The Bechuanaland Pioneers and Gunners

Sold by Ingram

This product may not be approved for your region.
Hardback
  • Free Shipping

    On orders of AED 100 or more. Standard delivery within 15-21 days.
  • Free Reserve & Collect

    Reserve & Collect from Magrudy's or partner stores accross the UAE.
  • Cash On Delivery

    Pay when your order arrives.
  • Free returns

    See more about our return policy.
Relying on extensive oral interviews with WWII veterans in Botswana, Schmitt argues that British military policy during the Second World War directly impacted Bechuanaland's entry into the war, the nature of the soldier's service, and the lives of the individual soldiers. Because Bechuanaland was considered a small, rather unimportant backwater of colonial possessions, policy decisions were often influenced by the political situation in South Africa and by its attitudes towards arming Africans. Unwilling to cause friction with South Africa, Great Britain mirrored that policy with the recruitment, training, and deployment of soldiers from Bechuanaland during the Second World War. Once Great Britain realized that army recruitment strengths were below operational levels, recruiting began in Bechuanaland for many different types of support roles including anti-aircraft gunners, medical transport drivers, and pioneer duties. Over 10,000 soldiers from this small British protectorate served under British command and contributed significantly to operational readiness and effectiveness during the war. Relying on extensive oral interviews with WWII veterans in Botswana, Schmitt argues that British military policy during the Second World War directly impacted Bechuanaland's entry into the war, the nature of the soldier's service, and the lives of the individual soldiers. Because Bechuanaland was considered a small, rather unimportant backwater of colonial possessions, policy decisions were often influenced by the political situation in South Africa and by its attitudes towards arming Africans. Unwilling to cause friction with South Africa, Great Britain mirrored that policy with the recruitment, training, and deployment of soldiers from Bechuanaland during the Second World War. However, once Great Britain realized that army recruitment strengths were below operational levels, recruiting began in Bechuanaland for many different types of support roles including anti-aircraft gunners, medical transport drivers, and pioneer duties. Over 10,000 soldiers from this small British protectorate served under British command and contributed significantly to operational readiness and effectiveness during the war. Schmitt notes that African leaders were given quotas to fill based on population figures within the different provinces, but it was stressed that enlistment was to be voluntary. When African leaders had a difficult time meeting the demand, some methods of coercion were used. New recruits were enlisted, trained, and then shipped off to North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe to begin their assigned duties. Interviews conducted with veterans highlight the nature of their service and the many challenges they faced with difficult weather, discriminatory policies, and as a result of being near the front lines of combat. The soldiers of Bechuanaland adapted well to military life under the leadership of white officers.