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The Great Jungle War


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#1 status - Charlie Allnut

status - Charlie Allnut
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Posted 09 November 2017 - 01:16 AM

At the height of the First World War, as armies of thousands fought with each other on European soil, a much more unusual battle was waged in eastern Africa, where Belgian and German colonial territories were separated by the second largest body of water on the continent: Lake Tanganyika. 
 
An English big-game hunter living in the region came up with a plan to take out the German warships that patrolled the lake, and command of the mission was given to Geoffrey Spicer-Simson, a disgraced British career officer whose boorish incompetence had earned him the dubious distinction of being the oldest lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy. 
 
Spicer led a motley crew of 28 daring young men and two 40-foot gunboats named Mimi and Toutou, on a 9,000 mile trek from England to the Cape, and then through the wilds of Central Africa, to destroy a German enemy flotilla in Lake Tanganyika. 
 
Like the obsessed Fitzcarraldo in Werner Herzog’s movie, Spicer and company (whose ranks boasted a pet monkey named Josephine) dragged the pieces of the Mimi and the Toutou (the two gunboats) over some fearsome terrain – “…like swamps which actually move about”, Spicer wrote.
 

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