Tribal Warriors Stalk Axis With Strange Weapons
The Sherbrooke Telegram, 25 May 1944
By The Canadian Press
There are strange warriors with the Allies—black, brown, yellow, bronze, some a loin cloth for a uniform and a snickersnee for a fighting tool.
The little-known people, and many more, are making stout contributions toward the day of victory, says the United Nations Information office.
Take the Tcherkesses, fur-bonneted Syrian cossacks. They were stalwart allies of the British and Free French in Syria and Iraq.
The Atjehnese and Dyaks are some of the fierce guerillas who have kept the Japanese "masters" of the Netherlands East Indies clinging to the beaches, afraid to enter the interior except in force.
Gojjams provided loyal Ethiopians with a base for revolt and with the Armachahos, Wikaits and Bagemirs made the return of Emperor Haile Selassie from exile infinitely easier. Tanganyikas are blacks who with Kenyas, Ugandas and Nyasas make up the crack King's African Rifles who shooed Italians out of East Africa.
The Wah Has a Dah
And the Wah is an interesting party who may give the British a lift in Burma. His weapon is the dah, an evil looking bowie with the blade of a broadsword and the edge of a razor.
The British booed Mussolini out of East Africa and the Nazis out of North Africa with such characters as the Ghurkas, Punjabis and the Sihks that made up most of the 300,000 Indians in the British Army.
The Afrika Corps especially disliked Ghurkas, who made a habit of lopping off heads with a Khukri, a curved knife.
From East Africa come black, spindly-legged Sudanese, who are silent fighters. The Somali camel corps, Askaris from Eritrea and Turkanas helped to throw Italians out of Italian Somaliland. South Africa sent 32,000 native soldiers to North Africa and the Middle East—20,000 Bechuanas, 9,000 Basutos (who are so fond of drilling that the only way to punish them for infractions is to not let them drill) and 3,000 Swasis. Zulus fought well in Kenya. Many black Nigerians were in the Nigerian force which swept 1,054 miles in 30 days through Italian Somaliland.
Most populous of the Burman allies are the Burmese—also handy with the dah—who are training in India agsinst the day of liberation. The Chins and Kachins are unhealthy guerillas to start trouble with in a Burman jungle.
The Free French have some tough customers. Pig-tailed Goumiers from Morocco swing a Kouma, another of those ugly exotic knives. There are the Spahis, native cavalry from North Africa and the Senegalese.