Item description for COLONIAL ARMIES IN AFRICA 1850-1918: Organisation, Warfare, Dress and Weapons (Armies of the Nineteenth Century) by Peter Abbott...
In the second half of the 19th century, European-led columns began to fan out across the African continent from their coastal footholds, smashing whatever forces could be brought against them, no matter how brave or determined the latter were. The process began at different dates in different parts of the continent, but much of the main activity was concentrated into the two decades between 1881 and 1902, subsequently but accurately nicknamed the 'Scramble for Africa'.
By 1914 the Europeans had overrun the greater part of the continent, and, remarkably, had managed to do so without clashing with each other in the process: conflict between them only occurred after 1914 because what was essentially a European power-struggle was inevitably projected on to the African landscape. The armies responsible for this extraordinary period of expansion have seldom been surveyed as a whole, and never in the organisational detail attempted here.
As well as including an outline of the principal campaigns of the period, military historian Peter Abbott examines in detail the structure, dress and armament of the colonial armies fielded by the Congo Free State, the Belgian Congo, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and includes in his text an unprecedented amount of order of battle material. Illustrations include 229 drawings of soldiers, 58 other illustrations, and two maps.
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Peter Abbott is a retired university lecturer. He has written a number of Men-at-Arms titles for Osprey, He has been collecting material on the various Ukrainian forces for many years. Eugen Pinak graduated as a Master of Law from the Taras Shevchenko University and currently works as a lawyer in Kyiv. He is a serious student of military history, including orders of battle, organisation and uniforms.
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shedding light on "The Dark Continent" Sep 11, 2008
Another great entry in an great series. This book is a bit larger than the others, seeing as it has a lot of ground to cover. The artwork is particularly nice in this one.The reason I rated this four instead of five stars is the text is a bit dryer- the author will not cover the campaigns in this period,as he feels(rightly or wrongly)that it would take away from the topic- military organization-and boor the reader with page after page of colonials mowing down poorly armed,disorganized natives. There are chapters for the Belgians,GreatBritain,France,Germany,Italy,Portugal and Spain. Two things that are strikingly shown in this work, are that from about 1500 to 1850, the Europeans sat on the coasts of Africa,held in check by numbers,terrain and disease. But starting by about 1850,superior technology,(esp. breachloading magazine repeating rifes and machine guns)organization and disipline, the European powers carved up Africa in less than 50 years. The other is that the conquest( Or theft, if you prefer.)of the continent was largely done by African troops led by European officers. White troops died like flys,from disease and the climate.