- West Africa Campaign (World War I)
conflict=West Africa Campaign (World War I)
African theatre of World War I
caption=African troops in German Kamerun
date=August 3, 1914 – February, 1916
combatant1=flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom
*flagicon|Gold Coast Gold Coast
French Equatorial Africaflagicon|Belgium Belgium
combatant2=flagicon|German Empire Germany
*flagicon|German Empire Kamerun
notes=The West Africa Campaign of
World War Iconsisted of two small and fairly short military operations to capture the German colonies in West Africa: Togolandand Kamerun.
The United Kingdom, with near total command of the world's oceans, had the power and resources to conquer the German colonies when the
Great Warstarted. The two German colonies in West Africa were recently acquired and not well defended. They were also surrounded on all sides by African colonies that belonged to their enemies, the United Kingdom and France.
This small colony was almost immediately conquered by a military force from the
British Gold Coast(modern-day Ghana) and a small force from French Dahomey(modern-day Benin). Fighting was over by August 27. John Keegan identifies the two military forces as the West African Rifles and the "Tirailleurs senegalais". [Keegan, "World War I", pg. 206]
Cameroonand parts of what is now eastern Nigeria) had a garrison of about 1,000 German soldiers supported by about 3,000 African soldiers. The British attacked out of Nigeriafollowing three different routes east into Kamerun. However, all three columns were defeated by a combination of terrain, rough trails, and ambushes by the Germans. The French attacked south from Chadand captured Kusseri. Early in September, a Belgian-French force (mostly from the Belgian Congo) captured Limbe on the coast. With the aid of four British and French cruisers acting as mobile artillery, this force then captured the colonial capital of Doualaon September 27 1914.
The only major center of German resistance was now Yaounda (modern-day
Yaounde). The Belgian-French troops followed the German-built railroad inland, beating off German counter-attacks along the way. By November, Yaounde was captured. Most of the surviving German soldiers retreated into Spanish Guinea(modern-day Equatorial Guinea), which was neutral territory. The last German fort in Kamerun surrendered in February 1916. [Keegan, "World War I", pg. 207]
* "Togoland and the Cameroons 1914-1916" by Brigadier-General F. J. Moberly (1931, HMSO, official history)
* Paice, Edward "Tip and Run: The Untold Tragedy of the Great War in Africa" Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007, ISBN 0-297-84709-0.
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