Mimi and Toutou Go Forth

The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika

Mimi and Toutou Go Forth – The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika.

At the start of World War One, German warships controlled Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa. The British had no naval craft at all upon «Tanganjikasee», as the Germans called it. This mattered: it was the longest lake in the world and of great strategic advantage. In June 1915, a force of 28 men was despatched from Britain on a vast journey. Their orders were to take control of the lake. To reach it, they had to haul two motorboats with the unlikely names of Mimi and Toutou through the wilds of the Congo.

The 28 were a strange bunch -- one was addicted to Worcester sauce, another was a former racing driver -- but the strangest of all of them was their skirt-wearing, tattoo-covered commander, Geoffrey Basil Spicer-Simson. Whatever it took, even if it meant becoming the god of a local tribe, he was determined to cover himself in glory. But the Germans had a surprise in store for Spicer-Simson, in the shape of their secret «supership» the Graf von Götzen ...

Unearthing new German and African records, the prize-winning author of The Last King of Scotland retells this most unlikely of true-life tales with his customary narrative energy and style.


  • Title: Mimi and Toutou Go Forth – The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika
  • Period: World War One, 1915
  • Type: War Report
  • Author: Giles Foden
  • Illustrator: Matilda Hunt
  • Format: 336-page paperback with 27 Illustrations
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd., London
  • ISBN: 0-141-00984-5
  • Published: 2004

Reviresco offers a 28 mm miniature of Commander Geoffrey Basil Spicer-Simson suitable for wargames and role-playing games of the period. Mimi and Toutou gunboats are available from Old Glory Miniatures.

Return to the Archives