General Tombeur

Name ID 1558

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 07a
Extract Date: 1914

World War I

At the outbreak of World War I, the German troops were outnumbered by the British but it took the whole war period to defeat the valiant German Commander Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck - creator of the famed askari battalions - who started the hostilities by attacking Taveta in August 1914. German troops kept the initiative for a long time but they were unable to resist the constantly improving fighting ability of the Allied Forces.

In 1916 General Smuts with British, Indian and South African forces occupied the northern border, Belgian troops commanded by Colonel Tombeur reached Tabora from the west, and with a force crossing the Kagera from Uganda, the Allied troops prepared for the final assault; in November 1917 German troops were thrown behind the Ruvuma and found themselves totally defeated in November 1918. Lettow-Vorbeck had outwitted the Allied troops for 4 years with such brilliant tactics that, together with his officers, he was allowed to surrender in honourable conditions.

Tanganyika had again had to suffer the consequences of the war. Vast areas were turned into wasteland and economic life broke down once again with thousands of African troops having succumbed to famine, malaria and other diseases.

Extract ID: 4029