Thursday, December 22, 2016

Owikokorero Officer Casualties and Medical Personnel in Bivouac.

I've been looking for an un-watermarked version of this historic image for a long time.  It was taken during the German-Herero War in 1904 shortly after the battle of Owikokorero, where an advanced party from Major von Glasnapp's Ostabteilung was ambushed and took very heavy casualties,   10 out of 11 officers in the engagement were hit, with 7 outright fatalities.  The Major commandant was lightly wounded in the head, and the other two more seriously wounded officers appear in this image, along with some of the expedition's medical personnel.

Lying in the cot is Oberleuntnant zur See Friedrich Hermann, part of the Landungskorps from S.M.S. "Habicht".  He was in charge of a machine gun section and was shot through the left shoulder and also in the left hip.  Seated to his right is Marine-Leutnant Theobald Schäfer, who was also adjutant of the Ostabteilung.  He was shot through the bone of his left underarm and also in the buttocks.

They are attended by several known medical officers.  Standing in the rear at right is Marine-Assistenzartz Dr. Janßen.  Seated third from the right is one-year Schutztruppe medical volunteer (Einjährig-freiwilliger) Dr. Kräger, and seated to his right is Marine-Stabsartz Dr. Wiemann.  Following the death at Owikokorero of Marine-Oberassistensartz Dr. Wilhelm Belden of the Landungskorps from S.M.S. "Habicht", these were the three senior medical personnel attached to the Ostabteilung along with a 30 man medical department.  Possibly the other Germans in the image were part of that hospital section.

The two native auxiliaries remain unidentified.  They could be orderlies or batmen (bambuse) or they could be soldiers serving with the column.  They do not appear to be wounded.