The Old and the Bold


War Diary

PLACE



Maktau















Maktau












Mangeri




Kinsharo


Kinsharo








Mangeri

Maktau

Maktau




Campi ya Bibi Ridge







8½ miles West of Maktau


Campi ya Bibi


















Campi ya Bibi Ridge,

5 miles W. of Maktau
















Maktau


8 Miles N. of Maktau

11 Miles N. of Maktau






DATE


1915

26 October















4 December


















5 December










8 December



































9 December



















27 December






































SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION



64 M.I. & 100 Baluchis under Maj. Newcome left camp on bearing 223°.

After going 3 miles, 12 fresh tracks of enemy going N.W. were seen.  We decided to steer West for the first open glade where the M.I. could canter on & endeavour to cut off the enemy, while Baluchis came along in support.

About 4 enemy askaris reported 1000x away on our left flank, the M.I. were ordered to attack while the Baluchis continued their march.  The M.I. cantered off at once, in 2 lines, riding on to enemy after going 250x the enemy were seen, by some men, wishing to surrender, but a volley from them at 50x decided me to dismounted action with 3 & 4 Troops, while 2 & 1 worked round the flanks.  I saw 3 askaris, one of whom we killed & remainder disappeared South.  Ordering M.I. to mount & pursue, the Baluchis being up now in support, the M.I. on the right flank captured a wounded askari (1) hiding in a thick green bush.  Both askaris were armed with L.N.L. rifles, one L.N.L. bayonet, one Kashmir bayonet.  We failed to find the other askaris in the long grass & bush.

Returned to camp.  Our casualties were nil.

(1) The askari stated he was with a patrol of 4 Whites & 40 Blacks.  This prisoner has given very useful information about recent actions.

The M.I. Company consisting of 4 officers, 1 Mac. Gun, & 74 Rifles left camp going along the Voi Road (2).

(2) There was no moon.

A light was seen on the Railway 500x ahead which on close investigation by scouts proved to be a burning log.

After some delay with pack mules we crossed the railway at Mile 35/3 & marched on Mangeri Hill.

Found Water Hole (25’ by 6’, mud bottom) 1 mile N.N.W. of Mangeri Hill, at which we watered.

Arrived at Mangeri, I decided to leave a signal station, Mac. Gun & all pack mules here in command of Lt. Parker as I was much hampered through my Mac. Gun pony & mules not being up to their loads for fast work (3).

(3) I am afraid this will always happen unless I am provided with strong horses for my 1st line transport.

Left Mangeri with 3 Officers & 54 Rifles for Kinsharo village & encountered fairly thick bush within 5 miles.  After failing to find the village in the bush & being unable to distinguish man tracks from elephant tracks (as no man spoor could be found) I pushed on towards Kinsharo Hill & halted for night at about 5 miles N.W. of Kinsharo Hill.

Moved ½ mile S.W. & bivouacked for night.  I noticed a bush fire in the plain below about 20 miles S.W.

Marched on Kinsharo Hill which was covered in cloud.

Arrived on W. end of Hill under cover of cloud & formed semicircle round the rocky top, their being no chance of anyone escaping off the hill to the East owing to precipitous white rock.

After making a note of surrounding country which was all bush for about 20 miles we left the hill & made another try for Kinsharo Village keeping a more Westerly course than before but failed to find any sign of village, water or enemy in spite of heavy rains the previous day.  I was unable to keep my animals patrolling the vicinity for another day through lack of water, the nature of the country being very hard for animals.

Arrived at Mangeri Hill.

Arrived at Maktau having lost 1 rifle bolt near Kinsharo Hill.

The M.I. Company consisting of 4 Officers, 1 M. Gun, & 75 Rifles left camp cantering out to CAMPI YA BIBI RIDGE (5 miles W. of MAKTAU) in support of the 2 Armed Cars who were 2 miles ahead, going out to support Belfield’s Scouts who we found in action 5 miles West of MAKTAU and 800x South of VOI-TAVETA RD.  

The Armed Cars were supporting Belfield’s Scouts and only 2 enemy were resisting us as I reinforced with the Mounted Infantry, the remainder of the enemy were apparently in full retreat taking advantage of the bush, towards MBUYUNI.  I failed to find Maj. Arnold, so decided to push on with the Armed Cars, Mounted Infantry, and a party of Belfield’s Scouts without an Officer.

The Armed cars thoroughly demoralised the enemy who appeared to be disorganised & did not put up much resistance & we chased them for 3½ miles at a distance of ¾ mile South of the Road, but owing to movement & consequent uncertainty of aim, the fire of the Armed Cars was more demoralising than effective and I saw no damage done to the enemy as I supported the cars at my fastest pace, my animals being just about done for fast work by this time having been cantering all the way.  We now retired & closed on to the road forming one line extending from the Road to 500x South & expected to capture some enemy stragglers & in a very short time we saw 2 Whites & 5 Blacks displaying a white handkerchief 30x off.  After Lt. Storey & his Troop [?] them with their rifles they were taken prisoners by the Mounted Infantry without any firing.  I continued to “drive” the bush back to CAMPI YA BIBI where Major Arnold’s dead body was found intact with rifle.  This was the first knowledge I or Belfield’s Scouts had that he had been killed.

Lt. Grobler reported that he had counted 22 enemy bodies of whom 2 or 3 were whites and that his men had thrown the dead enemy’s rifles and bolts into the bush before the M.I. reinforced them.  I hope to recover these, or some of them, tomorrow.  Belfield’s Scouts also took 2 white prisoners, one of whom, Volunteer Otto Spinge by name, was recognised by 2 men of the M.I. as being only 20x off as the M.I. galloped away on 3.9.15 when our wounded were murdered apparently within a few yards of this white German, who is therefore responsible for it.

One of our prisoners stated that the enemy today were 10 whites and 100 blacks strong.  I noticed that one dead askari belonged to No.19 Field Company.  

I think Belfield’s Scouts must have done extremely well to engage a stronger enemy until reinforcements arrived.  Capt. Walden completely routed the enemy by his vigorous pursuit through the bush, but I do not think it discreet for him to return again by road in case of mines.  There were no casualties in the M.I. who expended 74 rounds S.A.A.

P.S. As the “doctor” with his boy, who were captured by the M.I., were being brought into camp, the doctors boy said that his master had come towards Maktau Camp early this morning hoping to catch one of our natives in order to find out the strength of our camp.  If this is so the man is an Intelligence Agent masquerading under the Red Cross badge & is not entitled to release as a doctor.

The Mounted Infantry consisting of 3 Officers, 1 M. Gun, & 78 Rifles arrived on scene of yesterday’s action. I left my M. Gun & 4 men escort (total 1 Officer & 14 men) in a favourable position 300x South of VOI-TAVETA RD.  I took the remainder of the M.I. in a S.S.W. direction in one long line sweeping the scene of yesterday’s action, we found one .303 rifle without a bolt, some Boer ammunition & a few askari bodies, some having been carried away.  I continued in this direction for 2 miles finding several dead horses but only 4 dead askaris.

Lt. Ryan reported one naked nigger on my left & 2 troops pursued him at once without my orders.  I suspected a trap so halted & waited with 2 troops in reserve.

In 10 minutes I noticed the left flank guard of the enemy consisting of 1 white & 13 askaris crossing over my tracks in a N.W. direction, they were 400x to my rear & had not seen me, further on as far as I could see I counted 50 enemy in line apparently searching the ground.  I decided to engage at once their left flank hoping to draw them on towards me over open grass as I was too weak to attack with only 2 troops (30 men).  I did not see any main body of the enemy but it may have been in the bush on my right.

The enemy soon retired to the cover of the bush near the road, and my 2 troops who had pursued the nigger, now came up, so I sent them to cut off the enemy from the West which they were too late in doing.  I cantered back to my M. Gun who had sent in for the Armed Cars, & on the way back found a freshly killed askari without rifle or equipment who must have been killed by my fire.  Our casualties were nil, we expended 365 rounds S.A.A.

4 Officers, 63 Rifles & 1 M. Gun, of the M.I. Company left camp proceeding along the MAKTAU-MZIMA Track.

The dew lifted & we were able to disperse with compass bearings and march on MANDA HILL, striking the track which had been lost in the darkness.

An old kit was found in the vicinity of the action between Kashmiris & enemy which occurred on 30.7.15.  A little further on, in an open space (4), tracks of the enemy (estimated at 20 askaris, 10 porters, 1 mule, as having crossed MZIMA TRACK 11½ miles N. of MAKTAU) were found moving in a S.W. direction in single file, appeared to be about 2 hours old.

(4) This open space has been used twice before, as a crossing place, by enemy.

I pursued as fast as my M. Gun mules would allow me and after following the tracks for 6 miles I halted, as I estimated the enemy would then be near SERENGETI CAMP which they were making for.  

We turned back to MAKTAU & very soon found tracks of about 12 booted men (2 days old) proceeding towards Loosoito from MAKTAU HILL, but after following these backwards towards MAKTAU for 6 miles they were lost.

Arrived MAKTAU.




HOUR



5.30 a.m.

7 a.m.



7.15 a.m.








11.15 a.m.



2.45 a.m.



3.20 a.m.


4.50 a.m.

7.20 a.m.

7.40 a.m.





9 a.m.




7 p.m.


4.50 a.m.

6.45 a.m.


9.30 a.m.





5 p.m.

10 p.m.

9.50 a.m.




10.10 a.m.








11.15 a.m.




12.15 p.m.



12.30 p.m.
















9 a.m.






9.30 a.m.


9.40 a.m.






10.50 a.m.





4 a.m.


6.15 a.m.


7 a.m.





7.40 a.m.

9.15 a.m.

9.45 a.m.


1 p.m.


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

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