Hedwig von Wissmann (steamship)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Design of the Hedwig von Wissmann
Plans of Hedwig von Wissmann
German Empire
Name: Hedwig von Wissmann
Builder: Janssen & Schmilinsky, Hamburg
Launched: 1897, 6 November 1900
In service: 20 September 1900
Fate: Sunk, 9 February 1916
General characteristics
Type: Steam ship
Displacement: 60 metric tons (59 long tons; 66 short tons)
Length: 20 m (66 ft)
Beam: 4.26 m (14.0 ft)
Height: 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in)
Draught: 1.25 m (4 ft 1 in)
Propulsion: Steam engine, 85 PS (63 kW)
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)
Capacity: 400
Crew: 14 + 14
  • 3 × 3.7 cm (1.5 in) Hotchkiss revolving cannons
  • From April 1915:
  • 1 × 4.7 cm (1.9 in) quick-loading gun
  • 1 × 3.7 cm revolving cannon
Notes: 7 killed/20 captured (including 2 wounded)

The Hedwig von Wissmann was a German steamboat on Lake Tanganyika, which became a feature in the story behind the film The African Queen. She was sister vessel to the larger Hermann von Wissmann on Lake Nyasa, and like that vessel originally used as a gunboat against slavers. Hedwig von Wissmann was the wife of the German explorer and colonial administrator Hermann von Wissmann who had raised funds for both boats.

On 12 August 1914 she was drafted for guard service on Lake Tanganyika. She was sunk by an Anglo-Belgian flotilla of small boats under Geoffrey Spicer-Simson in on 9 February 1916 at 11h50 in the Battle for Lake Tanganyika including HMS Fifi and HMS Mimi.[1]

German casualties were engineer and two native stokers killed in the engine room; a warrant officer and some natives killed[2] and a European stoker and native seaman slightly wounded when two of the ships boats were hit by shells. Twelve Europeans, including the captain, and eight natives were captured by the British.[3]


  1. ^ Pan-African chronology III Everett Jenkins - 2001 "On February 9, in the early hours in the morning the German warship the Hedwig von Wissmann was sighted steaming down the ... At 100 tons, the Hedwig von Wissmann was more than twice the size of the now British manned Kingani (HMS Fifi) ..."
  2. ^ Apparently three natives killed. See Battle for Lake Tanganyika Footnote # 55.
  3. ^ National Geographic October 1922 .pp.362-363