Monday, March 22, 2010

Tip and Run

I bought this book just after Christmas, and finished reading it a few weeks ago. 'Tip and Run' is Edward Paice's account of the Great war in East Africa between 1914 and 1918.

The account is well written, and filled with fascinating detail. Two understandings that it generated for me were:

1. The war stood or fell on the basis of the Africans who were most often conscripted as porters carrying the essential supplies without which the war could not have been fought. The death rate amongst porters was horrific, for porters working for both sides.

2. This was not the 'gentleman's war' that it has for so long been portrayed. German and allied commanders were equally ruthless in the exploitation of the African population.

3. From 1916 the war was one of hide and seek as German forces moved around the continent, pursued by allied forces.

The book offers little for Great War Spearhead war gamers, as the scale of the actions was generally too small. Major actions involved battalions and brigades at most.

This is  a well written and engaging book, well worth the money and the time.

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