East Indies Regiment? I know of a West Indies Regt.
I do think you're right in saying there was very little political motivation in the Africans fighting for either side. This was before the rise of African nationalist politics. Motivation was probably more about pay and status.
in former "Deutsch Südwest-Afrika"
Link only for JoaMei (german language)
Ive no clue why the Askaris fought for imperial Germany.
Guess baboon6 is not wrong with the pay or status!
Perhaps the Askari people were also better convertable to Christianity
or open minded to western culture and education.
I think money and status had a lot to do with it. If there's interest, I'll dig out my books and tell y'all what I find.
Its actually Swahili - meaning soldier IIRC
But for sure only very few people know about Lettow-Vorbeck, military heros no matter from what time are a big no-no.
You for example posted a colony massacre (Like the british never had one ) completely off topic. It doesnt have to do with Lettow-Vorbeck or the Motivation of the Askaris.
But you did it anyway....
Basically the Africans wanted the British to leave, and Germany was the Enemy of the Enemy.
which led to the reply that it couldnt have been true because Germans were no better than the British. The war in SW Africa was not about black nationalism, it was about two European powers using natives to carry on a war that was being fought in Europe. As far as the natives were concerned, they followed their masters. We were colonial powers, we all commited atrocities.
Here are some German askaries in Deutsche-Ostafrika. These men were some of the finest soldiers of WWI.
I grew up hearing the stories of the Bees mobilized to repel the beach landings at the Battle of Tanga, the big guns taken off the Imperial German Cruiser Königsberg and carted through the jungle as the heaviest field artillery in East Africa, the Zeppelin LZ104/L59 sent to re-supply his forces (superstructure converted into an antenna array) the eating of Hippo fat, dealing with the Tse Tse Flies in the thorny bush and ultimately the respect Von Lettow Vorbeck and his dozen or so surviving officers received from the British at the end of the war.
German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, left, photographed at a dinner in London early December 1929, with General Jan Christiaan Smuts. A unique picture of the two famous war time enemies.
General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, England's great opponent in Africa during World War I, wears a hat of the former colonial troups, during a conversation with members of his honor regiment. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the German "Schutztruppen" - troups for the protection of the German colonies - former members of this German colonial soldiers met in Hamburg August 13, 1939, where a march past in front of the General. To his honor the barracks of the infantry regiment 69 were named "Lettow-Vorbeck barracks".
Field Marshal Albrecht von Kesselring, left, General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, commander of the German troups in Africa during World War I and Mrs. Lucie (Lucia Maria) Rommel, wife of late General Rommel, known as the "Desert Fox" in World War II in Dusseldorf, Germany, September 29, 1956. In a big reunion tonight, members of the former German Africa Korps, the British Eighth Army, and the Italian Ariette Division met here for their annual celebration. The way the veteran soldiers, once deadly enemies, behaved suggested it was an old sporting event rather than a life or death campaign they were commemorating. The special event of the night was the personal appearance of the original Lili Marlen, Lale Andersen, now 45, who sent the old hit of the western desert throbbing through the vast hall, while Germans, Italians and British linked arms and sedately rocked together, joining in a mass rendering of the choruses so well remembered
Last edited by He219; 01-13-2009 at 09:36 PM.
I found an account of DG's story about the askaris and their back pay and it is one of my favorite stories of the Shutztruppe. This passage comes from Charles Miller's Battle for the Bundu published in 1974. (page 333)
No doubt all of these old boys are gone now, and the world is a less colorful place without them.1964 was also the year in which the askaris finally got their back pay. The funds had been voted by the Bundestag in Bonn, but payment was made, fittingly, through the African government of Tanzania. By no means all of the claimants were still alive, but at least three hundred old men gathered at the Lake Victoria port of Mwanza, where a temporary cashier's office had been opened in a commercial building.
Then a problem of identification arose. Some of the men wore tattered scraps of Shutztruppe tunics, torn uniform trousers or frayed kepis. Several showed what they said were battle scars, one man lowered his shorts to reveal a long-healed scar on his left buttock. But only a small handful could produce the faded certificates von Lettow had given them in 1918. Might not the others be masquerading as veterans?
The German banker who had brought the money came up with an idea. As each claimant stepped forward, he was handed a broom and ordered in German to perform the manual of arms. Other German commands were barked out: Attention ... About turn ... March ... Present arms ... Halt ... Slope arms ... Not one man failed the test.
Thanks for the great OP. I enjoy reading about obscure and relatively unknown campaigns (just finished a book on Longstreet's activities with the Confederate Army of the Tennessee and his independent campaign in East Tennessee during the American Civil War).
Going back to the Civil War, Lettow-Vorbeck reminds me of the Confederate Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was usually outnumbered and facing better-equipped opponents, but always seemed to come out ahead (and with most of his equipment supplied by the enemy).
I doubt Forrest (who was a slave-trader before the Civil War and one of the founders of the KKK after it) would have approved of Lettow-Vorbeck's troops, but he would surely have appreciated his tactics.
Again, thanks for the interesting read.
His subsequent government in the Reichstag had a few mixed feelings on the issue as well. I dont know if its true but ive seen stories of him returning to Africa and meeting African veterans and being carried shoulder high through the streets while wearing his honorary and current German uniform complete with Swastika armband which must have been quite a contrast, still no idea if thats true or just one of those legends!