The Kaiser’s Last General

The East Africa Campaign and the Hunt for Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, 1914–1918


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About the Book

At the outbreak of World War I, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck, military commander of Germany’s East African Colony, planned to divert British troops from Europe to East Africa. Knowing he could not defeat them in pitched battle, he led a small force—never more than 15,000 men—familiar with bush-fighting and the harsh environment, on raids into British territory. A gifted tactician, von Lettow-Vorbeck attacked only when odds were in his favor, then fought defensive withdrawals into the German Colony, maintaining short lines of supply while drawing the enemy deeper into hostile territory. The British and their allies committed 160,000 troops in East Africa. He led them in a game of “catch me if you can,” punishing them for every mistake. Promoted to major-general by the Kaiser in 1917, von Lettow-Vorbeck led the only undefeated German force to surrender to the Allies, well after the end of hostilities in Europe. This history follows what began as a campaign of conquest and devolved into a hunt for a single general and his small, loyal command.

About the Author(s)

R.G. Gladding is an ex-serviceman having served in both the Navy and Army for a period of 23 years. He was also the technical and safety training manager of the Australian Railroad Group and chair of the West Australian Air, Maritime, Road and Rail Transport Industry Training Council. He lives in Chester, England.

Bibliographic Details

R.G. Gladding
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 40 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8599-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4475-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
One. East Africa, 1914 7
Two. Disaster at Tanga 20
Three. Operations in the Rufiji Delta 32
Four. The Action at Jasin and Early Operations in the West and Northwest 38
Five. The Destruction of the Königsberg 48
Six. The Bukoba Raid and the Action at Saisi 56
Seven. The Naval Africa Expedition 64
Eight. Operations on the Northern and Northwestern Frontier 71
Nine. The Battle of Kilimanjaro 85
Ten. Portugal Enters the War and the Allied Offensive Begins 96
Eleven. Into German East 113
Twelve. The Long Pursuit 137
Thirteen. Mahiwa, Lukuledi Mission and Withdrawal to the Rovuma 158
Fourteen. Portuguese East Africa 175
Fifteen. The Last German General 190
Appendix I. British Order of Battle, January 1916 197
Appendix II. British Order of Battle, March 1916 198
Appendix III. Versailles Treaty—Articles Regarding German Overseas Territories 200
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 209
Index 211