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Marines in the German Military

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  • #16
    Originally posted by LoneRider View Post
    MarkV I re-read African Kaiser, Chapter 13 and came across the following passages that may be of interest:



    It seemed SMS Kongisberg carried marines aboard her, I guesstimated about a platoon or small detachment sized element.

    Reading further into the chapter, the author describes this encounter:



    The author subsequently described these marines as having volunteered to join Von Lettow-Voerbeck's forces to a man in time for the campaign.

    Looks like, then, the Rufiji may have been defended by as large as a reinforced company of marines rounded out with some Schutztruppe askaris and sailors from Konigsberg.
    Generally speaking, in this era most vessels larger than destroyers had a detachment of marines that varied in anything from a large/reinforced squad or so to a company.

    I believe the Imperial German Navy stopped assigning marines to ships on a regular basis in the 1880s/1890s (sometime after 1888 would be my guess as marines were definitely part of the landing forces during the Abushari revolt in modern day Tanzania in 1888-89). Instead, all sailors were trained as infantry and the I/II/III Seebataillon were used in a manner similar to the modern US Marines with III Seebataillon used to garrison the German territories in China. I Seebataillon and II Seebataillon were used for colonial expeditionary forces.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by ChrisF1987 View Post
      Generally speaking, in this era most vessels larger than destroyers had a detachment of marines that varied in anything from a large/reinforced squad or so to a company.

      I believe the Imperial German Navy stopped assigning marines to ships on a regular basis in the 1880s/1890s (sometime after 1888 would be my guess as marines were definitely part of the landing forces during the Abushari revolt in modern day Tanzania in 1888-89). Instead, all sailors were trained as infantry and the I/II/III Seebataillon were used in a manner similar to the modern US Marines with III Seebataillon used to garrison the German territories in China. I Seebataillon and II Seebataillon were used for colonial expeditionary forces.
      Yes when SMS Emden landed a party on Direction Island to destroy the telegraph and wireless station there there appear to have been no Marines involved.

      However I think you are incorrect in saying that all sailors were trained as infantry. Some sailors were so trained and these formed the Seebatallions which were akin to the British Royal Marine Light Infantry. They tended to be used as rapid intervention forces which included dealing with colonial uprisings but were also used in International forces such as that which took part in the suppression of the Boxer rising and the relief of the foreign legations and also the International occupation of Scutari in 1912. In this role they sometimes served alongside British units with whom they established good relations. This later created some interesting situations such as in 1915 when one Seebatallion found themselves on the Western Front facing a British battalion with which they had served in Shanghai in 1914. They were also used to guard German embassies and legations
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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