The S.M.S. Königsberg was dispatched to Africa shortly before WW I began. Once war was declared, she began raiding Allied ships in the Indian Ocean. She also heavily damaged a British cruiser in the Zanzibar harbor. She then moved up the Rufiji River and dropped anchor to get away from the English. In what became a game of cat versus mouse, the Königsberg prepared her hiding place to repulse all English attacks. To that end, the crew removed machine guns and small guns from the ship and prepared defensive positions facing the Indian Ocean.
The English tried their best. The battle lasted from October 1914 through July 1915. The English finally sent two “Monitors” from home with 150mm mortars aboard. They were able to lob in sufficient shells to sink the German ship. The sinking was completed by the German crew. All her guns and other serviceable gear were removed then handed over to Oberstleutnant Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. These cannons, along with the S.M.S. Königsberg’s surviving crew members, aided von Lettow-Vorbeck until the war’s end. [He was later promoted to Generalmajor and awarded the PLM]. German forces in East Africa never surrendered until after the war ended.
Today we are offering an original postcard of the S.M.S. Königsberg under steam. The Königsberg served as an inspiration to Germans, both in Africa and back in Germany. It was one of WW I’s most unique naval history stories.