The First Campaign Victory of the Great War

South Africa, Manoeuvre Warfare, the Afrikaner Rebellion and the German South West African Campaign, 1914-1915.

Antonio Garcia

The First Campaign Victory of the Great War provides an insightful account of South Africa's First World War German South West Africa campaign and combines the fields of military theory and military history in a novel campaign history.

In analysing the campaign through the lens of "manoeuvre warfare theory” the work adds a new and unique dimension
Date Published :
July 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
8 b/w photos, 7 maps, 6 tables, 12 graphs, 3 figures
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911628941
Pages : 208
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


The First World War moulded the global landscape and had a lasting effect on much of the World. Where the majority of international research focusses on the European theatre, Antonio Garcia explores one of the peripheral campaigns of the Great War. South Africa’s First World War campaign in German South West Africa was a daring military undertaking epitomised by manoeuvre and rapidity.

The author takes a novel approach in comparing the campaign to manoeuvre warfare theory. Manoeuvre theory is based on the principles of mobility, rapidity and surprise which attempts to achieve victory with the least loss of resources and in the shortest time possible. In order to achieve a rapid victory against the German forces, the South African soldiers were pushed to the limits of exhaustion to achieve the Union of South Africa’s strategic objectives.

The campaign in the deserts of German South Africa became the setting for adventure and war, where Briton, Boer and People of Colour served together as a Dominion of the British Empire. Blacks, Coloureds and Indians fought for the hopes of better political franchise, an ambition which was not to be achieved until 80 years later. The book addresses the complex political dynamics in South Africa at the time of the Great War, the deep division between Afrikaners and British South Africans and the Afrikaner Rebellion.

With the backdrop of political difficulties and a lack of overwhelming support for the entry into the Great War, the Botha government needed a quick result so as to maintain the delicate balance of power. The author provides an analysis on the campaign through the lens of military theory so as to determine how the swift victory was achieved. The book answers the question of whether the campaign was won through numerical superiority or through the use of a superior operational strategy. The victory was the first campaign victory led by a British Dominion.

About The Author

Antonio Garcia is a visiting scholar at New York University Centre on International Cooperation. Antonio has worked at the intersection of international peace and security training; research and development; and doctrine and policy. As a visiting lecturer he has taught at Durham University (UK) and New York University as well as at various military colleges and schools. He holds degrees in military science, geography and history; serves in an adjunct faculty position at the University of South Africa and is a PhD candidate at Stellenbosch University. Antonio has published in academic and professional journals, and has also published in poetry and literature anthologies. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and certified Chartered Geographer (RGS-IBG). He has previously served in the South African National Defence Force as an officer and senior officer for 16 years. During his service he has been deployed in various internal, regional and international missions including, two peacekeeping missions, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and Sudan, Darfur (UNAMID), as well as internal missions in South Africa and operations on the border of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

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