The East Africa Campaign of World War I was fought between the Entente Forces of the British Empire, Belgium and Portugal against the German Empire. The Campaign started with Naval actions by both sides and attacks by the Entente forces, however the Germans were able continue a guerilla campaign throughout the entire war and surrendered after the armistice was signed in Europe.
About this creation
I choose to represent this Campaign with three dioramas showing three battles respectively.
The Battle of Tanga
First is the disasterous British landing at Tanga. The German forces commanded by Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck commander of German East Africa consisted of colonial volunteers and Askari native infantry forming the Schuztruppe.
The British amphibious landings were repulsed by the Germans despite the 1 to 8 size advantage on the part of the British and a withdrawal was ordered. Many supplies were left behind allowing the Germans to resupply. The Battle went down in the British Official History of the War as “one of the most notable failures in British military history.”
The Battle of Kilimanjaro
The British conquest of German East Africa was built around a two-pronged attack on Tanga and the settlement Longido on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The area had been heavily populated with German settlers who set up plantations in the region's mild environment.
The attack on Kilimanjaro had been planned as little more than a diversion however flawed intelligence reports believed German troop presence to be light and about 1,500 Punjabis assaulted the strong German defensive positions. In addition to the 600 Askari force there were colonial volunteers of 8th Schützenkompagnie [rifle company] of 86 young Germans on horseback.
While the battle went on a patrol of the the 8th Rifle Company ambushed a British supply column stampeding off their supply mules. The British officers then determined their position to be untenable and retreated under the cover of darkness.
The Battle of Ngomano
After several costly victories against the British General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck was running critically low on supplies to solve this problem he decided to invade Portuguese East Africa for supplies. The Portuguese were led by European officers commanding native troops. Rather than prepare defensive positions a large military camp was constructed by the Portuguese including machine guns.
When the attack came the Portuguese were unprepared despite receiving intelligence warnings from the British that the attack was coming. The Germans shelled the camp and attacked from the rear catching the Portuguese off guard as they had been preparing for a frontal attack. Rifle pits were dug in an attempt to entrench. Many of the senior officers including the commander of the Portuguese were killed early on and the force surrendered.
General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck's campaign has been described “as the greatest single guerrilla operation in history, and the most successful.” As he was able to keep his much smaller force active throughout the entire war and as he was the only German Commander to successfully invade British Empire soil during World War I.
His knowledge of Swahili language and “said—and believed—‘we are all Africans here’. In one historian's estimation, “It is probable that no white commander of the era had so keen an appreciation of the African's worth not only as a fighting man but as a man.” His tenacity however did not enable him to divert British soldiers from the Western Front as his only way to help the German War effort. However his army was nonetheless never defeated in battle.
Thanks for your comment on my helo :-) This build is really cool, has plenty of detail and is well composed. And it's an interesting history lesson you have added as background too! I like that machinegun by the way. There's plenty of ways to build weapons from small LEGO parts and that is a cool way of making one.