Armies in East Africa 1914-18 (Anglais) Broché – 18 octobre 2002
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WHEN LIEUTENANT-COLONEL Paul Emil von Lettow Vorbeck stepped ashore in German East Africa in January 1914, nobody guessed that within five years he would not only be feted by his own countrymen for being the last German commander in the field to lay down his arms, but also admired and respected by his British opponents much as Rommel was to be during World War II. Lire la première page
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Armies in East Africa 1914-1918 is divided into short sections on the pre-war colonial forces in place (Germany, Britain, Belgium and Portugal), a campaign chronology, the campaign of 1914-1915, the 1916 Allied offensive, and then stalemate and pursuit in 1917. There are eight pages of color plates, covering the uniforms of all the combatant powers. The author also provides a surprisingly detailed bibliography, which readers may find quite useful.
The detail on Belgian and Portuguese forces provided is particularly welcome, since most sources virtually ignore non-Commonwealth participation in the war in East Africa. Portugal was unique in sending several large expeditionary forces from Europe to fight in East Africa, instead of relying on colonial troops as everyone else did. The author also details the rather self-inflated reputation of the South African troops, who initially disparaged the black German Askaris and even their Indian allies. Perhaps the only area that is slighted is the German ground unit formed from survivors from the cruiser Konigsberg, and the role of the cruiser's salvaged 4.7" guns (they are briefly mentioned and depicted in illustrations, but the fact that these naval troops performed poorly in bush warfare - not surprisingly - is not mentioned). Otherwise, Armies in East Africa 1914-1918 is a fine summary of one of the more unusual campaigns and adaptive commanders of the 20th Century.
German Togo, Cameroon, and Southwest Africa (Namibia) were speedily attacked and overwhelmed, since they were not prepared for war. German East Africa (Tanzania) wasn't such a pushover due to the military brilliance displayed by General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. While this book is only a overview of the campaigns in East Africa during WWI it is very valuable because of it's illustrations of various uniforms and of native garb. It is of particular interest to collectors of toy soldiers, since similarities of khaki uniforms of WWI are specifically deliniated.