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.
Even as diplomatic notes flew like paper airplanes hurled by a class of rowdy schoolboys in Europe, the flames of worldwide war lit the tinder that was Africa in August 1914.
In Libya, Sanussi forces brought their independence movement against the Italians into full force. Strong Italian forces at the port towns of Tripoli and Sirte seemed unlikely to be threatened anytime soon but detachments inland were immediately in deep trouble. In their first lunge, light Sanussi forces hemmed in two of those detachments and grabbed two oases in Cyrenaica while the main force came against, isolated, and destroyed a 1-2-5 rifle III (Col) at Sebha.
In Morocco, the new war wasn’t really new at all; Berber irregulars continued to resist French aggression with all their fury. Content to sit free in their mountain fastnesses, the Berbers were surprised at aggressive action by the disorganized French, who assumed the offensive here despite pressing difficulties in Europe and around Cameroon. Other than a stout pocket near Casablanca, Berber forces lay in a large complex of mountains stretching from Spanish Morocco south through eastern French Morocco and then west through the Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic coast a hundred miles northeast of the international flashpoint called Agadir. While their forces on the Atlantic seaboard merely held their positions, French forces from western Algeria assumed the offensive. Strengthened by liberal ammunition for their mule artillery, a pair of French light regiments swept behind the eastern end of Berber positions to destroy a weak and hapless brigade (1-6) of Berbers caught outside t
heir hilly homeland. That was the only weak spot in the Berber position, an area of relatively open terrain sparsely inhabited by peoples at best neutral toward both the French and Berbers. The Berbers tried to hold it because it connected their western and northeastern enclaves; the French moved in deliberately to cut the Berbers in two and thus hinder all further Berber operations.
To the great surprise of local British commanders, an equally useful success came at the hands of local mercenaries in Uganda. A division of warriors suppressed the activities of an independence-minded rival tribe a few of whose members had murdered a British missionary. British authorities in East Africa thereafter would have to worry about enemies on only one front, facing German East Africa.
A Portuguese colonial unit in a similar situation failed in its attempt to suppress one of four rebellions in Angola.
Not to be outdone by a bunch of despised natives in their efforts against the Entente, officials in Togoland led their German militia to the hills north of their tiny capital, resolved to fight to the bitter end. As a trio of strong regiments of light infantry swept into the colony from both directions along the coast, German commanders dispersed their stockpile of ammunition and packaged food into a series of caches from which guerrilla war could be supported. The colony could not hope to hold out for long and Entente forces, not wishing a bloody battle with risk of repulse, contented themselves with a cautious follow-up of the German withdrawal. In the meantime, Gold Coast volunteers began to raid the Germans from across the river boundary, pinning the defenders in place in preparation for a future overrun.
The biggest news of the month in Africa came from the point furthest from the new war in Europe: the Boers revolted in South Africa! After the withdrawal of all British regulars from the colony, General Smuts ordered the concentration of South African forces at Durban, Johannesburg, and Capetown; the key population centers must be secured against German raids and native uprisings, or so said the directive. The ‘accidental’ side effect of this order was that ethnically Boer formations could be kept under the guns of ethnically British South Africans in case of trouble. Trouble duly arrived, perhaps sparked by resentment bred by Smuts’ own order, and the Boer brigade in Johannesburg promptly revolted and marched west out of the city, each member carrying as many supplies as he could pack on his horses and servant. In response to events, German forces from Southwest Africa promptly began raiding and invading their southern neighbors. One German column darted into Bechuanaland t
o secure the lone oasis before countermarching back into German territory. Another column did likewise to seize Port Nolloth. In the meantime, a battalion of German artillery moved into Upington and determined to hold its ground as a rallying point for Cape Province Boers.
As August grew into September, South African forces struck back. With the home guard called out, a few formations moved to prevent any too significant German advance into Cape Province while the strongest offensive units massed around, isolated, and destroyed the lone Boer combat formation (2-6 mtd rfl X) in the country. Even another Boer formation (2*-7 mtd rfle X) participated in this operation, but in its civil war spawned grief it then promptly changed sides and marched hard to reach German assistance and the new Boer headquarters at Upington on the Namibian border. There, two additional Boer formations came together during the month and vowed never to give up the struggle for freedom. Not content with posturing, Boer columns seized a few towns in northern and central Cape Province before retiring to the border. If German or Boer forces could manage to hold any towns in Transvaal a much larger Boer revolt could develop, but that didn’t look promising to German officers w
atching the Boers huddle under the protection of and supplied solely by the Germans.
Meanwhile, in East Africa, another Entente coup came together. The only Belgian formation not preoccupied with emptying Congo of everything worth exploiting swept across the border into German East Africa against no opposition. Within days, Entente political leaders agreed to the formation of two new colonies on the plateau west of Lake Victoria; Rwanda and Burundi had come into being and the Belgians settled down to rest, content to have taken a few towns out of the German supply grid.
In Togo, resistance came to an end as British and French light troops leisurely rousted successive groups of Germans out of the hills and woods where they lay hidden. No militarily significant casualties came of this overrun, but the colony had delayed three Entente regiments for more than two months before the troops actually found their ways back out of the colony.
Much to the surprise of both French and Berbers, the war there took a month off. French forces needed to redeploy and reorganize while the Berbers couldn’t begin to take the offensive into the desert or coastal lowlands.
It was during September 1914 also that Entente forces first invaded Cameroon. A battalion of French light troops slipped into the colony from the south, pinning a German battalion, while a British regiment from the northeast provided cover to a smaller French force from the east as it destroyed the unguarded fortified zone that lay at the northeastern tip of the colony. More than a regiment of French also massed in southern Nigeria for imminent offensive action while British garrison forces in that colony snuggled up to the Cameroonian border to keep the Germans as honest as possible. In a related note, the British West Indian Regiment came ashore in Freetown, under orders to police the native and to use its construction skills to enhance that colony’s economic infrastructure. The local regiment of the West African Frontier Force simultaneously took to river transports and sailed all the way to northeastern Nigeria to form a second wave of invasion into Cameroon.
Finally, during September 1914, the Sanussi continued to run riot in Tripolitania. Some units of not completely passive Italians conducted a sortie from Tripoli to retake several oases but then retreated back to their port lifeline before they could be caught and destroyed. In the deep desert, the Italian-Libyan colonial formation that caused Tripoli such headaches went ahead and defected en masse to the Sanussi, who followed up the coup with an attack that destroyed an Italian brigade at Giofra oasis. Further Sanussi swept up the hungry remnants of an Italian rifle brigade at Ghadames after discipline in that formation broke down.
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