Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Images of Herero Leaders: Kajata

This image comes from Elf Jahre Gouverneur in Deutsch-Südwestafrika, the memoirs of Theodor Gotthielf v. Leutwein, published in 1908. Although it is not possible to discern the faces of the riders, this is the only photograph I have been able to locate that includes Kajata, one of the principle leaders of the Herero people during the 1904 war with Germany. 

The photograph was taken in 1896 when Samuel Maharero (also identified in the image) and some of his followers allied with the Germans and rode against rival eastern Herero leader Nikodemus Kavikunua and his Ovambanderu allies under Kahimemua Nguvauva and the Khauas-Nama.  Hendrik Witbooi also lead a section that fought alongside the Germans in this campaign.

Kajata was a close ally of Samuel Maharero who gained power and chieftainship outside traditional inheritance structures.  Following the 1896 Mbanderu campaign, he gained lands at Otjihaenena along the ephemeral White Nossob river at the expense of the defeated eastern Herero leader Tjetjo Kandji.  He was even awarded a sword by the Germans in recognition of his bravery. 

Kajata was viewed as a favorite both of Samuel Maharero and of Governor Leutwein, who supported him when he brought charges in court against a notorious settler and debt collector Falkenhausen who had beaten up some of his people.  Some settlers complained that Leutwein was treating his native auxiliaries far better than they deserved, stating in one letter written during the Bondalswart campaign in November, 1903;

"The natives are valued above all else by the Governeur and the Berirkshauptmann.  These cannot do enough in keeping distinctions by the native riffraff.  Hendrick Witboy (sic) and his staff, Samuel Maharero, Kajata (a special favourite) are invited and showered with lavish gifts..."   [Quoted in Ritter-Peterson, H.G. I(1991) The Herrenvolk Mentality in German South West Africa 1884-1914. LDitt (History). Pretoria, University of South Africa: pg. 154]

During the German Herero war of 1904, Kajata was one of Samuel Maharero's most aggressive field commanders.  He survived the fighting at Waterberg, though I have not been able to determine his fate following the desperate flight through the Omaheke.  One of his daughters, Mukaahasera Kajata, for many years lead the women's section of the Otjiserandu or "Red Band", a paramilitary organization which parades every year at Okahanjda on Herero Day to commemorate the 1923 funeral of Samuel Maharero, honor the graves of their ancestors, and celebrate their resistance to colonialism and ultimate survival as a people.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Filling out the Orbat for Jones/Alvaredo Herero War Scenarios

Since Dr. Roy Jones posted the Order of Battle for the upcoming Herero War scenario and rulebook, I've been sizing up my lead pile and examining were I am in good shape, and where I lack enough figures, or even suitable options to represent them, to complete the German and Herero forces.  Since posting what I had gathered so far for German Troops and their Allies and their Herero adversaries, I've added some additional figures and equipment, including some from new sources.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that I have serious gaps to fill in a number of areas if I want to do every scenario in the book with 25mm / 28mm figures that can represent this period authentically and do it with a minimum of duplication.

Mounted Officers:  Jones and Alvaredo call for mounted figures to represent three senior German commanders and two senior Herero commanders.  There is very little in the currently available lines of known manufacturers to meet these specifications. The Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company once produced mounted officers for this period but this line has been discontinued. Matchlock Miniatures, which seems to include some of the Falcon Line, makes a mounted officer and it arrived today but regrettably wearing a helmet so perhaps I will need to find him a different head.  As for Falcon, I fear that this company may no longer be active, as its website is static and unresponsive and its email is out of service.  Perhaps someone who knows the owner can shed further light on the matter.  That would be a shame, because it seems that Falcon had German Mounted Command figures in its 25mm German Southwest Africa line that would do nicely. 

Quite frankly, I would be willing to settle for mounted officers in slouch hats cocked on the right, or even WWI German officers on horseback wearing field caps.  I bit the bullet and spent $25 on the Great Powers High Command set in 25mm from Old Glory's Colonial Boxer Rebellion  range.  It features six officer figures on horseback, the last of which wears a German Southwester hat.  I may be able to paint or convert one or two of the others, but for now can only count on this one, leaving me one more to locate to complete my needs.

Redoubt Enterprises BWBC01
As for the Herero leader a beardless Boer may be the answer (and with all due respect to my progressive minded Afrikaner friends, I appreciate the irony of making an indigenous African out of a Boer).   For this figure I could use any from the three figure mounted boer set from Black Tree Design's Boer War range, but I really like the mounted boer officer waving forward from Redoubt, who is painted in such a way on the website that he even looks African.  I will probably get several mounted boer figures without beards from both of these companies, and will use the rest as Herero cavalry: (see below).  Another option would be to convert the wonderful mounted figure of King Lubengula offered by North Star Africa and adding a wide brimmed hat with epoxy.

Empress Miniatures ZWB43
Herero Cavalry:  I need three full sections (24 figures) of Herero horsemen. Unlike some of the figures on foot who can be wearing loincloths or partial European clothing, mounted African figures for this period should not be wearing traditional regalia.  This rules out mounted Zulu or Matabele figures from other ranges.  I have one mounted Edendale Native horseman from Redoubt's Zulu range, three Native Horse from Foundry's Zulu range and four Native Horse from Empress' Miniatures Anglo Zulu War figures.  These last required removal of the spears in their shoulder quivers but are otherwise excellent and I plan to add another 4 from this range.  Still, that would only give me half the horsemen I require, so the rest are likely to be beardless Boers as mentioned above.

Seebataillon gunners: 
I believe that the Maschinenkanone called for in the Scenario book was served by German marines.  There were also marine machine gunners during the war, but I am told they are not included in the Scenario book for playability reasons.  The latter can be purchased from Pulp Miniatures, but while there are a number of great options for the Krupp "Pom-Pom gun (37mm Maschinenkanone M97) in this scale, there are no German marines scultpted specifically to serve it.  Possibly one or two of the Pulp Figures from the Maxim gun set could do so, but this will require further investigation.

Landungskorps Revolverkanone gunners:  I have the cone mounted Hotchkiss gun from HLBS now to represent the ones removed from the SMS "Habitcht" for service with the naval landing party.  As I have purchased more Naval machine gun sets than I require from Brigade Games (German) and Redoubt (Austrian), I should be able to borrow from these to serve the revolverkanone.

More Schutztruppe in slouch hats:  With Askari, Pulp and Tiger the main options for Schutztruppe that are suitable for this period, and a sprinkling of Brigade Games figures wearing puttees that are not issued in SWA, I am still in need of more Schutztruppe officers and men to complete the foot commanders and eight infantry sections I require.  I will certainly need to duplicate sets, and these are likely to be Askaris or Pulp, but whenever I find another option I jump on it. 

One such surprising find is from Old Glory in its 25mm Spanish American War range.  Here you can get the Spanish "Fantasy" Pack, featuring a German Maxim machine gun crew and adviser.  Not only is the two man gun crew a decent alternative to the 2 figure machine gun sections offered by Pulp, but the remaining two figures are officer types and can be used at need to command Schutztruppe infantry.

Herero Shock Troops:  Thirty-two are needed.  Falcon once made these, I believe wearing captured Seebataillon and/or Schutztruppe uniforms.  Alternatives include Brigade Games Schutztruppe in Slouch Hats and Askari's current Herero offering.

Native Auxiliaries:  The same figures identified for Herero Shock Troops could be used for these,
Courtesy of German Colonial Uniforms website
Courtesy of German Colonial Uniforms Website
but would need to be painted so as to avoid confusion with Herero fighters in German uniforms and I'm not sure an imperial armband or hatband would do that clearly at this scale.  I need 24 Witboois and 16 Rehoboth Bastards in sections with one officer and seven men on foot.  

My solution for the Bastards is to convert Copplestone's Zanzibar Askaris from its Darkest Africa range by turning their fez headgear into feld hats and giving them shoes fashioned with epoxy putty.  This should make them appear very much like the 1905 historic image at right. 

As for the Witbooi contingent, I will keep them in civilian clothes with white hats and imperial armbands as well as some braided hat cords, and may well chose to use beardless civilians or Boers for this purpose. 

I could use white officers with these native troops, though they had their own Kapteins and Veldkornets as well.  Leutnant Müller von Berneck commanded the Witboois in Abteilung Müller during the Hamakari campaign, while Oberleutnant Böttlinhad the Bastards in Major von Estorff's section.  While there is no scenario that currently calls for the other group of Native troops that served with the Germans at this time - the Bethany (!Aman) contingent - these were under Lt. Thilo von Trotha at Waterberg and this officer and close relative of the commanding General was later killed during failed negotiations with his former soldiers and allies in 1905 during the Nama war.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Alte Afrikaners"

Here are three "old Africans" in a German photograph dated 1895 and published in 1914 in Aus der Geschichte der Schutztruppe für Südwestafrika by Alexander Cormans.  Two of them are officers in the Southwest Africa Schutztruppe, and one a civil servant and the first civilian to hold the post of Governor in this German colony.

The officer at left in the 1894 issue field cap is Oberleutnant Otto Eggers, though probably just a lieutenant when this picture was taken.  He was very young when he came to Southwest Africa in 1894, though it is hard to credit that he was as young as sixteen, if we go by the vital statistics presented for him by Klaus Dierks. He was formerly in the Lower Saxony Field Artillery Regiment No. 46, and served as Besirkschef at Okahandja.  Eggers wrote a journal that was posthumously published, for he was among the officers and men of Maj. von Glasenapp's East Section killed at Owikokorero on March 13th, 1904.

The man at the center is Dr. Friedrich von Lindquist, who arrived in the colony at the end of 1893.  As one of Governor Leutwein's deputies he was responsible for administering the central Windhoek district and was also a judge.  Lindquist was appointed a German consular officer at Cape Town during the Boer War in 1900 and promoted to consular General  in 1902.  He succeeded Lt. Gen. Lothar von Trotha as Governor of Southwest Africa in 1905 during the Nama uprising and remained in the colony until 1908.  He actively promoted the introduction of karakul sheep farming and established a vast wildlife reserve in Northwestern Namibia in 1907 that included what is now Etosha National Park.

The officer at right in the 1891 issue kepi is identified as Major Schwabe.  Kurd Schwabe arrived in the colony as a Leutenant in 1893, and held Haupmann's rank as late as 1903.  He participated in military operations against the Witbooi Nama and the ovambanderu and served as Besirkschef in Okahandja and Otjimbingue before leaving Southwest Africa in 1897.  He subsequently served in the Seebataillon during the Boxer Rebellion and returned to Africa during the Herero War (I believe as an adjutant and staff officer).  Schwabe wrote extensively on colonial warfare and his various campaigns and taking a large number of photographs during his travels.  Oberstleutnant Schwabe died in 1920 of hepatitis contracted during WWI in Palestine.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Three HLBS Company Germans in a Batch I Won on eBay

I feel rather pleased about these figures, which I picked up on Ebay this afternoon.  I will repaint them when they arrive (from Thailand, so I hope they make it).  The three figures in Südwester hats and riding boots are from the discontinued Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company's 28mm German Colonial line and I was specifically after these when I bid on this mixed assortment.  The others include three of the four poses offered by Brigade Games Great War in Africa series for Schutztruppe in slouch hats, two of the German marines produced by Copplestone Castings, and two Copplestone Zanzibari regulars that I will convert (by giving them shoes and feld caps) to Native auxiliaries from the Rehoboth Bastard contingent. All in all, I am very happy to have them on the way.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Another Good Option for 25mm Seebataillon and Landungskorps in SWA

The Order of Battle for the war games in the upcoming Herero War scenario and reference book by Jones and Alvarado calls for a fair number of German marines and an even larger number of sailors for the Landungskorps.  I have the fine sets of the former from Copplestone and plan to add more from Pulp, but using these I will be stretched to provide the 36 figures needed to fill out 4 Marine sections (1 officer plus 7 marines in each), a senior commander, plus a 3 figure machine gun section.  It can be done in 28mm without repeat purchases, but barely.

 It is even more challenging filling out the sailors in the Landungskorps, for that will require 2 senior officers and a senior NCO (all on foot), six artillery figures with a machine gun and a revolver cannon, and 8 Landungskorps Units   (1 Officer, 7 Sailors in each).  This comes to 73 sailors and a large number of officers/NCOs, and while Brigade Games Great War in Africa series sets the standard and offers many of the figures this will require, it means purchasing multiple sets and a lot of duplication in the officer figures.  Short of some careful surgery to swap heads and arms, this does not allow for much variation in sailor sculpts.

Luckily, there is another excellent option that will add 8-10 German marine figures, two 3 figure sailor gun crews with at least one usable machine gun, and a handful of sailors for the Landungskorps.  All are in suitable uniforms, and all come in 25mm from Redoubt's Boxer Rebellion range.  They are offered as single figures or gun crew sets.  The German marines are from Seebataillon III and are fully compatible with their sister bataillons that were dispatched to Southwest Africa.  The sailors are from Germany's strong ally Austria Hungary, and work well with those from Brigade Games.  I plan to use some of them to crew my revolver cannon, probably the crew shown above with a Skoda machine gun.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hererowars Scenarios Figure Requirements

Dr. Roy Jones has posted some excellent new material on the Hererowars website, including the order of battle for the figures needed to run all 13 scenarios in the upcoming book that he and coauthor Eric Alvarado hope to have to the printers before the end of the year.  I am pleased that my lead pile has gone a long way toward addressing many of the unit requirements, but with an acknowledged weakness in mounted troops and native auxiliaries.  

While the Schutztruppe were mounted infantry, they generally fought on foot, so the requirements call for a single mounted unit of 8 Schutztruppe (1officer, 1 NC, six troopers).  The Herero, who also fought largely on foot, did have cavalry engaged in at least one scenario and 24 mounted figures are needed.  I have 8 (plus a horseholder with four more fighting dismounted), so this will take a while.

As for the Witbooi and Rehoboth Bastard units, these appear to be dismounted troops, and the challenge is to distinguish them from their Herero adversaries when the same (uniformed) figures are likely to be used on both sides.  The Bastards are perhaps the hardest to represent appropriately, as period images provided by the indispensable German Colonial Uniforms website show them in feld caps and modified 1896 Kord Waffenrock uniforms that are very pale colored, and suitable figures are not produced by any of the readily available manufacturers.  As my aim to take every step possible to make faithful representations of the uniforms and units involved in this period, I may need to wait on the Bastard unit until there are better figure options.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv
I am considering getting some epoxy putty to make minor adjustments to figures, either to have trousers cover puttees on some of the Brigade Games Great War in Africa figures or to make wide brimmed hats for figures wearing fez.  This would open up a large assortment of African figures for use as Herero troops as well as more figures in German uniforms for both sides.  I may try this experiment with an NCO unit of Schutztruppe askaris and see how it works, though the neckshade on the Askari tarbush fez thast three of these figures wear presents modelling problems.  We shall see.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ludwig von Estorff: "Crushing the People like this was in Equal Measure Cruel and Insane" (Part II)

Major Ludwig von Estorff's Westabteilung fought an engagement against the Herero on March 16th, 1904 at  Omusema, and later coordinated with the Main section under Governor Leutwein in a brief and unsuccessful campaign that included engagements at Onganjira on April 9th and Owiumbo.  In the first of these engagements, a young staff officer Oberleutnant Otto von Estorff of II Seebataillon  was killed.  Born in 1872, was the youngest brother of Major von Estorff. 

After the June troop build up and reorganization of the Schutztruppe into two regiments, Estorff was given command of a battalion of three companies in Lieutenant Colonel Mueller's 1st Field Regiment. 

During the Waterberg campaign, Estorff's command consisted of 26 officers, 247 enlisted men, four artillery pieces and four machine guns.  According to German sources*, Section von Estorff contained 3 Schutztruppe companies from the 1st Field Regiment.  These were the 1st Field Company under Hauptmann Graf zu Solms-Wildenfels, the 2nd field company under Oberleutnant Franz Hermann Ritter, and the veteran 4th Field Company under Hauptmann Franz Ritter von Epp. He had native auxiliaries as well, from the Rehoboth "Bastards", under Oberleutnant Böttlin.

For artillery Estorff had the 3rd Field Battery with its C73 field guns under Oberleutnant Bauszus, and a machine gun section of 4 machine guns under Leutnant Graf von Saurma-Jeltf.  The records indicate a radio section as well, although the main means of communication at in this campaign was via heliograph so perhaps that is what was indicated.

Estorff's section was detailed to advance of the Herero below the Waterberg from the East, and fought an action at Otjosongombe where his artillery was used to good effect.  After the fighting at the Waterberg, Estorff's Section was tasked with pursuing the Herero through the Omaheke Sandveld, and it was this experience and the extermination order given by Lieutenant General von Trotha that Estorff felt seemed both extreme and unwise:

"crushing the people like this was in equal measure cruel and insane.  One could have saved many of them and their herds, if one had spared them and given them refuge; they had been punished enough.  I suggested this to General von Trotha, but he wanted their complete destruction."

Estorff's vision of a pacified and subjugated people integrated into the colonial system as a source of labor and livestock was harsh and destructive, but it was less extreme than the genocidal policy aggressively pursued by von Trotha with both the Herero and later the Nama.  Estorff also felt his personal honor was at stake when he promised starving bands of Herero that they would not be harmed only to see them charged with murder and executed.  During the war with the Nama,  Estorff was so appalled by conditions in the Shark Island prison camp with its 90% death rate that he closed it down and moved the survivors inland.

Promoted to Oberstleutnant in 1906 and commandant of a 4,000 strong Schutztruppe in 1907, Estorff served in Southwest Africa until 1910 when he was succeeded as Schutztruppe commander by Joachim von Heydenbreck.  

At the outset of World War I,  now Major General Ludwig von Estorff  lead an infantry Brigade with the 5th Army (Crown Prince) on the Western Front and was severely wounded at Dannevoux.  The next year he commanded the new 103rd Infantry Division on the Eastern Front (his brother Maj. General Eggert von Estorff was killed in Russian that March).  He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1916 and later assumed command of the 42nd Infantry Division.  He received his highest military decoration, the Pour le Mérite, in September, 1917.
After the war, Ludwig von Estorff was involved in the unsuccessful Kapp Putsch, and when this failed he was relieved of his command and placed on inactive status.  A deeply religious man, late in life he was associated with German theologian and public health advocate Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, who opposed some of the more extreme policies of the Nazis. 

Estorff was a Prussian aristocrat and a conservative military man, and it would be a mistake to make him out to have been either a defender of human rights or an ardent opponent of Hitler.  In August, 1939 on Tannenburg Remembrance Day, he and many other veteran officers were given the brevet rank of General der Infanterie, which would not have been the case had he been out of favor with the Nazis at this time.    It is not clear to what degree he actively worked against the Nazis in his last years of life.

*Die Kämpfe der deutschen Truppen in Südwestafrika bearbeitet von der kriegsgeschichtlichen Abteilung 1 des Großen Generalstabs Band 1: Die Kämpfe gegen die Hereros Berlin 1906)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Major Ludwig von Estorff: "Der Letzte Römer" (Part I)

When I lived in northwest Namibia, in the shadow of the Grootberg, there was an adjacent farm

called Estorff.  A few miles up the dry Kakatswa River was a stone kraal and the remnants of a mud walled fort once occupied by Captain Estorff of the Schutztruppe during operations against the Topnaar Nama in the 1890s.  Ludwig von Estorff was one of the most prominent - and intriguing - Colonial German officers in Southwest Africa.  He was highly decorated (one of the very few recipients of the "Prussian Quartet" of decorations that include the Order "Pour le Mérite" (PlM), the Order of the Red Eagle (RAO), Order of the Crown (KO) and the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern (HHO).  He took an active part in many of the battles in the Herero and Nama wars, but he also spoke out against the excessive campaign of extermination pursued in Southwest Africa,  and near the end of his long life was an opponent of the Nazis.
He came from an ancient Lower Saxon noble family, the son of a Major General, and in the course of his long military career he rose from Sekonte-Lieutenant to Brevet General der Infanterie.  Estorff joined the Schutztruppe in Southwest Africa in 1894, serving as Captain of a company based at Outjo.  He left to join the Great General Staff in 1899, but was soon serving as Major in the East Afrika Schutztruppe, then as a military observer in South Africa in 1901 during the Boer War and as Deputy Commander of the Schutztruppe in Southwest Africa.  He left Africa later in 1903 when he was appointed Battalion Commander in the Füsilier Regiment Prinz Heinrich von Preußen, but returned to Southwest Africa at the outbreak of the war and was in the field by mid February, 1904.

He arrived to learn that his former batman or bambuse, a Herero man named Sepp, had been killed while fighting alongside Captain Franke's 2nd field company.  Estorff erected a headstone over the grave of his old servant with a verse from Revelations and an inscription in German which may be translated:

"My dear faithful unto death servant, the Herero Sepp, fell on 4 February 1904 in the battle for Omaruru.  Von Estorff, Major."

Estorff initially commanded the Westabteilung, a detachment that included two veteran Schutztruppe companies (the 2nd under Franke and the 4th under von Schönau), a newly arrived seebataillon company (Haering), four field pieces, a mountain gun, and two machine guns. With this force he marched toward Omaruru and Outjo, and on February 25th part of this force fought a ten hour engagement with the Omaruru Herero at Otjihinamaparero. This action produced few casualties and only served to further concentrate Herero forces eastward, but was lauded as a great victory when so much of the war news was verging on disaster. 

His men called him "Der letzte Römer", the Last or Old Roman, and this did not mean they saw him as a martinet but rather one of the old warriors reminiscent of an earlier age. We will continue with the second part of this brief biography of Maj. von Estorff in a subsequent post.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Rules for Wargaming the German Herero War of 1904

Once I get my colonial German and Herero figures painted up, I will need a good set of war gaming rules.  I am thrilled that there is already an option, based on close examination of German source material and game tested over a number of years, that is about to be published.

The team of Roy S. Jones, Jr. and Eric Alvarado have been working on a Herero War scenario and rules book for a number of years and plan to have a draft to the printers by the end of this year.  I've had the pleasure of corresponding with Dr. Jones and am deeply impressed by his dedication to this project and the extensive research that he and his co-author Mr. Alvarado have undertaken.

The rules and scenario book is based on The Sword and the Flame system (TSATF), originally drafted by Larry V. Brom  in the late 1970s for British colonial tabletop war games.    These rules have been modified  by Jones and Alvaredo to address the unique conditions that apply to the German Herero War of 1904.  The book is planned to include 13 scenarios, each representing an actual skirmish or battle from this conflict, many of which have been featured in war games run by Dr. Jones at various conventions such as FALL-IN!™ in Lancaster, PA, and in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area.  Dr. Jones maintain a Hererowars  blog that has descriptions of many of these scenarios and other information about the project and the period.

TSATF has a 1:1 ratio with each figure representing a single soldier, so even though my lead pile feels very large it may require me to order some duplicate figures once I know what is required for the various scenarios covered in the Herero Wars rules.  The size of the base is unimportant in TSARF as long as facing direction and field of fire are clear.  This is different from another rules set often used for colonial war gaming in Africa - Death in the Dark Continent - which requires 3 figures  / base.  There are other rules systems out there as well, such as In the Heart of Africa, but I have not played them and am unable to offer further comment.