Portuguese offensive was not a complete surprise for the German side. Part of the land to the South of the Ruvuma river on the German-Portuguese boundary in East Africa, the Germans captured in 1892, despite the Protocol of 1886, gave them Portugal. Since then, the Portuguese were looking for a convenient excuse to take back what is rightfully considered his. But, capturing approximately 45 hectares, the troops rested in the river, and the attack itself was a failure. In distant Africa came trench warfare.
May 20, 1916, the troops of Colonel Mendes attempted to cross the river and continue the attack. To support them, the Portuguese were able to identify those small forces at the disposal of the colonial administration of Mozambique: the cruiser “Adamastor” and the gunboat “Chaimite”. However, in fairness, it should be noted that they faced a serious enemy in the face of the naval guns of the cruiser “Konigsberg”.
21may, precisely according to plan, the main gauge “Adamastor” was the alleged shelling of the German positions, and because they did not answer, two boats with cruisers, each armed with 37-mm gun, taking in tow the boats, armed with machine guns lean against a hostile shore. Responding to heavy machine-gun and rifle fire of the enemy, a landing party led by ensign Maya Rebelo immediately jumped on the shore. But, alas, not supported by the main forces, the paratroopers were forced to abandon the bridgehead.
Two days later, the sailors “Adamastor” attempted a new reconnaissance. But again, paratroopers, led by Midshipman Rodrigesa Janeiro, waited for failure. This time on the shore were the bodies of three dead sailors.
Anticipating a similar result in the future, the sailors insisted on carrying out joint operations with the infantry. Attack 27 may have tried to prepare more thoroughly. While 150-mm guns of the cruiser and 105-mm guns of coastal batteries was trying to create a likeness of the barrage, the Marines and sailors through onboard boats and improvised rafts could reach the opposite shore. And what happened next can only be described as a disaster. After letting the Portuguese closer, hidden in the jungle, the Germans opened fire and after a short but bloody battle the attackers dropped into the water.
The hero of the previous attacks, Rodrigues RJ, died a heroic death, trying to get my people out of the fire. Maya Rebelo wounded fell into the river, and his body, rendered in the sea, managed to catch the sailors “Adamastor”. Command of the Marines took the ensign Prestes Salgueiro, who, by incredible efforts, was able to evacuate the people entrusted to him. At this time he saw a badly wounded infantry Lieutenant Ferreira. Putting it on the shoulders, the brave ensign was able to cross the river and return to their.
This episode, which scale European war would be amiss to only some small tactical summary, introduced the Mozambican administration in the state of prostration. Meanwhile, the crew of “Adamastor” goodbye to the dead heroes. In total, the three operations he has missed four dead and five missing, Yes, eleven wounded — the largest loss of the Portuguese fleet in battle during the First world war!
A month later, the Portuguese repeated his attempt the crossing of the Ruvuma and even entrenched on its left Bank, but soon the Germans, unexpectedly crossed the border near lake Nyasa and flowing into the country, forced them to evacuate.
And again a significant role in the operation was played by the sailors “Adamastor” and “Simiti”: they ensured the landing, supported by his artillery fire, and when required, the Portuguese evacuated from the bridgehead.
It was 1916, and before the end of world war was still two long years. But, nevertheless, it was clear that the fate of the Triple Alliance is already a foregone conclusion. Therefore, the entry of Portugal in 1916 in the war was interpreted as an attempt to regain territory on the right Bank of the river Ruvuma.
For a politician of the late nineteenth century such a position Portugal looked more than strange. Before that for several centuries the Iberian Kingdom had the UK with the necessary assistance as resources and bases. For an explanation of the reasons for such a fundamental change in Portuguese policy, you must tell us how a quarter of a century before that in the Royal Navy appeared only in the history of the cruiser.
By the early 1890s all of Africa was divided between great Nations. Portugal since the Great discovery had the largest colonies in Angola and Mozambique. By the mid-1880s, an agreement was reached by which the Portuguese retreated adjacent to its African colonies of land between the Atlantic and the Indian coast of Africa, to create a single possession. Because of the limited military resources of the Kingdom of the Iberian colonization of territories has slowed in 1889 to 1990, the British themselves seized the land along the banks of the river Zambezi and lake Nyasa (present-day Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi).
This small colonial incident was buried angloportuguese the once-friendly relations: the British have always acted as a guarantor of Portuguese sovereignty! Immediately spoke and the other Iberian kingdoms Spain once again adjusted the cruising part of their shipbuilding programs. A Royal decree of
20Mar 1890 in Portugal was taken ambitious shipbuilding program envisages the construction of four coastal defense battleships and ten cruisers with a displacement of from 3400 to 4500 tons and a speed of over 20 knots!
Two cruisers were intended for actions in the Azores, one in Angola, in the waters of South America, in East Africa and in the Pacific to care for Macau and Timor. The rest of the cruisers had to be in Lisbon, performing various tasks or making repairs before sailing overseas. The program included a significant number of small ships.
Portugal’s economy was undergoing a collapse: in January 1891, the government suppressed the rebellion in Porto, a year later, it officially declared bankruptcy of the banking system of Portugal and stopped paying interest on two thirds of the national debt.
To Finance the construction of new ships from the budget was impossible, and to raise funds hooked the public: eight years on a national subscription collected an amount equivalent to 538 thousand dollars. More than half of the funds invested in the construction of Italy cruiser of the future “Adamastor”.
New sea Minister of Portugal Costa de Cândido da Silva has managed to suppress the practice of “self-supporting” fleet and achieved public participation in shipbuilding programs. Tools had to save, the appetite subdued, focusing on a cruiser of the second rank. The colonial cruisers had to have sufficient weapons to counter the typical stationers great States, while remaining within the cost-effective displacement. Cruisers of the first rank left only those which were supposed to be hold in Lisbon.
Taking a sample build “Adamastor”, the Portuguese announced an international contest whose winner received an order for two cruisers in the transfer condition set of factory drawings to the organizers. It was supposed to copy the project to the state-owned shipyard, Lisbon, for which funds were allocated for its modernization. As a result, the Navy received two similar cruisers of the French construction — “San Rafael” and “San Gabriel.”
Ships on the French and Italian projects were similar tacticities characteristics. Shipbuilders used in the projects of the solution are well spent on cruisers for national and foreign customers.
Standard displacement of both types did not exceed 1800 t, and maximum speed was 17-18 knots. Armament — two 150-mm and four 120-mm quick-firing guns.. Except the national architecture, the ships ranged all the trimmings, right down to energy and housing design and details. French cruisers were a little more Italian, and therefore less speed, but they are more armed with long-barreled guns Cana, not short kroposki. Later the guns of the main caliber “Adamastor” replaced for consistency with the cannons on other ships.