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Marine Denkmal

Swakopmund | Namibia

On the 12th January 1904 the Herero rebellion in response to German dominance began. Berlin had received a telegraphic message from Swakopmund that read: 'Okahandja besieged. Railway Telegraph interruption. Request for military order as quickly as possible'. A task force was required to help restore the interior railway line from Swakopmund, damaged by heavy rainfall. Herero attacks to destroy the German transport system also needed to be addressed. A marine corps was needed to bolster the weakened Schutztruppe detachments stationed in Okahandja and Windhoek.

The German battleship SMS Habicht was in harbour at Cape Town undergoing restoration and awaiting repair. Kapitätanleutnant (Lieutenant Commander) Gygas and his marine landing corps left the ship and were sent to Karibib.

Further reinforcements arrived in Swakopmund on the 9th February from the battleship SMS Darmstadt. The joint force left for Otjimbingwe. Workers repaired the railway line between Swakopmund and Karibib.

The Germans defeated the Herero under the leadership of Kapitätanleutnant Gygas, 28km east of Otjimbingwe and moved onto Okahandja, becoming involved in other scraps and fights along the way. Okahandja had been relieved before they arrived and the marines returned to Swakopmund to board ship and return to the Cape.

The memorial is located in front of His Excellency the President of Namibia's summer residence in Swakopmund. The Marine-Denkmal was officially proclaimed a national monument on 2nd January 1969.

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