Records and interesting facts

Longest campaign of the First World War (5 August 1914 – 25 November 1918)

Lettow-Vorbeck had the first fully integrated modern force – he appointed askari to NCO positions based on merit

Lettow-Vorbeck was the only German general to occupy British territory -Taveta in British East Africa (Crowson)

Lettow-Vorbeck was the only undefeated German general of World War 1

First tropical campaign ‘waged under modern conditions of transport and armament’ (Thornhill, 2004 reprint)

First ‘in which organised native troops on either side fought with white men and against them’ (Thornhill, 2004 reprint)

First naval engagement – 13 Aug 1914 on Lake Nyasa (The Times) (Charlton disproves this – the first naval battle took place on 4 August 1914 when the Amphion, Lance and Landrail attacked the Konigin Luise)

First naval Victoria Cross by Captain Henry Peel Ritchie in attack on Dar-es-Salaam (Charlewood, 1960)

First naval ship Kingani captured on Lake Tanganyika. Became known as HMS Fifi (Fodden, 2005)

First complete naval ensign captured. Spicer-Simson acquired the ensign of the Hedwig von Wissmann on Lake Tanganyika (Paice, 2007)

Longest naval battle of the war was against the Konigsberg in the Rufigi Delta

BEA was the first (only?) British territory to vote for conscription in 1915. Came into effect in March 1916 (Cranworth, 1939)

21 countries involved in the campaign in some way: Germany, German EA, Portugal, Portuguese EA, Belgium, Belgian Congo, Britain, South Africa, India, North Rhodesia, South Rhodesia,  British EA, Uganda, Nyasaland, Gold Coast, Nigeria, West Indies, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Basotholand, British Somaliland with France and Italy trying

5 British Departments actively managing the attack on GEA before 22 November 1914: War Office, Colonial Office, Admiralty, India Office, Foreign Office

Cost of the campaign was £72 million or 4 times the 1914 British Defence budget

75% of all involved were invalided out/died due to illness and starvation rather than war wounds

7 fatalities in Tanzania, 3 fatalities each in British and Portuguese East Africa,  1 in Southern Rhodesia on 11 November 1918 (BBC History Magazine, Nov 2008 p59)

85% of BEA settlers enlisted within first month of the war (Trzebinski, 1981)

Few trenches were used in the EA campaign, some can still be seen in the Selous Game Reserve (Tanzania and Zanzibar (Cadogan Guides) by Annabel Skinner p285) and in Tsavo

Number of troops involved in the campaign (M Hill, Permanent Way):
976 Officers (allied troops) – killed, died or missing
17,650 other ranks (allied troops) – killed, died or missing
114,000 British troops employed in the campaign
52,339 (including 5,403 British white) troops from India
43,447 white South Africans
+/- 3,000 settlers from East Africa, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia
+/- 15,000 troops from KAR, Gold Coast, Nigeria and Gambia
+/- 12,000 Belgian native troops
?? Cape Corps, Portuguese troops

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