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ToadHall

Visit to Tz: Bukoba

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ToadHall

I can heartily recommend anyone who gets the opportunity to visit Tz to do so! I have been fortunate to spend three weeks there through December and it was a great experience. Unfortunately work kept me to two free days, so my great plans for visiting some of the battle sites around Tanga and elsewhere largely came to naught, except in Bukoba.

I did manage to visit Tanga and Upanga Road (Dar) cemeteries and after I have forwarded photos etc to those who specifically requested them I will put a list of the pictures on the forum for anyone who wants them.

Whilst in Bukoba I had a good look at the topography of the route taken by the raiding force. For what it is worth, this was came to mind. The landing site seemed strange at first, as it required the Main Force to undertake a steep and very exposed ascent of Karwazi Hill (which is easily a 30 degree slope in places). However, it does make sense, as had the defending forces taken up position on Karwazi the gently rolling top of the hill would have made them excellent target practice for the supporting ships' guns. Therefore, the positions they took up on the inland, but rocky and naturally defensive Arab Ridge were the obvious option. The raiding force would also have realised this and so knew they could ascend Karwazi without being heavily targeted, once atop the hill the advantage of height the defenders had would have been largely nullified and the distance between the positions would have just about enabled a small-arms engagement. There are also many large rocky outcrops, providing cover for any advancing infantry. I have not read if machine guns/light artillery were bought ashore quickly (there is a photo of a KAR machine crew on Arab Ridge) but if they were, then a covered advance would have been possible. Had the raiding force landed in the town, or to the south, then they would have been forced to attack up the long, gentle slope to Arab Ridge, a far more exposed route.

This long, gentle and exposed slope from Arab Ridge toward the Town would conversely put the retreating defensive force in grave danger. This would have meant that the defenders on Arab Ridge would have faced the choice of bailing out in good time (which they wisely did) or risk capture/casualties in a close retreat. The coastline south of the Town is at the base of an escarpment, which the retreating force sensibly steered clear of, keeping to the top of the ridge and the flatter, open ground to the south-west of Bukoba.

As a minor point, the Fort in Bukoba is shown in the wrong place on the map in "Tip and Run". It is South of the river (shown as an inlet), about 50m north of the old landing stage (which is still there). It is now the local nick and be prepared for a serious telling off if, like me, you didn't realise this and get caught taking a photo!

I took a fair few photos at Bukoba and will list them for anyone who wants them once I have processed everything. They include Karwazi Hill/Arab Ridge from the air, the landing stage and the concrete (not "brick pillars" as some travel guides state) antenna bases. One of the antenna bases also shows a clear attempt to demolish it, the charge/shell having had little effect.

Toodle-pip!

Phil

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GraemeClarke

Hi Phil

Good to see you safely home, look forward to seeing the photos,

Regards

Graeme

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KONDOA

Well done, good effort indeed.

Roop

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