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Cameroon 1891
 

Markus Bodeux

In 1891 again a mission of the imperial German navy on the African west coast became necessary. This mission was carried out by the deployed at that time, S.M. Kreuzer HABICHT and S.M. Kanonenboot HYÄNE. 
The Abo-tribe in the moutharea  of the Abo-river had revolted and occupied and fortified the village of Miang. Therefore the governor urged the oldest naval officer of the west African station, commander von Dresky, captain of S.M.S. HABICHT, to support the Schutztruppe of the government under captain von Gravenreuth in the matter of repeated conquest of Miang and the punishment of the Abo-people. Commander von Dresky promised the demanded support and formed two landing detachments.
The little gouvernment-steamboat SODEN was used to supply the landing forces. The report of von Dresky to the Reichsmarineamt gave a very interesting impression about the realization of this project. It is remarkable about this report that the awarded decorations especially were given to those persons mentioned because of their courage and bravery:

 „.....the forces, chosen for this operation consists of:

a) landingdetachment HABICHT with the strength of two officers, four NCO´s, two hoboists and 55 men,
b) landingdetachment HYÄNE with th strength of two officers, 1 doctor, 4 NCO´s and 33 men
c) expedition of captain von Gravenreuth, consisting of 3 negro-companies of 100 heads and 50 females to carry loads
d) 25 men, who were provide by the gouvernment.

I chose the Lieutenant-Commander Krause of S.M. Kreuzer HABICHT to be the leader of the united landingdetachments.


S.M. Kreuzer Habicht

...........On sunday, 17th of october all preparations were done, therefore on sunday morning at 5 o´clock the ships could be boarded without delay. The crews had been checked out by ships doctors, the ones that had been frequently attacked by fever were defered. The landingdetachments were supplied for three, the crew of the steamer SODEN for six days with water and provisions. 
Every man had a complete second suit and a pair of canvas gaiters. Woolen blankets and rubberbases completed the equipment...........
............through the storming of Miang and the destruction of all of the cultural assets that belonged to the Abo- and Bonakwasse-people the expedition was completed.
On the 19th of october the landingdetachments, on the 21st of october the acting Secondlieutenant Hopman with the steamer SODEN and a negrocompany and on the 22nd of october S.M. vehicle NACHTIGAL with the rest of the men of the expedition of von Gravenreuth returned.

Through the reports of the involved officers as well as the oral report of the captain von Gravenreuth one can conclude, that the capture of the very well fortified and through superior weapons defended Miang hadn´t been a task that was easy to solve. It is only due to the good leadership and the extraordinary attitude of officers and crew. The casualities of the enemy couldn´t be determined because the enemy carried his dead and wounded on his escape with him. News that later reached Kamerun confirmed that the casualities were quite big because at least 4 chieftains died and the highest chieftain Pan died on fatal wounds. I was also seen that a great amount of negros carried al lot of bodies with them.
The own in relation to the enemy small casualities are on the one side due to the very bad gunpowder and the bad projectiles – most wounds were caused by unregular formed metal pieces that were made by smashed iron pots – on the other hand due to the determined and brisk attack on the palisades.
I wont forget to tell your excellence that the eagerness shown by Lieutenant-commander Krause from HABICHT and Secondlieutenant Krüger from HYÄNE as well as the personal courage which both of the officers showed during the attack on Miang helped a great amount to succeed in this project.
Acting Secondlieutenant Krüger standing in the frontline operated himself for some time the Maxim-gun and was together with captain von Gravenreuth one of the first men in the pallisades. Lieutenant-commander Krause was a great example for alll of his men since he was the first to get over the pallisades.
Secondlieutenant Czech collapsed because of a sunstroke and hod to be taken unconscious  to the steamer SODEN after he tried-supported by two men to walk. Assistand-doctor 1st class Schacht of HYÄNE cared inspite of the steep ways and unfortunatly strong heat indefatigable for the wounded.
Not only the own officers but also captain von Gravenreuth and his officers testified that the crews of both ships showed eagerness, courage and determination in every matter.
I especially want to mention the pettyofficers mate Lack of HYÄNE. He tried to get captain von Gravenreuth out of a wolftrap as he received two shots into his upper leg. He still went further, received a shot into his arm , left his gun behind, took the sidegun and stormed further until he broke down because of being hit again by a couple of shots infront of the pallisades.
The seamen Starcke, Widmann and Rau of HYÄNE distinguished themselves during the storming of the palisades while the helmsmans mate Itgenhorst, masters mate Fliege and buggler Noé especially showed circumspection and cold-bloodeness. From the HABICHT petty-officers mate Schwanz, privates Feick and Thiemann, Krause and Werner especially distinguished themselves through their brave and calm character. Werner did that, while carrying the wounded. Secondlieutenant Hopman fullfilled his less appreciative but difficult task to maneuver the steamer SODEN in the narrow track and to care those many men and boats with circumspection, tenacity and passion..........

signed: von Dresky „

Rearadmiral von Dresky, at that time captain S.M. Kreuzer HABICHT. He wears, beside the for the battle of Miang awarded Red-Eagle-Order 4th class with swords, the Red-Eagle-Order 3rd class with sash and swords on the suspension 
(AKO January, 16th 1898), the officers long-service cross, the 1870/71 war medal and the Centenary-medal.

The especially because of their bravery mentioned persons in the report of von Dresky as well as von Dresky himself who was the only awarded who didn't participate in the battle, were decorated by the Kaiser with Prussian war decorations:

With the Highest Order of the Cabinett of September, 5th 1892 the credit for war service was set:

 „.........the battle at Miang (Kamerun) on October, 18th 1891 counts as defined by law considering the pension and supply of military persons of the army and navy of June, 27th 1871 as a campaign that gives the involved credit for one year of war...............“

clasp KAMERUN 1891 for the colonial-commemorative medal

In the foundation document is concerning the clasp KAMERUN 1891 expressly referred to this order of cabinet. The crews of HABICHT and HYÄNE consisted all in all of 240 men, including the following naval officers, engineers and doctors:

 Dresky, von Korvettenkapitän HABICHT, Kommandant
 Krause Kapitänleutnant HABICHT, 1. Offizier
 Czech Leutnant zur See HABICHT
 Hippel, von Unterleuntnant zur See HABICHT
 Frentzel-Beyme, Dr. Marineassistenzarzt 1. Klasse HABICHT
 Wulff Marineunterzahlmeister HABICHT
 Breitenstein Obermaschinist HABICHT
 Plachte Kapitänleutnant HYÄNE, Kommandant
 Krüger Leutnant zur See HYÄNE, 1. Offizier
 Hopman Leutnant zur See HYÄNE
 Deimling Unterleuntnant zur See HYÄNE
 Schacht Marineassistenzarzt 1. Klasse HYÄNE
 Gelbricht Marineunterzahlmeister HYÄNE
 Nitze Obermaschinist HYÄNE

© A. Schulze Ising, I/00

 
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