9/7/1915 South West Africa: German resistance comes to an end

South African forces have invaded the German colony of South West Africa. After a series of defeats the Germans retreated to Khorab in the north of the country. Here they hoped to fortify their positions and hold out against the South Africans. To buy time, German commander Victor Franke left a rearguard at Otavi to delay the South Africans.

Unfortunately for the Germans, the South Africans were able to chase away the Otavi rearguard and resume their swift advance. Now they are on top of the main German force, who have not had time to prepare their defences. The Germans find themselves surrounded. Rather than have his men attempt a breakout, Franke agrees to surrender.

Louis Botha, South Africa’s prime minister, personally commands his countrymen at Khorab. He hopes that when the war is over South Africa will be able to maintain its control of South West Africa.

Unusually for fighting in Africa, the South West African campaign appears to have been a white man’s war. The German forces were composed of regular German soldiers or settlers from the Fatherland while the South Africans fielded troops recruited from the white minority. Partly to prevent trouble with South West Africa’s native population, Botha permits the German settlers to retain their weapons and return to their homes.

images:

Campaign map (Wikipedia: South-West Africa Campaign)

Discussing surrender terms (Gondwana Collection)

Changing the map (The Soldier’s Burden)

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