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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_K%C3%B ... %281905%29he story of the film was inspired by one of the most spectacular and adventurous event that took place during WWI, in German East Africa, later Tanganyika, later Tanzania, in late 1914 - early 1915, known as Battle of Rufiji Delta, in which the German light cruiser SMS Königsberg was blockaded and finally sunk by various British units.
Königsberg was suffering from machinery problems, which prevented the journey. The long cruises, the intermittent high speed dashes, and the lack of dockyard attention, had all taken their toll on the ship’s boilers. Instead, Looff returned to the Rufiji and proceeded to the town of Salele. There the ship was heavily camouflaged and defensive arrangements, including landing soldiers and field guns along with the network of coast watchers and telegraph lines, were effected. The engineering staff began to disassemble the affected boilers and Looff had these heavy parts dragged on wooden sledges to the workshops at Dar es Salaam 100 miles (160 km) away.