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With the Portuguese proving unable to defeat the German forces, the British had to bear the brunt of the fighting in Mozambique, and thus began to aggressively pursue Lettow-Vorbeck's small army.
By August 1918, the Schutztruppe was heading north to return to German East Africa, while the British under Jacob van Deventer had begun to concentrate their forces in the area of Regone and Lioma in an attempt to encircle their enemy. Though Lettow-Vorbeck had received intel about the British plans, his forces were once again in dire need of supplies and Regone harbored a large supply depot. As result, the German commander planned a quick assault against the vulnerable village in order to capture as many supplies as possible: Speed was crucial for this plan, as Lettow-Vorbeck would have to outrace the British before they could reinforce Regone or catch up with him. Rough terrain, rain and fog hindered and delayed the Schutztruppe, however, so that when it reached Regone on 26 August, the British had already fortified and reinforced it. At this point, the Germans could only have taken Regone by a prolonged siege for which they had no time, so that Lettow-Vorbeck chose to call off the attack. His forces bypassed Regone and instead began to march to Lioma, another supply depot. Unknown to the Germans, a British battalion (1/1st KAR) already managed to reinforce the village on 28 August, while two other battalions also force-marched toward Lioma. Between the British forces at Regone and the units that gathered at Lioma the Schutztruppe would be trapped, and if everything went according to van Deventer's plans, destroyed.
While British skirmishers harassed the approaching German forces, the 1/1st KAR under Maj Alexander Charles Masters dug in at Lioma: They formed a square defensive perimeter south of the village, and three small platoon outposts were also set up west, east and south of the British positions. Thus prepared, the Lioma garrison waited for the Schutztruppe, which would arrive in the area on 30 August. By 1918, the once strong Schutztruppe, which had successfully resisted the allies for four years, was much depleted and exhausted. Of its peak strength of around 15,000 soldiers in 1916 just about 1,600 were left. Many African as well as European soldiers had deserted or surrendered as the allies overran their home areas in German East Africa, wages were no longer paid, and life in the army became harder and more brutal.
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