Military Wiki
Battle of Sandfontein
Part of South-West Africa Campaign
Date26 September 1914
LocationSandfontein, German Southwest Africa
Result German victory

 German Empire

  • German Southwest Africa

British Empire British Empire

  •  Union of South Africa
Commanders and leaders
German Empire General Heydebreck Union of South Africa General Sir Henry Lukin
10 artillery pieces
135 officers
2,985 soldiers

The Battle of Sandfontein took place in South-West Africa at the outset of World War I.

General Sir Henry Lukin commanded the South African forces, with General Joachim von Heydebreck commanding the German forces..

The battle opened on 26 September 1914, after the British had detected but entirely ignored the Germans.

One hundred and thirty-five British and South African officers, 2,463 soldiers, and 522 native troops with four thirteen-pounder guns and 4,347 animals marched to the water.[1] The men had long been without water, their animals were dying from thirst, and all were exposed to the surrounding heights, which the Germans held.[1]

The Germans attacked with four machine-gun units, ten artillery units, and 1,700 riflemen, all German.[1] After collecting water, a British patrol was sent out but returned with heavy losses. The German Schutztruppe (colonial forces) fired their machine guns and advanced.

The South African forces made an organized and successful retreat to a defensive perimeter around the nearby Kopje mountain.[1] As the surrounded South Africans' telephone line to Ramans Drift had been cut, they could not call for reinforcements.[1] The South African artillery fired but were outnumbered by the German artillery with its greater firepower.

The German guns then moved forward to within 1,200 yards of the northern face of Mount Kopje. The Germans commenced lobbing shells into the South African position, and the machine gun fire continued.[1] Only half an hour after the Germans brought their guns forward, the South Africans hoisted a white flag, and the engagement ended.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Duffy, Michael. "The Battle of Sandfontein, 1914". Retrieved 7 June 2013. 


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