Armies in East Africa 1914-18 (Men-at-Arms) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2002/10/18
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One of the least-published campaigns of World War I (1914-1918) was that fought in East Africa by forces of colonial troops – British Empire, Belgian, Portuguese and German. Short of resources, many European, African and Indian soldiers recorded epics of endurance as they hunted the outnumbered but brilliantly led German colonial forces across a disease-ridden wilderness.
The achievements of Paul von Lettow Vorbeck – the last German commander in the field to lay down his arms – brought him fame and respect comparable to that won by Rommel in World War II. The events and the forces are described here in concise detail, and illustrated with rare photographs and striking colour artworks.
Peter Abbott has co-authored several titles for Osprey, including Men-at-Arms 131: ‘Germany’s Eastern Front Allies 1941-45’ and Men-at-Arms 202: ‘Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique’.
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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.