25th Royal Fusiliers: MI Coy War Diary 2

The Old and the Bold


War Diary

PLACE





























Maktau

Maktau




















































































DATE


1915

11 September

(…cont.)


























13 September


14 September


















































































SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION

HOUR





























2 p.m.

6 a.m.


6.45 a.m.

8 a.m.

9 a.m.






















9.15 a.m.

9.20 a.m.

9.22 a.m.

9.23 a.m.


9.24 a.m.

9.30 a.m.






9.52 a.m.


10 a.m.













































100 Baluchis under Lt. Wildman proceeded to (7) on sketch & stayed there for night 13/14th.

The M.I. Company strength 4 officers & 63 N.C.O.s & men under myself left Maktau & proceeded S. along Red dotted lines on sketch.

Nigger in red blanket seen on right but he got away & I did not press pursuit.

The M.I. joined the Baluchis at (7).

Took up our main position on site known to have been crossed by Germans on our last patrol on the 11th inst.

Orders  My orders are here reproduced:-

The M.I. & 2 sections of Baluchis form firing line facing East, each man extended to 6 yards, the 12 best shots in the M.I. to be in centre of line directly under my command between 3 & 4 on sketch.

The Loy. Nth. Lancs. troops are shewn as 3 on sketch.

 “   Roy. Fusiliers           “        “       “        “  4  “       “

 “   2 Sections of Baluchis      “       “        “ 2 & 5    “

The mules were 100x behind under cover at (8) on sketch.  The remaining two sections of Baluchis were in reserve under Lt. Wildman at (6) covering also my rear with a clear field of fire W. of 600x.  The field of fire E. was only 200x owing to the bush which juts out W. at this point & formed the best place for Germans to slip across the open strip running about 2 miles N. & 1 mile S. from this point.

From here I could also have seen the enemy crossing N. or S. of me & cut him off before they could get across the 800x of open ground.

No firing was to take place without the following signals from me:-

One whistle blast – meaning the 12 best shots will open fire.

G on the bugle –           “           “     whole line      “      “     “.

By this means I hoped to deceive the enemy as to my numbers & draw him on (which actually happened).

The Baluchis were to charge from both flanks in event of enemy retiring while the M.I. were to keep up a steady fire on the fugitives.

Further orders will be given as circumstances permit.

Everyone in position & alert.

Five buck ran across & warned us of enemys approach.

Enemy seen about 60 strong 200x away coming on to our right centre.

Enemy opposite 2 on sketch got suspicious & advanced at double.  When they came within 100x I opened fire by blowing whistle.

G sounded.  Our fire being deadly.

I went to order up my reserve of 2 sections of Baluchis under Lt. Wildman up to (1) but found that they had already gone there, & appeared to be extended to only 2 or 3 pairs on account of the bush ending on their right, they drew the fire of the enemy considerably, suffering some loss.  I then swung my left flank round, & eventually enfiladed the German left flank, their right flank having been wiped out almost to a man at the first volley.  I advanced my left flank to within 20x of the enemy’s left flank, & exterminated them.

The action then ceased & I saw the remainder of the enemy fleeing across the open 1200x off to my S. there was no chance of catching them before they got into the bush on the W. of open strip.

I despatched Lt. Parker to Maktau camp with message for stretchers.

Finding that Lt. Wildman had been killed gallantly leading his men under very heavy fire I told Lt. Minter to bandage & get the wounded together while I counted the enemy’s dead, burnt their uniforms, & took their boots, rifles, & equipment.

Our casualties were Killed Lt. Wildman 130th Baluchis.

                                                4 men              “           “

                            Wounded   7    “                “           “   & 1 L.N.L. (No. 9489 L/Cpl. Hughes)

Enemy’s casualties were :-  Killed   1 White German.

                                                           28 Askaris.

                                                             3 Porters.

                                     Wounded  Unknown (but I noticed 2 places where they had been dragged along.

                                            Total Losses   Unknown.

I consider that the German Askaris fought extremely well in contrast to the behaviour of their Whites, only 2 of whom were seen, the remainder probably escaping on 5 mules which were seen by some of our men, & later by our 2 I.D. men returning from MBUYUNI.

The German askaris in front of our left flank advanced talking towards us, & did not notice any of us lying about, this may be partly due to our having grass in our helmets.

I was obliged to leave the enemy’s dead unburied in case of a counter attack.  We suffered no casualties to animals.  The enemy used 3 kinds of ammunition viz.- .303 British, German Mauser, & .450.

Lt. Parker handed to the R.S.O. the papers found on the White German.  One of the askaris buttons was marked with the figure 9.

In continuation of my 1st Report I have the honour to submit the following names of officers etc. who did exceptionally well.

M.I. Company Lt. Storey 3rd South Lancs. Regt. shewed good leading on the inside of the left flank as it swung round.

Lt. Ryan 25th Roy. Fusiliers did excellent work with his rifle on the left flank shooting from 7 to 13 men himself.  I especially ordered him to use his rifle as he is an excellent shot.

I cannot recommend any N.C.O. or man in particular, they all did well, & their fire discipline was very good.

130th Baluchis I attach a report from Lt. Minter on the work of the 3 sections of this Regt. on the Right flank where I was unable to see from my position on the left flank.  Lt. Wildman deserves all the kudos for this successful ambush.  Without his help & the Baluchis under him this success would not have taken place as no Infantry could have got into position in time without moving out the night previous as suggested by Lt. Wildman.  I have already referred to his initiative in bringing up the reserve at the commencement of the firing in order to prevent the enemy escaping by pinning him to his ground & enabling me to swing round my left flank.  He also shewed great dash in leading his men into the open falling at their head in a gallant attempt to advance under great difficulty.

Lt. Minter displayed great coolness under very heavy fire in going up & down his three sections encouraging his men at a critical time.

This Regt. Did extremely well in a hot corner, & shewed excellent fire control by withholding their fire under great temptation until I sounded the G on the bugle.

Rounds expended by M.I. Coy. 2045.


Included in the War Diary is a nominal roll of those men of the Mounted Infantry Company who took part in the engagement on the 14th September.

Copyright © 2012 - All Rights Reserved - Steve Eeles - www.25throyalfusiliers.co.uk

Next

A force of 71 Rifles of the M.I. Company under Capt. Atkinson, & 100 Rifles of 25th Royal Fusiliers under Capt. Jones left camp by the Western Gate & proceeded down the South West clearing on a bearing 224°.

The Royal Fusiliers who were leading arrived at the end of the clearing 3100x from the West Gate.

Capt. Jones reported fresh spoor of enemy (estimated at not less than 3) moving N.W.  This spoor was not more than one hour old, & was within 100x of the S.W. end of the S.W. clearing.  The infantry had no chance of overtaking the enemy & I considered it foolish to trot after the spoor through thick bush with the M.I. so decided not to follow the spoor.

I continued for 1 mile on a bearing of 224° looking for more spoor, but finding none I retired to camp.

Arrived in Camp.


Nominal Roll

Maktau

26 September

7 a.m.



8 a.m.

8.5 a.m.




8.30 a.m.

9.45 a.m.