Saul David

He Scorned the British

African Kaiser: General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and the Great War in Africa


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For more than four years during the First World War, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck’s tiny army of German-officered African askaris – never more than 15,000 strong – led Allied forces in excess of 300,000 men a merry dance in East Africa. By the end of the war, this undefeated force ‘had inflicted casualties many times their own number, marched 10,000 miles on foot through impossibly rugged country, and had always managed to keep the respect of their enemy by fighting’ a clean war. It is an extraordinary story – in Robert Gaudi’s opinion ‘one of the most astonishing in modern warfare’ – and has been related a number of times before, most recently in Edward Paice’s superb Tip & Run.

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