Portal:Military history of Africa

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The Military history of Africa Portal

Tapestry of the Battle of Adwa between Ethiopia and Italy.

The military history of Africa is one of the oldest military histories in the world. Africa is a continent of many regions with diverse populations speaking hundreds of different languages and practicing an array of cultures and religions. These differences have also been the source of much conflict since a millennia.

Like the history of Africa, military history on the continent is often divided by region. North Africa was part of the Mediterranean cultures and was integral to the military history of classical antiquity. The military history of modern Africa may be divided into three broad time periods: pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial.

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The Mozambican War of Independence, (clockwise from top left); a Portuguese supply convoy traverses the countryside; a foot patrol of Portuguese soldiers in the forest through which the insurgents were difficult to track; Portuguese troops embark surface ships on their way to Africa; a heavily armed Portuguese armoured column

The Mozambican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the Mozambique Liberation Front or FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique), and Portugal. The war officially started on September 25, 1964, and ended with a cease fire on September 8, 1974, resulting in a negotiated independence in 1975.

The conflict was a result of unrest and frustration amongst the indigenous Mozambican population, who perceived foreign rule to be a form of exploitation and mistreatment, which served only to further Portuguese economic interests in the region. Many Mozambicans also resented Portugal's policies towards indigenous people, which included denying locals access to fundamental education and employment. As successful self-determination movements spread throughout Africa after World War II, many Mozambicans became progressively nationalistic in outlook, and increasingly frustrated by the nation's continued subservience to foreign rule.

A mass exile of Mozambique's political intelligentsia to neighbouring countries provided havens from which radical Mozambicans could plan actions and foment political unrest in the home country. The formation of the Mozambican guerrilla organisation FRELIMO and the support of the Soviet Union, China and Cuba through arms and advisors, led to the outbreak of violence that was to last over a decade.

Selected biography


Abd el-Krim (c.1882, Ajdir –February 6, 1963, Cairo) (Amazigh: Abdelkrim El Khattabi en amazigh.jpg Mulay Abdelkrim, full name: Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi , (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الكريم الخطابي‎) was the Berber leader of the Rif, a Berber area of northeastern Morocco. He became the leader of a wide scale armed resistance movement against French and Spanish colonial rule in North Africa. His guerilla tactics are known to have inspired Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, and Che Guevara.

In 1921, as a by-product of their efforts to destroy the power of a local brigand, Raisuli, Spanish troops approached the unoccupied areas of the Rif. Abd-el-Krim sent their General, Manuel Fernández Silvestre, a warning that if they crossed the Amekran River he would consider it an act of war. Silvestre is said to have laughed, and shortly afterwards set up a military post across the river at Abarán. By mid-afternoon of the same day a thousand Rifains had surrounded it; 179 Spanish troops were killed, and the remainder were forced to retreat. Soon afterwards, Abd el-Krim directed his forces to attack the Spanish lines, with great success — in three weeks 8,000 Spanish troops were killed, and at Annual an army of 13,000 was forced to retreat by only 3,000 Rifains. Shortly after the battle, General Silvestre committed suicide. This colossal victory established Abdelkrim as a genius of guerilla warfare.

Quotes

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." — Nelson Mandela

Equipment

Aérospatiale SA-318 BW Alouette II

The Alouette II is a light helicopter originally manufactured by Sud Aviation and later Aérospatiale of France. The Alouette II is the first helicopter to use a gas turbine instead of a conventional heavier piston engine.

It was mostly used for military purposes in observation, photography, air/sea rescue, liaison and training but it has also carried anti-tank missiles and homing torpedoes. As a civilian helicopter it was put to use as a casualty evacuation (with two external stretcher panniers), crop-spraying and flying crane (with a 500kg external sling load).

Alouette II is used by Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Morocco, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.

Selected picture

East African soldiers of the British army fighting in Burma during World War II

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