Post 53: Bees??

I am in the middle of reading An Ice Cream War by William Boyd, and came to notice a bit of an anniversary. It’s now hundred years since the Battle of Tanga, otherwise known as the Battle of the Bees.

This was the first major engagement in Africa in World War One. The British attempted to capture the town of Tanga by amphibious assault, with the element of surprise, after an agreement to keep the settlement neutral had fallen apart. Unfortunately for the British, they spent too long faffing around in the boats and by the time they attacked, the Germans had had time to prepare. In the resulting battle, the British were forced to withdraw by a much smaller German force.

The most remarkable part of the battle however was what happened to the 98th Infantry Regiment. They charged into a field full of African bees nests – those full of suddenly angry African bees. They were routed before they even made contact with the enemy. As, in fact, were the nearby Germans. Bees 1 Humans (of all nationalities) 0.

6 thoughts on “Post 53: Bees??

  1. Actually , they disturbed the bees by shooting their nests hence they got stung they scarpered amid shelling of the German “Schutztrppe ” and the irate bees , some people had up to 100 stings each , I was born in Tanga by the way , also not mentioned is the fate of the SS Mariagraf , that was in Tanga harbour with money for the locals and was just off Toten Island when it was mined by the Germans , when they heard that Germany signed the treaty to hand over the country to the commander of HMS FOX under a white handkerchief and a bottle of brandy before giving themselves up as POWs , This ship met its fate in the 70s when the mines exploded and a couple of shop windows shattered with the force of the blast .

    1. Hi Phillip , theres a lot that people don’t know about that ship in fact recently it has been confused with the SS Mark Graf which sank off the oakneys , The coconut trees still bear witness to that fateful day , they still have the bullet holes !

  2. Hi Phillip you are welcome feel free to get in touch if you like to know more of toten island and the ship sunk in manza bay , another German ship .

  3. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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