Battle for the Bundu: The First World War in East Africa Hardcover – January 31, 1974
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- Item Weight : 1.9 pounds
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0025849301
- ISBN-13 : 978-0025849303
- Publisher : Macmillan Publishing Co.; 1st edition (January 31, 1974)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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My only criticism, which I find in all the books I have read on the subject, is there is little discussion of the impact upon the tribal people who got caught in the conflict. Both German and Allies "employed" thousands of bearers who died transporting war goods. A master of Guerrilla warfare, von Lettow and his three thousand troops lived off the land, but often destroyed what they could not carry to insure that the British and their allies had to employ long supply lines. This caused famine among the African tribes. It is estimated that over a million noncombatants died as a result of this. Von Lettow ended up being the only German commander who invaded British and Portuguese territory and, although constantly harassed and "defeated" in the skirmishes that took place, was never truly beaten. He succeeded in his aim of tying up Imperial troops in a tertiary front, drawing them off from France to the sweltering jungles and savannas of east Africa, and surprisingly enough, it was one of the last campaigns fought with a sense of honor and decency between the two sides.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lettow-Vorbeck, recently placed in command of the colony's defense forces, managed to fight the Allies for the entire duration of the war, and beyond. Through ingenuity, leadership and perserverence the meager German forces not only managed to fight on their own terms but also to tie down large numbers of enemy troops.
The resources used to pursue Vorbeck through the bush was all out of proportion to his warmaking capability. Vorbeck didn't have to win... he only had to not lose. And indeed, his tiny army was still fighting after the Armistice took place.
Illustrated with photographs. A wonderful book if you can find a copy.
Top reviews from other countries
It is a campaign arguably unique in its events: the stalking of a cruiser by hunters, the passage of flat bottomed monitors around the Cape to fight a naval battle in a swampy river delta, the journey of ships across hundreds of miles of bush, mountain and waterway to engage in battles of naval dominance on an inland lake, epic marches covering vast distances in efforts to encircle, the formation of a British square to fight off bayonet attacks - it goes on. Throughout, Miller maintains a superlative and engaging narrative with a distinct vein of humour.
The book lacks for detailed maps, but actually those included inside the covers suffice, and make for quick and easy referral.
I found this book through a second hand store, and could not put it down. You won't find it on any high street bookshop shelves, but do yourself a favour if you have an interest in this campaign (or even if you don't but just for the sheer enormity of the events it portrays) and buy this book. It is history told as adventure without losing the sense of humanity and tragedy. It is outstanding.
Lettow von vorbeck comes out as the Rommel of WW1 Both sides liked and respected him
Could have done with some more maps
I only give 5 stars to amazing books so for me 4 means a top notch read !!!
to convince me to put the book down and put my light out.