26/12/1915 The Battle of Lake Tanganyika: first blood to the British

The British have secretly transported the Mimi and Toutou, two motorboats, to Lake Tanganyika, on the border of German East Africa. The hope is that the two gunboats will put a stop to the free rein that German boats have been enjoying on the lake.

After their recent launch on the lake today the Mimi and Toutou have their baptism of fire. Geoffrey Spicer-Simpson, the British naval commander on Lake Tanganyika, is leading Sunday prayers when German gunboat the Kingani is spotted patrolling in the area. The Mimi and Toutou rush out to do battle with the surprised enemy. The action is short. After only 11 minutes the commander of the Kingani and several senior officers have been killed. The survivors haul down their colours and surrender.
Spicer-Simpson is pleased with the results of the first engagement between his boats and the Germans. He sets his men to repairing the Kingani, ready to bring it into action as another boat for the small British flotilla. It is given a new name: HMS Fifi.

image source (History and Heritage Travel in Africa)

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