A Visual History Of Askaris In The East Africa Campaign

askari porters
askari porters

An askari says his goodbyes to his family, German East Africa ca. 1903-18. Photo by Walther Dobbertin. Source: Bundesarchiv.

Historians estimate that 11,000 Schutztruppe fought for the Germans in the East African campaign, tented to by 45,000 porters. While the British had an overwhelming advantage in number – 150,000 troops and 1,000,000 porters over the course of the campaign – they never managed to defeat the German forces led by general von Lettow-Vorbeck.

Porters for the Schutztruppe*, German East Africa ca. 1914. Photo by Walther Dobbertin. Source: Bundesarchiv.

The campaign consisted in a 4-year long series of short raids and long treks on foot that decimated both sides. According to records, 75% of British casualties in East Africa were the consequence of exhaustion, malnutrition and disease.

The original caption of this photo reads “Kriegssafari”, i.e. War Safari. German East Africa, 1914. Photo by Walther Dobbertin. Source: Bundesarchiv.

source: Africa Ghost

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