Africans in the Imperial German Navy and Army.

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Amerikansk Wiking
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Africans in the Imperial German Navy and Army.

Post by Amerikansk Wiking » 16 May 2003 17:35

I was wondering if anyone had details on indigenous African troops/sailor in the Kaiserliche Marine or in the regular German Imperial Army. I'm also interested in the body which held out so well during fighting in German E. Africa during WWI on the German side.

G. Hinrichs

James McBride
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Post by James McBride » 16 May 2003 23:49

Search for Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, and you will find a lot of sites about his role in WWI, though mostly in German, and how the askari fared in battle. I can tell you that they fought very well, because of their ability to take advantage of land they knew well in guerilla style raids, and more important was their natural resistance to African diseases. Sepoys and Englishman suffered greatly from various ailments, which actually caused more casualties than fighting with the German army.

James

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Olivier Palardy
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Post by Olivier Palardy » 10 Jun 2003 04:09

Amerikansk Wiking,

If we look a each german african colonies, we can see that african indigenous troops were not used the same way everywhere.

Togoland
There was no standing army in this tiny colony. Some police detachments consituted the only armed forces. They were officered by few german professional soldiers. The bulk of the troops were composed of local africans. I think the training was different that the one provided in the army. However, those units were not only designed for internal security but also to protect the colony from external agression.

Kamerun
There was a Schutztruppe (protective force) in this colony made of german officers and local african soldiers (askaris). If I remember well, the training standards were the same as the ones in Germany.

Deutsch-Sũdwestafrika (German South West Africa)
This was a particular case. There was no blacks in the Schutztruppe. All troops were german. This was due to fact that the Germans had many problems with the biggest tribe (Herero people) facing many revolts crushed with great brutality.

Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa)
In this big colony, the Schutztruppe was composed of german officers and local african troops (askaris). The training standards were the same as the ones in Germany. They were indeed excellent troops fighting until the end under the famous Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck.

As for the Kaiserliche Marine, I have never heard of any africans serving on big units designed for the high see. However, certainly some sailors or servants were pressed into service in the interior lakes or river patrol boats.

Hope this helps
Olivier
Last edited by Olivier Palardy on 16 Jun 2003 07:19, edited 1 time in total.

Amerikansk Wiking
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Thanks

Post by Amerikansk Wiking » 10 Jun 2003 07:55

Thanks very much Olivier. Most helpful.

G.Hinrichs

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 11 Jun 2003 14:19

This link mentions the Asarkis and their pension problems,see bottom:

http://www.truppensattler.de/neues.htm

Also it mentions Lettow Vorbeck returning to East Africa,in a visit in 1964(also the year of his death)...is this true?

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Olivier Palardy
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Post by Olivier Palardy » 11 Jun 2003 16:18

Moulded,

This is not true. Lettow-Vorbeck did not return in Africa in 1964 but in 1953 as it is clearly stated in the introduction of his book, My Reminiscences of East Africa:


In 1953, Lettow-Vorbeck revisited his old battlegrounds in South West Africa and East Africa. In Dar es Salaam, Lettow-Vorbeck met some of the askari (african soldiers) who had fought with him during the East African campaign. He also reviewed the 6th King's African Rifles (KAR) Regiment, a british unit, at Colito barracks. When the British askaris marched past reviewing stand, they started singing Haya Safari, the Schutztruppe marching song.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 12 Jun 2003 12:49

Lettow Vorbeck in his latter years,but probably not circa 1953:

http://modersmal.skolverket.se/luganda/ ... age002.jpg

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Chris Dale
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Re: Africans in the Imperial German Navy and Army.

Post by Chris Dale » 23 Apr 2004 17:06

Amerikansk Wiking wrote:I was wondering if anyone had details on indigenous African troops/sailor in the Kaiserliche Marine or in the regular German Imperial Army. I'm also interested in the body which held out so well during fighting in German E. Africa during WWI on the German side.

G. Hinrichs


As far as I know only one African served in the regular Imperial Army (although many served in Colonial forces). His name was Elo Sambo from the Cameroons who according to DH Hagger in "Hussars and Mounted Rifles- Uniforms of the Imperial German Army 1900-14", was kettle drummer for the Life Guard Hussar Regt 1907-18. I wonder if he saw action 1914-18? Does anyone know any more about him?
Here's a photo,
Cheers
Chris
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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 24 Apr 2004 07:22

From The Great War Forum:

Vize-Wachtmeister Elo Sambo of the Guard Hussars of Potsdam (born 1885 died 1933). He continued to serve in the 4th Cavalry Regiment of the Reichswehr, also at Potsdam. He was well known as the kettle drummer in the mounted band....

There was also Gefrieter Josef Mambow who was kettledrummer in the Horse Grenadiers (3rd Dragoons) who joined the army in 1909.


Also Chemin des Dames 1917,French photo of captured "un negre boche" (black German soldier):

Image
files/chem_1917.jpg

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 24 Apr 2004 13:04

Thanks Moulded that's amazing! Do you know who the soldier being captured is? Is it Josef Mambow? Or were there more? Do you know where Josef Mambow was from?
Cheers
Chris
http://www.germancolonialuniforms.co.uk

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 25 Apr 2004 09:35

Chris,
I have no idea if that's Mambow in the photo nor can find anything further on him.What a pity. :(

Regards,
Moulded

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 25 Apr 2004 15:29

Hi Moulded,
Thanks for the info you've already supplied. I'll update the "interesting facts" page on my website with this new info and give you a thanks on the "updates" page.
Let me know if you happen to find any more.
Cheers
Chris

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Post by Volklin » 01 May 2004 01:26

The best book on the African campaign in WWI is The Great War in Africa by Byron Farwell. Many interesting things happened in this "side-show" such as an army being routed by bees and other animals, the Zeppelin that came all the way from Bulgaria, the true African Queens, and much more. Currently i'm making my way through the book simultaneously reading other books

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 30 May 2005 01:16

I've found an intersting photo recently of Jafar Al-Askari (Prime Minister of Iraq in the 1920's. He started the First World War in the Ottoman army then switched sides and joined Lawrence of Arabia's cause) at http://www.jeansasson.com/3a.html
He seems to be in the uniform of the Baden Dragoons or Lieb Infantry...anyone know why?
Cheers
Chris
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us11thairborne
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Post by us11thairborne » 01 Jun 2005 18:30

The Imperial German Empire employed many native Afrikans into their Schutztruppe, which became highly advanced and trained units. The Schutztruppe were very loyal to the German Imperial Empire, and fought vigorously in Kamerun. A book that describes very well, the Imperial German Military in Afrika, is called "The Great War in Africa: 1914-1918" by Byron Farwell, as stated above.

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