Note: Due to a significant error in rule interpretation, the Africa part of the game was reset in December 2015 and completely replayed. this turn report it therefor obsolete.
After the Entente made substantial progress despite occasional reversals during the previous half year, a feeling of decisiveness pervaded events in Africa during the period October 1915 thru March 1916. The French had already reduced the Berber to offensive impotence. Franco-British troops seemed about to put the Germans in Cameroon to the knife before turning against the fast, fragile Sanussi. Slightly growing Italian forces even seemed likely to contribute offensively. Without a Cameroon to run to, the wandering German force from Namibia seemed likely to either turn east to feed the flies their horseflesh or push north to try to cooperate – inevitably badly – with the Sanussi in the high Sahara. The Germans in East Africa would surely continue to feel increasing pressure from massing British and Portuguese forces.
Both sides remained largely idle in Libya until throughout the period, at least until March 1916. Italian forces continued to hold Tripoli and Sirte in discontinuous coastal enclaves, tied-in with French forces thrust down out of Tunisia. In that month, however, the Italians became positively offensive, replacing a colonial light rifle regiment, strengthening it with light artillery, and using it to assist an attack. Five regiments of French light rifles landed through Tripoli in May and immediately struck inland against two brigades of Sanussi infantry. The Italians and more French units hemmed the Sanussi into with patrols so that they could not run and the Foreign Legion and Colonial Rifle force, possessed of superior morale and training, ground the defender nearly to dust. If the French commitment to the sideshow of Libya continues, mid- and late-1916 seems likely to be spent bloodily fighting set-piece battles for dominance of the Sanussi heartland rather than chasing wildly across thousands of miles of scattered oases.
Events in French Northwest Africa remained even more static than in Libya throughout the six months thru March 1916. The Berber, divided by the French into enclaves centered in Spanish Morocco and on the Atlantic coast in Southern Morocco, enjoy just enough ammunition production to keep pace with routine expenditures (they produce no supply points because the French cut them to only eight Berber recruitment hexes, whereas production of supply points requires ten) and are therefore offensively impotent. If the Berber once attack with supply, they will thereafter lack supply with which to defend themselves and will be doomed to be driven out of French Morocco by even such weak forces as the French currently deploy to hem the Berbers away from civilization. Meanwhile, one each Italian light rifle and mounted rifle units assist a few French units in actively patrolling the huge southern edge of the French colonies, trading control of various oases with the overstretched Sanussi and tying each other down in what could have been an important, even newsworthy, sector.
In far away West Africa, the contest between the Sanussi and their would-be overlords swung wildly back and forth as miniscule forces tried to maintain garrison requirements, survive, and expand friendly territory in a vast land of wild contrasts. The sentence remains as unchanged in the game report as events do on the ground. The vast majority of European forces continue to be tied to the littoral districts, often outside the area in which the desert-proficient Sanussi can wage effective war and from which the few Sanussi in the theater cannot eject them. For a while, a few British battalions assisted the French on the fringes of Dahomey, and a net of a few battalions of French moved into garrisons in the area, but the chief “excitement” came from the French managing to find an unoccupied light rifle regiment to put-down a small native revolt that had smoldered for months but never quite grown a flame. French hopes of a quick offensive, to push the Sanussi from west to east away from Rio de Oro, failed to materialize in the face of a slight Sanussi buildup in huge geography and the continuous ebb of French units from Senegal to Europe. Eventually, beginning in February, the French managed to advance into the desert in the face of weakening Sanussi resistance (see events elsewhere), even retaking Timbuktu, but there is almost no chance of combat – what maneuver cannot do, will not be done in this sector.
On the northern edge of Central Africa, in late 1915 and early 1916, the Entente seized the initiative as the Sanussi never quite recovered from their self-immolation in March 1915 and their series of whack-a-mole expeditions in pursuit of British and French irregular units later in the year. By October 1915, the French and British assembled enough force to picket the southern Sahara from Chad through Nigeria. By December, French forces were growing fast so that the Sanussi both drew in units from elsewhere in their drifting empire and issued artillery wholesale to unsupported units to better face the threat. The French advanced for months, oasis to oasis, struggling all the while to haul combat supplies to the front in the face of the distantly threatening and highly mobile Sanussi, before finally giving up the effort as insufferably risky. Five French light rifle regiments quickly withdrew along British railroads to ports while foaming further light regiments into first layer of oases north of the civilized road and town network. Neither side much cared that in Chad, one of two rebellions grew slightly.
The German colony of Kameroon expired in November 1915 to broad Entente relief and a steady diet of German teeth gnashing and morale point loss. While the British and some French worked outward in October and on newly-dried roads in November, in November the core French force of Colonial light riflemen struck concentrically against the final force in the last German-held town in the colony. Terrain expertise countered rough ground and without weather impediments success was guaranteed; mercifully, for the first time in Africa in this war, Entente forces did not even get their noses bloodied by stubborn defenders. All that remained was to form the garrison, sucking in only two units, and to furlough three British Colonial light rifle regiments and a couple of divisions of local laborers. The remaining French forces flowed out northward to fight the Sanussi while the remaining British units flowed out westward to complete garrisons along the Atlantic coast, from which the West Indian construction regiment simultaneously withdrew for duty in Iraq.
In Belgian Congo, the column of German cavalry fleeing the loss of German Southwest Africa heard about the collapse in Cameroon but continued their move toward…anything at all. Offensively, the Germans hoped to use the number of their units to corner, isolate, and force the surrender of at least one Belgian garrison unit while en route to German East Africa by way of Uganda. In counterpoint, after the collapse in Cameroon, Entente forces quickly moved to isolate the Germans (isolated and U-2 units roll for surrender). In the event, both sides won and lost.
The German cavalry, but not their supplies, escaped into German East Africa. Suddenly isolated, the Germans converted their supply point for general use then used their faster movement to squirt free to the north shore of Lake Victoria. While the French, British, and Belgians massed to contain and exterminate them there, the Germans took a first advantage of their newly-won naval superiority on the Lake to haul two regiments into Tanzania. The third German regiment braved tsetse flies, survived its 50-50 roll to eliminate, and moved southeast along the shore to further temporary sanctuary before subsequently being boated across. British forces mopped-up Uganda and re-established naval dominance by retaking both northern ports on the Lake.
In Angola, the standoff between Portuguese rulers and African bandits continued unremarkably for most of the period October 1915 thru March 1916. Portuguese units in the colony only met the garrison requirement and could even move supply points forward for use in rebellion reduction by their solitary regiment in each district. The banditry likewise remained largely static, though one rebellion did increase by one level; no African units have taken the field and none are likely to do so because of the overwhelming South African presence (just across the southern border but close enough to several rebellions to inhibit their growth). Finally, in March, the South African government dispatched a mounted rifle brigade by road and rail across Namibia to help the Portuguese put down the revolts and pacify this particular little corner of the Dark Continent.
For all practical purposes, South Africa by October 1915 was simply the preeminent rear area of the African continent and its bulk overwhelmed administrative and logistical contributions made by other African colonies on the continent to the worldwide war effort. The Capetown factory provided most of the heavy weapons that allowed unit upgrades of Belgians in Rwanda, Indians and later more Indians in Kenya, British Colonials in Uganda, South African riflemen in Natal, and even Italian Colonials in Libya. South African manpower and horses replaced four more brigades of Boer mounted riflemen, which finally re-completed the garrisons of southern Africa, and enlarged a static regiment into a brigade on the coast of Tanzania. Fresh recruits, largely from West Africa, meanwhile replaced a British Colonial rifle regiment in Kenya, a French Colonial light rifle battalion in Senegal, and enlarged one each British and French Colonial static regiments into brigades in order to complete garrisons. French training bases in Madagascar and Senegal likewise continued their slow churning, sending a couple of regiments of colonials to more active sectors.
From a smoldering spark in mid-1915, by early 1916 events in German East Africa flickered to growing light and heat. In October, from Mombassa, a British irregular cavalry brigade seized Tanga before being eaten by flies; British ZOCs would keep the city in British hands unless the Germans chanced a regular unit against the voracious bugs. Meanwhile, further south along the coast the British amphibiously landed north of Kilwa and then expanded their beachhead to two brigades and a regiment with naval gunfire support. The Germans responded by issuing artillery, gradually built-up in the colony by blockade runners, merchant raiders, and the sunken light cruiser Konigsberg, to two light rifle battalions in October and a whole regiment in November. The British spent the next few months bringing units into Kenya by sea and Uganda by land, parrying German cavalry in the latter colony, strengthening their beachhead and following the Germans out of the only fly-free port on Tanzania’s coastline, and pushing two more units through Nyasaland into Tanzania from the south and west. The Portuguese also did their part, both by strengthening their hold on Mozambique as much as possible while avoiding the flies and by marching one colonial rifle regiment into southern Tanzania. By February 1916, the Entente and tsetse flies held in strength the entire circle around the German defenders of Tanzania; reinforced German forces could not move out in any direction except south and could not even reasonably go that way because of flies, Entente zones of control on roads, and Entente units occupying key terrain. In February, the Germans retook Tanga to receive a blockade runner in March. The newly arrived German artillery unit and newly formed construction regiment combined to carry the supplies from the ship away from Tanga, leaving the Entente the pleasure of its capture again when they eventually want to risk another unit against the bugs, which meanwhile ate the German light battalion that had lingered there. The British considered the offer and instead finally unveiled strength that had taken a year and a half to build: they attacked on a broad front across the border from Kenya, sending the defenders of Moeshi retreating (12:2, net -2 could have been an AQ or EX) and compressing the German defenders further. The Germans shifted in response, still enjoying the general supply provided by the core road and town network of their colony but, like the defenders of Cameroon before them, also waiting for the next hammer to fall.