German Decoy Guns in the Colonies During the First World War

A number of dummy guns were used as decoys by the Germans in the First World War to deceive allied observers into thinking that the they had more batteries in places that they actually did not. The decoys were made from odd scrap that the Germans had to hand. When seen close up some are better made than others but for the most part they were probably good enough to deceive the enemy from a distance. Here is a small gallery of some of them...

Decoy Gun in South West Africa c1914
This photograph shows what appears to be a very unconvincing decoy gun but it may well have been enough to fool observers from a distance or an aeroplane.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv

Decoy Gun at Fort Iltis Tsingtao, 1914
This photograph was taken after the fall of Tsingtao and shows a simply wooden decoy gun on a cart which in itself might look convincing from a distance but the addition of the gun crew as painted cut outs looks less impressive.
Photo © Imperial War Museum

Decoy Gun at Kigoma, German East Africa, 1916
This photograph shows a dummy gun made to look like one of the SMS Königsberg 10.5cm guns on the coast of Lake Tanganyika. The Germans had withdrawn a similar gun from the same place shortly before and made this very detailed replica of the gun and its turret from a palm log and wood scraps. Even the breech block, recoil pistons and traverse controls have been lovingly recreated. This was surely done by the gun's crew themselves as the technical knowledge of the gun shown here is exceptional when compared to the other two photographs of decoy guns on this page. A similar fake Königsberg gun was mounted on the SS Goetzen to replace the original one withdrawn from there around the same time.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv







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