Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck
(20.03.1870 - 09.03.1964)
place of birth: Saarlouis, Rheinpreußen
Prussian colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck commanded the German East African (Tanzania) Colonial Forces during the
He was the son of General of Infantry Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, of noble
Pomerian ancestory, and his wife Marie Eisenhart-Rothe. Young Paul
military career as an 11-year old cadet in the Potsdam Corps. Later he
studied military science as an artillery officer. Following the War,
Lettow-Vorbeck married Martha Wallroth in 1919.
In German East Africa,
Lettow-Vorbeck's troops grew from 215 to 3,000 German soldiers, and from
2,540 up to 12,000 Askari natives. His troops initially saw success
against their British-led counterparts in November 1914 as they repelled
an assault on the port of Tanga (modern-day Tanzania). By 1916, his skirmishes against the British lead him to abandon conventional warfare,
and he thus became one of
the most gifted and successful leaders of guerilla tactics. His opponents in the
field even referred to him as the "African Hindenburg".
Lettow-Vorbeck was awarded the Pour
le Merite in 1916. He ended up being the last German commander to surrender during the
War, returning home to Germany in January 1919 as a hero. He
retired at the end of the war at the rank of Generalmajor but was later
awarded the brevet rank of General der Infanterie (Charakter) on
27 August 1939 for Tannenberg Remembrance Day. He immediately
was incorporated into the command structure of the post-War Reichswehr.
Although Lettow-Vorbeck was essentially right-wing in his politics,
he opposed the Nazis and tried to organize a conservative opposition to
Hitler. He later spent an impoverished retirement in Hamburg, where he died on 9 March
1964. General von Lettow-Vorbeck was interred in Pronsdorf,
le Mérite ................