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George Eller
01-15-2008, 03:19 PM
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German East Africa during the First World War - Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-Colonel) Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and his Schutztruppe (defence force). From victory at Tanga in November 1914 to the surrender in Rhodesia several days after the Armistice in Europe in November 1918. AFAIK - the only German force to be undefeated during World War I - only surrendering after news of the Armistice.

I originally posted this on another website a few years ago. A few links are no longer valid. I'll see if they can be updated later.

Some links related to the topic:

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Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck
http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/lettowvorbeck.htm


Colonel Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck (1870-1964) was remarkable among military commanders of the First World War in that he served for the entire period without ever having suffered defeat...

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Paul Erich von Lettow-Vorbeck
http://www.answers.com/topic/paul-erich-von-lettow-vorbeck


General Paul Erich von Lettow-Vorbeck (March 20, 1870 - March 9, 1964) was the commander of the German East Africa campaign in World War I, the only campaign of that war where Germany remained undefeated...

...Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck was considered a daring yet prudent commander who showed uncanny ability to fight a guerilla war in an unfamiliar terrain. With few men and virtually no supplies, he tied down British forces ten to twenty times his own number. In the end, he remained undefeated, and having sidestepped the British forces, was marching to attack the Allies' mines and railway in Katanga. He earned much respect from his Askari as well as white officers, friend and foe alike. The East African campaign then was essentially about a “modestly immense Allied army” that was engaged by “a midget German force led by an obscure Prussian officer who could have conducted post-graduate courses in irregular warfare tactics for Che Guevara, General Giap and other more celebrated but far less skilled guerilla fighters.” Lettow-Vorbeck’s exploits in the African bush have come down “as the greatest single guerilla operation in history, and the most successful.”

One of his junior officers, Theodor von Hippel, used his experience under Lettow-Vorbeck to be instrumental in forming the Brandenburgers, the commando unit of the German Abwehr intelligence agency in World War II.

In the year of von Lettow-Vorbeck’s death, 1964, half a century after he arrived at Dar es Salaam, the West German Bundestag voted to fund the back pay for the Askaris still alive. A temporary cashier’s office was set up in Mwanza on Lake Victoria. Of the 350 old men who gathered only a handful could produce the certificates that von Lettow had given them in 1918. Others presented pieces of their old uniforms as proof of service. The German banker who had brought the money came up with an idea. As each claimant stepped forward, he was handed a broom and ordered in German to perform the manual of arms. Not one man failed the test.

Four barracks of the German Army (Bundeswehr) at Leer, Hamburg-Jenfeld, Bremen und Bad Segeberg were named in his honor. With personnel reductions and base closures of 178 military installations, the last of the Lettow-Vorbeck named barracks (at Bad Segeberg) was closed in 2004.

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Uniforms of the Imperial German Colonial Forces 1914-18
http://www.sacktrick.com/igu/germancolonialuniforms/index.htm


This website is intended to give an insight into the uniforms of the defenders of German East Africa, German South West Africa, Cameroon, Togo, Kiaochou (including the port of Tsingtao) and the German Pacific Colonies in the First World War for the English speaking wargamer, modeller or military historian. It has been recently expanded to also include the German units fighting on Turkish fronts. Until now there has been very little available (with the exception of the East African campaign) in the English language on these obscure but fascinating side shows of the Great War.

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German East Africa 1914-18
http://www.sacktrick.com/igu/germancolonialuniforms/hist%20doa.htm


The initial 2,500 askaris (native infantry) with about 200 Germans divided into 14 Field Companies (Feldkompagnie) that formed the Schütztruppe of German East Africa were swelled to 11,367 askaris, 2,700 Germans and 2,500 native auxiliary troops by late 1915. This was due to the incorporation of the native police force and more native recruits into the Askari Field Companies and by the formation of the local German and Austrian residents and crew of the SMS Königsberg and other stranded vessels into new Shooting Companies (Schützenkompagnie).

After repulsing the allied landings at Tanga in 1914, the Germans under Von Lettow-Vorbeck were forced to adopt a defensive guerrilla strategy striking across East Africa even into British and Portuguese territory. In this manner they successfully held down large numbers of allied troops until November 1918 when they heard of the armistice in Europe and handed themselves over to the British in Rhodesia with a force of 1,168 askaris and 155 Germans.
[Various uniforms of the Germans and Askaris illustrated]

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THE ASKARI
http://www.angelfire.com/tx4/bustersbattery/militrivia/MILITRIVIA39.html


When the Great War broke out in Europe in 1914 it also spilled over into Africa, where both the Central Powers and the Allies had colonies. While both sides employed native soldiers, it was the Germans who relied on them. Known as Askari (Swahili for "guard" or "warrior", used mainly in east Africa) they kept alive Germany's imperial aspirations in Africa.

At the beginning of the war the German East African defense force (Schutztruppe) was composed of 14 Field Companies (also known as Rifle Companies). The Field Companies were self-contained units, having transportation and supply elements which made them very mobile and capable of operating autonomously for great lengths of time. About 260 Germans and 2,472 Askaris were in the Field Companies, not counting about 250 native bearers in each company used for carrying supplies in the bush.

Askaris were used to the harsh conditions of East Africa, from the hot dusty plains to the cold of the highlands to the sweltering humidity of the coast. Their discipline came at least in part from the Prussian-style training they received upon swearing alliegance to the Kaiser...

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The Great War in Africa
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/africa/af08.html


The most exotic campaigns of World War I were fought in Africa. If they have been all but forgotten today, it is because they were a sideshow to the European theater, where most of the bloodletting took place. However, they are fascinating stories in their own right, quite unlike any that happened in the trenches of France and Belgium. For example, the wildlife added an extra dimension to the conflict. More than one battle was interrupted by a charging elephant, rhinoceros, or swarms of killer bees, which attacked Allied troops, Germans, and the African help of both with complete impartiality. Diseases and hideous parasites like the guinea worm were more dangerous than enemy soldiers; in one month (July 1916) the ratio of non-battle casualties to battle casualties reached as high as 31.4 to 1. The longest naval engagement of history was fought in a river delta of German East Africa, where it took 255 days and 27 British ships to locate and sink a single German cruiser, the Königsberg...

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German East Africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_East_Africa#First_World_War

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History of East Africa : The War with Germany in East Africa
http://www.zum.de/whkmla/documents/seafryb/fgea1920a.html

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Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck
http://www.ifdt.de/0201/Artikel/Wilken.htm
(In German)
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.ifdt.de/0201/Artikel/Wilken.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522von%2BLettow-Vorbeck%2522%26start%3D30%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3 DN
(In English)

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A Soldier's Soldier: Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck
http://www.vanguardnewsnetwork.com/2005/InstaurationForrestLettow.htm

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32Bravo
01-15-2008, 03:49 PM
Interesting topic, George.

Will read more, but Bogey had a small victory agains the Germans in 'The African Queen'.

As I'm sure you know, the Askari fought alongside the British against the Zulus. As you have stated the name 'Askari' was one of language, as opposed to tribe or nationality.

George Eller
01-15-2008, 03:58 PM
Interesting topic, George.

Will read more, but Bogey had a small victory agains the Germans in 'The African Queen'.

As I'm sure you know, the Askari fought alongside the British against the Zulus. As you have stated the name 'Askari' was one of language, as opposed to tribe or nationality.
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Thanks 32Bravo :)

Bogey certainly did, with a little help from Katharine Hepburn ("Rosie") ;)
Great movie...

I have more material at home (at work now) that I plan to scan and post here. Don't know if I can get to it tonight because I will be out for the evening, but hopefully later in the week.

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32Bravo
01-15-2008, 04:11 PM
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I have more material at home (at work now) that I plan to scan and post here. Don't know if I can get to it tonight because I will be out for the evening, but hopefully later in the week.

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George, I have a belly full of Sicilian red wine, it's almost my bedtime..later in the week will be fine. :)

George Eller
01-19-2008, 02:58 PM
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From: Shotgun News Treasury: Volume 7, A collection of the Best Shotgun News Articles Published in 2006, Edited by Robert W. Hunnicutt, Shotgunnews.com , 2007, pp 8-14

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From: The Elite: The World's Crack Fighting Men: The Army, Ashley Brown and Jonathan Reed, editors, The National Historical Society, 1986, pp 100-106

Author: Keith Simpson

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32Bravo
01-19-2008, 03:21 PM
Almost forgotten piece of history and interesting reading, to boot, George.
A lot of work put into it. How long did it take?

George Eller
01-19-2008, 04:12 PM
Almost forgotten piece of history and interesting reading, to boot, George.
A lot of work put into it. How long did it take?
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Thanks 32Bravo,

The first part from the Shotgun News took longer to scan & format because my scanner bed is only 8 1/2 x 11 inches. The Shotgun News articles were over-sized 11 x 13 inch format. So I had to make double scans of each page, copy, paste, crop and resize - using MS Paint and Adobe Photoshop. The second series of scans were much easier.

I have more, but I will be busy for the rest of the evening and much of tomorrow. Have relatives visiting for the weekend.

But, I hope to have more up this week.

Cheers :)

George

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George Eller
01-27-2008, 03:09 AM
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END OF CHAPTER 1 (To be continued)

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George Eller
02-04-2008, 01:25 AM
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Rifles of the Schutztruppen, top to bottom: Mauser Jagerbuchse M/71, Mauser Model 71/84, Infanteriegewehr M1888, Mauser Infanteriegewehr 98.
Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armor, DK Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-0-7566-2210-7, ISBN-10: 0-7566-2210-7, 2006, pp 248-249, 256-257,259.

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(CONTINUATION FROM PREVIOUS POST)

Tanganyikan Guerrilla: East African Campaign 1914-18, Major J R Sibley,
Ballantine's Illustrated History of the Violent Century - Campaign Book No. 20, 1971,
pp 20-35.

CHAPTER 2

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END OF CHAPTER 2 (To be continued)

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George Eller
02-13-2008, 10:25 PM
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(CONTINUATION FROM PREVIOUS POST)

Tanganyikan Guerrilla: East African Campaign 1914-18, Major J R Sibley,
Ballantine's Illustrated History of the Violent Century - Campaign Book No. 20, 1971,
pp 36-51.

CHAPTER 3

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END OF CHAPTER 3 (To be continued)

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