Tysk kanonbåt på Tanganyikasjön fortfarande i drift

Diskussioner kring händelser under första världskriget & mellankrigstiden. Tillägnad vår saknade medlem Stellan Bojerud
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Tysk kanonbåt på Tanganyikasjön fortfarande i drift

Inlägg av CvD » 29 aug 2011 06:05

Den tyska kanonbåten Graf Goetzen, inspirationen till kanonbåten i boken och filmen Afrikas drottning seglar fortfarande på Tanganyikasjön. Ägarna har bett om tysk hjälp att renovera henne.
Ships don't come with much more historical ballast than the MV Liemba. The steamer still shudders and belches its way across Lake Tanganyika every Wednesday and Friday, a century after it was built as a warship in Germany.

In its time it's been a pawn in the colonial scramble for Africa. It's been scuttled and then raised again from the deep. It was the model for the warship sunk by The African Queen, a steam-powered launch in the film of the same name, starring Katharine Hepburn as a prim spinster and Humphrey Bogart as the rough captain.

And now it's a ferry on Africa's longest lake, invariably packed with hundreds of people plus their jumble of bundles and baskets as it churns the water between Kigoma in Tanzania across the lake to Mpulungu in Zambia.

But for how long? Such is the ramshackle, dented state of the vessel that the company which runs it has asked the German government to help with refurbishment. The basis of the appeal is that this is a piece of German history. The steamer that serves the citizens around Lake Tanganyika was once the Kaiser's gunboat.

Cat and Dog

A spokesman for the Marine Services Company told the BBC: "We have requested that Germany help in its rehabilitation. This is because of financial constraints but we have not had a concrete commitment."

It may be cheaper to build a new ship than refurbish the old one
The Liemba started life as the Graf Goetzen in 1913 when she was built as a warship in Papenburg on the River Ems in northern Germany. It is said that the Kaiser himself ordered the construction to further his imperial ambitions.

The Graf Goetzen was then transported in parts, in 500 crates, from Hamburg to Dar es Salaam on the coast of East Africa - and from there over mountains to Lake Tanganyika where Germany, Britain and Belgium were all engaged in colonial jostling.

Britain did not take the presence of the vessel easily. As the Admiralty put it: "It is both the duty and the tradition of the Royal Navy to engage the enemy wherever there is water to float a ship."

So London decided to send two gunboats and by an equally difficult route.

The British ships were sent down to South Africa and then up the continent as far as they could be taken by rail, and after that by the sheer human power of 2,000 labourers who hauled and cut through the jungle, eventually getting them to the lake which became the site of imperial contest.

The two British boats, by the way, were initially to be called Cat and Dog but that was thought to be too flippant - the Admiralty in London at the time was not into flippancy. The names Mimi and Touto were chosen instead, the French terms used by children for cat and dog.

'Indispensable service'

Colonial rivalry and conflict then ensued, and, in the face of a British attack, the Germans abandoned the port of Kigoma, scuttling their ship, the Graf Goetzen, to stop it getting into British hands.

The Goetzen then remained at the bottom of the lake for nearly 10 years until she was raised to the surface. Amazingly, the engines still functioned after minor repairs - possibly because the German engineers who had done the scuttling were the ones who had taken it out from Germany... and they took care to encase the engines in grease so that their baby could one day live and steam again.

It is not clear who raised it, perhaps the Belgians or perhaps the British - but whoever did it, the old German gunboat ended up in the hands of the British.

Clearly, a vessel of the Royal Navy could not be named after Count Gustav Adolf von Goetzen, who was a German explorer and governor of German East Africa. So the ship was renamed as the Liemba - which is how she has stayed ever since.

And so may she stay for much longer if she can be renovated. The request for financial help has fallen between the governments of Lower Saxony, in which the ship was built, and the federal government in Berlin.

The president of Germany has added his voice. The ship, said President Christian Wulff, had a "singular history" and performed an "indispensable service" to the people of East Africa. The government of Tanzania joined the clamour for salvation.

A study has been done by the German authorities but it is thought to have concluded that the costs might well be higher than actually building a new ship. But would a new ship be quite the same as an ancient steamer, dented and bulging with history?



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Re: Tysk kanonbåt på Tanganyikasjön fortfarande i drift

Inlägg av Stefan » 29 aug 2011 12:04

Nu byggdes den inte som kanonbåt, utan som färja. Vid tiden för vv1 utrustades den med en kanon och fungerade som hjälp-kanonbåt, det gjorde den. Men dess vanliga tjänstgöring har hela tiden varit färja.
Lyssnade om den på bilradion i fredags.

Visst, det är en härlig story. :)

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Blev medlem: 11 sep 2004 13:33
Ort: Swe

Re: Tysk kanonbåt på Tanganyikasjön fortfarande i drift

Inlägg av Lanrezac » 17 feb 2013 22:02

Mja skepp för passagerare och gods, Men det är en intressant historia hur skeppet byggs i Papenburg, Tas isär och skeppas till Dar es saalam, sedan järnväg för att slutligen bäras till destinationen (bärningen tog tre månader) Där bygger dom tre medresta Tyskarna upp stapelbädd, kran och sätter ihop fartyget med lokal arbetskraft. Under Vk1 flygbombar Belgarna det då beväpnade skeppet och skadar det svårt, När Tyskarna i evakuerar sänker dom skeppet, Belgarna bärgar det och och sätter det trafik. skeppet sjunker senare (20talet?) och ännu senare sliter det sig i en storm och sjunker på Tanzaniskt vatten Engelsmännen bärgar henne igen och sen när kolonin blir fri tar Tanzanierna över. Skeppet är dock dyrt i drift och man lämnar henne att rosta vid kaj. På 70talet renoverar en galen Irländare skeppet och sedan dess går hon i reguljär trafik.

Dom tre männen kommer tillbaka ur krigsfångenskap 1919 med bruten hälsa och dom trehundra RM i lön som dom får enligt kontraktet, som 1913 räckte till att bygga ett hus för, är inte längre något värt .

Ni kan titta på en tysk doku från NDR för dom som har grundläggande Tyskakunskaper