Spot on or erroneous?
The Somali is good military material. If he enlists young in a disciplined force, under good and patient officers, he develops into a good soldier, and careful training eradicates to a great extent his strong excitability. But the ordinary tribesman, fighting as an irregular or with his tribe, is in quite another category. To a European force even a large “friendly” tribe might well prove to be more an embarrassment than an asset. Their independent spirit does not bend easily to discipline, and it would be asking for disaster to entrust them with military responsibility. The appearance of a herd of camels on the skyline during an action would be the signal for them to break off the fight and go a-looting. The Somali is brave and impetuous in attack. When steeped in religious fervour, he has “gone dervish”. Nothing but death will stop his headlong charge. But in the ordinary way, he has no stomach for a losing fight, and if the first rush fails he quickly fades away. One thing is certain: the Somali, for whomever he fights, will never permit himself to be sent in first to open the inners “while those behind cry ‘Forward!’ and wait with their pads. He may be an untutored savage, but he is no fool
Source: 1936 British newspaper