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Full text of "British campaigns in Africa and the Pacific, 1914-1918"

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BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN AFRICA 
AND THE PACIFIC: 1914— 1918 



WORKS BY EDMUND DANE 

BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN THE NEARER 
EAST. VOL. I. THE DAYS OF ADVER- 
SITY. 

BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN THE NEARER 
EAST. VOL. II. THE TIDE OF 
VICTORY. 

BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN AFRICA AND 
THE PACIFIC: 1914-1918. 

LONDON: HODDER AND STOUGHTON 



BRITISH CAMPAIGNS 

IN 

AFRICA AND THE PACIFIC 

191 4 — 1 9 1 8 



EDMUND DANE 

Author of " British Campaigns in the Nearer East,'" etc. 



WITH MAPS AND PLANS 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

LONDON : NEW YORK : TORONTO 

MCMXIX 



PREFACE 



The Campaigns in Africa have an interest of their own. 
They present aspects of the Great War associated with 
varied, and often strange, adventure. And as illustra- 
tions of military resource and skill they well repay study. 

In order that they may be the better understood, a 
succinct account has been given of German colonial 
policy and dealings. Some of the facts may appear 
incredible. There is, however, not one that is not based 
upon well-tested proof. German rule in Africa por- 
tended a revival of chattel slavery upon a great scale, 
and had the contemplated German Empire in Africa 
been established, the desolating social phenomenon of 
chattel slavery could not have been confined to the 
so-called " Dark Continent." Happily, in the cam- 
paigns in Africa the evil was rooted up. The effect of 
these campaigns on the world's future will be deep. 

Both the causes of military operations and the char- 
acter of the terrain over which they take place have to 
be presented clearly to the reader's mind before they 
can be followed with ease. Often military events have 
been dealt with as a kind of poetic history, or in the 
dry technical manner which, save to those with expert 
knowledge, is repellent. There is no reason why they 
should not be narrated at once truthfully and lucidly. 
That attempt, at any rate, has here been made. Finally, 
the relations of these campaigns to each other and to 
the Great War as a whole have been touched upon as 
far as necessary. 

London, May, 1919. E. D. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA ... 1 

German declarations on Colonial policy — The Berlin-Congo 
Conference, and the Brussels Anti-Slavery Conference, 
1890 — Annexation of South-west Africa — Area and natural 
features of the colony — Its native races — The Hottentots — 
The Hereros — Their pastoral civilisation — The Ovambos — 
Origin of German interest in South-west Africa — The 
Rhenish Missions Society's pioneers — Missionary traders — 
The Hottentot-Herero War — British Official Inquiry — 
Petition of the Hereros for British Protectorate — British 
Commissioner's recommendation — Reason for its refusal by 
the Home Government — Walfish Bay — German Commercial 
projects — Luderitz as prospector — German annexation of 
Angra Pequena — Negotiations with native chiefs — Jordaan's 
Boer Republic — German measures against it — Attempts to 
drive out British traders — Robert Lewis — German adminis- 
tration expelled from Damaraland — German Government 
and the demand for armed intervention — Native attitude in 
1890 — The real lines of German policy — Increase of German 
garrison — Provocation of natives — The massacre at Horn- 
krantz — German Land Settlement Syndicate — Confiscation 
of Herero cattle — The German credit system — German 
Courts of Justice — Spoliation of the natives — Fear of 
Hottentot-Herero Confederacy — Seizure and execution of 
Herero chiefs — Outbreak of the Hottentot War — Jacob 
Marengo — The Herero Rebellion — Arrival of General von 
Trotha — His campaign of extermination — Unrestrained 
atrocities — Valour of the Hereros — German vengeance 
towards survivors — Gross abuses of the lash and indiscrimi- 
nate executions— Establishment of chattel slavery — German 
difficulties in Hottentot campaign — Heroic end of Hendrik 
Whitbooi — Von Trotha recalled — Extermination policy 
given up — Miserable state of the country. 



x CONTENTS 

CHAPTER II 

PAGE 

GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE . . 24 

Position on outbreak of war, 1914 — German views on South 
African prospects — The forces of the South African Union 
— Reasons for and against campaign in South-west Africa, — 
Ambitions of German Colonial enterprise— Military char- 
acter of German Government in South-west Africa — Its 
heavy armament — Ultimate purpose and menace — The 
strategical railways — Meaning of the terrorism towards 
natives — Shades of opinion in South African Union — 
Botha's policy — Its foundation — Decision in favour of war — 
Botha's plan of campaign — Why original and bold — Main 
attack from the Sea — German plan for counter-offensive — 
The opening moves — Lukin's Expedition to Little Namaqua- 
land — Union forces take Luderitzbucht — Preparations for 
overland advance — Lukin's operations from Steinkopf — 
Defection of Maritz — Effect on Lukin's Expedition — The 
reverse at Sandfontein — Rising of Beyers and de Wet — 
Influence of political events on the campaign — Descent at 
Walfish Bay postponed and M'Kenzie's column diverted to 
Luderitzbucht — M'Kenzie's advance to Tschaukab — Con- 
quering the difficulties of the coastal desert — Fine work of 
the engineers — Sir George Farrar's services and death by 
accident — Check to German counter-offensive — Landing of 
Skinner's Column at Walfish Bay — Capture of Swakopmund 
— German use of Land-mines— Poisoning of water supplies — 
Botha's warning to the enemy — Native service to Union forces 
— Union overland operations re-organised — The new scheme 
— Germans and Maritz attack and capture Nous and Brits- 
town — Bouwer retakes Raman's Drift — The Kalahari Desert 
Column — German attack upon Upington — Its defeat — 
Surrender of Kemp — Fate of Maritz — German repulse at 
Kakamas — Failure of their offensive. 



CHAPTER III 

GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE . 46 

Botha takes active command — His visit to the camp at Tschaukab 
— Arrival at Swakopmund — Disembarkation of Burgher 
Brigades — Preparations for the main advance — The water 
problem — Botha's consequent change of plan — Concealment 
of the change — M'Kenzie's move on Garub — Gen.'Deventer's 
advance from Upington — Takes Nakob, and Schuit's Drift — 
Capture of German camp at Nabas — Berrange's advance 
from Kuruman — Romantic character of the adventure — 
Defeat of the Germans at Schaapkolk — -And at Hasuur — 
Berrange's objective — Botha attacks German defences in 
Swakop Valley — His tactics — Their complete success — 



CONTENTS xi 

PAGE 

Progress of the overland operations — Col. Dirk van 
Deventer's flank guard movement — His successes at 
Davignab, Plattbeen, and Geitsaub — Junction with Ber- 
range at Kiriis West — M'Kenzie's advance to Aus — Germans 
pinched out of Kalkfontein — Importance of this result — 
Convergence of Union forces from the South — Smuts takes 
command — His move to Keetmanshoop— German retreat 
to Gibeon — M'Kenzie's dash from Aus to Gibeon — The 
action at that place — M'Kenzie's tactics — Botha anticipates 
enemy concentration — His drive to Dorstriviermund — 
German counter-move — Checked by Skinner at Trekkopjes — 
Botha cuts the railway to Windhuk — Dash to Karibib — 
German forces divided up — Plight of German administration 
and surrender of Windhuk — Botha giants an Armistice — 
Impossible German propositions — The Campaign resumed — 
The German position — Botha's better estimate and revised 
dispositions — Karibib as a new base — Plan of the Union 
advance — The flanking operations — Germans refuse battle 
— Record marching of Union forces — The drive to Otavi 
— Germans fall back towards Tsumeb, their final position — 
Demand for surrender agreed to — Declaration of local 
armistice — Reason for the precaution — Myburgh captures 
arsenal at Tsumeb — Last outlet closed by Brits at Namutoni 
— Botha's terms — Their true meaning — End of German rule 
in South-west Africa — Benefits of the new regime. 



CHAPTER IV 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 71 

Natural features and climate of East Africa — Its native com- 
munities and kingdoms — Trade routes — First German pros- 
pectors — Slave trade agitation begun — Charter granted to 
German Colonisation Society — British Protectorate declared 
over Zanzibar — Germany and the Sultanate of Witu — 
British-German diplomatic duel — Hinterland parcelled out 
into spheres of influence — British East African Chartered 
Company — Germans demand port of Lamu — Attack on 
German traders — Agreement of 1890 — British and German 
antagonism in Uganda — German intrigues in the Soudan — 
Germany's East African administration— The commercial 
monopoly — Plantation labour difficulties — Formation of a 
native standing army — Its relationship with native tribes — 
Studied hostility — Measures for forcing natives into planta- 
tion labour — Tyranny of German police — Abuses of convict 
system— Native revolt in 1904— The Native War of 1905-6 
— The " Magic Water " legend — Destruction of the 
Wamwera nation — Treatment of native leaders. 



xii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER V 

PAGE 

EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914 1916 ... 83 

German readiness — Propaganda in the Eastern Soudan — 
Supremacy on the Great Lakes — Von Lettow-Vorbeck — His 
leadership — Plans for offensive — British attack on Dar-es- 
Salem — Konigsberg's attack on Zanzibar — British cam- 
paign dependent on the sea — German invasion of British 
East Africa — Its initial success — Thrusts at Mombasa — 
Landing of British reinforcements from India — The 
counter-offensive — Attack on Tanga fails — British non- 
success at Longido — The combat at Vanga — Arrival of 
General Tighe — Von Wehle's operations against Kisumu 
and Uganda — Invasion of Uganda repulsed — General 
Stewart's expedition to Bukoba — The operations in 
Nyassaland — Defeat of German Expeditionary force — 
Invasion of Rhodesia — German raid on Kituta — The 
British Tanganyika Naval Expedition — Its romantic over- 
land adventures — Destruction of German flotilla — Siege of 
Saisi — Episodes of the defence — Revolt of the Sultan of 
Darfur — Col. Kelly's Expedition from El Obeid — His 
remarkable march — Battle of Beringia — Occupation of 
Darfur. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS : FIRST PHASE 102 

The situation in February, 1916 — Strength of German forces — 
The German positions round Taveta — Reorganisation of 
the British Divisions — Tighe's plan of a converging attack — 
Capture of German defences at Mbuyuni and Serengeti — The 
water supply problem — Reinforcements from South Africa 
— Dispositions of General Smuts for the battle of Kiliman- 
jaro — Stewart's turning movement — Van Deventer breaks 
through German line — Capture of Taveta — A rapid and 
sweeping victory — German retreat upon Latema-Reata 
pass — Struggle for the defile — Germans fall back upon 
Kahe — Importance of the position — Again won by turning 
movement — Action in the Pangani Valley — German retreat 
to Lembeni — The rainy season — Smuts re-groups his forces 
— His new plans — Van Deventer's seizure of Lokissale — 
German intentions disclosed — Expedition of van Deventer 
to Kandoa Irangi — Battle of Kandoa Irangi and defeat of 
von Lettow-Vorbeck — Its influence on the Campaign — 
Smuts advances south from Kahe — Germans squeezed out 
of Usambara highlands — Action at Mikotscheni — Capture 
of Handeni — Battle on the Lukigura river — Belgian troops 
invade Ruanda — British attack and occupy Mwanza — End 
of this phase of the campaign. 



CONTENTS xiii 

CHAPTER VII 

PAG!; 

EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN : THE CLOSING PHASES 125 

Fighting value of German forces — Enemy concentration in Nguru 
mountains — Van Deventer's dash from Kandoa Irangi — 
Action at Tschenene — Railway from Tabora cut — Northey's 
advance from Rhodesia — Belgians take Ujiji and Kilgoma — 
Operations of Smuts in the Nguru mountains — Battle at 
Matamondo — Germans fall back towards Morogoro — Battle 
at Dakava — Enemy's preparations in the Uluguru mountains 
— Review of the situation — Van Deventer's march to Kilossa 
— Plans to entrap enemy in Uluguru area — Reasons for their 
failure — British check at Kissaki — Exhaustion of the com- 
batants — Germans fall back towards Mahenge — Capture of 
Dar-es-Salem — Belgians take Tabora — Northey's advance — 
Actions at New Iringa and on the Ruhuje — Germans attack 
Lupembe — Surrender of German force at Itembule — End of 
the second phase of General Smuts's campaign — Further 
reorganisation of his force — Increase of black troops 
— The new British dispositions — Von Lettow-Vorbeck's 
counter-plan — Germans attack Malangali — Their defeat at 
Lupembe — British operations at Kilwa — Battle at Kibata — 
New plan for enclosing movement — Tactical disguises — Battle 
at Dutumi — Crossing of Rufigi seized — Operations on the 
Rufigi — Smuts relinquishes the command — German food 
difficulties — Van Deventer succeeds Hoskins — Van Deventer's 
strategy — Von Lettow-Vorbeck forced to fight — Battle at 
Narongombe — Mahungo captured — Battle on the Lukulede 
— Heavy German losses — Germans defeated at Mahenge 
— Surrender of Tafel's Column — End of the Campaign. 

CHAPTER VIII 

THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 156 

German annexation of the Colony — Its native population — 
German labour policy — Economic effects — Military weak- 
ness of German position — Place of Togoland in German 
Imperial Schemes — Proposal of Neutrality — Why rejected 
— The Anglo-French invasion — German retirement inland 
— Battle on the Chra — Position turned by the French — 
German surrender at Kamina — End of the Campaign. 

CHAPTER IX 

THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS . . . .104 

Features of the African Campaigns — Character of the Came- 
roons— The German military scheme — The fortified frontier 
— British attack from Nigeria — Its failure and the reasons — 
The reverses at Gaura and Nsanakang — General Dobell'a 



xiV CONTENTS 

PAGE 

plan of invasion from Duala — Effect of the French attack — 
German precautions at Duala — The British naval operations 
— Dobell's expedition to and capture of Duala and Bonaberi — 
Germans forestalled — British operations against Jabassi and 
Edea — Clearance of the Northern railway — German rebound 
— Actions at Edea and Nkongsamba — German commander's 
projects — The French advance — Battle at Dume — Allied 
operations at a halt — General Dobell's view of the position — 
The French plan for a combined movement against Jaunde — 
British and French advance from Duala — Battle at Wum 
Biagas — Failure of the project — French advance to Dume 
and Lome — Resumption of the attack from Nigeria — Siege 
and capture of Garua — Breach of the German military 
barrier in the north — The siege of Mora — Second Allied 
Conference at Duala — New plans— Nigerian forces link up 
with those of Dobell — The final converging moves — 
Resumed British move from Duala inland — Battle at Lesoga 
— Siege and capture of Banyo — The final dash to Jaunde 
— German retreat to Rio Muni — Surrender of Mora. 

CHAPTER X 

THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC AND THE SIEGE OF 

KIAO-CHAU 188 

German policy in the Far East — Aims of German diplomacy — 
Basis and effects of German naval power — The British and 
Japanese counter-moves — Growth of German interests in the 
Pacific — Influence of Japanese and Australian naval prepara- 
tions — The New Zealand Expedition to the Samoan Islands 
— Australian conquest of the Bismarck Archipelago and 
Kaiser Wilhelm Land — Japanese Pacific Expedition — The 
Germans in Kiao-Chau — Character and strength of its fortifi- 
cations — Germany's " lone hand " in the Far East — 
Japan's declaration of War — Preparations for the siege of 
Kiao-Chau — Landing of the Japanese advance forces — 
The British contingent — General Kamio's first move — 
Skill of Japanese operations — Capture of the outer defences 
— The attack on the inner defences — A record bombard- 
ment — The three parallels of approach — Last stage of the 
attack — Surrender of the garrison. 



MAPS AND PLANS 



PAGE 



German South-west Africa . . . . is 

Map to Illustrate Operations on the Orange 

River 33 

Map to Illustrate the Advance of General 

Botha from Swakopmund .... 53 

The Southern Concentration of the South 

African Union Forces 63 

Map to Illustrate the Operations in German 

East Africa .87 

British Manoeuvres in the Battle of Taveta 107 

The Operations in the Nguru Mountains . 131 

Map to Illustrate the Campaign in the 

Cameroons 173 

The German Defences at Kiao-Chau . , 201 



BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN AFRICA 
AND THE PACIFIC 

CHAPTER I 

THE^GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

German declarations on Colonial policy — The Berlin Congo Conference, 
and the Brussels Anti-Slavery Conference, 1890 — Annexation of 
South-west Africa. — Area and natural features of the colony — Its 
native races — The Hottentots — The Hereros — Their pastoral 
civilisation — The Ovambos — Origin of German interest in South- 
west Africa — The Rhenish Missions Society's pioneers — Missionary 
traders — The Hottentot-Herero War — British Official Inquiry — 
Petition of the Hereros for British Protectorate — British Com- 
missioner's recommendation — Reason for its refusal by the Home 
Government — Walfish Bay — German Commercial projects — Luder- 
itz as prospector — German annexation of Angra Pequena— Negoti- 
ations with native chiefs — Jordaan's Boer Republic — German 
measures against it — Attempts to drive out British traders — 
Robert Lewis — German administration expelled from Damaraland 
— German Government and the demand for armed intervention — 
Native attitude in 1890 — The real lines of German policy — Increase 
of German garrison — Provocation of natives — The massacre at 
Hornkrantz — German Land Settlement Syndicate — Confiscation 
of Herero cattle — The German credit system — German Courts of 
Justice — Spoliation of the natives — Fear of Hottentot-Horero 
Confederacy — Seizure and execution of Herero chiefs — Outbreak 
of the Hottentot War — Jacob Marengo — The Herero Rebellion — 
Arrival of General von Trotha — His campaign of extermination — 
Unrestrained atrocities — Valour of the Hereros — German ven- 
geance towards survivors — Gross abuses of the lash and indis- 
criminate executions — Establishment of chattel slavery — German 
difficulties in Hottentot campaign — Heroic end of Hendrik Whit- 
booi — Von Trotha recalled — Extermination policy given up — 
Miserable state of the country. 

Immersed up to that time in schemes of aggrandise- 
ment on the continent of Europe, or in Turkey in Asia, 
the rulers of the German Empire did not openly enter 

1 B 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

the field of colonial undertakings until the year 1885. 
Their departure was marked by the Berlin Congo 
Conference. In November, 1884, on the invitation of 
Prince Bismarck, representatives of the European 
Powers met at Berlin to consider more especially the 
future of Africa and the welfare of its native races. 
The diplomatists were in session until February, 1885. 
Besides dealing with certain boundaries, such as those 
of the French possessions on the Lower Congo, until 
then not definitely delimited, and the claims of Belgium 
over the Congo hinterland, they solemnly resolved that 
it was the " sacred duty " of the represented Powers to 
preserve the native races of Africa ; watch over their 
interests ; and cultivate their material and moral 
advancement. To that resolution, of course, the Gov- 
ernment of the German Empire was a subscribing 
party. 

Five years later — in July, 1890 — there took place at 
Brussels a European Anti-Slavery Conference, and at 
that Conference, in which German diplomacy had an 
active part, the " emphatic desire of the conferring 
Powers to protect the native races of Africa from slavery 
and oppression," was registered with like solemnity. 
Because these were the declared lines of German colonial 
policy, and the declarations were presumably accepted 
by the British Government on their face value, the 
agreement was arrived at which in 1890 enabled the 
Government at Berlin, without further overt protest 
or opposition, to annex the territories afterwards 
known as German South-west Africa and German East 
Africa. 

Then opened, notwithstanding the German Govern- 
ment's solemn professions, probably the blackest in all 
the black pages of human cruelty. 

As denned by the Anglo-German Agreement, German 
South-west Africa comprised that part of the South 
African plateau lying to the west and north-west of the 
Kalahari desert. Including 322,450 square miles of 
territory ; extending from the Orange River in the south 
to the Kunene River in the north, 900 miles, and at its 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

broadest part 500 miles from the coast inland, 1 this vast 
region, more than two and a half times as large as the 
United Kingdom, is marked out by its geographical 
features into three areas. The southern tract, Great 
Namaqualand, is a highland country, crossed by parallel 
ranges of mountains in height from 4,000 to 8,000 feet, 
the culminating summit, Mount Omatako, 8,800 feet 
above sea-level. Between the ranges lie fertile valleys. 
The central area, Damaraland, is, save on the west, a 
great rolling plain, affording excellent pasture. To the 
north, and divided from Damaraland by a dry belt, is 
Ovamboland, a sub-tropical country of rounded hills and 
wide productive hollows. Not the least notable feature, 
however, of South-west Africa is the zone lying between 
the coast and the interior plateaux, and marked off from 
the latter alike by their boundary mountains and by 
its own lower level. On an average some seventy miles 
in breadth, this coastal zone is a waterless and forbidding 
desolation of stone, sand, and scrub. And the peculiarity 
of the coast, as a whole, is the lack of natural harbours. 
In all the 900 miles there are but two breaks in its dan- 
gerous inhospitality — Walfish Bay, where a sheltered 
anchorage is afforded by a sandbar ; and the indent 
named by the Portuguese Angra Pequena. 

With the Kalahari desert on one side of them, and the 
arid coastal tract on the other, the inhabitants of South- 
west Africa were among the last to come into contact 
with Europeans. Apart from the tribelets of Bushmen 
thinly dispersed over the coastal desert, and gaining a 
scanty living by the chase, the natives were divided into 
three national groups. Great Namaqualand was the 
home of the Hottentots. Considered by ethnologists one 
of the most peculiar of African peoples, for their traits 
are more Mongolian than Negro, these mountaineers — 
warriors, hunters, and herdsmen — were separated into 
some twelve independent tribes, or cantons. Their 
natural bravery was extreme. Though small of stature, 
they were active and very hardy, not wanting in intelli- 

1 This was oxclusive of the Caprivi enclave added later, and carrying 
German South-west Africa inland to the Zambesi. 

3 B 2 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

gence, and endowed with acute sight and hearing. 
Probably at one time they inhabited the whole of the 
south-west African plateau south of Ovamboland. Since, 
however, they only numbered about 20,000 all told, this 
occupation of a country larger than the Spanish peninsula 
must have been very scattered. Hence when, about 
two centuries ago, the Hereros, a people of the Bantu 
race, migrating with their flocks and herds across the 
continent in search of fresh pasturage, came upon Damara- 
land, the feeble numbers of the Hottentots enabled the 
immigrants to settle in that country. From the plain 
the Hottentots were driven into the mountains, south 
and north-west. This movement made the two peoples 
hostile, and the hostility became traditional. The 
lifting of Herero cattle was one of the most esteemed of 
Hottentot activities. 

Of a people in the pastoral stage of civilisation the 
Hereros offered an unusually interesting example. 
They were a group of clans under a paramount chief, 
each clan holding its allotted pasturage as the common 
property. Their herds and their flocks of sheep and 
goats, providing them with milk, meat, and clothing, 
were alike the basis of wealth, and of their customs 
regarding tribal rights, marriage, and inheritance, for 
as in all societies the customs were designed to safeguard 
the standard of life. Skill as a herdsman, or shepherd, 
was held the most valuable accomplishment. Bound 
up with all their experiences of well-being, their cattle 
were the objects of their veneration, and the increase of 
their herds their utmost care. The heaven of the Herero 
was a heaven of shepherds. As the country into which 
they had immigrated was among the most favoured spots 
in the whole continent of Africa for a pastoral life, its 
climate temperate and healthy, they had thrived, and it 
is estimated that at the date of the German annexation 
the Hereros possessed 150,000 head of horned stock 
besides their flocks. Like other peoples of the Bantu 
race, they were tall and of fine physique, but they had 
two traits which marked them off. Unattacked they 
were peaceable, though naturally by no means unwarlike, 

4 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

and their usages disclosed a high respect for their women- 
kind. The Herero wife was not treated as a chattel. 
The Herero, too, had a very defined notion of honour, 
distinguishing in war between combatants and non- 
combatants, and one of the tribal sayings was that he 
was not a barbarian. Reliable computations put their 
number at 80,000. 

The most powerful, however, of the three native 
groups were the Ovambos. In point of civilisation they 
had reached the stage of agriculture, and had evolved a 
feudal system. With the natives to the south their 
relations seem only to have been slight and casual, a 
fact sufficiently accounted for by the intervening belt 
of arid territory. Whatever the cause, the Ovambos 
remained the most isolated of African nations, and this 
apparently on their part was a settled policy. They were 
not negroes. The characteristics of the Ovambos were 
their powerful physique ; their almost Gallic gaiety 
shown in a love of music and dancing ; their suspicion 
of strangers, and not least of Europeans ; and their 
disinclination to adopt European usages, except as 
regards arms and ammunition, of which, whenever the 
chance offered, they were steady purchasers. They 
were presumed, though the figure is no more than a guess, 
to number 150,000 and were able therefore to muster 
some 30,000 fighting men, and it was always uncertain to 
what extent they might prove to be armed with weapons 
of precision, the value of which they keenly appreciated. 

The association of Germans with South-west Africa 
began through the Rhenish Missions Society of Berlin, 
and the work of its agents among the Hottentots. 
Of that work the pioneer was a German missionary named 
von Schemelen. Sent into Great Namaqualand from 
Capetown in 1814 by a British society, he opened up a 
correspondence with compatriots in Berlin. The result 
was that about the year 1840 the Rhenish Missions Society 
formally took Great Namaqualand within its field of 
activity. Conversion of the natives, however, made slow 
progress. For its outcome in converts the mission was 
expensive. This lack of satisfactory consequences was 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

put down to the Colonial cattle traders from across the 
Orange River, and their importations of arms and 
liquors. To counteract the influence and at the same 
time to lessen expenses, it was decided to turn every 
German mission station into a trading post, and the 
scheme from the financial point of view answered so 
well that trading activity soon became the more impor- 
tant. The next step was, in 1870, the flotation at Berlin 
of a limited liability company to develop German trade 
in Great Namaqualand and Damaraland. Each mission- 
ary was to receive one-half the trading profits of his 
post. 

From 1864 to 1870 there was a Hottentot-Herero 
war. Headed by the most powerful of them, the Whit- 
boois, the Hottentot tribes had joined together and 
subjected the Hereros to tribute, but the latter, advised 
by two English traders named Green and Haybittel, 
had signally defeated the Hottentot confederation and 
thrown off the yoke. Seemingly in this struggle German 
sympathy was with the Hottentots. The Hereros 
looked to British protection. 

Trade jealousies now began to enter into the matter, 
and the effect of representations from the Cape Govern- 
ment was that in 1876 a British Commissioner, Mr. W. C. 
Palgrave, was sent out to inquire and report. In an 
interview with the paramount chief and sub-chiefs of the 
Hereros, Mr. Palgrave was handed a petition signed by 
fifty-eight chiefs and headmen asking that Damaraland 
might be placed under British authority. The immediate 
motive was, no doubt, desire for tranquillity, for the war 
with the Hottentots had then just ended. Palgrave's 
recommendation, endorsed by the High Commissioner at 
Capetown, was that the whole coast line of South-west 
Africa should be annexed. The British Government 
at home, however, declined to take that course, and the 
reason was beyond question the German footing already 
established in the country. After a delay of two years 
the British Government compromised by the annexation, 
in 1878, of Walfish Bay, considering, it would seem, that 
by taking possession of the best harbour on the coast 

6 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

the hinterland would be rendered valueless to any other 
European Power. 

But German projects were not thus to be thwarted. A 
scheme was set on foot for enlarging the original limited 
liability company into a much more ambitious affair, 
and in 1882 the promoters sent out Adolphe Luderitz, 
a Bremen merchant, who landed at Angra Pequena, and 
began to look into commercial possibilities. That the 
German Government was behind this scheme was evi- 
denced in 1884 by the arrival at Angra Pequena of a body 
of German scientific and commercial prospectors, charged 
to inquire into mineral and agricultural resources. The 
result was the annexation forthwith of the port of Angra 
Pequena, renamed Luderitzbucht, and some 4,000,000 
and more acres of territory said to have been bought 
from the Hottentots. A kind of Chartered Company was 
now set up under the administration of a Dr. Goering as 
Government-controller. It is worth noting that on 
hearing of these events the Hereros once more, and in that 
same year 1884, petitioned to have their country taken 
under British protection. For a second time, however, 
the petition was refused by the British Colonial Office. 

From the neighbourhood of Angra Pequena Goering 
lost no time in pushing the limits of the Protectorate 
northwards. Guided and introduced to the native chiefs 
by a missionary, Carl Buttner, he promised them, in 
return for trading facilities, the protection of the German 
Government. Where an agreement of that kind was 
entered into the country was presumed to have become 
German. 

And now occurred an episode which threatened to prove 
awkward. William Jordaan, a Boer, had with a company 
of associates trekked to Grootfontein in the belt of 
country between Damaraland and Ovamboland, and in 
that until then unclaimed district had set up what he 
called the Republic of Upingtonia. From neighbour- 
ing chiefs Jordaan had obtained a concession of the 
territory and of its mineral rights. One of his concerns 
was to keep on good terms with the Ovambos. In 
1886 he was on a visit to Ovamboland. He was there 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

assassinated. The allegation, a German story, is that he 
was murdered at the instigation of a Herero chief, but 
it is, if a coincidence, peculiar that after his " removal " 
his followers were forthwith informed by Goering that 
their Republic could not be tolerated on German terri- 
tory. Their settlement was broken up. 

As understood by the native chiefs the palavers with 
Goering were of a purely friendly character, but as inter- 
preted by Goering and his underlings they gave an 
implied authority to exclude from South-west Africa 
every white not of German nationality. Since the trade 
between the natives and Cape Colony was much larger 
than that carried on with the Germans through their 
missions, the attempts at exclusion led to friction. At 
the instance of the Colonial traders the Government of 
Cape Colony forwarded protests to the British Govern- 
ment at home. The Government at home, however, 
was swayed much more by the European situation than 
by affairs at the Cape, and there then prevailed in high 
quarters a belief that an understanding with Germany 
was both feasible and desirable. This belief the Govern- 
ment at Berlin did its utmost by smooth professions to 
foster. It was, on the other hand, plain that were 
German policy in South-west Africa to go unchecked and 
a German trading monopoly to be established, the inter- 
ests of the native population commercially would be 
gravely compromised. No surprise therefore can be 
felt that the native chiefs leaned to the side of the 
Colonial traders, and became alarmed by their warnings. 

The most popular and influential of the Cape traders 
among the natives, and the man in consequence 
most obnoxious to the German administration, was a 
Robert Lewis, who now took a leading part in the opposi- 
tion. Goering demanded his expulsion from Damara- 
land. On the refusal of that demand, the German 
Government-controller with his chief officials came to 
see the chief Kamaherero at Okahandja, and claimed 
enforcement of the order on the ground that the country 
now belonged to the German Crown. Astonished by the 
pretension, Kamaherero ordered them out of his territory 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

within twelve hours. Their lives, he told them, would be 
forfeit if they declined to go. And having no force at 
the back of them and " bluff " having failed, the " admin- 
istration " had no choice save to comply. They sought 
refuge at Walfish Bay, and from there sailed to Europe 
with an appeal for armed intervention. 

To begin with, the German Government vetoed, or 
appeared to veto, the proposal. A Press outcry was 
then raised. Needless to observe, both the seeming 
veto and the newspaper agitation were calculated moves. 
Not less calculated was the next step — the ostensible 
climb down of the German Government in deference to 
" public opinion " ; and yet the next — the sending out 
to Luderitzbucht of twenty-one men, which trivial 
force was intended to indicate Germany's docile and for- 
bearing policy. By means such as these, joined to the 
professions put forward at the Brussels Anti-Slavery 
Conference, and, it may be added, a certain element of 
backstairs diplomacy, the British Government was, 
despite opinion in Cape Colony, induced to hand over the 
native peoples of South-west Africa to the fate that 
might await them at the hands of German colonial 
enterprise. 

We have now to see what that fate proved to be. 

In 1890, when South-west Africa was formally annexed, 
the situation with regard to the natives broadly was that 
the Hottentots, as without doubt the Germans had 
already found out, were a people who could not be 
reduced to serfdom ; that the Hereros, considered pro- 
British, were looked upon as hostile ; and that the 
Ovambos were too strong to be disturbed without war 
on an expensive scale. In the circumstances, what was 
the principle which guided German policy ? On the 
one hand there was the declared " sacred duty " of 
furthering the natives' moral and material advance- 
ment, and the alleged " emphatic desire " to protect 
them against slavery and oppression. But, on the other, 
there was the opinion reflected in the book, entitled 
" German Colonial Policy," written by Dr. Paul 
Rohrbach, at this date a high official in the German 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

Colonial Office. And the opinion of Dr. Rohrbach 
was that German colonisation could, after all, mean 
nothing else than that the natives must give up their 
grazing lands in order that the white man might have 
them for grazing his stock. That, of course, was, 
without just compensation, robbery. Some, Dr. 
Rohrbach anticipated, might question the dictum from a 
moral law point of view. " The answer," he wrote, " is 
that for nations of the kultur-position of the South- 
African natives, the loss of their free national barbarism, 
and their development into a class of labourers in the 
service of and dependent upon white people is primarily 
a law of existence in the highest degree." 1 Reduced 
to plain terms, this jargon meant that the lot of the 
natives was to be bondage. Presumably because the 
" kultur-position " of the German riff-raff who were sent 
out to South-west Africa was higher than that of the 
Herero, who was as much above the average German 
colonist as any natural nobleman is above any natural 
cad, every rule of honest dealing was to be set aside. 

Whether in South-west Africa German colonial enter- 
prise was conducted on the lines of the German Govern- 
ment's declarations or on those laid down by Rohrbach, 
will appear in the sequel. 

In 1892 the German garrison was increased from the 
stage army of twenty-one to two hundred men, and from 
that date the administration, set up at Windhuk in the 
south-west of Damaraland, entered towards the Hereros 
upon a policy of provocation. At the same time, attacks 
by the Hottentots upon the Hereros were encouraged, 
and were then made the pretext of complaints against 
the Hottentots. The incursions of the chief Hendrik 
Whitbooi, head of the Whitbooi tribe, into Damaraland 
gave rise to protests from Windhuk, and so long as a 
force of twenty-one men alone was at hand, the matter 
was limited to protests. On the arrival, however, of 
the draft which brought the German armed strength up 
to two hundred men, it speedily became another story. 
The landing of this contingent happened to coincide 

1 P. Rohrbach : Deutsche Kolonial Wirtschaft, p. 286. 
10 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

with the conclusion of a peace between Hendrik and the 
Hereros. The latter fact made no difference. Hendrik 
then had his chief location at the native town of Horn- 
krantz, lying at the foot of the western mountains. Now 
at peace, he apprehended no danger. But he had ad- 
dressed to the British resident at Walfish Bay a letter 
detailing the cruelties practised by the Germans at 
Windhuk upon natives, and in particular the inhuman 
floggings there inflicted. The details cited are unprint- 
able, for the punishments, or rather tortures, were 
carried out without regard to sex, and five of the victims 
had failed to survive. It is clear that, informed as to 
this correspondence, and suspecting its import, Captain 
von Francois, the German governor at Windhuk, having 
received his reinforcement, was resolved upon revenge. 
He allowed time enough to go by to throw Hendrik off 
his guard. Then, in April, 1893, with, to quote his own 
statement, " the greatest secrecy," his force stole at 
night across the hills into the valley, stealthily formed a 
cordon round Hornkrantz, and just as day was breaking 
closed in. They fired into the huts of the sleeping 
inhabitants, killing men, women, and children alike 
and slaughtering without distinction of sex or age all 
who sought to escape. But though taken by surprise 
Hendrik, with some sixty of his warriors, cut their way 
through the cordon and retreated to the mountains, 
from which they looked back on their homes, now given 
up to the flames. They became outlaws. Hornkrantz 
was wiped out. The natives of South-west Africa had 
felt the first contact of the " mailed fist," or ought it 
to be said of the " emphatic desire " to shield them from 
oppression ? 

Von Francois was recalled after this affair, but was so 
far not recalled in disgrace that he received promotion 
to the rank of major. 

He was succeeded by von Leutwcin whose arrival had 
been preceded by the formation in Germany of a South- 
west Africa Land Settlement Syndicate, which disposed 
of cattle ranches as yet in nubibus. To give effect to 
this speculation the German governor, in virtue of his 

11 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

supreme authority, set up as paramount chief of the 
Hereros a native named Samuel Maherero. Samuel was 
not in the direct line of succession, and both on that 
account and because the sub-chiefs had had no voice 
in his election as demanded by tribal custom, he was 
never recognised by them or by the Herero people. 
In the eyes of the Germans, however, Samuel Maherero 
had an important qualification for his " office." He 
was a drunkard, and so long as he was supplied with 
rum could be relied upon to sign any document put before 
him. And the administration at Windhuk lost no time 
in requiring his signature to an " agreement " which 
assigned to the Land Settlement Syndicate 4i millions 
of acres in Damaraland extending from Windhuk east- 
wards. It was further alleged, though no proof of the 
statement has ever been found, that Samuel also signed 
a concession which enabled the Germans to seize for 
trespass any Herero cattle found straying to the south 
of a boundary line drawn across the map of Damaraland 
west to east for a distance of four hundred miles. Thus 
by one compact, on the face of it a swindle, the Hereros 
were deprived of part of their best pasturage, and by 
another, which if ever entered into was yet more 
flagitious, were open to have their most cherished pro- 
perty stolen from them. Worst perhaps of all, they were 
left to find out the existence of the latter " treaty " 
by the impounding of several thousands of their horned 
stock. This, of course, reduced many families among 
them to penury, and naturally it caused excitement, 
described by Governor von Leutwein as " war fever." 
In some districts the seizures led to violence. The 
Herero people as a whole, however, had decided to exer- 
cise forbearance, and the main result was that, warned 
by experience, they gave the alleged boundary line a 
wide berth. 

Such passive resistance was not to the German taste. 
Needy adventurers, they wanted not only land and cattle 
but labour, and all three, if possible, for nothing, and it 
was evidently hoped that studied provocation of the 
natives would supply the pretext for continued and con- 

12 




•GL0GRAPH1 A" I 1 ° 55 MET SWEET LCWuH EC 4 



13 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

tinuous confiscations. In face of the attitude of the 
Hereros these measures threatened to become abortive, 
or, in any event, too slow. Other measures, judged to be 
more speedy, were therefore adopted. One of them was 
the facility afforded to every newly-arrived and would- 
be German ranchero to open a trading account with the 
natives on the basis of bartering goods for cattle. Cut 
off from trade with the Cape Colony, the natives had now 
no means of obtaining articles they needed save from 
these German traders, and on the traders' own terms. 
On the one hand, the traders did not hesitate to demand 
£20 for a coat, and £10 for a pair of trousers, 1 ten times 
over the price at which such articles had been supplied 
by way of the Cape ; on the other, the traders fixed 
the price of a cow at £1, half the amount given by Cape 
Colony dealers. On these terms a German trader 
reckoned to get a herd of thirty cattle for two pieces of 
shoddy clothing. Coffee and tobacco were sold at 
corresponding rates. To give these impositions a 
business face, the natives were allowed credit, but that 
device meant that the debtor might be seized and 
condemned to labour in consideration of the debt, in a 
word, be made a slave. 

Here a reference is apposite to the German " Courts 
of Justice." Their character is disclosed by the regula- 
tion which enacted that the evidence of a white witness 
could only be rebutted by the testimony of seven natives, 
and by another laying down that natives must regard 
every white man as a " superior being." In these 
tribunals " justice " became worse than a farce ; it was 
a tragedy. The tribunals were part of the machinery 
of despoilment. It is hardly necessary to add that no 
native ever appealed to them. The truth, as disgraceful 
as incontrovertible, is that for the natives, after the 
German incoming, law and justice in South-west Africa 
ceased utterly to exist. 

In the liquidation of their credits, besides the seizure 
of " debtors," the Germans picked the best cattle out of 

1 Report of the Union Administrator on the Natives of South-west 
Africa and their Treatment by Germany, p. 47. 

14 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

the Herero herds. Considering the pastoral usages and 
traditions of the now unhappy Hereros, this was a bitter 
injury. But the last word on a superior " kultur- 
position " displaying its superiority has yet to be spoken. 
About the burial places of their dead the Hereros planted 
groves, which they held as sacred, and of these the most 
venerated was that in which were interred their supreme 
chiefs. The German administration cut it down, broke 
up the land and turned the place into a vegetable garden. 
In short, no measure likely to drive the Hereros to des- 
peration was overlooked. 

Meanwhile the relations of the administration at 
Windhuk with the Hottentots were by no means easy. 
After the affair at Hornkrantz the Hottentot attitude was, 
as might be expected, one of distrust. But the mountain 
tribes were comparatively poor, as the Hereros were, 
taking the native standard, rich. And besides being 
relatively poor, the Hottentots were manifestly a 
tough proposition. As for the Ovambos, the Germans 
left them for the time alone, not even taking the trouble 
to let them know that the Kaiser und Konig had been 
pleased to extend his All-highest protection to that part 
of Africa. So far as can be gathered, indeed, the 
Ovambos do not appear to have been aware that the 
white man advanced any claims to their country. The 
sleeping dogs were suffered to lie. Fear at Windhuk 
was occupied with the likelihood of a confederation be- 
tween the Hereros and the Hottentots, and the chance of 
their common hatred of the white oppressor becoming 
deeper than their old hostility. In 1896 there was a 
disquieting symptom. Arising out of the credit system 
disturbances occurred in the eastern districts of Damara- 
land bordering on the desert, and in these the Kausa 
Hottentots made common cause with the Hereros, of 
the Ovambandjera sub-clan. A battle with the German 
troops took place at Otyunda. Thanks to their superior 
armament, the Germans prevailed. Then, in pursuit 
of the policy of forbearance, Nikodemus, the Herero 
supreme chief by tribal right, and Kahimema, chief of 
the Ovambandjera clan, went to Okahandja to protest 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

against German dealings and arrange terms for their 
people. They were seized, tried by court-martial, 
and shot as rebels, being taken to the place of execution 
in an ox-cart which, as it paraded through the town 
surrounded by an armed escort, called forth native 
waitings from every house. 

As time went on the lot of the natives sank from bad to 
worse, and feeling between them and the Germans 
grew more bitter. Any spark would now start a flare. 
The spark fell in October, 1903, at Warmbad in the 
Bondelswartz area. The German official in charge 
there was a Lieut. Jobst, who cited the aged chief of the 
Bondelswartz Hottentots, Willem Christian, to appear 
before him on a trivial charge. The chief declined to 
comply. Thereupon Jobst with an escort went to the 
native location. Christian resisted arrest, well knowing 
the kind of treatment meted out to native prisoners. 
Seeing him roughly handled, his men turned upon Jobst 
and his party and slew the whole of them. When this 
news reached Windhuk the administration there, though 
Jobst had been the aggressor, prepared to exact a signal 
revenge, and on their side the Southern Hottentots 
made ready to defend themselves. Thus broke out the 
Hottentot War. It dragged on for the next four years, 
and cost the Germans thousands of casualties and many 
millions sterling in outlay. 

The administration at Windhuk relied not so much on 
its numerically feeble garrison as on native auxiliaries, 
chiefly the Whitboois, and the Bastards, a community 
of half-breeds settled at Rehoboth. Hendrik Whitbooi 
was known to be a leader of no mean military skill. 
After the massacre at Hornkrantz, he had betaken himself 
to his location at Naauwkloof, a mountain stronghold 
difficult of access, and there for more than a year he 
had set the Germans at defiance. Finally they moved 
out in force to attack him, and after bombarding the 
place tried to take it by storm. The assault failed with 
heavy losses. A regular siege was then entered upon, 
and for three weeks the Germans sat before the defences. 
At the end of that time Hendrik and his garrison, starved 

16 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

out, were compelled to surrender, though on terms. 
The terms of the capitulation were that the chief should 
accept a Protection Agreement. Having hastened to 
offer the troublesome Hottentot an accommodation, 
von Leutwein strove to use him as far as possible as a 
tool. Towards the Bastards likewise Leutwein had 
deemed it prudent to be conciliatory. He needed the 
support of both to keep the Hereros in subjection. 
The Hereros had possessions worth plundering, which was 
the main point. But on their part the now revolted 
Hottentots of the south threw up a leader in every respect 
the equal of Hendrik, and in guerilla tactics much more 
than equal to the German officers pitted against him. 
This was Jacob Marengo, a man of mixed Herero and 
Hottentot parentage. He was as distinguished for 
chivalry as for personal daring. 

Accordingly, in the opening engagements of the 
Hottentot War von Leutwein found his Punitive Expe- 
dition by no means the walkover he had thought it 
would be. He and his auxiliaries got as good as they 
gave, if not more. While engaged in this fatiguing 
campaign among trackless mountains hunting an always 
elusive foe, the German governor received news that the 
Hereros had risen in arms. 

Knowing that with regard to them it was a fight to the 
death, von Leutwein had no choice save to patch up a 
hasty peace with the Bondelswartz "rebels," and hurry 
northwards. The Hereros, mustering some 8,000 fight- 
ing men, of whom about 2,500 were armed with rifles, 
more or less antiquated, had swept over the German 
settlements, but while destroying buildings and driving 
off cattle — more than half their herds had passed into 
German hands through the operation of the credit 
system — had, according to their custom, spared German 
women and children, and, though they had but little 
reason to love them, German missionaries. From 
W T indhuk, meanwhile, frantic cables had been sent to 
Germany calling for military aid. In answer to these 
the division of troops which had been engaged in putting 
down a similar native rising in German East Africa, under 

17 c 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

the command of Lieut-General von Trotha, were ordered 
forthwith to South-west Africa. 

The days of modest contingents of twenty-one men 
were long past. The world in general, and Africa in 
particular, was now to know German might, and the 
thoroughness of German protection. And on that 
point it is, to say the least, remarkable that two native 
risings in far distant parts of Africa should have so coin- 
cided in time as, with notable advantage to the German 
Imperial Exchequer, to allow of one overseas expedition 
dealing with both. The coincidence can hardly have 
been accidental, and as a fact the same policy of studied 
provocation was followed in each instance. In each 
instance, too, the campaign was carried on as a campaign 
of extermination. 

Until these forces under von Trotha landed, von Leut- 
wein could do little. No sooner, however, had von Trotha 
and his troops begun to arrive than characteristically 
the Germans in the colony openly boasted that without 
distinction between friendly and hostile the natives 
were to be disarmed, their chiefs deposed, and their 
customs abolished. The effect of these boastings was 
to cause Hendrik Whitbooi to withdraw his allegiance, 
throw in his lot with Marengo, and renew the Hottentot 
War. 

Concentrated at Windhuk, the forces of von Trotha 
were, in June, 1904, launched against the Hereros. In 
the face of modern rifles, machine-guns and artillery, 
the natives were helpless. They had entered upon the 
war with not more than twenty cartridges for each rifle, 
and that ammunition spent, though from sheer despera- 
tion they opposed the Germans in one pitched battle, 
were, of course, heavily defeated. After this engagement 
in which, besides killed, some two thousand and more 
were taken prisoners, mostly left wounded on the battle- 
field, they had no choice save to retreat east and north. 
They separated into two bodies. The smaller with their 
herds and flocks made an attempt to cross the Kalahari 
Desert, notwithstanding that that desolation takes on 
foot six weeks to traverse. The horrors of this journey, 

18 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

however, were less than those of German rule. The 
larger body, always driving their cattle and small stock 
before them, sought refuge in the Waterberg mountains, 
and in the wild bush country forming the inland and 
desert confines of South-west Africa. They sued for 
peace, but the request was peremptorily refused. In 
place of peace, von Trotha issued to his troops the order 
that the Hereros were to be wiped out wherever found, 
old and young, male and female. This was in August 1904. 
Pursuant to the order, the German troops proceeded 
to hunt the fugitives out. Then began a succession 
of atrocities which has rarely had a parallel. Droves of 
little children clinging in terror to their mothers were 
day after day driven from place to place. The feeble, 
the old, and the exhausted, fallen out and left helpless 
by the side of the track, indicated by the prints of many 
feet, were by the Germans as they followed up butchered 
in cold blood. Women unable to rise were disembowelled 
where they lay. Often their infants, torn from their 
arms, were tossed upon the bayonets of the brutal 
soldiery before their eyes. In one instance at least, and 
the fact has been attested on oath, this was done in the 
presence of von Trotha and his Staff. 1 The aged had 
their brains dashed out with the butt ends of rifles. 
Young girls were openly outraged, and then thrust 
through. As for the cattle, they perished by thousands 
from lack of fodder and water. What enraged the 
Germans was to see lines of carcases lying along the 
route of flight. They had hoped to despoil the Hereros 
of the remainder of their stock at one stroke. But so 
long as a beast could stand upon its hoofs the fugitives 
drove it before them, and at the end of this appalling 
man-hunt, and women and children hunt, which went 
on, not for weeks only, but for months, out of all the 
mighty herds of Damaraland there were left and fell 
into the hands of the " conquerors " a miserable remnant 
of some three thousand head. 

1 See evidence of natives taken on oath at Windhuk by Union of 
South Africa Administrator, Report on Natives of S.-W. Africa, 
p. 63 et seq. 

19 c 2 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

Regarding the valour of the Hereros, let it be added 
that of the 80,000, or thereabouts, who formed at the 
outbreak of the war their united community, all save 
some 15,000 perished. Rather than accept slavery they 
waged from first to last during nearly two whole years 
a totally hopeless fight against impossible odds. No 
civilised nation has ever been known to pay such a price 
for freedom. 

It might have been supposed that this signal bravery 
would have extorted respect even from Germans. But 
by far the deepest and most indelible stain upon 
the German name is the treatment meted out, to begin 
with, to the prisoners of war, and next to the wretched 
remnant, who after weeks of starvation dribbled back 
from the wastes of the Kalahari. They were partly 
sent to Luderitzbucht and to Shark Island, and partly 
distributed among the German ranchers. Of those 
sent to Shark Island all save a few, underfed and worked 
beyond their strength, or beyond any strength, died of 
hunger and the lash. The young girls and female children 
were prostituted by the German guards, who regularly 
broke into the women's compounds at night ; the women, 
yoked together in teams, were used to draw carts loaded 
with sand or stone. 

But, if anything, the fate of the remainder, assigned 
to German ranchers, was yet worse. It was, it seems, , 
settlers themselves who, in the hope of loot, had fanned 
the Herero rising by spreading the false report that 
Leutwein had been defeated in the south and killed. 
Their disappointment regarding the loot had enraged 
them. The fault was not theirs ; it was that of the 
Hereros. Every Herero as a pig-headed savage became 
an object of revenge. During the war any adult male 
Herero taken exhausted yet alive was hanged, and for 
that purpose when rope ran short the Germans used 
fencing wire. After the war every German rancher used 
the sjambok to all intents as he pleased. The sjambok is 
a whip cut from hippopotamus hide, square at the handle, 
which is from a half to three-quarters of an inch across 
each face. From about six inches above the handle end 

20 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

the lash is twisted like a screw. Dried, this throng is as 
hard and nearly as heavy as iron, but elastic and tough. 
A blow from it tears into the flesh, leaving with every 
stroke a long, jagged wound. Twenty or more strokes 
applied to any human back leaves it a mass of wounds, 
and the wounds even when healed cause scars which are 
horrible. Not only was every German rancher free to 
inflict this inhuman punishment at his caprice, but 
every German sergeant in charge of a police post, whether 
formally authorised or not, in practice, and on complaint 
from a rancher, inflicted the like punishment without 
trial or inquiry. Often the lashing, as much as any 
human being could endure without perishing under the 
shock, was renewed after a fortnight's interval. That 
is to say, while the old scars were still tender they were 
by the same process of torture ripped open afresh. And 
lest it be inferred that this brutality was casual only, 
let the fact be added that on the German police records 
themselves " convictions " — followed by such floggings 
and with few exceptions for utterly trivial offences, or 
alleged offences — numbered between 4,000 and 5,000 
a year with a total of nearly 47,000 lashes imposed. 1 
This was among a miserable native remnant of less than 
15,000 of all ages and both sexes. With regard to the 
women, their honour was considered by the Germans as 
of no account, and the children of both sexes were bound 
to an employer from the age of seven years for life, at 
wages not only nominal, but as a rule never paid. 

Such proved to be the translation into acts of the 
German professions. German rule had made South- 
west Africa a hell. Where there had once been prosperity 
there was now a desolation amid which filthy vultures 
from the mountains gorged unmolested upon the carrion. 
Swept bare of its herds and flocks, and emptied of its 
people, the land relapsed into a rank and weedy waste. 

Part of the nemesis, however, was even more speedy. 
The renewal of the Hottentot War was to all intents 
coincident with the issue of von Troth a' s extermination 

1 Official German Police Record from January 1, 1913, to March 31, 
1914. Report on Natives of iS.-W. Africa, p. 119. 

21 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

fiat. The Whitboois and the Bastards alike refused to 
take part in the massacres, and the former joining 
up with the other Hottentot tribes, harassed the Germans 
in the Herero campaign by hanging in turn upon their 
rear, and raiding their supplies. As soon as he was able, 
von Trotha turned the main body of his forces upon these 
new antagonists, but, like Leutwein, he soon found 
guerilla warfare in a wild and difficult country no game 
of skittles. The Hottentots knew all the ins and outs of 
this tangled region. The Germans did not. The Hotten- 
tots, skilfully led, and with few exceptions excellent 
riflemen, appeared when and where they were least 
looked for. Over and over again they ambushed 
contingents of Germans in the hills. There were fatiguing 
and fruitless pursuits, and expensive retreats. The 
parallel ranges of mountains made attempts to surround 
the native bands futile. The bands could always double 
back across paths known only to themselves. Where 
encounters took place they were to the last degree des- 
perate. For a year this went on, and seemingly the 
Germans were no nearer to any result. Their losses too 
were decidedly the heavier. The natives never fought 
save at an advantage. The German procedure was to 
destroy food supplies, and to hunt women and children 
out of caves. Here again they sought to strike terror by 
extermination. The only effect was that the war became 
one without quarter given or asked on both sides. With 
every German contingent wiped out the guerillas ob- 
tained more arms and ammunition, and they were 
ceaselessly on the watch for such chances. The original 
division of German troops, reduced by casualties and 
fatigue to a skeleton, had to be heavily reinforced, and 
again reinforced. For Hendrik, dead or alive, von 
Trotha offered £1,000, to a native a fortune beyond 
estimate. Not a soul was tempted by it. 

Hendrik headed the revolt, Marengo acting as his 
lieutenant, until October, 1906. Then, in the battle at 
Ases, Hendrik fell. He was eighty years of age. Seeing 
him fall the Germans charged in, every man eager to 
obtain the coveted money. The Hottentots beat them 

22 



THE GERMANS IN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 

back. The attack was more than once repeated, but 
every time was similarly repulsed. And this went on for 
so long as it was necessary to the Hottentots to dig a 
grave on the field and lay in it the remains of their 
great leader — for great he was. Nor did they retreat 
until darkness made it impossible for their mortal foes 
to discover the spot. 

The mantle of Hendrik fell upon Marengo, and he kept 
up the fight to the bitter end. Von Trotha was recalled, 
for this campaign had been costly in men and money 
beyond the German Government's widest estimate. 
It was only by slow degrees that the Hottentots' resis- 
tance weakened. They had lost their cattle ; their 
homes had been swept away ; they were reduced to 
eating the flesh of dead and abandoned horses and mules. 
A new German governor, von Lindquist had meanwhile 
superseded Leutwein, and the policy of extermination 
was dropped ; it had turned out to be a game not worth 
the candle. Offers of accommodation were addressed 
first to one tribe then to another, and one by one their 
remnants accepted the terms. Marengo alone declined 
to trust to German pledges. He would most probably 
have been sorry for it if he had. Wisely he preferred 
exile in Cape Colony. 

In summary, that is the story of German rule. It is 
often assumed that while the struggle of European 
peoples for freedom is, even in misfortune, noble, there is 
in the fate and sufferings of African peoples no interest. 
But this fight of small and primitive nations clinging 
against hope to an inborn love of liberty, and declining 
to purchase peace at the price of degradation, is an epic 
of bravery, and colour of skin can make no difference to 
any generous human heart. 



23 



CHAPTER II 

GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

Position on outbreak of war, 1914 — German views on South African 
prospects — The forces of the South African Union — Reasons for 
and against campaign in South-west Africa — Ambitions of German 
Colonial enterprise — Military character of German Government in 
South-west Africa — Its heavy armament — Ultimate purpose and 
menace — The strategical railways — Meaning of the terrorism 
towards natives — Shades of opinion in South African Union — 
Botha's policy — Its foundation — Decision in favour of war — 
Botha's plan of campaign — Why original and bold — Main attack 
from the Sea — German plan for counter-offensive — The opening 
moves — Lukin's Expedition to Little Namaqualand — Union forces 
take Luderitzbucht — Preparations for overland advance — Lukin's 
operations from Steinkopf — Defection of Maritz — Effect on 
Lukin's Expedition — The reverse at Sandfontein — Rising of 
Beyers and de Wet — Influence of political events on the campaign 
— Descent at Walfish Bay postponed and M'Kenzie's column 
diverted to Luderitzbucht — M'Kenzie's advance to Tschaukab — 
Conquering the difficulties of the coastal desert — Fine work of the 
engineers — Sir George Farrar's services and death by accident — 
Check to German counter-offensive — Landing of Skinner's Column 
at Walfish Bay — Capture of Swakopmund — German use of Land- 
mines — Poisoning of water supplies — Botha's warning to the 
enemy — Native service to Union forces — Union overland opera- 
tions re-organised — The new scheme — Germans and Maritz attack 
and capture Nous and Britstown — Bouwer retakes Raman's 
Drift — The Kalahari Desert Column — German attack upon Uping- 
ton — Its defeat — Surrender of Kemp — Fate of Maritz — German 
repulse at Kakamas — Failure of their offensive. 

On the outbreak of war between Great Britain and 
Germany in 1914 an attack upon German South-west 
Africa by the forces of the South African Union does not 
at Berlin appear to have been looked for, though incident- 
ally for such an attack preparations had been made. 
It was evidently German official belief that prevalent 
opinion in the Union would prove to be against an active 

24 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

part in the conflict, or that that opinion would be so 
sharply and so evenly divided as to put prompt and 
vigorous action beyond the probabilities. 

There were several grounds for this view. In the 
first place, the issue of the war at that date seemed for 
the Allies to be at best uncertain, while by way of 
contrast with allied doubt, German supporters and sym- 
pathisers in South Africa made it known that the 
German Government looked in Europe for a swift and 
decisive success. In the event of success, the German 
Government were ready not only to recognise the Union 
as politically independent, but were also to enter into 
relations with it on friendly and favourable terms, or 
terms which would forthwith and finally ensure the 
supremacy in its affairs of the settlers of Dutch descent. 

In the second place, the military forces of the Union 
were organised purely on a defensive footing. There 
was a standing or permanent force on the distinctively 
South African model ; that is to say, a force in the main 
of mounted infantry with the usual equipment of light 
artillery and field apparatus. The features of this force 
were its mobility, and the skill of its riflemen. And in a 
country of enormous spaces where, besides, the coloured 
population outnumbered the white in the proportion of 
eight to one, if not more, the maintenance of this armed 
police was a necessity. But that it was a police and not 
an army in the European sense of the word was clear 
from the limitation of its numbers. They were not more 
than were demanded by the strict duty of ensuring order 
and public security. Under the Defence of the Union 
Act, white citizens might enrol for annual training, those 
of the rural areas in the mounted commandos, those of 
the urban areas in the infantry and reserve artillery. 
The enrolment, however, was voluntary, and the 
statutory service undertaken did not extend beyond the 
Union territories. The Reserve, in short, was a measure 
against possible invasion. Service was on a voluntary 
footing, because, in fact, compulsion was not called for. 
In the rural areas and towns alike the common desire 
was to serve, and the force was always up to establishment 

25 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

strength. While the Defence Act gave the Government 
the power, in case of shortage, to make it up by means of 
the ballot, the authority was precautionary and formal, 
and in view of the active and adventurous spirit of the 
white population was not likely to be anything more. 
But though in case of invasion the Union could put into 
the field a powerful force of excellent and hardy soldiers — 
for their numbers as fine a territorial army as could be 
found in the world — to employ that army, or any part of 
it, in offensive operations outside the Union was a depar- 
ture upon which the South African Government could 
not embark without formal permission of the Federal 
Parliament, and it was evident that to secure the per- 
mission they must have an overwhelming weight of 
opinion behind them. 

To the Germans that did not seem probable. And it 
appeared to them, coming to the third point, the less 
probable because the strategical difficulties of an attack 
upon German South-west Africa were not slight. It 
was not a question of distances alone, but of the character 
of the country to be crossed — a wide belt singularly 
unfavourable for military transport. Taking, then, to 
begin with, the assumed neutrality of Cape-Dutch 
feeling as between themselves and Great Britain, next the 
political obstacles to be overcome, and finally the 
manifest expense of such a campaign, the chances, in 
German estimation, were that the Government of South 
Africa would keep out of the struggle. 

This formed, as it were, the Germans' jumping off 
position, and they had made ready in a manner peculiarly 
Prussian to exploit it. For the working of the German 
possessions in Africa, as well as those in the Pacific to the 
best profit, there was floated in 1890 the German Colonial 
Company, a kind of South Sea undertaking with a very 
large capital, and, on paper, very wide rights. Collec- 
tively, these colonies were about twelve times the area of 
the German Empire in Europe, and as they had been 
very rapidly acquired and owed their existence in effect 
to Germany's military prestige, large ambitions had been 
based upon them. They were no more than a beginning. 

26 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

One of the ambitions was the eventual predominance 
of German influence in South Africa. In 1891 the Colo- 
nial company had emphasised the importance of the 
South-west African acquisition on that ground. After- 
wards the aim was less openly advertised. Indeed, it 
may be said to have been withdrawn from public view. 
Nevertheless, as a goal it was always there. One of the 
proofs is the administration set up in South-west Africa. 
The organisation was military. The other proof is 
found in the covert intrigue steadily carried on through- 
out South Africa with the object of fostering hostility 
to the British connection, and ostensibly of keeping 
alive Cape-Dutch sentiment in favour of independence. 
The more German organisation in South-west Africa 
is studied the more saliently does the use of that territory 
as a means to a larger end stand out. Even in 1914 the 
white population, and all save a small percentage were 
Germans, numbered less than 15,000 all told. But of that 
total one-third were garrison and another third reservists. 
Administratively, the colony involved a heavy annual 
loss. To say nothing of the cost of the native campaigns, 
the current expenses exceeded the receipts by nearly a 
million sterling a year. Seemingly, however, this 
deficit was willingly incurred. An expensive system of 
railways had been laid down . From Tsumeb in the 
north on the frontier of Ovamboland a main line ran 
south until, after various sinuosities, it terminated at 
Nababis in the extreme south-east corner of the Colony 
on the frontier of the Union, and a few miles from the 
Orange River. Branches from this trunk had been 
constructed in the north from Karibab to Swakopmund, 
the small and artificial port which the Germans had by 
means of a jetty laid out just beyond the Walfish Bay 
lagoon, and in the south from Seeheim in Great Namaqua- 
land across the coastal desert to Luderitzbucht. In all 
there were close upon 1,500 miles of track. Business 
to justify this outlay there was not, nor near prospect of 
it. The railways were military and strategical, designed 
at once for getting up troops and supplies from the coast 
to the interior, and for a massing of forces either against 

27 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

the Ovambos on the north, or against Cape Colony on 
the south-east. In addition, the accumulation of 
military equipment and stores of all kinds went far 
beyond the needs of such a white force as the German 
administration could put into the field. Tsumeb in the 
north, and Kalkfontein in the south were arsenals on 
a scale larger than the largest demand of mere defence. 
As in the instance of the railways a good many millions 
sterling must have been spent in providing reserves of 
arms and ammunition at those depots. It is a fair 
estimate to say that the total reserves would have 
equipped an army of 50,000 men for a campaign of many 
months. The inference is, too, that the policy of terror- 
ism and thinning out pursued towards the natives 
was a studied policy — an insurance against any rising in 
the event of the German forces being drawn off for opera- 
tions beyond the borders. No German administrator 
would have dared systematically to have carried out such 
a policy from personal views and on his own initiative. 
Every principle and practice of German officialdom 
negatives the conclusion. In a word, German South- 
west Africa, as a so-called colony, was armed to the teeth 
for an ulterior purpose. And the heavy, and for the 
time, wholly unprofitable, outlay in money clinches the 
demonstration. Either the frugal and close-fisted Ger- 
man Imperial Government was making ducks and drakes 
of its resources, or it was engaged in what it was believed 
would in the long run prove a handsomely paying specu- 
lation. No sane man can doubt on which foot the boot 
really was. 

In all these calculations there was cunning. Yet 
there was no depth of sagacity, and, as it proved, 
little prevision. When war broke out opinion in the 
Union soon revealed itself as of three shades. The 
settlers of British descent were without disguise eager 
for hostilities, and their feeling was shared by those of 
Dutch descent who relished the prospect of active 
service. The great majority, however, of the National 
Party, loyal to the British imperial connection on a 
footing of self-government, and content with it, were 

28 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

prepared to follow the lead of General Botha. If he 
decided for war they would accept war ; if against war 
they would equally support him. A minority, not very 
considerable, thought the opportunity favourable for 
severing the tie with Great Britain. Swayed by that 
feeling, they were disposed to take a favourable view 
of German chances. The number who were actively 
pro-German, favourable, that is, to German predominance 
within and over the Union, were, however, a mere fraction 
even of this minority. 

It will be seen therefore that General Botha held the 
decision in his own hands, and unfortunately for their 
projects the Germans had reckoned without him. The 
oversight was fatal. Not only were General Botha and 
General J. C. Smuts men of military experience who 
could not fail to see the meaning and intention of German 
measures in South-west Africa ; they were statesmen 
capable of taking and of acting upon long views. To 
them, as to every reflecting man, it was clear that German 
policy towards the natives involved a grave danger. 
If among the coloured population it became a settled 
conviction that from the white man there was to be 
expected neither justice nor mercy, then, even though 
it might be slow, there would gather, as the natives 
learned more of European ideas and resources, a terrible 
rebound. The natural disgust of the Union statesmen 
at German cruelties was sharpened by the consciousness 
of the short-sightedness of the policy. German cruelties 
tended to bring the white population into dis-esteem. 
On those lines the development of South Africa was 
impossible. But the Cape statesmen also knew that 
German professions regarding the independence of the 
Union were hollow. The nominally independent Union 
was meant to be a German dependency, and between a 
German dependency and a British dependency the 
choice was between military and commercial constraint 
and freedom. Hesitation there could not be. Looking 
towards South-west Africa and the cloud there gathered ; 
knowing that it was at once a menace to freedom and 
the common welfare ; and having now the control of 

29 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

their own affairs and the power to undo past mistakes 
of British imperial policy, the Union Government 
speedily made up their minds that it was alike their 
duty and their interest to rid the sub-continent of this 
threatening portent. 

Having so decided they lost no time in passing to 
acts. The formal requisition to move came from the 
British Government at home. At Windhuk the Germans 
had set up a wireless installation powerful enough to 
receive messages directly from and transmit them to 
Berlin, and it was one of a chain of similar installations, 
which, as a series, put the German Government into 
immediate communication with its remotest possessions. 
Designed as the chain was to facilitate the raids of Ger- 
man commerce destroyers, and to harass Allied overseas 
communications, it was important that it should be 
broken, and the capture of the Windhuk installation 
would go a long way to break it. The reply of the South 
African Government to the requisition from London was 
prompt and affirmative. There was some difference of 
view in the Federal Parliament, but the overwhelming 
weight of opinion both in the House and outside proved 
to be with General Botha, and when the necessary 
proportion of the Reservists were called up they 
responded unhesitatingly. Put to the test, German 
propaganda was found to have had little effect. The 
Germans had earned for themselves too bad a name. 

The South African Government, however, did more 
than decide promptly. General Botha had thought out 
a sound plan of campaign. According to all the avail- 
able indications the Germans, in the event of hostilities, 
expected the main attack from across the Orange River. 
On the face of things, indeed, it did not seem probable 
that an inroad would be attempted with large forces 
from the coast across the desert belt. Such operations 
were not, it was apparently thought, likely to be more 
than a diversion. The water and transport problems 
were deterrent. Besides, even assuming that the coast 
desert could be crossed in force, there were the boundary 
mountains to penetrate. On their slopes facing towards 

30 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

the coast these are totally bare of vegetation, masses of 
rock worn and broken by time into the wildest and most 
fantastic outlines. To destroy or poison the water- 
holes ; tear up the railway tracks section by section, and 
finally, when pushed back, to fortify the passes, and put 
down land mines seemed to afford easy means of checking 
any such movements. And those means, on learning 
that war was the order, the Germans in the Colony laid 
themselves out to utilise. On their side, too, plans had 
been elaborated, and it is clear long elaborated. Part 
of their equipment consisted of large consignments of 
land mines. They were of two kinds. One variety was 
the contact mine, a great iron case filled with dynamite 
exploded by a rod, the end of which was left just sticking 
out above the ground surface, and hidden by stones or 
sand. A pressure of the foot upon the end of the rod, 
or a stroke of the foot against it instantly fired the mass 
of explosive below. The second variety was electrical, 
fired by a concealed watcher from an observation post. 
Both were employed on a lavish scale. 

Such were the preparations along the approaches 
from the coast, and to round them off a German force, 
when hostilities were declared, took possession of the 
port and buildings at Walfish Bay. During June and 
July, 1914, some thousands of men who had served with 
the German forces in the colony and passed into the 
reserve had been sent out again to bring up the garrison 
to war strength. The main body of the troops were now 
concentrated to the south, less, however, with the 
intention of standing upon the defensive than of launch- 
ing, when the moment came, a counter-offensive in 
association with disaffected elements in the Union, 
whose numbers and influence the German Government 
had been led greatly to exaggerate. This proposed 
counter movement was the substance of the German plan. 
Safe on the side of the coast, they had apparently little 
doubt in any event of being able to obstruct an advance 
from south to north across Great Namaqualand. 

Whether or not he surmised the nature of the German 
plan, and the probability is that he did, General Botha's 

31 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

scheme was calculated most effectively to circumvent it. 
His main operations were to be conducted from the sea. 
The difficulties were not light, but they could be over- 
come. General Botha justly relied upon the hardihood 
and endurance of his troops. The mounted men, the 
burghers, were accustomed to ride long distances on 
frugal fare and a minimum of water. The marching 
powers of the infantry were phenomenal. Most, bur- 
ghers and infantrymen alike, were veterans. The com- 
bined toughness and mobility of the Union forces were 
plainly points of the first importance, and they were 
points which a skilful general like Botha would assuredly 
turn to the fullest advantage. If, in face of an attack 
of that character from the coast, the Germans changed 
front, a formidable flanking movement could be thrown 
against them from the landward side ; if they did not 
change front, they would be taken from seaward in flank 
and rear, and rounded up as they fell back. Either way 
their discomfiture was only a matter of time. The 
campaign was meant to be a campaign of manoeuvre, 
and, when once fully in train, swift and decisive. 

Just because this was General Botha's plan the opening 
moves on his side gave no evidence of it. Like a skilful 
player he began with what appeared to be a gambit, and 
seemingly fell in with the German scheme. The first of 
the Union forces, five regiments of the South African 
Mounted Rifles, the Witwatersrand Rifles, and three 
batteries of the Transvaal Horse Artillery, under the 
command of Brigadier-General Lukin, sailed from 
Capetown on September 2. They landed at Port 
Nolloth in Little Namaqualand. From Port Nolloth 
through the hills, which here south of the Orange River 
come close to the coast, there is a light railway. It runs 
inland some fifty miles or so to Steinkopf, and then turns 
south to O'okiep, a copper mining centre. At Steinkopf 
Lukin was to establish his base, since he was then within 
striking distance, a matter of forty-five miles, from 
Raman's Drift, one of the main crossings of the Orange 
River. The country between is difficult, very hilly and 
rough, and almost wholly devoid of water. On its face 

32 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

this move was intended to check any German incursion 
into Union territory from Nababis. But it served inci- 
dentally to divert attention from the next step — the 
seizure of Luderitzbucht, and the more so because at 
Upington, 100 miles east of Nababis, preparations were 
afoot for an advance by a column of Union Mounted 
Infantry to co-operate with Lukin. A fortnight after 
Lukin's force had embarked there sailed from Capetown 
in four transports an Expedition of Union regulars, two 
regiments of infantry, a section of the Cape Garrison 
Artillery, a battery of the Citizen Artillery, and a 
squadron of the Imperial Light Horse. The destination 
of these troops, who were commanded by Col. Beves, was 
Luderitzbucht, and the flotilla, escorted by H.M.S. 
Astrcea, arrived off that place on September 18. Some 
opposition was looked for, or at all events an unopposed 
landing could not be assumed, and the intention was to 
throw part of the troops ashore from the open sea so 
that they might, while an attack from the bay was 
going on, advance sufficiently inland across the sand 
dunes to cut the railway and isolate the German gar- 
rison. This intended procedure, however, was frustrated 
by a gale which made the landing of troops and stores 
outside the bay impossible. The only men who got 
ashore, though at great risk owing to the heavy swell, 
were several boatloads of scouts. In view of the weather, 
and the danger of standing close in to such a shore, 
Astrcea headed the transports into the bay. The 
anticipated resistance was not met with. Instead the 
scouts were found already to be in possession of the 
town. On the news that an attempt was being made to 
land troops outside of and to the south of the bay, 
assuming that the attempt might succeed, and knowing 
that retention of the town, even were it possible, was 
less important than control of the railway, with the 
power to destroy it, the German commandant had 
ordered an immediate evacuation, and had retired along 
the railway to Kolmanskuppe, some ten miles inland. 
The desolate little port of Luderitzbucht was formally 
surrendered by its burgomaster without a shot being 

34 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

tired. At first the civilian inhabitants were left at 
liberty within the boundaries. Some of them, however, 
took advantage of this freedom to convey information 
to the Germans at Kolmanskuppe of the strength and 
composition of Col. Beves' force. When that was found 
out they were all rounded up and deported to Capetown. 

In the meanwhile, having established his base at 
Steinkopf, Lukin had thrown forward his advance guard, 
two regiments of the Mounted Rifles, to Raman's Drift, 
and the force had, after a sharp combat, captured that 
crossing. In this lower reach the Orange River is broad, 
and in the flood season swift. The drifts are ferries, 
worked by boats for passengers, and by pontoons for 
goods and cattle. Raman's Drift, and Shuit's Drift, a 
hundred miles or thereabouts farther up stream and close 
to Nababis formed the chief crossings between Great 
and Little Namaqualand, and the scheme of operations 
at this stage of the campaign was that while Lukin's 
men moved against the one, the Mounted Column from 
Upington, under the command of Lieut. -Col. Maritz, 
was to seize, or at all events to blockade, the other. 
Maritz was an officer of the Union Regulars, and there 
had been no reason to suspect his fidelity. No sooner, 
however, had he established contact with the enemy 
than he transferred his commando to the German 
service. In this district of Cape Colony men who held 
extremist views formed a local majority. They were a 
majority among Maritz's force. Whether he initiated 
the sedition, or was influenced by the malcontents under 
his command, is somewhat uncertain, and his later con- 
duct would suggest that he was half-hearted. 

Be that as it may, the immediate effect was totally to 
upset Lukin's enterprise. From Raman's Drift the two 
advance regiments of Mounted Rifles pressed upon the 
retreating Germans as far as Sandfontein, where the 
enemy had established a camp, which with its equip- 
ment was taken. Sandfontein is distant from Raman's 
Drift twenty-five miles, and it is so named because of 
the well or water-hole at that spot. It was found, how- 
ever, that the Germans, besides wrecking the pumps, had 

35 D 2 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

poisoned the water. This was the first instance in the 
campaign of what proved to be their settled practice. 
To hold Sandfontein in any strength was in the circum- 
stances out of the question. The country round about 
was scoured by patrols, and no signs of the enemy met 
with anywhere. Concluding, perhaps somewhat too 
hastily, but not unnaturally, that the hostile evacuation 
was deliberate, and ascribing it to pressure of the con- 
verging force from Upington, the commandant of the 
advance guard, leaving only a patrol at Sandfontein, 
fell back to the Drift. 

The Drift was regained on September 24. On the 
following day the squadron holding Sandfontein was 
attacked by a German force of some 1,500 men, headed 
by Col. von Heydebreck. That officer, commanding-in- 
chief the German troops in South-west Africa, and hand- 
ling in person the present main concentration, had, on 
finding himself reassured from the side of Upington, 
decided to sweep the other Union troops from the north 
of the Orange River, and in doing so to defeat them if 
possible in detail. When news of the attack upon 
Sandfontein reached the Union camp at the Drift a 
relief — another squadron of Mounted Rifles, and a half- 
battery of Transvaal Horse Artillery — was at once sent 
out under the command of Lieut.-Col. Grant. This was 
what Heydebreck had expected. On the approach of 
the relief his troops, under orders, dispersed. Grant 
advanced to Sandfontein without encountering any 
resistance, or indeed without meeting with the enemy 
anywhere. The ruse seems to have convinced him that 
the attack had been merely an attempted surprise. But 
just as his men had dismounted after their long and 
thirsty ride, the Germans, hidden in the hills, swarmed 
down upon the post. This time they did not come to 
close quarters. In view of the marksmanship of the 
Union riflemen it did not pay. They opened upon the 
camp with shell fire. Very soon Grant realised that he 
had been surrounded. His two guns gallantly entered 
upon the unequal duel. They kept up the fight for 
several hours, and though in that time they put various 

36 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

enemy pieces out of action, were themselves at the finish 
knocked out. 

The only hope now lay in getting up a second relief 
from the Drift to break through the beleaguerment. 
But after the movements which had already taken place — 
first the advance to Raman's Drift from Steinkopf, then 
the ride to Sandfontein and back — the only part of the 
force still fit to face another ride of twenty-five miles 
with a stiff battle at the end of it were two squadrons of 
the 4th South Africans. Even they and their mounts 
were fagged. Fagged as they were, however, they set 
out, and though outnumbered by five to one, essayed to 
break through. The feat, it is hardly necessary to say, 
proved impossible. From within the cordon Grant, 
notwithstanding that he had been wounded by a shell, 
led the co-operation. Fearing that he might escape, the 
Germans now closed in. He beat them off. Since the 
sound of battle with the relief force had died away, it 
was clear that the relief effort had failed. Repulsed in 
his assault, the enemy renewed his bombardment, and 
the fight dragged on. Of the total force holding 
the post when the combat began, less than 400 men, 
more than half, were by this time casualties. Further 
effort at relief could not be looked for. Finally, 
late in the day, Grant sent out a flag of truce and 
surrendered. 

This was to all intents the first brush in the campaign, 
and the Germans had scored the honours. But far too 
much was made of the episode at the time. Nothing 
more than one of the ups and downs which have to be 
expected in any armed struggle, it was magnified into a 
grave disaster. In a country lending itself to surprise 
and ruse, it would be astonishing if every ruse proved 
abortive. The real importance of the check, almost 
negligible from a military standpoint, lay in its political 
consequences. Combined with the defection of Maritz, 
a much more serious matter, it stirred into activity the 
extremist elements whose ordinary antagonism to Botha 
and the Nationalist majority had been further embittered 
by the Union Government's policy. Their armed rising 

37 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

in the Transvaal and the Orange River State was 
headed by Beyers and De Wet. Neither desired to see 
the South African Union under German rule. What 
they opposed was the war. Most of all, however, they 
were swayed by party feeling. Very wisely, in the 
Union Government's dealing with the rising, that fact 
was recognised. Severity would have poisoned political 
difference. The forbearance of General Botha and his 
colleagues under provocation went far to heal it. 

But besides detaining General Botha at Capetown 
during the next four months these events had the effect 
of prolonging the campaign in South-west Africa by at 
least that length of time. The intended descent upon 
Walfish Bay while the Germans were busy upon the 
Orange River was judged now to be premature, and the 
force of two brigades of infantry with artillery support 
placed under the command of the veteran General Sir 
Duncan M'Kenzie for that purpose, and embarked at 
Capetown immediately after the departure of Beves's 
column, were diverted to Luderitz Bay, where therefore 
there was a very strong concentration of Union troops. 
And the concentration served a useful purpose. It was 
evident that, in association with Maritz, the Germans 
meant to launch a counter-offensive into Little Namaqua- 
land, and had they acted promptly, and while the politi- 
cal trouble within the Union was as its height, it is not 
unlikely that a good deal of mischief might have resulted. 
The powerful force at Luderitz Bay acted as a deterrent. 
The Germans hesitated to commit themselves finally to 
an expedition into Cape Colony while their own bases 
and line of communications lay open to be attacked and 
cut. After the affair at Sandfontein they had retaken 
Raman's Drift, but they were not yet certain that the 
Union effort to move a large body of men across the 
coastal desert would end in failure. On his side Botha 
played up to this hesitancy. He now wanted time, well 
aware that if the German counter-move did not syn- 
chronise with the Beyers-De Wet rising, it could do 
little harm. 

Hence it was that M'Kenzie at Luderitz Bay soon 

38 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

began to show signs of activity. He thrust the German 
garrison in the first place out of Kolmanskuppe, and 
pushed on to Rothkuppe, more than twenty miles inland. 
And there for the time he sat down. But the leisure 
was eyewash. Behind him a body of labour, skilfully 
controlled by that able engineer, Sir George Farrar, was 
hard at it relaying the ripped up railway track. This 
done, and it took little more than a fortnight, M'Kenzie 
made another bound forward. The second move was 
to Tschaukab, forty miles inland. There again there 
was a halt. But also once more the reconstruction of 
the track, and the protection of it against sand drifts, 
was taken in hand. The feat of moving in force across 
a region where there is neither food nor water looked the 
more impracticable because it was now the height of the 
southern summer, and the season of sandstorms. One 
of the natural curses of this coastal tract are the hot 
winds laden with fine dust blown off the dunes. The air 
becomes like a fog, and the particles penetrate into every- 
thing, food and drink alike, and insinuate themselves 
into clothing, until life seems a cross between a perpetual 
itch and a perpetual choke. Nothing but the irrepressible 
cheerfulness of men of British race under adversity 
enabled the troops to put up with the conditions. Of 
course conditions were not like that always, though the 
sandblasts were frequent enough. 

There was the expectation also that sooner or later 
a real brush would occur with the enemy. Hitherto he 
had proved distinctly illusive. Skirmishes up the line 
towards Garub, another twenty miles' trek, were always 
going on for the purpose of spoiling his wrecking tactics. 
Once when the Union force pushed right on to Garub 
the foe put up a genuine fight. After that, about mid- 
December, he moved his advanced base from Garub, no 
longer safe enough, to Aus. Garub lies at the foot of 
the outer or seaward slope of the mountains amid a 
landscape almost Dantesque in its wild singularity. 
Aus is on the other side of the heights, and in habitable 
country. Between the two points runs a pass, and the 
railway is carried through it. The Germans had elected 

39 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

to fight at Garub because they wanted time to fortify 
the pass and sow it with land mines. 

But M'Kenzie, as soon as the track to Garub was in 
working order, moved his advanced base there, and 
resumed his prevention-is-better-than-cure procedure, 
giving enemy mine-buriers a nimble life. The Germans 
thought much of the difficulties of this pass, and they 
spared no pains to obstruct it. It was here where their 
treatment of the natives began to tell against them. 
At the foot of the hills the British force came into contact 
with the Hottentots, and as the Hottentots were sworn 
foes of everything German they soon let it be known 
that there were ways round. Thus when the time came 
the Germans at Aus could be dropped upon, as it were, 
out of the clouds, and all their labour rendered futile. 
M'Kenzie at any rate had now manoeuvred his forces 
across the whole breadth of the desert, and he had the 
railway behind him both secure and operating well. 
And it was clear that the Germans did not like the 
development one bit. At the beginning of December, 
reinforced by Maritz, they had indulged in an incursion 
over the Cape border and had taken the village and 
police post of Nous. But they had in that quarter 
shown caution. The thrust from the coast disconcerted 
them. 

Unfortunately, at this juncture M'Kenzie's Column 
sustained an irreparable loss. Sir George Farrar, whose 
energy was indomitable, and who was up and down the 
line in all weathers and always on the spot where repara- 
tion was in progress, travelling, as was his wont in a 
motor trolley, came into collision during a sandstorm 
with a light engine. It was one of the risks he had 
habitually run, and as habitually escaped by a hairs- 
breadth. This time it cost him his life. Happily for 
the welfare of the force whose very existence depended 
upon his resolution and skill, for he almost more than 
any man had made this seemingly impossible advance 
possible, the work he had undertaken to do was then 
nearly complete. 

To the men of M'Kenzie's force the war appeared 

40 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

slow. It was not quite the kind of campaigning they had 
anticipated, and not knowing the real meaning of their 
movement, their patience was tried. Nevertheless, 
things were moving. The time had now, at the end of 
December, arrived when the main movement of the 
campaign on the side of the Union was to be set on foot. 
On December 21, under the command of Col. Skinner, 
there were embarked at Capetown the 3rd and 4th 
Brigades of Union Infantry, the 1st Imperial Light 
Horse, Grobelaar's (mounted) Scouts, a brigade of Heavy 
Artillery, and machine-gun details. The force steamed 
to Walfish Bay. Seeing the flotilla of transports enter 
the lagoon, the small German contingent holding the 
town retired. Opposition would have been futile. 
Beyond the exchange of a few shots with the last of the 
retreating enemy, the landing, which took place on 
Christmas Day, was uneventful. 

The next fortnight was taken up with the unloading of 
ammunition and transport, the landing and housing of 
stores, the construction of water condensing plant — 
before retiring the Germans had destroyed the town sup- 
ply apparatus — and the other work of laying out a base 
camp. On January 13, however, Skinner threw out a 
reconnaissance in force towards Swakopmund. Since 
that place was the terminus of the railway line to Karibib, 
the chances seemed to be that the enemy would try for 
a time to hold it, and the Union commander desired to 
measure the exact strength of the opposition. The road 
to Swakopmund, about twenty miles, skirted the bay. 
The mounted men had to ride across the dunes, the sand 
in many places so loose that the horses sank up to their 
knees. But no evidence of opposition was forthcoming. 
Not until the troopers were close upon Swakopmund, and 
negotiating the last ridge of dunes overlooking the place, 
did anything exciting occur. Then, at the seaward 
and lower end of the ridge, four land mines went off 
in quick succession. The explosions threw up vast 
clouds of dust, and for the moment nobody could tell 
exactly what had happened, or how many men had been 
lost. But when the dust cloud cleared the loss was 

41 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

found to be two troopers and their horses. The mines, 
it was afterwards ascertained, were electrical, and had 
been fired from an observation post. The loose sand had, 
however, rendered them to a great extent harmless, and 
it must vastly have astonished those of the enemy still 
in Swakopmund to see this body of horsemen, who 
should have been annihilated, dashing towards the town 
at a gallop. The German detachment deemed it prudent 
to dash out at the other end, and hustle at their best 
speed inland. They had relied for defence, not only on 
the land mines, but on the poisoning of the water 
supply. Discovery of this latter fact caused General 
Botha, when he learned of it, to send to Col. Franke, 
who had succeeded von Heydebreck in the command of 
the German forces in the colony, a warning that if such 
a violation of the usages of civilised warfare continued 
Franke would be held personally answerable. Franke's 
reply was that water-holes were never poisoned without 
a notice being left to that effect. If left, the notices 
had somehow got lost, or been stolen. None were ever 
found. Heydebreck had lost his life by the explosion 
of a new type of bomb while witnessing experiments 
with it. 

It may have been to allay alarm at Windhuk of this 
threatening approach that the local newspapers came 
out with startling accounts of how whole troops of the 
Union attackers had been blown to pieces. Blood- 
curdling details of the havoc supported by circumstantial 
personal narratives adorned their columns, and possibly 
enough, since there was not a word about the poisoning 
of the wells, Germans, both in the capital and in scattered 
ranch houses about the country, read these accounts with 
satisfaction. Before long they were to find out that, 
like so many other German stories of the war, the 
" battle " was only a masterpiece of lurid fiction. 

In calculating upon their various devices the Germans 
had left out of account the native population. Following 
upon the outbreak of war the natives had deserted from 
farms and ranches almost en masse. They betook them- 
selves to the hills, or wandered in bands about the 

42 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

country. Wherever the Germans poisoned a well or 
laid a mine or contrived a trap, hostile eyes were upon 
them, and if their contrivances were not secretly made 
harmless, and their wires cut, the Union troops, as soon 
as they appeared, never failed to receive warning. As 
scouts and guides with their unrivalled knowledge of 
the country, the natives were invaluable. And they 
were heart and soul with the invasion, for to them it 
meant deliverance. The whereabouts and movements 
of German forces, the camp conversations on German 
plans and orders, the safe though little-known ways 
over heights and through the wide and almost roadless 
wilderness, were all reported. Thanks to German 
inhumanity, the Union forces had at their disposal, 
without the trouble of organising it and without cost, 
an Intelligence Service at once first class and absolutely 
sure. It enabled the Union forces to undertake with 
boldness and confidence movements which otherwise 
could only have been essayed with caution, and time and 
again to bring off surprises. Nearly every native had 
at least a smattering of the lingua franca of South 
Africa, the Dutch Taal. There is no doubt this state of 
things acted upon the Germans as a discouragement, but 
confident in the successful issue of the war as a whole, 
though they might be beaten in South-west Africa, 
they promised themselves an ample revenge. 

As already pointed out, it was an essential feature of 
General Botha's plan that the attack from the coast 
should be supported by an attack from overland. The 
overland attack, consequent upon the defection of Maritz, 
and the repercussion of his desertion on the fortunes of 
Lukin's Column, had been reshaped, and amplified. 
The Union forces operating from overland were entrusted 
until General Smuts was free for active service to the 
command of General van Deventer, and the strategy 
designed was, while holding the enemy in the centre, to 
envelop him on both wings. This was the traditional 
South African manoeuvre, and, being suited to the coun- 
try, and to the mobility of the Union columns, it could 
not in skilful hands miss success. So little, however, 

43 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

did the Germans and their auxiliaries under Maritz 
suspect what was impending, that from Nous, which 
they had held from the beginning of December, they 
advanced to attack Britstown. At Nous the Union 
commando, though five hundred strong, had declined 
action, and abandoned the position. Most were politi- 
cally opposed to the war, and serving without zeal. The 
Germans and Maritz expected the same thing to occur 
at Britstown. In part it did. Some of the Britstown 
commando dispersed as soon as the enemy opened fire. 
But the remainder stood firm to the orders of their 
commandant, Major Breedt, and with him fell back upon 
Kakamas. It was not until January 23 that the Germans 
and Maritz moved to attack Upington. The delay of 
more than a month, however, had made all the difference. 
In the meantime General van De venter had taken charge, 
and already Col. Bouwer, who had been put in command 
of the Column at Steinkopf, had recaptured Raman's 
Drift. Deventer was now at Upington. That place, 
which is a hundred miles within the Union boundary, 
on the Orange River, and an important jumping-off 
position, was one of the four prospective starting points 
of the overland converging movement. On the right 
wing, Col. Berrange was, with a flying column of two 
thousand men, to set out from Kuruman in Southern 
Bechuanaland ; cross the Kalahari Desert, and strike 
the boundary of South-west Africa near Rietfontein. 
On the left wing, Bouwer was to strike up from Raman's 
Drift. In the centre, from Upington and Kenhardt, 
the main forces were to move upon Schuit's Drift and 
Vellor's Drift. In the meantime, the terminus of the 
Cape Railway at Prieska was being pushed rapidly 
forward so that it might in due course be linked up with 
the German system at Kalkfontein. 

Undoubtedly it would very seriously disconcert these 
arrangements if the enemy could seize Upington. In 
that case, the intended movements of the Union troops 
on the wings would have been left in the air. General 
van Deventer, however, was not the man to allow 
arrangements thus to be thrown out of gear. It does 

44 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : FIRST PHASE 

not appear to have been known either to the Germans 
or to Maritz that Deventer had at Upington a strong 
backing of artillery. They attacked up the Orange 
River in force, but with at most only two batteries of 
guns ; these, however, were considered ample to overawe 
the looked-for resistance. On approaching the town, 
a German parlementaire was sent forward with a demand 
for surrender. Of course, the demand was refused. 
Then the German guns unlimbered, and opened fire. 
To their surprise, they found themselves in the gun duel 
outweighted. It was decided, therefore, forthwith 
to rush the town by assault and to capture the Union 
guns, a valuable spoil. But the Union gunners shot the 
attack to pieces, and when the on-rush had been thrown 
into confusion, Deventer, who had his mounted force 
on the leash, launched a counter-attack. The enemy's 
repulse speedily became a rout, and the battle a mad, 
galloping flight and pursuit, kept up for a distance of 
fifteen miles until those of the enemy who had not been 
cut down had been raced to a standstill. Having 
completed a long ride just before the battle, they and 
their mounts were done. Now surrounded, there was 
nothing for them except surrender. Kemp, the associate 
of Maritz, with forty-four other ex-Union officers, and 
563 men laid down their arms. Maritz himself, fearing 
to face the consequences of his treachery, desperately 
cut his way out, and with the wreck of the rout, scattered 
into small parties, dribbled back into German territory, 
or, following the western confines of the Kalahari to the 
north, sought refuge in Portuguese Angola. There, 
later, Maritz was discovered and arrested. 

Since this severe reverse had disclosed what was 
impending, the Germans, in another attempt to queer 
Deventer's plans, delivered an attack on February 3 upon 
Kakamas. They were repulsed again. The failure 
marked the end of their offensive. 



45 



CHAPTER III. 

GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

Botha takes active command — His visit to the camp at Tschaukab — 
Arrival at Swakopmund — Disembarkation of Burgher Brigades — 
Preparations for the main advance — The water problem — Botha's 
consequent change of plan — Concealment of the change — M'Ken- 
zie's move on Garub — Gen. Deventer's advance from Upington — 
Takes Nakob, and Schuit's Drift — Capture of German camp at 
Nabas — Berrange's advance from Kuruman — Romantic character 
of the adventure) — Defeat of the Germans at Schaapkolk — And at 
Hasuur — Berrange's objective — Botha attacks German defences 
in Swakop Valley — His tactics — Their complete success — Progress 
of the overland operations — Col. Dirk van Deventer's flank guard 
movement — His successes at Davignab, Plattbeen, and Geitsaub — 
Junction with Berrange at Kiriis West — M'Kenzie's advance to 
Aus — Germans pinched out of Kalkfontein — Importance of this 
result — Convergence of Union forces from the South — Smuts takes 
command — His move to Keetmanshoop — German retreat to 
Gibeon — M'Kenzie's dash from Aus to Gibeon — The action at 
that place — M'Kenzie's tactics — Botha anticipates enemy con- 
centration — His drive to Dorstriviermund — German counter- 
move — Checked by Skinner at Trekkopjes — Botha cuts the railway 
to Windhuk — Dash to Karibib — German forces divided up — 
Flight of German administration and surrender of Windhuk — 
Botha grants an Armistice — Impossible German propositions — 
The Campaign resumed — The German position — Botha's better 
estimate and revised dispositions — Karibib as a new base — Plan 
of the Union advance — The flanking operations — Germans refuse 
battle — Record marching of Union forces — The drive to Otavi 
— Germans fall back towards Tsumeb, their final position — Demand 
for surrender agreed to — Declaration of local armistice — Reason 
for the precaution — Myburgh captures arsenal at Tsumeb — Last 
outlet closed by Brits at Namutoni — Botha's terms — Their true 
meaning — End of German rule in South-west Africa — Benefits of 
the new regime. 

At the beginning of February General Botha assumed 
the active command, and the circumstance may be 
regarded as opening the second phase of the campaign. 

46 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

Up to this time, though — in the seizure of Swakopmund 
and in M'Kenzie's advance to Garub — the foundations 
for swift developments had been laid, and securely laid, 
the struggle had proved indecisive. It had now been pro- 
tracted for five months ; that period should have sufficed, 
had no complications arisen, to bring the operations to 
an end. There had been complications, and they had 
incidentally helped the enemy to maintain an active 
defence. The German counter-attack, however, as 
already seen, had failed, and the rising of the extremists 
within the Union had been a fiasco. If, so far, little 
headway had been made by the Union forces operating 
against South-west Africa from overland, from the coast 
the gains had been important. M'Kenzie's enterprise, 
to begin with and on appearances the least promising 
of any, had been steadily successful. No untoward 
incident had interrupted it. Skinner also was firmly 
in possession of Swakopmund, and his arrangements 
both there and at Walfish Bay had been rapidly advanced. 
Everything was ready for pushing these undertakings 
home. 

Coincidently with General Botha's departure from 
Capetown there were embarked there strong commandos 
of mounted men under the command of Brigadier- 
Generals Myburgh and Brits and Manie Botha, all 
experienced and skilful leaders ; a brigade of infantry 
entrusted to the command of Brigadier-General Beves ; 
a force of field artillery, and a complement of heavy 
guns. All these troops with their equipment were 
destined for and in due course landed at Walfish Bay. 

On his way to that base General Botha went ashore 
at Luderitz Bay, and journeying inland, inspecting the 
work done on the railway line, visited the camp at 
Tschaukab. For nearly two months, the hottest and in 
this region the dustiest time of the year, the troops there 
had waited for the word to advance. In honour of 
the general's visit they were drawn up in parade order. 
Despite all they had gone through their health had 
continued good, and their fine discipline was now reflected 
in their bearing. It extorted from the Commander-in- 

47 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

Chief a tribute of admiration. Warmly in sympathy 
with his men, and knowing, as all able generals do, the 
value of the moral factor, he expressed his keen appre- 
ciation of the work they had done. The British Empire, he 
told them, was grateful for it. They had waited and with 
patience for the day of advance. They would not have 
to wait much longer. Their loyalty and their steadiness 
had gone far already, and he knew would go farther, 
towards carrying through the task to which the Union 
of South Africa had set its hand, and with the determina- 
tion that the task would be achieved. One purpose of his 
visit was to discuss the situation with General M'Kenzie. 
" I hope," he concluded, " you will soon have the order 
to go forward. I wish you all possible success. God 
blessfyou." 

Three days later (February 11) Botha reached Swakop- 
mund. The place had been transformed into a centre 
of activity. For months existence at this remote little 
port had been utterly dull and uneventful. The German 
contingent holding it had watched day by day and week 
by week, and until the arrival of the first flotilla of 
transports nothing had happened. Now encampments 
and horse-lines covered the surrounding sand dunes, 
and artillery rumbled through the mean streets. There 
was an incessant coming and going. Everybody was 
busy, for it was not intended that time should be lost. 

As its German name indicated. Swakopmund is at 
the mouth of the Swakop river, which comes down from 
the interior through a break in the mountains. Some 
twenty miles up country from the town the Swakop 
is joined by a tributary, the Kham, and it was along the 
valley of the Kham that the railway had been laid to 
Karibib, a hundred miles inland. Both streams flowed 
across the desert coastal tract. Ordinarily, and always 
in the dry season, their beds were mere tracks of stones 
and scrub. Indeed, like all the streams flowing from the 
mountains into this arid zone, their waters disappeared 
into the thirsty soil many miles from the coast. Only 
now and then at irregular intervals of years were the 
streams sufficiently in flood to traverse the whole 

48 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

expanse, and that phenomenon always indicated excep- 
tionally heavy rains on the plateaux. It was now the 
southern autumn and the beginning of the wet season. 

The more immediate geographical objective of Botha's 
intended advance was the railway junction at Karibib, 
since the capture of that point would sever the main 
German communications with the important northern 
districts of the colony. But the problem of reaching 
Karibib was, like the problem of reaching Garub, one 
chiefly of water supply. Thousands of men and 
thousands of horses need in the aggregate and from day 
to day a respectable total of gallons — the contents, in 
fact, of a fair-sized reservoir, and to move the contents 
of such a reservoir daily over miles of rough country, 
much more to keep up with a movement which would be 
of no effect if not rapid, was no trifling enigma. This 
was the proposition which had first of all to be solved, 
and upon a workable basis, for hitches in such a matter 
could not be risked. To have a strong force on the spot 
was all very well. But it was only the A B C of the 
situation. How to lift the force across the desert was 
the rest of the alphabet. And of course, knowing this, 
the Germans had neglected nothing to obstruct the 
lifting. They had sown the valley of the Kham with 
mines and barred it with entanglements. Every day's 
delay, they were well aware, would add to the embarrass- 
ments of the invasion. If the advance could be pro- 
longed for weeks, and it very well might be, the water 
trouble would become more than acute ; it might wreck 
the enterprise. 

But within a week of Botha's arrival the Swakop 
river came down from the mountains in flood, and it was 
one of the rare and phenomenal floods which carried the 
waters on and into the sea. Now when that takes place, 
even though the flood speedily runs off and the stream 
sinks on the surface to a trickle, or becomes apparently 
dry, there is always for a long time afterwards water 
to be found by boring in the river bed. General Botha 
seized upon this phenomenon at once. It simplified 
the problem enormously. Giving the Kham valley and 

49 e 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

its mines and entanglements a miss, he could, without 
undue anxiety as to water, throw his main force inland 
along the bed of the Swakop. And the advance, in 
part relieved of the necessity of transporting water daily 
from the coast, could be swift, with all the chance, while 
the enemy was occupied in watching the valley of the 
Kham, of seizing the pass opening up the road to Windhuk. 
Meanwhile, all the appearances had to be kept up of 
an intention to advance along the Kham valley, assisted 
by threats from other quarters. M'Kenzie received 
orders to move his main camp to Garub, and by February 
19 had completed the move. Botha thereupon pushed 
out from Swakopmund and occupied Goanekontes, at 
the confluence of the Swakop and Kham rivers, and away 
to the south-east Deventer also suddenly became active. 
Following a rapid march from Upington, he attacked and 
drove the Germans out of Nakob (February 26), and 
crossed the frontier to the north of the Orange River. 
While a flying column on his left, detached for the pur- 
pose, was sent along the Orange River to seize Schuit's 
Drift and Vellor's Drift, he himself struck straight for 
Nabas. Nabas was a fortified post on the main road, 
or track, from Upington to Kalkfontein, and the 
Germans had here laid out an entrenched camp, the 
advanced base of their counter-offensive. They now 
defended the position obstinately. At all costs the dash 
of the Union forces upon Kalkfontein had to be delayed. 
For a good half-day the enemy held out. Deventer, 
however, steadily closed in, and at the opportune 
moment, for which he had proved himself to possess a 
sure eye, rushed the entrenchments by storm. This had 
been, so far, one of the stiffest fights of the campaign. 
The severity of the German reverse was disclosed by their 
disinclination from that time to come to close quarters. 
Deventer now had them on the move, and meant to keep 
them moving. 

On March 6 Berrange set out from Kuruman with his 
desert column. His force was made up of the 5th South 
African Mounted Rifles, the Kalahari Horse, Cullman's 
Horse, and the Bechuanaland Rifles. This advance was 

50 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

one of the most romantic and adventurous movements in 
the war. Berrange had for hundreds of miles to cross 
an utterly lonely wilderness, lifeless, and save for the few 
and extremely dispersed wells, or water-holes, totally 
arid. Disappearing into its solitudes, he and his men 
were for a fortnight lost to sight. He was to follow 
westward the bed of the Kuruman river, the depression 
which meanders through the waste, and, except at the 
rare intervals of unusual rainfall in Bechuanaland, 
dry. They had therefore to carry their water supply 
with them, and use it with severe economy. But by the 
end of the fortnight the Column had struck the Molopo 
river, which flows north to south along the western 
confines of the desert, and close to the foot of the Great 
Namaqualand hills. Just at the other side of the 
Molopo was the frontier of South-west Africa — the 
20th degree of east longitude. Among the foothills, and 
upon the boundary line is Rietfontein, a Union police 
post, in pre-war days reckoned the loneliest and most 
isolated in the service, and close to it, on the western side 
of the boundary, a German post, Schaapkolk. The 
Germans had taken Rietfontein, but on the appearance 
of Berrange's formidable force, the garrison, evacuating 
the position, joined up with the Schaapkolk contingent. 
Together the two attempted a resistance. Berrange, 
however, made very short work of this opposition ; 
knocked the German blockhouse and other defences to 
pieces, and captured the surviving defenders. From 
Schaapkolk he struck north-west to Hasuur, another 
German fortified post, and took it. His column was 
intended to cross the mountains to Keetmanshoop, and 
by that manoeuvre to turn the anticipated hostile resis- 
tance in the formidable natural position between the 
Great and Little Karas ranges. There is between Hasuur 
and Keetmanshoop, which lies in the central valley of 
Great Namaqualand, and on the line of railway, a " nek " 
or pass, the highest summits of the Great Karas to the 
south of the track, and other mountains of less though 
still of considerable elevation to the north. In the 
pass, at Keriis West, the Germans had built a blockhouse, 

51 E 2 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

originally to check native movements during the Hotten- 
tot war, but the post was now useful as barring the way 
into the central valley. 

It is hardly probable that the Germans had looked for 
this daring threat to their main communications from so 
remote a quarter as Kuruman, but whether they did or 
no, their troubles now began to follow in quick succession. 
In view of the circumstances already related regarding 
the flood water along the Swakop, Botha might, had his 
transport been complete enough, have entered upon his 
advance in February. But, of course, the natural 
phenomenon had not been taken into account, and he 
had to wait until the equipment machinery duly revolved. 
In more senses than one the delay, nearly one month, was 
unfortunate. It gave the enemy time to move up rein- 
forcements, and to set about obstructing the Swakop 
valley. As soon, therefore, as transport could be relied 
upon, the Commander-in-Chief attacked. Obstructing 
entrance to the Swakop valley, the enemy had fortified 
positions at Pforte, Jackals water, and Riet. These 
posts were distant from each other rather less than ten 
miles, and as points of support formed in effect one line 
of defence. Delivered on March 20, the attack was in 
three columns, the infantry in the centre, mounted men 
on either wing. On the left the commando of Col. 
Alberts, intended to turn the position at Pforte, scored a 
swift success. The attention of the enemy was concen- 
trated chiefly upon the attack in the centre, evidently 
convinced that it was the real thing. Alberts' men, 
covering their movement by the hollows between the 
ridges, got well in before their approach was detected, 
and the Germans here, finding themselves outflanked, 
no longer stood their ground. The burghers forthwith 
charged home, rode them down as they fled, and rounded 
up more than two hundred prisoners. What seems 
especially to have demoralised the resistance was the 
South African practice of firing from the saddle at a 
gallop. To the Germans, dexterity of that kind was a 
novelty, and its deadly effect at short range took them by 
surprise. 

52 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 




53 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

In the centre, where their strength was massed, they 
had held firm, but at Riet the turning movement proved 
as successful as at Pforte, though from the longer 
detour it was not so prompt. The same tactics of unob- 
served approach were followed. Instead of attempting 
to assault the position at Riet directly, the mounted 
column rode round towards the rear. The Germans 
evacuated their defences. The retreat on both wings 
leading immediately to a retirement in the centre, from 
now on the battle became a pursuit. The enemy were 
shepherded back along the loop railway in the direction 
of Karibib. This was really the first pitched action in the 
campaign. All the advantage of position lay with the 
Germans. They had selected it, and the choice showed 
skill. In tactics, however, they had been entirely 
out-matched. At one blow Botha had cleared them out 
of the Swakop valley, and in that direction he afterwards 
met with no serious opposition. 

While he was making ready for the next bound, the 
overland operations entered upon another stage — the 
linking up of Deventer's and Berrange's forces. On the 
eastern spurs of the Great Karas mountains the Germans 
still held several fortified positions, notably at Plattbeen, 
where they had also an entrenched camp, and at Geitsaub, 
both places on and commanding the track from Uping- 
ton to Kectmanshoop. It was the probability, if not 
something more, that with these posts yet in the enemy's 
hands, he might thrust a strong force between Berrange 
and Deventer, isolating the former, and by a threat in 
flank holding up the further advance of the latter, 
General Deventer therefore decided to clear this inter- 
lying tract of country. With that object he detached his 
brother, Col. Dirk van Deventer, at the head of the 4th 
Mounted Brigade, to open up the Upington-Keetmans- 
hoop road which joins close under the pass with the road 
from Rietfontein, the route Berrange was understood 
to be following. In this movement Col. Dirk van 
Deventer met with considerable opposition, a proof of 
its timeliness and sagacity. The Germans resisted in 
the first instance at Davignab. Worsting them in this 

54 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

combat, he moved on to Plattbeen, covering the forty- 
miles of mountain country between the two points in 
two days. He came in sight of the Plattbeen camp on 
March 24. Despite this sudden appearance, the Germans 
had prepared to hold out. But time was important, 
and Col. D. van Deventer, not disposed to waste it, 
assaulted and carried the camp by storm. Geitsaub, 
another forty miles farther up in the hills, and a stiff 
climb, was an even tougher and riskier job. Here, on 
April 2, the enemy sought finally to bar the passage, 
and had they been successful Col. Dirk van Deventer 
would have been stranded with his men in the mountains, 
with 160 miles of wild upland track between them and 
Nabas. He was, however, a skilful hand at enveloping 
and invisible approach tactics, and he compelled the 
Germans to evacuate their defences without on his own 
side suffering a casualty. He joined Berrange" at 
Kiriis West on April 14. 

The movement from east to west was coincident with 
another on the part of M'Kenzie's Column from west to 
east. Receiving the order definitely to begin his advance, 
M'Kenzie struck his camp at Garub on March 28. 
By a detour across the mountains his advance guard 
had reached and turned the surprised Germans out of 
Aus on March 30. This dash, a notable feat of endu- 
rance, cleared the way to Aus for the main force. The 
effect of the two movements from east and west respec- 
tively was now speedily disclosed by the German abandon- 
ment of Kalkfontein. Undoubtedly had their line of 
retreat to the north not been menaced from both sides, all 
the likelihood was that at Kalkfontein, their military 
centre in the south of the colony, they would have put 
up a determined defence, and the more so because of 
the natural difficulties of the country. The position of 
Kalkfontein had been chosen on account of its strength. 
It commanded a pass narrow and rugged enough to 
enable a very small force to defy many times their 
own number. If, however, the way to the north was not 
open and secure, such a defence would be worse than ill- 
advised. And this was the reason for the preparations 

55 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

begun so long before both at Luderitz Bay and at 
Kuruman. For had the enemy been able with a small 
force to hold up a direct advance from the south, then 
he could have massed his main strength against the 
movement from Swakopmund, and with every chance in 
his favour of rendering it abortive. As matters now 
were, however, his force was divided, and neither part 
strong enough for its purpose. The southern troops 
besides were in jeopardy, and before they could effect 
a junction with the northern Botha from Swakopmund 
would have driven his thrust home. 

Even at this time, therefore, it was plain that the 
Germans had been out-manceuvred. Their southern 
forces were in full movement towards the north, saving 
what equipment they could, destroying or leaving behind 
them the remainder. General van Deventer, moving 
up from Nabas on April 5, entered Kalkfontein without 
opposition, and his advance guard penetrated to Kanus, 
fifteen miles farther up the pass, without finding any 
signs of the enemy. On his part, Bouwer, coming from 
Raman's Drift through Warmbad with the 17th Mounted 
Rifles and Hartigan's Horse, also closed to the front at 
Kalkfontein, and on April 11 General Smuts arrived to 
take over the command of the united Columns. Without 
further delay Smuts pushed on to Keetmanshoop, the 
administrative capital of Great Namaqualand. This 
southern sector of the campaign had become in fact a 
contest in pace. On the one hand, with Smuts in pursuit 
the Germans were hustling towards Gibeon ; on the 
other, M'Kenzie was hurrying across country from Aus 
towards the same point. If the enemy reached and 
passed Gibeon first, then he would have made good his 
escape ; if not, he would have to fight his way out. 
M'Kenzie had the greater distance to cover, and also, 
it may be added, by far the more difficult road. But 
here the marching powers and endurance of his troops 
told. In two days he had (April 17) reached Bethany, 
sixty miles ; in another two days he was at Beersheba, 
another sixty miles. The last stage, to Gibeon, was 
seventy miles. Unfortunately, M'Kenzie could not at 

56 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

once set out upon it, for he had far outstripped his 
transport. The roads in South-west Africa are for 
wheeled transport not ideal, to put it mildly, and he had 
to wait four days until the supply columns closed up. 
All the same, he was at Gibeon by the evening of the 
25th. The Germans retiring from the south had not 
yet passed. They had, in fact, reached Gibeon almost 
at the same time. During the night after his arrival 
M'Kenzie sent out a strong detachment with orders to 
cut the railway line. But the German commander 
had plainly looked for some such attempt, and he had a 
much stronger force under arms. And his men, brought 
to bay, fought desperately. This struggle in the dark- 
ness, fitfully lit at intervals by star shells, was bitter. 
On the Union side, the losses were considerable, and seeing 
that the South African detachment were outnumbered, 
and were in action at the end of a week of forced marches, 
the circumstance is not surprising. What is surprising is, 
not that their attempt did not come off, but that they, 
as a body, came out of this combat able to make good 
their retirement. There could be no more striking- 
testimony to their valour. 

Nor can the attempt to cut the railway forthwith 
be adjudged a mistake. It was a measure which no 
active general would in the circumstances neglect. The 
effort was sound campaigning. Besides, as a result of 
this night fighting, in which a good proportion of his 
force had been involved, the enemy was next day in no 
condition to continue his flight. He had to entrench. 
At dawn M'Kenzie attacked. His tactics, backed by 
a brisk and effective bombardment, were an envelopment, 
and his men, who after so many months of waiting had at 
last got to grips and were not to be denied, worked round 
the hostile defences on both flanks. When the South 
Africans were seen to be closing in the Germans made for 
the loophole still open. They left behind some of their 
artillery, and much more of their ammunition and mate- 
rial, and they retired in very broken order. In short, 
they were nothing like so effective a force as before. 
Nevertheless, in the mass they got away. As to thai, 

57 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

it should be said that these German troops, the largest 
body of those in South-west Africa, out-numbered 
M'Kenzie's Column considerably. It was the business 
of that commander to hold them, if possible, until 
General Smuts came up ; it was not his business — 
unaided it was impracticable — to round them up. 
Failing that, he did what was decidedly the next best 
thing ; he seriously damaged them. 

At Gibeon the retreating enemy troops were 
200 miles from Windhuk, and nearly 350 miles from 
Karibib, and it was plainly important that General 
Botha should move his forces across the coastal belt 
before the Germans could effect a concentration. 
Accordingly, on the same day that the action at 
Gibeon was fought (April 26), the Commander-in-Chief 
entered upon his advance up the Swakop valley. 
Suspecting by this time probably that a move of that 
kind might take place, the German commander in the 
north thought to check it by a counter-thrust down the 
Kham valley which would cut Botha's communications. 
Botha, however, had foreseen the likelihood of just that 
counter-move. While, therefore, he set out himself 
with his mounted commandos along the Swakop valley, 
he sent Skinner with the infantry along the valley of 
the Kham. A few miles beyond Trekkopjes Skinner 
fell in with the German column marching in the opposite 
direction. There was an obstinate battle. The enemy 
did his utmost to break through. Could he have 
inflicted a reverse on Skinner's brigade the movement of 
Botha would have been brought to a halt. Prudently 
falling back upon Trekkopjes, a position of some strength, 
Skinner refused to be dislodged from it, and the Germans 
finally realised that they were only wasting time and 
losing men. Their retreat was hastened by an attack 
on the part of a detachment of Naval armoured cars. 

To state the position briefly, the Germans had staked 
their chance upon this move and had lost. While they 
were engaged in it, Botha was going rapidly forward, 
his four brigades of burghers disposed in widely-spreading 
parallel columns ; himself and his Staff, with a small 

58 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

bodyguard, in the centre. It was a formation suited 
to swift manoeuvre. The drive was pushed on to 
Dorstriviermund, nearly 100 miles inland, and at 
the western foot of the " nek " through which the 
Swakop finds its way seaward. From Dorstriviermund, 
Myburgh and Manie Botha were dispatched across the 
pass north-east to cut the railway between Karibib and 
Windhuk. Their enterprise succeeded. In two days 
they were back again. Botha then (May 5) moved 
upon Karibib. It was a drive of forty miles over very 
difficult country, and country too without a water supply 
of any kind. No certainty existed besides that Karibib 
might not be held in force. The best assurance against 
such a contingency was speed. Botha set out before 
daybreak. By noon his advance guard were within 
sight of the junction. In the early afternoon he had 
himself arrived. The garrison laid down their arms. 

The German force in the Kham valley, with Skinner 
in front of them and Botha in the rear, had now no 
alternative save to retreat by a wide detour to the north 
upon Omaruru. Skinner with the infantry marched 
up unopposed along the railway line, following the bed of 
the Kham, and Karibib became the jumping off place 
for a movement upon Windhuk. 

From Karibib to Windhuk, the distance, following the 
railway track, is 150 miles. The burgher commandos, 
a battery of artillery, and a machine-gun section were 
sent on in advance. Having ascertained in a conversa- 
tion over the telephone with the burgomaster that 
Windhuk would be surrendered on demand — Dr. Seitz, 
the German governor of the Colony had removed 
himself and his administration to Grootfontein, and was 
housed in a railway train — General Botha and his Staff 
set out for the capital in motor cars. Notwithstanding 
the primitive track — road it could scarcely be called — 
the journey, despite stoppages in the bush, was com- 
pleted in three days, the General and his assistants 
sleeping in the cars at night. On May 11, the date of 
their arrival, the surrender formally took place. The 
British ensign replaced the German flag over the Rathaus, 

59 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

and the town was placed under the control of Colonel 
Mentz, a Union Staff officer. Botha, addressing his 
burghers from the steps of the Rathaus, thanked them 
for their zeal. 

The German Government of the Colony, which but a 
few months before had still ruled this great territory with 
an iron hand, was now fugitive, and its forces, broken 
and scattered, were partly in the north, partly in retreat 
somewhere across country to the east. If there was no 
violent effort just at this juncture to intercept them, the 
explanation is that the effort would have been wasted. 
To Botha, at all events, it was perfectly well known that 
to pin them against the frontier of Ovamboland meant 
the end of the campaign. That frontier was a barrier 
they dared not cross. In the circumstances, he antici- 
pated propositions for surrender, and his expectation was 
fulfilled. A jjarlementaire from the German Commander- 
in-Chief came in next day. General Botha, in reply, 
agreed to discuss terms at Karibib, and returning to that 
place concluded a forty-eight hours' armistice as from 
midday on May 20. 

Coming down from Grootfontein to Giftkop, between 
Omaruru and Karibib, by rail, Dr. Seitz and Col. Franke 
there presented their proposals, already formulated. 
They suggested, first, that hostilities in South-west 
Africa should be suspended until the close of the war as 
a whole ; secondly, that the forces on each side, remain- 
ing under arms, should until the close of the war occupy 
respectively the territories each held at the proclamation 
of the armistice ; thirdly, that the question of the future 
of South-west Africa should be left open without pre- 
judice to any settlement arrived at in the general peace. 

There was a certain cunning in these propositions, but 
to a statesman like Botha their ineptitude must have 
appeared gross. To begin with the suggested suspension 
of hostilities on such conditions meant keeping in South- 
west Africa and totally inactive a large force of Union 
troops. The procedure involved, not only a very heavy 
public outlay, but could not fail to cause grave dis- 
satisfaction in the Union Army. Further, it would 

60 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

assuredly give rise, on the grounds alike of expense and 
inconclusiveness, to serious discontent and criticism 
within the Union. Nothing could be more exactly 
calculated to stir up again the feeling which had found 
expression in the Beyers and de Wet rising. Once more 
to have a large Union force locked up and idle in South- 
west Africa, and for an indefinite period, would most 
materially assist the German defence in East Africa. 
Lastly, there were very good grounds for suspecting — and 
the suspicion was soon afterwards confirmed — that the 
Germans had in the colony a large accumulation of 
arms, ammunition, and other warlike stores, which 
Seitz and Franke were naturally anxious to save from 
seizure. Those resources were the mainspring of German 
policy. With that inflammable material lying about a 
suspension of hostilities could never be a sure thing. It 
was not possible to say what use might not covertly 
be made of these materials in association with further 
Union disturbances. To imagine that a man of Botha's 
ability and experience could not see through the move 
and grasp its implications was presumption pushed to the 
limit of absurdity. Botha handed back the document to 
the disgruntled German negotiators with the laconic 
intimation that at the end of the forty-eight hours' 
suspension the war would go on. 

It seems to have been imagined by Seitz and Franke 
that Botha would be the more inclined to give ear to 
their proposals because the last stage of the campaign 
in the northern area of the colony would, for him, be 
difficult, and might prove prolonged. He was faced 
with the prospect of operations hundreds of miles away 
from his base at Walfish Bay, and still more remote from 
his bases in the south. And those hundreds of miles 
were hundreds of miles of wilderness. On the other 
hand, the Germans had held in reserve at Tsumeb a 
well-equipped base for this very contingency. Their 
troops were making for it, and they could confront a 
renewal of the struggle with a concentration of their 
remaining strength. All this, no doubt, inspired the 
confidence disclosed in their suggested terms. But 

61 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

Botha had formed a much truer estimate of the position. 
The railway from Kalkfontein to Aus and from Aus 
to Luderitz Bay was in working order, and the line from 
Swakopmund to Karibib was rapidly being restored. In 
short, the difficulties incidental to the coastal zone, 
difficulties the Germans had all along counted upon as 
their best ally, had been mastered, and since the difficul- 
ties had been mastered it had become perfectly feasible 
to transfer troops from the south to the north of the 
colony by sea. With an adequate fleet of transports 
at hand, it could, in fact, be done more easily than the 
Germans could struggle across country on foot. The 
Union base for this last stage of the operations could be 
moved up from Swakopmund to Karibib, and if these 
movements and transfers would take some little time, 
it would at least take the enemy as long to pull himself 
together. The risk was that, if enterprising, he might, 
hurrying his preparations, rebound first. As it happened, 
however, all the enterprise was on the side of the Union 
commander. In that matter he had weighed up the 
men he was dealing with. Since the death of von 
Haydebreck they had displayed no trace of military 
genius. Their present intentions were transparent. 
Botha, and his judgment turned out to be exact, was 
reasonably sure that he could get in first. 

He shaped his measures accordingly. The movement 
of troops by sea and the transfer of his base were at 
once taken in hand. Up to the middle of June he was 
occupied with these rearrangements, and though on the 
alert, went about the business with an easy mind. As 
he had foreseen, the enemy during that interval gave 
him no trouble. The preparations for it completed, he 
launched on June 18 upon his final drive. 

The plan of it was an advance by the infantry, and 
two mounted brigades, supported by the field guns along 
the railway towards Grootfontein, by way of Kalkveld 
and Omaruru, combined with an enclosing sweep by the 
remaining burgher brigades, the brigade of Brits on the 
left, the brigade of Myburgh on the right. The burghers 
had to cover long distances on light fare and little water, 

62 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

but to such hardships they were inured, and their zest 
was unfailing. After the South African fashion, they 
moved at night, well covered by bands of scouts, and 
chose the hot hours of the day to off-saddle and rest 
themselves and their horses. By this means they reduced 
water consumption. It was well known that so far as 
the natives were concerned they were traversing a 
friendly country, and their own instinct for discovering 
water-holes was aided by these volunteer intelligence 
men. Movement in the circumstances was rapid. 

The Germans meanwhile had concentrated at Kalk- 
veld, but on learning of the outflanking movement by 
Myburgh's brigade — they do not appear to have been 
aware of that of Brits— fell back upon Otjiwarongo. 
To cover the 200 miles between Kalkveld and Grootfon- 
tein in the confusion following upon a defeat, and with the 
practical certainty of the railway being cut somewhere in 
the rear, was not to be adventured. Catching up with 
them thus became once more a test of the marching 
powers of the Union infantry. In this race the enemy 
had a long start, fifty miles at a moderate estimate. But 
the march of Botha's main body stands out as a record, 
paralleled only by M'Kenzie's dash from Aus. In two 
days his force had covered the fifty miles to Omaruru. 
The place was undefended, and without delay the march 
was resumed to Kalkveld. Here opposition had been ex- 
pected, and the position which the Germans had occupied, 
but on the approach of the Union columns had abandoned, 
was capable of a strong defence. The next, and third, 
stage to Otjiwarongo was sixty miles, and that place is 
150 miles from Karibib, the starting point. Leaving 
Kalkveld, General Botha and his force entered upon the 
dry tract, the Waterberg mountains on their right hand. 
The General was incurring a risk, but he knew his men, 
he had weighed the probabilities well, and he pushed 
boldly on. Including a halt at the former place, he 
covered the 100 miles between Omaruru and Otjiwarongo 
in six days. As he advanced the Germans retired. This 
determination destroyed their moral. Abandoned equip- 
ment marked their flight. At Otjiwarongo Botha made a 

64 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

brief halt, and then, on June 27, set out for Otavi, another 
eighty miles. The enemy had fallen back there, and to 
all appearances meant to accept battle. The march 
therefore was slowed somewhat, but the pace still 
averaged twenty miles a day. 

Hereabouts the country is rough, ridged by spurs from 
* i he mountains, and for the most part bare of vegetation. 
The advance had to be covered by careful scouting. 
Otavi is a copper-mining centre, the Germans having 
reopened and developed the ancient native mines. Amid 
the stony ridges and workings it was not unreasonable 
to expect something like a respectable, if not a stiff, 
defence. The approaches to Otavi, when on June 30 the 
Union advance guard arrived within sight of the place, 
were found indeed to have been elaborately mined, and 
there was a certain amount of open order and desultory 
fighting at long range. But it did not prove to be the 
preliminary of a battle. It was nothing more than a 
cover for a further enemy retirement. Instead of deploy- 
ing for action the German troops, massed at Otavi, were 
hastily withdrawn along the branch railway line to 
Tsumeb. On their arrival Botha's main body marched 
into Otavi unopposed. As for the land mines, the 
engineers, sent on ahead, had made short work of them. 

Beyond Tsumeb Botha knew the Germans could not 
retreat. They had there reached the end of their 
tether, and must either fight or surrender. Accordingly, 
assuming, as he was in the meantime bound to do, that 
they meant to fight, he drew out his dispositions for 
action. But he sent forward a demand for capitulation, 
giving Seitz and Franke twenty-four hours in which to 
make up their minds. Just as the allotted interval had 
expired a German despatch bearer, hurried and breath- 
less, came in under the white flag. The capitulation, 
this time on Botha's own terms, was agreed to. Pending 
a final and formal signature of the conditions, a local 
armistice was declared, for the Union Commander-in- 
Chief had no idea of interfering with the enveloping 
movements of his lieutenants. It was a wise precaution, 
and as it turned out a very necessary one. But for 

65 F 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

such a limitation the Germans would have been free to 
scatter, dispersing themselves over the country with 
their arms, and leaving themselves free to give indefinite 
future trouble. General Botha, however, had no inten- 
tion of letting himself be put off with an illusory sur- 
render. He had made up his mind to clear the German 
forces out of the colony, and not only the German forces, 
but the German equipment. This military menace had 
to be dug up by the roots. 

And the precaution was necessary, because the enemy, 
given the opportunity, had resolved to destroy the 
stores at Tsumeb. The opportunity was not given. 
Myburgh, moving through Waterberg and then striking 
north across the railway between Otavi and Grootfon- 
tein, dashed over the open country straight for Tsumeb. 
At Gaub, a German flank guard tried to arrest him. He 
brushed aside the opposition. The defeated enemy 
galloped for Tsumeb, Myburgh' s burghers hot on their 
heels. Just outside the town the leaders of the pursuit 
were met by a flag of truce. The war, they were told, 
was over, and Tsumeb was to remain for the present in 
German hands. Myburgh's men were inclined to doubt 
the story, and asked for some proof. While they were 
debating a German battery opened upon them without 
warning. That was proof certainly, but proof to the 
contrary, and very unmistakable. Taking the whole 
proceeding to be a ruse, as in fact it was, and enraged by 
such an abuse of the white flag, they leapt to their 
saddles, and charged into the town at full speed. The 
fight in the streets was short and sharp. The defence 
was overpowered, and those of the Germans who had 
not escaped surrendered. 

When General Myburgh arrived he was assured that 
the firing by the artillery had been a complete mistake, 
arising from the misinterpretation of an order to the 
contrary. Profuse apologies were forthcoming. The 
episode was regrettable, but the armistice had really 
been entered into, and hostilities were in fact over. 
Myburgh was requested in accordance with the terms of 
the armistice to withdraw himself and his men from the 

66 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

town. But naturally he wondered why, if this tale was 
true, he had received no intimation of any kind from his 
own headquarters. The omission, and the kind of 
omission General Botha was not likely to commit, raised 
doubts. As a test of good faith he asked if the Germans 
could put him through on the telephone to General 
Botha, and if so, were they willing to do so ? They were 
now cornered, and without giving themselves away 
could not refuse. In conversation with his chief, the 
Brigadier soon learned the truth, and the meaning of it. 
He announced to the German local authorities, who were, 
of course, in his power, that he remained in Tsumeb, and 
in charge of everybody and everything in it. 

Investigation speedily disclosed the reason for all this 
shuffling. On visiting the arsenal Myburgh was aston- 
ished alike at its extent and at its contents. There was 
in it complete equipment for more than twenty thousand 
men ; a great stock of modern rifles, millions of rounds of 
small arms ammunition, and material and stores of 
every kind ; an enormous haul. 

The occupation of Tsumeb by Myburgh closed one 
back door ; the occupation of Namutoni by Brits on 
July 6 closed the other. Namutoni is a remote place on 
the Ovamboland boundary. When surrender became 
imminent much of the German transport and a large 
stock of munitions had been removed there in order, as 
it was supposed, to be out of harm's way. Brits, of 
whom little had been heard, appeared before the posi- 
tion, completely to the surprise of the German garrison. 
In face of the strength of the Union brigade resistance 
was out of the question. The German commandant and 
his contingent, some 200 strong, capitulated. 

Considering the German record in South-west Africa, 
though the full villainy of it had not then come to light, 
the terms accorded to the defeated enemy by General 
Botha have been pronounced magnanimous. The officers 
of the surrendered force were permitted to keep their 
arms, were released on parole, and were allowed to 
select their places of abode, subject to the condition 
that those places were duly notified ; the non-commis- 

67 F 2 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

sioned officers and men retained their rifles, but without 
ammunition, and were to be interned within South-west 
Africa, the place or places of internment to be named by 
the Union Government ; the reservist German settlers 
were given leave to return to their farms, and kept their 
rifles and an allowed quantity of ammunition for self- 
defence. All the guns, stores and transport of the enemy 
force were surrendered. 

With reference to these terms it has to be remembered 
that in South Africa to deprive a white man of his rifle 
is reckoned the last depth of degradation. The conces- 
sion as to arms did not arise from any sentimental regard 
for these men as combatants. As combatants they had 
shown that they merited none. Respect for the usages 
of civilised warfare they had never displayed ; they had 
resorted to any device, however discreditable. In the 
conduct of the campaign one of their least forgivable 
traits had been their treatment of prisoners. The Union 
soldiers who had surrendered — they had been few — 
were in every instance brave men, and it might have been 
supposed that their valour would have extorted respect. 
It had merely inspired vindictiveness, and barbarous 
usage. As combatants, therefore, the Germans had no 
claims to consideration. But contemptible as they had 
shown themselves, they were still men of the white race, 
and to have imposed upon them the degradation of 
complete individual as opposed to collective disarma- 
ment would have lowered the prestige of the white race. 
The natives would have been offered the spectacle of 
white men treating white men as other than white. 
True, the Germans had not allowed such a scruple to 
influence them. But it was not for General Botha to 
follow an example of that kind, even had he been so 
disposed. More than anything else this meanness on 
the part of the Germans regarding prisoners had fired 
resentment against them and against everything German 
all through South Africa. For on this matter the feeling 
among the white minority in South Africa is very 
strong. To the native, naturally military, a white man 
disarmed is an object to be despised. 

68 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

It is indeed a very open question whether the terms 
of the capitulation, coldly judicious, did not express a 
deeper dis-esteem than the extreme of apparent severity. 
The latter would have indicated some element of vin- 
dictiveness. There was none. The Germans were not 
worth it. Vindictiveness springs partly from fear, 
partly from a sense of inferiority. Fear, present or 
prospective, this surrendered crowd did not inspire, and 
whatever sense of inferiority there was had shown itself 
on their side. General Botha dealt with them simply 
for what they were — negligible. They had owed such 
temporary importance as they had had to the system of 
their government. That system had been abolished, 
root and branch. 

And so far as the German settlers were concerned, to 
have sent them back to their farms and ranches without 
rifles would, in view of the native resentment against 
them, have been to incur a grave risk, and have made 
the problem of policing the country trebly onerous. 
But self-defence in this case meant self-defence. It was 
precisely on that point where the change brought about 
was so radical. Before the war the native complaint, 
and it was a well-founded complaint, was that every 
individual German was himself the Government, for in 
fact, in regard to the natives, every individual German 
did exactly as he liked. Appeal to courts, or to officials, 
by coloured people, was not merely useless ; it was worse 
than useless. The native lived under daily exposure to 
violence and robbery, and the official machinery, so far 
from restraining, abetted those practices. In short, the 
German administration was in practice an anarchy. It 
was hardly to be expected that the German settlers 
should adapt themselves to the change forthwith, 
looking at their character. They did not. Consistently 
with their character, they repaid the concession made to 
them as white men — misunderstanding it, and taking it 
as made to them as Germans — by going along in most 
instances in the old ways of bullying and brutality ; 
treating the natives persuaded to reaccept their service 
as legitimate objects of revenge. And threats were 

69 



GENERAL BOTHA'S CAMPAIGN : SECOND PHASE 

added of worse to follow, for it was asserted that in the 
long run Germany was certain to win the war. Here, 
however, the change in authority made itself felt. The 
worst curse of South-west Africa, a despotic, irresponsible, 
and cruel police, had been replaced by a police humane 
and even-handed, and was speedily supplemented by fair 
tribunals. When assaulted or cheated, the native could 
without fear appeal for justice, and get it. The prosecu- 
tions and convictions of German settlers on these com- 
plaints were numerous, and the German element came to 
consider when fines had to be paid, or in flagitious cases, 
sentences of imprisonment to be served, or native labour 
withdrawn, that they were now the oppressed. But on 
the new Administration at Windhuk these murmurs 
made no impression. The days of every German a law 
to himself were over. The able administrator appointed 
by the Union Government, Mr. E. M. Gorges, was deter- 
mined to settle the country, and put down anarchy, and 
he did. German and native alike learned the meaning 
of the Pax Britannica. It puzzled the native mind to 
find that the Germans were not cleared out, and were 
allowed to retain their private possessions. The civilised 
code which respects the private property of public 
enemies was to the native a refinement too subtle to be 
grasped, as indeed it seemingly was to the common German 
mind. The native knew that the German settlers were 
a nuisance, and his detestation of the nuisance was not 
the lightest problem of the new Government. It was a 
problem only to be solved by time and patience. Ovam- 
boland, which the Germans had not dared to enter, was 
with the full concurrence of the native chiefs entrusted 
to a British resident, on the same footing as Basutoland. 



70 



CHAPTER IV 

THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

Natural features and climate of East Africa — Its native communities 
and kingdoms — Trade routes — First German prospectors — Slave 
trade agitation begun — Charter granted to German Colonisation 
Society — British Protectorate declared over Zanzibar — Germany 
and the Sultanate of Witu — British-German diplomatic duel — 
Hinterland parcelled out into spheres of influence — British East 
African Chartered Company — Germans demand port of Lamu — 
Attack on German traders — Agreement of 1890 — British and Ger- 
man antagonism in Uganda — German intrigues in the Soudan — 
Germany's East African administration — The commercial monopoly 
— Plantation labour difficulties — Formation of a native standing 
army — Its relationship with native tribes — Studied hostility — 
Measures for forcing natives into plantation labour — Tyranny of 
German police — Abuses of convict system — Native revolt in 1904 
—The Native War of 1905-6 — The " Magic Water " legend- 
Destruction of the Wamwera nation — Treatment of native leaders. 

From the story of South-west Africa that of German 
East Africa is different in all respects save one — the 
effect of German administration. Unlike the native 
peoples in the isolated south-west of the Continent, 
those of East Africa had been in contact with Europeans 
almost continuously since the seventeenth century. 
Certainly that was the case with the Swahilis of the 
coastal area. They had had relationships with the 
Arabs, however, from a much earlier date, and along the 
coast as well as in districts inland bordering on the Great 
Lakes, then unknown to geographers in Europe, the 
Mohammedan faith had won a firm footing. These 
were the more civilised areas ; their civilisation of a 
distinctively oriental type. The reason why there 
had been a greater advance in the arts of life at once 

71 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

along the coast and in the extreme interior is found in 
the natural features of this wide region. From a coastal 
belt comparatively low in elevation, hot, and, owing to 
its humidity, enervating, so far as the heat is not tem- 
pered by the sea wind, the land rises in the interior into 
a succession of plateaux divided from each other by the 
depressions along which flow eastward the main rivers. 
The surfaces of the uplands, however, are not flat. They 
present the prospect of ranges or rugged knots of hills 
and broad valleys clothed, where the ground has not 
been cleared by native cultivation, with a dense vegeta- 
tion, or with tropical woods. In the uncultivated ex- 
panses bare of trees the covering is a tropical grass 
growing to a height of six feet. Still farther inland the 
plateaux give place to the mighty mountain chain, which, 
extending in an irregular arc for more than a thousand 
miles from north to south, forms the barrier imprisoning 
the waters of the inland seas. 

Had the rivers flowing eastward been navigable for 
any distance from the Indian Ocean, it is more than 
probable that East Africa would long ago have become 
the seat of a populous native Power, but the greater 
rivers, the Congo and the Nile, flow north and west, and 
those to the east, falling from the highlands, are mostly 
obstructed by shallows, and rapids, as well as by marked 
changes of depth according to the seasons. The moun- 
tains, forming the backbone of the country, or rather 
dividing it into two distinct areas, include, as is well 
known, the loftiest peaks in Africa, the crowning summit, 
Kilimanjaro, 19,321 feet high. Even in the highlands 
east of the mountains the climate is comparatively 
healthy, and the nights generally cool. But west of the 
mountains it is yet more so, for the level is there still 
higher, vegetation more like that of the temperate zone, 
and the open country park-like. And, the chain of 
great lakes aiding inter-communication, the remoteness 
of this part of Africa had led to the formation of a group 
of native kingdoms. Beginning with Darfur in the north, 
they included Uganda, Bukoba, Ruanda, and Urundi, 
most under Mohammedan rulers. These States cor- 

72 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

responded with the Sultanates along the seaboard, the 
more important of the latter that of Zanzibar — which 
embraced the adjacent coastal zone on the mainland — 
and that of Witu. The interlying inland country east 
of the mountains and marked off from the coastal zone 
by a secondary chain of heights was occupied by numer- 
ous native communities. All broadly were in that tribal 
stage of development in which custom is strong. Primi- 
tive life had passed into a simple agriculture. Every 
family tilled its own small farm or shamba, and, assisted 
by the produce of its cattle in a climate where the natural 
wants of man are few and the soil bountiful, enjoyed a 
rude but sufficient independence. Though some of these 
tribal confederations, notably the Mazai in the north 
and the Yaos in the south, were warlike, most, where 
undisturbed, were peaceable. The chief cause of unrest 
was the movement of tribes of the Bantu race, pushed 
towards the equator by the white immigration into South 
Africa. 

Between the native kingdoms on the coast and those 
bordering upon the Great Lakes trade had long been 
carried on by way of several established routes. There 
was the route from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kisumu 
on the Victoria Nyanza ; the route from Tanga through 
Moshi to Mwanza at the southern end of the same sea ; 
the route from Dar-es-Salem to Ujiji on Lake Tangan- 
yika, and that from Lindi to Lake Nyassa. The most 
frequented of these was the road inland from Mombasa. 
When Europeans began to be interested in this region 
of Africa they naturally penetrated from the coast along 
the trade routes, and one of the earliest and most con- 
siderable settlements was that of some 300 farmers of 
British and Dutch descent, who, moving from South 
Africa, took up land around Kilimanjaro, where the soil, 
of volcanic origin, is of exceptional fertility. But, as 
this was long antecedent to the rubber boom, European 
settlers were few, and for the most part traders or pros- 
pectors. The native population of the region between 
the Lakes and the coast was estimated at some eight 
millions. 

73 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

Such in outline was the state of things when, about 
1880, the first German prospectors entered the country. 
They came, however, not as individuals, but as the 
pioneers of a Society for the Promotion of German 
Colonisation, then recently set on foot. The moving 
spirits in this enterprise were Dr. Karl Peters, Count 
Pfeil, Count Behr-Bandelin, Ernst von Weber, and 
Dr. Fredrich Lange. They formed the nucleus of an 
association which sprang from meetings and discussions 
in a brasserie at Berlin, where geography and German 
expansion were discussed in an atmosphere heavily 
laden with tobacco smoke. Recognition and support of 
their views was given by the Taglische Rundschau. 
Having with that backing launched their society, they 
invited membership and subscriptions. The latter 
totalled 250,000 marks, and the society resolved forth- 
with to found a German colony. Most of the subscribers 
looked for a high return. Openings were being sought 
for German trade, and East Africa, it was thought, 
offered a field. 

There was a commerce between Great Britain and 
Mombasa and Zanzibar, and between those places and 
India, as well as the ancient trade with Arabia. German 
enterprise sought to share it. Realising, however, that 
on the footing of the " open door " a development of 
that kind would be slow, German prospectors proceeded 
on a quasi-monopolistic basis to enter into agreements 
with inland chiefs. Embarking at Trieste in the autumn 
of 1884, Peters, Count Pfeil, Dr. Juhlke, and a trader 
named Otto, who knew the ground, arrived in November 
at Zanzibar. To all appearances they were merely 
globe-trotters without importance. They passed over 
to the mainland, and during the next three months were 
lost to view. But in February, 1885, Dr. Fredrich 
Lange received a telegram written in a private code 
telling him that the adventurers had under a treaty with 
the local chief acquired the Usambara plateau. It was a 
success beyond expectation. But in quick succession 
came the news that Peters and his associates had by 
like means secured the districts of Nguru, Ukami and 

74 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

Usequha, and in the summer of 1885 Peters returned to 
Berlin carrying in his pocket " rights " to more than 80,000 
square miles of territory — an area larger than Great 
Britain. On their part the German Government lost no 
time in recognising so meritorious an enterprise. In the 
course of a few weeks the Society for the Promotion of 
German Colonisation received an Imperial charter of 
incorporation. Peters was appointed the first adminis- 
trator of the colony. 

But the annexations, owing to the trade obstruction 
set up, soon led to difficulties and complaints. In associa- 
tion with these differences the slave traffic between the 
coastal Sultanates and Arabia began to be heard of in 
Europe as a question of political interest. The traffic was 
old. Indeed, as the ownership of slaves was not looked 
upon either in these Mohammedan States or in Arabia as 
in any sense an immoral practice, and as slaves among the 
Arabs are with very rare exceptions well treated, the 
trade had gone on for centuries. But the horrors of 
slave catching and slave driving on the way down to the 
coast now formed the theme of indignant protest in 
German newspapers, and the outcry was echoed in 
the British Press. Then, ostensibly to check the 
slave trade, though, it may be shrewdly inferred, for 
the safeguarding incidentally of British commercial 
interests, a British Protectorate was proclaimed over 
Zanzibar. What more immediately prompted this step 
was the discovery that the German Society had obtained 
on lease from Sayed Khalifa, the local potentate, an 
important concession of land south of the Umba river. 
The reply of the German Government to the British 
move was the proclamation of a German Protectorate 
over the Sultanate of Witu. As Witu was independent, 
and the Germans had neither interest nor footing there, 
the proclamation for the time meant nothing. But it 
added to the political complication. The outcome was 
a brisk correspondence between London and Berlin, and 
the upshot of this, in 1886, a Convention, which, defining 
the possessions of the Sultan of Zanzibar as the islands 
along the coast, and a tract of the adjacent mainland 

75 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

ten miles from the sea, divided the hinterland into 
British and German spheres of influence. 

In 1887 the rival association which had been formed by 
British and Indian traders was incorporated by Royal 
Charter as the Imperial British East Africa Company. 
The following year the German Government, whose 
nationals had had so far to trade through Zanzibar, or 
other ports in the British sphere, demanded from the 
Sultan of Witu a concession of Lamu, the chief port in 
his territory. The concession was refused. By this 
incident the question of East Africa was reopened. 
Certain German traders had meanwhile established 
themselves in Witu. Following upon the Lamu demand, 
feeling against them was strong, and in 1890, with a 
somewhat curious opportuneness, ten of them were 
attacked and killed. To the Government at Berlin the 
affair was diplomatically useful, for it brought matters 
to a head just when the business of determining Euro- 
pean possessions in other parts of Africa was under 
consideration. In consequence, East Africa was com- 
prised in the delimitation agreement and German East 
Africa definitely divided off from British East Africa. 

Thus German authority over a vast tract of country 
was internationally recognised. The limits inland 
were understood to be the line of the Great Lakes, but 
they were vague, and one of the first steps of the German 
administration was an attempt to extend them. The 
German administrator, Dr. Karl Peters, afterwards 
unenviably notorious, made his way in 1890 to Uganda, 
and opened negotiations with the king for a political 
treaty in the interests of Germany. Before the treaty 
was concluded, however, the British East Africa Com- 
pany occupied Uganda, and it was held by a force of 
Soudanese troops. To follow the secret working of the 
matter is not easy, yet there is little reason to doubt 
that in repayment of this rebuff — Germany at that time 
had no armed forces at her disposal in East Africa — the 
new possession served as a base for anti-British intrigues, 
and for fomenting and covertly supplying with arms 
the movement in the Eastern Soudan headed by the 

76 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

Mahdi. In 1897, the Soudanese forces in Uganda 
mutinied, and the Mahdist movement, until finally put 
down in 1898 by the late Lord Kitchener's Expedition 
to Khartoum, was formidable. 

The German administration of East Africa was 
planned on rather elaborate lines. There were fourteen 
principal and six subordinate departments. The de- 
limited territory had a coast line of more than 400 
miles, including the ports of Dar-es-Salem, Tanga, and 
Lindi, and the whole of it was to be governed directly 
from Dar-es-Salem with the exception of the Mohamme- 
dan States of Bukoba, Ruanda, and Urundi. In each of 
them a German Resident was appointed. Another 
exception was the territory of the Mazai, whom the 
German authorities thought it better not for the present 
to disturb. The lines on which the possession was 
governed were, first, a German commercial monopoly, 
which of course meant a marked swelling of profits, and, 
secondly, the exploitation of the natives as labourers in 
the interests of whites, and those whites German. To 
check other white immigration, a deposit of £30 per head 
was exacted, and any white man, not a German, visiting 
the colony was required to report himself to the German 
police once a month, and obtain renewal of permission 
to remain. Trade overseas was confined to the German 
East African Line, a concern subsidised by the Imperial 
Government. 

The obstacle in the way of development, as the German 
administration and Germans at home understood the 
term, was the difficulty of finding enough plantation 
labour. The country was divided up among communi- 
ties of peasant cultivators, to whom the idea of labour 
for wages was entirely novel, and difficulty in carrying- 
out so sweeping a change as that determined upon would 
in the like circumstances present itself anywhere. 
Instead, however, of taking that view, German official- 
dom, both in Berlin and on the spot, looked, or professed 
to look, upon the native usages and economy as an 
obstinate adherence to African barbarism. At first it 
was necessary to proceed with caution. As the white 

77 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

population were a mere handful, and never at any time 
more than 5,000, the first measure was the establishment 
of a native police, armed and trained under German 
instructors on military lines. For this purpose the 
directly governed part of the possession was mapped out 
into twenty-four administrative centres, and the peace- 
able areas entrusted to district officers, each with a 
police contingent. There remained the tracts, chiefly 
those on the southern border, those contiguous to the 
Mazai steppe, and the remote region to the north-west 
beyond the mountains, which it was judged preferable 
to govern on a purely military footing. A native 
standing army was therefore recruited in addition to the 
black police, and trained in the same manner. 

These measures formed the core of German policy. 
In the north-west there were wild tribes lower in the 
scale of civilisation than the mass of the natives. The 
German administration enlisted them for its new force. 
The pay offered was, for a native, high — twenty to thirty 
German rupees a month, and to a native brigand wealth. 
This professional army, for such it was, and the police 
force was really part of it, did not, according to German 
official representations, exceed, police included, 5,000 men. 
In the course of time, however, it was steadily increased, 
the military charges being covered by a subvention 
from the German Government at home, until the strength 
of the force became more than three times that total. 

Now a standing black army of that strength and 
character was an unpleasant portent, and it was the more 
unpleasant, not to say dangerous, because the men who 
entered the German service became de-tribalised. It 
was one of the conditions. To be de-tribalised, however, 
was among the natives of East Africa, as it always is in 
the tribal stage of society, to be an outcast, or pariah. 
By the natives at large, consequently, the German police 
and German soldiery were on that ground despised. 
But they were, according to native standards, highly 
paid, and were encouraged by the Germans to regard 
themselves, in view of their military instruction, as a 
superior caste. There was thus set up between them 

78 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

and the native population at large a chronic antagonism. 
The effect of it on the one hand was, completely dividing 
them off from the tribal communities, to make them 
willing and slavish tools of their employers and masters, 
and ready executants of the German orders, whatever 
the orders might prove to be. The effect on the other 
hand was to turn them, as social outcasts, into keen 
informers, and nosers-out of offences. To give edge to 
this system the German administration, once its police 
and army had been established, promulgated an elaborate 
code of regulations containing numerous and to the 
natives strange prohibitions, each, however, a subject 
for severe punishment, and this code was applied red-hot 
to a population whose only idea of law was common 
custom. Further, there was imposed a hut- or house- 
tax of three rupees a year, and in the case of male adult 
natives not having a house of their own, a poll tax of 
the like amount. That these measures were deliberate, 
and by making the lot of the native cultivator miserable, 
intended to force him into the plantation labour market, 
is proved by their being most steadily and severely 
applied to the Yaos, and others of the native tribes who 
were physically finest, and most intelligent, and therefore 
the best labour material. The amount of the taxation 
may not appear large, but to a native who had never 
had need of money, and to raise it had either to sell his 
produce for just what the Germans chose to offer, or to 
work in earning it for just what the Germans chose to 
pay, it was a serious impost. 

All these things were, needless to observe, causes of 
discontent, and the more so because as time went on 
there grew up not only the same abuse of the sjambok 
as in South-west Africa, and the like cruel repetition of 
the torture at intervals of a fortnight, but the practice 
on the part of the native police, since these floggings 
were inflicted at the discretion of the police, of taking 
bribes from terrified " delinquents," and of levying 
blackmail upon the villages. Nevertheless, in spite of 
this pressure, the labour difficulty showed no signs of 
being solved. In the mass the native population were 

79 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

set against the change, and their opposition was softened 
neither by German methods of administration nor by 
the practices of German planters. As this, in official 
opinion, kept back the development of the colony, 
which was slow, and as the officials on the spot knew 
that their jobs depended upon pushing that develop- 
ment, other devices were resorted to. The criminal 
code was so amended that on relatively trivial charges 
natives could be condemned to long terms of penal 
servitude. By this means there was obtained a small 
army of so-called convicts, who were set to labour upon 
public undertakings, more especially at the ports. 
Dar-es-Salem and Tanga expanded into wide, straight 
streets and showy buildings, but the commonest of all 
sights were the gangs of prisoners working in the open 
in chains, and that too in the most trying climate in 
Africa. The mortality among these unhappy men was 
of course heavy, but by the same means the supply 
could always be kept up. Again licensed recruiters 
were appointed, and accompanied by the police went 
round the villages enrolling men in labour contracts. 
How far these contracts were under the conditions really 
voluntary may be considered doubtful. Another pro- 
ceeding was the opening of " labour markets." Planters 
reported to the German district officer the number of 
hands they wanted. The district officer set about the 
collection, ostensibly by arrangement with the native 
chiefs of his area. When rounded up, the " recruits " were 
gathered at some convenient centre, and the planters came 
and picked them out. Though nominally free labour, 
all this was obviously but separated by a tissue-paper 
partition from chattel slavery. The Mazai would never 
accept work on plantations under any circumstances. 

The tendency of the German measures, it was seen by 
all impartial observers, could only in the end mean the 
creation of a wretched proletariat, morally degraded as 
well as materially impoverished. And the tendency had 
its dangers, for the increasing burden of oppressions led 
in 1904 to an armed rising in the southern and south- 
western area of the colony, so serious than von Trotha 

80 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

had to be sent out to put it down. And he did put it 
down, or was supposed to have done so, on the exter- 
mination principle, amid incidents on all fours with 
those in the campaign against the Hereros. The legend 
had been spread that the " Wadachi," or Germans, were 
as strong as the Russians, Japanese and British put 
together, for the natives were not altogether uninformed 
as to outside affairs. It was thought advisable to afford 
a concrete example of " Wadachi " might. Von Trot ha 
turned the formerly populous south-western region of 
the colony into a solitude. And after this the German 
screw was tightened. The " lesson," it was thought, 
would suffice. The judgment proved an error. In 1905 
the Wamwera and Wangoni in the south-eastern and 
southern parts of the colony rose in arms. Driven to 
desperation, they had, in their extremity, found two 
capable and intrepid leaders. Seliman Mamba, head 
of the Wamwera, was, as his name suggests, a Mussulman, 
and his followers, racially related to the Swahili, were 
partly of that faith. The Germans, very ill-advisedly 
for themselves, had by this time formed the opinion 
that Mohammedanism and the labour trouble were 
linked together, and, though its upholders in Turkey, had 
shown themselves hostile to that faith. Their action 
blew the smouldering discontent into a flame. Shabruma, 
the leader of the Wangoni, was, like his tribe, of Bantu 
origin. His tactics were those of guerilla warfare, and 
he carried them out with great skill. 

The storm broke to all intents without warning. 
Before the German authorities could act, plantations, 
posts, and stations in this part of the country were 
swept over and destroyed. And the war, which lasted 
for more than a year, proved a very desperate business. 
The Wamwera fought with extraordinary valour, time 
and again, in one bitter battle after another, charging 
up to the machine-guns within spear's length, and 
stabbing the gunners. Nothing, in fact, but the mechan- 
ical superiority of their arms saved the Germans and 
their native auxiliaries. The reason, it was said, for 
this desperation was the propagation among the revolted 

81 g 



THE STORY OF EAST AFRICA 

natives of the legend that according to a divine revela- 
tion every man who drank of the hot springs at Kimem- 
bara would become endowed with strength and courage 
enough to drive the Germans into the sea, and at the 
same time invulnerable to their bullets. On that 
account they called themselves the Majimaji, or " Magic- 
water men." To accept this version of the matter, 
German government had little to do with the revolt. 
But German government, or misgovernment, was in 
truth the substance of it. And the proof is that even 
after Seliman Mamba had at length fallen into the hands 
of his foes, the Wamwera refused to accept defeat. 
Those who survived betook themselves in a body to the 
bush. There the greater number perished of disease 
and starvation. Not until months afterwards did the 
last remnant, urged by the pangs of famine, come out 
in small parties into the open country. They were then 
living skeletons, coated with dirt, suffering from skin 
affections of a virulent type, and from inflamed eyes. 
The treatment meted out to them was penal servitude. 
Seliman was executed, but before his execution, though 
so enfeebled by hardship and sickness that he could 
barely drag his chains, he was daily driven to labour 
in a chain gang. Such was German gallantry towards 
a brave man. Shabruma and his following proved to be 
more elusive. Finding refuge in the southern moun- 
tains, they descended upon German posts, and in various 
instances wiped them out. The Germans found them- 
selves committed to a prolonged and costly campaign, 
the more difficult because the natives were in sympathy 
with the insurgents. 

The facts just outlined will be found in many ways to 
throw light upon the campaigning in East Africa, which 
followed upon the outbreak of war in 1914, and they go 
to show why the continent was swept by war from Darfur 
in the north to Rhodesia and Nyassaland in the south, 
and to simplify what might otherwise appear a compli- 
cated narrative. 



82 



CHAPTER V 

EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

German readiness — Propaganda in the Eastern Soudan — Supremacy on 
the Great Lakes — Von Lettow-Vorbeck — His leadership — Plans 
for offensive — British attack on Dar-es-Salem — Konigsberg's attack 
on Zanzibar — British campaign dependent on the sea — German 
invasion of British East Africa — Its initial success — Thrusts at 
Mombasa — Landing of British reinforcements from India — The 
counter-offensive — Attack on Tanga fails — British non-success at 
Longido — The combat at Vanga — Arrival of General Tighe — Von 
Wehle's operations against Kisumu and Uganda — Invasion of 
Uganda repulsed — General Stewart's expedition to Bukoba — The 
operations in Nyassaland — Defeat of German Expeditionary force 
— Invasion of Rhodesia — German raid on Kituta — The British 
Tanganyika Naval Expedition — Its romantic overland adventures 
— Destruction of German flotilla — Siege of Saisi — Episodes of the 
defence — Revolt of the Sultan of Darfur — Col. Kelly's Expedition 
from El Obeid — His remarkable march — Battle of Beringia — 
Occupation of Darfur. 

When war was declared in August, 1914, the Germans 
in East Africa were ready. Though construction had 
been kept back by native troubles, by administrative 
complications, and by engineering difficulties, the thou- 
sand miles of central railway from Dar-es-Salem to Ujiji 
had just been completed and opened for traffic, and, 
whether by design or by accident, there were in the 
colony a number of German officers who had come out 
to assist in the celebration of the event. They were, 
needless to say, extremely useful in increasing the 
native levies, and as a reserve. The German planters 
and settlers fit for active service, some 3,000 in number, 
were of course called out. Of guns, machine-guns, 
rifles, ammunition, and military stores of all kinds there 

83 g 2 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

had been a steady accumulation, for the chances of 
replenishment from oversea were at best uncertain. 
But besides the forces actually in the territory, the 
German administration had not ceased to carry on a 
propaganda among the Arabs of the Eastern Soudan, 
and confidently, and as it proved correctly, reckoned 
upon raising an appreciable total of auxiliaries in that 
quarter. In contrast with their attitude towards the 
Mohammedans along the coast, the Germans in these 
remote inland districts gave themselves out as firm 
friends of Islam, had provided for distribution a stock 
of green flags decorated with a crescent and a star, 
and neglected no means to turn fanaticism to profit. 
Appreciating, too, the importance of the Great Lakes 
as a line of communication, they had been careful to 
ensure for themselves a superiority in armed vessels. 
On the Lakes means for shipbuilding and ship repairing 
had been set up. Materials and parts of war craft, 
shipped from Germany and transported up from the 
coast at great labour and expense, were " assembled " 
on these lake-side slips. The result was that, Lake 
Nyassa excepted, Germany had command of these 
inland waters. 

Not the least, however, of the German advantages 
was the fact that Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck, comman- 
dant of the forces in East Africa, was a military leader 
at once intrepid and resourceful. He had grasped the 
supreme value of sound administrative work in cam- 
paigning, and most of all in campaigning extended over 
so enormous an area, and he had very clearly realised the 
conditions under which the coming struggle must be 
fought. The one mistake into which he fell, a mistake 
common to all Germans at this date, was anticipation 
of a rapid German success in Europe. Calculating upon 
that and knowing that the British, his chief antagonists, 
were ill-prepared, his plan was an offensive against 
contiguous British possessions, so that when the war as 
a whole had been concluded there would be the accom- 
plished fact of a German occupation of these regions. 
The plan, as it proved, was a mistake. It made an 

84 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

inroad upon his resources he could not, as was later 
discovered, afford. 

Acting upon this plan, he disposed the troops under 
his command into three bodies : The first and strongest, 
under Major Kraut, was to operate across the northern 
frontier against British East Africa, occupy Mombasa, 
and Nairobi, and seize the Mombasa-Kisumu railway. 
The second, under General von Wehle, and with bases 
at Mwanza and Bukoba, was to attack northwards along 
both shores of the Victoria Nyanza, but, as its main 
purpose, to invade and occupy Uganda. The third, 
entrusted to Count von Falkenstein, was to operate to 
the south against Nyassaland and Northern Rhodesia, 
and seizing the frontier posts, to cut off communication 
between South Africa and the Lake region. Contrasted 
fortune attended these enterprises. The operations 
against British East Africa, to begin with, met with a 
measure of success. On the other hand, the offensive by 
von Wehle turned out a failure, and that of von Falken- 
stein suffered an even more complete check. 

In August, 1914, the British had on the East African 
station only two light cruisers, Astrcea and Pegasus, 
and some guard ships. The cruisers, and this was the 
first hostile act in the campaign, on August 8 bombarded 
Dar-es-Salem and sank a floating dock and the survey 
ship Mowe. Later, as already noted, Astrcea was told off 
to escort transports from Capetown, and it was probably 
knowledge of that fact which caused the German cruiser 
Konigsberg, swifter and more powerful than either of the 
two British ships of the cruiser class, to appear at 
Zanzibar. Pegasus, at the moment undergoing refit- 
ment, was disabled by Konigsberg' 's attack and the guard 
ships Cupid and Khalifa sent to the bottom. Owing 
partly to these losses, a blockade of the coast was not 
established until February, 1915, nearly six months after 
the outbreak of war. This delay, had they been ready 
to take advantage of it, was a great point in the Germans' 
favour. Not, however, until later was blockade running 
seriously attempted, and the loophole left during the 
first six months cannot be said materially to have 

85 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

affected the course of the land struggle. What would 
have affected it, and decisively, would have been a 
German command of the coast such as would have 
prevented the landing of British reinforcements. In 
British East Africa the total of troops when war broke 
out was so slender that they barely sufficed for a defen- 
sive, and from the landward side the nearest British 
bases were El Obeid in the north, and Buluwayo in the 
south. Practically, then, the British campaign de- 
pended upon the sea. The Germans, however, were 
never able thus to command the coast, and apart from 
that command their preparations and efforts were in 
truth a gamble turning upon their fortunes in Europe. 

In these circumstances the initial success which 
attended the German operations across the northern 
border is readily explained. Within the first fortnight 
the troops of Kraut had occupied Taveta, a frontier 
town on the Tanga trade route, and a road centre which 
gave them an excellent jumping-off position, either for 
operations against Mombasa, or for attacks upon the 
railway, the latter not more than eighty miles away. 
And Mombasa was the main point at which their move- 
ment was directed, because, failing command of the 
coast, the alternative was to seize its harbours, and 
particularly a place like Mombasa, having railway 
communication with the interior. The risk of the ad- 
venture lay in a counter-attack across the pass between 
Kilimanjaro and Mount Longido, for a countermove of 
that kind, if it reached Moschi, would cut Kraut's 
communications, and get astride his line of retreat. To 
prevent such a development, the Germans laid out on 
Longido a strongly fortified position. Incidentally, it 
also served them as a base for raids, and, menacing 
Nairobi, was likely to check dispatch of reinforcements 
from that place to the British defending the Mombasa 
road. 

There was skill in these German dispositions. And they 
were aided by a converging movement upon Mombasa 
from Tanga along the coast. The attack from landward, 
too, was to have been supported from the sea by Konigs- 

86 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 




87 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

berg. The scheme, however, was upset by the arrival 
at Mombasa of a contingent of troops from India under 
the command of Brigadier-General J. M. Stewart. The 
disembarkation took place only in the nick of time. Had 
it been delayed even for a day or two the chances were 
that Mombasa would have fallen into the enemy's hands. 
As it was, the Germans having occupied the small port 
of Vanga, half-way between Tanga and Mombasa, and 
pushed on, were held up merely by the gallant defence 
of a British fortified camp and blockhouse which com- 
manded the route, and as it happened the only route, 
since at this point the road crossed a swamp. At the 
head of a company of 130 Arabs, hastily recruited, Lieut. 
Wavell, placed in charge of this post, held out against 
all the efforts to rush the position. He was relieved 
eventually by a column made up of the Jind Infantry 
and the King's African Rifles. The enemy was com- 
pelled to retreat, and it proved to be the end of his 
Mombasa project. With the door at Mombasa open 
the British held the means of, in time, turning the 
balance. 

Meanwhile, on the British side the decision had been 
formed to pass to the offensive, and a plan had been 
adopted for squeezing the Germans out of their positions 
along the frontier by on the one flank attacking them at 
Longido, and on the other turning them by a landing 
in their right rear at Tanga. If successful, this latter 
operation would enable a move to be made inland along 
the railway to Wilhelmstal, and force evacuation of the 
Usambara plateau, a dominating rise it was desirable to 
seize. 

In accordance with the decision, there was sent from 
India a further reinforcement of G,000 troops under the 
command of Major-General Aitken. Tanga was their 
destination, and the transports arrived off that port on 
November 2. The British information was that the 
town was not defended. Likely enough, when that 
intelligence was gleaned the town was not, but either 
the enemy had got wind of the intended descent, or 
suspected it. At any rate, he had thrown a strong 

88 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

garrison into the place. Further, he had very carefully 
barricaded the streets and loopholed the houses, and 
the woods and cane bush by which Tanga was surrounded 
had been elaborately set with traps and entanglements. 
On the arrival of the ships, General Aitken sent ashore 
a summons to the German commandant to surrender. 
The demand was refused. As it soon became evident 
that the place was held in strength, the direct attempt to 
land was not persisted in. In face of the enemy's guns 
the attempt would have been impracticable. Not 
willing to give the project up, however, General Aitken 
two days later threw part of his force ashore at the 
south end of the bay. To reach the town the troops 
had to struggle through the bush. The infantry resist- 
ance met with was not serious, but the enemy batteries 
were turned upon the advance, their fire guided by a 
variety of ingenious devices. The cane bush grows to 
a height of eight feet or more, so that to detect move- 
ment through it by direct observation was not easy. 
But the enemy had set traps which, when disturbed, 
signalled the range to his gunners. In spite of this, the 
attacking troops fought their way forward to and into 
Tanga. There the fighting became a succession of 
furious street combats, and the storming of barricades 
and houses. Possibly enough, if at this point the rest 
of the Expeditionary Force had been thrown ashore at 
the port, the place might have been won, but on the 
transports the situation seems to have been thought less 
favourable than it was. Hence the attacking column, 
instead of the support they had looked for, received the 
order to withdraw. Their losses, of course, were 
further increased during the retirement and they were 
sufficiently serious — nearly 800 officers and men. 

Though it did not in any way shake the moral of the 
force, this was an unpleasant check, rendered none the 
less unpleasant by the lack of success which had also 
attended the Longido enterprise. The cause in that 
instance was a breakdown in the water transport. The 
troops fought well, but after hours of hard fighting in the 
tropics men parched with thirst which no means are 

89 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

found of relieving are in almost the most intolerable 
position it is possible to imagine. The defences won 
had to be evacuated. There was little use in retaining 
conquered positions when they could only be held at 
the risk of perishing from lack of water. 

But though the grand scheme for a converging offen- 
sive had fallen through, another effort was made to 
relieve Mombasa from menace, for until that was done 
no important advance towards the interior could be 
undertaken. Accordingly, the enemy was attacked at 
Vanga and driven out, and the town garrisoned by a 
force of Indian infantry under the command of Col. 
Ragbir Singh. Unwilling to sit down under this reverse, 
the Germans attempted a recapture, and with a powerful 
column. The defence was brilliant. The garrison fought 
until they had fired their last shot. Their gallant com- 
mander had fallen beating off an assault. Happily, just 
at this critical juncture, the distant boom of guns and 
roll of rifle-fire announced that relief had arrived. The 
German forces were pressed back over the frontier. 
Substantially this was the situation when, in April, 
1915, the command was transferred to Brigadier-General 
Tighe. The Germans still held Taveta. Beyond that, 
however, their plan had come to nothing. 

It is here advisable to glance at operations in other 
parts of this vast theatre of hostilities. They include 
some of the most romantic episodes and adventures 
of the war. 

In September, 1914, part of the force under the 
command of von Wehle had seized Karungu, a small 
port on the Victoria Nyanza just across the British 
East Africa boundary. The purpose of von Wehle's 
advance was occupation of the port and railway terminus 
at Kisumu, and the isolation of Uganda. Apparently 
it had been assumed, first, that the British, concerned 
for the defence of Mombasa, would have few troops 
at this inland end of the railway, and, secondly, that a 
German invasion and occupation of Uganda would prove 
fairly easy. Both assumptions turned out to be wrong. 
With the arrival of reinforcements from India the 

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EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

British, instead of weakening their force at Kisumu, 
had strengthened it, and they reacted promptly. Two 
squadrons of the East African Mounted Rifles were 
sent from Kisumu to Karungu on the steamer Winifred. 
But the German attack on the latter place was sup- 
ported by the German armed steamer Mwanza, and 
Winifred, chased off by her, was compelled to return. 
A mounted column, however, was sent south to Karungu 
overland, and the Germans fell back. The real reason 
for withdrawal was the resistance met with on the Uganda 
boundary from the native troops of the Protectorate. 
The resistance was stiff, so stiff that von Wehle could 
make no headway. In January, in fact, he found 
himself placed on the defensive. Not only had his 
invasion of Uganda been beaten off with a considerable 
loss on his side, but Mwanza had been attacked and 
disabled, and east of the Victoria Nyanza the British 
column from Karungu had crossed the German frontier 
and captured Shirati. 

That, however, was by no means the worst. Sent 
up country with his brigade, General Stewart had 
made Karungu his headquarters, and in order once for 
all to cripple the German operations against Uganda, 
lost no time in organising an expedition across the 
Lake to Bukoba. Stewart's force, which included 
British as well as Indian troops and a detachment of 
Driscoll's Frontiersmen, who had joined as mounted 
scouts, was to co-operate with a Uganda column moving 
upon Bukoba down the Kagera river. The enterprise 
proved entirely successful. While a demonstration was 
made from the water front a battalion of Lancashires, 
previously thrown ashore at daybreak some miles to 
the south, attacked from inland, entered the town and 
speedily mastered it. The munitions and military 
stores found were large. So far as time allowed these 
were seized and shipped. The remainder were des- 
troyed, and to the Germans the loss was more serious 
than that of men. The destruction of their base at 
Bukoba meant that Uganda was henceforth safe from 
their attentions. 

91 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

This stroke formed a shrewd reprisal for German 
proceedings in the south. On the outbreak of war 
each side there had striven to get its blow in first. In 
Nyassaland reserves of the King's African Rifles were 
called out, men on leave summoned back to quarters, 
volunteers enrolled, and a staff formed of officers and 
civilian officials in the colony. The mobilisation at 
Livingstone, the capital, and the organisation of the 
whole force into double companies, were completed in 
little more than a week. Placed under the command 
of Captain Barton, D.S.O., of the Northampton Regi- 
ment, the troops were embarked on the Lake Nyassa 
flotilla, and by August 22 had reached and were 
concentrated at Karonga, some thirty miles south of 
the boundary, equipped and ready for the field. With- 
out command of the lake, such a move would, of course, 
have been impossible. On these waters the Germans 
had placed an armed steamer, Hermann von Wissmann. 
To ascertain her whereabouts, Commander E. L. 
Rhoades, in the British armed steamer Gwendolen, 
was sent to reconnoitre the German port of Sphinxhaven. 
Rhoades found Hermann von Wissmann on the stocks. 
Running in at dawn, he and his men boldly attacked 
and took possession of the dockyard, made prisoners of 
Wissmann's crew, and finding it impossible to tow her 
off, removed her guns and dismantled her machinery. 
This lively little affair took place on August 13, and it 
was the opening. 

On land, however, the Germans were out first. Their 
concentration at New Langenburg, north of Lake 
Nyassa, was estimated at 700 rifles, with eight maxims 
and a battery of light field guns. Part of this force 
on August 20 crossed the Songwe river — the boundary 
— and seized Kapora, which they laid out as an advanced 
post. Barton, leaving a detachment at Karonga under 
the command of Lieut. P. D. Bishop, King's African 
Rifles, at once moved out to attack. En route a double 
company of the enemy were found barring the road 
at the crossing of the Lufira river. After a show of 
resistance they fell back, and the meaning of the 

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EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

manoeuvre was soon revealed by distant gunfire from 
the direction of Karonga. During the night, while 
Barton and his troops were on the way towards the 
Rufira, the main enemy column, following the shore 
of the lake, had made a dash towards Karonga, hoping 
to find that place but feebly held, and by its capture 
to isolate and at one stroke finish off the Nyassaland 
Protectorate force. The opposition on the Rufira was 
a ruse to keep Barton occupied there meanwhile. 
Karonga had been reached at about seven in the morning, 
but fortunately Bishop put up a stout defence, and the 
attack had lasted for four hours and was still in progress 
when Captain A. H. Griffiths, sent back to its relief 
with a double company of the K.A.R. and a maxim, 
appeared on the scene. Thus entrapped, the Germans 
and their auxiliaries hastily retired, losing in the pursuit 
two of their machine-guns. They were not yet, how- 
ever, out of their difficulties. Barton, with the remainder 
of his force, moving across country to intercept them, 
fell upon them as they were passing the Kasoa river. 
For this fresh onset they were unprepared, and, com- 
pletely defeated and broken up by it, abandoned two 
field guns, numerous rifles, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, 
and a quantity of stores and explosives. In short, the 
incursion into Nyassaland had been a fiasco. The 
adventure was never renewed. 

On the border of Rhodesia between Lake Nyassa 
and Lake Tanganyika, the British forces consisted of 
no more than the ordinary police patrols holding the 
frontier posts of Abercorn and Fife. The main body 
of the Rhodesian police had been moved up to occupy 
Schukmannburg in the Caprivi strip of German South- 
west Africa. To safeguard the border, a mobile column 
was sent from Livingstone to Kasama in Rhodesia, and 
placed under the command of Lieut.-Col. Stennett. 
At the same time, a call was issued for European volun- 
teers, who assembled at Kasama from all parts, many 
having trekked long distances across the veld in ox- 
carts. A battalion of Belgian native infantry oppor- 
tunely came in from the Congo Free State, but as these 

93 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

defences on a frontier extending over 200 miles were 
slender, the 2nd Mobile Column of Rhodesian Mounted 
Police, sent into the Caprivi strip, was recalled. Under 
their commander, Major J. J. O'Sullevan, this column, 
to reach the border in time, executed, though it was 
the wet season, a march of 430 miles within twenty 
days. Their arrival enabled a fortified position to be 
established at Saisi, barring the route to Kasama. 

It very soon became evident that these precautions 
were not uncalled for. Repulsed in Nyassaland, 
von Falkenstein, leading an expedition from Bismarck- 
burg, on September 6 laid siege to Abercorn. The 
latter place was twenty miles within the British boundary, 
and Bismarckburg, a port on Lake Tanganyika, about 
the same distance from the line on the German side. 
Stennett's column at the time was ninety-nine miles 
away. Put on their mettle, the men covered the 
road in seventy-six hours, and Stennett appeared before 
Abercorn on the morning of September 9. With the 
Karonga experience still fresh in mind, the enemy did 
not await an engagement. He was attacked in falling 
back by the Rhodesian police, and chased over the 
frontier. 

In face of these repulses, the Germans now turned to 
account the command they had of Lake Tanganyika. 
Besides unarmed craft, their Tanganyika flotilla, with 
which at this time the Allies had nothing to compete, 
consisted of a lake cruiser of 500 tons, Graf von Gotzen, 
armed with one 4-inch and two smaller guns, and two 
gunboats, Kingani and Hedwig von Wissmann, each 
carrying one bow gun. The second stroke from Bis- 
marckburg was therefore " amphibious " and directed 
against the stores of the African Lakes Corporation at 
Kituta, a port at the extreme south end of the Lake. 
Convoyed by the flotilla, and in two transports, the 
German troops landed at Kituta (November 17), sank 
a small steamer lying in the port, and sacked and 
burned the stores. From Kituta the attack was moved, 
also by water, to Kasakalawe, where a large quantity 
of telegraph material was captured. While the looting 

94 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

was still going on an attack was delivered by Rhodesian 
police and Belgian troops, but the Germans, aided by 
the fire of their armed ships, were enabled to re-embark. 
As Tanganyika is a body of water 600 miles in length, 
and divides the Congo Free State from German East 
Africa, it was plain that so long as the Germans retained 
command of it they could not only transfer forces 
with great facility from north to south or vice versa, 
but that substantial aid from the Congo Free State 
in the East African campaign was barred out. And 
this was a matter of moment, because if two Allied 
forces could operate one to the east and one to the 
west of the main mountain chain, there was much more 
hope of some decision. Indeed, on any other lines 
the campaign could never be conclusive. A request, 
therefore, was sent to the British Admiralty in London 
for the dispatch of two motor launches of a speed and 
armament outclassing those of the German gunboats. 
The craft had to be forwarded to Capetown, railed 
from there by way of Buluwayo and Livingstone to 
Elizabethville in the Congo Free State, a distance of 
2,300 miles ; from Elizabethville hauled by tractors 
across 150 miles of mountainous country, transferred 
again to a short section of railway ; floated 400 miles 
down the Lualaba river, partly on barrels and lighters, 
and through shoals and rapids ; and finally railed to 
the Belgian port of Albertville. 

This extraordinary adventure, accomplished by Com- 
mander G. Spicer Simson, R.N., and a small body of 
naval men, occupied five months. 

The country over which the launches had to be 
" towed " from Elizabethville was held there to be 
totally impassable. There were passes to be climbed 
6,000 feet above sea-level. Commander Simson was 
assured by advisers on the spot when his vessels and 
the tractor engines arrived that he would never do it. 
He was convinced that he could, and determined that 
he would. Critics voted him crazy. But he had not 
come to Elizabethville in order to leave his plant to 
rot there, and most assuredly he was not going to take 

95 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

it back again. Amid local official pity he set out. 
There were times when on the so-called road, amid 
the remotest solitudes of Africa, he and his expedition 
appeared to be stuck. The gradients were some of 
them deterrent, and they were almost worse downhill 
than uphill. But the resolution not to be beaten, 
and the prospect of a brush with the Germans on Tan- 
ganyika, kept everybody's moral high, so high that 
when water ran short, as on the loftiest part of the 
track, an arid wilderness of mountains, it did, they 
halved their scanty allowance of drinking water so that 
the tractors might not lack steam. At length from the 
heights the far off line of the inland sea broke upon their 
view, flashing in the tropical sunlight. They were 
dusty and unwashed ; thirsty with an unholy and 
uncivilised thirst ; scarecrows hardly to be recognised, 
but this was the promise of the end. 

And in due course Mimi and Toutoa, as the boats 
had been called, were launched. They had not been 
three days afloat when Kingani was fallen in with. 
The German did not decline the fight. His surprise 
came when one of the pair, keeping well out of range 
of his gun, but still within the range of her own piece, 
lured him on, while the other manoeuvred astern where 
he had no armament, and with her first shell smashed 
his gun shield, and killed both the captain and two 
of the gun crew. The rest of the tale is brief. Two 
or three more shots which penetrated astern, and the 
crew of Kingani ran up the white flag. They were made 
prisoners, and their vessel taken in tow. She was 
sinking, but Simson managed to bring her into port 
in time, and, repaired, she was added to the new British 
flotilla. For some time after this Hedwig von Wissmann 
kept out of the way, but finally was caught in the 
open. The same tactics were followed, and the only 
difference was that, a shell happening to burst in the 
German's engine-room, he foundered. All the survivors 
were picked up. Graf von Gotzen then adopted the 
classic German manoeuvre of remaining in harbour — 
Kilgoma, on the German shore. Enticements to battle 

96 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

proving futile, she was attacked by aeroplane. At the 
finish the Germans themselves, fearing a " cutting out " 
enterprise, scuttled her. From that time Tanganyika 
became for them a closed book. All the members of 
this naval expedition, sixteen in number, were decorated 
for distinguished service. Never had the honour been 
better earned. 

For some time after the raids upon Kituta and 
Kasakalawe events in Northern Rhodesia were limited 
to the attack and defence of small posts and scrimmages 
along the boundary, but while the Germans still had 
command of the Lakes, part of von Wehle's force with a 
reinforcement of Arab auxiliaries was transported south 
to Bismarckburg, joined there by a contingent of 
Falkenstein's troops from New Langenburg, and under 
the command of von Wehle, crossed the frontier and 
laid siege to Saisi. Relatively, this invasion was 
formidable. The Column comprised eight double com- 
panies of German native infantry under European 
officers, 400 European mounted riflemen, and a corps 
of Arabs, and it was well equipped with field artillery 
and machine-guns. The advance upon Saisi, indeed, 
could not be seriously opposed, and everything de- 
pended upon the defence of that position. Fortunately, 
in the interval the defences had been strengthened 
and extended. Saisi at this time (July, 1915) was held 
by Major O'Sullevan's Column of Rhodesian Mounted 
Police, 470 all told. Some Belgian native troops were 
also hastily thrown into the place. Outnumbering the 
garrison five times over, the enemy drew a cordon round 
the position, and opened a hot bombardment, firing 
in more than 200 high explosive shells. This, com- 
bined with successive attempts to rush the defences at 
different points, chiefly in night attacks, went on for 
six days and nights. The danger, however, lay not 
so much in the German superiority in numbers and 
artillery as in the shortage of supplies. So sudden had 
been the irruption that no chance of sending in extra 
stores had been allowed. The scanty rations had 
therefore to be doled out with the utmost parsimony. 

97 H 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

And to lack of food was added shortage of water. For 
its supply the camp depended partly upon wells, 
partly upon a neighbouring small river. One of the 
first steps of the besiegers, however, had been, by 
employment of their superiority of force, to seize the 
wells, and driving in the outposts of the defence on that 
side, to picket the stream. All that could be done was 
for men of the garrison to sally out by night, singly or 
in twos and threes, and surprising or evading the 
pickets, to fill the water bottles brought with them. It 
was risky work. Nevertheless by this means the garrison 
managed to carry on. In the meantime, efforts at 
relief had been made by Belgian native troops, but had 
failed to break through, and on the seventh day von 
Wehle sent in a demand for surrender. It was em- 
phatically refused. For four days longer the besiegers 
hung on, and O'Sullevan and his men having eaten their 
last carefully-husbanded biscuit, were face to face with 
the prospect of being starved out, when, after indica- 
tions and sounds of activity during the darkness, it was 
found at daybreak that the Germans had decamped 
and were on their way back to the frontier. They 
themselves, it turned out, owing to the movement of 
the relief forces round the outside of their lines, had 
had their supplies cut off, and were in no better case 
than the besieged. Their movement had been an 
expensive failure, and they did not repeat it. For 
his services in this affair Major O'Sullevan was made 
a Companion of the D.S.O. Some idea of the labour 
involved in moving up supplies and stores to this remote 
region may be gathered from the fact that 20,000 
native carriers had constantly to be employed. 

Could von Lettow-Vorbeck have achieved, as he had 
intended, the conquest and occupation of Uganda, he 
would have been directly in touch with the Eastern 
Soudan. Failing that, he had to depend upon com- 
munication across the Victoria Nyanza, which line he 
knew was precarious. All the same, while it remained 
open, and notwithstanding the repulse of the German 
invasion of Uganda, he took full advantage of it. The 

98 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

effect speedily appeared in the attitude of Ali Dinar, 
Sultan of Darfur. Ali Dinar had in 1898 been a prisoner 
of the Mahdi, but escaping south after the battle of 
Omdurman, and professing loyalty to the restored 
British authority, had been confirmed on the throne 
of Darfur subject to the payment of a nominal tribute. 
His kingdom, covering 150,000 square miles, had a 
population of about a million, and he had a native 
standing army of, roundly, 10,000 men, for the most 
part well armed. He was therefore a somewhat for- 
midable potentate, and it was the more difficult to deal 
with him in the event of his disaffection because his 
capital, El Fasher, lies 950 miles to the south-west 
of Khartoum, which is itself 500 miles from the nearest 
point on the seaboard (Suakim) and more than 1,000 
miles south of Cairo. From Khartoum a railway has 
in recent years been laid to El Obeid, the capital of 
Kardofan (435 miles), but to reach El Fasher from El 
Obeid 400 miles of country had to be crossed on foot, 
and in that distance there were two desert, and, save 
for far-spaced oases, waterless belts, each 100 miles 
wide. 

Great, however, as were the obstacles presented by 
these distances and conditions, they had to be faced, 
since, seduced by German propagandists, and imbued 
with the belief both that Germany was the Greatest 
Power and the British Empire at the point of down- 
fall, Ali Dinar had early in 1915 formally and openly 
renounced his allegiance. This meant at once a very 
serious movement in the Eastern Soudan, and a grave 
threat to Uganda. 

Accordingly, a British Column of some 2,000 men 
was concentrated at Hahud in Kordofan, under the 
command of Lieut.-Col. P. V. Kelly, 3rd Hussars, but 
serving attached in the Egyptian army. The main 
body of the force consisted of the 13th and 14th 
Soudanese Infantry, the 4th Egyptian Infantry, and 
a battalion of Arab riflemen. As a cavalry arm there 
were five companies of the Camel Corps and two com- 
panies of Mounted Infantry, as well as two batteries of 

99 h 2 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

light guns, and a mule battery of maxims. Darfur 
was invaded. The opposition immediately met with 
was limited to encounters with the hostile cavalry, 
who attempted to harass the transit. After a march 
of two months, time being taken up by the necessity 
of assuring communications, the British Column reached 
Abiad. Scouts had brought in word that in the mean- 
time the Sultan, calling in his provincial garrisons, had 
massed his forces in the capital. For the British it 
was one of those situations in which failure could not 
be risked. A reverse at such a distance from railhead 
meant annihilation. The practical problem was the 
crossing of the sixty-eight miles of dry country between 
Abiad and Meleit, the position from which the final 
dash forward to El Fasher was to be made. The 
problem was solved by a skilful manoeuvre. Col. 
Kelly sent his camelry and mounted troops forward 
to a point forty miles in advance, so that, his mobile 
troops clearing the country, the rest of his Column 
might negotiate this expanse by a rapid and uninter- 
rupted march. Not only was that done, but it was 
found out later that by the rounding up of enemy 
observers and patrols, information of the advance upon 
Meleit did not reach El Fasher until the British Column 
had arrived. 

The Sultan's best chance was thus lost. Neverthe- 
less, Ali Dinar at once moved out to give battle, and 
his presence was disclosed by the large parties of his 
horsemen and camelry, who, as soon as the British 
force struck camp at Meleit, hung on to it. The Sultan's 
army was found drawn up behind the village of Beringia, 
in a strong position, his left extending forward in a 
semi-circle, his right wing " refused," and its flank 
covered by a steep depression. The centre and left 
were entrenched. These were capable dispositions, 
and the task before Col. Kelly's force looked no easy 
thing. The infantry were formed into a square, and 
advanced in that order. Covering and screening the 
advance, part of the British camelry penetrated into 
Beringia, and some of them pushed through it, to a 

100 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 1914-1916 

ridge on the farther side. Here they came under a 
concentrated hostile fire, and were compelled to retreat. 
On the part of the enemy this seems to have been taken 
as the beginning of a British defeat, for leaving their 
trenches they forthwith dashed out in pursuit. The 
British screen of mounted men then drew off, but dis- 
closed the square. Ali Dinar's army charged down upon 
it, attempting to enclose on three sides. And the assault 
was desperate, for despite the fire of the machine-guns 
and the withering volleys of the riflemen, some of the 
enemy fell within ten yards. Nor was one repulse 
enough. The attack was rallied, and after a brisk 
fusillade again thrown forward. This time, however, 
the ranks were seen to waver. Instantly the order was 
given for counter-attack. With great steadiness the 
troops formed into line and, the maxims keeping 
pace with them, swept forward with notable dash. 
The Sultan's army was driven in disorder from the field. 
Just outside El Fasher there was another action — a 
hostile night assault, but the back of the resistance had 
been broken, and the capital was occupied without 
further fighting. Ali Dinar, now a fugitive, fled to the 
south-west. For some time he kept up a desultory 
opposition, but finally, at Guiba, was surprised in his 
camp at dawn. His body was found about a mile 
from the camp. While striving to escape he had been 
shot through the head. 



101 



CHAPTER VI 

THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS : FIRST PHASE 

The situation in February, 1916 — Strength of German forces — The 
German positions round Taveta — Reorganisation of the British 
Divisions — Tighe's plan of a converging attack — Capture of 
German defences at Mbuyuni and Serengeti — The water supply 
problem — Reinforcements from South Airica — Dispositions of 
General Smuts for the battle of Kilimanjaro — Stewart's turning 
movement — Van Deventer breaks through German line — Capture 
of Taveta — A rapid and sweeping victor y — German retreat upon 
Latoma-Reata pass — Struggle for the defile — Germans iall back 
upon Kahe — Importance of the position — Again won by turning 
movement — Action in the Pangani Valley — German retreat to 
Lembeni — The rainy season — Smuts re-groups his forces — His 
new plans — Van Deventers seizure of Lokissale — German inten- 
tions disclosed — Expedition of van Deventer to Kandoa Irangi — 
Battle of Kandoa Irangi and defeat of von Lettow-Vorbeck — Its 
influence on the Campaign — Smuts advances south from Kahe — 
Germans squeezed out of Usambara highlands — Action at Mikots- 
cheni — Capture of Handeni — Battle on the Lukigura river — Belgian 
troops invade Ruanda — British attack and occupy Mwanza — 
End of this phase of the campaign. 

General Smuts, at the request of the British Govern- 
ment at home, assumed command of the British forces 
in East Africa on February 12, 1916, and embarking 
at Capetown on the same day, reached the scene of 
operations in British East Africa on February 19. 
During the eighteen months which had now gone by 
since the outbreak of the war, the situation had materi- 
ally changed. Though the Germans still remained in 
possession, so far undisputed, of the whole of their 
territory, the change had been against them. Their 
offensive enterprises north-west and south-west had 
alike failed, and the inroad thus made into their resources 
had brought no corresponding profit. They had lost, 

102 






THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

too, and this was even more important, the line of 
communication along the Great Lakes. Definitely 
von Lettow-Vorbeek, who had expected the war by this 
time to be over, found himself placed upon the defensive, 
and with the prospect, not only of an inroad from the 
north, but of an attack across Tanganyika from the 
Congo Free State, and an incursion, the preparations 
for which were already in hand, from Rhodesia. His 
forces had from casualties and sickness suffered serious 
diminution, these losses amounting roughly to a third 
of the total, but he had yet in the field some 14,000 
native and 2,000 European troops, and he had, it was 
reliably estimated, 60 guns and 80 machine-guns. 
Since, also, the native element of his army were, in 
fact, professional soldiers, they were by no means to 
be despised. He could rely besides implicitly upon 
their fidelity, for being detribalised, if the Germans 
were beaten in the war these men must lose their all. 

It was all round a serious situation. At the same 
time, if von Lettow-Vorbeek could hold off the main 
British attack from the north, there was the chance by 
guerilla tactics of wearing out the others. And the 
outlook on the north was from the German standpoint 
not altogether gloomy. For eighteen months the 
German forces had not only held Taveta, and defied 
every effort to oust them, but they had established 
and at this date occupied round that place a crescent 
of strong and strongly fortified positions. Taveta 
lies just below the south-eastern spur of Kilimanjaro, 
and upon the little river Lumi, which rising high up 
on the great mountain, falls in the first place into a 
mountain lake or tarn called Chala, and then flows 
southwards through Taveta until lost in Lake Yipe 
some ten miles below the town. And through Taveta, 
east to west, crossing the Lumi, run both the high road 
and the branch railway from Voi (on the line to Mom- 
basa), to Moschi. It was clear that so long as the 
Germans held Taveta no British advance to the south 
could take place. Taveta was the key position. 

Why the Germans had held the place so long will be the 

103 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

more readily understood when it is added that they 
had fortified themselves on the high ground round Lake 
Chala, had seized, fortified, and connected up with the 
Chala position a bold bluff called the Salaita, some 
twenty miles to the east of Taveta and covering the 
town on that side ; a position on and commanding the 
Voi-Moschi railway, Serengeti, where they had con- 
structed a fortified camp ; and a strong advanced post 
at Mbuyuni, another four miles along the railway 
to the east, and seventeen miles from Taveta. And 
with this arc of positions they appeared secure, for 
Lake Yipe, surrounded by high hills, being in the way, 
an attack upon Taveta from the south was not practic- 
able. From the west Taveta is overlooked by the 
outlying foothills of Kilimanjaro. Between two of 
these, Latema on the north, and Reata on the south, 
there is a pass over which the road and railway to 
Moschi are alike carried. The pass likewise had been 
fortified, but to assail the Taveta position on that side 
it was necessary to undertake a long detour across the 
main mountain range. Thus posted, the Germans 
during these eighteen months had not remained passive. 
They had used their lines round Taveta as a base for 
frequent raids and incursions, and near the coast, to 
arrest any invasion in that quarter, had maintained a 
considerable force on the river Umba. 

On his side also, General Tighe had not been inactive. 
He had reorganised the forces under his command into 
two divisions. The 1st, under Major-General Stewart 
(promoted for his services at Bukoba), was told off to 
operate against the Longido position, held by the 
Germans in order to bar a turning movement. 
Stewart's base was the railhead of the branch line to 
Lake Magadi. The 2nd Division, under Brigadier- 
General Malleson, was to operate against Mbuyuni and 
the Serengeti camp. Malleson carried the advanced 
work on January 22, and captured the camp two days 
later. The next intended stage was the seizure of 
Salaita. For that purpose a strong concentration at 
Mbuyuni was essential, but before it could be carried 

104 



FIRST PHASE 

out the problem of water supply had to be taken in hand. 
The country to the east of Taveta is arid. Of the 
100,000 gallons needed day by day for troops and 
transport, 40,000 had been obtained by laying a pipe- 
line across the dry belt. The other 60,000 gallons a 
day had to be brought up by rail, or by road in storage 
tanks. With all these difficulties the engineers, under 
the direction of Lieut.-Col. Collins, R.E., had success- 
fully grappled, notwithstanding the German efforts to 
destroy the reservoir which fed the pipe-line. 

As for the general scheme of operations, assuming 
the attack upon Salaita to prosper, the proposal of 
General Tighe was an advance upon Taveta from the 
Salaita hill in conjunction with Stewart's turning 
movement across the mountains. It was hoped to 
drive the enemy from Taveta upon Kahe to the south- 
west, at which point the 2nd Division was to join up 
with the 1st. The Germans ought by these combined 
operations to be pushed coastwards towards Wilhelmstal. 

Such was the position of the affairs when General 
Smuts reached the front. He had been preceded by 
an important reinforcement of South African troops, 
both mounted and foot, and his South African Staff 
included Generals Van Deventer and Beves, whose 
conspicuous services in South-west Africa have already 
been described. This accession of strength, of course, 
made a most substantial difference. 

From the general plan of his predecessor General 
Smuts, on reviewing the situation, did not dissent, but 
in order to bring in the South African troops he modified 
it. Opposed to him there were, according to reliable 
intelligence, 6,000 enemy riflemen with 16 field pieces 
and 37 machine-guns. His decision was this : — 

The 1st Division (Stewart) was to begin its movement 
from Longido, with the Moschi road as its immediate 
objective, on March 5. 

On March 7, allowing Stewart two clear days' start, 
the South Africans (Van Deventer) were, setting out 
from Mbuyuni and Serengeti in the evening, to make 
a night march round and to the north of the German 

105 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

lines, and attacking east of Lake Chala, were from that 
point to strike to the west of Taveta across the Taveta- 
Moschi road. By this manoeuvre a direct attack through 
the thick bush between Salaita and Taveta could be 
avoided. The South Africans of Van Deventer's force were 
the 1st Mounted Brigade and the 3rd Infantry Brigade. 

The 2nd Division (Tighe) was on the morning of March 
8 to advance against Salaita, entrench on a line facing 
the ridge, and make preparations for an assault, sup- 
ported by the massed artillery of the whole British force. 
By the time this demonstration was in progress, 
Van Deventer in all probability would have debouched 
to the west of Taveta. 

Reserve (Beves) consisting of the 2nd South African 
Infantry Brigade, with two batteries of guns (one 
battery heavies) was to move up between Van Deventer 
and the 2nd Division, and taking up a position astride 
the Lumi, reinforce either as required. 

By the 7th, Stewart's movement was well under way, 
and he had covered the worst part of the road. Also 
by six on the morning of the 8th, Van Deventer's force 
had reached the Lumi. His mounted men rode round 
by the north of the lake, while his infantry pushed east 
of it. Not expecting an onset here, the enemy, too 
thin successfully to resist, fell back upon Taveta. The 
attack cut off a German contingent on the extreme 
left of their line, and these troops, making for Taveta 
along the Lumi, encountered the British Reserve. In 
a sharp bush battle they were beaten off. Pushing on, 
Van Deventer threw his Mounted Brigade astride the 
Taveta-Moschi road. The result was the enemy's 
speedy evacuation of Taveta. But this movement was 
apparently, when heard of there, countermanded from 
the German headquarters, and a large body of the 
retreating troops were turned back. They found 
themselves anticipated. Part of Van Deventer's 
mounted brigade had already ridden in, and the outcome 
was that the re'reat had to be renewed but with the 
South Africans in hot pursuit. The Germans fell back 
towards the Latema-Reata pass. 

106 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

In the meanwhile, Tighe had brought off his demon- 
stration before Salaita, and the artillery had opened 
upon the position. In due course, the infantry advanced 
to the assault, but all they found to assault were empty 
trenches. Hearing of the operation at Chala and of its 
result, the enemy had decamped. The retirement had 
been expected, and a body of mounted men had been 
moved up from Taveta to bar the Salaita-Taveta road. 
To avoid them, the enemy from Salaita struck across 
country to the south-west. It was plain from these 
events that the Germans had been thrown into con- 
fusion. Not only had the whole of their carefully 
elaborated line from Salaita to Chala fallen down like 
a house of cards, but their force had been cut into two 
parts. And what mattered most of all, they were on 
the move. This striking triumph too had been gained 
by Smuts with trifling casualties. Von Lettow-Vorbeck 
must have realised that he had to deal with an opponent 
who was his match in resources. 

But he was not disposed yet to yield the honours. 
To check a British advance from Taveta was vital. 
If it could not be checked the campaign was as good as 
lost. A rally therefore took place on the Latema- 
Reata pass, and evidently orders had been issued to 
hold there at all costs. Uncertain as to the line of retire- 
ment the main body of the enemy had taken, General 
Smuts decided to throw out feelers, and Malleson, with a 
mixed force of South African, British, and Indian troops, 
was ordered to push up the pass, and if possible seize it. 

The first phase of the battle had been a succession of 
sweeping and admirably co-ordinated movements ; 
this second phase was by contrast obstinate and deadly. 
Since to advance directly up the pass exposed to machine- 
gun and rifle fire from both sides was out of the question, 
Malleson determined upon the capture of the Latema 
ridge, the higher of the two and dominating the road 
and railway both on the ascent and descent. The sides 
of this ridge are steep, and clothed with dense bush. 
Amid the growth the enemy had posted machine- 
gunners, and a battery of pom-poms was brought into 

108 



FIRST PHASE 

action. The result was that Malleson's men could make 
but little headway. The attack was now stiffened 
from the Reserve, and Tighe, who had in the meantime 
marched into Taveta with his Division, took on the 
command, Malleson having fallen out ill. Tighe's 
Rhodesians and King's African Rifles were added to 
the reinforcement at the same time. The former pressed 
gallantly up the ridge, and gained the summit. Most, 
however, could not maintain their footing. 

General Tighe, the battle having lasted all day, now 
resorted to the manoeuvre of a night attack, or rather 
an attack by moonlight. The idea was for two battalions 
of South African infantry to advance in file covered by 
the clumps of bush along each side of the main road. 
This operation was led by Lieut.-Col. Byron, 5th South 
African Infantry. It was met with a sweeping fire. 
Byron fought his way up to the summit of the pass, 
but by that time many of his battalion having lost 
themselves, he had with him only twenty men. It 
was the intention when the summit had been reached 
for the force to wheel outward and push up on to the 
spurs. Lieut.-Col. Freeth, 7th South African Infantry, 
with one party of his own men went up the slope of the 
Latema ridge ; Major Thompson, of the same corps, 
up the Reata slope. The climb in each case was preci- 
pitous. Freeth got to the top, and joined there the 
Rhodesians and Africans who had held on. But though 
the summit of the pass had been gained further pro- 
gress was impossible, for the enemy's main position 
was found to have been dug across it, and was defended 
by a fierce crossfire. At one in the morning, after 
moonset, the 130th Baluchis were ordered forward in 
support. While moving up they met Byron coming 
down. He told them he had directed a retirement. 
The Indian troops therefore dug in. 

Looking at these events, though the total British 
losses in the action had not exceeded 270 men, a fact 
attributed to the high and rank growth and the cover 
afforded by it, General Smuts, convinced that evacuation 
of the pass would be an assured result of Stewart's 

109 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

movement, decided upon a withdrawal, and it was 
being carried out when the patrols sent to call in the 
parties who had climbed the ridges found them in 
undisputed possession. The enemy, whose losses, 
judging by the abandoned and unburied dead found 
on the ground, had been severe, was in full retreat. 
He had seemingly already heard that the column from 
Longido was menacing his rear. Stewart had found 
his road barred by the destruction of bridges, but had 
discovered another way out farther to the west, and 
to the Germans' surprise and discomfiture had debouched 
on to the road from Moschi. The Germans had conse- 
quently to fall back upon Kahe. 

General Smuts was now about to begin his drive 
towards the south. As a preliminary Van Deventer 
pushed on to Moschi, and apart from brushes of his 
vanguard with parties of enemy riflemen, he entered 
the place unopposed. Moschi, the centre of the British- 
Dutch settlement round Kilimanjaro, is a town of some 
importance, and about thirty miles within the German 
boundary. Since it was both the terminus of the 
railway from Tanga via Wilhelmstal, and the meeting 
point of several main roads, it was a jumping-off position 
of the highest value. At New Moschi, on the road to 
the west, Stewart's Column joined up. 

While his advance parties were reconnoitring the 
positions taken up by von Lettow-Vorbeck's forces at 
Kahe and along the Pangani (or Ruwu) river, the 
British commander, with Moschi as his new base, at 
once got to work upon preparations for his movement. 
The chase, if it was to be effective, must be a long- 
winded chase. Risk of breakdown could not be taken. 
The road from Taveta to Moschi had to be repaired and 
improved : transport overhauled and reorganised ; 
supplies brought forward. Time was of consequence, 
because it was of no slight moment to drive the enemy 
across the Pangani before the coming of the rains. 
Unless that were done, the task of dislodging him would 
be difficult. 

The key of the Pangani position was Kahe. Between 

110 



FIRST PHASE 

Kilimanjaro and the Usambara plateau on the coast 
there is, running north to south, a long rib of rising land 
which at its highest point — the Pare Mountains — is 
more than 2,000 feet above sea-level. To the east of 
it lies the Umba valley and the dry country of Taveta ; 
to the west, the Pangani valley. The main road from 
Moschi to Tanga had been constructed along the west- 
ward slope of this rib, and below the road in the valley, 
following an almost parallel track, ran the railway. 
Kahe, on the main road at the upper end of the Pangani 
valley, occupied a hump jutting out from the ridge, and 
terminating in a bold, and apparently isolated, summit. 
The place was a natural fortress, and the enemy had 
turned it to the best account. To attack it in the 
ordinary way would have been a costly and uncertain 
operation. In the attack, however, General Smuts 
followed his characteristic South African tactics. There 
was a frontal advance from Moschi initiated on the 
18th under the command of General Sheppard with 
the mounted troops of the 1st Division, supported by 
mountain guns and some field pieces. The advance 
was sharply resisted, and three battalions of the 2nd 
South African Brigade were detailed to stiffen it. On 
the 18th and 19th this action went on, and to all 
appearances the attack made very little impression. 
But on March 20, the enemy being thus busily occupied, 
and probably pluming himself on his defence, Van 
Deventer moved out of Moschi with the 1st South 
African Mounted Brigade, the 4th South African Horse, 
and two batteries of guns ; struck south-west, wheeled 
to the east ; crossed the river ; and while the enemy 
was busy with a night attack upon Sheppard's camp 
got astride the railway and the road. Then, moving 
up the valley, he boldly made for Kahe hill, driving in 
the rear and flank guards opposed to him. By this 
time, however, the enemy had taken the alarm, and 
Kahe had been hastily evacuated. Thus by skilful 
manoeuvring the Germans had in rapid succession been 
squeezed out of two important and naturally strong 
positions. 

Ill 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

Here appeared a counter-stratagem on the part of the 
German general which more than once turned up in 
the course of the campaign. It might have been 
supposed that his force would have fallen back towards 
the east across the rise, or moved along it towards 
the south. Either of those moves, however, would 
have entrapped them. What they in fact did was to 
strike to the west, slipping out through the gap be- 
tween Van Deventer's force and that of Sheppard. 
To cover this movement and give their main body a 
better start, they sent back a contingent ostensibly to 
retake Kahe, as though its abandonment had been a 
mistake. 

Farther down the Pangani valley they took up a strong 
position between the Soko Nassai and Defu rivers, 
two of the Pangani's tributaries. Those streams 
covered the enemy's flanks. Along the front of his 
line there was a clearing in the bush varying in breadth 
from 600 to 1,200 yards. To attack him at close 
quarters this space had to be crossed. But as his forces 
were hidden in the high thick undergrowth on the 
farther side, the crossing was a ticklish proposition. 
Moving out on March 21 to clear the valley, Sheppard 
was brought up against this obstruction. His plan 
was to turn the right of the German line. It was 
found, however, that the bush there was too dense to 
traverse, and with the exception of two companies of 
the 129th Baluchis who crossed the Soko Nassai, the 
troops told off for this part of the work never got into 
the fight at all. In the circumstances a frontal attack 
was essayed. The effort was gallantly made, and it 
was well supported by the artillery, but it failed. Proofs 
were afterwards forthcoming that the enemy's losses 
had been severe, but those on the British side were 
288, more than in the fight for the Latema-Reata pass. 
That night Sheppard's men dug in. At dawn it was 
intended to renew the assault, and patrols stole forward 
to reconnoitre. They found the German lines and 
trenches deserted. In the night von Lettow-Vorbeck 
had crossed the Pangani moving towards Lembeni. 

112 



FIRST PHASE 

Of two 4.1 -inch naval guns he had used in the battle, one 
mounted on a railway truck manoeuvred up and down the 
line, and the other in a fixed position, the latter had 
been left behind. It was evident from this action that 
European tactics were little suited to operations in a 
country where the wild growth is six to ten feet in 
height. At the same time, the important work of 
driving the enemy across the Pangani had been rapidly 
accomplished, and the price paid cannot be considered 
high. A chain of British posts was established along 
the river, and the preparations pushed on for continuing 
the campaign. 

April and May are in this part of Africa the rainy 
months, and in this season of 1916 the rains happened 
to be above the average heavy. They are heaviest in 
any season in the mountain area round Kilimanjaro. 
For nearly six weeks, once the weather broke, the down- 
pour continued day after day, the fall within twenty-four 
hours sometimes equalling four inches. When that 
occurs the country is flooded out ; roads waist deep in 
water ; the rivers and streams roaring and impassable 
torrents. 

Under these conditions nothing could be done. All 
the same, General Smuts wasted no time. His force 
was increased by the 2nd South African Mounted Bri- 
gade, and he now took advantage of the rainy interval 
to reorganise. As he has himself stated, he was in 
command of a most heterogeneous army, got together 
from all quarters, contingent by contingent, and speaking 
a Babel of languages. By comparison, the enemy 
troops, though fewer in number, presented a unity alike 
in composition and in training. To tighten up the 
structure of the British field force was not merely 
advisable ; it was essential. In the meantime, too, 
there had arrived from Capetown Generals Brits, Manie 
Botha, and Berrange. With those experienced officers 
also at his disposition, the Commander-in-Chief was able to 
form a striking force of three divisions, consisting in 
part of South Africans, mounted and foot, in part of native 
regiments recruited in British East Africa. These 

118 I 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

troops were the most acclimatised. None others, it was 
clear, could long stand the strain of swift campaigning 
in such a region. Accordingly, the British and Indian 
units were held in reserve. They had already gone 
through more than a year of the war, some a year and 
a half. The climate of East Africa exacts a heavier toll 
than battles. As re-shaped, the new divisions of 
manoeuvre were : — 

1st Division (Major-General A. R. Hoskins) comprising 
the 1st East African Brigade (Sheppard) and the 2nd 
East African Brigade (Brigadier-General J. A. Hannyng- 
ton). 

2nd Division (Van Deventer) comprising the 1st 
South African Mounted Brigade (Manie Botha), and the 
3rd South African Infantry Brigade (Berrange). 

3rd Division (Brits) comprising the 2nd South African 
Mounted Brigade (Brigadier-General B. Enslin), and 
the 2nd South African Infantry Brigade (Beves). 

The main body of the enemy had by this time fallen 
back south upon and were passing the wet season in the 
Pare Mountains, and that fact had a certain influence 
on the decision of General Smuts as to the strategy to be 
followed. The German recruiting ground lay west of 
the main mountain range, for in other parts of the 
colony the natives were at best passively hostile, and 
von Lettow-Vorbeck drew the larger part of his supplies 
from the same inland area, through Tabora, a place 
west of the mountains and on the Dar-es-Salem — Ujiji 
railway. If, then, the German commander, while 
keeping open his communications with Tabora, could 
retain his hold on the Pare Mountains and the Usambara 
plateau, a most difficult triangle of country, he had a 
chance of carrying on the campaign in a manner calcu- 
lated at once to conserve his own resources and to waste 
those of the attack. Further, if to cripple him the 
British detached any considerable force to seize Tabora, 
moving it up to Kisumu, and across the Victoria Nyanza, 
to avoid the mountain barrier, he had the reply of a 
threat against Mombasa. 

General Smuts inferred that the retreat of the hostile 

114 



FIRST PHASE 

main body upon the Pare range had been made with 
these ideas in view. Weighing, therefore, and rejecting 
possible alternatives, he decided first to strike at the 
Tabora line of communication directly across country 
from Moschi. That move on his part, he had no doubt, 
would have the effect of detaching a strong contingent 
from the German main force, and, assuming that it had, 
he could then, with very slight risk, thrust south along 
the lower course of the Pangani, cut in between the two 
enemy bodies, and either isolate those on the Usambara 
heights or squeeze them out. It was a simple, bold, 
and practicable plan, and at the earliest moment 
after the rains, and on the first indication that the 
country was again becoming traversable, he put it into 
execution. 

Before the wet season Arusha, seventy miles west of 
Moschi, had fallen into his hands, and Van Deventer 
with the 2nd Division was now there. The Germans 
had at the beginning of April a force at Lokissale, thirty- 
five miles south-west of Arusha. Their position com- 
manding the road into the centre of the colony from 
Arusha was a mountain nearly 7,000 feet high, and it was 
important, because on it were the only springs of water 
in the area. The road from Arusha here runs with the 
mountains on one side, and the Masai tableland on the 
other, and it is a lonely upland region. Likely enough, 
the Germans at Lokissale did not think they would be 
disturbed until after the rains, but on the evening of 
April 3, Van Deventer, with three regiments of his 
mounted men, dashed out of Arusha, and, after a night 
ride, was next morning before the enemy stronghold. 
Covered by the mists, he surrounded it. The Germans 
and their auxiliaries resisted with determination, for the 
position was vital. All that day and the next they held 
out. On the 6th, however, the whole force, 17 white 
and 404 askari combatants, with their commander, 
Kaempf, laid down their arms. Their stores, ammuni- 
tion, pack animals and machine-guns fell into Van 
Deventer's hands, and a body of native porters and camp 
followers were obtained at the same time. 

115 I 2 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

But not less valuable than the captures was the infor- 
mation gleaned from Kaempf's papers. It was learned 
that von Lettow-Vorbeck, in order to close this route, 
was taking steps to reinforce his garrisons at Ufiome, 
Kandoa Irangi, and other places on the western edge of 
the Masai steppe, and that meanwhile these garrisons 
had received orders, which were also the orders of 
Kaempf, to hold out, if attacked, as long as possible. 
This information at once confirmed the British Com- 
mander-in-Chief's inference, and his instant resolution 
was to seize Ufiome, Umbulu, and Kandoa Irangi before 
the enemy could reinforce. On April 7, accordingly, 
Van Deventer pushed on to the first of these three places. 
The enemy, 20 whites and 200 askaris, were found 
occupying a ridge. They were defeated and driven 
west into the mountains. All the supplies at Ufiome, 
and they were large, were secured. In the interim the 
infantry of Van Deventer's Division had been following 
up, and a contingent took over the captured position. 
Some slight delay now arose owing to the exhaustion 
of the horses, but the move was as soon as possible 
resumed, and on April 11 Umbulu was taken. At 
Kandoa Irangi, one of the most important road centres 
in the colony, the Germans had a powerful wireless 
installation. On the approach of Van Deventer's 
mounted men, on April 17, the garrison, a considerable 
force, came out into the open and advanced four miles 
to the north. The fight went on for two days. By the 
end of that time Van Deventer had so manoeuvred as to 
thrust part of his force between the defence lines and the 
town, and having edged the garrison out of it and beaten 
them, he took it without further opposition. The cap- 
tures here included 800 head of cattle. 

How remarkable a feat this dash was may be inferred 
from the fact that Kandoa Irangi is distant from Arusha 
120 miles, and the daring of the move may be gathered 
from the further fact that, owing to the rains, Van 
Deventer and his men were for several weeks entirely 
cut off from communication with Moschi, and had to 
live on supplies collected on the spot, supplemented by 

116 



FIRST PHASE 

such provisions as could be carried across the country 
from Arusha by native porters. 

On the campaign, however, the move had an influence 
beyond estimate. No sooner had the news of it reached 
him than von Lettow-Vorbeck, realising what it implied, 
hurried from Usambara at the head of 4,000 men. He 
had already, in the defeat and dispersal of his garrisons, 
had his total strength lessened by some 2,000 combatants. 
Rain or no rain therefore, partly by road, partly by 
railway, he pressed on, collecting another 1,000 men en 
route. From Kilimatinde, the nearest point on the central 
railway, Kandoa Irangi is distant about eighty miles. 
That final lap was covered by rapid marches, and on 
May 7 he arrived. Whether he still hoped to find 
Kandoa Irangi holding out is uncertain, but what is 
quite certain is that he had resolved to attack before 
Van Deventer's Division could be reinforced, and inflict 
a crushing defeat upon it. Owing to sickness and 
fatigue, the South African commander could not now 
muster more than 3,000 effectives fit for duty. In the 
circumstances, and looking at his isolated position, he 
stood upon the defensive. Von Lettow-Vorbeck gave his 
own troops, twenty-five double companies, two days' rest. 
Then he attacked, and the attack was desperate. Four 
times the askaris, urged on by their German officers, 
stormed up to the South African trenches, and four 
times they were beaten off. The enemy's bravery was 
almost fanatical. But against the shooting of the de- 
fending force it was of no avail. While by no means 
indifferent shots, for their German instructors had taken 
every pains to make them efficient, the askaris were not 
a match for troops who, as marksmen, have no superiors 
in the world. Their losses, which were heavy, included 
von Kornatsky, a battalion commander, killed, and 
another battalion commander, von Bock, wounded. 
Nothing could better indicate the character of this 
struggle. The battle continued all day and far into the 
night. In the early hours of the morning, and well 
before daybreak, von Lettow-Vorbeck and his shattered 
force withdrew. His next move was to try to starve 

117 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

Van Deventer out by ranging, before the heaviest rains 
came on, over the surrounding country, one of the most 
fertile and healthy parts of East Africa. That procedure, 
however, did not succeed, and before long he had serious 
events elsewhere to claim his attention. 

The moment he had news of the enemy's defeat at 
Kandoa Irangi, General Smuts hurried forward the 
movement which on his side was to form its sequel. 
There was the possibility that von Lettow-Vorbeck might, 
to save time, march back to Handeni, across the Masai 
steppe by the old caravan route, and if the intended 
British movement down the Pangani were thus fore- 
stalled it would find itself confronted by the reunited 
German main body. To cross the steppe to Handeni 
is, for infantry, a twelve days' march. It was imperative, 
therefore, that the British divisions at Kahe should move 
out on the earliest date on which transport became 
feasible. The rains continued to fall until nearly the 
middle of May, but as usual towards the end of the wet 
season, they became lighter, and by degrees the sun re- 
asserted its power. From Kahe to Handeni is, roughly, 
the same distance as from Kandoa Irangi, but the British 
forces had by far the more difficult stretch of country 
to negotiate. Besides, there were still in the Pare and 
Usambara area enough enemy troops to put up a serious 
delaying opposition. Everything, then, turned upon 
the length of time at the start. 

The advance began on May 18. The main column 
(Sheppard and Beves) followed the road from Kahe 
southwards. With it was most of the artillery and the 
transport. Slightly to the rear of its leading formation 
marched, on the parallel route along the railway, a 
smaller flanking column (Hannyngton). A second 
flanking column (Col. T. O. Fitzgerald) set out from 
Mbuyuni, and crossing the ridge south of Kilimanjaro 
by the Ngulu pass, joined the main column at the Pare 
Mountains. The main column thus went forward 
covered on both flanks, a disposition which contributed 
to rapid movement. General Smuts was himself in 
command, Hoskins assisting. 

118 



FIRST PHASE 

The enemy had taken up a position at Lembeni, 
chosen because at that point the railway runs close under 
the hills. But General Smuts had no intention of wasting 
time and men in a frontal attack upon fortified lines, 
much less upon lines affording every advantage to the 
defence and none to the assault. He was aware that 
even should Fitzgerald's movement not have the effect 
of compelling an evacuation, the movement of Ilannyng- 
ton, who had turned off and was moving down the 
Pangani west of the railway, assuredly would. And 
the calculation proved exact. The enemy, finding that 
his retreat was threatened, abandoned Lembeni without 
waiting for the firing of a shot. To cut him off from the 
TJsambara plateau, Hannyngton was sent across the 
hills with orders to double back through the Gonja 
Gap, a broad defile dividing off the Pare Mountains 
from the plateau. This move entirely succeeded. 
Hannyngton reached the Gap — it was a fine marching 
feat — and seized the bridge over the Mkomasi river, 
barring hostile retirement in that direction. 

The Gap closed, the German force, headed off the 
TJsambara plateau, had no choice save to go on falling 
back down the Pangani valley, and their next stand was 
at Mikotscheni, a position very like that at Lembeni. 
On this occasion they waited for a fight, and the frontal 
assault they had expected was duly delivered by the 
2nd Rhodesians. Is it necessary to add that it was not 
the real thing ? The real thing was a movement by 
Sheppard's Brigade. Turning to the left a slight way 
up the Gonja Gap, the Brigade swarmed up on to and 
carried the bluff overlooking and commanding the 
enemy's lines. To have retired now would have been 
disastrous, and rather shrewdly the German commander 
fought on, though outflanked, until past nightfall. Then 
as quietly as possible, he moved once more. The move 
was to Mombo station, connected with Handeni by a 
trolley line. Along this line the enemy marched to 
Mkalamo, where they entrenched. 

So far they had been unmercifully hustled, for the 
distance from Lembeni to Handeni is a good hundred 

119 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

miles, and it had had to be covered in little more than a 
week, the fight at Mikotscheni included. In fact, in ten 
days the British force had advanced 130 miles, and that, 
too, in face of opposition and over a country which, 
with the exception of the route along the Pangani, was 
roadless. In bridge building and bridge repairing the 
engineers surpassed themselves. 

Handeni, when reconnoitred, was found to be strongly 
fortified. Upon that position, after a sharp action in 
which they had been driven from their entrenchments 
at Mkalami by the 1st East African Brigade and had 
suffered serious loss, the enemy force had concentrated. 
In the meantime, having occupied Wilhelmstal and 
secured that place, Hannyngton had marched south 
through Mombo. His arrival made it practicable to 
detach Sheppard's Brigade for a characteristic manoeuvre. 
On the east side, that is, between the plateau and the 
coastal belt, the Masai steppe is fringed by mountains 
just as it is on the west. The light railway from Mombo 
to Handeni ran along the inner, or highland side of the 
hills, and the Handeni position was close to and com- 
manded a gorge through which flows seaward the 
Msangasi river. The Handeni position itself was a bold, 
and nearly isolated bluff, over 2,000 feet high. Its 
slopes had been scored into tiers of trenches. Here, 
therefore, the enemy not only obstructed the way south, 
but was safe against any attempt to turn him by a move- 
ment along and from the coast. But that was not the 
British commander's intention. What he did was to 
send Sheppard to the west. Crossing the Msangasi 
higher up, Sheppard struck south, and next day was at 
Pongwe, on the German line of retreat. A strong detach- 
ment with quick-firing guns were found holding the 
place. Sheppard attacked, drove them out, and scat- 
tered them through the bush, where one of their pom- 
poms, left behind, was picked up. This done, he 
doubled back towards Handeni. The hostile force 
there had, however, already evacuated the stronghold. 
They had split up, some retreating through the gorge, 
some across the hills, the rest westward over the plateau. 

120 



FIRST PHASE 

As it was certain that they meant to reassemble 
farther to the south, Fitzgerald with the 5th South 
Africans was sent in pursuit by way of Pongwe. He 
was to occupy Kangata, eight miles beyond that place. 
And at Kangata he butted into the new concentration. 
It had taken place there because Kangata was at the 
northern end of a main road which the Germans had 
recently constructed from Morogoro on their Central 
Railway. This road, though still unfinished, had been 
completed for eighty miles to the north from Morogoro, 
cutting transversely across the Nguru mountains. 
Round Kangata the bush is thick, and the enemy was 
entirely hidden in it, and but for the vigilance of the 
South African scouting Fitzgerald would have been 
ambushed. Greatly outnumbered, he lost heavily, but 
the effort to drive him off proved futile, and he held on 
until the main British Column came up. 

The next obstacle was the Lukigura river. There the 
enemy held the bridge on which the new road had been 
carried over the stream, and as the Lukigura is rapid, 
tumbling seaward from the steppe through the moun- 
tains, and between precipitous banks, this was again 
a tough little problem. Round the north end of the 
bridge there was laid out an arc of defences. General 
Smuts, however, had again thought out his turning 
tactics. In the night Hoskins set out with two battalions 
of South Africans, and a composite battalion made up 
of Kashmiri Imperial Service Infantry, and companies 
of the 25th Royal Fusiliers, and a body of mounted 
scouts ; followed the course of the Lukigura upstream ; 
found a crossing ; passed over ; and was next morning, 
after a rough march through the hills, on the new road 
to the rear of the hostile position. Preconcerted signals 
having shown that the manoeuvre had been brought off, 
Sheppard with both East African Brigades began a 
frontal attack, and it was in progress when Hoskins 
debouched on the enemy's rear. The enemy was now 
surrounded on three sides, and but for the bluffs, densely 
overgrown with scrub, would have been surrounded 
altogether. He no longer stood on ceremony, but break- 

121 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

ing up, his now usual resource when in a tight place, made 
his way in parties through the jungle of grass and giant 
weeds. Much of his ammunition, and machine-gun and 
other equipment had, however, to be left behind, and a 
good proportion of his force was captured. 

In every sense the drive south from Kahe had been 
extraordinary, and the more it is studied in detail the 
more remarkable it appears. There were not only the 
actual difficulties of such an advance in such a country ; 
there was the necessity of dealing with guerilla tactics 
in the rear. When the Germans found that direct 
effective resistance was out of the question, they laid 
themselves out to hamper the transit of supplies, re- 
mounts, and munitions. Bands of snipers infested the 
country, and skirmishes with convoys were of daily 
occurrence. All this had to be systematically dealt with 
and put down, and apparently innocent non-combatants 
of German nationality rounded up. On the coast, from 
Tanga as far south as Bagamoyo, the occupation of the 
ports was effected by landing parties from the ships of 
the blockading squadron. Meanwhile, in view of the 
distance to Moschi, the Lukigura represented for the 
present the limit of the advance. Th. problem of supply 
had been stretched to its utmost. The advanced base 
must be moved from Moschi farther to the south and 
the line of communication thoroughly secured. So far 
indeed had the supply problem been stretched, added 
to guerilla obstruction, that on the march from the 
Pangani the troops had lived upon half-rations. Not 
infrequently, also, they had had to face shortage of 
water. All this was wearing, and the percentage of 
sickness had become high. Had it not been for the 
wise prevision which had reserved ample force to deal 
with irregular attacks in the rear, the movement would 
have been held up. In any event, the time had come 
before going farther to reorganise, rest, and refit. Hence 
just south of the Lukigura, General Smuts laid out a 
standing camp sufficient for his whole force, and pro- 
ceeded to overhaul his arrangements. 

During the advance from Kahe, and belonging to this 

122 



FIRST PHASE 

phase of the campaign, there had taken place, in the 
north-west, the invasion of Ruanda by Belgian forces 
from the Congo Free State, and the capture by the 
British of Mwanza, the German base in that area, 
where there had been erected another powerful wireless 
apparatus. In this region east and west of the Victoria 
Nyanza, co-operating with the Uganda units, Lieut. -Col. 
D. R. Adye had under his command a Lake Detachment, 
four battalions of native regulars, and auxiliaries. For 
some months his Detachment could act only upon the 
defensive, but when the Belgian Column of General 
Tombeur crossed the frontier of Ruanda, and moved 
upon the capital Kigali, the most effective British sup- 
port became a co-ordinated attack. The first objective 
was Ukerewe Island, about fifty miles in length, near the 
south end of the lake. Its capture was important 
because from it, by way of Tabora, the Germans chiefly 
drew the supply of rice forming the staple ration of their 
askaris. Adye's force, transported by the British naval 
flotilla under Commander Thornley, R.N., landed by 
surprise and took the German garrison prisoners. After 
that stroke the way was open for a move against Mwanza. 
Under General Sir Charles Crewe, who had been mean- 
while sent by General Smuts to take over the Lake 
command, the British troops there were formed into an 
Expeditionary Force, mustering some 1,800 rifles. Crewe 
to begin with occupied Bukoba, to check a hostile move- 
ment from that side. Mwanza, at the extreme south end 
of the Victoria Nyanza, lies on the eastern shore of a 
great inlet, and on the western side of a hilly promontory. 
Assembling his main body on Ukerewe Island, General 
Crewe embarked them and crossed to the Mwanza 
peninsula by night, threw part of his force ashore at 
Kongoro, on its eastern side, and another part at its 
northern end. The two columns converged upon the 
town, and the need for these precautions was that 
Mwanza, the base of their operations in all this north- 
western tract, had been converted by the Germans into 
a fortress. It was now held by 500 askaris under 
German officers. After a four days' blockade the 

123 



THE CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL SMUTS 

British got in. The Germans in the place took to the 
ships in the harbour, and on two of these, the armed 
steamer Mwanza, and Heinrich Otto, together with a 
steam pinnace Schwaben, made a dash up the gulf 
inland. At the same time the natives of the garrison 
broke out along the Tabora road, and in the running 
fight which followed many got away. Abandoned 
steamers and lighters, and a great quantity of stores, 
baggage, and ammunition, were among the captures, 
but much more significant was the uprooting of German 
power in this part of the country, and the acquisition 
of a new and valuable base for an advance upon Tabora. 



124 



CHAPTER VII 

EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN : THE CLOSING PHASES 

Fighting value of German forces — Enemy concentration in Nguru 
mountains — Van Deventer'a dash from Kandoa Irangi — Action at 
Tschenene — Railway from Tabora cut — Northey's advance from 
Rhodesia/ — Belgians take Ujiji and Kilgoma — Operations of Smuta 
in the Nguru mountains — Battle at Matamondo — Germans fall 
back towards Morogoro — Battle at Dakava — Enemy's preparations 
in the Uluguru mountains — Review of the situation — Van Deven- 
ter's march to Kilossa — Plana to entrap enemy in Uluguru area — 
Reasons for their failure — British check at Kissaki — Exhaustion 
of the combatants — Germans fall back towards Mahenge — Capture 
of Dar-es-Salem — Belgians take Tabora — Northey's advance — 
Actions at New Iringa and on the Ruhuje — Germans attack 
Lupembe — Surrender of German force at Itembule — End of the 
second phase of General Smuts's campaign — Further reorganisation 
of his force — Increase of black troops — The new British dispositions 
— Von Lettow-Vorbeck's counter-plan — Germans attack Malan- 
gali — Their defeat at Lupembe — British operations at Kilwa — 
Battle at Kibata — New plan for enclosing movement — Tactical 
disguises — Battle at Dutumi — Crossing of Rufigi seized — Opera- 
tions on the Rufigi — Smuts relinquishes the command — German 
food difficulties — Van Deventer succeeds Hoskins — Van Deventer'a 
strategy — Von Lettow-Vorbeck forced to fight — Battle at Naron- 
gombe — Mahungo captured — Battle on the Lukulede — Heavy 
German losses — Germans defeated at Mahenge — Surrender of 
Tafel's Column — End of the Campaign. 

The second phase of the campaign of General Smuts 
opened towards the end of June, 1916. In this far- 
extended struggle in East Africa and in the interior, 
difficulties arising from transport, and it is by transport 
that civilised armies live, were enormous. At the same 
time, the character of the German forces and their 
leadership must not be lost sight of. That these troops 
were, with the exception of their European officers, 
black, implied no military inferiority. They were, in 

125 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

view of their training, a body of first class fighting men, 
imbued with a professional and caste spirit, and, as 
already pointed out, devoted to their service body and 
soul. The fact that they were natives was indeed an 
advantage. Inured to the climate, they were able to 
face long and fatiguing marches on very simple, often 
scanty, fare. In equipment, again, they lacked nothing, 
and so long as the German administration in East 
Africa had credit or authority, and retained control of 
the area west of the greater mountains, enrolment of 
recruits could be depended upon to fill gaps left by 
casualties. 

In the opening phase of this campaign von Lettow- 
Vorbeck, beaten in his attempt to retake Kandoa Irangi, 
had not only lost his hold on the Usambara highlands, 
but had observed the British main force advancing 
irresistibly to the south until on the Lukigura it occupied 
a position threatening his flank on that side. Smuts 
was now not more than seventy miles from Morogoro 
and the Central Railway, and von Lettow-Vorbeck in 
the area of Kandoa Irangi was not only as far off the 
line himself, but actually farther to the north. Had 
he won in the battle at Kandoa Irangi he could, of course, 
have crossed the Masai steppe and thrown himself upon 
the flank of the British column, but to do that with a 
victorious opponent, Van Deventer, in his rear, was not 
to be thought of. He would find himself cut off from 
the south of the colony, where he had his chief remaining 
depots of ammunition and stores, and cut off, too from 
the west and from the railway and deprived therefore 
of his main means of supply. 

The situation was one that might well have given rise 
to hesitation, and it had developed with startling 
rapidity. When, however, Smuts had reached and 
passed the Lukigura, hesitation was no longer possible. 
Van Deventer notwithstanding, the further advance of 
the British main column had to be barred. The German 
commander accordingly, leaving a rearguard to watch 
and oppose Van Deventer, moved his force across 
country by forced marches, and threw himself into the 

126 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

Nguru mountains. He there rejoined the remnant of 
his troops who from Lembeni had been righting an 
almost unbroken succession of rearguard actions. Their 
strength had been heavily reduced, and not least by the 
last and disastrous attempted stand upon the Lukigura. 
On the other hand, the Nguru mountains form a very 
rugged knot of country, and von Lettow-Vorbeck had 
there not merely a good road behind him, but was 
within easy distance of the railway, and in touch with 
his bases in the south. In the circumstances it was the 
best move he could have made. 

Because it was that General Smuts had foreseen its 
probability and was ready fc- it. While his own force 
was being reorganised and recuperated, he had been in 
communication with Van Deventer, and as soon as 
evidence appeared of the enemy concentration in the 
Nguru area Van Deventer, re-equipped, was again on 
the move. A detachment of his Division (under the 
command of Lieut. -Col. A. T. Taylor) moved west to 
and captured Ssingidia. Another detachment (under 
the command of Lieut. -Col. II. J. Fitzpatrick) struck 
south-west to Saranda on the Central Railway. There 
was opposition on the way at Mpondi, but Fitzpatrick 
in a dashing attack swept it aside. Van Deventer's 
main body at the same time moved south, its destination 
the town of Dodoma, also on the railway, but 100 miles 
east of Saranda. At Tschenene on the route the enemy 
had a well-fortified position, wired in, and covered by 
the well-known devices. To Van Deventer's equipment, 
however, there had now been added a battery of ar- 
moured motors, and they helped materially to make 
short work of the defence and defenders. Working up 
to and along the hostile line, they machine-gunned the 
occupants of the trenches at short range. From this 
point, to anticipate the moving up of enemy troops to 
Dodoma, Berrange was sent on ahead with two battalions 
of infantry, a motor cycle corps, and a strong detach- 
ment of mounted scouts. He was in Dodoma four days 
later (July 29). By this prompt seizure of the railway 
one of the chief advantages of von Lettow-Vorbeck's 

127 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

move into the Nguru district was nullified. The move 
of Van Deventer besides was a necessary aid to the 
operations now developing against Tabora. In the 
west, Belgian troops transported across Tanganyika had 
taken both Ujiji and Kilgoma, and in the south-west 
General Northey, at the head of the Expeditionary 
Force from Rhodesia, had both driven the Germans out 
of Bi marckburg, and New Langenburg, and pushed 
them 150 miles into the interior. 

Northey's force was made up of the 1st and 2nd South 
African Rifles; the British South Africa Police; the 
Northern Rhodesia Police, natives under white com- 
missioned officers ; and the 1st King's African Rifles. 
Arriving at Karonga from the Cape in February, 1916, 
General Northey had until the middle of May been hard 
at work setting on foot the organisation for an offensive 
and forward movement. His difficulties were not light. 
Supplies, munitions and stores had to be brought up either 
from the Cape to railhead in Rhodesia, 600 miles from 
the German boundary, or up the Zambesi, and then over- 
land to Lake Nyassa. From Chinde on the Zambesi to the 
Karonga the distance was 700 miles. Besides the com- 
batants more than 20,000 native carriers had to be pro- 
vided for. The country, too, over which prospective 
operations werejjto be carried on — the South-Western area 
of German East Africa — was crossed by lofty mountains, 
between them now desolate and depopulated valleys 
covered by dense tropical bush. And save for native 
tracks, some of them over passes 8,000 feet above sea 
level, it was without roads. Hardly is it possible to 
imagine a more formidable wilderness. This had been the 
scene of the long drawn out native struggle against German 
rule, and its solitudes still testified to the desperation on 
the one side, and mercilessness on the other. But of the 
solid work of General Northey the convincing proof is 
that during the many months of this campaign his 
troops never once found themselves short of supplies. 

As soon as the further move on the part of Van 
Deventer had been carried out, and the enemy's main 
supply line from the west cut, General Smuts, at the 

128 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

beginning of August, 1916, struck his camp at Msiha, 
south of the Lukigura, and proceeded to deal with the 
hostile concentration confronting him. His road lay in 
the first instance over a pass through the hills which 
divide the valley of the Lukigura from that of the 
Mdonga. The latter river cuts the block of mountains 
into two parts. To the east is the Kanga mountain 
and a tumble of foothills ; to the west the main mass of 
the Nguru range. Across the pass to the south-west, 
and then along the valley of the Mdonga to the south, 
the new road to Morogoro had been constructed. The 
enemy, of course, had obstructed the pass, and to force 
it by direct attack would have been tedious and costly. 
But there is a break in the main chain to the north-west 
by way of Kimbe, and this defile led to the valley of the 
Kisseru, a tributary of the Mdonga. Following the 
rough track along the Kisseru a movement might be 
made which would come out into the Mdonga valley 
at Mhonda mission station, and so get astride of the 
German line of retreat. General Smuts seized upon this 
opening. Informed that the mountain tracks were 
practicable for wheeled transport, his plan was to send 
the division of Brits round by Kimbe to Mhonda, the 
Mounted Brigade of Enslin leading, and Beves's Infantry 
Brigade in support. On the other (left) wing to the 
east, the brigade of Sheppard, while part of his force 
feinted, to begin with, at the enemy defences of the 
pass, was to work round bjr Mount Kanga, cross the 
foothills, and strike the Mdonga valley nearly opposite 
to Mhonda. Hannyngton, in the centre, was to move 
out of Msiha camp and work up the pass along the 
foothills. It was a well-planned scheme, and assuming 
that it was carried out as designed, von Lettow-Vorbeck 
would find the main British force massed on his right 
flank and in his rear, and his own troops pinned against 
the Nguru mountains. 

But it happened that the scheme was not carried out 
as designed. Enslin, on reaching the valley of the 
Kisseru, sent back word that the tracks to Mhonda were 
not practicable for wheeled transport. The Brigade of 

129 k 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

Beves was therefore diverted to Mahasi, at the lower or 
south-western outlet of the pass, and Enslin not only 
pushed on to Mhonda without infantry support, but 
with only two out of his three mounted corps. The 
third, losing its way in the hills, followed the track of the 
infantry brigade to Mahasi. Further, Sheppard's men 
also were delayed owing to difficulties in cutting through 
the bush. The result of all this was that the enemy, 
falling back before Hannyngton, on discovering the 
danger in the rear, encountered on endeavouring to 
debouch from the pass the troops of Beves, and at 
Matamondo, with the force of Beves in front and that 
of Hannyngton on the rear, was brought to action. The 
fight lasted two days (August 10 and 11) and the troops 
of von Lettow-Vorbeck were severely handled. Never- 
theless he managed in the end to break out. At Mhonda 
he came across the two corps of Enslin's brigade holding 
positions across the main road. Here, being in superior 
strength, he attacked and with resolution, for he was in a 
hurry. Enslin held on, but was not strong enough to bar 
the exit. Badly damaged therefore though they were, 
the German force contrived once more to get away. 

In the meantime (August 11), Sheppard had reached 
the point at which he was to touch the route, the Rus- 
songo river. By that time, however, the quarry had 
flown. South of Mhonda there is a junction of roads 
and the routes run to Morogoro due south, and to 
Kilossa south-west. At this junction, alike to confuse 
the pursuit and speed up the retreat, the German troops 
divided, the smaller body making for Kilossa, the larger 
for Morogoro. Hannyngton now moved in pursuit to 
Kilossa, and Sheppard again to the left, while Enslin 
followed up along the main route. The latter at Dakava 
crosses the Wami, and as the Wami is both wide and 
deep there was here a large modern bridge. The 
British intention was, if possible, to seize this crossing. 
Sheppard, having those orders, struck the Wami lower 
down at Kipera, and in time to prevent the destruction 
of a light footbridge at that place ; crossed with his 
brigade to the south bank, and pushed westward for 

130 



(T) British Camp 

(2) Enemy defences across the pass 
(S) Route of Britz's Column 

(4) Route of Shepherds Column 
(5) Direction of ffanyogtoris attack 
~ -, Roads 



SCALE 
20 30 




COPYRIGHT 



GE06RAPHI A L T P 55 FLEET STREET LQNQON £C4. 
K 2 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

Dakava. But the enemy had got over in strength just 
before, and were (August 16) able some miles down- 
stream to hold him off. Coincidently Enslin had 
followed them up and was on the north bank. The 
German rearguard, however, there defended the bridge- 
head with determination, and Enslin's brigade had to 
find a fordable crossing up stream. When they were 
discovered to have passed the river von Lettow-Vorbeck 
resumed his march south (August 18). 

His extrication of himself and his forces out of the 
Nguru entanglement, the severity of the fighting and 
marching involved, and his serious losses both of men 
and of equipment, proved in truth to be one of the 
determining points of the campaign. Immediately 
south of the Central Railway at Morogoro lies another 
knot of rugged country — the area of the Uluguru moun- 
tains, and it had formed part of von Lettow-Vorbeck's 
plan to hold on to this tract. It commanded the 
railway, and so long as he remained in possession the 
line could not be used. Behind him he had his southern 
depots, for a notable feature of the German preparations, 
intended alike to reduce transport and to. minimise the 
risks of capture, had been the storage of reserves of 
arms and ammunition at various centres, any one of 
which could readily be converted into a base. The 
measures adopted for the defence of the Uluguru area 
had been, it was evident, carefully thought out. Military 
roads had been cut, and in one instance carried over a 
defile along the face of a sheer cliff upon a gallery of 
massive beams ; naval 4.1 inch guns emplaced at com- 
manding points, and large reserves of heavy munitions 
accumulated. 

But a combination of circumstances now went to 
render these German preparations futile. The first was 
the state of von Lettow-Vorbeck's forces. They were 
showing unmistakable signs of wear. Their moral, 
shaken by the defeat at Kandoa Irangi, where they had 
fairly measured themselves in the open with their 
opponents, was falling. Since then they had experienced 
nothing save reverses. Mechanical preparations are of 

132 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

little avail if there are not resolute men behind them. 
The German officers were doubtless still resolute, but 
their men in the mass were discouraged, and fought on 
from a habit of obedience. It was not enough. Secondly, 
the developments in the west were gloomy. On a 
review of events not the slightest doubt can be enter- 
tained that the German scheme for the defence of East 
Africa, seeing that attack depended upon the sea, 
assumed as a condition precedent command of the Great 
Lakes, and ability to safeguard themselves on that side. 
And, safe on that side and their chief recruiting and 
supply ground assured, to hold in succession from north 
to south such knots of country as the Usambara plateau, 
the Nguru mountains, the Uluguru mountains, and the 
Upogoro hills near Mahenge, should have enabled them 
to confront an attack with a series of almost insoluble 
problems. But command of the Lakes, which is in 
effect the mastery of the interior of Africa, had been 
lost, and there had come to pass what had never been 
reckoned probable — an attack from north to south 
parallel with the coast, combined with a converging 
onset west of the main mountains. At this very time 
while Northey was moving in from the south-west, and 
Crewe pushing south from the Victoria Nyanza, three 
columns of Belgian native troops were in a swift and 
remarkably timed co-ordination closing upon Tabora. 
Von Wehle, who had fallen back on that place, was 
striving to head off his opponents, but he was out- 
weighted, and his retreat with such of his troops as he 
could keep together was imminent. Not less serious, 
von Falkenstein in the south-west was equally out- 
matched, and had been uniformly unsuccessful. 

From Dakava, looking at his proceedings from the 
British standpoint, the German Commander-in-Chief, 
having the option of retiring either upon Kilossa or upon 
Morogoro, was as likely as not to choose the former 
alternative, since Kilossa lay on the direct route to 
Mahenge. The defences in the Uluguru mountains 
were not then known. It appeared therefore desirable 
to deprive him of this option, and to leave Morogoro 

138 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

his only choice. According to the calculations of General 
Smuts, there was a good chance of there rounding him 
up. On these grounds Van Deventer had been asked to 
advance with his Division east along the railway and 
occupy Kilossa before the main German force, then in 
the Nguru mountains, could fall back to that point. 
Van Deventer's advanced troops were then at Gulwe, 
and the distance of Gulwe from Kilossa is seventy miles. 
But it is seventy miles of most difficult country. Its 
character may be inferred from the fact that on this 
section of the railway there were some forty bridges. 
The country was a succession of ridges, and they were 
only to be crossed through defiles, often narrow. 

It is hardly necessary to say that von Lettow-Vorbeck 
had not neglected to cover his flank in this direction. 
The force Van Deventer had against him was ten double 
companies, mustering at full strength 2,000 rifles ; a 
feeble total, of course, measured by the standard of 
operations in Europe, but in such a country, and falling 
back from ridge to ridge, capable of offering a serious 
opposition. The South African commander set out on 
this march on August 9, and it was one of the most 
remarkable in the whole East African campaign. In 
their advance from Kandoa Irangi his men had had an 
arduous time, and owing to the distance and the difficulty 
of provisioning from Moschi they had had to go very 
often upon short commons. They responded, however, 
to this new call with spirit, and faced its fatigues cheer- 
fully. And the fatigues were far from light. Van 
Deventer found himself obstinately opposed, not merely 
every mile, but every yard of the way. All the bridges 
on the railway had been mined, and where not wholly 
destroyed — some were massive — were left unfit for 
traffic. Had it not been for the industry and ingenuity 
of the engineers, who with local material rigged them up 
and adapted them for motor trolley transport, Van 
Deventer's Division could not have got on at all. But 
from one position after another, usually by skilful 
turning tactics, the enemy was hunted. The hostile 
positions were well prepared ; every place suitable for 

134 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

an ambuscade taken advantage of. Ruse, however, 
was met with ruse, and steadily the advance rolled on. 

The last stage of the march was the worst. It lay 
through the Usugara mountains, along the defile twenty- 
five miles in length worn in the hills by the Mkondokwa 
river. The defile is narrow, a canon having on either 
hand steep wooded bluffs rising to nearly 2,000 feet 
above sea level, and the river winding from side to side 
across the nearly flat floor. Here was a position lending 
itself to every artifice of defence, and one of the enemy's 
means of defence was a bombardment along the valley 
with naval guns outranging any pieces Van Deventer 
had or could move. Nevertheless, he fought his way 
through, and he got through with very slight casualties, 
for in ambuscades he bettered the Germans at their own 
game. On August 22 he was in Kilossa. 

He arrived there four days after the Germans left 
Dakava. But Dakava is sixty miles away, and therefore 
he had arrived just in time. And von Lettow-Vorbeck, 
having, as was supposed, thus been headed off to Moro- 
goro, the next thing was to fasten him there. That, on 
the information then available, could be done by blocking 
the outlets of the Uluguru mountains in his rear. There 
were, it was believed, two of these outlets ; one on the 
west through Mlali ; the other to the south-east through 
Kiroka. Enslin, reinforced by Van Deventer's 1st 
Mounted Brigade under the command of General Nussey, 
was sent round to Mlali ; Sheppard to Kiroka, and both 
places were occupied. In the meantime the British 
main column, crossing the Wami — the bridge at Dakava 
having been repaired — moved upon Morogoro by a 
slightly roundabout route and approached from the 
north-east. 

The reason for this manoeuvre was that, informed of 
Enslin's move, and believing it to be the prelude of an 
attack from the west, the German General had disposed 
the main strength of his troops in that direction. It was 
important to attack him before he could change front. 
The last part of the British march was therefore made 
at the best speed, but twenty-five miles of the way lay 

135 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

across a waterless belt, and in other places through bush, 
and where the sun at noonday is without shadow in a 
weary land, this was trying. It was, indeed, the most 
trying march the troops had been called upon so far 
to face. They faced it cheerfully, because there was at 
last the prospect of a decisive stroke. 

Unfortunately, the great stroke — the stroke which 
was to have wound up the campaign — missed fire. 
When they arrived at Morogoro von Lettow-Vorbeck 
was not there. East Africa, of course, was not a country 
which had then been systematically surveyed, and much 
of the detail of its geography was guesswork. Unknown 
to General Smuts or to his Intelligence Service, there 
was a road from Morogoro out of the Uluguru tangle to 
the south through Kissaki. The elusive von Lettow- 
Vorbeck had taken it. He had had to leave behind him 
his heavy guns and a mass of ammunition, but all that 
was a detail compared with slipping past the pincers. 
As usual when in a corner, he had, for the sake of speed 
in movement, and in part also to ensure the escape of 
his main body, sent detachments along the side tracks 
to Mlali and Kiroka on the chance of finding those doors 
still open. Enslin and Sheppard, being already there, 
these detachments were broken up. General Smuts 
found out what the situation was on arriving at Mlali 
just after the fight. Forthwith Brits, with Enslin's and 
Beves's Brigades made a dash for Kissaki, while Nussey, 
striking from Mlali eastward into the hills, was to get on 
to the road from Morogoro to Kissaki and hustle the 
enemy's rear. Nussey was guided by the abandoned 
ammunition which he found everywhere strewn along the 
line of flight. 

And now ensued one of the most peculiar actions of 
the campaign. At Kissaki von Lettow-Vorbeck, encum- 
bered with sick, found it imperative at last to allow his 
harried troops a slight pause, and he was at Kissaki 
when, on September 5, Brits appeared. On the way, 
however, Brits had had to pass the Mssongossi river, and 
he found it too deep to take over either his wagons or his 
artillery. Nor were there any means of constructing 

136 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

bridges strong enough for such a purpose. Nevertheless, 
though without guns, he decided to go on. Arriving 
before Kissaki, he opened an attack. This native town 
is on the north bank of the Mgeta river, and the attack 
by the British infantry (Beves's Brigade) was from the 
north, conjoined by an attack from the west and south- 
west by Enslin's troopers. But, his manoeuvre covered 
by the bush, von Lettow-Vorbeck dexterously thrust a 
strong contingent in between the attacking infantry and 
the attacking horse, and wedged them apart. The 
result was that neither operation prospered, for having 
effected that disposition he threw his main body against 
Enslin, and compelled his retirement. In the circum- 
stances, Brits decided to entrench six miles north of 
Kissaki and await the arrival of Nussey. Next morning 
Nussey rode down from the mountains. During his 
move his wireless had been put out of action by an 
accident, and he was not aware that Brits was in the 
neighbourhood. Finding the enemy in Kissaki, he also 
attacked, but he speedily discovered that he had to 
confront the whole German force. The battle lasted 
all day, Nussey gallantly holding his ground against 
greatly superior numbers, and it was heard from Whigu 
Hill, where the troops of Brits had dug in. It was a 
case, however, of so near and yet so far. To move 
through the interlying bush was not possible. All 
that could be done was to warn Nussey of the situation, 
and direct him to retire. 

Not slow to perceive the advantage which had thus 
unexpectedly fallen to him, von Lettow-Vorbeck sat 
tight at Kissaki for another week, a pause which to him 
and his tired forces was beyond estimate. But, of 
course, he was aware that the squeeze would soon be 
renewed, so that when Hannyngton's Brigade moved 
upon him from the east, having come down from Kiroka, 
and Enslin began to encircle him from the north-east, 
he made up his mind that Kissaki was too hot to remain 
in, and resumed his wanderings, leaving to his foes his 
sick, who included seventy-two Germans. 

So far as manoeuvring was concerned, von Lettow- 

137 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

Vorbeck had been at Kissaki brought definitely to bay, 
and could the British forces then and there have closed 
in upon him the campaign to all intents would have been 
at an end. He could not have avoided surrender. But 
if his troops were tired the British were not less so. In 
this last, and as it was hoped final, effort they had put 
forth their last ounce of energy. The advance round 
the eastern spurs of the Uluguru block had been an 
extraordinary feat. Besides marching with their kit 
under a scorching and pitiless sun, the men of Sheppard's 
Brigade had been engaged in road-cutting and road- 
making. In one instance, where the route to the south 
was found to lead to a perpendicular cliff, a way down 
had been blasted through the rock. Sheppard was a 
military engineer, and his skill in the direction of all 
this work was invaluable. At the same time, while it 
alone made the moving up of supplies practicable, it 
involved fatigue. Shortage of rations, economised to 
permit of rapidity of manoeuvre, and rapidity could be 
achieved in no other way, had, too, added to the climate, 
caused a high percentage of sickness. Again, in crossing 
the belts of the country infested by the tse-tse fly, the 
horses had perished by hundreds. Means of moving the 
guns and supply wagons became uncertain or were 
crippled ; mounted corps were mounted for the most 
part only in name, and nine-tenths of the men left fit 
fought on foot. In short, the Divisions of Smuts which 
closed round Kissaki were threadbare. 

It is true that the force of von Lettow-Vorbeck was in 
the matter of effectives in no better case. The German 
General had through disease and casualties lost half his 
men. In particular, the European element of his force 
had been reduced to a remnant, and that remnant was 
itself fast disappearing. His equipment and supplies, 
besides, had gone to wreck. But in one vital respect 
affairs had altered in his favour. His force now pos- 
sessed superior mobility, where before it had been inferior. 
And in Kissaki, owing to the accidents which had frus- 
trated the British co-ordination, and enabled him to 
check the British attacks in detail, his men had had a 

138 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

respite which at this juncture it had been of the utmost 
consequence to deny. On the other hand, their efforts 
having missed fire, the troops of General Smuts had had 
no such advantage. When, therefore, von Lettow- 
Vorbeck moved out of Kissaki, it was in face of an enemy 
unable to follow him up. 

The motive for his move was not only the desire to 
slip away while opportunity, a piece of unlooked-for 
good fortune, offered, but the necessity which had now 
arisen for stiffening the German resistance round Ma- 
henge. The British had a column, mustering 1,800 
rifles, under the command of General Edwards, who was 
safe-guarding the lines of communication, moving down 
the coastal zone, and led by an energetic officer, Col. 
Price, a swift march had been made towards Dar-es- 
Salem. The port itself had been seized by a landing 
party from the British squadron, and having the railway 
from that place now in their hands, the reorganising 
elements of the attack were hard at work adapting the 
line for transport. In the west, Tombeur had pinched 
von Wehle out of Tabora (September 19) and Crewe was 
east of that place at Igalulu. With such troops as he 
could still keep together, von Wehle was in retreat 
through the Itumba mountains, and his lieutenant, 
Wintgens, covering his flank from the south, on the move 
with a smaller column by way of Sikonge. Both bodies 
were making for New Iringa, 120 miles or thereabouts 
north-west of Mahenge. It was of consequence for 
what was left of the German forces to gather at Mahenge. 
Northey, however, was pushing towards that place, and 
one column of his force was now south-west of it on the 
Ruhuje river, while another was already on the 
Ruanga to the north-west. It was no longer certain 
that von Wehle and Wintgens could dodge him. Finally, 
the Portuguese, having joined with the other Allies, had 
crossed the southern frontier. 

In the circumstances, the one course open to von 
Lettow-Vorbeck was, while safeguarding the line of the 
Rufigi, to march as rapidly as possible towards Mahenge, 
and before the British main force could again get on 

139 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

the move, and in conjunction with his western lieutenants, 
defeat Northey in detail. But the tide of fortune, which 
had for a moment seemed favourable, once more turned 
against him. Northey, on hearing of the move of von 
Wehle upon New Iringa, directed his Ruanga column 
towards the same point. South of New Iringa, on 
October 19, the two bodies met, and the Germans, 
though assisted by a diversion from Mahenge, were 
defeated. Having thus disposed for the time of von 
Wehle, Northey turned to deal with the column from 
Mahenge, encountered it on the Ruhuje, and in a 
desperate little battle in which the enemy's loss in killed, 
wounded, and prisoners was nearly 300 men, threw it 
back across the river. In the meantime, also from 
Mahenge, the Germans had moved out to attack the 
south-western column. 

This was a well-devised counter-stroke, for while one 
part of their force marched rapidly west to Northey's 
advanced base at Lupembe, and laid siege to it, the 
other manoeuvred to place itself between Lupembe and 
New Iringa so as to cut off relief. But Northey acted 
with promptitude and energy. Reuniting his troops, he 
shepherded the intercepting enemy off the route to 
Lupembe into the hilly country to the noith-west, and 
pushed them to Itembule Mission, sixty miles off Lupembe. 
There, isolated in the hills, after an attempt to cut their 
way out in which they lost seventy-one German officers, 
with proportionate native casualties, the rest, with fifty- 
three German officers, laid down their arms. The prisoners 
totalled over 500. After this Northey turned to the 
relief of Lupembe, and on his approach the siege was 
raised. While he was thus engaged, von Wehle had got 
through to Mahenge, but the march of 500 miles from 
Tabora, added to the losses in and desertions following 
his reverse, had left his contingent a skeleton. The 
blows the Germans had suffered had been among the 
heaviest they had yet experienced. All that remained 
to them of East Africa, and of the once enormous 
sphere of influence, was the territory south of the Rufigi. 

The campaign now entered upon its final phase, and 

140 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

the features which marked that phase were first a further 
reorganisation of the forces on the British side ; secondly, 
and with a view to hindering that reorganisation, a 
German counter-offensive ; thirdly, the renewed British 
advance. 

All the white combatants in General Smuts's forces 
declared to be medically unfit were sent home. They 
were replaced by African infantry, partly raised and 
trained in East Africa, and enrolled as fresh battalions 
of the King's African Rifles, partly by a Nigerian Brigade, 
excellent Hausa regiments, under the command of 
Brigadier-General F. H. B. Cunliffe. Towards the enrol- 
ment of troops on the spot the work of the British 
Political Officers in the part of the country already 
occupied had contributed most materially. These ex- 
perienced and capable men were in touch with the native 
chiefs and communities, and in view of the general odium 
of German rule, naturally warlike recruits were readily 
forthcoming. The chief change in the forces was the 
reduction in the proportion of mounted men, owing to 
the heavy wastage of horses. Some indication of the 
loss will be gathered from the fact that in the course of 
this campaign there were sent from South Africa more 
than 23,000 horses, upwards of 24,000 mules, and 7,500 
and more donkeys. But even with that huge importa- 
tion it was impossible to keep pace with the ravages of 
disease set up by the tse-tse pest. The Mounted Brigade 
of Enslin was therefore rolled into that of Nussey, and 
both placed under the latter's command. As re-formed 
the main force was made up of two divisions and a 
Reserve on this basis : — 

1st Division (Hoskins) consisting of the 3rd East 
African Brigade (assigned to Hannyngton) and Hannyng- 
ton's old command, the 2nd East African Brigade 
(transferred to Brigadier-General H. de C. O'Grady). 

2nd Division (Van Deventer) with the native regulars 
of Crewe's Lake force added to it. 

Reserve, 1st East African Brigade (Sheppard), South 
African Infantry Brigade (Beves), the Nigerians, and a 
contingent of Indian troops. 

141 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

As regards the disposition of forces there had been 
made at the end of October, the important move of 
sending the 3rd East African Brigade, then a new forma- 
tion, by sea from Dar-es-Salem to Kilwa, 150 miles 
farther south on the coast, and sixty miles south of the 
Rufigi estuary. North of the Rufigi the enemy still 
held towards the coast a triangle of country from which 
he made thrusts towards Dar-es-Salem and the railway. 
His chief point of support here was at Kisseranga, a 
strong position at the end of a range of rugged hills. 
An attempt had been made to turn him out of it, but 
it had not been successful. Beginning at Kilwa on the 
east, going round by Kisseranga, through Kidatu, and 
New Iringa (now Van Deventer's headquarters) to 
Northey's main position on the Ruhuje, the British 
forces were disposed roughly along two-thirds of a circle. 
Northey was being reinforced by a battalion of South 
African Infantry sent north by rail and then across Lake 
Nyassa. 

The Rufigi is the main trunk of a great system of 
rivers, and streams which, like the branches and twigs 
of a tree, converge into it from the interior plateaux. 
Everywhere the plateaux have been scored into ridges, 
divided by valleys which in the wet season are swamps, 
and in the dry a rank growth of tangled tropical bush. 
Manifestly it was an ideal country in which to play a 
game of hide-and-seek, as the Germans had themselves 
found in the native wars, and it was conversely a very 
unideal terrain over which to hunt a slim and elusive 
foe. Von Lettow-Vorbeck, therefore, was long-headed 
in selecting this as the stage for the last act of his drama. 
Because of the character of the country and its oppor- 
tunities, he was not disposed to remain passive while 
Smuts worked out preparations for crushing him. What 
those preparations were was disclosed to some extent 
by the trace of the British line. It probably appeared 
to von Lettow-Vorbeck that the two-thirds of a circle 
were meant shortly to become a whole one. His counter- 
plan was to wall up the force at Kilwa, which had fast- 
ened dangerously upon his flank, and in the weeks which 

142 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

must elapse before the British main force was on its 
legs again, to strike with all his weight at Northey. If 
that troublesome opponent could be disposed of, and 
the force at Kilwa held, then as likely as not the British 
thrust when it took place might be turned into a failure. 
But von Lettow-Vorbeck disguised these intentions 
with characteristic finesse. The first move was an 
attempt to wedge Northey off from Van Deventer — 
they were acting in co-operation. It was thought on the 
British side that this was an effort to break through, and 
there was a good deal of miscellaneous fighting and 
skirmishing, with the result that for a time Northey was 
cut off from communication with New Iringa. Whether 
he saw the true character of the manoeuvre or not, 
Northey had prudently concentrated his forces at 
Lupembe, holding Malangali with an advanced detach- 
ment. To Malangali the Germans laid siege (Novem- 
ber 8-12), and being somewhat in haste to get on, tried 
to carry the defences by storm. In that kind of opera- 
tion, however, they had had very poor fortune, and this 
was no exception. Three times their storming parties 
came on, and each time they were dogged enough to get 
to close quarters, but they were not dogged enough to get 
in, and they were still sitting before the place when Lieut. - 
Col. R. E. Murray advanced with a column to its relief. 
A week later (November 17) Lupembe was attacked. 
Though on a small scale, it was a fierce battle, and the 
German losses may be judged from the circumstance 
that here and at Malangali, besides the wounded, who 
must have been at least thrice the number, those found 
dead and abandoned on the field, and the prisoners, 
totalled 125 Europeans and 619 askaris. Northey had 
again proved a hard nut to crack, and he was still at 
Lupembe, and a nasty threat to Mahenge ; a threat 
which, if the walling up operations at Kilwa were to 
come to anything, ought to be got rid of. But the last 
straw of ill-luck came when Murray surrounded the 
contingent of Lieut. -Col. Heubner, who had been scouring 
the country towards New Iringa and had made himself 
very unpleasant. Heubner's column was 500 strong. 

143 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

The survivors who surrendered were 54 Germans and 
303 natives. 

North-west of Kilwa on the coast, the British had 
seized among other positions a bold spur of the Matumbi 
hills, and the native town of Kibata sited upon it. If 
they were to be blockaded at Kilwa, this Kibata posi- 
tion, which was on the way to the Rufigi, must be re- 
taken, and there was a determined effort to retake it. 
The loss of Kibata, however, would have left the 
British move on Kilwa stranded, and the defence was as 
determined as the attack. On and around the spur 
were various outlying positions. In the fighting they 
were taken and retaken. On December 10 the enemy 
essayed to carry the position by storm in a night attack, 
supported by naval guns as well as by field pieces. The 
British guns were unable to get up owing to the state of 
the roads — the wet season had now set in — but in spite 
of that the garrison beat off the assault. The next step 
was an effort to encircle the place and starve out the 
defence by a close blockade. Hannyngton's Brigade, 
however, moving up from Kilwa, worked west and, 
acting in conjunction with that of O'Grady, cut the 
German communication. It was now they who were 
likely to be starved out. Without further delay they 
raised the siege. 

Both in the coastal area and in the south-west the 
German counter-offensive had met with a check. 

Between the operations at Kissali and the renewed 
advance of General Smuts there was an interval of three 
months. In part the pause arose from reorganisation 
difficulties ; in part from the weather. But by the end 
of December, 1916, everything was ready for another 
move. This time, since the main force still commanded 
by von Lettow-Vorbeck was now on the Rufigi, safe- 
guarding — it is a wide and deep river — the practicable 
crossings, and especially that at Kibambwe, south-east 
of Kissaki, the plan of General Smuts was, passing oyer 
the river, to advance to the south-east, in conjunction 
with an advance of Hoskins's Division from Kilwa to the 
north-west. The two approaching lines of advance 

144 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

would thus trace, as it were, the base of a triangle of 
which the Rufigi was one side and the coast the other, 
and within that triangle the force of the enemy, if not 
bottled up, should in breaking out be heavily trounced. 
At the same time communication between these hostile 
troops on the Rufigi and those at Mahenge should be cut. 

In order, however, that the scheme might not become 
too soon apparent, it was essential to throw the 
manoeuvring force over the Rufigi before the enemy's 
suspicions were aroused, to secure, therefore, an unop- 
posed crossing, and until that had been done, to disguise 
the intention. 

The procedure of disguise was in the first instance to 
set Van Deventer in movement, and marching out from 
New Iringa towards Mahenge, he fought (December 25- 
27) a three days' battle with hostile forces entrenched in 
the Lukegeta pass. Northey also started to move upon 
Mahenge by way of Mfirika. So far the main British 
force gave no sign of activity, except that some little 
time before Beves's Brigade had marched south from 
Morogoro. The troops in line were the brigades of 
Sheppard, Beves, and Cunliffe, with the Indian contin- 
gent in reserve. 

The enemy still held north of the Rufigi the three- 
corner-shaped area marked off by the little river 
Mgeta, and the line of hills beyond Kissangire, and with 
that area, to which von Lettow-Vorbeck had tenaciously 
hung, their main communication was by the bridge at 
Kibambwe. Near this line of front was Dutumi, held 
by the British, and Tulo. On their side of the line the 
Germans held Behobeho. 

The Brigades of Sheppard and Cunliffe were massed 
at Dutumi and Tulo for an attack upon this part of the 
enemy front, the manifest object of the move being to 
cut him off from the Kibambwe crossing and isolate his 
troops north of the big river. And that there might 
be no mistake that the move was seriously meant, it was 
supported by a flanking manoeuvre to the east by a 
column made up of the 2nd Kashmiris, and a Nigerian 
battalion, under the command of Lieut. -Col. R. A. 

145 l 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

Lyall, whose instructions were to work round to a point 
on the road north of Behobeho. At the same time, 
Sheppard was dispatched on a movement round the 
enemy's western flank, and in association with this 
manoeuvre Lieut. -Col. Dyke, with a double company of 
the 130th Baluchis, was, moving on an outer but nearly 
parallel line, to work round by the west and reach the 
same point as Lyall, but from the opposite direction. 

All these tactics, needless to say, were designed to 
mask the real purpose of the whole operation, which was 
to secure a crossing of the Rufigi unopposed and before 
the enemy suspected it. And that, the vital part of the 
affair, was entrusted to Beves. The point Beves made 
for, setting out from Kirengwe as secretly as possible, 
was Mkalinso, at the confluence of the Rufigi and its 
principal tributary, the Ruaha. This point lay twenty 
miles above Kibambwe. Beves had before him a march 
of thirty miles, and part of the way a road had to be cut. 
Before the operations round Behobeho, though they 
were no more than a holding attack, the enemy showed 
signs of giving way. Of this Beves was duly warned, 
and his South Africans, to save time, covered the last 
stage in a continuous march of thirty hours, a feat which 
has rarely had a parallel and is in tropical campaigning 
a record. They arrived a day in advance of the time 
table ; crossed the Rufigi unopposed, and established a 
bridgehead on the farther bank. 

The main object of the operations thus made good, the 
attack north of Behobeho became a serious business 
designed to push the enemy eastward and delay his 
retirement over the Kibambwe bridge. Striving to elude 
Sheppard, the retreating force came across Dyke, who 
with his Baluchis had put himself astride the road. He 
was attacked, but held on. Four charges were made, 
and there was hand-to-hand fighting with the bayonet. 
Still the road could not be cleared, and the enemy had 
at length to find a way round to the east. South of 
Behobeho, the road was again obstructed by the 25th 
Fusiliers, and there was another bitter little battle. 
Here Capt. F. C. Selous, the famous hunter, explorer, 

146 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

and naturalist, who had joined the regiment as a 
volunteer, was killed at the head of his company. 

With the exception of their garrison at Kissangire, 
and some other detachments, the Germans had by 
January 5, though in some disorder and with no slight 
loss, got across the river at Kibambwe. By that time, 
of course, information of the bridgehead at Mkalinso 
was common knowledge, and consequently, while watch- 
ing the crossing at Kibambwe, part of them were at 
once hurried to Mkalinso, where they proceeded to 
throw up an entrenched line. This gave Sheppard his 
chance, and on January 6 he got part of his force over 
at Kibambwe, notwithstanding that the Germans had 
damaged the bridge. The enemy had now two bridge- 
heads to blockade. In these circumstances, the Niger- 
ians were transferred to Mkalinso, and from that 
place on January 17 the drive to the south-east was 
begun. 

Such was the state of affairs when, on January 17, 
1917, General Smuts, summoned to London to take 
part in an Imperial Conference, laid down the com- 
mand. 

Previously to this, indeed since the cutting of his 
communications with Tabora, von Lettow-Vorbeck had 
been in the military sense living upon his fat. There 
were not only no means of filling the gaps left by his 
losses, and sickness and fatigue continued also to exact 
a heavy toll, but he was severely pinched for supplies. 
And that state of things with a rainy season of unusual 
severity which turned all the lower area of the Rufigi 
into an inundation, found him at length unable to feed 
even his reduced force, though everything consumable 
within his reach was ruthlessly seized. Kraut crossed 
the Portuguese frontier on a food raid, and that not 
yielding enough, Wintgens at the head of some 600 men 
broke out towards Tabora. He was finally rounded up 
and surrendered to a Belgian force. 

The British command had been assigned to General 
Hoskins. Owing to the state of the country, however, 
little could be done beyond rounding up the enemy still 

147 l 2 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

north of the Rufigi. At the end of May the command- 
in-chief devolved upon General Van Deventer, and his 
plan was, in conjunction with a combined advance upon 
Mahenge by Northey and the Belgians, to push westward 
from the coast both from Kilwa and from Lindi. This 
was again an encircling scheme starting from opposite 
directions. The substance of the plan, however, lay in 
the fact that von Lettow-Vorbeck's chief remaining 
depots of ammunition were along the section of coast 
lying between the columns advancing westward. Either 
then the German General, in falling back, would have 
to abandon them or he would have to give battle. He 
chose the latter alternative, and at Narongombe, south- 
west of Kilwa, on July 19 there took place one of the 
stubbornest actions of the campaign. The Germans 
were forced back, and retired upon Mahungo, the most 
important of these supply places. Later (September 28) 
that place was captured. Von Lettow-Vorbeck now 
found himself driven south towards the Lukuledi river, 
and though just dodging the column from Lindi, he 
managed to cross into the mountainous area contiguous 
to the Portuguese frontier, nearly 1,000 of his men, 
among them 241 Germans, surrendered. His casualties, 
too, had been severe. In the west, covering Mahenge, 
he had under the command of Colonel Tafel a force of 
some 2,000 rifles, but Tafel, attacked by the Belgians, 
was driven east from his defences, and Mahenge with 
its munitions and stores, now precious beyond estimate, 
fell into their hands. At the same time, Van Deventer 
was pressing von Lettow-Vorbeck westwards along the 
Lukuledi valley. The South African General's strategy 
was to force the enemy to accept battle, and with his 
back this time to the wall von Lettow-Vorbeck had no 
other choice. After a severe battle at Mahiwa (Oct. 
15-18), he made his last stand on the Lukuledi on 
November 15 and he fought on for four days. The 
action broke him. Nearly 1,500 of his force, surrounded, 
laid down their aims. Henceforth he was a fugitive. 
With Tafel he had lost touch. At the head of 1,400 
men, Tafel, dexterously avoiding contact with British 

148 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

troops, marched from Mahenge across country 
towards the Portuguese border, and he had got to 
Nevala, within twenty miles of it, when he found him- 
self in an unlooked for difficulty. 

It had been the intention of von Lettow-Vorbeck and 
Tafel, joining forces, to cross the Rovuma into Portuguese 
East Africa. On the other hand, to prevent the German 
commanders from combining, and to bar their way over 
the Rovuma, had now become General Van Deventer's 
main aim. Nevala had been the appointed German 
rendezvous, and von Lettow-Vorbeck had fought at 
Masasi on the Lukaledi in November because for one 
thing Masasi is on the road to Nevala from Mahenge. 
When the action at Masasi proved for him disastrous he 
was headed off this route towards the south-west. His 
lieutenant, retreating from Mahenge, was not aware of 
these events. Hurrying towards Nevala Tafel unwittingly 
marched across the rear of the British forces who had 
followed up the enemy's main body. At Nevala, there- 
fore, his men, fatigued by their long and trying retreat, 
and without supplies, found themselves between the 
British and the coast. So far as Tafel could tell 
von Lettow-Vorbeck had left him to his fate. The 
German Commander-in-Chief was somewhere to the west, 
but where was uncertain. In an attempt to rejoin him 
Tafel made a move out of Nevala. He was opposed by 
the 129th Baluchis. They were but a feeble contingent, 
not more than 120 strong, but behind them was a 
British mounted brigade made up in part of Indian 
cavalry, in part of South African burghers, and twenty 
miles to the west, though in touch with the mounted 
men, was the Number 1 Column of the British posted 
at the confluence of the Rovuma and the Bangalla river, 
a tributary flowing T in from the north. Judging these 
obstacles to be insurmountable, aware that the British, 
now informed of his whereabouts, would speedily 
close in upon him, and believing the end of the 
campaign to be at hand, Tafel sent out a flag of truce. 
On November 28 he surrendered with his entire 
force. 

149 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

Von Lettow-Vorbeck, it was estimated, had with him 
320 whites and 2,500 blacks, about 1,500 of the latter 
veteran combatants. To prevent him from breaking 
away to the south over the Rovuma, a body of Portuguese 
native troops, 900 strong, under the command of Major 
Pinto, had been moved up to Ngomani where the main 
river is joined from the south by the Lugendi. Unfortu- 
nately Pinto does not appear to have been a very ener- 
getic officer, and while he was laying out his camp at 
Ngomani, von Lettow-Vorbeck, unopposed, crossed the 
Rovuma higher up stream ; carried out a swift encircling 
march ; and fell unexpectedly upon the Portuguese 
position. Pinto's camp at Ngomani was on the south 
bank of the Rovuma, and he was looking for attack from 
the farther side of the river. Instead he found himself 
assailed from the rear. In the defence he lost his life, 
and the casualties of his corps, outnumbered by two to 
one, were heavy. The 700 or so who survived capitulated. 
Von Lettow-Vorbeck thus obtained a valuable haul of 
arms, and what had become of even greater moment, 
a supply of ammunition, and a great quantity of stores. 
He was without either, and his men were in rags. Re- 
clothing them in the uniforms of the Portuguese, whom he 
impressed as carriers, he at the same time rearmed them 
with the Portuguese rifles and cartridges, and, his com- 
missariat for the present again assured, set out for the 
south. It was two days before the British, when news 
of this disaster reached them, could get well on the move 
in pursuit. Those two days the German commander 
had as a clear start. Once more, then, and just when 
he seemed to have been brought to the last extremity, he 
was on his legs. And he meant to keep on them, for he 
moved rapidly south towards Fort Nanguri. 

Portuguese East Africa is traversed by the chain of 
the Ukula mountains, and Fort Nanguri was a military 
post and depot commanding the chief pass over the range 
on the road from Mozambique to the Great Lakes. The 
garrison of the fort moved out to obstruct the pass. This, 
in the circumstances, was a blunder. They were com- 
pletely defeated. The result was that von Lettow- 

150 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

Vorbeck seized the fort and in it rations enough to keep 
his men on full supplies for six weeks, besides a huge 
reserve of ammunition. All the probabilities are that 
he had learned all about Fort Naguri and its contents 
from his prisoners. Evidently, too, the defeated garrison, 
misled by the Portuguese uniforms of the hostile force, 
had allowed themselves to be attacked suddenly and at 
short range. Hence, by what appeared to be singular 
good fortune, though it was in fact resourcefulness 
combined with decision, von Lettow- Vorbeck had estab- 
lished himself in a strong position in the very heart of 
Portuguese East Africa, and had made a hash of the 
resistance. 

The rainy season also was now again at hand. To 
move up forces against him from the coast was, he knew, 
during the rains next to impossible. Next to impossible, 
too, was it in the wet months to pursue him from across 
the Rovuma. The wet season had been relied upon to 
destroy him. But he was living, and living well on the 
spoils of the foe ; he was in a country undevastated by 
war ; and he had a following who had reduced the squeez- 
ing of supplies out of the natives to a fine art. All the 
anxieties were with the enemy. 

Under the conditions the chase for the time hung 

fire. The British, however, or rather the not less 

resourceful brain of Van Deventer, had thought out 

another move. This was the transport of troops down 

and across Lake Nyassa. From the south end of the 

lake to the Ukula mountains the distance, as distances 

go in Africa, is short, and on Lake Nyassa the British 

had available four steamers. As soon therefore as the 

season made the movement practicable, the flotilla was 

made use of for this purpose. It was now von Lettow- 

Vorbeck's turn to be surprised. He was dislodged, 

driven to the south-east ; but doubled back across the 

mountains, and headed for the Upper Rovuma. Hard 

on his heels came a column of the King's African Rifles 

under the command of Colonel Giffard, while ahead of 

him in the Ssongea area, north-east of Lake Nyassa, 

were other Allied troops all eager to entrap him. The 

151 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

movements of the fugitive were swift. For many days 
together he kept up an average march of 18 miles a day, 
notwithstanding that, compelled to exist on the country, 
he had to collect food and cattle en route. The uncertain- 
ties of campaigning in this wild and little known part 
of Africa may be illustrated by one well authenticated 
episode. Following up at top speed along what was 
thought to be the hostile track, but was in truth a parallel 
route, Giffard passed by and outpaced the retreating 
Germans. Not less in the dark as to Giffard's move- 
ments, the latter, thinking it the safer, had diverted 
themselves on to Giffard's route. The consequence was 
that the German advance guard came into contact with 
the British rearguard. Giffard forthwith faced about. 
But the time needed for him to change his dispositions, 
was time enough for von Lettow-Vorbeck to plan how to 
elude him. Just as Giffard's column had swung into 
position, and the battle had begun, night came on with 
tropical suddenness. In the darkness the Germans 
slipped away. They had, however, to leave behind a 
large part of their baggage, and much of their stock of 
ammunition. 

So the chase went on. It had opened in May ; 
it continued throughout the dry season. In Septem- 
ber, 1918, von Lettow-Vorbeck recrossed the Upper 
Rovuma into German East Africa. Then, in the tumbled 
region round Ssongea, his exact whereabouts remained 
unknown for nearly a month. With him secrecy had 
become safety. What he might do was guesswork. 
He might make towards Mahenge and New Iringa, in 
which wilderness he might dodge about until the next 
rains, when once more pursuit would have to be suspended. 
In view of the possibility the British garrisons of Mahenge 
and of New Iringa were increased. But equally he might 
adopt any one of half a dozen possible alternatives. 
To bottle him up in the Ssongea area General Edwards 
at Tabora had orders to move troops to the south, 
and General Hawthorn transported a brigade across 
Lake Nyassa to Wiedhaven. In the meantime General 
Van Deventer had made up his mind that if there was an 

152 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

attempt to break out of the country round Ssongea, 
which had to be looked for as soon as it was no longer 
possible to exist there, and all the food to be had had 
been picked up, the break out would be to the north- 
west following the track past Lake Rukwa. 

That body of water, a kind of connecting link between 
Nyassa and Tanganyika, is surrounded by extensive 
swamps. But to the west of it is a pastoral district 
where the natives possessed cattle, and in the opinion 
of General Van Deventer the cattle would be an attraction. 
This inference turned out correct. Early in October the 
whereabouts of the fugitives had been picked up by a 
contingent of the Northern Rhodesian Police. They 
were encountered at Fuses, fifteen miles south-west of 
Ssongea, and were moving as had been expected. The 
business now was if possible to trap them in the district 
west of Lake Rukwa. So far as a break out to the north 
was concerned the way had been barred by the transport 
of a brigade down Tanganyika toBismarckburg. Northern 
Rhodesia, however, was bare of armed forces. All had 
been transferred across Lake Nyassa. To bring them 
back again, land them at the head of the Lake and 
move them up to New Langenburg should have been a 
much quicker proceeding than even the quickest march 
von Lettow-Vorbeck might make by land, and if that 
could be done he was at last caught. But as it turned 
out it could not be done, at all events not in time. Of 
the four steamers on the lake three were out of com- 
mission. They had been heavily worked, and were under 
repair. With one only the transfer was not completed 
before October 18. By that date the enemy column had 
got past the intended obstruction. 

Finding the road north barred by General Edwards at 
Bismarckburg, and not venturing to attack, von Lettow- 
Vorbeck turned south and crossed the Rhodesian bound- 
ary. In Rhodesia his prospects of picking up a living 
were poor. The country was open veld, farms few, 
and at long distances from each other ; villages even 
fewer. At the same time he had for the moment no 
opposition to fear. In the hope of plunder he first 

153 



EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 

appeared before Abercorn, but as a precaution two com- 
panies had been sent south from Bismarckburg to occupy 
the place, and confronted with their carefully made 
entrenchments his attack failed. The German general 
then moved south towards Kasama, the Bismarckburg 
force shadowing him. By this time he was plainly in 
any event near the end of his tether. The wandering 
fugitive life, and its unrelieved hardships ; the successive 
defeats, and the hopelessness of the struggle, had begun 
to tell even on the fidelity of his askaris. They had served 
him with rare devotion, for as already pointed out he 
was their all, and like all black righting men they wor- 
shipped the heroic. But on the other hand they were 
vagabonds and outlaws, once more in rags, and wandering 
they knew not whither. 

After a brush with the pursuing forces at Kayambi — it 
was the last combat of the campaign — von Lettow- 
Vorbeck arrived on November 8 at Kasama. But he 
had, on the approach of his pursuers, speedily to evacuate 
it, and when the armistice was entered into on November 
11 he was out somewhere on the veld. By clause 17 
oi the armistice, which related to him exclusively, he 
was allowed a month in which to give himself up. He 
was encountered once more a few days later, and 
informed of these conditions. In compliance with them 
he, on November 25, 1918, formally, with his following, 
surrendered to General Edwards, at Abercorn. There 
were then with him 155 Europeans, and 1,168 natives. 
Recognising the gallantry of his struggle, for indepen- 
dently of its motives it had been remarkably intrepid, 
he as well as his remaining officers were allowed by 
General Van Deventer to retain their swords, and his 
men to carry their arms as far as Dar-es-Salem. 

So closed this protracted conflict. On both sides it 
had involved hardships beyond example. But out of 
the evil there had arisen incidentally a certain degree 
of good. To move the supplies on which they were 
dependent the British had had perforce to lay down 
thousands of miles of motor roads. These were of per- 
manent benefit to the country and its primary! need. 

154 



THE CLOSING PHASES 

Again the struggle had lifted from this vast region of 
Africa the dark menace of chattel slavery, and put an 
end to the reign of cruelty and violence. The country 
had been ravaged, but for the first time in its history it 
was to know the meaning of a settled peace. The injury 
was transient ; the advantage enduring. 



155 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

German annexation of the Colony — Its native population — German 
labour policy — Economic effects — Military weakness of German 
position — Place of Togoland in German Imperial Schemes — 
Proposal of Neutrality — Why rejected — The Anglo-French in- 
vasion — German retirement inland — Battle on the Chra — Position 
turned by the French — German surrender at Kamina — End of 
the Campaign. 

As in the case of South-west Africa, Togoland was 
handed over to Germany by the British Imperial Govern- 
ment in opposition alike to the opinion of the Gold 
Coast Colony administration and to the protests of the 
natives. On the coast at Togo German traders had 
established a factory. Later, by agreement with local 
chiefs there were added some 500 square miles of ad- 
jacent territory. The hinterland was, or was presumed 
to be, within the sphere of the Gold Coast administration. 
At all events the natives, though little interfered with, 
understood themselves to be under British protection, 
and that protection was of value, since after the subjuga- 
tion of the warlike Ashantis who had long terrorised this 
region of Africa, British authority had brought about a 
settled peace. But in 1890 the Togo hinterland, about 
30,000 square miles in area, was acknowledged to be a 
possession of the German Government. To the repre- 
sentations of the Gold Coast Colony Council on behalf 
of the natives, the reply of the British Imperial Govern- 
ment was that if Germany wished to acquire colonies, 
her co-operation in the work of civilisation would be 
welcomed. 

156 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

The co-operation of Germany in the work of civilisa- 
tion proved to be in Togoland what it was in South-west 
Africa. 

Owning their respective lands in common, the native 
tribal communities had under settled conditions made 
some progress in agriculture. They grew in rotation 
each year a crop of yams, and a crop of corn, and on 
suitable soil, when trade in that commodity had been 
opened through Lome and the Gold Coast territory, 
cultivated cotton. By the Germans this new possession 
was exploited purely for profit. From the lands best 
adapted for cotton growing the natives were expropriated 
on a " compensation " fixed by the Germans themselves, 
and, it is hardly necessary to say, derisive. To ensure 
native labour for these estates the natives were subjected 
to a poll tax of 65. per head annually. In order to pay 
it, and with rare exceptions they had no other means, 
they were obliged to sell themselves for a part of the 
year. This made the cultivation of their own farms 
difficult. To add to the difficulty they were subjected 
to annual corvees. In large gangs they were trans- 
ported from one part of the country to another, and, 
under conditions which caused a high rate of mortality, 
forced to labour on the making of roads and other works. 
Almost always these demands coincided with their own 
seed-time. Through the resultant losses of their crops 
they were brought down to a state of abject penury. 
Since, too, their cotton could now only be sold to Ger- 
mans, it became no uncommon practice for a German 
official, when the crop was ripe, to come along, inspect 
it, and " purchase " it for one shilling, or two shillings. 
But the grievances of the natives were not economic 
merely. There were the same punishments without 
inquiry and the same abuse of the lash for infringements 
of a Code of which the natives remained totally ignorant. 
And in regard to native women, there was the same 
disregard of honour and decency. In a word, Togoland 
became in West Africa an area of misery from which all 
who could escaped across its boundaries. To arrest 
this loss of the most able-bodied of the population, aged 

157 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

parents were lashed for complicity. Such were the 
scenes enacted in these villages, and the share in ad- 
vancing the work of civilisation. It happened that the 
western boundary of Togoland north of the Daka river 
had been drawn by European diplomatists right through 
the middle of the territories of several native tribes, so 
that while one half in the Gold Coast Colony was tranquil, 
the other half, so far as it could not be deserted, presented 
all the features of German rule. Naturally such con- 
trasts added to the bitterness of the native lot. If no 
revolt took place in Togoland as elsewhere it was because 
the population were too few. There was nothing for it 
save to endure. 

With a breadth from west to east of 150 miles on the 
average, and a length of 500 miles from north to south, 
Togoland lay like a long wedge between the British 
Gold Coast territory on the one side and the French 
possession of Dahomey on the other. On the north it 
was limitrophic with the French colony of Upper 
Senegal. The possession was thus readily open to 
invasion from all sides, and as the Germans dared not 
trust the natives with arms, and had only a force of 
some 500 native police, and those not wholly to be relied 
upon, the resistance they could offer was but feeble. 
Their power had in fact been undermined by their own 
methods of government. The real obstacle to attack 
lay both in the distances to be covered, and the character 
of the country, for despite its development by forced 
labour, roads in the ordinary sense of the word were 
still few. The only practicable means of traversing it 
was with a multitude of native porters from three to 
four times as numerous as the combatant element. 
Much therefore depended upon the goodwill of the 
population, and of that the invaders were assured. 

On the other hand, the Germans were very anxious 
to keep their footing in this part of Africa. Togoland 
was looked upon as the nucleus of a much larger pos- 
session. Assuming German success in the war, the 
probabilities were judged to be that the African depen- 
dencies of the German Empire would stretch across the 

158 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

Continent from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, and 
from the Mediterranean to the northern boundary of the 
South African Union. In brief, the Union would become 
the only non-German part of Africa, and even that an 
appanage. 

In 1914 these ambitions were no secret. That Ger- 
many aspired to found in Africa a vast consolidated 
dominion was a project which had reached the stage of 
public discussion. Later and during the African cam- 
paigns, official reserve being now judged of little value, 
it was debated by Paul Leutwein, Hans Delbriick, Paul 
Rohrbach, Davis Trietsch, Emil Zimmermann and 
others regarded in Germany as authorities, and written 
up in detail both military and economic. The German 
Tropical Empire was to comprise not only both German 
and British East Africa, but the Congo Free State and 
French Equatorial Africa, thus linking East Africa up 
with the Cameroons. And on the north it was to com- 
prise Uganda and the Soudan, with Egypt and Tripoli, 
again become nominally Turkish but really German 
dependencies. There was even in view a German 
express route from Berlin via the Mediterranean to 
Timbuctu. On the south the possession was to be 
linked up with German South-west Africa by the annexa- 
tion of Portuguese Angola, and Rhodesia as well as 
Nyassaland, and Portuguese East Africa. The capability 
of these African territories of supplying raw materials 
for German industry at a cheap rate had been carefully 
gone into, and the easiest means of economical control 
by an apparent alliance for the time being with Moham- 
medanism in the north schemed out. On the military 
side, the value of this great consolidated dominion was 
held to lie in the fact that it could be rendered not merely 
sufficient for its own defence, but a sensible addition to 
Germany's armed power. Assuming the Turkish Empire 
to be maintained — which would follow from a German 
success, even though it would be a German possession in 
everything save the name — then the German African 
Empire could only be attacked by sea from east or west. 
Those attacks, however, could have in any event but 

159 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

slight hope of prevailing. In the face of a native army 
of from 60,000 to 80,000 men, trained on European 
methods, and scientifically equipped, the probability 
might with perfect safety be dismissed, and a native 
army of that strength could, it was computed, be main- 
tained without costing the German Imperial Treasury a 
cent. Already in German East Africa the beginnings 
of such an army had been set on foot, and it will be seen 
when the campaign in the Cameroons is narrated how 
German military measures there as well as in East 
Africa had been shaped to fit in with this larger project. 
In 1914 the mask of deceptive professions about the 
work of civilisation had been cast aside. They were 
useful in the day of preparation before Germany had a 
powerful fleet, and when her military system had not 
yet reached its full stature ; they had become superfluous 
now that the powerful fleet was in being, and the military 
machine ready to act as soon as the German Staff pulled 
the lever. The future of Togoland in German estima- 
tion had been disclosed besides by the installation at 
Kamina, the inland terminus of the railway from the 
coast, of a powerful wireless installation complementary 
of those at Mwanza and Windhuk. Such a work, 
completed at great labour and expense, and it may be 
added at the cost of many native lives, formed no part 
of the development of the Togoland colony. It was a 
link in the chain which was being forged to bind the 
world. On these grounds the Allies were as desirous of 
ousting the Germans from West Africa as the Germans 
themselves were to remain, and the Allies were the more 
resolved to act because here as elsewhere German 
dealings with the natives were a disturbing influence 
spreading far beyond their own boundaries. It can 
therefore readily be understood why, acting upon instruc- 
tions from Berlin, Colonel von Doring, then in charge of 
the colony, should have proposed to the authorities both 
of the Gold Coast and of Dahomey that pending the 
issue of the war in Europe Togoland should be treated 
as neutral territory. Properly, had it been entered into, 
an agreement of that kind would have involved the 

160 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

disuse of the wireless installation for war purposes. But 
that was not the intention of the Government at Berlin. 
They wanted all the benefit of an armistice where it was 
a benefit, yet meant to evade its obligations. Their 
instructions to von Doring left the point beyond doubt. 
It is hardly likely in any event that the proposition 
would have been entertained, but on this discovery it 
could not so much as be considered. Accordingly 
within a week from the outbreak of war Togoland was 
invaded by the Allies from both sides. 

While from the west Captain Barker, with a small 
mobile column of Gold Coast troops, crossed the frontier 
and occupied Lome, the administrative capital, the 
French crossed from Dahomey, and occupied Anecho 
and Togo. The Allies had thus the whole of the coast 
line in their hands. 

So far they met with no resistance. The Germans 
with their native auxiliaries had removed themselves 
inland, and announced that they had surrendered the 
territory up to 120 kilometres from the seaboard. That, 
however, was no more than a military move in their own 
favour. In retiring they had dismantled the railway, 
and they were well aware that, apart from the railway, 
this coastal belt, densely overgrown with tropical bush, 
would be far from easy to penetrate. What the move 
in fact covered was preparation for defence inland, where 
their own limited force would be on terms of equality 
with the attacking troops. The position selected was 
on the Chra river. On the way inland to Kamina the 
railway crosses that stream which here flows through 
the jungle, its banks a mass of rank reeds and under- 
growth. To all intents, the bridge over the Chra having 
been wrecked, such a crossing in the face of a hostile 
force was impregnable. It had been picked out with 
an eye to its defensive value, and here the German force 
sat down, hoping it may be that the Allies, advancing 
north from Lome, and expecting in view of the reported 
surrender little opposition, would blunder into this 
deadly ambuscade. 

In the meantime, on the side of the Allies the decision 

161 M 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

had been arrived at to push into the interior. For 
that purpose the British and French columns which had 
moved in along the coast were united under the command 
of Colonel Bryant. He landed at Lome on August 12 
with a reinforcement of the Gold Coast Regiment, and 
a body of native porters, and to anticipate hostile 
obstacles, began his march inland without delay. In 
eight days he had covered 80 miles to Nuatya. Up to 
that time there had been no sign of the enemy though 
it was known that all the Germans inland had been 
hurrying south. On August 22, however, the crossing 
of the Chra was reached. Reconnaissance disclosed the 
formidable character of the position. Across the river 
lay the wreck of the railway bridge, destroyed by dyna- 
mite. There were various efforts to get over at various 
points, but none were successful. Securely hidden amid 
the undergrowth on the farther bank the hostile force 
had matters pretty well their own way and the attack 
was completely held up. But it had after all not been 
futile. While von Doring had thus been occupied on 
the Chra, a French column, setting out from Abome, 
had crossed the frontier, and meeting with no opposition, 
had made a swift march across country towards Kamina. 
The German commander now found his chance of moving 
inland menaced. If the French arrived at Kamina 
before he did he would be entrapped, and the wireless 
installation would fall into their hands. That above 
all had to be prevented. Accordingly on the night of 
August 22 von Doring evacuated the Chra position and 
hurried north. Colonel Bryant pushed on after him. 
On August 24 the advanced guard of the Allied column 
came in sight of the tall skeleton tower, the landmark of 
the Kamina installation. But soon afterwards there 
was a succession of heavy explosions. The tower swayed, 
and heeling over disappeared from view. When Bryant's 
main body reached Kamina next day they were met 
by a German parlementaire, sent forward to negotiate 
terms of surrender. The reply was that the surrender 
must be unconditional. Since in the interval the French 
had been closing in on the north and von Doring's 

162 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TOGOLAND 

already meagre force had been thinned by desertions 
during his retreat, he had no choice left save compliance. 
On August 26 therefore his troops laid down their arms. 
The campaign, the shortest in the war, had lasted just 
three weeks, and German dominion in West Africa was 
dead. 



163 jvi 2 



CHAPTER IX 

THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

Features of the African Campaigns — Character of the Cameroons — 
The German military scheme — The fortified frontier — British 
attack from Nigeria — Its failure and the reasons — The reverses at 
Garua and Nsanakang — General Dobell's plan of invasion from 
IJuala — Effect of the French attack — German precautions at 
Duala — The British naval operations — Dobell's expedition to 
and capture of Duala and Bonaberi — Germans forestalled — 
British operations against Jabassi and Edea — Clearance of the 
Northern railway — German rebound — Actions at Edea and 
Nkongsamba — German commander's projects — The French ad- 
vance — Battle at Dume — Allied operations at a halt — General 
Dobell's view of the position — The French plan for a combined 
movement against Jaunde — British and French advance from 
Duala — Battle at Wum Biagas — Failure of the project — French 
advance to Dum6 and Lome — Resumption of the attack from 
Nigeria — Siege and capture of Garua — Breach of the German 
military barrier in the north — The siege of Mora — Second Allied 
Conference at Duala — New plans — Nigerian forces link up with 
those of Dobell — The final converging moves — Resumed British 
move from Duala inland — Battle at Lesogs — Siege and capture of 
Banyo — The final dash to Jaunde — German retreat to Rio Muni — 
Surrender of Mora. 

In the German Cameroons the Allied forces were called 
upon to face some of the hardest military problems of 
the War, and the manner in which those problems were 
overcome renders the Cameroons campaign one of the 
most instructive. It is a mark of these campaigns in 
Africa that no one of them was in its features a repetition 
of another. Each was distinct. That already has been 
strikingly evident in the operations in South-west Africa 
and in East Africa. When the struggle in the Cameroons 
is told the observation will be found equally to apply. 

Covering 306,000 square miles, this possession was one 

164 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROON'S 

and a half times as large as the German Empire in 
Europe. By itself probably such a statement conveys 
little, for little-known countries are commonly studied 
on small maps, and this vast equatorial land was 
before the War and outside the German Colonial 
Office, one of the least known parts of the world. 
Even the Germans themselves had over great tracts 
of it but slight dealings with the natives. Their first 
concern, having regard to their ultimate aims, had 
been to ensure their retention of the country in case 
of attack, and to that matter they had given careful 
attention. Running north-east and inland from the 
Bight of Biafra there is a great mountain chain, which 
extends almost all the way — 1,000 miles — to Lake Chad 
in the Western Soudan. A feature of this mass of moun- 
tains, the natural boundary between Nigeria and the 
Cameroons, is the breadth of their area. The area is 
100 miles across. They constituted therefore a military 
obstacle of the first class. And to the south-east of 
the mountains spreads a vast plateau, having a rugged 
northern rim. From this plateau the land falls north- 
wards towards the lower levels of the Western Soudan ; 
east and south towards the wide basin of the Congo. 
Notwithstanding that it lies nearly under the equator, 
the tableland has a relatively temperate climate. There 
are expanses of open grasslands, and in the hollows belts 
of wood. It is only along the lower-lying coastal belt, 
and in the lower levels of the Congo basin that the tropical 
jungle is met with. Earlier European explorers appear 
to have judged the country as a whole from those 
characteristics, and to have concluded that it was 
uninhabitable by white men. But the lower levels 
are comparatively a small part of it — its mere outer 
fringe. The Germans saw that it had capacities for 
development. 

Their Cameroons military scheme, which alone need 
be touched upon here, consisted in the first place of the 
enrolment and training of a native army. With the 
offer of attractive pay that was not difficult, and in 1914 
this force numbered roundly 20,000 men. Its equipment 

165 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

had not been stinted ; indeed, was on a European scale. 
Above all, it had been amply provided with machine- 
guns, weapons especially formidable in bush fighting. 
Neither in Nigeria on the one side nor in French Equa- 
torial Africa on the other were there forces of anything 
like this same magnitude. The troops of both possessions 
united would not reach the total of this German standing 
army. Even if they should act together, however, they 
would be nearly as distant from each other as the armies 
on the Western and Eastern main fronts in Europe. 
Under the conditions efficient co-operation would be 
far from easy, and it was reasonable enough to suppose 
that the German force would be fully capable of defeating 
each in turn. Beyond doubt it was to impede such a 
possible co-operation that the Germans in 1911, in 
return for relinquishment of their claims in Morocco, 
had exacted from France the concession of 100,000 
square miles of Equatorial Africa, which carried the 
boundary of the German Cameroons at one point to the 
Congo, and at another point to the Ubangi, its great 
northern tributary. All the same, still further to econo- 
mise their military resources, and to make assurance 
doubly sure, they had established in and along the 
mountain chain— the boundary of Nigeria having been 
drawn along its north-western foot, leaving the area 
therefore wholly within German jurisdiction — a system 
of fortresses, which barred the main passes. Thus in 
any event an attack from the side of Nigeria would be 
difficult, while the distances from the French side im- 
posed hardly less grave impediments. On the other 
hand, as German columns might readily descend into 
Nigeria from the mountains, a counter-offensive, or if 
necessary a set attack, might with advantage be carried 
out. Looking at it as a whole, few schemes have been 
more complete. The Cameroons, in fact, had been 
converted into a tropical Prussia, and it is manifest 
that the task of pulling this system up by the roots 
could be no easy affair. Another point relied upon in 
the German scheme was the difficulty of penetrating- 
inland across the tropical jungle along the coast. As a 

166 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

military operation an advance from the coast presented 
so many deterrents that the Germans did not believe 
it could succeed, even if attempted. 

And the first operations of the campaign corresponded 
fully with their forecasts. The British attacked from 
Nigeria. At suitable jumping-off places along the 
frontier — Maidugari, Yola, and Ikum on the Cross 
River — columns of Nigerian troops were rapidly as- 
sembled, and sent forward into the hills. Unsuspect- 
ingly they bumped into the strongest German line of 
defence. They were on the move early in August, 1914, 
and two of them, that from Maidugari, and that from 
Yola, set out on the same day, August 25. It was 
supposed that this alacrity would find the Germans in 
the mountain region not yet prepared. The Germans 
had been prepared for years. The Maidugari Column, 
under the command of Major (then Captain) R. W. Fox, 
of the Royal Warwickshires, was to march by the route 
leading past Mora and over the northern spurs of the 
Mandara mountains. As to whether or not the enter- 
prise was practicable it is enough to observe that at 
Mora the Germans had established one of their fortresses. 
The position was an almost flat-topped mountain mass, 
nearly thirty miles round the base, and 1,700 feet high. 
What made it a natural stronghold were its sides, sheer 
cliffs, their wall broken here and there at long distances 
only by steep gullies. In the rainy season the beds of 
roaring torrents, these breaks or chimneys were full of 
great boulders, for sharpshooters a ready-made but per- 
fect cover. And the position, its flat top miles in 
diameter, was capable of being provisioned for a siege 
of indefinite duration, to say nothing of the fact that 
only a large force could effectually blockade it. That a 
small mobile column could dislodge from such a fastness 
a garrison as numerous as itself was of course out of the 
question. Seeing that it was out of the question, 
Captain Fox did what he judged the next best thing. 
He took up a position on the road from Mora to Garua, 
and held on there until joined (October 13) by a column 
of French troops who, under the command of Lieut-Col. 

167 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

Brisset, were moving south from the district of Lake 
Chad. 

The march of the Yola Column, commanded by Lieut- 
Col. P. Maclear, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was upon Garua. 
On the way at Tepe, the column was opposed, and 
obliged to drive the enemy out of the village. The fight, 
however, was stiff and the casualties considerable. On 
August 30 Garua was reached, but Garua had also been 
converted into a fortress. The place was a precipitous 
bluff on the north bank of the Benue river, which circles 
round it on three sides. The only means of access, save 
for an attempt to cross the river, in face of the artillery 
the Germans had mounted, was from the rear. In the 
rear, however, there had been constructed three forts 
with linked defences, enclosing an area large enough for 
an entrenched camp. The column of Colonel Maclear 
had marched and climbed nearly 100 miles, and to that 
gallant officer, who later lost his life, it hardly seemed the 
thing to turn back without a fight. In view of the 
natural strength of the Garua position his plan was a 
night attack. The attack failed, and this column had 
to retread the weary miles, beating off assaults most of 
the way. Only a remnant returned. 

The Cross River Column, Lieut-Col. G. T. Mair, R.A., 
in command, was directed upon Ossidinge. Its advance 
guard had reached Nsanakang, ten miles across the 
border, when a much more powerful hostile force, 
hurriedly sent north from Duala by rail, fell upon it. 
Outnumbered, these gallant men, 200 strong, could not 
avoid being surrounded. With the exception of two 
British officers and ninety native rank and file, who cut 
their way through with the bayonet, took refuge in the 
bush, and reached safety after a series of hairbreadth 
escapes, and after undergoing the extreme of hardships, 
the advance guard was wiped out. It had exacted a 
heavy toll from the enemy, heavier than its own numbers, 
for it fought till the last man, and the struggle was bitter. 
Nevertheless this was a serious check, and looking at the 
experiences and losses of the Yola Column the campaign 
could hardly have opened more unfortunately. 

]6S 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

In these circumstances affairs were placed in the 
hands of Major-General C. M. Dobell, who left England 
early in September. Though not then definitely formed, 
his plan was to seize Duala, the chief port of the Camer- 
oons, and the seat of the German administration, and 
from that place as a base to push inland. Inquiries at 
the ports of call on the West Coast of Africa during his 
passage out went, General Dobell has stated, to confirm 
his view. The news of the reverses which had overtaken 
the Nigeria columns was now on the coast common 
knowledge, and gave the aspect of affairs a gloomy cast. 
It was advisable to act with promptitude and energy. 
Otherwise, despite distances and the lack of railways, 
the check experienced on the British side might very well 
be followed by misfortune to the French operations set 
on foot at the same time from French Equatorial Africa. 

In part it was the French attack which after the British 
reverses kept the Germans still on the defensive. For the 
most part the colonists in the region of the Cameroons 
added in 1911 were Frenchmen. They not only detested 
this transference to German authority : they were on 
good terms with the natives. When, consequently, war 
broke out they instantly rose in arms. Bonga on the 
Congo, and Zinga on the Ubangi, fell at once into the 
hands of these bodies of volunteers, whose knowledge 
of the country was to the French troops moving in under 
the command of General Aymerich invaluable. It was 
necessary for Colonel Zimmermann, the German Com- 
mander-in-Chief, to detach no unimportant part of his 
army to deal with the menace, and as his nearest railhead 
was 450 miles from these frontier posts, his defensive 
on the east was a heavy obligation. Already one column 
of French troops was marching from Bonga up the Sanga 
river, and another from Zinga pushing west to Bania 
and Carnot. Zimmermann had won the first round, 
but he was much too prudent to presume on that pre- 
liminary success. He confined himself therefore on the 
Nigerian boundary to frontier raids, designed to pin 
there as many British troops as possible. And in order 
further to free his hand for dealing with his French 

169 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

antagonists, he took measures in the event of attack for 
transferring the German administration from Duala to 
Jaunde, 150 miles inland, and on the edge of the plateau 
overlooking the coastal zone. 

Nor had any precautions likely to obstruct attack upon 
Duala from the sea been omitted. The town stands on 
the southern shore of a large inlet. Less than five miles 
across at its entrance this body of water expands into 
a wide, tranquil, and deep lagoon, one of the best natural 
harbours in Africa and navigable inland by ships of 
large tonnage for thirty miles from the seaboard. The 
entrance, the channels, and the Cameroon river had all 
been skilfully mined, for into Duala on the outbreak of 
war a number of German craft, including eight liners, 
had run for safety, and this shipping was now at Bona- 
beri, the secondary port on the opposite shore of the 
gulf. But not relying merely upon mines, the Germans 
had provided themselves with torpedoes, some designed 
to be fired from shore, others adapted for being towed 
out, and launched against an attacking warship at short 
range. The Cameroon river had also been blocked by 
sinking craft loaded with stones and ballast. 

On the coast at this time the British had H.M.S. 
Challenger, H.M.S. Cumberland, and the gunboat Dwarf, 
and by them business of dealing with the obstructions 
had been taken in hand. Cumberland, in charge of the 
mine-sweeping operations, cleared the entrance and the 
lower main channels, while Dwarf, owing to her lighter 
draft, was put on to the Cameroon river obstacles. She 
had the work of blowing up and removing the wrecks, 
and it was work which had to be done in the face of 
constant attacks. Three times she narrowly missed 
being torpedoed. When those efforts failed the Germans 
sent down a steamer for the purpose of ramming her, 
but this craft crashed into one of the sunken obstructions 
and was wrecked. Challenger supported these activities. 
By incessant work, joined to bulldog tenacity and pluck, 
the approaches had been so far cleared in the latter half 
of September as to allow transports to enter into the 
lagoon, and approach near enough to Duala to admit 

170 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

both of a bombardment by the warships and of a 
landing. 

General Dobell had in the meantime been pushing 
forward his preparations. He found that the native 
troops at his disposal totalled 4,300, and adding Euro- 
peans less than 5,000 in all. Not a large force, and not 
one with which anything ambitious in the way of inland 
operations could be essayed, but enough, it was hoped, 
for the seizure of Duala. The success of the operation 
must in part at any rate be attributed to its promptitude. 
The descent took place on September 26, and there is 
little doubt this rapidity took the Germans by surprise. 
An attack of course they had looked for, but they had 
not looked for an attack on this scale within a fortnight 
of the British commander's arrival. They had not 
been given time to remove either their guns or their 
stores, and the German civilian population of Duala 
was still in the place. A little later, doubtless, the port 
would have been left an empty shell. As it was, it 
was an egg full of meat. Knowing that if he afforded 
the chance what there was of value would be forthwith 
destroyed, General Dobell on arrival sent ashore a 
summons to surrender. The demand was refused. It 
had been intimated that in the event of refusal a bom- 
bardment would be opened, and the enemy soon found 
that the threat was no empty one. Immediately the 
negative was learned, the guns of the warships opened. 
All that day while the ships poured in shell, a strong 
detachment, thrown ashore, was drawing a cordon 
round the town. Next morning the German comman- 
dant ran up the white flag. Duala, Bonaberi, with an 
area contiguous were formally surrendered. In the 
two towns 400 Germans of military age were rounded 
up, the captures of guns, stores, and munitions were 
large ; and the shipping at Bonaberi formed a prize of 
the utmost usefulness. 

Beyond doubt this sudden and severe blow, which 
more than counterbalanced the British losses, exercised 
a very adverse effect on German prospects all through 
the campaign. And Zimmermann, his attention directed 

171 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

towards the French invasion, was not ready with a 
reply. His main strength had been thrown far into 
the interior, nor was it until three months had gone by 
that he found himself able to react with vigour. General 
Dobell did not neglect the opportunity. When it was 
said that the Germans discounted the probability of a 
successful attack from Duala they assumed a sufficient 
and effective defence, and on that assumption the 
justice of the conclusion cannot be questioned, for, 
given such a defence, a British force in Duala and 
Bonaberi, if not entirely bottled up, would find it difficult 
and costly to get out. This was a risk General Dobell 
had to face, and his venture and its result offer another 
illustration of the effect of boldness in war. The 
sufficient defence was for the time being not there. 

Near Duala, their lower courses converging towards 
that point, the coastal flats are traversed by three 
rivers — the Wuri, the Sanaga, and the Njong, and they 
are all of them deep enough and wide enough to be bad 
military obstacles. The Sanaga is a great stream. 
More than that these rivers flowed here through the 
tropical forest, growing down to their banks, and even 
encroaching on their beds. By far the best routes 
inland lay along the railways. The line from Duala 
ran inland through Edea, crossing the Sanaga. From 
Bonaberi there was also a line northwards to Bare 
(80 miles), where the higher land is reached. To con- 
vert Duala into a suitable base it was essential to 
command these routes, and to seize them without loss 
of time. 

The clearance of the area between Duala and the 
Sanaga having been effected, a move was made up the 
Wuri river upon Jabassi, for down the Wuri a counter- 
attack might be delivered, and until Jabassi was occupied 
a move upon Edea would not be safe. There had been 
added to the Expedition a flotilla of armed river craft, 
and these were now employed to cover the transport 
of the Wuri attacking force up stream. The first 
attempt, on October 8, failed. Coming under machine- 
gun fire for the first time, always a trying experience, the 

172 




'GEOGRAPHIA" L'° 55 r L££r ZTPiET LCWONS.S. 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

native troops got out of hand. There had been here a 
defect in their training. But as nothing could be done 
until this move had been carried out, the column was 
reorganised, and in the second try Jabassi was taken, 
and the district cleared. 

The operation against Edea was a larger affair. 
While the armed flotilla was sent up the Sanaga, a 
dangerous feat in view of the sandbanks, but carried 
out under the direction of Commander L. W. Braith- 
waite, R.N., with conspicuous skill, two columns were 
to converge upon Edea by land — one, a French con- 
tingent under Colonel Mayer, from Japoma ; the other 
by way of the Njong river, and then by a track through 
the forest. The Japoma bridge over the Dibamba 
creek, 900 yards long, had been broken by the enemy in 
two places, but though opposed by a brisk rifle and 
machine-gun fusillade, the French troops, with support 
from the naval guns, gallantly made good these gaps. 
All along the line of railway there was stiff fighting, for 
there the enemy had disposed his chief force. The 
attack by the flotilla and the turning movement by 
way of the Njong possibly enough took him by surprise. 
At any rate the operation was brilliantly successful. 
Edea was occupied (October 26) and the column pushed 
forward along the railway to Kopongo, nearly twenty 
miles farther inland. 

After this General Dobell turned to the clearing of 
the line north from Bonaberi. The preliminaries here had 
been entrusted to Lieut. -Col. Haywood, and in con- 
tinuous minor scrimmages he had pushed the enemy 
steadily back. That opened the way for a move against 
the port of Victoria, which the Germans still occupied, 
and against their summer resort, Buea, on the slopes 
of the Cameroon mountain. In conjunction with the 
ships of the squadron both places were seized. Naval 
activity had been in evidence all along the coast which 
was now securely held and patrolled. One result was 
to bring up the bag of Germans of military age to 968, 
a heavy loss to the enemy's defence. 

The completing step in this preparation of a secure 

174 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

base and jumping-off position was now undertaken — a 
movement along the northern railway to the railhead, 
Nkongsamba. With a strong column Col. Gorges, taking 
up the work of Haywood, fought his way to Nkong- 
samba, and pushed fifty miles farther on into the moun- 
tains to Dschang, where the Germans had built one of 
their fortified positions. Dschang was taken and its 
defences destroyed. For the time, however, it was the 
judgment of General Dobell that Dschang was too distant 
from Duala to be occupied. His small force had had 
already to be disposed over a territory as large as Wales, 
and for such a purpose and until reinforcements arrived 
it was no easy matter to make it go round. Sickness, 
and the effects of the tropical rains had also to be 
provided for. 

His operations had been completed none too soon. 
Dschang was taken on January 3, 1915. On January 5 
the German reaction set in. Probably enough because 
British activity was the most evident round Dschang, 
the counter-attack came from the opposite quarter. 
The first intimation of it at Duala was a severing of the 
wires to Edea. That place lies on the south bank of the 
Sanaga, and to reach it from Duala the river had to be 
crossed. It is in the forest zone, and is a scattered 
settlement in the midst of a large clearing, but the 
ground is uneven and ridged, and the position plainly 
lent itself to surprise. As well as the advanced post at 
Kopongo, where a blockhouse had been built, it was 
occupied by the Senegalese troops of Mayer, who, 
seeing the possibilities of surprise, had prudently laid 
out a ring of defences, skilfully concealed, traps in fact 
in which the enemy, if and when he reappeared, was 
intended to be caught in his own toils. And caught he 
was. The attack was delivered by a column of German 
troops 1,000 strong, and it was obstinate. The Sene- 
galese, however, are first class shots, and one attempt 
to break in after another was beaten off in confusion. 
Finally, after losing a good proportion of their force — 
about a fourth were found and buried or picked up 
wounded — the Germans drew off. It attests the char- 

175 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

acter of the defence and of the defences that the casual- 
ties of Mayer's force were only 15, 4 killed and 11 
wounded. Coincidently another part of the German 
expedition had attacked Kopongo. But the garrison 
there had been put by natives on the alert, and that 
assault also was a fiasco. 

And very likely believing that these attacks, their 
success being counted upon, would draw the Allies 
towards Edea, the enemy became active round Nkong- 
samba. The fighting here was heavy, for by barring 
communication along the northern railway the Germans 
aimed at isolating the British force in Duala from the 
troops on the frontier of Nigeria, well aware that sooner 
or later the two forces were meant to co-operate. The 
purpose of Zimmermann, and from a military point of 
view it was quite sound, was to keep the various Allied 
bodies in the Cameroons isolated from each other. He 
evidently still had hopes that Dobell might be contained. 
In that case he could hope, too, with his strong points 
in the mountains, to hold off any inroads from that 
quarter. And if enabled to do this then he had a fair 
chance against the French. Pursuant to this scheme, 
he pushed Dobell's contingent in the north back upon 
Bare, the outpost of railhead, and he entrenched in a 
commanding position. An attempt was made to oust 
him, and unfortunately it did not succeed. In this 
fighting the losses on both sides were heavy. 

Apart from the limited advantage thus won, the 
German reaction had fallen flat, and it had been an 
expensive venture. What had in part prompted it 
and made it feasible had been a certain measure of 
success against the French. The French forces were 
penetrating into the Cameroons in three converging 
columns — that of Colonel Brisset moving from the 
north ; that of Colonel Morrison, advancing from Zinga 
on the east ; and that of Colonel Hutin following the 
course of the Sanga from the south. The plan was to 
converge upon Jaunde in conjunction with a British 
advance from the west and north-west. The marches 
of both Morrison and Hutin had been rapid. At Bania, 

176 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

on the Upper Sanga, they had joined, had taken Carnot, 
and moved upon Bertua, half-way from Carnot to 
Jaunde. Affairs from the German point of view now 
began to look serious, for at Bertua the united French 
force was distant from Jaunde only 175 miles. But 
Zimmermann was able in time to collect a larger bod} 7 
of troops, and at Dume there was fought one of the most 
considerable battles of the campaign. The French were 
compelled to fall back. Having brought off that stroke, 
the German commander dispatched a swift moving 
column south-east to N'Zimu on the Sanga, there got 
astride of Hutin's communications, and laid out a forti- 
fied position. Nor was the enemy dislodged until a 
column of Belgian troops from the Congo, under the 
command of General Aymerich, was pushed north and 
retook N'Zimu after a three days' battle. 

On the face of affairs it now looked as though the 
Allied operations had been brought to a halt. Zimmer- 
mann, in order to fight the battle at Dume" had risked 
and incurred the Duala surprise, yet it cannot be said 
that so far he had come off badly. To General Dobell, 
considering the situation at the beginning of February, 
1915, the sound course appeared to be a resumption of 
the Allied advance from the north. An advance from 
the north should enable the advance from the east and 
south-east — Aymerich had begun a move from N'Zimu 
upon Lome — also to be resumed, and in conjunction 
with these movements, if his reinforcements which were 
coming in slowly arrived, he could himself co-operate 
from the west. It was in accordance with these views 
that at his request Brigadier-General F. J. Cunliffe 
undertook the command of the troops in Nigeria. 

But on the French side other ideas prevailed. There 
was at Paris, if not in London, some impatience at the 
delay and the turn the campaign had taken. A very 
natural desire existed to retrieve as soon as possible the 
check at Dume, and there was the political value of a 
swift success. These views were put before General 
Dobell at Duala in March, 1915, by an official deputation 
from French Equatorial Africa, headed by M. Fourneau, 

177 n 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

Lieut. -Governor of the Middle Congo. General Dobell 
had his doubts. The dry season was nearing its end, 
and the difficulties of forcing his way at the worst time 
of the year through such a country as he had in face of 
him and with the forces then at his disposal were not 
to be ignored. The difficulties could hardly have been 
ignored had the opposition to be looked for not been 
too serious. It was certain, however, that the opposition 
would be serious. In his opinion such an advance, to 
be successful under the conditions, should take place in 
association with a French pressure close to Jaunde, for 
in that case the German main forces would be drawn to 
defend the place. But while the French were still at a 
distance from Jaunde, the Germans would for the time 
being be comparatively free to resist the western advance. 
Nevertheless, looking at " the advantage which would 
follow upon an early occupation of Jaunde," he agreed 
to fall in with the plan. The plan proved another of 
the instances in which more haste is less speed, for it 
both prolonged the campaign and caused the Allies 
their heaviest losses. 

So far as the force of General Dobell was concerned, 
the first stage in the advance thus initiated was to the 
Kele river, and it was opened conjointly by a British 
column commanded by Lieut. -Colonel Haywood and by 
the Senegalese troops of Colonel Mayer. As expected, 
the resistance met with was stiff. Indeed it soon became 
evident that the enemy was concentrating on this front. 
On May 1, preparations for an attack in strength having 
been completed, the column of Haywood was directed 
upon Wum Biagas, and the column of Mayer upon 
Eseka, the terminus of the Duala railway. Both Wum 
Biagas and Eseka are about 100 miles inland, and 50 miles 
from Jaunde. Though impeded by broken bridges, 
and by difficulties of supply, through and across many 
miles of dense tropical jungle, Mayer's column reached 
and occupied Eseka on May 11. The enemy's position 
at Wum Biagas, a formidable one, was on May 4 carried 
by storm, but the losses incurred were heavy. Mayer 
and his force from Eseka then moved across to Wum 

178 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

Biagas, and there joined the British contingent. From 
this time Mayer was to command the advance. 

But now came news that the troops of Aymerich, who 
were to have taken Durae and Lome, and from those places 
marched upon Jaunde, had not on May 11 arrived at either. 
What with the beginning of the rainy season, and the 
resistance encountered they had not scored the progress 
looked for. On the other hand, for General Dobell to 
put off at this juncture the projected push from Wum 
Biagas meant that nothing more could be done until 
after the rains, and that in the meantime sickness would 
play havoc. The sickness rate was rising. It was one 
of those situations in which to go back, remain or go on 
offered no more than a choice of evils. The decision 
of General Dobell was to go on. Accordingly, on 
May 25, at the head of about 2,000 effectives Mayer set 
out. Fifty miles to Jaunde may not seem a great dis- 
tance, but it was fifty miles through the dense bush of 
the Sanaga valley, in places impenetrable without cutting 
a way through. The advance was slow, and the work 
of pushing up supplies to Wum Biagas and beyond, 
arduous in any event, became more difficult with every 
mile of the march. Not merely was the resistance 
obstinate, and backed by machine-guns at every turn, 
but the enemy resorted to stampeding the convoys of 
native carriers. As General Dobell at this time had 
only at his disposal three motor vehicles, the supplies 
had to be moved by man-transport, or not at all. This 
was the enemy's chance. To stampede the porterage 
columns by machine-gun ambuscades was to leave 
Mayer's force without supplies. Hardships, shortage of 
food and exposure to the rains caused an outbreak of 
dysentery. Mayer asked for reinforcements. Up to 
June 5, though an energetic and resourceful commander, 
he had been able to advance only twelve miles, for in 
the latter part of the distance he had been impeded by 
a swamp, and as there was no way round, it had, in 
face of hostile fire, taken five days to make good a 
crossing. There are circumstances in which resolution 
conflicts with reason, and that was now the position. 

179 N 2 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

Mayer therefore sent back word that in his opinion a 
further advance was impracticable. Before deciding 
General Dobell asked for news regarding the Allied 
forces on the east. The answer came that there was no 
news. Instructions were consequently sent up to Mayer 
to fall back. Mayer, however, had already been com- 
pelled to take the matter in his own hands. The loss 
of the supplies which were being brought to the front 
by a column of 500 carriers, just cut up and stampeded, 
had left his force foodless, and he had to get out as best 
he could. As soon as his retreat was observed the enemy 
rushed in upon his rearguards, and the last reinforce- 
ments General Dobell had at his command in Duala 
had to be sent forward to the relief by forced marches. 
They arrived on June 16, and they arrived in the nick 
of time, for the harassed rearguard were then beating 
off a heavy assault. The retreat was continued to the 
Kele river. Not until the end of June, and notwith- 
standing the losses involved, did the hostile attacks die 
down. Of Mayer's force one-fourth were killed or 
wounded. 

Possibly enough, it was this German concentration 
against the Allied advance from the west which about the 
same time enabled the Allied forces on the east to retake 
Bertua, and to advance and establish themselves both 
in Dume and in Lome. But in the absence of further 
western co-operation those advances were for the time 
without result. The scheme of March, undertaken in 
the defiance of sound military considerations, had broken 
down. 

The one bright spot for the Allies in this phase of the 
campaign was in the north. In Nigeria, General Cun- 
liffe had prudently decided to focus his force upon 
Garua, and to attack that place in conjunction with 
Brisset. Since the effort of Maclear the fortifications of 
Garua had, however, been elaborated, and it was after- 
wards found out that 2,000 native labourers had been 
employed upon them. They were also armed with 
ordnance outranging field pieces. It was evident 
therefore that if the place was to be successfully be- 

180 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

sieged, the guns of the defences must at least be matched. 
This problem was solved by the landing of the 12-pounder 
guns of Challenger, which were sent up country together 
with a head of 500 shell, and a French 95 mm. naval 
gun. Whether or not he had heard of these preparations, 
the enemy's trans-frontier raids showed increasing 
boldness. 

The investment of Garua began on April 18, 1915, 
and it lasted until June 10. At the outset, the investing 
lines were drawn round the place to the south and south- 
west, but early in the siege an enemy force of some 300 
men, mounted and afoot, broke out, and under the 
command of Hauptmann von Crailsheim, who was 
defending the fortress, made a dash for the Nigerian 
frontier post of Gurin, possibly for the seizure of stores. 
The post was bravely and successfully defended. The 
discomfited raiders had then somehow to make their 
way back for fifty miles through the mountains. By 
dodging round the hills, and by finally marching twenty- 
eight hours without a break, they eluded the pursuit, 
got back, and re-entered Garua. Further reconnaissance 
had now convinced General Cunliffe that the best point 
of attack was from the north. A line of trenches was 
cut there, and night by night steadily advanced against 
Fort "A," marked out for seizure. The naval artillery 
of the Allies was meanwhile giving evidence of its effect. 
So affairs went on until June 9, when in the night there 
were two attempts on the part of the garrison to break 
out. One was driven back by rifle fire. In the second, 
a body of the German native troops tried to swim the 
Benue. As usual at this season, the river was in flood, 
and in the darkness, battling with the swirling current, 
most were drowned. Seventy bodies were cast up by 
or recovered from the water. Only some forty-five of 
the adventurers got over and escaped. 

What these events in fact reflected was a mutiny of 
part of the black troops of the garrison. They had had 
enough. Next day, after a futile attempt to parley, 
the commandant capitulated. His garrison had been 
reduced to 37 Germans and 212 natives. Captures of 

181 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

materiel included 10 maxims, and nearly 115,000 rounds 
of small arms ammunition, besides guns and shells, and 
stores and equipment of various kinds. 

General Cunliffe's next move was a dash south-east in 
order to surprise the enemy posts holding the tracks 
leading up to the great plateau. For that purpose a 
column was detached under the command of Lieut. -Col. 
Webb-Bowen. The paths leading to the northern rim 
of the uplands are rugged and steep, and if not taken by 
surprise the enemy there might offer a costly opposition. 
On the way, the advance troops, led by Capt. C. H. 
Fowle, of the Hampshires, found themselves overtaken 
by an unusually severe tropical tornado. The wild 
solitudes, fantastically lit at one moment by a dazzling 
glare, were the next blotted out in impenetrable gloom, 
and while the thunder crashed and echoed and re-echoed 
through the hills, the rain came down as only it can 
come down in those latitudes. Notwithstanding this, 
the advance guard held on. The enemy posts, sheltering 
from the storm, were rounded up to all intents without 
resistance. Ngaundere, on the main road over these 
hills, was thus attacked and captured by the main body 
before an attack had been expected. The German 
barrier across the north of the colony was broken. 

Further immediate advance south, however, could not 
be undertaken because of the rains. In a country where 
the roads were still for the most part no more than tracks, 
and supplies and baggage had to be moved stage by 
stage on the backs of mules or on the heads of porters, 
the wet season is a bar to movement, and over the dis- 
tances in the Cameroons an absolute bar. The base 
of these northern British operations was Yola on the 
Benue, and about thirty miles beyond the frontier. 
Garua lay on this line of communication, and had there- 
fore first to be dealt with. But to the north the German 
garrison at Mora still held out. True, there lay between 
Garua and Mora 120 miles as the crow flies of rugged 
mountains, but there was a track round the eastern 
spurs of the heights, and to move south, stretching still 
further his line of communications while leaving this 

182 






THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

menace in the rear, appeared to General Cunliffe inadvi- 
sable. As a general advance could not be resumed 
before the end of October, he proposed in the interval 
to reduce the Mora fastness. Returning to Yola, he 
began his preparations. Early in August they were 
finished. In a march of fourteen days the 170 miles 
between Yola and Mora were covered, and on August 23 
his force was before the stronghold. 

North of the Mora mountain rises a similar flat-topped 
mass called Ouatchke, of the same elevation, but less in 
perimeter. On Ouatchke the British troops were already 
established. The two mountains are divided from one 
another by a deep valley 600 yards wide. In the judg- 
ment of General Cunliffe the best chance of carrying the 
hostile position by assault, and it could be taken in no 
other way, was an attack across this valley, for the 
storming troops could then be supported by fire from 
Ouatchke. Two attacks were undertaken and both 
failed. A third reached the summit. There, however, 
commanding the debouchment from the main gully, the 
enemy had constructed a redoubt. Arriving at the sum- 
mit, the forlorn hope, part of the 1st Nigeria Regiment, 
made a dash for this work with the bayonet. But they 
had to cover exposed ground, and sixty yards from the 
redoubt were brought to a halt. There was, taking 
advantage of such cover as existed, nothing for it but 
to dig in and hold on, in the hope of reinforcement. And 
for two days and two nights, despite all the efforts of the 
enemy to dislodge them, they did hold on, though for 
the whole of that time they were without food or water. 
In the rear efforts were being made to send up relief and 
supplies, and they were brave and determined efforts. 
None, however, succeeded. The attack had got in by 
sheer desperate valour. One of its leaders, Captain 
R. N. Pike, a Political Officer of the Nigerian Govern- 
ment, had displayed fearless gallantry. But the garrison, 
taken aback by the feat, which had been thought 
impossible, had rallied, and Pike had fallen. Reluctantly 
therefore, seeing there was no help for it, General Cunliffe 
ordered a withdrawal. And the attack had to be given 

183 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

up, for both the supply of shell for the guns and time had 
alike run out. All that could be done was to leave an 
investing force to watch the position and check raids. 
Mora held out all through the campaign. 

Time had run out because at Duala towards the end of 
August there had been another conference between 
General Dobell and his French allies, attended this time 
by General Aymerich. Conditions had materially 
changed. If the Allies had suffered losses they could be 
made good. The Germans had sustained losses at least 
equal ; losses of resources and equipment decidedly 
heavier, and they could not be made good. The way, 
too, was now open for an Allied advance from the north, 
which, besides being on a sure footing, would by sweeping 
the enemy off the central plateau deprive him of his best 
source of supply. In brief, the breach of the German 
barrier in the north had altered the outlook altogether. 
As General Dobell had considered all along, it was the 
hinge of the Allied campaign. 

But the Duala conference decided upon an additional 
movement — an advance upon Jaunde from the south 
across the Campo river and through Ebolowa, conjointly 
with the march of a column from Campo on the coast to 
the same point. Jaunde was thus to be approached 
from all the four points of the compass. This conver- 
gence was to be set on foot early in October. 

It was a useful preliminary that the force of General 
Cunliffe, though part was occupied before Mora, had been 
moving steadily south through the mountains, and in a 
dashing little operation had taken another fortified 
post — Gashaka. The position was turned by a twelve 
hours' march through extremely rugged country, as the 
reward of which adventure Captain C. G. Bowyer-Smijth 
of the Gloueesters, seized a hill which cut off the retreat 
of the garrison. Finding themselves entrapped, they 
dispersed in twos and threes, leaving their equipment 
behind them. 

The reinforcements of which General Dobell was so 
much in need were now — including a contingent of 
Indian troops — beginning to arrive, and a further result of 

184 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

the advance from the north was that a British column 
at Ossidinge, under the command of Major Crookenden, 
was enabled to push forward to Dschang. This closed 
the gap between the forces of Dobell and those of Cun- 
liffe. The point towards which Cunliffe's troops were 
to converge was Nachtigall Falls on the Sanaga, thirty 
miles due north of Jaunde. 

The final moves of the campaign were now entered 
upon. Since the retreat in June, the forces of Dobell 
had remained on the line of the Kele river. They had 
again to push forward to Wum Biagas and Eseka. But 
this time the advance was designed to take place by two 
parallel columns, one French the other British, and each 
having its own line of supply. On October 9 Wum 
Biagas was in a dashing attack retaken by troops from 
the Gold Coast Colony. The track cut from Edea for 
fifty miles through the bush was made into a good motor 
road, and in the last week of November everything was 
ready for the concluding spring. It began on November 23. 
The enemy put up a stiff fight, and one of the severest 
engagements of the campaign took place at Lesogs, 
but the Northern Nigerian troops, skilfully handled by 
Lieut. -Col. Cockburn, crushed the opposition. Though 
the enemy had contested ever}' yard of the way, the 
British column on November 30 was at Ngung, with 
Jaunde only twenty miles distant. 

In the meantime, Cunliffe, in the north-west, had 
uprooted the last important German stronghold. This 
was at Banyo. From amidst surrounding foothills the 
Banyo mountain, another of the steep-sided, flat- 
topped eminences peculiar to the country, rises in 
majestic isolation. Under its slopes at one side was a 
native town, the mountain being a natural place of 
refuge. The isolated mass had been fortified by the 
Germans with every resource of military art. On the 
precipitous slopes lay great boulders and masses of fallen 
cliff. These had been linked up by walls of rough stone, 
loopholed for rifles and machine-guns. There were 
nearly three hundred such walls. At every point of 
approach a fort had been built. On the summit, as 

185 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

provision against a siege, there were reservoirs made 
watertight by the free use of cement, byres for cattle, 
fowl-houses, granaries, stores, and quarters for the 
garrison. And to ensure the position against being 
starved out, there were the agricultural and other imple- 
ments for cultivating the area on the top. The enemy's 
confidence in the impregnability of the fortress was, 
in fact, absolute, and here the German contingents 
driven in from west and north had rallied, for that was 
one purpose of the fastness. 

The British attack was timed to open at daybreak on 
November 4. The sides of the mountain were then 
veiled in a dense mist, but if this embarrassed the attack, 
it to a yet greater extent baffled the defence. When, 
some hours later, the fog cleared off the attacking troops 
were seen to be well up. The company of Captain 
Bowyer-Smijth, a dashing leader, and not less resourceful, 
climbed to the top. There, however, in striving to make 
good they were enfiladed from both sides. Captain 
Bowyer-Smijth unhappily fell. The rest had to beat a 
retreat. To dislodge the assailants from positions they 
had gained, the enemy hurled down from the top of the 
heights bombs filled with dynamite. But in spite of 
that the attack turned one sangar after another, and at 
sunset on November 5 were generally one hundred yards 
only below the summit. That night there was a violent 
thunderstorm. In the midst of it the last climb was 
resumed, and at daybreak the assault got home. It was 
then found that, breaking up into small parties, the 
garrison, during the night and under cover of the storm, 
had climbed down remoter parts of the mountain by 
avenues of escape already selected. The majority 
were rounded up. Besides ammunition, stores, arms 
and implements, the takings included 226 head of 
cattle. 

While this siege of Banyo had been going on, a com- 
bined move had been carried out by Major Crookenden 
and Lieut. -Col. Cotton upon Bagam, followed up by a 
movement of Cotton and Major Uniake on Fumban. 
These were the last German posts in the hills. Brisset 

186 



THE CAMPAIGN IN THE CAMEROONS 

also had (December 3) pushed south to Yoko on the 
direct route to Nachtigall Falls. 

In advance from the west, General DobelPs force had 
from Ngung reached and taken Dschang Mangas, and 
were now out of the forest tract into open country. 
The column of Mayer, operating through thick bush, 
and hotly opposed, had got to Mangales. From the 
south and east also the Allies were closing in, and it was 
perceived that before the British advance from Ngung 
the resistance had been visibly weakening. Under these 
circumstances, the column of Colonel Gorges was 
ordered to push on. He entered Jaunde on January 1, 
1916. 

The town had been evacuated. At the head of the 
remnant of his forces, now reduced to a few thousands, 
Zimmermann was on the way to Rio Muni, the small 
Spanish possession which forms an enclave in the south- 
west corner of the Cameroons territory. Following him 
up, Lieut. -Col. Haywood at Kol Maka released the 
European and other combatants and native carriers 
whom the enemy had taken prisoners. Zimmermann 
finally was shepherded over the Spanish border by the 
French troops, and there with his following interned. 
The French forces had converged on Jaunde a few days 
after Gorges. 

Save for the German garrison at Mora the campaign 
Avas now at an end. Hauptmann von Raben, in com- 
mand at Mora, held out until February 18, but, offered 
honourable terms, he capitulated. His native rank and 
file was released and given safe passages to their homes, 
the officers, sent to England as prisoners of war, retained 
their swords. 



187 



CHAPTER X 

THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO- 

CHAU. 

German policy in the Far East, — Aims of German diplomacy — Basis 
and effects of German naval power — The British and Japanese 
counter-moves — Growth of German interests in the Pacific — 
Influence of Japanese and Australian naval preparations — The 
New Zealand Expedition to the Samoan Islands — Australian 
conquest of the Bismarck Archipelago and Kaiser Wilhelm Land 
— Japanese Pacific Expedition — The Germans in Kiao-Chau — 
Character and strength of its fortifications — Germany's " lone 
hand " in the Far East— Japan's declaration of War — Preparations 
for the siege of Kiao-Chau — Landing of the Japanese advance 
forces — The British contingent — General Kamio's first move — 
Skill of Japanese operations — Capture of the outer defences — The 
attack on the inner defences — A record bombardment — The three 
parallels of approach — Last stage of the attack — Surrender of the 
garrison. 

In the schemes of the Government at Berlin the 
possession of Kiao-Chau and the colonies of the Pacific 
Ocean fell into one category ; for, in fact, German 
imperial policy had two co-related aspects. The first 
and older of the two was concerned with the establish- 
ment of the German Empire as the leading military 
Power on the Continent of Europe. Towards that end 
the initial step had been the welding of the Germanic 
Confederation into a military unity under the headship 
of Prussia, and the purpose was achieved by the victory 
over Austria in the war of 1866. The next step was by 
utilising and developing these unified resources to raise 
the new Hohenzollern Empire to the place of the leading 
military State, and in turn that aim was accomplished by 
the successes in the war of 1870-71 against France. But 

188 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

between leadership and dominance there is a distinction, 
and after 1870-71 dominance, not leadership, became the 
ambition. The struggle for dominance, for which after 
the war of 1870-71 the rulers of the remodelled German 
Empire set themselves without delay to prepare, must, as 
they foresaw, arouse a wider and more formidable oppo- 
sition. In the contest for leadership, and while their aims 
were not yet clearly perceived abroad, they had been able 
to deal with obstacles one by one. But in the contest for 
dominance it was not less certain that they would have 
to meet a combined resistance. One feature of their 
preparations was the steady improvement and enlarge- 
ment of their military machine. That, in order to allay 
suspicions and misgivings, had to be carried out gradually, 
and covered meanwhile by reiterated and emphatic 
professions of pacificism. 

Since, however, though improved and enlarged, their 
military machine and their own resources would not, 
unaided, suffice for a conflict against a combination, the)' 
set about creating a counter-combination ; its core the 
offensive and defensive alliance with Austria-Hungary. 
As distinct from leadership — the position of primus 
inter pares— dominance involved, even on its lowest 
footing, the diplomatic and commercial dependence of 
other States on the continent of Europe. On its highest 
footing, and the lowest would assuredly and in time shade 
into the highest, it meant the conversion of Europe into 
a German possession. 

But precisely because in the ambition of dominance 
all that was implied, there comes into view the second 
aspect of German policy — the dispersal or division of 
probable resistance. In the possible combination against 
this vast scheme, the most formidable antagonist to be 
reckoned with was Britain and to divide the potential 
combination, the active hostility of Britain had if possible 
to be fended oft!. With the Continental antagonists 
alone — France and Russia — the rulers of the German 
Empire believed confidently they could deal. They 
were the more confident since, by the alliance of 1883 the 
neutrality of Italy had apparently been assured. The 

189 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

feasible procedure was clearly to crush the continental 
opposition in the first place ; to fight with Great Britain 
in the second ; and finally to overthrow the resistance 
of the United States which the break-up of the British 
federation would undoubtedly arouse. 

If, then, German diplomacy is to be understood and 
followed through its mazes, this purpose of realising 
ambitions by successive steps has always to be kept in 
mind as the inspiration at the back of it, and its guiding 
thread. And to begin with, we may say up to the year 
1900, and during the whole of the thirty years which 
elapsed between 1870 and that date, German diplomacy, 
so far as Britain was concerned, seemed to be in every 
respect successful. German diplomacy — it was an ob- 
vious precaution — had not neglected to establish in high 
places in Great Britain an influence which on the surface 
worked towards a good understanding. Though the 
old British suspicion against France had died away, it 
had not then yet given place to cordiality. During the 
transition the tendency of British opinion was to look 
upon affairs on the continent of Europe as of no more than 
indirect interest. This attitude of " splendid isolation," 
congenial to the British public as to that of the United 
States, fitted in with German aims. No means were 
neglected to foster it. Hence, in Great Britain, the 
beginnings of the German navy were regarded with 
indifference. It was not understood that command of 
the inland seas of Europe — the Baltic and the Black 
Sea — was essential to the first part of the German pro- 
gramme. It was not seen that, apart from secure German 
command of the Baltic, a formidable attack upon France 
could hardly be risked. It was not perceived that 
German command of the Baltic and of the Black Sea 
meant, while safeguarding a great German attack upon 
France, the isolation of Russia. Had these things 
been apprehended, it is at least highly doubtful if British 
opinion would during the thirty years between 1870 and 
1900 have remained quiescent. 

British indifference, however, to the earlier upgrowth 
of a German navy was not, in the judgment of the wire- 

190 



AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO-CHAU 

pullers at Berlin, assurance enough. British indifference 
might suddenly change to mistrust. The assurance 
had to be increased by creating in various parts of the 
world German interests and footholds which, in the event 
of war, would have the effect of dispersing British naval 
resources. On the one hand, Great Britain was to be 
confronted in the North Sea by a naval concentration 
strong enough to impose circumspection ; on the other, 
she was to be manoeuvred into a position which would 
make that concentration difficult to be dealt with. In 
these circumstances, her neutrality might be counted 
upon until France and Russia had been struck down. 
After that her attitude would not signify. 

Probably the most remarkable of all the events of 
the period from 1870 to 1900 was the British-German 
Agreement, which not only enabled Germany in 1890 
to annex great territories in Africa, and to round off her 
until then petty possessions in the Pacific, but gave her 
Heligoland as a place deemed of no value. The assumed 
equivalent, for what it was worth, was German goodwill. 
For German diplomacy, its aims and programme being 
what they were, the compact was a signal triumph, 
and on the face of matters the success may well have 
seemed at Berlin to be as dazzling as it was facile. British 
statesmanship appeared to have been hoodwinked. 
Before the Agreement the professions from Berlin were 
as smooth as oil. The words were fair. Germany's 
only motive was to guarantee the settled peace of the 
world, and the world was large enough for everybody. 
The value of German goodwill, however, was disclosed 
by the outbreak of the Boer War. It was then assumed 
that the mask might in part at any rate be dropped. 
The role of hypocrisy had been played so long that to the 
restive temperament of William II. it was becoming 
monotonous. He sent off his famous Kruger telegram, 
he gave the word for the long projected strategical 
railways to the frontiers of Holland and Belgium to 
go ahead, and he openly advertised that the future of 
Germany was upon the sea. 

British statesmanship, waking up to the fact that it 

191 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

had been misled, set about repairing mistakes. The 
change led to friction. Once, when the Entente with 
France was on the eve of being concluded in 1904, 
affairs came within an ace of war. The rulers of Germany 
threatened and protested. Great Britain's reply was to 
mobilise her Fleet, and on reflection William II. and his 
advisers backed down. They were not yet sufficiently 
ready. The Anglo-French Entente, disagreeable bolus 
though it was, had to be swallowed. But they remained 
in an evil temper and the race of armaments was speeded 
up. The hope of British neutrality was not relinquished, 
though William II. had queered it. 

German ambitions in Africa have already been touched 
upon. If a map of the world be consulted, and German 
possessions in the western Pacific — nearly all comprised 
in a great ring fence — be looked at, it will be seen that 
with a German Africa on one side, these Pacific posses- 
sions — enlarged — on the other ; and a German dominance 
in Europe, Asia Minor, Persia, and Arabia, the British 
position in India, the route through the Mediterranean 
being held at best on suffrance, would become extremely 
difficult. And if the British position in India resolved 
itself eventually into a German position, then the ex- 
ploitation of the Far East should be the sequel. Hence 
the steps towards " exercising a decisive influence " in 
the Far East — the feigned support of Russia as against 
Japan ; the war with China ; and the acquisition of 
Kiao-Chau. 

The move countering these Far Eastern projects was 
the British alliance with Japan. It was for the rulers of 
Germany a disagreeable move, and it was the more disa- 
greeable because Australian opposition to Mongolian 
immigration had been counted upon to keep Great 
Britain and Japan apart. So far as in that quarter 
of the world it carried weight, German influence, working 
by the usual methods of suggestion, and repeated 
innuendo, was employed to fan the belief in a white 
and yellow — that is to say a British and Japanese — 
contest for the Pacific. But by 1914 the trend of German 
activity had grown so plain that only the grossest deceit 

192 



AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO-CHAU 

acting upon the grossest ignorance could disguise it. 
Actually there was in the pigeon-holes of the Foreign 
Office at Berlin a plan, cut and dried, for the German 
government of Australia. When war broke out German 
activities and encroachments had assured not merely 
the prompt participation of Japan, but action not less 
prompt on the part of Australia and New Zealand. The 
three were equally determined to eliminate the Germans 
from the Pacific once for all. 

Very briefly, for it has a bearing upon later events, the 
course of German associations with the Pacific may here 
be traced. Previously to 1870 German trade with this 
part of the world was mainly represented to the transac- 
tions of a mercantile house in Hamburg, the firm of 
Godeffroy and Co., its founder a French Huguenot. 
This house had opened a trade with the natives of Samoa, 
exporting cotton goods and arms, which were bartered 
for copra and cocoanut oil. By degrees this business 
was extended from the Samoan Islands to other archipela- 
gos. In the meantime more German firms had entered 
into the trade, and about the year 1875, to resist further 
competition, Godeffroy and Co. and two other German 
houses pooled their Pacific business into a company with 
a capital of some £60,000. The trade was now carried 
on on a larger footing. At this point the German 
Government came into the matter. In 1877, following 
the familiar practice, the German Government negotiated 
with the native chiefs of Samoa, a " most-favoured- 
nation " agreement. Under the terms of that conces- 
sion the Germans occupied the ports, while to protect 
their interests a German Consul-General was appointed. 
Two years later the Native Council of Samoa was induced 
to enter into a treaty of mutual friendship with the 
German Empire. It was, in fact, a protection agreement 
of the type already noted in German dealings in Africa. 

How far all this was useful may be inferred from the 
fact that by now the Germans had acquired in the 
Samoan Islands very extensive plantations, and in 
Upolu owned all the best lands. The privately floated 
one-horse company was wound up, but was succeeded by 

193 o 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

a concern having a capital of £500,000, and the interest 
of the German Government in the scheme was evidenced 
by its guarantee of a 3 per cent, dividend for twenty 
years. It happened, owing to opposition from rivals — 
the Cartel or Trust system being of German origin — 
that the Government guarantee was negatived in the 
Reichstag. The project, however, was put through in 
a slightly modified form, and was associated with a 
Pacific bank having branches in various islands. There 
now, however, arose complications of an international 
character. Both the British and Americans had a foot- 
ing in Samoa, and were not disposed to be ousted. 
Under the protection agreement when differences broke 
out between King Malietoa and Mataafa, a leading chief 
and rival, the Germans deposed the king, and evicted 
him to the Marshall Islands. He was, however, re- 
proclaimed through the action and protests of the Ameri- 
can and British consuls. Finally in 1899 affairs were 
settled by a division of the Samoan Islands between the 
three Powers. Germany obtained Upolu and Savaii ; 
the United States Tutuila ; Great Britain the Tonga 
Archipelago. 

Previously, however, to this, in 1885, Germany had in 
Oceania systematically annexed everything which any 
other European Power did not definitely claim. In New 
Guinea she picked up 70,000 square miles of territory, 
thereupon named Kaiser Wilhehn Land, and she annexed 
New Britain and New Ireland, and the Admiralty Islands, 
the whole group being renamed the Bismarck Archipelago. 
New Britain became New Pomerania, and New Ireland 
New Mecklenburg. She took possession also of the 
Marshall Islands, a profitable acquisition, since, besides 
defraying the costs of the administration, the German 
Chartered Company, to which they were farmed out, was 
able to pay its shareholders 12 per cent. 

The rounding off of these Pacific possessions occurred 
in 1899. For £1,000,000 sterling, the German Govern- 
ment in that year bought from Spain the Pelew Islands, 
the Ladrone Islands, and the Carolines. The latter 
comprise 670 islands extending across the Pacific, 

194 



AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO-CITAU 

from west to east for 1,500 miles and disposed into 
forty-seven groups. Germany's Pacific sphere of in- 
fluence, nearly 3,000 miles from west to east and nearly 
2,000 from south to north, was thus constituted, and the 
only speck upon it was the island of Guam, a possession 
of the United States. 

Two developments which went to discount and dis- 
concert these projects, so far as they in turn might not 
be offset by a possible German military success in Europe, 
were the rapid growth of the Japanese navy and the for- 
mation of an Australian naval squadron. In 1895 the 
Japanese navy was not strong enough to risk a conflict 
single-handed with the fleets of the three Powers who 
presented the ultimatum of that year which had obliged 
Japan to evacuate Port Arthur. But in 1904 the 
Japanese navy was sufficiently strong to fight and win 
the battle of Tschushima, and then disclosed itself as 
marvellously efficient. The Australian squadron, too, 
was a sensible counter-poise. In view of these develop- 
ments, Germany maintained at Kiao-Chau a powerful 
squadron, and the Austrian navy was represented by one 
of its battleships. But the squadron was not so powerful 
as to resist being blockaded by the Japanese navy. 
Consequently on the outbreak of war in Europe, and, 
doubtless instructed that hostilities with Japan were 
impending, Admiral von Spee took out the five fastest 
ships, leaving the others to assist in the defence of the 
port. The three routes of communication from Europe 
with the Pacific, apart from that opened through the 
Panama canal are round Cape Horn, round the Cape of 
Good Hope, and through the Red Sea. Possibly in 
other circumstances the Germans might have made an 
effort to cut those communications. But with Japan 
in the rear and the Australian squadron in the south the 
attempt could not in the Pacific seriously be made, and it 
is enough to say, though his proceedings do not enter into 
the scope of this narrative, that von Spee, recognising 
the situation, made for Port Stanley, the coaling station 
and base at the Falkland Islands, a position which, could 
he have seized it, might for a time have enabled him, 

195 o2 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

while sufficiently distant from the Japanese, to have 
operated against both the Cape route and that round the 
Horn. Off the Falkland Islands, however, he met his 
doom. 

Save for the depredations of Emden the Pacific was 
then clear of naval opposition, and that was the state 
of affairs in the Western Pacific from the outset. It was 
this circumstance which rendered the seizure of Germany's 
island possessions one of the most rapid of the allied 
operations. 

The plan was that the German Islands of the Samoan 
group were to be attacked from New Zealand; Kaiser 
Wilhelm Land, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the 
German possessions of the Solomon group from Australia. 
Both projects being " amphibious," Rear- Admiral Sir 
George Patey, with the battle-cruiser Australia, and the 
cruiser Melbourne, was to see them through. 

The New Zealand Expedition left Wellington on August 
15, 1914. Pending the arrival of the two Australian 
warships, the escort were the British light cruisers 
Psyche, Pyramus and Philomel. Though it was known 
that the German Pacific squadron had left Kiao-Chau, 
it was not known what course had been taken, and since 
the German squadron included the swift and powerful 
battle-cruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, for precaution 
a course was shaped for New Caledonia. There the 
Australian ships were to pick the Expedition up. New 
Caledonia was reached on August 19. On the station 
there was the French cruiser Montcalm, and she joined 
the convoy. In due course Australia and Melbourne 
appeared, and on August 23 the united force set 
out on the 1,000 miles voyage to Samoa. Though a 
brief call was made at Fiji, the trip was completed in 
six days. On August 30 they were off Apia, the port of 
Upolu. To the demand for surrender there was no 
resistance. After mine-sweeping operations the war- 
ships entered the harbour, landing parties of blue 
jackets took possession of the Government buildings, the 
custom house, and the quays and bridges, the German 
flag was hauled down, the New Zealand ensign run up, 

196 



AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO-CHAU 

the expeditionary force put ashore, and disposed in 
quarters, and all was over. Savaii was occupied in the 
same way. 

Returning to Sydney, Australia and Melbourne con- 
voyed the Commonwealth Expedition. This, of course, 
in view of the territory to be occupied, and the opposition 
looked for, was on larger lines, and comprised a total 
force of 4,000 men. The seat of the German adminis- 
tration was at Rabaul in New Pomerania, and near that 
place was one of the two powerful German wireless 
stations in the Pacific, the other being at Yap in the 
Carolines. For Simpsonshafen, the Expedition first 
made, and the port was occupied without resistance, 
and the other port of the island, Herbcrtshohe, captured 
also without a shot fired. All the same, the invasion was 
not a walk-over. One purpose of the attack was to take 
possession of the wireless station, and with as little delay 
as possible. This business was entrusted to Commander 
J. A. H. Beresford. Immediately the flotilla had arrived 
off Simpsonshafen Beresford at daybreak was put ashore 
with a mobile column to push inland towards Rabaul, 
and seize the wireless installation before it could be 
wrecked. He found himself opposed by all the force 
the Germans had at their disposal. Part of the way it 
was a bush fight, but despite bush, snipers in the tree 
tops, land mines, and machine-guns, for every obstructive 
device had been resorted to, Beresford fought his way 
through. The fight lasted from daybreak until past 
midnight. It was the first flush of Australian fury, and 
bush-ranging resourcefulness. Both left the opposition 
staggered. Hot, tired, thirsty, but triumphant, Beres- 
ford and his men arrived at and in the early hours of 
November 12 mastered the wireless station, before the 
surprised and routed enemy could recover. And this 
was the only battle. All the Bismarck archipelago was 
occupied and the Germans on it rounded up. Even 
Kaiser Wilhelm Land was surrendered without a defence. 

Coincidently, the Japanese Expedition had been 
going round the Pelew, Ladrone, Caroline and Marshall 
Islands collecting the Germans upon them. Com- 

197 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

manding points were afterwards occupied by Australian 
posts. 

We now pass to a different scene ; from the gorgeous 
colouring and enchanted islands of the tropical oce^n at 
the fairest season of the year, to the far north during the 
days of the Autumn rains. Not merely had the Govern- 
ment of Japan not forgiven the demarche of 1895, 
seeing that its inspiration from Berlin was well known, 
but to that insult, and the terms of the ultimatum to 
Japan had been studiously sarcastic and wounding to 
Japanese national self-respect, had been added the injury 
of the occupation of Kiao-Chau. This position, on the 
south-eastern coast of the Shantung peninsula, com- 
manded the Yellow Sea, and such an occupation by 
Germany could only have one meaning — the exclusion 
of Japanese influence from the Asiatic mainland. That 
it would have the effect of leading Japan to seek an 
alliance with Great Britain was not perhaps at Berlin 
foreseen, much less that the alliance would be concluded. 
But such an outcome, for Japan an obvious reply, had 
the effect of placing the Germans at Kiao-Chau in an 
awkward situation. They had stepped on to what had 
seemed a safe place and found that it had become a 
trap. Pride, however, forbade withdrawal, and at 
Kiao-Chau, pending development of their world-empire, 
the Germans meant to remain, trusting to the sequel 
proving fortunate. They had very largely rebuilt and 
transformed the town and port of Tsing-Tau to their 
own liking, for this in the Far East was to be the nucleus 
of great things, and the Eastern mind had to be impressed 
with the superiority and value of German Kultur. New 
docks were constructed ; shipyards fitted up, and broad 
new streets driven across the town. Expensive and 
resplendent public buildings rose on these frontages. 
Gardens were laid out on the model of those in Berlin, 
and German officialdom took its leisure along an imita- 
tion Unter den Linden, or displayed itself in the novel 
tea-grounds. The natives, too, were given the benefit 
of schools, where the German language was taught. 
The possession was only a leasehold for a mere term 

198 



AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO-CHAU 

of years, but the lessee evidently treated it as a 
perpetuity. 

Comparatively, however, the civilian changes were a 
detail. Nor did they represent more than a fi action 
of Germany's outlay. Four-fifths of that outlay, 
and it ran into a good many millions sterling, was upon 
fortification. The bay of Kiao-Chau is a large, and 
almost land-locked inlet, one of the best natural harbours 
on the Chinese coast. On the east side of the bay there 
is a peninsula, the features of which lent themselves 
very peculiarly to military works. Across the peninsula 
extend two ranges of hills, an outer range and an inner, 
and between them lies a valley rather more than half-a- 
mile in breadth. Up the valley from the sea on one 
side and from the bay on the other run inlets, not 
easy to cross. The space between is narrow, a quarter 
of a mile wide at most. It was evident that the outer 
range of hills afforded a strong advanced position ; 
that the valley, scientifically obstructed, could be made 
a very bad obstacle to negotiate, and that the inner 
range of hills could be turned into a powerful line of 
support. The town and port of Tsing-Tau lies behind 
the inner range of hills. To guard against attack from 
the sea the port was converted into a naval base and 
aisenal of the first class. To guard against attack from 
landward, not merely was the outer range of hills 
elaborately fortified, but on each of the three inner hills 
there were placed forts armed with long-range heavy 
pieces. The lighter armament was disposed in a line 
of redoubts laid out along the outer footing of the 
three hills, and designed to sweep with a cross-fire 
the gradual upward slope from the valley. This slope 
was left bare, denuded of every vestige of cover, and 
beyond it along and extending over the whole bottom 
of the valley, flat and swampy, were placed the entangle- 
ments, carried also up the opposite and farther slope. 
It may well have appeared that in the face of modern 
ordnance such a place was impregnable, and when for 
its defence there was maintained a garrison of more 
than 5,000 men, picked and specially trained, the 

199 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

Germans seemed not unjustified in believing they 
could defy every assault. What with their concentrated 
heavy, medium, and lighter guns, and machine-guns, 
the valley should be impassable. This was the other 
side of German Kultur. 

That Kiao-Chau had been selected because it could 
readily be converted into a first class fortress, as well 
as a naval base capable of almost unlimited extension— 
the bay of Kiao-Chau is large enough and deep enough 
to shelter and refit a great fleet — does not admit of 
doubt. Nor can it be doubted that the features of the 
place had beforehand been carefully studied. The 
quarrel picked with the Chinese while the German- 
Russian agreement yet held — that is to say, so long as 
the agreement suited the purposes of Germany — was 
deliberate, and had this acquisition in view. Japan, mean- 
while, had no choice but to look on and see the Chinese 
bullied. But it is sometimes forgotten by Europeans that 
the Empires of the Far East are immensely old, and that 
there exists a sense of time and of its revenges little 
understood by those whose history and traditions 
date relatively from yesterday. At the beginning of 
the eighteenth century Prussia was a petty state. 
Hurry had always been the characteristic of its rulers, 
and a mark of the Prussian temperament. The tem- 
perament of the Far East, however, is before everything 
patience. The Entente concluded between Great Britain 
and France detached Russia from this co-operation 
with Germany against China and Japan. Having taken 
the profit of it, Germany viewed the defeat of Russia 
in the Manchurian War with complacency, if not with 
satisfaction. The British-Japanese alliance was the 
finishing touch. From that time Germany in the Fai 
East played a lone hand. 

Time certainly brought its revenges, and rarely more 
conspicuously than in 1914. The ultimatum which in 
the August of that year the Government at Berlin 
received from Tokio was word for word the mandate 
which in 1895 the German Government had presented 
to Japan. The only changes were the necessary altera- 

200 




201 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

tions in names. The pompous and sarcastically polite 
phraseology in which Japan had been advised to 
evacuate Port Arthur now became the terms in which 
the German Government were advised to remove from 
Kiao-Chau. It was a touch of comedy rounded off 
by the solemn affability with which the Japanese 
Ambassador at Berlin carried the document over to 
the German Foreign Office, and there delivered it into 
the hands of von Biilow. Seven days were given for 
a reply. The answer of the German Government to 
this clean cut was that there was no reply. On August 23, 
the seven days' interval expired. On the same date, 
Japan declared war. 

In the meantime, Admiral Meyer-Waldeck, the German 
Governor of Kiao-Chau, had received orders to hold 
out as long as possible. He had not only ample stocks 
of munitions and stores, but he had been liberally 
provided with land mines, and besides a tuning up of 
the forts, a stiffening of the redoubts, and a thickening 
of the entanglements, the valley beyond Tsing-Tau 
was sown with mines so contrived that they could in 
part be exploded by attempts to interfere with the 
obstacles, and in part by observation from the defence 
works. The equipment included also squadrons of 
aeroplanes, both bombers and scouts. Nothing appa- 
rently had been overlooked, and almost certainly there 
was at Berlin every confidence that the siege of Kiao- 
Chau, even should it succeed, would last during many 
months, and involve the Japanese in huge casualties. 
This was the contemplated revenge. 

Nothing, apparently, had been overlooked, and yet 
sight had been lost of the one element in the business 
which mattered most — the skill, subtlety and resource 
of the attack. If German study of the defence had been 
thorough, Japanese study of the assault had been, if 
anything, more searching. There was not a detail of 
the defences that was not known ; not a store of any 
kind that had not been sited ; not a dump of munitions 
which was not marked down ; not a trace along the 
works which had been left uncertain ; not a line of 

202 



AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO-CHAU 

barbed wire that had not been mapped ; not a land- 
mine unlocated. For this very operation Japan had 
trained a special Expeditionary Corps of 23,000 men. 
From General Kamio in command down to the junior 
officers, every man knew his work. It was no intention 
of the Japanese to waste men in massed assaults on these 
fortifications. That was not science. The science lay 
in reducing the works to rubbish heaps, in firing the 
stores and oil tanks, in touching off the dumps, in 
causing the land-mines to explode themselves. The 
artillery for this purpose was part of the outfit, and it 
was not stinted. The pieces ranged up to naval guns 
of a calibre of 11 inches. For anything heavier reliance 
was placed on the warships, Japanese and British, which 
were to attack in enfilade from seaward. But more 
important even than the guns were the gunners. They 
knew what to hit. and they could be depended upon to 
hit it. 

The remaining German ships being bottled up by the 
Allied fleet in the bay, the Expedition landed without 
opposition. The German land forces kept within their 
advanced lines. Activities began three days after the 
declaration of war. 

The advanced forces of the Expedition were landed 
at Lung-Kow on the north-western shore of the Shantung 
peninsula, and were to march acrosss country south 
in order to reach Kiao-Chau from the inland, and seize 
the railway from that place. Formally this landing 
was a violation of Chinese neutrality, and formally the 
Chinese protested, but face having been saved there 
it ended. The main body of the Expedition was 
put ashore at Laoshan bay, some thirty miles to the 
north-east of Tsing-Tau. This part of the force included 
a British contingent, the 2nd South Wales Borderers 
and the 36th Sikhs under the command of Brigadier- 
General N. W. Barnardiston. They had been embarked 
in three transports at Tientsin, and escorted by H.M.S. 
Triumph and destroyer Usk. 

Over the preliminaries the Japanese displayed no 
haste. The laying out of a base, the making of roads, 

203 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

the movement and disposition of guns and supplies is 
work that usually receives but scant record. It is the 
tedium of war, not its glory ; but it is the foundation of 
everything, and success or failure depends upon whether 
it be well or ill done. In this instance, it was well done. 
The conditions were adverse and might well have 
appeared disheartening. The autumn rains had set 
in, and day after day there was a torrential downpour, 
soaking everybody, and every object. Hereabouts 
the country is hilly, its surface a clay cut up by deep 
ravines. Amid the rains there could hardly be worse 
ground, and the state of it churned by a multitude of 
men, guns, wagons, and thousands of horses and mules, 
can readily be imagined. But the Japanese took the 
conditions with philosophical stoicism. And the con- 
ditions, after all, had one advantage. At this stage the 
Germans had relied upon aeroplane attack, and bombing 
activity. The rains kept them off. Severed as their 
communications with the country outside now were — 
for the mobile force from Lung-Kow had seized the 
Kiao-Chau railway station, and Japanese posts had been 
drawn all round the beleaguered position to the north — 
the Germans must have wondered what was really 
going on behind the curtain of mist. 

Three weeks thus went by. On the side of General 
Kamio, however, they had not been time lost, for when 
the weather began to clear towards the end of September 
he was ready for a move. He pushed inland and west- 
ward to Chimo, and disposed his forces for attack upon 
the German outer line. The enemy attempted to impede 
this move by bombarding the Japanese right from the 
remaining warships in Kiao-Chau bay, but the enterprise 
and daring of the Japanese airmen in bombing the 
squadron forced it to retire. Chimo was occupied on 
September 26. On September 29, the German advanced 
positions, extending across the Tsing-Tau tongue of 
land from Kiao-Chau bay to the sea were to have been 
assaulted. After the Japanese artillery preparation 
they were found evacuated. The line of investment was 
now moved forward towards the main defences on 

204 



AND THE SIEGE OF KIAO-CHAU 

Prince Heinrich Hill, and others of the outer elevations. 
A stiff resistance was looked for here. Prince Heinrich 
Hill, a crescent-shaped formation, is nearly 1,200 feet 
high, and the most elevated point of the region, and as 
an observation post it commanded not only the valley, 
but the inner hills and in part the town and bay. It 
hardly seemed probable that the enemy would let this 
work go without a severe struggle. 

For three days the defences were hammered, and the 
shelling found the weak links. The works and obstruc- 
tions were shot to rags, and it was more than the defence 
could stand. When on October 8 the Japanese storm- 
ing parties, fierce and agile, were thrown forward, they 
got home at the first try. The siege was proceeding 
with mathematical precision. In twelve days the 
besiegers had, move by move, pushed their lines forward 
four miles. Now having Prince Heinrich Hill in their 
possession they were in a situation to attack the inner 
defences with advantage. 

This attack was to form the climax of the bombard- 
ment, and there was a pause in preparation for it. The 
necessary head of shell accumulated, the guns opened 
on the last day of October. Whether as an effect or 
as a spectacle it may be doubted if this sustained storm 
of fire has ever been surpassed. The three humps 
covering Tsing-Tau are : right Moltke Hill ; centre 
Bismarck Hill ; left litis Hill, and they range in height 
from approximately 270 to 500 feet. Each appeared 
a mass of powerful works. Under the cannonade, 
supported by the fire of the ships, the forts crumbled 
to ruins. The forts on Bismarck Hill were first silenced, 
and though the others yet held out, their reply was 
visibly enfeebled. At the same time, the bombardment, 
with a fatal accuracy, searched the port and storehouses, 
and the glare of fire rose over the town. Late in the 
day the oil-tanks caught, and enormous volumes of 
smoke floated skyward, like an eruption of a volcano. 
When darkness fell a red glow shot through the base 
of the black fumes ; the inner hills were outlined against 
the leaping flames beyond ; the forts were burning. 

205 



THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

Now and then a dump went up. At rapid intervals 
the defences and the interlying valley Avere illuminated 
by nights of star shells. Amid this the roar of the 
bombardment went ceaselessly on, pounding the forts, 
crushing the redoubts, ploughing wide gaps in the 
entanglements. At the same time, the assaulting 
columns were moving forward to their allotted positions. 
They were in four sections, the British contingent the 
right centre. Under the cover of the guns three suc- 
cessive lines were to be taken up. The first was occupied 
on November 1 ; the second, a jumping off position 
for attack upon the redoubts, on November 3 ; the third, 
the line of the redoubts, on November 6. Five of these 
works were carried almost coincidently. The British 
troops assisted in the attack on the right. 

The last stage, the assault on the hills, was reserved 
for the morrow. In the night Japanese skirmishers 
had gone forward and dealt with the obstacles and 
impediments. The main body of the troops were at 
dawn waiting in the ruins and trenches for the last 
rush, and with the first light the garrison began a can- 
nonade with light guns, varied by an occasional shot 
from a heavy piece. The besieging batteries broke out 
in reply, a furious intense and destructive chorus. 
Then suddenly the white flag went up, and an enemy 
deputation came forward with a flag of truce. 

Mayer-Weldeck had surrendered. A fortress which 
had been expected to withstand a siege of at least six 
months had fallen within six weeks. It had been, 
however, one of the most scientific sieges in history. 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Abercorn, German attack upon, 
94 

Adye, Lt.-Col. D. R., 123 

Africa, German military policy 
regarding, 160 

Aitken, Major-Gen., 88 

Alberts, Col., 51 

Ali Dinar, Sultan of Darfur, 99 ; 
his end, 101 

Anglo-German Convention of 1890, 
situation in S.-West Africa at 
the date of the, 9 

Angra Pequena, German annexa- 
tion of, 7 

Armistice of May 20, 1915, the, 60 

Ases, battle at, 22, 23 

Askaris, scheme for enrolment of, 
78 

Astrtea, H.M.S., 34, 85 

Australia, German policy regard- 
ing, 193 

Australian Expedition against 
New Pomerania, the, 197 

Aymerich, Gen., 169, 179 



B 



Baluchis, the 129th and 130th, 

109, 112, 146 
Banyo, siege and capture of, 185, 

186 
Barker, Captain, 161 
Barnardiston, Gen. G. W., 203 
Barton, Capt., D.S.O., 92, 93 
Bastards of Rehoboth, the, 16 
Bechuanaland Rifles, the, 50 
Behobeho, battle of, 146 

BRITISH CAMPAIGNS IN AFRICA. 209 



Behr-Bandelin, Count, 74 

Beresford, Commander J. A. H., 
197 

Beringia, battle of, 100, 101 

Berlin Congo Conference, 1885, 
the, 2 

Berrange, Gen., 44 ; his desert 
march, 50, 51 : arrival in E. 
Africa, 113; captures Dodoma, 
127 

Beves, General, 34, 105, 130, 145, 
146 

Beyers and De Wet rising, the, 
38 

Bishop, Lieut. P. D., 92 

Bismarck Archipelago, the, 194 

Blockade of East African Coast, 
85, 86 

Bondelswartz, episode of, 16 

Botha, General Louis, his policy, 
29 ; his plan of campaign in 
S.-West Africa, 30, 32, 43; 
his visit to Tschaukab, 47, 48 ; 
his advance from Swakopmund, 
50, 57 ; drive to Dorstrivier- 
mund, 59 ; dash to Windhuk, 
59, 60 ; rejects the German 
armistice terms, 60 ; his prepa- 
rations for the final move, 62 ; 
his terms, 68, 69 

Botha, Brig. -Gen. Manie, 47, 113 

Bouwer, Col., 44, 56 

Bowyer-Smijth, Capt. C. G., 184, 
186 

Braithwaite, Commander L. W., 
R.N., 174 

Breedt, Major, 44 

Brisset, Lt.-Col., 168, 176 

British Colonial policy in S.-West 
Africa, 8, 9 

British East Africa Company, 76 



INDEX 



Brits, Brig.-Gen., 47, 64, 67, 113, 

129, 137 
Britstown, German attack upon, 

44 
Brussels Anti-Slavery Conference, 

1890, 2 
Bryant, Col., 162 
Bukoba, British Expedition 

against, 91 
Buttner, Carl, 7 
Byron, Lt.-Col. (5th S.A.I.), 109 



C 



Cameroons, features of the, 165 ; 

German forces in the, 165, 166 
Challenger, H.M.S., 170 
Chra, battle on the, 162 
Christian, Willem, 16 
Cockburn, Lt.-Col., 185 
Collins, Lt.-Col., R.E., 105 
Cotton, Lt.-Col., 186 
Credit system, operation of the, in 

Damaraland, 14 
Crewe, Gen. Sir Chas., 123 
Crookenden, Major, 185, 186 
Cullinan's Horse, 50 
Cumberland, H.M.S., 170 
Cunliffe, Brig.-Gen. F. H. B., 141, 

177, 181 



D 



Darfur, the rising in, 99 
Davignab, combat at, 54 
Deventer, Col. Dirk van, 54, 55 
Deventer, Gen. Sir J. van, 43 ; 
his advance from Upington, 50 ; 
takes Kalkfontein, 56 ; sent 
to E. Africa, 105 ; turning 
movement at Taveta, 106, 107 ; 
manoeuvres on the Pangani,lll ; 
captures Lokissale, 115; dash 
to Kandoa Irangi, 116; move to 
Dodoma, 127 ; march to Kilossa, 
134 ; movement on Mahenge, 
145 ; succeeds to E. African 
command, 148 ; his plans, 148 ; 
defeats Germans at Naron- 
gombe, 148 ; and at Masasi, 
149 ; his final moves, 153, 154 



De Wet, General, 38 

Dobell, Major-Gen. C. M., 168; 

his attack upon Duala, 171 ; 

plan of the Cameroons advance, 

184 
Doring, Col. von, 160 
Driscoll's Frontiersmen, 91 
Dschang Mangas, capture of, 187 
Duala, German defences at, 170 ; 

Allied conferences at, 177, 184 
Dume, battle at, 177 
Dwarf, exploits of the gunboat, 

170 
Dyke, Lt.-Col., 146 



E 



Eastern Soudan, German in- 
trigues in the, 76, 84 

Edea, Allied operations against, 
174 ; German reaction at, 175 

Edwards, General, 139, 152 

El Fasher, British Expedition to, 
99 

Enslin, Brig.-Gen., his turning 
movement in the battle of 
Matamondo, 129 ; advance to 
Mlali, 135 

Eseka, capture of, 178 



Falkenstein, Count von, 85 
Farrar, Sir George, 39, 40 
Fitzgerald, Col. T. O., 118, 119, 

121 
Fitzpatrick, Lt.-Col. H. J., 127 
Fowle, Capt. C. H., 182 
Fox, Major R. W., 167 
Francois, Captain von, 11 
Franke, Col., 42, 60 
Freeth, Lt.-Col. (7th S.A.I. ), 109 



G 



Garua, first British attack upon, 
168 ; siege and capture of, 181 
Garub, operations at, 39 
Geitsaub, action at, 55 



210 



INDEX 



German African Empire, schemes 
for a, 159 

German Colonial Company, the, 
26 

German Colonial policy, 2, 9, 10 

German Colonisation Society, 74, 
75 

German East Africa, population 
and natural features of, 71, 72 ; 
trade routes across, 73 ; admini- 
strative system of, 77 ; labour 
question in, 77, 80 ; police 
abuses in, 79 ; opening of cen- 
tral railway, 83 

German naval policy in the 
Pacific, 195 

German S.-West Africa, natural 
features of, 3 ; trade rivalries 
in, 8 ; increase of the garrison 
in, 10 ; German courts of 
justice in, 14 ; conduct of Ger- 
man planters in, 20, 21 ; police 
abuses in, 21 

Gibeon, battle at, 57 

Giffard, Col., 151 

Godeffroy & Co., 193 

Goering, Dr., 7, 8 

Gorges, Col., 175, 187 

Gorges, Mr. E. M., 70 

Grant, Lt.-Col., 36, 37 

Great Lakes, German command 
of the, 84 

Great Namaqualand, German 
trade with, 6 

Griffiths, Capt. A. H., 93 

Grobelaar's Scouts, 41 



H 



Handeni, British tactics at, 120 

Hannyngton, Brig. -Gen. J. A., 
114, 118, 119; capture of 
Wilhelmstal, 120 ; attack on 
the Mdonga pass, 129 ; march 
to Kilossa, 130 

Hartigan's Horse, 56 

Hasuur, capture of, 51 

Hawthorn, Gen., 152 

Haywood, Lt.-Col., 174, 178, 187 

Hereros, customs and beliefs of 



the, 4 ; pastoral wealth of the, 
4 ; petitions of the, for a 
British protectorate, 6, 7 ; Ger- 
man attitude towards the, 10, 
11, 15 ; alleged German treaties 
with, 12 ; German credit system 
as applied to the, 14 ; Rebellion 
of the, 17 ; atrocities perpe- 
trated upon the, 19 
Heubner, Lt.-Col., 143 
Heydebreck, Col. von, 36, 42 
Hornkrantz, German attack upon, 

11 
Hoskins, Major-Gen. A. R., 114, 
118, 121 ; takes over E. African 
command, 147 
Hottentot-Herero war, 1864-70, 6 
Hottentot war, 1903-1907, origin 
of the, 16 ; German losses in 
the, 22 
Hottentots, characteristics of the, 

3 ; as scouts, 40, 43 
Hutin, Col., 176 



Imperial Light Horse, 41 
Itembule, German reverse at, 140 



Jabassi, British expedition against, 
172 

Japan, the British alliance with, 
192 

Japanese Northern Pacifio Ex- 
pedition, the, 198 

Japanese relations with Germany, 
195 

Japan's ultimatum of August, 
1914, 200 

Jaunde, French convergence upon, 
177 ; Allied plans for the 
capture of, 184 ; British entry 
into, 187 

Jobst, Lieut., 16 

Jordaan, William, 7, 8 

Juhlke, Dr., 74 



211 



INDEX 



K 



Kaempf, Major, 115 

Kahe, German position at, 110, 
111 

Kahimema, arrest and murder of, 
16 

Kaiser Wilhelm Land, annexation 
of, 194 

Kakamas, German repulse at, 45 

Kalahari Horse, the, 50 

Kalkfontein, military base at, 27 

Kalkveld, advance of Union forces 
to, 64 

Kamaherero, his expulsion of the 
Germans from Damaraland, 8, 9 

Kamina, the wireless installation 
at, 160 ; capture of, 162 

Kamio, General, 203, 204 

Kandoa Irangi, battle of, 117, 118 

Karibib, the advance upon, 49, 54 ; 
capture of, 59 

Karonga, combat at, 93 

Kasama, assembly of Rhodesian 
volunteers at, 93 

Kashmiri, I.S. Infantry, 121 

Kasoa River, defeat of the Ger- 
mans on the, 93 

Kelly, Lt.-Col. P. V., 99, 100 

Kemp, Col., 45 

Keriis West, German defences at, 
51 

Kiao-Chau, German annexation 
of 198 ; strength of Japanese 
expedition against, 203 ; bom- 
bardment and capture of the 
inner defences of, 205 

Kibata, battle at, 144 

Kilwa, British move on, 142 

Kissaki, battle at, 136, 137 

Kituta, German attack upon, 94 

Konigsberg, 85, 86 

Kraut, Major, 85, 86 

Kuruman, advance of Union des- 
ert column from, 44 



Land mines, German use of, 31, 42 
Lange, Dr. Freidrich, 74 



Lesogs, battle at, 185 

Lettow-Vorbeck, Col. von, his 
plans and preparations, 84, 85 ; 
his influence in Darfur, 98 ; 
his defensive scheme in East 
Africa, 103 ; his reverse at 
Kandoa Irangi, 117; his counter- 
move into the Nguru Moun- 
tains, 126; breaks out at Mhonda, 
130 ; defeats British at Kissaki, 
137 ; his resistance on the 
Lukuledi, 149 ; crosses the 
Rovuma, 150 ; successes in 
Portuguese E. Africa, 150 ; 
moves back across the Rovuma, 
152 ; invades Rhodesia, 153 ; 
his surrender, 154 

Leutwein, Governor von, 11, 16, 17 

Lewis, Robert, 8 

Lindquist, Governor von, 23 

Longido, German position at, 86 ; 
British attack upon, 89 

Luderitz, Adolphe, 7 

Luderitzbucht, German purchase 
of territory round, 7 ; British 
capture of, 34 

Lukegeta pass, battle for the, 145 

Lukigura River, battle on the, 121 

Lukin, Brig. -Gen., 32 

Lung-Kow, Japanese landing at, 
203 

Lupembe, siege of, 140 ; battle at, 
143 

Lyall, Col. R. A., 145 



M 



M'Kenzie, General Sir Duncan, 

38 ; his advance inland, 39, 

40, 55 ; his dash to Gibeon, 56, 

57 

Maclear, Lt.-Col. P., 168 

Mahenge, capture of, by the 

Belgian troops, 148 
Maherero, Samuel, 12 
Mahiwa, battle of, 148 
Mair, Lt.-Col. G. T., 168 
Majimaji, legend of the, 82 
Malangali, German attack on, 143 
Malleson, Brig. -Gen., 104, 108 



212 



INDEX 



Marengo, Jacob, 17, 22 

Maritz, Lt.-Col., treason of, 35 

incursion into Cape Colony, 40 

his defeat at Upington, 44 

his arrest, 45 
Marshall Islands, German adminis- 
tration of the, 194 
Matamondo, battle of, 129, 130 
Mayer, Col., 174, 178 
Mazai, the, 73, 80 
Meyer-Waldeck, Admiral, 202, 

206 
Mikotscheni, action at, 119 
Mimi and Toutou, episode of the, 

95, 96 
Mkalinso, the bridge-head at, 146 
Mombasa, trade route from, 73 ; 

German plan of attack upon, 

85, 86 
Mora, the German fortress of, 167 ; 

British siege of, 183 
Morrison, Col., 176 
Moschi. British advance from, 111 
Murray, Col. R. E., 143 
Mwanza, British Expedition 

against, 123 
Myburgh, Brig. -Gen., 47, 62, 66, 

67 



N 



Naauwkloof, siege of, 16, 17 
Nabas, battle at, 50 
Namutoni, capture of, 67 
Narongombe, battle of, 148 
Ngaundere, surprise attack upon, 

182 
Nguru Mountains, plan of the 

operations in the, 129 
Nigeria, British attack from, 167 
Nigerian Brigade, transfer of, to 

East Africa, 141 
Nikodemus, execution of the 

Chief, 15, 16 
Northey, Gen., 128 ; his advance 

on New Iringa, 139 ; defeats 

Germans at Itembule, 140 ; 

attacked at Lupembe, 143 
Nous, German capture of, 44 
Nussey, Gen., 135, 136 
Nyassaland, mobilisation of 



British forces in, 92 ; German 
invasion of, 92 
N'Zimu, battle of, 177 



O 



O'Grady, Brig. -Gen. A. de C, 141 
Omaruru, German retreat to, 59 
Ossidinge, combat at, 168 
O'Sullevan, Major J. J., D.S.O., 

94, 97, 98 
Otavi, Botha's capture of, 65 ; 

German capitulation at, 65 
Otjiwarongo, German evacuation 

of, 64 
Otyunda, battle at, 15 
Ovambandjera, rising of the, 15 
Ovambos, numbers and charac- 
teristics of the, 5 



Pacific, German possessions and 

influence in the, 192 
Palgrave, Mr. W. C, his official 

inquiry in 1876, 6 
Pegasus, H.M.S., 85 
Peters, Dr. Karl, 74, 76 
Pfeil, Count, 74 
Pike, Capt. R. N., 183 
Pinto, Major, 150 
Plattbeen, action at, 55 
Port Nolloth, landing of Union 

forces at, 32 
Price, Col., occupies Dar-es-Salem, 

139 
Prince Heinrich Hill, Japanese 

capture of, 205 



R 



Rabaul, battle at, 197 
Raben, Capt. von, 187 
Raman's Drift, capture of, 34 ; 

combat at, 44 
Rheata-Latema pass, battle for 

the, 109 
Rhenish Missions Society, work of 

the, in S.-West Africa, 5, 6 



213 



INDEX 



Rhoades, Commander E. L., R.N., 
92 

Riet, Union tactics at attack upon, 

54 
Rietfontein, recapture of, 51 
Rohrbach, Dr. Paul, his opinions 

on German colonial policy, 9, 10 
Ruhuje, combat on the, 140 
Rukwa, operations round Lake, 

153 



Saisi, gallant defence of, 97, 98 

Samoa, the German influence 
over, 193 ; New Zealand expedi- 
tion against, 196 

Sandfontein, combat at, 36, 37 

Saved Khalifa, 75 

Schaapkolk, combat at, 51 

Schemelen, von, missionary pio- 
neer, 5 

Seitz, Dr., 60 

Seliman Mamba, 81, 82 

Selous, Capt. F. C., 146 

Shabruma, Chief of the Wangoni, 
81 

Shark Island, treatment of native 
prisoners on, 20 

Sheppard, Brig.-Gen., Ill, 112, 
119, 130, 135; his remarkable 
march to Kissaki, 138 ; crosses 
the Rufigi, 147 

Shirati, British occupation of, 91 

Simpson, Commander G. Spicer, 
R.N., 95, 96 

Simpsonshafen, capture of, 197 

Singh, Col. Ragbir, 90 

Skinner, Col., 41, 47 ; repulses the 
Germans at Trekkopjes, 58 

Smuts, Gen. J. C, his views on 
German policy, 29 ; takes 
command of Southern column 
in S.-West Africa, 56 ; takes 
command in E. Africa, 102 ; 
his plans, 105, 106 ; operations 
at Taveta, 109, 110 ; opera- 
tions at Kahe, 112 ; reorgan- 
isation of his forces, 114; his 
advance to Handeni, 118; 
operations in the Nguru Moun- 



tains, 128, 129 ; operations in 
the Uluguru area, 135 ; second 
reorganisation of forces, 141 ; 
plan for the final advance, 144 ; 
resignation of E. African 
command, 147 

Soko Nassai, battle at, 112 

South African Infantry, 41 

South African Mounted Rifles, 32, 
50 

South Wales Borderers, the, 203 

S.-West Africa, German official 
mission to, 7 ; reasons for 
German policy in, 28 

S.-West Africa Land Settlement 
Syndicate, 11 

S.-West Africa, strategical diffi- 
culties of the campaign in, 26 ; 
German military organisation 
in, 27 ; railway system of, 27 ; 
German measures of defence, 
31 ; German plan of counter- 
attack, 31 ; effect of the Union 
conquest in, 70 

Spanish-German Convention of 
1899, the, 194 

Spee, Admiral von, 195 

Sphinxhaven, British " cutting 
out " expedition to, 92 

Steinkopf, British base at, 32 

Stennett, Lt.-Col., 93, 94 

Stewart, Gen. J. M., 88, 91, 105, 
106, 110 

Swakopmund, capture of, 41 ; 
preparations for advance from, 
48 

Swakop River, effect of floods on 
the, 49 

Swakop Valley, battle in the, 51 



T 



Tabora, Belgian concentration 

against, 133 
Tafel, Col., defeated at Mahenge, 

148 ; his surrender, 149 
Tanga, British operations against, 

88, 89 
Tanganyika, German flotilla on, 

94 ; naval combats on, 96 



214 



INDEX 



Taveta, German occupation of, 
86 ; its military importance, 
103 

Taylor, Lt.-Col. A. T., 127 

Thompson, Major, 109 

Thornley, Commander, R.N., 123 

Tighe, General, 90 ; his scheme of 
attack at Taveta, 104 ; opera- 
tions at Taveta, 108, 109 

Togoland, German interests in, 
156 ; condition of the natives, 
157 

Tombeur, Gen., 123 ; captures 
Tabora, 139 

Transvaal Horse Artillery, 32 

Triumph, H.M.S., 203 

Trotha, Lieut. -Gen. von, 18, 19, 
23, 80, 81 

Tschaukab, Gen. M'Kenzie's move 
on, 39 

Tsumeb, arsenal at, 28 ; capture 
of, by Gen. Myburgh, 66, 67 

U 

Uganda, British occupation of, 
76 ; German offensive against, 
85 

Ukerewe Island, capture of, 123 

Uluguru Mountains, German de- 
fences in the, 132 

Uniake, Major, 186 

Union of S. Africa, German policy 
towards, 24, 25, 27 ; military 
forces of the, 25, 26 ; public 
opinion of, regarding the war, 
28, 29 ; decision of the Federal 
Parliament, 30 

Upington, defeat of Maritz and 
the Germans at, 44 

Upingtonia, Republic of, 7, 8 



Vanga, the gallant defence of, 
90 



Victoria, British seizure of the 
port of, 174 

W 

Walfish Bay, British annexation 

of, 6 ; German seizure of, 31 ; 

British landing at, 41 
Wamwera, rising of the, 81 
Wangoni rebellion, the, 81 
Wavell, Lieut., 88 
Webb-Bowen, Lt.-Col., 182 
Wehle, Gen. von, 85 ; his attack 

upon Karungu, 91 ; his invasion 

of Rhodesia, 97 ; his defence 

of Tabora, 133 
Wells, poisoning of, 42 
Whitbooi, Hendrick, 10, 11, 16, 17, 

18, 22 
Windhuk, cruelties to natives at, 

1 1 ; wireless installation at, 30 ; 

capture of, 60 
Wintgens, Major, capture of hia 

force by the Belgians, 147 
Witu, Sultanate of, 73, 75, 76 
Witwatersrand Rifles, 32 
Wum Biagas, Allied advance upon, 

178, 179 ; capture of, 185 



Yoas, the, 73, 79 



Zanzibar, trade of, with India, 74 ; 
British protectorate of, 75 

Zimmermann, Col., 169 ; plan of 
his defensive, 176 ; his counter- 
attacks, 184 ; retreat upon 



215 



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