Adjutant (ship, 1905)

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The adjutant
The adjutant
Ship data
flag German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire United Kingdom German Empire
United KingdomUnited Kingdom (Naval War Flag) 
German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) 
Ship type Tug
armed support ship
home port Hamburg
Owner DOAL house flag.svg German East Africa Line
Shipyard Janssen & Schmilinsky , Hamburg
Build number 463
Launch November 25, 1905
Commissioning December 28, 1905
Whereabouts Burned July 15, 1916 on Slip in Kigoma
Ship dimensions and crew
35.4 m ( Lpp )
width 7.0 m
measurement 231 GRT
crew 21 men
Machine system
machine Composite steam engine
350 hp (257 kW)
9 kn (17 km / h)
propeller 1
Transport capacities
Permitted number of passengers 6th

The second adjutant of the German East Africa Line (DOAL) was one of the shipping company's tugboats and tenders on the East African coast. With her sister ship Kadett and the similar lieutenant she sought refuge in the Portuguese port of Beira in Mozambique in August 1914 at the beginning of the First World War .

While trying to break through to German East Africa , she was captured by the British cruiser Dartmouth and put into service as an auxiliary ship. While trying to explore the berth of the German cruiser Königsberg , the adjutant was damaged in February 1915 in the Rufiji estuary and stranded. The British occupation capitulated and were taken prisoner.

In April the Germans put the adjutant back into service as an auxiliary ship. In February 1916 the ship moved from the Rufiji estuary to Dar es Salaam . Partly dismantled, it was transported from there on the Mittellandbahn to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika to be used on the lake.
The unfinished ship was burned on July 15, 1916 on the slip in Kigoma by the retreating German protection force .

History of the adjutant

The second adjutant of the DOAL in East African waters

After the extension of the Reichspoststampfer contract had freed the DOAL from the obligation to operate the branch lines, it acquired a powerful sea tug in 1902. This should accelerate the loading and unloading of the mail steamer and make it safer. Due to the lack of suitable port facilities in the East African ports, the transshipment took place on the roads via barges.
The Janssen & Schmilinsky shipyard in Hamburg delivered the Kadett sea ​​tug of 226 GRT on August 14, 1902. The second adjutant was a replica of this ship from the same shipyard, which was launched on November 25, 1905 and delivered on December 28, 1905. The second ship was slightly longer at 35.4 m, was also powered by a steam engine from the shipyard, which developed 350 hp and also had a service speed of 9 knots. Like her sister ship, the Adjutant also had passenger cabins for six passengers. The deckhouse of the tugs was relatively long and on top of it, under the bridge and in front of the chimney, there was space for passengers, who were protected by awnings and canvas walls.

The similar lieutenant of the DOAL

Another similar sea tug and tender came into service in 1912 with the Leutnant of 340 GRT and 39.5 m in length. This twin screw ship with 500 HP and a service speed of 10 kn was delivered by Gebr. Sachsenberg AG in Rosslau.

The three tugs were mainly used in front of the ports of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique and called at the neutral Beira when the war broke out in 1914. The adjutant then tried to break through to the German colony of East Africa at the beginning of October 1914 , where it had meanwhile been decided to oppose the British. The ship was discovered and hijacked in Portuguese waters by the British cruiser HMS  Dartmouth .

British auxiliary warship

The Royal Navy commissioned the Adjutant in November 1914 as an auxiliary ship for their operations against German East Africa. The tug was armed with three 47 mm cannons and two machine guns, and parts of the ship were somewhat protected with light steel plates. After the armament, the ship was assigned to the British units assembled in front of the Rufiji estuary and was first used on December 23, 1914 in the reconnaissance of the estuary arms. The auxiliary ship Adjutant was one of the units that occupied the island of Mafia on January 12, 1915 and was supposed to prevent the German cruiser SMS Königsberg from breaking out of the river delta.

On February 6, 1915, the adjutant ran again into the delta to explore the German defense and the berth of the German cruiser. On the voyage in the Ssimba-Uranga estuary, she was taken under fire by camouflaged German land guns, which put the ship's steering gear out of action with a hit, so that the adjutant was stranded. The British occupation capitulated and were taken prisoner. The Germans recovered ammunition, supplies and weapons from the stranded ship to reinforce their defenses.
The following day, the British cruisers HMS Hyacinth and Pyramus shot at the run-down ship, the
stern of which caught fire. The damage was not significant, however; the Germans managed to re-seal the ship and move it deeper into the river mouth.

Again under the German flag

Because of the further use of the adjutant , there was a dispute between the Schutztruppe units and the commander of the cruiser, Max Looff , who finally prevailed. He had one of the 8.8 cm cannons from the Königsberg stock of Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika returned. The cruiser had two such cannons on board for equipping an auxiliary ship, which had previously been used as a floating battery on a wooden raft on the lake , as the existing ships could not carry such a weapon. After the weapon was installed on the Adjutant , it was put into service on April 11, 1915 as an auxiliary ship of SMS Königsberg with a crew of 21 and was used to monitor the many arms of the Rufiji estuary. The troops protecting the estuary would have preferred a deployment at the estuary against the British whalers who were scouting out. The adjutant's mission in the interior of the delta was uneventful.

Seven months after the demolition of the no longer operational cruiser Königsberg on July 11, 1915, the adjutant left the river delta on February 19, 1916 and escaped along the coast to Dar es Salaam. As early as 1915, the commanders at Lake Tanganyika wanted the ship to be transported to the lake in order to use it alongside Count Götzen on Lake Tanganyika.

The wreck of the Tabora

Looff, meanwhile commander in Dar es Salaam, initially refused to hand over the ship and considered the transport over land to be impossible. Finally, the adjutant was dismantled with the help of the loading harness of the imperial mail steamer Tabora, which was lying in the port of the capital of the colony, and transferred to Kigoma on the Mittellandbahn. This activity was recognized by the British units guarding the coast. The British liner HMS Vengeance and the cruiser HMS Challenger sank the Tabora, issued as an auxiliary hospital ship, by gunfire on March 23, 1916.

The assembly of the parts transported to Kigoma, however, took time that was no longer available. When the Germans had to evacuate Kigoma before the advancing Belgian troops, they burned the unfinished ship that was still on the slip on July 15, 1916.

See also: Coastal Service of the German East-Africa Line

Web links


  • Carl Herbert: War voyages of German merchant ships. Broschek & Co, Hamburg 1934.
  • Hans H. Hildebrand, Albert Röhr, Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships: Biographies - a mirror of naval history from 1815 to the present. Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford.
  • Arnold Kludas : The ships of the German Africa Lines 1880 to 1945. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, 1975, ISBN 3-7979-1867-4 .
  • Arnold Kludas: The History of German Passenger Shipping. Volume III Rapid growth 1900 to 1914. Writings of the German Maritime Museum, Volume 20.
  • Reinhard Karl Lochner: Fight in the Rufiji Delta. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-453-02420-6 .
  • Christine Reinke-Kunze: The history of the Reichspostdampfer. Köhlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford 1994, ISBN 3-7822-0618-5 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Herbert: War trips of German merchant ships. P. 85f.
  2. Lochner: Battle in the Rufiji Delta. P. 199.
  3. Lochner, p. 201
  4. ^ A b Albert Röhr: German Marine Chronicle. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Hamburg 1974, ISBN 3-7979-1845-3 , p. 197.
  5. Lochner, p. 202
  6. ^ Herbert, p. 87
  7. Lochner, p. 203
  8. Lochner, p. 204
  9. Lochner, p. 288
  10. Lochner, p. 229
  11. Lochner, p. 306