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Remembered Today:

Togoland Polizeitruppe


UncleBourbon

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I have interest in learning about the Polizeitruppe, particularly Ewe members, their service, actions and accounts (if there are any), but sadly most information written of the Togoland Campaign in English is of the Allied perspective, and what little it mentions of the German side of things involves their Colonial Officers.
I'm hoping I'm missing something, and that someone on here can help me out with information on this native force.

 

My biggest questions are as follows:

Are there any accounts written by veterans of the Togoland Polizeitruppe, preferably translated into English? Alternatively accounts written by their Colonial Officers.

What percentage of Ewe composed the Polizeitruppe?

Were the Polizeitruppe still using single shot '71 Mausers by 1914? I know they were using them as late as the Battle of Adibo in 1896 against the Dagbamba.
Did they acquire machine guns by that point either, and where they employed?

Was Lieutenant George Thompson was killed by native members of the Polizeitruppe?

Polizeitruppe.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mate,

 

Sorry I have no details on native troops, but if you check the Verlustlisten 1. Weltkrieg you will find around 390 names of white soldiers who served there.

 

Just enter "Togo" and there names will come up, I am unsure if native troops are also there?

 

Cheers


S.B

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  • 6 months later...
UncleBourbon
On 27/10/2019 at 19:12, stevebecker said:

Mate,

 

Sorry I have no details on native troops, but if you check the Verlustlisten 1. Weltkrieg you will find around 390 names of white soldiers who served there.

 

Just enter "Togo" and there names will come up, I am unsure if native troops are also there?

 

Cheers


S.B

 

Apologies for my late response and thank you very much!


In the meantime I've found an image of German recruitment for the Polizeitruppe in Togoland.

16a.png.14e2af39c670bb8ee245fc0a0c9c9219.png

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  • 4 months later...

In answer to your question about who may have shot Lieutenant Thompson all the accounts agree he and his men came under intense machine gun and rifle fire with one of the Senegalese Tiraileurs alongside him being hit eight times.  It would seem probable, therefore, that Thompson was hit by machine gun fire.  All German machine guns were fired exclusively by European officers and NCOs so unless he was hit by rifle fire it seems less likely Lieutenant Thompson was killed by an African member of the Polizeitruppe.  We will never know for sure so this is all a bit academic. 

 

There were three machine guns at Chra where Thompson met his death although an earlier draft of the map to be found in the National Archive WO32/5788 suggests four.  One of the German machine gunners, Unteroffizer Heinrich Klempp, was killed.  He is buried alongside Lieutenant Thompson in the small cemetery at Chra (Wahala today).  There is an account from the German side at Chra by a Sergeant Major Stober.  He refers to the machine guns and Klemp being killed and whilst it is unclear Klemp may have been the machine gunner on the east side of Chra from which direction Thompson led his men.  Given that the fighting was fiercest on this side, to the west the British attack is quickly pinned down, it appears feasible Klemp was killed here.  If so it would be him who fired the shot that killed Lieutenant Thompson but that is ultimately just a best guess.

 

I’ve not found any pictures of German machine guns in Togoland but see below for a photograph entitled “At the shooting range in Misahohe” taken from a book ‘Eine Reise durch die Deutschen Kolonien Togo’ published in 1912.

 

image.png.a9c981a0d0bf3c60458f83afccbacd50.png

 

Hope this is all of interest.

 

james

 

Sources

Military Operations Togoland and the Cameroons by Brig-General F.J. Moberly, 1931

National Archive WO32/5788 Operations in Togoland

The History of the West African Frontier Force by Colonel A. Haywood and Brigadier F. A.S. Clarke 1964

The Bond of Sacrifice – A Biographical Record of British Officers who Fell in the Great War, Volume 1 August to December 1914

Sergeant Major Stober’s account in French (!) can be found at http://horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins_textes/pleins_textes_5/b_fdi_18-19/24344.pdf

 

 

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Mate,

 

A Check of the Verlustlisten 1. Weltkrieg 

 

Unteroffizer Heinrich Klempp

 

The only man shown is Klemp shown gesallen (Fallen) 1915

 

and Sergeant Major Stober

 

VzFeldW deR Alfons Stoeber

 

Cheers


S.B

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Here some further links for names and photos in German Sources

 

Regarding German victims in Togo exists a Link to a Monument-Project-Online:

http://www.denkmalprojekt.org/2014/bremen_kolonial-ehrenmal_gedenkbuch_teil-togo.htm

 

List for Togo of killed in action or died European Germans.jpg

Here some further links for names and photos in German Sources

 

Regarding German victims in Togo exists a Link to a Monument-Project-Online:

http://www.denkmalprojekt.org/2014/bremen_kolonial-ehrenmal_gedenkbuch_teil-togo.htm

 

On this list you find (only) two European German who were killed in action in Togo,

 

The others are died by other reasons, after the capitulation of the German forces.

But maybe; - off course not complete?

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Regarding photos exists in the Colonial picture Archive also a file for Togo.

Her you will find 531 photos from Togo, sometimes a little mixed with Cameroun.

But also the description are very low. (Nobody is interested in Germany for these)

 

http://www.ub.bildarchiv-dkg.uni-frankfurt.de/Bildprojekt/frames/hauptframe.html

 

  1. Put TOGO in `Place´ and press `Search´

  2. Click on a picture,

Pictures from Togo in the German Colonial archiv.jpg

Cheers Holger

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Thanks Steve for the check of the Verlustlisten 1. Weltkrieg and to Holgar for all the links (I will look up the photos) and the names of Germans killed in Togo.  Interesting to see only two are named as the Official History, clearly using Sergeant Major Stober’s account, quotes six  German deaths at Agbelouvé on 15 August 1914 naming Pfaehler but not the others.  Were the other five reservists called up at the outbreak of hostilities?

 

Stober says two (European) Germans were killed at Chra on 22 August 1914 but who the second one is a mystery.  Only Klemp is buried in the cemetery.

 

Stober also refers to a Doctor Sengmüller and a Doctor Kolsdorf being seriously wounded at Agbelouvé and a Captain von Raaven wounded at Chra.

 

Interesting to note that all three are listed in the report of Doctor G.E.H. Le Fanu, British Medical Officer in Charge, Base Hospital, Lome – see the extract below from WO32/5788 at the National Archive.

 

image.png.29963d1752197e1158687df03b7e8bb8.png

 

regards

james

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Mate,

 

I was looking at the men's names shown in the Verlustlisten 1. Weltkrieg, page 5679: Berger 

 

Its lists the names of men around that date - Aug 1914

 

Also those shown gesallen 

 

My Old German is not that good but a close check may give you better details.

 

S.B

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On 25/09/2020 at 18:12, Holger Kotthaus said:

The following is a translation from a German online source.

Fighters on Forgotten Fronts”, Chapter 4, Togo, pages 199-203

https://digi.landesbibliothek.at/viewer/image/AC10724635/211/

 

(I've only roughly translated with Google the most important passages that also mention the topic of this thread)

 

Description of the events in Togo by a German merchant

[ . . . ]

It was of course clear to us from the outset that we would face an absolutely hopeless fight against tenfold or even greater odds and attacks from three sides, the sea, the Gold Coast and Dahomey. Togo has no Schutztruppe force; only a handful of police soldiers were available to us, whereas our opponents had, in some cases, very good regiments of regular soldiers, cannons and warships at their disposal.

[ . . . ]

On August 5th, at 11 am, the commander summoned the Europeans in front of the new administration building to issue the first military orders and to assign the European company. During the night the first mounted guards had to do their duty on the English border. The attack of the French Senegalese archers from Dahomey on Anecho was to be expected even more than from this side. With great care the commander there, Captain von Roebern, had trenches dug at the exposed places, and he knew how to inspire our few Germans there so much that they hardly noticed that they hadn't gotten off their clothes for four days and nights and having been without sleep to speak of.

[ . . . ]

On August 6th, at 7.30 am, two English parliamentarians, Captain Barker and Mr. Newlands, crossed our frontier and were taken from our outposts to the commanding officer. The English demanded that Togo be surrendered and issued an ultimatum of 24 hours that is until August 7th, at 7:30 in the evening. That same evening the commander summoned all Europeans to the administration building and announced that we would evacuate the open coastal spots Lome and Anecho and retreat to Kamina or Atakpame in order to defend the radio station as long as possible.

[ . . . ]

Shortly before our departure, Captain von Roebern, standing on the step of the train that was supposed to bring us from Anecho, spoke a few gripping words in front of the assembled Togo people and in front of the front of the Europeans. On the same day, on August 7th at noon, our entire white and black armed forces then left Lome by train for Kamina, which meant that Lomé had been evicted. At 8 o'clock in the evening, after the Europeans had arrived at the various stations, we arrived in Agbonu, the closest railway station to Kamina. The small Togblekofe radio station with only one tower. For example, Togblekofe could come into contact with South West Africa, had since been made unusable. The black troops were led to Kamina, while the Europeans had to spend the night in the train due to a lack of suitable quarters. On the morning of August 8th we marched to Kamina, where the commander gave another short speech, and soon we went back to Agbonu and then by train to the next station Atakpame, where we took up our quarters in the factories.

From August 9th, days of hard military exercises began for the European company. The reserve officers, together with the sergeants and non-commissioned officers of the reserve, had the difficult task of teaching the inexperienced the most necessary things in a short period of time and of forming a usable unit from them together with the former military. Service under the tropical sun was not easy, and diseases were common enough.

[ . . . ]

At the same time, the experienced military, with the help of our black soldiers, were busy putting Kamina into a state of defence. The 6 km long extension of the entire complex made it later seem impossible to carry out an effective defence there with the group of useful soldiers, which is why the tactics of attacking were used and the first detachments were sent to the enemy advancing from the direction of Lome to help him to stay as long as possible. Captain Pfaehler, the only active infantry officer who was only recently transferred to Togo, was entrusted with the management of this expedition. On August 2nd, after riding for days and nights from deep inside, he arrived at the Atakpame district office in a rushed state, reported to the commander the next morning and immediately followed the first European division by train with a black troop to Agbeluwoö. Unfortunately this undertaking failed; while ours drove down the railway line, at the same time the allies were moving up the parallel highway. The result was that the one European division under the leadership of Lieutenant d. R. Schlettwein cut off and taken prisoner, a small patrol made up of three Europeans and a few black soldiers separated from the side and two Europeans, First Lieutenant d. R. Dr. Sengmüller and Vice Sergeant d. R. Dr. Kolsdorf, wounded and taken prisoner. In the evening, Captain Pfaehler had gathered with the rest of our people in Agbeluwoö, where the allies held the station building and awaited their main force. This dashing officer ended his short military career at 9:30 in the evening with a heroic death. A bullet, shot aimlessly, hit the carotid artery, and Pfaehler went over to the better afterlife without pain.

[ . . . ]

For the upcoming operations against the allies advancing from Lome, Artillery Lieutenant Mans, the second and last active officer of the colony, received the supreme command. Against the French power advancing from the east, from Dahomey, Captain von Roebern directed the outpost service from Njamassilä, and the English troops advancing from the west via Misahöhe - Palime were to be District Administrator Dr. Gruner with the few Germans there and his police force. Just in case, on August 19, 29 men from the European company were ordered to the demolition squad in Kamina, and the rest of this detachment in Atakpame was put on permanent watch and on patrol services.

[ . . . ]

 

On August 20 and 21 we prepared a major battle on the Ehra, where the battle also took place on August 22, in which our good compatriots, with the help of their three machine guns, were ten times superior to their allies, who were ten times superior to their machine guns and two cannons incurred the greatest percentage loss that the English - as officers later told me - have had in 30 years. Seventeen out of 100 of their total soldiers died there, largely thanks to the masterly operation of the machine guns. Klemp, who unfortunately died a hero's death when changing machine gun positions, and Brauer were the horror of machine guns for the allies, and in addition to First Lieutenant Mans it was primarily thanks to the experienced Chinese warrior and old Togo-German Rebstein as the leader that we had one for Agbeluwoö could take brilliant revenge. But also our other brothers, who stood faithfully in the trenches in the harshest conditions in the rain of bullets and grenades, and did their duty, thanks and honours. Many a person had more than once in the spirit closed with this life, but a lucky star seemed to stand over our brave, so that in addition to the loss mentioned above, we only have one wounded European, Lieutenant d. R. Dr. von Raven.

[ . . . ]

So it was, unfortunately, an urgent necessity to give up our excellent positions at night and go back to the Amutfchu River by train. It should also be mentioned here that we had blown up the large iron suspension bridges over the Ehra and Amntschn rivers in order to hold off the enemy as long as possible. The solemn funeral of our fallen hero Klemp took place at noon on Sunday, August 23rd at noon. He has found his last place in Kamina near the commander's house.

[ . . . ]

At the Amuchu River, at the village of Amuno and at the train station, we then fought the last battle on August 24 with just one platoon and a machine gun. At 7 o'clock in the evening we withdrew to Dadja. The radio station was scheduled to be destroyed at this time, and the commander gave orders that evening to put down the twelve proud towers and blow up the machine house.

 

As far as Atakpame and on the other side to Dadja was the mighty fire of the engine house to see. All outposts received orders at the same time to retreat to Kamina. It would have been a useless slaughter to keep the exposed chimney open on all sides with the few people wanting to defend a superior enemy against an enemy who is in

entrenched a distance at which we couldn’t harm him, but he couldn’t harm him for so long without risk Position and the station could have bombed until nothing was left. The handover was decided by the council of war.

 

On August 26th, all advanced patrols returned to Kamina and the white flag was hoisted on the commander's house. Captain von Roebern went to the allies as a parliamentarian and submitted our conditions. The allies, based on their superior strength, refused completely and demanded unconditional surrender. Of course we had no choice but to surrender unconditionally. The handover should take place on August 27, at 8 a.m.

In the meantime, our black soldiers have been paid off and released to their villages.The allies with Colonel Vryant, the commander in chief, appeared punctually at the pointed and hoisted the English and French flags after a brief military tribute. All Europeans with a few exceptions who were still needed in Kamina with reference to the handover, had to march as prisoners of war, accompanied by the black soldiers of the allies, to Atakpame, from where the return transport to Lome should take place. . .

 

 

In this eyewitness report, two immediate deaths on the German side are mentioned. All the others

were taken as wounded prisoner. Some died there.

 

The high losses on the opposing side were caused by the three machine guns operated only by Europeans,

including the sergeant Heinrich Klemp (p), who died there in battle.

 

Cheers Holger

 

 

 

 

 

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This is great stuff Holger and many thanks for translating it.  It would confirm there were only two European German casualties during the campaign Pfaehler and Klemp and sheds new light on their respective deaths.   Plus it lists the other two machine gunners at Chra - Brauer (? rank) and First Lieutenant Mans.  All adds to the picture of this brief but fascinating campaign.

 

regards

james

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  • 1 month later...
On 26/09/2020 at 12:48, Holger Kotthaus said:

 

Thank you very much for this translation, Holger! It is truly appreciated and definitely fascinating.

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Hello UncleBourbon

,

The book mentioned is one of the few German online sources from World War I, and it also

allows the passages to be translated quickly and easily using by `Volltext´ and copy and past.

Not only the fights in all Colonies, but also sea-, air-, and fighting on all other fronts during GW.

Here is the Index in German:

https://digi.landesbibliothek.at/viewer/!toc/AC10724635/1/-/

 

Cheers Holger

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