Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: East Africa & Von Lettow Vorbeck

  1. #1
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    20

    Default East Africa & Von Lettow Vorbeck

    Anyone know of any studies of this remarkable man ? I have read Asprey's "War in the Shadows " Chapter 19 and Miller's " Battle For the Bundu " but mostly brief references .

    Col . Von Lettow Vorbeck was a tough . innovative master of bush warfare during World War I in East Africa .

  2. #2
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    DeRidder LA
    Posts
    3,949

    Default here is a link

    You are absolutely correct in recognizing the brilliance of the German campaign. The British Commonwealth effort to counter the Germans was tremendous and costly--exactly the end state desired by Berlin. Here is a link to a web site offering some references:

    http://www.scuttlebuttsmallchow.com/gwbksafrica.html

    But this campaign was fought against an African backdrop that until recently has largely been ignored. The use of conscripted troops and bearers was an economic and social disaster for the region's indigenous people; disease and famine were the results. Then again it was a time when colonialism was an accepted indeed acclaimed practice in the Western world. The history channel had a pretty good wrap up on this aspect of the campaign.

    Best
    Tom

  3. #3
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    12,501

    Thumbs up Low profile German general

    The only book I have readily to hand on Lettow-Vorbeck is 'The Great War in Africa' by Byron Farwell (pub. 1987 by Viking). One of the few books on WW1 and Africa. Possibly re-published in paperback more recently.

    I am sure there was an article on the failed British landing on the then German East Africa coast, in the Western Front Magazine recently. Cannot readily put my hand on that. The role of the commerce raider Konigsberg features irregularly in the WFA magazine.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    DeRidder LA
    Posts
    3,949

    Default

    David,

    I have that book as well and it is a good read. I enjoy Farwell's stuff immensely. My favorite is "Mr. Kipling's Army."

    Of couse Wilbur Smith's novel "Shout at the Devil" is a very loose story about the commerce raider and then there is The African Queen for even more pure entertainment.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 04-11-2006 at 02:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    20

    Default East Africa

    Thanks Tom and Dave for information .


    Seems like there was another novel some years back which was pretty good , " Curse of Majira" .

    An interesting field commander . I will find Farwell's book next.

  6. #6
    Council Member Stratiotes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Richmond, Missouri
    Posts
    94

    Thumbs up Lettow-Vorbeck

    One I ran across that is not real easy to find is called
    Guerilla by Hoyt, ISBN: 0025552104.

    Also, a very nice online bio is at FirstWorldWar online:
    http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/lettowvorbeck.htm

    Not only was he a brilliant military commander but also a decent human being who opposed Hitler's rise to power.
    Mark
    Discuss at: The Irregulars Visit at: UW Review
    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton

  7. #7
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    12,501

    Default New book out

    The Daily Telegraph (London) today published a book review of 'Tip and Run: the untold tragedy of the Great War in Africa' by Edward Paice, pub. Weidenfield and Nicholson, £25 in the U.K.

    I quote 'the story's hero is the one-eyed Schutztruppe chief Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck....one of the greatest guerilla leaders in history'.

    Perhaps the book will be available via amzon & others across the water?

    Davidbfpo

  8. #8
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    20

    Default " Tip and Run "

    I see that Amazon lists the book " Tip & Run " but not yet available .Went through my usual sources but only Amazon listed the book .
    Looking forward to that book !!

  9. #9
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,665

    Default

    Hew Strachan's The First World War: To Arms has an outstanding and quite lengthy chapter on WWI operations in Africa, with a lot of info about Lettow-Vorbeck's campaigns.

  10. #10
    Council Member wm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    On the Lunatic Fringe
    Posts
    1,237

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Hew Strachan's The First World War: To Arms has an outstanding and quite lengthy chapter on WWI operations in Africa, with a lot of info about Lettow-Vorbeck's campaigns.
    To Arms has been reprinted in pieces by Oxford. You can get a single volume called The First World War in Africa, published in paperback in 2004

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Just finished Guerilla a few days ago. Excellent and easy read. Details regarding some operations were a little thin, but gave a vivid picture of the tactics of both sides and the hardships and cunning of the Germans and Askaries.

    I also found A Case study in Leadership from the USAWC.

  12. #12
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    212

    Default Lettow-Vorbeck

    My Reminisence of East Africa, by Lettow Vorbeck. Available on Amazon for @$30.

    A good read/a good translation. Compares well to Lawrence's Seven Pillars. The major difference being that he was the Commander of the forces without any real influence from his HHQ in Berlin, not an intel officer-liaison-advisor with an active HHQ in closer Cairo. Further his was the only game in town once the other German colonies fell (all within the first year) he was the only one left. Whereas Allenby's advance on Jerusalem, and the expeditions up the Tigris-Euphrates were the principle efforts of the brits.

    WWI.com has a nice biographical sketch and an article on the battle of Tanga available free.

    The wikipedia site on him is a good start point for researching.

    Of course to really get to know the guy you'd have to know German. My Grandfather (former Luftwaffe Capt. from Hamburg, Vorbeck's home city) was a big fan of the General and used to tell me about him. Including his involvment in Freikorps and the suppression of the Spartacist Rebellion in Hamburg after WWI.

  13. #13
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Green Mountains
    Posts
    357

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    My Reminisence of East Africa, by Lettow Vorbeck. Available on Amazon for @$30.

    A good read/a good translation. Compares well to Lawrence's Seven Pillars. The major difference being that he was the Commander of the forces without any real influence from his HHQ in Berlin, not an intel officer-liaison-advisor with an active HHQ in closer Cairo. Further his was the only game in town once the other German colonies fell (all within the first year) he was the only one left. Whereas Allenby's advance on Jerusalem, and the expeditions up the Tigris-Euphrates were the principle efforts of the brits.

    WWI.com has a nice biographical sketch and an article on the battle of Tanga available free.

    The wikipedia site on him is a good start point for researching.

    Of course to really get to know the guy you'd have to know German. My Grandfather (former Luftwaffe Capt. from Hamburg, Vorbeck's home city) was a big fan of the General and used to tell me about him. Including his involvment in Freikorps and the suppression of the Spartacist Rebellion in Hamburg after WWI.
    You sure he was from Hamburg? Wikipedia says he was born in the Saar, but I remember reading that he was a Pomeranian (like my grandmother).

  14. #14
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    212

    Default i think u r right

    Granite State, I believe youre right. I believe his time in Hamburg was after WWI.

  15. #15
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    12,501

    Default Ten articles on the East African campaign

    The Western Front Association (WFA) is dedicated to the study and commemoration of WW1 and their latest newsletter had an article on a conventional battle in the East African campaign, in March 1916. Following the e-trail their website has ten articles:http://www.westernfrontassociation.c...-theatres.html

    The latest article had a phrase that appeared on SWC this week, referring to the US Army in WW1 & WW2:
    ..the hastily trained and poorly disciplined South African officers and men were on a steep military learning curve..
    davidbfpo

  16. #16
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3,189

    Default

    There's a book about German colonies with a chapter on the episode:
    ISBN 978-3-548-36940-2
    pp. 349-366

    The East African conflict was apparently a major medical and logistical disaster for both sides. Estimates about dead indigenous porters (forced by both sides) are in the six figure range. Germans lacked anti-Malaria medicine badly, had to produce it with indigenous plants. Raining season created mud trails that made movement extremely tiresome and created horrible lower leg infections.

    Overall quite messy, but the performance of the defenders was nevertheless one of the most extreme ones in history.

  17. #17
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    806

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    My Reminisence of East Africa, by Lettow Vorbeck. Available on Amazon for @$30.
    The Kindle version is $7.99.
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

  18. #18
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Default

    Lettow, his officers and his men did certainly fight a brilliant campaign with very limited means against vastly superior allied forces. A guerilla war has at least one major intrinsic flaw, it has to expose the population or water into which the fish wants to swim to great harm and violence. There are just limited ways to protect the (own) people and depending on the war and the methods of the enemy even victory can be extremely costly.

    From a German (Western) view waging such a guerilla war in East Africa was thus of course easier as the it was the native African population who shouldered and carried literally the war effort and did most of the dying.
    Last edited by Firn; 04-26-2012 at 11:43 AM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  19. #19
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Berkshire County, Mass.
    Posts
    896

    Default Von Lettow-Vorbeck seems reminiscent of Amundsen to me,

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    From a German (Western) view waging such a guerilla war in East Africa was thus of course easier as the it was the native African population who shouldered and carried literally the war effort and did most of the dying.
    whose accomplishment cannot be denied, but who ate many of his dogs along the way.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-12-2018 at 08:36 PM. Reason: 7,842v when reopened for next post
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  20. #20
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    12,501

    Default A new book with very mixed reviews: you choose

    In the summer of 2017 a new book was published ''African Kaiser: General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and the Great War in Africa, 1914-1918' by Robert Gaudi and was savaged in a British review. Here is a taster:
    His story has often been told, and Gaudi — an American ‘freelance writer and historian’ — appears to have consulted only these secondary sources, so reveals nothing new. Furthermore, he frequently misunderstands the sources and repeats their errors. He is certainly not au fait with military detail.
    Link:https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/08/...n-east-africa/

    On Amazon.com there are eighty-two reviews, the majority are 5*. See:https://www.amazon.com/African-Kaise...s=Robert+Gaudi

    Amazon.co.uk has three reviews and one states:
    This account is based on a synthesis of existing works. Hence there is little that is new. The author resorts at times to guesswork and speculation. Nevertheless, it is an engaging book about a superb soldier who led the Allies a merry dance over four years. His troops loved him. He was a genius in the art of bush warfare.
    Link:https://www.amazon.co.uk/African-Kai...s=robert+gaudi
    davidbfpo

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •