Arab Corps

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Peter H
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Arab Corps

Post by Peter H » 22 Oct 2005 13:29

At the Battle of Yasini in January 1915 Lettow Vorbeck deployed nine companies in action.There was one European company,seven Askari companies and another company called the Arab Corps.

I assume that the Arab Corps was recruited from Arab volunteers in Ostafrika,from among the 4,000 or so Arabs that lived there in 1913.The entry of Turkey into the war in November 1914,plus the call to arms for Muslims to overthrow the British Empire,suggests they were more than willing participants.

Has anyone heard of these 200 or so Arabs fighting for the Germans in East Africa in 1915?

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 22 Oct 2005 14:14

Hi Peter,
No, I'd not heard of this lot. Any more info would be great. I knew there were earlier Arab units in the German East Africa. I'll try to come up with some more info on them...
Cheers
Chris

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 22 Oct 2005 14:16

Chris,

I found something here as well:

http://www.geocities.com/cdferree/history/jassin.html

It does get confusing when place names are spelt differently.

During the Battle of Tanga, only the 15. Feldkompagnie (F. K.), under Oberleutnant d. R. Weise, and the 400 strong Arab Volunteer Corps Arabische Korps), under Oberleutnant d.Sw. Hengstenberg, guarded the border near Jassin. On 30 October 1914 the Germans record that the British moved troops toward Jassin, but the British troops retreated after clashing with sixty Arab volunteers under Vizefeldwebel (Sergeant) Eggers and a fortuitously arriving flanking movement by an officer patrol commanded by Leutnant d. R. Hanow. It was noted by the Germans that the British troops were repulsed by the “wild shooting” of the Arabs, rather than any organized military resistance.
It states the Arabs bolted when the fighting heated up.The excellent fighting ability of the Arabs later under Lawrence suggests that they needed a motivated cause to fight for,common to all fighting men.Irregular action also appears their forte.

Regards,
Peter

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 23 Oct 2005 07:21

I'm sure Lettow-Vorbeck mentions something about this in his book, and in particular it is in regards to the disorganised nature of the Arab volunteers, though without the book I'm lost as to what the comments were.

As it was though, the call for Jihad against Britain and her allies didn't really lead to much, though I suspect it probably wasn't nearly as well broadcast as such calls are now days, and as the Ottoman Empire was in many respects supressing a lot of Arabic people at the time, it can't have been that appealing a prospect for them either.

Gwynn

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Nadir Shah
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German Arab Corps

Post by Nadir Shah » 23 Oct 2005 08:55

According to Official history of the Great WAr - Military Operations East Africa:
"The Germans, like the British, had decided to make such use as was possible of the warlike proclivities of the coastal Arabs;
the unit raised eventually reached a strenght of about 50"
"During August (1914) activity was limited to minor patrolling, no German forces of any size being available. This period ended with withdrawal of the British frontier guards from Vanga. To Baumstark's three units which arrived soon afterwards were added the 4.Sch.K and a small so-called Arab Corps. During the first fortnight in September Baumstark learned that British opposed to him were now established at Majoremi, and on 21st he ordered the attack which was made bu Boemcken on the following day. Had this been pressed its effect might have been considerable, since, unknown to Baumstark, Wavell (commanding officer of british Arab Company)had become a casualty; as it was, the german withdrawal enabled the British force to recognize before evacuating Majoreni next day.
The next move was Baumstark's unsuccessful attack on Gazi on the 7th October. In the course of this affair he was given good reason to realize that the British force was too strong for him, and with considerable difficulty he withdrew and reassembled his troops, the last of which did not rejoin him in camp on the Mkurumuji until long after nightfall. From there, apprehensive of being cut from his base at Jasin by a british advance along the coast, he retreated with all speed by Kikoneni to Samanya.
His losses had not been have heavy, but his troops had been shaken, the Arabs in particular proving untrustworthy and liable to panic. His report laid stress on the latter point and on the sense of inferiority produced in his men by their obsolete rifles firing black powder against smokeless weapons of their opponents"

I will look for the other quotation about Arab Corps.
Witold

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Nadir Shah
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Schutztruppe units in Jasini action

Post by Nadir Shah » 23 Oct 2005 14:56

The German force consisted of 1, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17th Feldkompagnies and 4 i 7th Schutzenkompagnie (european sharpshooter companies). 15 and 17th companies were new companies enrolled and trained in Pugu camp, near to Dar -es Salaam.
Best regards
Witold

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 24 Aug 2007 00:12

Peter H wrote:
I found something here as well:

http://www.geocities.com/cdferree/history/jassin.html
During the Battle of Tanga, only the 15. Feldkompagnie (F. K.), under Oberleutnant d. R. Weise, and the 400 strong Arab Volunteer Corps Arabische Korps), under Oberleutnant d.Sw. Hengstenberg, guarded the border near Jassin....
Regards,
Peter
What's an Oberleutnant d.Sw.? I've never heard that phrase before.

Cheers
Chris

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Post by CharlesRollinsWare » 27 Aug 2007 23:26

Chris;

Sw. stands for "Seewehroffiziere der Kaiserlichen Marine". However, Dr. Hermann Hengstenberg was not such an officer - his rank was Oblt.d.R.d.Matr.Art. [Kaiserlichen Marine Reserve Offiziere].

As for the Araberkorps, is was formed in the fall of 1914 (it existed before Tanga) and was at certainly at Jassin. According to Boell (the closest thing to a primary German sources after the destruction of the Colonial Office records in WWII), it consisted of 8 Eiuropeans and about 350 Araber under Oblt. d.R. Hengstenberg. It dissappears from the German Order of Battle shortly thereafter, apparently due too its proven unreliability (at least as a "pure" unit), though whatever stable elements it had were likely distributed to the new "reserve" companies created that year.

Mark E. Horan

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 28 Aug 2007 23:19

Hi Mark,
Thank you for explaining the rank variations and for fuller info on the Arab Corps.
Cheers
Chris

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