British-Boer Forces, 20,000
General Louis Botha, Commander-in-Chief
Colonel Van der Venter
German Forces, 10,000
Governor - General Seitz
After the collapse of the Boer rebel lion in December, 1914, followed by the surrender of General De Wet and the death of General Byers, the Germans of Southwest Africa were left in a precarious position. Their scattered forces of rebel Boers, Germans and natives numbered scarcely more than 10,000, while the Boer-British Army totaled close to 20,000. Hemmed in on all sides, the Germans sought desperately to break through the circle of steel.
The British then were in possession of all the exits out of Southwest Africa. It remained for them to complete the conquest of the German colony and capture or destroy the enemy. General Botha's army, in January, was divided into two parts, preparatory to advancing into the interior.
One division, under his personal command, intended to proceed by rail from Swakopmund to Windhoek. A second division was to move in three columns: One proceeding north from Warmbad, one east from Luderitz Bay and one west from Bechuanaland. These three columns were to unite and move northward to aid General Botha in capturing Windhoek.
This movement got well under way in February. There ensued several months of fighting over the eighty-mile stretch of burning desert veldt, where the temperature rose to 120 in the shade and water supplies had to be carried by the commissaries.
Botha's Boer Army Advances
General Louis Botha, commanding the Union Army, moved out of his base at Swakopmund on February 22, 1915, and seized Nonidas and Goanikontes, preparatory to advancing upon the German capital, Windhoek. On March 19, 1915, finding the enemy at Riet, which commands the highway to Windhoek, it was arranged that Colonel Brits' brigade should attack in front while Colonel Colliers' brigade was execu...