Sunday, April 12, 2009

A bit of Bongolesian History...

"They are generally a sad, lazy, lot; given to spending long hours of their days working hard at trying not to work, and spending more time and energy to find reasons not to do something than doing it in the first place and getting it done. What Her Majesty's Empire would do with people like this is a question that I shall always seek to answer, and sadly feel as if it shall never be answered."

- Col. George Willowby-Stratton
6th Royal African Geographic Study
2nd Bongolesian Colonial Expedition
July 1878

The Bongolesian Situation
Current Fighting 2005 -

In order to understand the latest episode in the series of military actions in Bongolesia, one must understand the basis for the fighting which has been a steady mark on this nations history.
Before going into great detail on the causes and origins of the Bongolesian Civil War and it’s aftermath, it must be stressed that the current operational conflicts from 2005 to the present has not been one long, continuous struggle, but a series of violent affairs and clashes, along with fierce pitched battles, numerous raids, ambushes, and massacres, as well as coups and attempted coups; separated by varying amounts of “peace” in which small actions were continued. The origins of this conflict date farther back to the original achievement of Bongolesian independence in 1960; and the struggle of the Bongolesian people under the colonialism of the Belgians, French, Italians, and the British.

19th Century Colonialism and World War I.


Bongolesia, like many other African countries was colonized and claimed by various European powers wanting to spread their influence throughout the world in the latter half of the 19th Century. England, France, Italy, and Belgium all jumped at the chance of the possibility of additional riches and gleefully claimed portions of the country for their nations. Each country claimed a portion of the land, (which in true European colonial fashion usually had their geographic borders overlying each others and completely ignoring the boundaries of other nations); and built a harbor, schools, rail lines, government buildings, and everything else that was needed to run a successful colony as well as stabilizing and exploiting the native population into a loyal, efficient, and subservient workforce. Looking for riches and marketable goods, the European powers sent explorers into the wilds, jungles, and the mountains looking for the gold, diamonds, and other precious goods that were so plentiful on the rest of the continent that could be extracted by the labor of the native population.
They were to be sorely disappointed.
Many of the explorers and exploring parties that were sent out at this time didn’t return at all, and it is often said that certain tribes in the Bongolesian Highlands ate very well during this time. In fact one tribe (The “Bazunga Tribe” of the Central Bongolesian Jungle Highlands mark a certain day each year in their calendar in remembrance of “The Great White Feast”…)
Those that did return came back with a sad, disappointing story.
The diamonds and gold weren’t there just waiting to be dug out by native workers. The great herds of elephants, with their ivory tusks, did not roam the grasslands waiting to have their tusks taken to market. Lions, cheetahs, and panthers were not so abundant as to supply fashion conscious European ladies with pelts and furs that they craved to help ward off the cold winter winds, and yet to stay in style. Disappointed, frustrated, and disillusioned, many of the nations resumed their conquest of the rest of the African continent.
During this time period, not only did explorers go out into the wilds, but “The Men of God” went also…
The Christian Religion was introduced into Bongolesia and the natives were generally found to be apathetic to Christianity on the whole, but certain tribes once again found missionaries to be quite tasty. Protestants and Catholics alike, sent missionaries into the jungles… Some came back…some didn’t. (The Bazunga Tribe describes this time period in their local lore as “Meals given by Heaven”…) With the absence of any obvious local resources that could be easily exploited, and the overall atmosphere of the local native population being generally apathetic towards any type of improvement or influence, the Europeans pretty much ignored Bongolesia and looked upon it as little more than a “second hand” colony.
In a way, this was more of a blessing than originally realized as Bongolesia was spared the many of the problems that other areas of Africa were given due to European colonization.
The harbors were used as rest stops and supply points for ships going round the cape, but that was about it.
The native Bongolesians were treated as lower second-class citizens by the white colonial powers and the overall land, activity and general attitude about Bongolesia generally did not change and it was basically ignored until 1914 and the First World War.


In 1914, the First World War broke out and the armies of Europe quickly threw themselves against one another in masses un-thought of, with horrifying results. Casualty rates were enormous and practically unbelievable. As casualties rose to horrendous proportions, nations scrambled to provide more men to throw into the human meat grinder that was officially known as “The Western Front”. Colonial Troops that were stationed in Africa were suddenly sent to Europe or Turkey to join into the fray
By 1915, it was evident that the British Fleet was still sovereign on the seas, and the Central Powers had decided to affect the supplies of raw materials for the Allied War effort coming from Africa. Although the German intervention in East Africa is well documented, there has been little ever mentioned about the smaller, bloody, German actions in Bongolesia.
In July of 1915, a small German Force under the command of Oberst-General Freidrich von Heidentorffer landed on the Southeastern coast of the country. Heidentorffer had been to Bongolesia twice before in 1910 (on his way back to Germany and from a disastrous romantic dalliance with the daughter of an Arabic Sultan); and in late 1913 as his passenger vessel stopped over for repairs it had suffered in a minor storm at sea (while he was on his way to “somewhere” after fleeing a disastrous romantic dalliance with an up and coming German Opera Singer who had caught him during their engagement in an even more romantic dalliance with a Parisian Can-Can Girl…). Being the only German officer that had been to Bongolesia, (much less even heard of it), the Kaiser appointed him the Officer In Charge of “Military Actions Against The Enemy Forces of Germany in Bongolesian Afrika.”
Heidentorffer was no fool. He was smart, sneaky, savvy, and realized that the Allied Powers could use the harbors as refueling and repair facilities for their naval vessels supporting any operations against German interests in the East African Region. He realized that by stirring up the issues and using the native Bongolesians against the colonial rulers, it would, tie up various Allied Resources, and perhaps close the harbors to Allied Shipping. He also realized that if Germany won the war and he was successful in this operation that he could cut himself out a nice little piece of land here in the Kaisers New Afrikan-Empire and hide out here when he needed to hide out from the ensuing fall outs of his romantic dalliances.
In early July, Heidentorffer landed on the island with approximately 200 troops, some engineers, a couple of Maxim machine guns, and a small field gun. During the period of August and September 1915, he secretly met with various Bongolesian Tribal leaders, and supplied them with weapons and ammunition and led them to believe that he was there to help them push out their “colonial overseers”, (all the time carefully managing not to inform the Bongolesian tribal leaders that once Germany won the war, it would be Germany being the new colonial overseer in Bongolesia instead of France, Italy, Belgium, and England).
Heidentorffers actions in Bongolesia went about completely unnoticed by any of the European powers that had administrations there and they were completely unaware of the German presence or the growing uprising as they were too busy seeing how many men could die daily on the Western Front in their umpteenth failed attack against well prepared defenses.
With a carefully constructed plan, (that soon went awry, much to Heidentorffers dismay and horror), the Bongolesian natives struck out at the Allies. The uprisings and rebellion started with nighttime attacks against outlying towns and Military outposts and soon degenerated into rampant vicious lawlessness, anarchy, and “revengeful brutality” towards “their colonial masters”. Telegraph wires were cut down to prevent news of what was happening to be sent to other towns in the country, and a French Train was derailed. Smaller towns were completely burned and many men, women, and children, (European and Bongolesians) were killed or taken captive and forced into the jungle, while military captives were usually found tortured or executed in a manner most grim, and fat missionaries got the worst of it as they simply became “repas du jour” or “the meal of the day”, (according to the Bazunga Tribe).
The Belgian Military Camp, of “Emmel De Belgique” was completely overrun and the defenders and inhabitants slaughtered completely and without mercy.
The savagery of the attacks threw Heidentorffers plan off, for now, he knew that Allied retaliation would be swift and hard. Despite the fact that he urged restraint upon the citizens of the captured areas as he felt that "Live prisoners would be better than dead bodies”; he argued, but the Bongolesian natives who had suffered all those many, many years of European Colonialism, would hear nothing of it.

(A rare photo of German Soldiers under Heidentorffers command in the field.)

The situation and savagery had gotten to the point that the only safe areas were the larger port cities of Sudekia, Port Kensington-Hyde-White, and the French Port City of Javiers, (later to be known as Port Tuziak). The Belgian Port City of Brusel-de-Bongolese, (later to be known as Waughtown) was harassed daily, and it was only the courage of the Combined French Foreign Legion, Belgian Colonial Troops, and a handful of Italian Troops plus a platoon of men from His Majesty’s Royal 112th Field Mess Kit Repair Battalion (that had been left behind when their unit was sent to Gallipoli), that saved it from suffering the same fate as the camp.
Nonetheless, word did get out by wireless of the attacks on the country, and relief was in sight.
On the 2 of September, the citizens of Port Kensington-Hyde-White awoke to the sight of 12 Royal Navy ships sitting off the coast. The fleet was led by the battle cruiser HMS Vanguard, and consisted of itself, 6 destroyers, a supply vessel, two transport steamers, a coaler, and a medical transport ship. Those that were still asleep in the port city were awakened when the number 2 turret on the Vanguard; with its dual eight inch guns, announced it’s arrival by sending shells high over and beyond the town and into the jungle to signal that they were there.
Heidentorffer knew his days on Bongolesia were numbered and started quickly to make defense and withdrawal plans. He hadn’t the men or supplies to hold out in a long protracted action against the Allies, and the thought of him actually risking being killed in battle scared him silly. With careful instructions and guidance he moved his men back, (along with those natives that were with him).
Within an hour of the guns firing from HMS Vanguard, the pipes, of the 12th Scottish Royal Rifles were heard as the troops moved through the streets to cheering crowds. Within two days, elements of the Royal Marines had landed to support Sudeka, Javiers, (Port Tuziak), and Brusel-De-Bongolese (Waughtown). Within a week, additional troops from France, Italy, and Belgium, along with a small Canadian force, had secured the cities from attacks and had begun a counteroffensive which moved slowly due more to command inefficiency rather than enemy resistance.
The operations to re-take the land from the natives lasted less than three months. By the end of December 1915, all cities and townships had been secured, and the majority of the countryside was in allied control, as the Bongolesian natives realized that they could get more from the Allies than from the Germans and conveniently switched sides due to easy bribes. The allies then first realized the involvement of the Germans when a German Courier was shot dead by a Royal Marine. Now the allies knew of the German involvement upon the country. By January 1916, the allied force on Bongolesia had increased and the city of Sudekia had a primitive airfield with three fighter planes. Despite the efforts of the allies though, the hunt for the elusive Germans was relatively unsuccessful. In January of 1916, Heidentorffer and his element, (having lost only four troops in the entire affair), was successfully extracted from the coastline under the cover of darkness on a German Freighter. Even with the disappearance of the main insurgent element from the country, old hatreds dies hard, and as a result there would be numerous small “incidents” between Bongolesian insurgents and the occupying colonial powers until the mid 1920’s.
After the extraction of Heidentorffer and his forces, Bongolesia remained quiet (except for some local native unrest) and undisturbed by the rest of WWI, and once again slowly drifted out of the attention and conciousness of the world, spending the rest of The First World War, as a quiet backwater African Colonial Territory...
Heidentorffer went on to finish out his service to the Kaiser and the war without ever seeing the glory, or attention that he tried to get. Tragically he ended up being shot dead in the summer of 1919 by the jealous husband of an Italian silent film actress who found his wife and the former German Officer in a rather "dubious" position, and solved the problem once and for all with five shots from his revolver...

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