, blieb General Maritz unerschütterlich, verborgen in Jerusalem, schmiedete neue Pläne und freute sich über sein ausgeheiltes Bein im Kreis der deutschen Alliierten von SWA.

Captain Dr. A.W. Burton vom South African Medical Corps fuhr in seinem Auto nach Lutzeputz , markiert mit einer Flagge des Roten Kreuzes, und erblickte plötzlich Rauchschwaden, überall verstreut herum liegende Fleischkonservendosen, Obstkonserven, Hartzwieback, Pferdefutter-Rationen und andere Objekte am Strassenrand. Immer wieder begegneten ihm Verwundete, die er versorgte. Maritz-Rebellen achteten das Rote Kreuz und machten keine Schwierigkeiten unterwegs.

Nachdem Burton den Ort Lutzeputz erreichte, hatten die Kämpfe aufgehört und Burtons Sanitäter Gelegenheit zur umfassenden Versorgung aller Verletzten in rasch aufgebauten Zelten. Captain Dr. Burton traf dabei auf General Maritz, begleitet von einem deutschen Arzt und einigen anderen Männern – alle trugen Schutztruppe-Uniformen. Maritz wollte wissen, ob Burton die Verwundeten mit Proviant versorgen konnte, aber das war nicht möglich. Daraufhin versprach Maritz eine Lebensmittel-Lieferung. Am nächsten Morgen ritten Maritz und die Deutschen Richtung Upington davon, und von Proviant war weit und breit nichts zu sehen. Burton notierte in seinem Tagebuch: "Ich glaube, Maritz hatte überhaupt keine Gelegenheit zur Beschaffung von Lebensmitteln und die Deutschen ebensowenig".

Die deutsche Schutztruppe unterhielt 500 Kamelreiter als Kundschafter im Wüstengebiet der Namib ähnlich wie die südafrikanischen Einheiten. In Upington steht ein Denkmal zur Erinnerung.
Vor ihrem Abzug vergifteten die Rebellen einen Brunnen mit Tierkadavern und die Sanitäter hatten grosse Mühe, das Wasser wieder geniessbar zu machen und den Brunnen zu säubern. Plötzlich erschien ein Buschmann und bot Ziegen zum Kauf an, die Sergeant Orpen abholte – immerhin zwei Schlachttiere für die Verwundeten. Am Tag darauf rumpelte die Maultier-Sanitätskolonne Richtung Upington los, fast 100 Kilometer weit. Doktor Burton marschierte mit, sein Auto hatte keinen Treibstoff mehr.

Die Schutztruppe drängte Maritz, endlich Upington anzugreifen, unterstützt von deutscher Seite und deutscher Artillerie sowie einigen Maschinengewehren. Major Ritter sollte ebenfalls eingreifen bei Raman's Drift und Steinkopf. Maritz hatte ausser den eigenen Leuten die Rebellen des Majors Kemp zur Verfügung seit Ende Dezember 1914. In Keetmanshoop kam es zu einer Besprechung zwischen Gouverneur Seitz sowie Maritz und Kemp, um vermehrt Waffenhilfe zu erhalten.

Lutzeputz schien ein militärischer Sieg der Rebellen unter Maritz gewesen zu sein, aber seine Truppe bekam dort zum ersten Mal Zeitungen zu lesen, in denen vom Zusammembruch des Aufstands berichtet wurde, von Beyers Tod, De Wets Gefangennahme und anderen Katastrophen im Land. Maritz wusste das nicht, sonst hätte er diese Zeitungen nicht in die Hände seiner Kameraden gelangen lassen.

Jetzt schickte Maritz einen Brief an Colonel Jacob van Deventer, den Kommandanten von Upington, und forderte zur Kapitulation auf. Fünf Tage später – am 24.Januar 1915 – griff Maritz an, ohne eine Antwort aus Upington abzuwarten. Man weiss inzwischen, dass die Schutztruppe die Geduld mit Maritz verloren hatte und auf schnelle Aktionen drängte.

Südafrikanische Kriegsgefangene mit Wundverbänden nach dem Sieg der Schutztruppe bei Sandfontein zu Beginn der Feindseligkeiten im Ersten Weltkrieg.
Captain Burton fuhr abends am 23.Januar 1915 von Upington mit einem Ambulanzwagen in das Rebellenlager, weil man wegen eines verwundeten und gefangenen Regierungssoldaten medizinische Hilfe brauchte und eine Nachricht geschickt hatte. Der Arzt füllte einige Wasserflaschen mit Zitronen-Limonade, wusste jedoch nicht, dass diese Limonade heimtückisch vergiftet worden war. Im Lager traf Dr. Burton auch den deutschen Arzt und bot seine Limonade an. Kaum hatten alle getrunken, mussten sie heftig erbrechen – einschliesslich Doktor Burton. Man machte ihm Vorwürfe, doch Burton konnte überzeugend darlegen, dass er selbst ahnungslos betroffen war, und die Männer beruhigten sich allmählich.

Während der Rückfahrt mit dem verwundeten Scout der SA Mounted Rifles entdeckte ein Sanitäter dicht hinter dem Fahrzeug Reiter und Fusstruppen im Mondlicht, voran ein Mann auf einem Schimmel, und dann schwenkte die Kolonne in Richtung Upington seitwärts. Das musste General Maritz sein, und Dr. Burton trieb seinen von Maultieren gezogenen Ambulanzkarren zur Eile an. In Upington wussten die Verteidiger längst Bescheid dank ihrer Kundschafter.

Ein Bandit mit Ehrgefühl

Die Garnison Upington war keineswegs von einem militärischen Späher in Alarmzustand versetzt worden – wie man annehmen konnte – sondern von dem legendären Scotty Smith, seines Zeichens Bandit, Pferdedieb, Diamanten-Schmuggler, Fluchthelfer und Schrecken aller Polizisten weit und breit. Smith hatte längere Zeit die Rebellen-Soldaten mit seinem Fernglas beobachtet, die ersten Anzeichen ihres Aufbruchs bemerkt und sich sofort mit seinem Pferd auf den Weg nach Upington gemacht, um dort – kühl kaufmännisch – eine saftige Belohnung abzukassieren, denn der Rebellenkrieg an sich interessierte ihn nicht im geringsten.

Smith hatte sich schon früher als ausgezeichneter Kundschafter bewährt. Man erzählte, dieser Smith sei in Wirklichkeit ein Adelsspross und heisse George Saint Leger Gordon Lennox oder so ähnlich. Vor Jahren machte er mit einigen Komplizen Betschuanaland unsicher, dazu DSWA und die Kap-Provinz. Am liebsten lebte er in der Kalahari Wüste als Einsiedler. Spanien, Indien, Australien zählten zur geheimnisvollen Vergangenheit des Mannes – auch eine Zeit als Polizist am Kap. Pferde schienen für ihn die liebsten Begleiter zu sein.

Im Morgengrauen des 24.Januar 1915 griff Maritz endlich an mit seinen 1000 Soldaten und deutscher Artillerie-Unterstützung (vier Kanonen, zwei Pom-Pom-Guns, zwei MG). Pom-Pom-Guns waren automatische Schnellfeuergeschütze, auch Revolver-Kanonen genannt (im Museum Tsumeb zu besichtigen für Touristen).
Es ist nicht zuverlässig überliefert, ob die Schutztruppen-Kanonen von deutschen Artilleristen bedient wurden oder von Buren-Artilleristen mit entsprechender Ausbildung. "Die deutschen Revolver-Kanonen hörten sich wie Hundegebell an auf grössere Distanz", notierte Dr. Burton in seinem Tagebuch. Nach fünf Stunden gingen die Rebellen zurück, überrascht von der starken Abwehr. Die Verteidiger verschossen 250 Artillerie-Granaten, die deutschen Gegner etwa 150 nach Schätzungen. Die Rebellen hatten 12 Tote und 23 Verwundete sowie 97 Verluste durch Gefangenschaft. Fast alle trugen deutsche Schutztruppe-Uniformen. Drei Verteidiger kamen ums Leben, 22 erlitten Verletzungen. Und man registrierte etwa 20 getötete Pferde durch Artillerie. Am 30.Januar 1915 kapitulierte Maritz mit Kemp und anderen ausserhalb Upington im Feldlager.

Was stand im Geheimvertrag?

Die deutsche Reichsregierung hatte zu keiner Zeit Überlegungen angestellt, ihren Herrschaftsbereich über Südwestafrika bis nach Südafrika auszudehnen (wie in der britischen Kriegspropaganda unterstellt wurde). Im Reichstag waren allerdings törichte Stimmen zu vernehmen (Abgeordneter Lattmann), die von einem strategisch bedeutsamen Eisenbahnbau in DSWA faselten mit dem Ziel die Kap-Kolonie zu erobern. Eine Zeitung fabulierte: "Wir werden Transvaal mit unseren burischen Blutsbrüdern kassieren und ihnen ein Leben in Freiheit ohne britisches Joch ermöglichen ..."

Tatsächlich lag die deutsche Truppenstärke bei Kriegsausbruch unter 3.000 Mann (ohne Reservisten) und sollte weiter verringert werden. Der Gouverneur wollte in jedem Fall die Grenzen zwischen DSWA und der Union of South Africa respektieren und änderte seine Einstellung erst dann, nachdem der britische Hilfskreuzer ARMADALE CASTLE am 14.September 1914 Swakopmund mit Schiffsartillerie beschossen hatte.

Deutsche Truppen sollten keineswegs Upington erobern, sondern lediglich den Buren-Rebellen vorübergehend Beistand leisten und sich dann wieder zurückziehen.

Gouverneur Seitz respektierte in dem oft zitierten Geheimvertrag mit General Maritz die Unabhängigkeit der Union of South Africa und versprach Unterstützung der burischen Bestrebungen Delagoa Bay (Lourenco Marques in Portugiesisch-Ostafrika) zu erwerben. Dann hätte die Buren-Republik einen Seehafen bekommen, woraus man schliessen darf, dass Maritz mit den alten Republiken (Freistaaten) Transvaal und Oranje zufrieden schien ohne Expansionsgelüste innerhalb Südafrikas. Unklar blieb jedoch, ob Portugal am Verkauf seines Hafens interessiert war in jener Zeit, also im heutigen Mozambique. Als Gegenleistung wollten die Buren den Deutschen Walvis Bay als Tiefseehafen überlassen. Seitz machte zur Voraussetzung aller Beschlüsse, dass Maritz rechtzeitig und erfolgreich rebellierte, um die Briten von einer Eroberung Südwestafrikas abzuhalten. Kaiser Wilhelm II. telegrafierte dazu seine Zustimmung im Oktober 1914.

Rebellen: Urteile mit Wiederaufstieg

Major Christoffel Kemp: sieben Jahre Haft und 1.000 Pfund Geldbusse
General S.F.Maritz: 21 Monate Haft (schnelle Entlassung), Farmer SWA
General Christiaan De Wet: sechs Jahre Haft und 2.000 Pfund Geldbusse
Wessell Wessells: fünf Jahre Haft und 1.000 Pfund Geldbusse
Rocco De Villiers: vier Jahre Haft und 500 Pfund Geldbusse
Niklaas Serfontein: vier Jahre Haft
Niklaas van Rensburg: 18 Monate Haft

Fast alle Offiziere und Zivilisten, die führend am Aufstand gegen die rechtmässige Regierung der Union of South Africa beteiligt waren, wurden bis Weihnachten 1915 nach kurzer Haft freigelassen, weil sich die politischen Verhältnisse im Parlament wesentlich verändert hatten. Vielfach feierte man die "Landesverräter" jetzt als Helden.

Der Haupträdelsführer Major Christoffel Kemp (neben General de Wet und General Maritz) war knapp zwei Jahre in Haft und wurde 1924 zum Minister für Landwirtschaft im Kabinett Hertzog ernannt. 1935 diente er im Kabinett Smuts als Minister of Lands.

The Star Newspaper Collection Johannesburg

Sir Charles Lukas: The Empire at War
(Oxford University Press)

Deneys Reitz: Trekking On
(Faber & Faber 1933)

A.W.Burton Diaries
(Rhodes University Grahamstown)

Gerald L'Ange: Urgent Imperial Service
(Ashanti Publishing 1991)

J.J.Collyer: The Campaign in German South West Africa
(Government Printer Pretoria 1937)

W.S.Rayner: How Botha and Smuths Conquered German SWA
(Private Publication 1915)

Kolonialbildarchive RSA, NAM, STUB-FFM , Burton, Wynard War Museum
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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"Deutsche Station Hasuur hat 27. September Angriff bewaffneter, von englischer Polizei geführter Eingeborener abgewiesen. Bei Sandfontein haben auf englischer Seite Truppen-Eingeborene mitgekämpft. In allen deutschen Grenzgebieten ist eingeborene Bevölkerung von deutschen Truppen seit acht Wochen gesammelt und weggeschafft. Fordere Regierung auf, sofort einzuschreiten, werde sie unterstützen darin, Gefangene 38 bewaffnete Truppen-Eingeborene werden standrechtlich behandelt. Schließe aus Maßnahmen dortiger Unterführer, daß Briten schon jetzt verzweifeln, später in Südafrika noch Rolle zu spielen, und Krieg Weiß gegen Schwarz uns hinterlassen wollen. Bin überzeugt, daß Afrikaner-Regierung Verbrechen an Weißer Rasse fernsteht und Entscheidung den Waffen in Händen weißen Mannes überlassen wird."

Am 1. Oktober hatte die starke Patrouille Goedecke an der südöstlichen Grenze 5 englische Offiziere und 58 Soldaten gefangengenommen. Unter ihnen befanden sich bewaffnete Bastards und Schwarze, sowie die bei Hasuur wohnenden drei Söhne des Bastards Spangenberg.

Bei einer gegen Lüderitzbucht reitenden Patrouille fielen drei Mann. Drei Südafrikaner wurden gefangengenommen, darunter der früher in Lüderitzbucht als Photograph und Prospektor tätig gewesene De Meillon, der, jetzt als englischer Kapitän verwundet, in die Hände der Deutschen fiel; es gelang diesem Spion leider später, wieder zu entkommen.

Nach Abschluß eines Vertrages mit dem deutschen Oberkommando in Ukamas am 7. Oktober 1914 trat General Maritz mit seinen treuen Abteilungen zur deutschen Schutztruppe über. Er ließ diesen Vertrag als südafrikanische "Ooreenkomst" durch Flugblätter in Südafrika bekanntmachen und forderte das südafrikanische Volk auf zum Kampf für Freiheit und Recht gegen England.
Ek staan eder saam met 10 man, wat eerstens met God en die waarheid gewapen is, en dan met die wapen gewapen is.
As wat ek saam met n 1000 man staan, wat net met die wapen alleen gewapen is.
Ek staan erder met n man wat feitlik korek is, as n man wat Geeslik verkeerd is.
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