48 figures in 9 poses. This set includes 4 porters in 3 poses, two with interchangeable loads. The other 6 poses are Ruga-Ruga - mercenaries that are dressed in various types of dress from Zanzibar area. All these figures can be used for any colonial 19th century for Ruga-Ruga were present in all East Africa and composed of many nationalities/tribes.
During the 19th century East Africa saw a great expansion of the caravan trade as traders, mainly Arabs, moved further inland from the coast. Such caravans required armed escorts, and the young men who hired themselves out for this role became known as ruga-ruga. They came from many places, including bored men looking for money and adventure, and orphans of the many regional wars, so much the same as many mercenaries in Africa today. They were also employed as the retinues of chieftains, and in time established their own little empires as well as greatly influencing politics throughout the region. When the Germans came to East Africa they found the ruga-ruga a useful source of mercenary native soldiers, although the European's opinion of their effectiveness varied wildly, not least because they sometimes left their employment once they considered they had enough booty (especially cattle) or prisoners. Nevertheless they were numerous and influential, including during the colonial period, when they fought both for and against the German colonisers. Many were taken by von Lettow on his journey through eastern Africa during World War One, and were particularly good at scouting.
At the end of the Great War the British estimated that 12,000 ruga-ruga auxiliaries had served on the German side, and while this was not all at once, their numbers were still significant, as was the contribution they made to von Lettow's success. They certainly deserve their place in a colonial German army, and the porters are an equally indispensible feature that will be useful in many African campaigns.
Type = Toy Soldiers and Miniatures
Period = World War 1
Scale = 1/72 Scale (22mm or 1 inch)
Material = Plastic
Finish = Unpainted
Date of Release = 2014-10-10
Status = Available