The Prussian Machine  -  Generals

back to  Generals  |  home    

     Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck        

Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck
(20.3.1870 - 9.3.1964)
place of birth:  Saarlouis, Rheinpreußen  (Rhenish Prussia)

Colonel who commanded the German East African (Tanzania) Colonial Forces during the war. He was the son of General of Infantry Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, of noble Pomerian ancestory, and his wife Marie Eisenhart-Rothe. He began his 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 consisted of 3,000 German soldiers and 11,000 Askari natives. 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. He 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 and with a promotion to major general. Although he was right-wing, he never became a Nazi and tried to organize a conservative opposition to Hitler. Spent his impoverished retirement in Hamburg, where he died on 9 March 1964.

Assignments and Commands  (pre-War)
00.00.1881 Kadettenkorps - Potsdam
00.00.1883 Preußische Hauptkadettenanstalt - Berlin/Lichterfelde
00.02.1888 4. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß - Koblenz
00.00.1889 Leutnant
00.00.0000 Königliche Kriegsakademie - Berlin
00.00.1894 Großer Generalstab - Berlin
00.00.1895 Oberleutnant
00.00.1900 1. Ostasiatische Infanterie-Brigade, Deutsches Expeditionskorps China  (Coy Cdr during Boxer Rebellion)
00.00.1901 Hauptmann
00.00.1904 Deutsches Expeditionskorps - Deutsch-Südwestafrika  (von Trotha's Adjutant in present-day Namibia)
00.00.1907 Major
00.00.1907 XI. Armeekorps - Kassel  (Adjutant)
00.03.1909 2. Seebataillon - Wilhelmshaven  (Cdr)
00.00.1913 Oberstleutnant
18.10.1913 Kaiserliche Schutztruppe - Kamerun  (Cdr)
13.04.1914 Kaiserliche Schutztruppe - Deutsch-Ostafrika  (Cdr East African Colonial Forces)
Assignments and Commands  (during Great War)
02.08.1914 Kaiserliche Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika
00.00.1914 Oberst
00.00.1918 Generalmajor
Pour le Merite:  4 October 1916  (Oakleaves:  10 October 1917)
highest rank:  Generalmajor

*     *     *