Who's Who - Sir Jacob Louis Van Deventer

Sir Jacob Louis Van Deventer (1874-1922) served both against and with British forces during the Boer War and First World War, respectively.

During the South African War of 1899-1902 Van Deventer commanded guerrilla forces in the Cape Colony against the British.  Ironically Van Deventer, leading the British 2nd East African Division (and later the East African Expeditionary Force) first in South West African (1914-15) and then in German East Africa (1917-18), found himself confronting a guerrilla force led by the remarkable German commander Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck.

Lettow-Vorbeck, whose small force of German and native Askari troops managed to tie up huge reserves of Allied manpower, ended the war unbeaten.  Van Deventer did succeed in pushing Lettow-Vorbeck out of German East Africa but never actually defeated him (the latter only surrendering some two weeks after the official armistice of 11 November 1918 having belatedly received the news from a captured British prisoner).

Sir Jacob Louis Van Deventer died in 1922.

A howitzer is any short cannon that delivers its shells in a high trajectory. The word is derived from an old German word for "catapult".

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