Any Good Books for Great War Sideshows?

#1
There's been more than enough written on the Western Front and to a lesser extent the Eastern Front but does anyone have any recommendations for good books about the so-called sideshows? Areas like German East and West Africa, the mainly Japanese takeover of Tsingtao etc. All the places that generally get glossed over really. Thanks.
 
#2


Very good: clean and simple descriptions of the conflicts, tactics, logistics etc.

You might also wish to search for Joyce Cary who served in the Nigeria Regiment in the 1st World War. His novels are based on his experiences but are not autobiographical (if that makes any sense).

My grandfather had a book called "The Salonika Front" about that campaign. I only remember it because one of the authors had been in the Kite Ballon Corps, which stuck in my memory. It had illustrations by the official war artist.
 
#4
'An Ice Cream War', William Boyd.

QUite 'literary', but a very good portrayal of the East African war and Von Lettow-Vorbeck's activities. 'A campaign they continued after the armistice, because nobody told them to stop'. Lots of really good period detail gives a real feel for what it ws like.
 
#5
Tigris Gunboats by Wilfred Nunn. Available as a reprint from Chatham Publishing. Written by a Naval officer, it gives a good account of the progress of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force from the point of view of the ragbag flotilla that supported it.
 
#6
The History of the Army Services Corps 1902-1919 has a lot of fascinating stuff about the logistics of the side shows.

"Mimi and toutou go forth" is the story of the naval battle in Lake Malawi.

If you want to hear about the sideshows first hand join us on one our battlefield tours to...

The Battlefields of East Africa in Tanzania: Tour of a lifetime. http://www.poppytravel.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=tourDetail&asset_id=1405

The British battlefields in Italy in 1917-8.
http://www.poppytravel.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=tourDetail&asset_id=1401

Next year we planto visit Salonika and possible Russia
 
#7
botfeckid said:
'A campaign they continued after the armistice, because nobody told them to stop'. Lots of really good period detail gives a real feel for what it ws like.
Best description I heard of von Lettow-Vorbeck and his campaign has to be "a midget German force led by an obscure Prussian officer who could have conducted post-graduate courses in irregular warfare tactics for Che Guevara, General Giap and other more celebrated but far less skilled guerilla fighters."

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, please do keep them coming.
 
#8
I did a double-take the other day - the flagship gunboat of the German Lake flotilla (the origins of the whole 'African Queen' film, Wilbur Smith novel etc etc) is still there, refloated by the RN in the 20's, and now part of the local transport network!

Graf von Gotzen
 
#10
the siege good book on AL Kut, also the book on the 2 gunboats that went overland mimi and toutou go forth
 
#13
Brick said:
There's been more than enough written on the Western Front and to a lesser extent the Eastern Front but does anyone have any recommendations for good books about the so-called sideshows? Areas like German East and West Africa, the mainly Japanese takeover of Tsingtao etc. All the places that generally get glossed over really. Thanks.
Saw a great Chinese language TV Doc on the following -

The Joint Anglo-Japanese Expedition against Tsingtao

Immediately upon entry into the war, Japan moved to secure the Kiaochow or Shantung Peninsula, known as the "German Gibraltar of the East"The peninsula, where lay the German naval base at Tsingtao (modern Qingdao, on Kiaochow Bay), served as the peacetime station for the German Far Eastern squadron. Preparing for its capture, Kato informed his British allies that Japan would return Tsingtao to China after conquest, but only at a price. He also intimated that Japan did not require British support for the operation, but Grey sent the South Wales Borderers and a detachment of Sikh troops under Brigadier General N. W. Barnardiston to join the assault. A small British squadron participated in the blockade of Kiaochow Bay, which began on 27 August.

The Anglo-Japanese expedition arrived off Tsingtao on the 26th. Major and modern units of the German fleet had evacuated Tsingtao in the days preceding the Japanese declaration of war, leaving only the antiquated Austro-Hungarian armored cruiser Kaiserin Elisabeth, five gunboats, and two destroyers.16 The weakness of the German vessels allowed the Japanese navy to use older ships; the Japanese blockaded Tsingtao harbor with three obsolete, ex-Russian battleships, two ex-Russian coastal-defense ships, seven cruisers, sixteen destroyers, and fourteen support ships. The battleship Triumph, a destroyer, and a hospital ship formed the British contribution to the blockading fleet.

Vice Admiral Baron Kamimura Hikonojo's Second Fleet transported Japanese and British troops to China to conduct the siege. The initial Japanese landing occurred at Lungkow (modern Long Kou) on 2 September. A naval landing force captured Lau Shau Bay, northeast of Tsingtao, on 18 September, for use as a forward base for further operations against Tsingtao. British troops entered China via other routes on 24 September.

The Anglo-Japanese naval force maintained a tight blockade of the Tsingtao harbor while clearing mines and providing to allied ground forces vital intelligence collected by the Japanese tender Wakamiya's seaplanes. The Wakamiya's aircraft are also credited with conducting at this time "the first successful carrier air raid in history," sinking a German minelayer at Tsingtao. Throughout the siege, troops ashore called upon naval gunfire support and Japanese seaplanes to bombard enemy positions.

The Japanese navy suffered a serious loss and embarrassment on 18 October, when the old German torpedo boat S-90 evaded destroyers guarding the harbor and sank the antiquated cruiser Takachiyo with two torpedoes. The S-90 had escaped the notice of patrolling destroyers by waiting for them to reach the far end of the harbor entrance, then running out at high speed and surprising the second line of ships, a destroyer leader and older Japanese cruisers. The Imperial Japanese Navy also lost the destroyer Shirotae, a torpedo boat, and three minesweeping vessels in the process of capturing Tsingtao, with a total of 317 personnel killed and seventy-six wounded, the majority in the sinking of the Takachiyo.

The German garrison of 3,500 regulars and 2,500 reservists, joined by the entire crew of the Kaiserin Elisabeth, mounted a vigorous defense of Tsingtao. The combined German and Austro-Hungarian force surrendered on 7 November 1914, when the Japanese fought their way into Tsingtao. German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners taken in Tsingtao spent the remainder of the war in Japan. The Japanese army reported losses of 414 killed and 1,441 wounded in taking the German citadel.
But no English language books that I know of alas.
 

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