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Battle of Agbeluvhoe
Part of the Togoland Campaign in World War I
Date15 August 1914[1]
LocationAgbeluvhoe, German Togoland
Result British victory
Belligerents

 British Empire

  • Gold Coast (British colony) Gold Coast

 German Empire

Commanders and leaders

United Kingdom Captain H.B. Potter [2]

United Kingdom Lieutenant Collins
German Empire Captain Georg Pfähler[3]
Units involved
British Empire Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAAF) German Empire Paramilitary and Police Forces
Strength
200
Casualties and losses

Europeans

6 killed, 16 captured[2]

The Battle of Agbeluvhoe (or Agbéluvhoé or Agbeluwoe), also known as the Battle of Tsewie, was fought during the First World War between invading British Empire soldiers of the West African Rifles and German troops attempting to harass the advancing allies through the rail network in German Togoland (present day Togo) on 15 August 1914. The plan failed, ending in an ambush and the Germans suffered heavy losses. Eventually after limited resistance from the Germans, the colony was surrendered on 26 August 1914.[3]

Background

In early August 1914 British and French forces invaded the German colony of Togoland at the beginning of the First World War. British forces took the capital, Lomé relatively quickly and by 12 August, the southern portion of the colony was under British or French control. All German forces had withdrawn to the vitally important Kamina wireless station, about 100 km inland. As British and French forces made their way slowly toward Kamina, their objective, the German commanders, namely the acting governor Major Hans-Georg von Döring and the military commander, Captain Georg Pfähler attempted to stall the Allied advances. The main British and French thrusts came from the south, where well built roads and railways from the coast made transport easy for both sides. The Germans blew bridges[4] as they retreated northward in an attempt to stall the Allied attack. In order to harass British troops from the West African Rifles, German commanders chose to fill two trains of about 200 German soldiers [2] and send them south to raid the advancing Allies on 15 August 1914.

Battle

The British, who must have known the trains were coming, as they were hiding in wait near the train station at Agbeluvhoe, let the first train of 20 cars pass.[5] This first train would be derailed by a pile of stones laid on the tracks by Lieutenant Collins and his men,[1] at Ekuni, about 10 km south of Agbeluvhoe. The second train, carrying Captain Georg Pfähler, commander of the German forces in Togoland was also allowed to pass through Agbeluvohoe. The train was stopped at Ekuni, where the first train had been derailed by the obstacles Lieutenant Collins had placed on the rails. British forces ambushed the train here and attacked it with bayonets.[6] Many of the German soldiers reportedly tore off their uniforms, threw down their guns, and ran into the bush at the sight of the British ambush.[1] The remaining Germans retreated northwards back to Agbeluvhoe where further fighting ensued in which German commander Captain Georg Pfähler was killed. He is buried near the train station at Agbeluvhoe along with many German Askari troops that were killed in the battle.[7]

Result

The Germans lost a quarter of their troops in this attempt to harass British forces to the south, by using the railway.[8] It was considered a great failure and defeat for the Germans in Togoland. Although it may briefly have stalled the British northward advance, the Battle of Agbeluvhoe did not have any significant affect on the advance of the Allies toward Kamina. The acting governmor of the colony, Major Hans-Georg von Döring surrendered the colony on 26 August 1914, eleven days after the battle.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Morlang, p. 36.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fecitte.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Strachan 2004, p. 17.
  4. Strachan 2004, p. 16.
  5. Sebald 1988, p. 601.
  6. Sebald 1988, p. 602.
  7. War Graves 1914-1916
  8. Friedenwald.

Bibliography

Coordinates: 6°39.57′N 1°10.04′E / 6.6595°N 1.16733°E / 6.6595; 1.16733

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