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THE KÖNIGSBERG INCIDENT
AND THE GREAT WAR IN EAST AFRICA
 

The Königsberg Incident - I
The Königsberg Incident - II
A summary of her career

Animated Flash Maps
The Indian Ocean and Rufiji Delta

Current Wrecks and Relics
A list of the latest sites



 
By James Burbeck
The Königsberg Incident was brought to life for me one hot afternoon in Mombasa, Kenya. I was 28 years old, and just completing a long journey from the Zaire border to the Indian Ocean. I had heard that some guns belonging to a German warship were on display outside of Fort Jesus at Mombasa. The fortress is an old Portuguese stronghold whose whitewashed walls still loom over the ocean front at Mombasa. Not able to resist being so close to such historical relics, I visited the fort as soon as I got into the area. There was indeed one of the converted main guns from the World War One cruiser Königsberg, and also another from the British cruiser Pegasus. Both ships had been sunk in action during the Great War, and their guns salvaged for use during the protracted East African land campaign which lasted the duration of the war.

Not long after returning from my trip, I started on the first work that eventually became WTJ. Early in the effort, I made sure that one of our ongoing articles would cover the Königsberg and the ships who fought — and assisted — her. Soon afterward I met up with Kevin Patience, who is widely accepted as the world's expert on this incident. He grew up in East Africa, speaks fluent Kiswahili, has made numerous visits to battle sites and wrecks and met with the last Pegasus survivor before that gentleman's passing in 1982. It is through Kevin's long effort that many details about this event are available to the world.

This WTJ Special Feature article is an on-line center of learning about this strangely famous WWI incident. It features a summary of the various events surrounding the Königsberg Incident as well as Flash animated battle maps. There is also an ever-expanding compendium of the current locations and conditions of related ship wrecks and relics still scattered around Europe and the Indian Ocean.
 
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