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November, 1916 "Phantom Train of Doom"

[Depicted in Phantom Train of Doom, the 10th episode from the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, produced by George Lucas - released in 1999 - it’s original edit is from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles; Episode: Phantom Train of Doom - released in 1993]

  • At this point Indy & Remy are disillusioned from the war in Europe, so they request and receive a transfer to Africa, where upon their arrival they are promoted to lieutenants.

  • They are assigned to a unit stationed at Lake Victoria in Nairobi, however, they board the wrong train and end up in Moshi. Upon suffering engine trouble on another wrong train, they are stranded ten miles east from another railroad.

  • Indy & Remy walk in the sweltering heat to the next train station, before the direction of the sunset indicates that they’ve been walking in the wrong direction. They ultimately stumble upon an allied camp staffed entirely by elder soldiers, commanded by none other than Captain Frederick Selous whom Indiana had met in British East Africa at the age of nine.

  • Indiana explained to Selous his predicament and was introduced to fellow commanders General Jan Christian Smuts and Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, who are more preoccupied with the idea that Germans have a battleship cannon mounted on a railway flatcar. Before he knew it, Indiana had been ‘volunteered’ to join the Old and the Bold unit whose mission was to find the train and destroy it.

  • Remy is left behind angered and concerned that they’ll be labeled as deserters, as Indiana and the fringe group are able to track down the train, only for it to seemingly vanish in thin air. They inevitably find a cliff face that’s proven to be artificial, camouflaged to hide the entrance to a cavern with the train hidden in plain sight.

  • After many attempts and a few setbacks the men are finally able to place explosives on the moving train, yet not without the Germans taking notice thus leaving their tactics ultimately useless. To save the mission, Selous takes out his sharpshooter’s rifle and snipes the dynamite and detonates it, leading to an explosion and the battleship cannon inoperable.

  • Indiana then returns to allied territory and reunites with Remy, and together with Old and the Bold they are promised a return to their unit, though are convinced to take an alternate route towards Lake Victoria. The purpose unbeknownst to Indy & Remy is to capture General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, a German officer who had been coined The Lion of Africa for his great success on the battlefield.

  • During the journey they find and capture a German courier named Margarete Trappe, whom Selous knew of along with her mother, who was known as one of the finest aviators in Africa. Indiana takes a liking to her and tries to engage in conversation, whereas she forewarns him that they’ll “never find him.”

  • The next day they are spotted by the Germans and taken prisoner, and once brought before von Lettow are ordered to be shot the following morning. That same evening, however, one of the men in hiding knocks out the guards and frees the rest of the unit, who quickly reverse roles on von Lettow taking him as a prisoner himself. Meanwhile, Margaret signals an alarm as Indiana & Remy escape by a balloon gondola (aka hot air balloon.

  • The next day German troops open fire on the balloon and Indy & Remy, along with von Lettow, are stranded over a cliff. On foot the men talk and von Lettow explains the secrets to his success as prioritizing, explaining that his only mission was to “follow orders and stay alive.”

  • Soon after they are surrounded by intimidating tribesmen, and Indiana gives von Lettow a weapon as a gesture of trust. With the men surrounded they’re ultimately saved by Margaret who shows up in a reconnaissance aircraft and scares the tribesmen away.

  • Inevitably, all the remaining parties involved point their guns at one another, yet Indiana decides that killing von Lettow was not as important as staying alive. In return for his mercy, von Lettow gives Indy & Remy a compass and calls off any impending danger, allowing the men to return to the allied camp where they reunite with Selous - who finally keeps to his word and transports them to Lake Victoria.

  • Thus during this grand adventure Indiana has direct encounters with:

  • Frederick Selous - British explorer, officer, and big game hunter famous for his exploits in Southeast Africa, who fought in WWI at the age of 64, commanding the 25th (Frontiersmen) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, a unit made up of mostly old men. On January 4th, 1917 he was killed in action by a German sniper, leaving behind a legacy that would be honored for the next century and counting.

  • Jan Smuts - South African and British Commonwealth statesman, philosopher, and military leader who would later serve as the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1919-24 and 1939-48. During WWI he led the armies of South Africa against Germany, capturing German South-West Africa along with commanding the British Army in East Africa. Smuts was also instrumental in founding the Royal Air Force and is the only man to sign both of the peace treaties that ended the First and Second World Wars.

  • Richard Meinertzhagen - British soldier, intelligence officer, and ornithologist (study of birds) who had a decorated military career spanning Africa, highlighted by the infamous ‘haversack ruse,’ where he devised and executed a strategy that allowed false British military plans to fall into the enemy’s hands. In more recent years, however, the veracity of his achievements has been disputed, where even his ornithological records have been left to question as well.

  • Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck - aka as the Lion of Africa - was a general in Prussian Army and the commander of it’s forces in the German East-African Campaign, and was the only German commander to successfully invade imperial British soil during WWI.

  • Margarete Trappe - German/British big game hunter in the early 1900s who delivered cattle to General von Lettow amongst enemy lines during WWI. Due to her unusual attributes as a white woman in an African country, she became well known throughout Tanzania where they called her the ‘mother of the maasai’

  • 25th (Frontiersmen) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers - aka The Old & The Bold - British Army unit that served during WWI, comprised mostly of older men of many diverse backgrounds and occupations.

  • Locations in this adventure are as follows:

  • Moshi - city in Tanzania situated on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano that is the highest mountain in Africa.

  • Nairobi - capital and largest city of Kenya, founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa as a rail depot on the Uganda railway. Today it is an established hub for business and culture both domestically and internationally.

  • Lake Victoria - one of the African Great Lakes and the second largest freshwater lake in the world. It lies mainly in Tanzania and Uganda and borders Kenya as well. It’s said that 35 million people depend on the lake for survival, despite its ecosystem having been put in great danger due to overfishing and pollution.


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