Jump to content

First World War in Africa


Recommended Posts

A million people died in East Africa alone during WW1, many Africans also fought in Europe, defending the interests of their

Colonial Masters, today their sacrifice has been largely forgotten.

When war broke out in Europe in 1914, English and French troops prepaired to seize the four German Colonies in Africa

( German East Africa, German South-West Africa, Togoland and Cameroon ).

Fighting was particularly brutal in German East Africa were German General Lettow-Vorbeck, adopted a guerilla strategy,

drawing more and more areas into the war and tying up British troops for years, more than 200,000 bearers transported

weapons, ammunition and food for the troops, the myth of the faithful Askari still exists today in German history books.

Historians estimate that a million people died in East Africa as a direct result of the war, plus the outbreak of Spanish Flu,

which spread shortly after the war ended accounted for a further 50,000 to 80,000 deaths.

Some 10,000 South African soldiers died in Belgium, France, Parkistan, North Africa and former German Colonies in Africa,

The South African Legion is one of a few bodies in Africa which honours their sacrifice, more than 146,000 Whites, 83.000

Blacks and 2,500 people of mixed race ( coloureds ) and Asians served in South African Military units during the war,

including 43,000 in German South-West Africa and 30,000 on the Western Front, an estimated 3,000 South Africans joined

the Royal Flying Corps.

The total South African casualties during the war was about 18,600, with over 12,452 killed, more than 4,600 in the European

theatre alone.


Below are some photo's.



  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Below are photo's of South-West African Soldiers and medal bar consisting of the following medals.


Prussian 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class.

Prussian Warriors Merit Medal ( worn back to front ).

1914 - 18 Honour Cross with Swords.

Third Reich Police Long Service Medal ( 25 years ).

Prussian other ranks Long Service Award 1st Class ( 21 years ).

1904 - 08 South-West Africa Campaign Medal.


Miniature bar was made before 1930's and therefore has no 1914 -18 Honour Cross ( Instituted in 1934 ) and no 25 year

Police Long Service Award.



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here we have a War and Victory medal to Pte A.J.W. Sinclair of the 9th South Africa Infantry Regiment.


Pte Sinclair together with his Regiment the 9th South Africa Infantry joined the 2nd East Africa Division led by Major General

J. Van. Deventer, which was part of the 3rd South Africa Brigade in Jan 1916.

The overall Commander of the British Forces in East Africa was General Jan Smuts. The 9th S.A. Infantry operated in the

Kilimanjaro Region of German East Africa, against the Germans and their Askari allies,

The Regiments first action was in the first phase of the battle of Kilimanjaro on the 8th March when it advanced against

Salaite Hill and later against the enemy on Lake Ohala. By the 12th March the enemy was in full retreat but fighting had been

very severe and the 3rd Brigade had lost 270 men.

During the 2nd phase on 19th March the 9th S.A. Infantry had a sharp engagement with the German/Askari Forces sustaining

40 casualties. By the 28th March the enemy were defeated and the conquest of the Kilimanjaro - Meiur area of German East

Africa was complete, following this the 9th S.A. Infantry spent the remainder of 1916 and 1917 mainly involved with minor

skirmishing and in consolidation of their East Africa gains.



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good stuff, I always liked the German artillery used in Africa during the war... total mash up of whatever the main fronts didn't want or was too old to use. Amazing ammunition was even available in some cases!



The guns of SMS Königsberg were taken after scuttling and used as field artillery.


And amazingly the Graf Goetzen is still in use today as the MV Liemba

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

And today, there still stands the bronze statue of the proud Askari in the town of Dar-es-Salaam. There are still all the graves of those soldiers of the Schutztruppe in various areas in South West Africa (Deutsch Südwest). These are still remembered today. German has still remained the most important language in South West, and people are still proud of the traditions. South West fell under South African Mandate after 1918. The other colonies have lost most traces of German colonial rule, Togo and Kamerun went under French colonial rule, and everyone was forced to learn French, German was forthwith forbidden. East Africa went under British rule, Kenya, Tanganyika, etc.

The bronze statue of Adolf Woermann, a great colonial pioneer once stood in East Africa, was then shipped to Hamburg, where it stood for a long time in front of the university until student protests in the 1960s-70s. It was then set up in the Port of Hamburg, but received similar hostile treatment, and has since been dismanteld and put in storage. So much for German History in Germany. Modern-day people unfortunately just don't want it. Sad.image.thumb.png.53e20833035f039041d512513b375820.png

Schutztruppe, Deutsch Südwestafrika



Aufziehen der Wache and Zapfenstreich, a traditional ceremony, also in the Colonies.


image.png.2921e0cb63a911787088ee6321003b71.pngAskari - Denkmal in Aumühle and...



...in Tansania-Park in Hamburg-Jenfeld


Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, image in a former barracks in Hamburg-Jenfeld, now used as accomodation for refugees.


Völkermord verjährt nicht! Todays politics, coming to scores with the past.


The Wissmann-Denkmal, formerly Tansania, later stood in front of the University and after that in the Port, now dismantled and in storage

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Some new images of the colonial period and WW1 added.

Stamps of the 3rd Reich commemorating the colonial pioniers, 1934

Franz Lüderitz
Gustav Nachtigal
Karl Peters
Hermann von Wissmann




  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Der Traum vom Weltreich
Deutsch-Ostafrika - heute Tansania


  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...