National Army Museum logo

Enemy Commanders: Britain's Greatest FoesEnemy Commanders: Britain's Greatest Foes


Bill Cainan
28 February 2012, 2.44pm

He led the greatest single

He led the greatest single guerilla operation in history.

1 March 2012, 10.28am

In South African military

In South African military history he holds a place akin to Robert E Lee in the USA. Considered a fine soldier who regretably fought for the "wrong side".

David Cohen
1 March 2012, 4.53pm

No doubt a most capable

No doubt a most capable adversary - unbeaten - he has my vote.

8 March 2012, 10.41pm

After listening to a recent

After listening to a recent podcast on Lettow-Vorbeck he seems the kind of character that we Brits think we had patented. Dashing, honourable, an excellent commander with a strong sense of loyalty to the native troops under his command. He also is reputed to have told Hitler to go 'f*** himself' when asked to return to service.

George Barry
10 March 2012, 12.33am

A Brilliant leader and worthy

A Brilliant leader and worthy opponent!

20 March 2012, 2.11pm

Unbeaten and surrendered on

Unbeaten and surrendered on enemy territory post Armistice.....

20 March 2012, 4.09pm

An astonishing commander.

An astonishing commander. Read "Battle of the Bundu" for a splendid description of his exploits

24 March 2012, 1.19pm

Despite my great admiration

Despite my great admiration for such great military leaders as Collins and Botha, my vote has to go to von Lettow-Vorbeck. I agree that 'Battle for the Bundu' is a very good read, but 'Tip and Run, by Edward Paice (Orion Publishing: 2007) is also excellent - and is more comprehensive.

John Hoare
29 March 2012, 7.13pm

My sentiment would favour

My sentiment would favour Collins or Washington but in terms of both the odds he faced and the success he achieved with the very limited forces under his command von Lettow-Vorbeck has to be the winner hands down. Probably the best guerilla warfare commander of all time.

daantjie vorbeck
12 November 2013, 10.09pm

I'm proud to have the same

I'm proud to have the same surname.

Broderick Ailts
3 March 2014, 4.22am

I can trace my ancestry to

I can trace my ancestry to this gentleman and I'm pleased to be a relative. Mother's maiden name is Lettow.

Gerald Rilling
9 June 2014, 6.04am

The Article and comments are

The Article and comments are generally correct; but there are couple of corrections (1. The British sent an active soldier with a white flag with word of the end of the war on 13 Nov. The message got back to Lettow & he met with the British officers on the 14th. There were cables back & forth to Germany & Lettow agreed to surrender. The British did not have the necessary men, etc. & they move the official surrender to the 25th much closer to Lake Tanganyika & easier transport. 2. Lettow made the comment to Hitler when he was offered the job as Ambassador to England.) There is a Great War in Africa Association that covers the campaign. My bibliography is in excess of 1,200 significant titles. I have been in contact with Lettow's daughters & was able to publish the 1st English translation of his autobiography 'My Life'.

Paul Herbert
19 July 2014, 8.40pm

I have met Gen.von Lettow

I have met Gen.von Lettow Vorbeck, when I was a boy scout in 1954, on a summer camp at the Baltic sea near KIel at the Howacht beach. We the young boys were deeply impressed about the General and his charisma. He spoke to us about his time in the African war. He
spoke about the soldiers of the other side with high respect - a real gentleman. I still see see him in the evening at the camp - fire on the beach. I will never forget him, and give him my saluts, from soldier to soldier. Herbert Paul, Capt. rtd. German army

john t bannon
16 December 2014, 12.04am

My grandfather RSM John T

My grandfather RSM John T Bannon DCM, 1/4 KAR (1916-18) and Royal Irish Rifles wrote a 32 page account of his service in Uganda, German East Africa, Portuguese East Africa and NE Rhodesia (Zambia). He fought in the final WW1 scrap/battle "into like hell" against Gen. Lettow Vorbeck's main body (at Kassama/River Chambesi (in present day NE Zambia) on (Armistice Day) 11 Nov. 1918. "At 6-30 pm on 12th November, 1918, we retired....The following day...the ground was littered with dead."

His account ties with that of the General i.e., "Some time later I was making an inspection of our picquets reported to me that a white man on a motor cycle carrying a white flag had passed along the road going in the direction of the Huns camp. we did not know what to think of this.....we then decided at about 2-30pm on the 14th November, 1918, to again attack the Huns, and we moved out again onto the Kasama road., but when we reached the road to our further surprise we met two German askaris with a large white flag with a message to our commanding officer that the war was over...on the 15th November, 1918, I was chosen to go into Kasama to the German camp and take over all allied prisoners [including Col. Richardaon who had expressed his admiration for Vorbeck during three month's travels/travails as his prisoner].

Zacharia Hans Poppe
20 June 2015, 4.30pm

My grandfather Oberst Max von

My grandfather Oberst Max von Poppe fought under Gen von Lettow Vorbeck and he has written memoirs in German that I have in my possession. I hope to have them published one day and may shed more light on that part of history.

Add your comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

(By ticking this box you agree for your name and email address to be added to the National Army Museum's mailing list. You also accept the terms of the National Army Museum's Privacy Policy)

Please note: By submitting a comment you are agreeing to the terms laid out in the National Army Museum's Rules for User Comments. Any views expressed in user comments do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of the National Army Museum or its staff.