Askaris

Askaris were African soldiers in the German forces in what is now Tanzania, but then was German East Africa. These soldiers were from many ethnic groups, many from the Sudan. They were commanded by German officers and trained to respond to commands issued in German, but the usual language of communication was Kiswahili. They were employed originally as a police force. A few thousand of these askaris and a few hundred Germans under the remarkable commander Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (1870-1964) fought in a campaign in East Africa, a little-known but hard-fought aspect of the First World War. The Germans and their Askaris may have been the last German fighting unit in the field, not surrendering until late November of 1918.

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