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MILITARY
MEN-AT-ARMS SERIES 312
THE ALGERIAN WAR
1954-62
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~
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MARTIN WINDROW MIKE CHAPPELL
FIISt .... GrNI Brlwn ... 1 by os-....• divWon of
RMd Ilool<t L.Ir.-it.cl. Mu;1Ie1n _. 81 FlAlwn Rotd. Londor'l SW3 &AS
_..-
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PeIWltI Act. 1018. f'O) pwt oIl/'IiI Pldc:tbOl'l meyl)e .. e
'"'-tl tyt........ _ .. enylorrn ... by MY ....... elec:tronic.
tIIclncII. "*""""-". opIlCM. phoIlIC1IlP)'II'4l• ..cording ... __•
_ lIle prior -... 01 _ 0llP'IriIlht _. Enqo.ntt IIhcdcI
1Ie_lOlIle
lS8N 1 SMJ2 658 2

Reed Elook1 Moch*o House. 81 Fullam Road.
London SW3 6R8
Author's Note
Consistent typography is hardly possible In a text scattered with
lerms in bolh French and Atable, many of the latter lfan!lliteraled lrom
French sources. Generally I have only Italicised Arabic words at their
first appean!Ince and. for emphasIs and clarity. a lew French technical
and slang terms. I have not usually itat/clsed French unit tilles, elc.•
and have ltletelore used English capIt.llsaliorl, •.g. Reglmenl de
rwai/let.lt$ rather than lhe more correc1 regiment de
r:inJiIlecJrs a/gftriens.
Equally. I have not drawn fine distinctic:Jrn; between the Algerian FlN
(front de llb6ratlon Niltiot\ale. the overaD poIiticat organisation) and
the AlN (ArTnee de LiberaIOCWl NationaIe, the miltary sttuet...e); gen-
eraJly I h8Ye used the laner when refermg 10 IM"I III'Tn8d operations
except lor urban 1em:Jrism.
Acknowledgements
, em exlftlrTlely gratelul for all _tara recerved dl.ri'Ig the p-epa-
rabon of ItlI$ book WId beforehand, particIbrly !rom WiI Fowler, who
was lIS generol& lI$ aIw8ys; from .-.rt-I..uc DefatNe. and Jim
--
Publisher's Note
RNdln mey lind. /IIIIIlfIlI1O ttudy INI .....
-..-
MM300 FrancII f'otwvl LIQIiorI_ '945
EiIe 6 FrancII f'otwvll.alriM
Artist's Note
Readers may care 10 note that the origN \Il'tloctl the
colour plates this book were prepared _ far crrva:a sale.
'" reproduction copyright 'Nhal$OeYer IS ret..ct¥VIe P..disher. '"
enquiries should be IIddrusecl 10;
14 Downlands, Watmer, Deal, Kent CTI.t 7XA
The pobIishln regret that they CWI .... re:;) no co e$pondence
upon this maner.
n.. ""ling Imqe of the French
Arm'lln the W.r '1....s,
paratroopers In red berets
.nd ".mHI with slung
sub·machlne This ls
the 1.. BPC phot09raphed at
Port FouR In Dec.mber
THE ALGERIAN WAR
1954-1962
THE BACKGROUND
T IS Il\IU), aftcr -10 rears. 10 COI1\'C\' the public impact of Fr.\ncc·s \',lr
to maintain hel' colonial grip on Algeria: rei in the late 1950s this ugh'
connict dominated Europe's media 10 almost the same cxtelH as
would Vietnam ten rcars latcr.
It broughl Fr;lIlcc to the n::rgc of lllilil:U)' coup dilfflt. il destrored the
Founh Republic. and decisi\'c1r transforllled the French It
dcslro>cd thousands of careers: hiltcrlr di\'ided the French miliuu,r <lnd
political classes for a gel1cl".Hion: and sell! hundreds of tholl.)ands of
EUl'opc;1I1 sell IeI' families into aft(On ruinous exile,
Its exact cost in lh'es is unknown. Some 25.000 Frcnch lroops died in
aClion. b\ accident or of disease: some 3.600 European ci\'ilians were
killed or disappeared. and a similar number of lo\'al were
killed. The Algeri:m guerrilla:. perhaps 155.000 killed outright. and
m:u1\' more died of,,'ounds: ch"ilian dealhs from all e,tsih
cxceeded 50.000 e\'en before lhe \'engeful posl<ea.scfire bloodbath.
which killed annhing up 10 twice as mal\\'. The total
estilml1e of a million Algerian dead is now di.scolilHed. but the lnle COSt
was cenainh at leasl half lhal - a sufficielllh' monstrous figure.
Coll\'cntionalh prcscnlcd another successful mid-20th centun'
colonial rebellion foughl on lhe model. this war 1,-aS in fael
.-
.. '
:>haped its specific time and its particular antagonists; and it offers an
illieresting example of thc military defeat of a re\ olutiOllal;' mO\'cmcnl.
which ne\'ertheless gained its ultimate objecti\'e 1)\' political means. In a
texi of lhis lenglh lhere is space for onh the mOSt general
sununan of the aspects, and none .n all fOl' the \'CI;' complex
political background: interested readers are recommended to Alistair
Home's classic :\ Ilnr oj Prou (see bibliograph} on p, 38),
The Algeria of the 1 950s
8\' the carl\' 1950s Algeria had for nearly a centul')' the official
status of 'Fnmct: o\'erse:ls' - a cOnStillHional fiction 10 which mallY
Frenchmen clung passionatcl\', oSlensibly justificd by the parliamelltal')'
rcpl'escnwtion in Paris of her lhree depanmems (frolll west to east,
Or-1O, Algiers and ConSlallline, popularly called the Ol'anais, Algerois
and ConstaIHinois). Ho\,evCI', only a tin)' of Ihe ;\Iuslim popu-
lation held French citizenship rights or significant propert)'- Since the
initial French landings in 1830 on a coastline under lhe nominal
:tllthorit}' of the deca)'ing Ouoman Empire. a V:ISt. 11llcxploiled, and
more or less chaotic tribal hilHcrland had been ttansformcd inlO
France's largest colonr; a source of cheap agricultural produce, and a
capli\'c market for Frcnch manufacturers.
The population had exploded to some ciglll million .•It a
time when France had a \\'cak and nlll<l\\'a)' infl:uiOIl. $om(' 75
per cel1l or :\Imlims ,,'ere illiterale: they suffered chronic unem-
\.
TERRITORIES
\.,
0

,
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4
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., IOD '5O_
M '50 __
... --
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"..!

E.,ty ALN I/Olunt..... PO" with
Mause, riftes and an automatic
plstol: in No...mbefo tiS4 it Is
beli....ed that the AlH had no
more 350 .....pon•• of
which many we,. sholguns.
LEFT Sketch map 0' inhabited
nOl1ham Algerl.; the admlnlll-
trl.h,. boundarle. wllre more or
I,.. theoretical whan projected
liown into the Most of
lhl. ".st country .. empty d••art;
Ib most southerty point - In 3
degrees E, 111 d.-g....s N _ lifl
',200 mile. south 01
Algi........ la... actions took placa
8n:xlnd ttte oa.es on Ih' desert
routes, •. g. Tlmlmoun, appro•.
230 mU•• further south than Aln
SI'"" Nota that only main
mountain ma..ll. are Identified _
apart from Ihe MltldJa and other
narrow coaatal plains vlrtuiJlIy
the whole area 01 the map is
mountainous.
plopncllI. poor heahh. and
Teal hungel". The great
majority of those who did
ha\"e \I'ork were peasant
farmers or urban labourers
scraping a subsislence in
more or less :lbjeci poYenr,
All1wugh olltrighl-
bandilry' was far from
unknown ill remote areas,
few :\Illslims were inyolved
in polilically motivated
subversion. Rur"l \;llagers
accepted the atllhorit\' of
traditional community
elders, whose obedience
to the often distant
French administration was
rc\,'arded by pell)' pri\'-
ileges. The older gener-
.nion ,,'cre often genuinely lo\'al to France. the rOldj (chieftains) and
rural constables \"caring their World War medals \,'ith pride: acu\islS con-
dismissed this class as the &1Ii Oui-Qlli. the '\es-\ti Tribe'.
The urban 1>001' were more resti\'e: trade unions prO\ided some focus of
discontClH, although the Comlllunist Party was ne\'er su·ong. HO\l't....·cr.
pressure for :\luslim rights - either internal self-government. inde-
pendence. or even complelc intcgration with France - had long been
building up among Ihe small but significant academic aile! professional
class which had benefited from French education.
Although the strains had becollle more mixed in the to\,'ns, an age-
old suspicion persisled between the highland Berbers of the Aures and
f\.,bylia and the 10\,'land Arabs. The Berbers were the poorer and more
\\dI'like of the twO comlllunities: but Algerians in general ha\'c been char-
acterised b\' their O\\TI writers as tough. stoic. proud. stubOOrn. .secreti\'e.
\iolemh qual'l·clsome. and unforgi\'ing - 'a people of light·angles.
\';Ihollt cllryes·.
The)' \\'cre also gi"cn to cxu'eme phrsical cruelty, Tonure \\.IS COIl1-
monplace: the knife - 10 CUI throats, and 10 inOiCI appalling mutilations
as a \,,,,rnil1g to others - \'':IS the weapon of choke (throat-eutung is asso-
ciated wilh sheel>-killing. and is thus a deliberately insulting death).
Throughout the war many more died at the hands of their
fellow AJgerians than of the French.
The great majority of producth'e land. commerce and indusu}. and
\,irtualh' all political and administrau\'c power lay with lhe long-estab-
lishl'd 1.2 million-su'ong European .settler community (known as colons
01' pied.s 110m). mainly of Spanish. hali;m, Corsican and AIs.,uan stock.
Apan from a small liberal intelligentsia the COIOIIS were politically and
racially cOl1scn·ali\·e. their auitudes 10 the I<ll1ging from patcr·
nalislll to callous bigotry, Although lhere I,'ere man}' co!onsand :\luslilllS
\,'hose shared lo\'e for their oflen stunningl\" beautiful counu}' brought
them together in friendship. the t\';n walls of religion and racial injustice
would alw'l\1i uhimaleh' separate them. 5
6
A French patrolln Kabylla; the
northern slopes of the matn
mountatn chains Offered
guerrillas thick cover, wtth cedar,
scrub oak and corit forest, and
denle undergrowth to shelter
them from French llirertltt,
(Courtesy Jim Worden)
Over the years various half-hearted attemprs "'ere madc by Paris to
reform Algerian local government in fal'our of ,.dvancement:
grudging enough, these gestures were consistentl)' undermined br the
rolrms. The wbites tended to be as \'olatile, headslrong, violent <lnd unfor-
giving as the They regarded France with the schizophrenic
mixwre of enthusiasm and resentment of all sculcr corn mun ities.
Ther were righlly conscious that it was Lher who had built Algeria -
draining the marshes, irrigating the wildel'llcss, and bringing the fertile
north, which much the same climate and scenCll' as southern
Europe, under widespread culth'ation, ,,'cre fiercelr determincd to
cling to what ther had: and they saw beu'I)'\1 in :lll)' hint of compromise
from Paris.
r<lctional hostilities and conspiracies di\'ided each of the three main
panics to the war - French, cololls and bill it was probablr Ihe
d)"sfunctional relationship bet"'een Paris and the CQwnswhich destroyed
an}' chance of a witHion shon of total victory and lotal defeat. France's
constitutional arl'angemellls under the Foul'lh Republic also made for a
rapid succession of chrollicall)' wcak and unstable gO\'crnments, unable
either to reach a settled dew of the Algerian dilemlll., or to prosecute
policr - anr poliC)' - eOeCli\'elr and consistl'n tl)',
From 1958 a fou1'lh pan}' elllered the equation, and came to
dominate ie Charles de Gaulle_ The man who g;we France back
in I94Q--l5 had retired from public life in 1946, disgusted
b)' pany politics; he retained a unique moral amhorit)', and during the
most squalid episodes of the Fourth Republic man)' Frenchmen's
thoughts turned IOwaI'd that huge, eloquent silence at Colombc)'-Ies-
Deux.Eglises. When sumllloned back to office in 1958 he understood
that military success could nOt presct;,e the status
quo. Publiclr enigmatic while hc consolidated his
grip on power, hc \\'orkcd to crcatC the conditions
for some kind of negotiated peace which would
presen'c the future of the cololls, as well as
essential French i1llcrcsts, in a semi-independent
Algeria. He would be defeated by a combination
of mloll intransigence; the FLN's dctcnninatioll
nOt to be manoeuvred awar from their goal of
complete independence; and the absence of allr
credible, moderale intcnnediaries on either side
after rears of lllutual Tllurder. During the
extremists on both sides had targeted their more
open-minded fcllol\' countrymen, punishing
:111)' sign of compromise with s:l\<lge atrocities
and reprisals which gave Ihe spiral of hatred
.,nother tll'ist.
FI<lnce's humiliation in 1940 had robbed her
in i\luslim eres of much of her bamka - the
spiritual force by the strong and SlIC-
cessful: and all VE Day in May 1945 celebration
llIrned to hOlTor around the Algerian (Qwn of
SCti/". An ami-French Muslim demonsLration gal
Oul of hand: panicky shots were fired; mobs r.:m
:Imok, spreading out 10 butcher mOTr than a
hundred European ci,ilians: and o,oer the weeks which follo,\'ed French
trOOpS and European Iynch·mobs killed at least 6,000 more or
less at random - the U1.. e figures can nt:\'er be known" The 5Ctif mas-
s..l.cres were a5(onishingh' liltle discussed in France. wherc Algerian
unrcst was complaccll!h dismissed as apolitical ... French public
anemion was soon focused on Indochina, the arena for the first great
post-war challenge 10 France's colonial authorit,", Among (he :'\Iuslims,
hO\\'t:\'er, setif was a !liming point, discrediling moderate ,'oices and
aClipg as a recnLiting scrgeant for olllrigh( re,"ollllion.
Large numbers of (roops sen'cd with the French
Expcditional1' Corps in Indochina between 1946 and 1954: allhough
generall}' brave and lora!. some were inel'i1ablr allracted br lhe Viet
Minh"s allli-coionial propaganda, E\"emually the French Army '.-as
defeated once again, and this time b" her o\,'n colonial subjecLS: the rail
of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 broughl her to the negotiating table to
agl'ee a rapid retreat from South-East Asia,
During the earl" J950s there had been gro,\;ng unrest in France's
other n\'O :\"onh African territories, and Tunisia were not
outright colonies, but prOlectorates OWl' ,,'hich French righLS were
limited international agreement, and their clamour for inde-
pendence had to be addressed, In 1952-56 French forces ,\'en' deplo}"ed
all sccurit}" operations in bmh COlllllricS, being dra,,"n from Algeria in
1952-5-l and lhercafla from unitS returning from Indochina, France
also had a COllllllitmClH to hcl' sector of thc Iron CUl'lilin across
·f''''
-,
,
,
/.'
!?"
.'
L8ndscape with inf.trtry: th.
wllcMfnes. of the ••mm
Con.ls"t1nois, wheN FNnc:h
l"t.rvllflt!on unitt: spent muc:h of
theIr w., '"omadl$lng'.
lCOurt••y Jim Worde")
7

Suspe.c:t being lIearc:hed by men
of the !hi Zouaves, winter
1954-55; at this early date they
wear fully badged M1946 wool
battledren.
Genmlll)'. where the bcSI-equipped units of her conscript army faced the
Soviet threat. Since the 19·105 the French arnl\' in :\lgeria had also been
commitled 10 providing training. replacement. and If<lJlsil facilities for
Indochina. where large numbers of professional troops (as opposed to
conscripted short-term national sen:iccmen) remained into 1955.
Although there were more than 60,000 troops in Algeria when the
first ShOlS of the war were tired 011 the night of I :'\o\'cmber 1954. pOlcn-
liall}' elTective manpo\,"cr I"as dws limited to some 17.000. of whom
two-thirds I,'cre Tirailleurs and Spahis: immediately aV<lilable
combat troops numbered some 3.500. Prior warnings of fonhcoming
trouble had been ignored by the incn milit:lI)' authorities.
SUMMARY OF MAIN EVENTS
November 1954-1956
1954: Nov: The first co-ordinated aHacks on public insm.llaliolls.
military and police posts in Aures and Kab)'lia to capwrc m'ms have
variable succeS$. Call for gencml rising largely dismissed by French. who
respond to 'banditry' b>' Ill.ti0r punitive !;1,'eep5. Nov.:Jan; some success,
but survival of guerrillas gi\'es them prestige in Muslim eyes, and indis-
criminate repression (including some air and aniller)' bombardment of
villages, In;tSS l'ound-ups and ill·treatment) increases FLN supporl.
1955: Feb: Governor-General Soustelle begins liber:'ll reforms and a
\\'dfare which is cOllntered from the spring b)' rapidly
spreading ALN terrorism against 'collaborators', European
farms, and rUt':t] schools - i.e. the cololl cconOlll}'. and an}' focus of
l\'luslim/Europcan co-operation - througholll Const:lnl,inois. At:'>!
assembles SO-man companies to ambush troops, April-May: FLN gain
Third World recognition al Bandung Conference. To hit cololl
'lgriculmre. all Muslims are ordered EO give up smoking and akohol, 011
pain of Illutilation and
death, The French institute
a polic)' of 'collective
responsibility' against the
populalion. ",-jth pre-
dictable results. June:
ALN regional commander
ZighoUl declares unlimited
terror campaign against
European and Muslim
ci\·i!ians. laler backed br
FLN ideological chief
Ramdane Abane. Aug.:
Grist)' ALN ma.ss.1.cre of 120
civilians at PhilipPe'\;lle
outrages public opiDion:
arm)' and colon reprisals kill
several thousand Mn:slim ,
Setback for refOl'lDists
seeking to remO"'C' root
causcs of unresc ry;MNjn
qcle of atrocity. reprisal. and consequent increased FL"1 support. Paris
announces recall of 60,000 reSCryiSls. Armed clashes. and AL:-\ grip on
the populalion. bOlh increase country-wide.
1956: Jan.Feb: Soustelle recalled. Colo" riots force Premier to
rescind unpopular appoitllmellt of Gen. C;urotlx - mob di...
CO\'erl> iu power O\'er P;lris. March: Morocco and Tunis achie\'e
independence. French garrisons leave all blll small endwc ill Tuni:)ia.
AL'\' thereaftcr acquire lr.I.ining c;unps and logislic bases in bolll
cOlltllrics. planning to use these o\'cr-border bases to suppon (",'emual
escalalion to mobile phase of re\'olutionan' war by building cO!l\'entional
manoeu\'re units, Howe\"er. continuing and Tunisian \1.llncra-
bility \,is-a-\;s Fr.mce limits permitled acti\;ties throughout \I-ar.
May: 20 conscripts of ge RIC killed by AJi f\.hodja·s AL:\' unil ne:lr
Ilalcstro - first m;yor conscript public outr'age encOUl-ages
French hard line. 30 Sep,: FL:\' urban bombing campaign 'lg<linsl
civilian largets opens in Algiers: European casualties. and Iplch·mob
reprisals. II'ili mounl during \1'iIllCI', 22 Ocl: FLN cXlcrnal leaders
including Bell Bella hUacked from airlim'r, imprisoned by
French. Angcl' in and Tunisia leads 10 increased help for FL:'\':
rClIlo\'al of cxternal leaders helps unify illlernal leadersh ip. No\': Anglo-
French landings in SIle7 Canal Zonc. Egypt. President :\'asser
SllbscqUClllly increases aid to FL'\'. who St!:p up drive fDr illlcrnatiDnal
recognition. profiting from Frcnch unpopularit\': Sucz climb-down
increases French Army's contempt for political .tlllhorilies.
1957-Summer 1958
1957:Jan-Mar & May-5ept.: Gen. ).Iassu·s lOe DP gi\"cn free hand :lg-dinst
urb<m FL\' bombers and assassins in '8attJc of Algien:'.
Paras control casbah 1>\' massive ID checks and enforced 'pymmid'
StnlCtUl'C of answeldbilif\' by household. building. street and block rep..
resentatin:s, ).Iasked infonners help screen ).Iuslims picked up in mass
sweeps: suspects interrogated under tortul'c: many deaths in capti\;I}:
including FL\' leader L1.hbi Ben networks in cit\' steadily
deslroyed: Olhers penetldted by French illlclligcnce, ;mel nccing SUI'-
"h'ors will compromise ntral Wilap.s. AL:\" morale
:lnd recruiting slump.
Spring: Army effectiveness ;md morale
improve: Sections Adminlstrali\"cs Specialisecs
(SAS) 'heans & minds' programme sho\l's results.
ALN defections increase. Gcn. Beaufrc. com-
manding ZEe. simuhancollsh' applies populalion
rcsettlement. PS\'-ops. ruthless hunting Ollt ofFL'\'
politico-administrath'e infraslnlcture. 'free fire'
operations against AL-..: bands: AL:\" forced ontO
defensi\'e. May: of 300 \'iJlagers al
"ab\lia. 1>\ \\j};I\';\ 3 leOlder "\mirOllche
hands French propag-dnda coup.Jul),: Si Cherif of
\\'i1a\-a 6 defcclS 10 French \I;lh 330 men, Sept.:
AJgiers FL'\' chicf\acefSaadi Gtplllred: urban ter-
rorism \inualh hailed. French complele 'Morice
Line' of Tuni:)ian frontier defences. These seal off
ilHernal .-\1.:\ from external forces and supplies:
AlH training wfttI L.w1s LMG;
bef_ t957 .au1om1ltk ••.aponS
w .... in v.ry Short "'P9!y. Att.r
Suez, Nauer pl"O'tkted .bout 500
Bren LMG••nd 5,000 British
ri1tes.. Moat other w••pon. had
to be '01" ....h on the
Intem.tlo<lal m.artlet; ttl. Frenc:h
.ecrel servic:•• w.ged • I.ttl.1
undergrovnd w.ar 10 dlIC:ourag.
'h. ALN's .. ....
9
'0
Letlon motorised lnl,ntry pon
with prisoner-. ,net re<:o...re<t
weepons: mostly M'lIn. Kga
rflIes, \Irith prstol" e MAT49 'ncl
en MP40.
-l60km of 5.0Q0-\'oh electrified fence. bad>ed wire. minefields. \\"ith radar
sur\'eillance and conSlam ground and air patrols. guarded 12.900
men. Similar defences soon on 720km of :\Ioroccan frontier.
\\;I.h 9.500 men.
Dec: Gen. $alan appoimed Cin-e. FL'\ '.'\.L:\" leadership crisis:
liquidalion of brilliant political chief Rmndane Abane.
1958: Jan.July: 'Battle of the frontiers'; delennined ,mcmpl.'i 10
bring ill arms and troops from Tunisia lead 10 fiercCSl banles ofw:ar wilh
French Ullil.'i in cleared strip extending one dar's march inside frol1lier,
paniculad)' in 'Duck's Beak' seclor ne;:lr Guclma,
Jan: Amir'Ollche launches destructi\'e purge of Wila)'a 3, Feb: Cross--
border' pm\'ocatiolls PI'OrtlIH French bombing of Sakici. Tunisia:
intern;:lIional prOtCS15 aid FL:\I's diplomatic cailipaign: but ALN monthl),
c.;:\SlIahies on frontiers lotal 3,.400 dead, 529 captured, and inside Kabylia
(27 Jan·20 Feb), another 2.151 and 333. Total French casualties for
Illolllh: 360 dead, 700 wounded. March: Al.:-J mOlllhly casualties on
frontiers 3.132 dead. 715 captured. April: Frdllce without go\'ernmelll
for 37 from 15th: crisis
of :lmhoril)' in Algeria.
.>\L" monthly ca5uahies on
fromiers 3.728 dead. 756
caplUred. 28 April-3 May:
Largest cngagemen15 of
w,lr ncar Souk·Ahras.
At [easl eiglu companies
tOtalling .. 1.300 men of
ALN' 2c & 4e Faileks (bat-
talions) attempt LO force
Morice Line north and
south of Sollk-Ahras 10
reinforce \\ila)'as 2 and 3:
some 800 succeed in
crossing (mosLl)' b)' digging
under obstacles), Of these,
436 killed, 100 c:lptuJ'ed in
first l,,"O da)'S, anOlher 93
killed later, b)' 9c, 14e &
[Be Rep, leI' & 2e REP and
mOlO!'ised infant!')'; onl)'
appmximatel)' !GO escape
into Lhe intcdor: around
412 indiddual weapons
and 46 machine-guns.
one mOrtar and four
bazookas are captured.
French casuahies over six
da), ace 38 k;I",", and 35
wounded (man)' in 3e
Cie./ge Rep),
13 May: A European
mob seizes Algiel'S public
buildings, and demands the
return to po\,'cr of Gcn. de Gaulle (French
1>oIitico-military faClions have been conspiring to
S<'l.mc end). June: De Gaulle becomes French
Premier; \isits Algeria 10 great acclaim, and makes
,'eassuring but ambiguous speech. 26 Jlme: L,st
fl'Olllier baIlIe ncar Tebessa; SQO.su'ong .-\L'\J
force reU'c:us after losing 46 dead. 64 captured.
these figures indicating Joss of AL:\' morale,
French estimate 10lal AL'\J casualties Jan.:July al
23,53<1 dead and capllll'ed, AL\'/FL\' rift in face
of defeats and purges; AL\' abandon hope of rein-
forcing internal forces in significant strength,
September 1958-Deeember 1959
Sept: fonn pro\isional gO\'emment in exile
(CPR"'). securing increased Arab League and
Communist aid. De Gaulle's conSlilutiollal
reforms supported in referendum;
hopes rise of compromise peace. Oct: De Gaulle
offers 'Peace of the Bra\'e' - an amnesty for sur-
rendering insurgents. safe-conduci for fL'\J to
negoliate cease-fire: sufficient response to \"01'1"}'
bolh FL,t leaders and hard-liners.
Judicial excc\llions halted. release of delainees
begun (c.13,OOO :'\'ov. 58-Julr 59), Dec: De Gaulle becomes Presidem of
France. Gen. Clmlle replaces Salan as Cin-e in Algeria.
1959: Feb-April: Oper:llions against Wilaya :; in the Or:mais lauJlch
'ChaUe Plan' offensive,
Beginning in this relath'e1v easier region, all a\-ailable sector and
inten;entiOIl troops are commiued. area by area. to the elimination of
ALN and infl-astructure, SeClor and motorised troops concentrate in
deep cordons: (OllllllmllloJ dl' dU/.SJe track units inside cordon until
fixed br air and air-inserted obser\'ers: para and Legion imer\'elllion
units and taClkal air suppon COllcenu-ale, remaining in contact \Llllil
enemy is destrored: local FLN administration is rooted out: rescn'e units
onl)' move on when sector troops c;lpable of dominating area perma-
nentl}'. Apr-June: Operation 'Courroie' againsl \\"ilara 4 in the Algerois.
caslern Ouarscnis.July: OpeJ'ation 'Elincelles' in lhe Hodna l\lollntalns
to isol:lIe \\tlara 3. July-Oct,: Opcl"'il.lion '.Iumclles· against Wila)':.\ S in
Kab)'lia. Sepl.-No\',: Operation 'Pierres ill ZNC, ZEe. l\1;uor
losses :lnd damage to ALN strength, suppOrt nCI"'ork, command
StnlClUre, and montlc; intcrnal AL:'\' ordered to disperse imo section-
sized uniL\ onl)': mililary acti\it)' henceforward largel)' reduced 10
lo\,'-risk sabotage and terrorism.
16 SepL: Dc Gaulle publiclY recognises prospect of Algerian 'self-
determination', hoping military sialematc \,'ill persuade 10
negotiate, Seeming French 1>oIiticai weakness. the)' remain aloof - but
!.he offer fllrthel' angers roio1/ am1\" conser...ati,·es.
1960 - April 1961
1960: 24-29 Jan, 'Barricades Week', Europeans revolt in AJgiers, fire on
police; paras brought in, bUI refuse to confront roioll$. De Gaulle defuses
LevlOn p..... ktentl1led by th.
g....n beret. which they .Iw.ys.
wore In prefenlnce to ttle
81g...rd cap of tM RePs .nd
RPe., cro••• w.t.rcourse
loueel) dul1"11 II .u",me' In
typlc.1 Aur•• tll""Jn. V.t....n.
tend to remember the h••t. cold,
grinding phy.lc.1 ...h.u.tlon .nd
I.ck 01 ,Ieep .. vividly at IMlr
cJath.. wIth ttle ALN, (Courtesy
Jim Worden)
11
L1.Col. Je.nplerre leads hi.
par.. of the 1er REP through
AlgIe... elty, 1957. Tl'lls
admlnlon that the Gendarmerie
and tn. eMI aulhoritlea had
eompletely Ioat eontrol, end thet
only <s. facto martiella. offer.cl
8 solution••8•• Illming-poinl In
the F..-m;h ,ppf1)lleh to tn.
rebellion.
crisis \,;th broadcast speech. but ob\;ous French ellcoUl,lges the
fL:\' to playa wailing game. Boumediennc. nc,,' AL">: chief-of-staff.
orders imernal forces 10 marl.. lime ,dIile he build:. up external anm
as c\"Clllual bargaining counler: impro\'es relations ,,;th Communisl
bloc, thus increasing pressure 011 France ",. prospect of Russian or
hillt'SC inten·cntion.
April: Opcr.Hiol1 TridellI' in Aurc5 completes Challe Plan. June: De
Gaulle publicly imiles negolialioll. but secret FL">: French peact' 1.. ... lks at
:'>Iclun fail. Terrorism continucs, p<'rticularh'lal'gcting :1Il.r.lctcd
b" De Gaulle's offers: AL," infrastnlClllre is quietly rebuilt. French dcc-
(oralC'S war-weariness, and foreign crilicism, both increase, No\'.: De
Gaullc speech refers for first lime to possible future 'Algerian Algeria':
EUl'opean hard-line 'Uhr.IS' plan coup. 20 Dec,: Vi': Algerian
right to self-determination.
1961 :Jan: First ass.'lSsinations bv 0 ..\5 (Secret Army - CO/Oil
'ultfas' and ,II'Ill}' deserters - in namc of preser\'ing '/I/gm.. 20-
26 April: COlip in Algiers - 'Generals' Putsch' - Icd b\ rClired
generals Salan, Challe, Zeller, and Jotth:md with some P:\I";\ units, in
n:1Il1e of pl'eser...ing French Algeria: fears of airborne attack on Paris.
Coup fails whcn De Gaulle broadcas!.'> appcal fOf lo)'ah\ 10 con:.cripts:
implic:llCd para units arc disbanded: Challc Slll'renders, man\' officers
arrestcd: others, led Iw Salan, go underground to continue fuule but
lethal OAS terrorism in Algcria and France.
May 1961-July 1962
Mar: :'>Iajor 0.-\5 bombings bt.-gin in Algiers. fL'I/French peact talks
open at [,ian, De Gaullc orders am\\' (0 cease offensive opernuons.
12
'The Battl. of Algie,..', liS7,
paf1ltroopef1l supervise a ma$$
.mst lin the c:.sbilh _ ....h....
many tens 01 thoudilnds of
Muslim. inhabited. kllom"t...-
squ.... mail" of int"n::onnec:tini
houses, c:ourty.rds, .t.irways,
all"YlI and rooftop•. Initial
" ..."nlni aided by local
Inlorm",.. ....Ill IUiint pOSllbl"
FLN 'Upportll"'; rigorous
intelTOgatlon. routinely Involving
tOl1u.. by "Iectrodel, ....111
Identity ,ulpeetS, and h"lp
flU in IntaUlg"nc:. offic:",..'
'o'1l.nigf1lms' of te!'TOrist c"lIs
and hideouts. Targeted raids ....iII
folio...., ....,n1"9 furth"r prison",..
lor lntenotatlon, bomb eac:h"s,
and doc:um"nts.
FLN do not rcciproc.uc.
Slepping up op<.-ralions
sharply: wilh loss of ini-
liath'e French casuahics
increase greatl}' O\'er the
foUO\\'ing "car, July: First
E,'ian peace talks fail.
8 Sept: \Iost ,"iolcllt of
mam' OAS atlcmpLS on De
Gaulle's life.
1962: Feb: \Ior(' thom 550
deaths in ,,,,rious QAS
outrages finalh destro}' an\'
significal\l Fi'cnch public
support for colon cause.
7-19 March: Second E"ian
peace talks: ccase-fire
agreemcnt signed bct\\'ccn
French and 20 April:
Salan capllll'ed. June:
IfUCt:. 3 July:
France recognises Algerian
independence,
Ben Bella becomes firsl
presidelll of independent
Algeria, French arnn-
\\;lhdraKs except for Icm-
pora.... enda'es al Regg:mc
in Sahara and \Iers-d-J.i.i:bir
pon, June-Jul)': Enforced exodus or r.I,-I.50.000 European (olmu,
ghen choice between 'the suitcase and the coffin'. Only aoout 15,000
100"llulIkis are resettled in Fr.mce: alxmdoned, 1>\' the French between
50,000 and 100,000 \Iuslim men. women and children are butchered
IhcrcaflCr by Ihe FL'\, often wilh grotcS(llIe cruelty.
THE ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
Command Structure
The "III for genei,,1 in 195,1 was isslled in the
nallle of the Liberation From a mo\'emem which had
e\'olved from an 'alphabet ltOUp' of predoll!> nationalist raClions. The
eXIC:'I11<1lleadership \\';lS iniliall\' based in Cairo under Ahmcd Ben Bella.
and later in Tunis. Imcmal regional leaders were l..ahbi lkn
(Ora.n), Rabah Bital (Algiers). Belkacem N-im (Kab,lia), \Iourdd
Didouchc (north Constantine) and \llIstafa Ben Boulaid or
lhe original nine mosl senior leader' onh Ni.m hould slill be alhe and
at large after \Iarch 1957,
The FL'\ \\'as di,ided into amonomous politico-militarY commands,
Hi/nyu. each responsible for regional acth·itie:.: indoctrinating.
mobilising. and fa.xing the civil population, b,' persuasion or terror:
and rccnliting, training. arming, and commanding the AL'\. This 13
,.
YKef ttMo resourceful
you"1l ...de. of 1.400 In the
Algiers enbloh. by the
1et' REP on 24 September 1i57
., hi, netw<lt1l w.s """II)'
am.shed. h. d.mended .nd
rec:.wed POW .tatu. from the
Frenc:h. The co-produeer of
Pont.co....o.. c"hie (.nd
rem........ DIy _n.h.nded) lieS
film L. 8.ftaglJ. di Alg.ri. In
whleh he .eted hlm..tt, 1M
.u....l"ed the post·lndepend.ne.
eh.os to beeom•••ueeessful
bu.ln•••m.n.
decentraliscd command. and widely diffel'ing local conditions.
explain the 111lco-ordinaled nature of openuions for much of the
war. The hean of the rebellion was always the remote highlands
of the Aurcs and Kab\ \ia. whose mountains. canyons, hidden
,-alleys. caves and cliff ,mages offered limitless hidc-ouL'i. and
whose A.L," leaders were inheritors of a tradition of blood·
feud and bandim' not unlike that of the :\'onh-Wesl Frontier
of India. Although he looked. in a suit. like a flabby small-
town functionary. Belkacem Krim had in faci laken to lhe
hills "ith a 5ten gun as early as 19-1i; Ben Boulaid \I-as a
highly-decor.lled "eleran of the Italian campaign; and Omar
Ouamrane's milil<ln' background so respecled thai e,"en as
an AL," colonel he was al\',l\s known as 'Scrgeant' Ou,unranc.
The and some prominent commanders and senior
officers. were as (almost allll.sed aliaselo):
Wilay3 1 (Aures): :\llI5lafa Ben Boulaid. :\Iahmoud Cherir. Hadj
ukhdar, :\Iohamllled ,·\moun.
Wilara 2 (N.Conslantinois): :\Iourad Didouche. Youssef Zighotlt.
ukhd"r Ben Tobbal. Ali K.,fi.
WiJap. 3 (Kab)iia; and sometimes e.mbraced command of Algiers city):
Belkacem Knm. Omar Oll:lnll-ane. :\Iohammedi S.,id. Col. Amirollche.
:\Iohand Ou HHadj.
Wilap.4 (Algerois): Rabah Bilat. Omar Ouamrallc. 5i Sadek. 5i Lakhdar.
Ali Khodja. 5i ,..\zzedine. 5i :\I'hamed. Si Salah.
Wila)'a 5 (Oranais): t..,hbi Ben :\I'Hidi. Alxlelhafid Boussouf. Houari
Boumedienne. Col. Lotfi.
Wila)'a 6 (Sahara and T,lieb EI-Djoglmli, 5i Haoue ,
The characler and fOrlunes of the Wila\'"as \-aried dr:unatica1lv at dif-
ferent times. as did the qualit), of leadership. Somc cOlllluanders werc
oUL'ilanding: others \,'crc lillie more than feuding bandit chiefs, E"en
within the Arab and Berber COllllllullilies locill tribal differences and
mutual suspicion persisted. A marked nalional characteristic was an
instincli,'C suspicion of the cult of the indh·idllal. These factors. logether
\,'itl1 the sheer difficuhy of command liaison. hampered operational
effectivcness. w,ll'farc bctween mrious groups was
pursued simultaneously \\'ith the \,'301' "gainst the French,
betweell the FLN ,lnd the rh-al i\INA 1I,llion;llisl movcmCnt (a tendency
oft.en exploited \\'ith grt:al success b)' French inlelligence a encies),
The 'gencnll stan" (Co-ordinating and Execut.ivc Committee. CCE -
which flcd Algiers for Tunis in spring 19:'7) tightencd up the command
SU'uClurc in carly 1958. creating Western and Eastern staffs (COMs) in
:\Iorocco (for' Wilayas 4, 5 and 6) alld Tunisia (for \\'ilaps I. 2 and 3)
rcspccti\·e1)'. In January 1960 existing rcalities were recognised by the
confirmation of Col. HOllari Boumedicnnc - I,'hose powerba.se ,,-as the
army-in-waiting in Tunisia - as chicf-of-staff of the whole ALN.
Organisation and EqUipment
The Soummam Conference of August 1956 esmblisllt:d AL\J lactical
organisation: ranks from prh-ate (djQlUldl) to colonel (sagfl mom); the
II·man seCtion (fOOl/d)). liD-man companr (I((IliOO). and 350-man
ballalion In praclice the shortage of arms. and French
SUlycillance. ncarlr alw'1Ys limited units inside Algeria to katiba size.
..'
-
'.
.. -
. ...,.
. -,.
.- '
Katibas were numbered. beginning \,'jth that of
lhe \fila)'a (e.g. Kaliba 533 was it unit ofWilap 5).
By 1956 Si L'tkhdar and Ali Khodja ofWilaya
4 had already fonned the firsl Zonal Commando
(CdoAI). About 100 strong in five 20-man
plaloons. Ihese commandos \,'cre a response to
the patch\' strength and equipmcllI. (on-
ccmr<uing the beSt available men and \,'c;:II)QIl$ fOl'
speciallraining and missions.
The llllC\-en now of arms ah,.ws dicL.,ted
strength and level of acti';t}: mcagre
in 1955. this improved sharpl}' during 1956.
French na\OI.I and espionage successes sometimes
interrupted supplies, but it was the \;rmal scaling
of the Tunisian and Moroccan fromiers in 1958
which lefl lhe Wilayas in critical straits from that
SUITlIller until 1961. Brief nOtes 011 specific
AL\'! Kcaponl")' will be found in the Plates com-
mcntarics :md c:lptions. Gencl-dllr speaking. after
1956 regular' field lmilS \\'cre adequalely
armed with World War II tifles, UIGs and
grcnades: there \\OI.S a shonage of he:w)' machine
gUllS and mOl1ars: specialist weapons such as
bazookas \\'ere desperately 1.lre: and apan
from occasional harassing fire from mortars,
aniller\' and :\A:\ inside Tunisia, the French faced
nothing hea\;er, R..,dios and mcdical resources
were in hort supply, ,,;th the ine\'itable
consequences for command and co-ordination,
morale and numbers.
An apparenU, d.Mned B<trber
doulH' 'n t"e hills, one of
hundred. who•• inhabitants
were forcibly remoyed. By mld-
HIS8 lOme 485,000 clyman. had
bee" re••ttlad, Ind 100,000
more had "ad Into Tunisl' and
Morocco. I" the Ihort term thll
polley robbed the ALN 01 food,
ahalte. and local guld••, and
c: ...tad frea-flre I.on•• up to 30
mil•• wid. Inalda the lronti......
Strength and Morale
A detailed breakdo\\11 of AL:'Ii strength at any particular timc is difficult,
since both sides manipulated for propaganda purposes the dislinction
between full-time armed fighters (molldjahiddille) , part-time guen'iIIas
(lIIoI/.55ebili1/e) and au.xiliades, and bet\fCCn fighters activc inside Algeria
and the 'Army of the Frontiers' \,':titing in Tunisia and 1Ilorocco. The
core force in November 19504 \\'as perhaps 500 arlllcd men and 1,200
auxiliaries. Initial losses in \\'intel' 195-4--55 may havc reduccd acti,'e
fightCI"S to as fcw as 350: but rescntment al heavy-handcd French
repression, and the l'lpid spread of the FL'ts grip O\'er the population
from 1955 hugely inCl'eascd recruitment.
Recmits \\'ho could not be armed at once se"'ed initiall\' as auxil-
iaries on intelligence, courier, and logistic dlllies, After the
eSL'Iblishmem of the cXlemal camps they were taken o,·er the frontiers
as soon as possible for training and equipmel1l in Tunisia or
In late 195; il is claimed that :t monthh a"erage of 1.000 armed men
,,'cre passing back into Algeria. The sealing of the frOllliers in 1958 pre-
,cmcd OUlwards as wdl as inwards mo\cmem, and noticeabl\' reduced
the qualit\, of the imcmal forces.
\ 'adollS quoled totals suggeSI that bet\,'een earh' 1956 and earl\' 1958
the ilHernal strength \\"as bet\,'ecn 15,000 and 20.000 'regula.'.)', plus al 15
'.
..'
.
..
_.
"
leaSl lhe llumber of p;lrHime guerrillas: and
that b\ J,\lluan' 1958 anOlher 15.000 \I'ere under
:lfln!> in Tunisia and :\ lorocco. B} j;\lIuan 1959 the
regulars in .Algeria had been reduced 10 some
8.000. bUI the Arn1\' of the Frontiers had rebuilt
itSelf to 15.000 ,Ifter the losses of spring 1958. In
Febnlan 1960. 8.000 regulars are still claimed in
.-\Igeria despite the cost of the Chal1e olTensi\·cs.
bUl onl\' 10.000 tOlal in Tunisia and :\Iorocco.
Bet\I'cen December 1960 and Augusl 1961
illlernal sU'ength not 10 hal'c gro\'11. but the
Alml'ofthe Frontiers 1,<l.S built up 10 somc 25.000.
B\ :\Iarch 1962 Boumedicnne had increaS(..d this
10 c.35.000 and was rccehing So\iel bloc weapons
including a little armour and anillerr
Since the Baltic of lhe Fl'OlHiers. Januar-y:Julv
1958. was claimed 10 ha\'e the AL'1 c.23.500
dead. and 1959 operalions a similar
number. then if these lotals are L...·cn approxi-
match correct the\ suggest lhal rccruitment
among eXlernal refugees more than kept "I' with
casualties. but thaI Ihe replacements could not be
mO\'ed illlo Algeria in any numbers after 1939.
AL:" discipline. marr\'ing
harshness I,'itll Islamic puriL1nism, was exu'cmclv <;elere. Condilions in
lhe field \I'ere harsh: shelter. food and medical \I'ere nidi-
mental"'; and despite IOdII viclories the odds were hc.nilv ag'"dinst the
AL:" in most engagemellls with french imcn'elllion from 1957.
I"IS namrallr \'olatHe: in 1956 dcfcctiOllS to the French \,'ere
minimal. but after the fromicr 1>.1.ulcs of 1958 lhe) wcre running at 300
a month. and some units refu"Cd ordcrs 10 "uempt 10 cross.
It was a tribute to their toughness anc! 1ll0lh'3lion thaI e\en \1 hCll dis-
persed and forced back 01110 the defcnsi\'e the h;ml core of fighlcrs
cndured ulllil lhe lide lUrned once more: and as soon as lhe French
ceased operations ill :\1.. >, 1961 the ALN demonstraled
remarkable pOI,'ers of recovery.
Nevcnheless. recruilment b), kidnapping was common, and the
lhis caused accounted for mall)' of lhe trickle of
descniolls back to the French. Before 1959 lhe djOlillOUl/ were I,'ell aware
of their likely fate if captured. If [heir \\'as C\'en accepled.
france r'cfused 10 treal what \I'ere termed 'outlal"s' as prisoners of \1'011'.
,lIld man}' werc guillolined. Howe\'cl', lhe 'Peace of Ihe BI<I\'e' olTer of
October' 1958 lempled many to change sides to thc 'lffrk;sand colnm(lIIdos
df'dwS$I'. the proponion of surrendered 10 killed incr'Cllscd from 27% in
19581042% in 1959.
\\llOlc AL:" commands could lurn rOllcn - 01' could be acth'ch pe.....
suaded 10 rot. by the 2e Bureau and the 'diny tricks' unit lie Bataillon
de Choc. Wila\<I. 3 \\'3S deeply penetrated by Frcnch inlclligence in 1957.
and its leader Amirouche ruined his command in 1958-39 b\ his
obsessh'e witchhulll for trailors. tonuring and killing lhousands.
In earh' 1957 Wilaya .1'5 militan: chief Si Lakhdar led probabh the
most impressh'e of all AL'\' commands. and its political chiefSi
.. .
' .. ....,
. .
'-
A paratl'OO9"r dlrft;w _n old
Berber wom_n durinll th_
reloutlon of v1Uqe.. from
"._r Bat".. Condition, In
resettl_ment c_mp, lI_ri.cl
betw..n th_ llrim _net the
tole..ble; but _n thole lon::.cl
oft thel, _nee"..1I_nd d..ply
relented b_Inll uprooted, _nd
In th_ long t_nn the policy
Incre...cl FLN ,upport.
lCourte,y Jim Wordenl
16
n.e .w.mpy CoHo penln....I. on
the north-e••t co••t wa••
notorious AlN retuee: the..
leglotl pair...re lorced 10 wade
durl"'i ••weep thro...gh thick
cover. (Co... rt••y Jim Word.n)
\\';.1$ implanting a strong and dcmocratic ct:ll struCtlll'C in thc Algcrois, In
t:arly 1958 ther astlltch' a French inldligcllce attClllpt to
establish a loe;l[ coulllcr-gucrrilia fOl'ce. 'lei $Ullll1l('!" 19j9-
infected bv Wi lap 3 - this command was tcaring apan in blood\'
purges: ;lI1d in June 1960 ill> leader Si &llah flcw to Paris to
negotiate peace with Dc Gaulle. GlIllt: of this. and Si Salah \\<lS
cseemed by Ihe FL'\.) This episode pMth b\ a rift betwet:1l
the bdeaguen:d Wilaya commanders and the external pro\'isional
go\'emmelll: relations bct\\'cen the internal and cstl'rnal lcader..hip
\fere alw;I\'S din-iClllt. and sometimes murderous.
THE FRENCH ARMY IN ALGERIA
B\ eark 1955 the gatTiSOIl had increased 10 some 74.000: reinforcements
Ihal spting brought the total to about 105.000 in Juh. About 60.000
rescr\isl.S \\'ere recalled from 'iumnu'r 1955, bringing the g'".tI1ison 10
approxim;ueh 200.000 b\' 1956: timing that \'ear some 150.000
,,'ere recalled. and militan sendce fOl' con-eripl.S \\"":IS increased
to 27 months. The strength of (.-100,000 reached b\ till' end of 1956
would be maintained until 1962.
The esselltial characteristic of the was il'i di\·i:.ioll into t\\o
distinct entities. The 'scctor' or static troops. almost emireh con.'>Cripl.l>
and \\'ere dispcr'Cd O\'er thi" eoullln ill all allempi
10 prm'ide local securil\": while the (;('1)(:1';.11 Kesene of airborne and
motoriscd 'imen'emion' unias. also I:u-geh blll \\'ith all
armature of ,'olullIeers and long.-;enicl' profc'isionals. acted as: Illobile

Divisional
Organisation
Algeria. France's I Qth
Region. was
into three Corps
cOlllmands - the Corps
cl'Armi'e d'Oran, d·Algel".
de Const;,ntinc: and the
S;lharan region. \\'hich had
,,1"':\\'5 been under military
gU\enWll'1l1. Each Corps
area was dh'ided into
opcrational 1.0I1e1>. For
administrati\'c and &rarrison
purpo:.es cach lOllt: \\',11> lhe
fief of one or more Iighl
('\'oltigcur') each
of (.8,600 men. Tho..e
dcplO\'ed in mid·1956 \\'('re:
C d'A d'Oran: 12e, 13e &:
2ge 01. DB (annolll'ed)
C d'A d'Alger: ge. 20e &:
2ie 01 17
ABOVE T."ks. .l.teh •• ttlls M24
CMtf.. of • Sp.hi .-gim.nl.
we.. useful .s mobrl. fire
support In ttl. cOfdons of
.II-.rms operations••nd pl.yed
th.lr pert In 'plo"'9h1ng' the
cl.ared zone_ .Iong the frontier
b....'V... bllt we... ImpraCllc.lln
the moun"ln, where the
Intervention units spent much of
their w.r. lCourt..y .11m Worden)
C d'A de Constantine: 2e
DI;-'Iot, l-le So: 1ge OJ.
25(> 01.-\1',
Reserve: 7e 01;-'10(' 10e OP.
Later the -It:- 01;-'101. lie &:
21 ... DI would be depJow:d:
and the 25c ,\i:roportce
Ilould become a filII
I)al<\chute Division.
For example: in eark
1937 the Corps
d'Oran comprised the
Zone :\onl Or.umis (Z:\O)
with elements of the
-Ie Dh ision d'lnfalHerie
;-'!otorisee - nine inr.'1ntn'
b.'1llaliollS, one armoured
Gwalll regiment. one
;Irtillcn group: Zone
Cenlre Oranais (ZCO).
\"ith the 1St- &: 2ge d'lnf;ulterie - 15 infalltn. 2 .umoured,
three arlillen' units: Zone Ouest Oranais (ZOO). 5e Blindee &:
12e Oi\;sion d'infallterie - 26 inf:mtn. three 'Innoured, (\'0 artitle'1
units: and Zone Sud Oranais (ZSO). \,;th the fCSt of the -Ie 01:\1 - four
infanu'\', three artillcn units, Each lone also had \,tt;OllS teml>Ol<\'1
in'egular units. local'" l<\ised.
111e PWl>ortion of Clrccl' soldiers in the c:ulrcs of the...e formations
\'AS usualh' onh' about ISC(, although in 1956 some 25% of the 2ge OJ':-
cadre and 5% of its troop.; \..ere professionals.
18
ABOVE ALN flghle, w.ari"Sl us
M1943 field hIs US web
equipment Include. suspenders
and two rine ammunttton bell.,
ICOlJ"esy Wilt Fowlerj
LEFT Probably pholO$...phed In
Tunl.la at aboul the tim. 0' the
Batlle 0' lhe Frontiers, 1957·58,
these cle.n, well·equtpped ALN
djOlJOOIld .... still 'nned with old
t886 Lebel rin.., though note
the cent...l soldl,r with ,
Gennan MP40, end e lett
shoulder patch _ p....um,bly
,n NCO.
The Sector Troops
The disadnuH'lgc ofilic sharp distillctiuu bell,cen
sector and intcrn>mion units was lhal lhe lormer
\,'ere stan'cd of all the human and m'lIerial
resources enjovcd br the latter. suffering
panicularh from ,I shonage of expericncedjuniol'
officers OInd The rapid expansion of
19:;5-:;6 strained France's ,lbilit\ 10 train, equip
and oRlcer these trool)S. reponed
for duty only undcr protest: and discipline,
morale and efficicllC\' were nOI aided b\' lhe
deplo\1nent ofpool'l\' prepared units of all
cav:lln, anillen. 1"\'1"11 logistics ooualions - in Ihe
infantn role.
The great majOlit\ wcre commitled to Ill(>
polio' of 'qllfulrillflj?' - 'squaring', referring to
map squares - which tied do\\"n huge nllmbers of
men in patchilv successful attempl.S to
prOleCl Europe:1Il \illages, roads.
l-aih'<I\'s. p\'lons, pipelines. and ('\'cr\ other kind of
targel from :llIad.. or sabotagc, S\stem.uie
qllfldriJlflj?bcgan in the northern Constal1linois in
June 19:;:; and beeline fromJuh 1936.
Sening OUI their two drear\ in indiddual
comp.mil'!> and platoon!> in oflcn loneh and
lillerl\' comfonless scallcred the \WJ.:>t
inlerior, 1110:>1 sector troops had no chance to
build proper IInit cohesion or opel<llional
DUI'ing long of numbing routine Iheir
(mh contact "ith Ihe outside \\'ol'ld might be the momhh' resllpph<
COI1\'O). or mailbags dropped frOIll a pa:>:>ing aircrafl. Public pn:occu-
pat ion with the triumphs of II'S Iml'llJ 1\<lS bad for morale: lhe scctor
troops knew th:1I ther were o;;.econd-class soldil.'r" but mO:>1 I,'ere denied
the opporlunity to become anything Their only Slimulm to
eRlcienc)' \I'as feal' of the IUI'king enelllY,
To young Frenchmen SCI do\\'n in 1his often beautiful but alien \\'orld,
thc wrelched po\'cn\' I\'as depressing: their loo-frequclll casual
ill-trealmelll by the authOrllies shaming: and lhe cxelllpl:ll)'
atrocities illflictl'd on them bv lhe FL:'\' "'l're horrifying. While few anu}'
postS stood in any serious danger of actual assault. the conscripts 1\'OILId
heal' frequent rt:'pons of ambushed COI1\'O\:> and patrob. Illlllibted raSII'
altie', and even occasional French prisoners dmgged ofT 10 Cod knew
\\'hat f:ue. their recoguilion of lhcir own limitation'. Ihl'S('
did nOt improve confidence or \\'hen ill-equipped comcript.s
were led out on p::lU·ols or night ambushes in activc an:as (one I"crtds -
admittedl\' extreme - aCCOUlll.', of platoons SCIl! Out \lith one round per
riflc, Ihree rounds per and one mag:lzinc fOl'the DIG),
Agaimt this g('ller..11 backgrollnd there \\el'c. of COlII',e, impressi\'e
exceptions. all conscripts were b,;mishcd to the 'biNI and the dylJt'l'
(lht:' doen and the mountain). Those po:>led in areas such as lhe
nonhern Omnais. \lith il.', large rolo" population. led a beHer life: ocea-
to beache:>, cafe, and ,utllanned girls did \\'ondel"S for 19
20
.
Wom.n ALN volunt..rs •••ml .....
• Lug.r pl.tot; not. the
openwol1l 'ooul.-balk'" ".rrie,..
holellng Britllh g..n.e1••• Th.
pia". of women In the movement
W.lI "ontrov.,..I.t: th.lr
theor.tl".l ' ..volutlon.ry
equality' Wal at odel. with
e1eeply fell Mu.llm p..Judl"e.,
Atthough many .ufferecl and
died for tha "au.e, women"
eman"lpatlon qul"kly 101lt
Impetull atter the "e••e-tl..,
moti\'ation. Long lrnditions and good leadership
allO\I'ed culti\";uion of higher morale ill some units
- e.g. lhe ZOlla\·es. with mall\'local COIDIl recruits.
m(' unils were motorbed \\;th American u'ucks
and half-tracks, anti relali\'el) beller equipped for
morc pro-aclh"e mobile missions (c.g. the 26e.
6Oe. 151e, 152e and 153e RI facing the :\Iorice
une),
Muslim and Mixed Units
Some 20.000 career regulars and anOlhcr
20.000 conscripts in Algeria in Tirailleur
infalHn' regimenlS and autonomous baualions
(RTA. IHA). and Sp:lhi mechanised ca\'alr\'
regiments (RSA); the 'Algerien' suffix 1\,iS discon-
tinued in 1958 foUo,\;ng :\Ioroccan and Tunisian
independence. Initialh these units had mixed
French and :\Iuslim cadres and :\lusJim troops.
A French source these units to peak
figures of (.60.000 hOl*is. 20.000 mogllll:."is and
15.000 (omma"dos: :md lists some 9,000 deserLions
from the grand tOtal. .-\5 1956 - 1\'e11 before the
numbers of such irregulars reached those le\'els-
was the worsl \'eal'. \\;tl1 1,700 defections, il follo\\'S
that Ihere I\'ere mall\' desertions from the regular
units. Some im'ol\'ed groups of men shooLing
their leaders before taking Iheir II'capons o\'er 10 the AL'\I. there
were countless examples of courage and loyal,,' - the more impressi\'e
gin:n Ihe peril facing 10ralislS' families. Luils still sen'ing in Algeria in
mid-1960 were:
Oran: 21e RT (Z::,\O): 2e RT. 2e & 14e BT. 2e & 23e RS (ZSO); 2ge RT.
ge RS (ZEO),
Algiers: IeI' BT (ZNA): IeI' & 4e RT, 5e & lie BT (lSA): 9c BT,
3c RS (ZOA),
Constantine: 22e RT, 21e RS (ZNC): 7e RT (ZSC): IeI' & 8e RS (ZNEC):
3c RT. lie & 14e BT. 6e RS (ZOC).
From 1956 a ne\\' polic}' letl 10 mixing of tile races within lIniLS. B}'
1959 Tirailleur unitS \I"oliid approach half :\Iuslim. half (0101/ compo-
sition: and IllOSt !\ICIJ'Opolit:\11 anti Colonial unil$ lI'ould also lake in up
to 25% !\Iuslim conscripls, reSCtyists and \'olunteers ('Frenchmen of
North African slock·. in the official jargon), Wilh some honOIll<l.ble
exceptions, lhis political inilialh'c did not work I\'ell militarily. The
:\Iuslim leadership class. ea.sily targeted for J'epris.1.ls, generall)'
resisted French effortS to recruit thcm into the officcr corps: and unit
cohesion and moralc were \\'eakened by the ine\'itable lensions.
Representative Action, Sector Troops
Before 1959 local militan' responses to AL'\1 acti\;", Il'ere often poorly co-
between sub-seclors, allOl\;ng the enelll)' 10 take refuge \\;th
ease in an 'adjoining map square', Apan from routine security
operalions. lhe hUIlI for lhe AL'\1 in itS sector was oflen left largely 10 a
unil's anached IIoritis - localh' recmited auxiliaries, of whom some
30,000 were already serving by 1959 - under the direction of a fcw
\'eteran professionals, From 1959, if the 'Challe Steamroller'
\;sitcd their seCtors. garrison units would find themseh'es gal-
\-aniscd into an unaccuStomed lell1pO of field opemtions: and
those unil5 deplored ncar the frontiers ah,-a\"S mn more
chance of combat dmn those in the centn:: of the COIIlUlY. As
an example of the fonner I,'e may citc thc Icre Section, 7e
Compagnie, 2e BaHaillon. 152e Regiment (rInfanterie frollt
the Colmar region of eastern France.
In 1957 the 2e Iln. of the 'fJllill:NItIO':' prOl'ided Ibe dis-
persed garrisons for lhe Sedrata SOIlS-S/'C/i'lIr, ZEe. The ballalion's
7e Cie was responsible for the La\'est Farm Ihe sub-
sector: lhree l'illages and alX)ul 8,000 inhabitants ofa regi01I of some
170 square kilometres of arid plateau. During 1957 Ihe compall\"s
firsl platoon recorded 20 dashes \,·ith the enem\', mosll\' tri\'ial:
II guenillas \,'ere killed, 1\\'0 taken prisoner. and 15 sUSpt:'cu:d local FL\-
;Igellls arreMed: four German sub-machine guns and three rifles
were recO\·cred.
Early in Januan' 1958 the \,-arrant officer leading lhis lere Section
heard that an AL\' party was \,-ailing at Kel>erit village to guide a kaliba
crossing from Tunisia. On 7Janua,,' al I 330hrs the platoon - 22 men in
one half-track and one G:'IIC truck - approached Kcberit, and armed
lllcn fleeing to take cover in the dry \"uer<Ollrsc of the Qucd Ki:bcrit. A
running firefiglu follol,'cd: 1,"0 ,,·/:.'re killed and an i\IG'12 and a rifle
recovered. From the co"cr of lhe gulch Ihe ellell1\'- the ISO-strong unil
which had crossed from Tunisia the previous night - brought the palrol
under heavy and accurate fire: both \'ehicles \\'ere knocked Olil. The
pialoon took cover around them and relurned fire. The ",U'I"nt officer
attemptcd 10 call up reinforcements; radio communications \\;th 7e Cie
proved impossible. bm he managed 10 comact a regional I'cla\ stalion
and called for air support.
Within minUles tWO 1'-6 Texans aniwd. sUllulloned from their
rominc patrol pallern; spoiling multiple targelS. thCl' called up rein-
forcemelllS, By 1500 the plaloon leader had managed to radio demenlS
of the 26e Rl al :'Ileslollia. At 1600 his own npproached. I,'ith a
local SAS officer's group. but ,.-ere pinned down. The lere Section nOI,'
had three \\'ounded and were shon ofamlllunitioll. A helicopter bnded
to evacuale the casualties. but the ammunition it brought turned out to
be ·7.51T1111 instead of 7.63mm· - the phrase suggeSling that thc pblOon
wCI'e armed with .30cal US :'Ill Galdnds instead of 7.5mlll :'IIA536s (see
undel' Plale C2). The kepi up Ihe pressure; one T-6""$ hit and
dri,'en ofT. its pilot \\·ounded.
\\11en darkness fell the enemy withdrew. At 2130 lWO companies of
the 26e RJ. the Be Cie and lhe recce platoon of the II 152e all
alTi,'ed on the scene. and searched the ground wilh the aid of spotlights
from circling aircraft. The .-\L:\ left 19 dead on the field. and ,,'ere later
reported to ha"e suffered 25 \,'ounded; the materiel reco"ered included
an :'I1G-12, a \ Ickcrs a Berena S\IG. four .303in rifles. three ',;re-
cutters insulated to 12.000 volts. half a ton of ammunition and useful
documents, (As usual. most enem)' casualties' weapons had becn taken
ffom the field.) Total French losses were fOllr wounded: and a half-track.
a truck. and a T-6 damaged.
51 Azz.dl .... (Maj. Z.rnri
the .....d<tr 01 Z_I
Comm.ndo 41 'All Khodj.',
photoglllphed when he w••
c:.ptured - .nd wounded for .t
I••" the third time - by
Trinqui.,... RPlMa bIltw.en
P.lellro .nd Aumal., Z$A, on
17 November 1958. H.
eonvlne.d the Freneh to let him
n8ilotl.te • 'Peaee oflhe B.....e'
e••••·Il.. by Wilaya 4, but soon
esc:.ped. Later. leadIns ald. to
Cot. Boumedle"n., he ,urvived
th. war .nd Its aft.rmafh.
'Amirouc:he the Terribl.' (Col. Aft
H.mOYdal, the c:ommand.r 01
Wil.ya 3 killed on the Dj.beI
TumeY. on 28 March H'S9. An
."Ktlv. gu.nilla I••d.r, he w ••
.Iso notorious lor the hldeou.
e.....lty 01 the purge he
unle..hed in lS58, p.rtty trieked
Into h by Freneh lntelllgenee
mlslnform.tlon.
21
22
The General Reserve:
'Les Paras'
Thc mobile reserw of 'inter-
\'Clllion' 1I1liu, was based on the
lOe and
Pamchutislcs. Thcs<: \\c,'c
joined from September 1959 Iy.
thl" lie Di,;.sion d'lnfanterie
(I;lIer. Croupcmcl1t Tanique
11) \1 hich \I-as made up of the
mOloriscd infanu'\' 3c & .?e REI
and I DBLE and Ihe
annourecl leI' REC of the
Foreign Legion, and al aile lime
lhe 2ge Tirailleurs. Al \'arious
dale' lhe rCSCIYC could also call
upon addi1ional
ullil'. :'\'<1\')' and Air Foret:
l.ommamlos. ('IC,
The O";ICI: airbomc rcgimcnls receivcd the lion's share or good men.
experienced :\'COs and officers. modem weapons, lI"alhpon and
up·to-lhe-minute lraining. access to 0pcl"alional illlelligence. and heli-
copter 1m capacity. Il"ere thus able to perfecl focused
and highh mobile tactics: Ihe\' pla\cd the major role in stopping dead
the .\L:\'·s attempt to reinforce and rcslIpph' the \fi1;was from
and in wimcr 195i-spring 1938: and ha\'ing done so. tht:'
pn)\"idcd Gen, Chalk \,'ith a Icthalh cfficielll \,'capon fOI" hUllling do\m
and dcslrO\'ing the d\,;ndling: and undersupplied AL:\ unit·, in the
interior dlll;ng 1959-60.
The pam units were di"ided bel',een regimelHs
(Ri'gimcnts de Chas'ieurs Pamcl1lltistes. Rep): Colonial rcgimenLS
(RcgimcnLS de Paraehutistcs Coloniaux. Rep). "hieh \\('re relided
regime-ilLS (Regilll(:nb ParachulislCS d"Inf,ullcrie de
A well .et·up company of the
ALN'. 'Army of the Frontiers',
c.1960, parade In French gre.n
and cllmovflllg. flltlgue., caps.
and bereb; note FM24/2h lind
MAT411•. Frerw;h otflelllldom
InsIsted on c.IlI"ll such fillht",...
merely 'outlaws' lftot'$·...IoI, HLL)
throughout the w.r; Frerw;h
soldi.... clliled them "ell.' -
short for fel/llflhll' - lind were
under no lIlu.kIns lIbout them.
A French captain with 1I unit
motoriHd In jaap. lind Dodge
tNch, photOllrllplMd durir>g
Operation 'Jumella.' In July
19S9, wtIen G.n. etwlu••ent
2S,000 troop. Into KlIbytla. He
wears 1I net-cOYllred M111S,
helmet, a deMrt cMdte searf
M1lll17 flltlgues, lind c:lIn1es
1I foldi"'ll·.toc:k M1A, US carbine;
note metal rank clips on his
shoulderstrep. lind _It «u_
on hi. lett s1ee"e.
Cot, Houan Boumedlenn4l (Ienl _
former CO of Wllaya 5. and ALN
chlef'of'ataff from Jan, tHO -In
Tunl.la, 11M2; nole also the
Egyptian camouftaV-
uniform. and Italian hel....lS-
1lte SKS nne. $Upplled 10 the
Tunla-based army were the only
SoYtet bloc weapon. recefved In
any quantIty; bas/calty hostile 10
Communl.m. the ALN
.uppre..ed the local party when
II .howed .Ign. of Uklng up
arm., The auslere, IncOrnlpllble
Boumedlenne finally look power
In 11165 10 end the Inlernal
feudl"1l which lore AliClna apart
ener Independence, ""lInll with
Cromwellian rectitu<le until hi.
death fn)m cancer In 11178.
-
RPL\la) ill December 1958: and Foreign Lt'gion
regimems (Rcgimcllls de
l'arac!llllistt"S. REP). Es)('lHiall\" these units \\'ere
identicll apart from their berets and insigni".
although some of illlcrnal organi:s.1.tion
\'aricd.
The rcput:ltion won the paratroopers ill
Indochina was not mrnished by their defeat
agaimt hopeless udds al Dien Bien Phil in
spring 195'1: bill Ihe need to replace them ill
Indochina in 1954·55, and on-going securit\
opcnuiolls in Tunisia and left few
units immedi:uelv a\":1ilable for Algeria, The
arnl\' had been legalh llIl:lble to send conscripb
to SE Asia, and the hean losses there among
pl'ofessional soldiers - particularh' junior
le<lders - now tamed serious problems. II is nOt
general'" understood that the of the
nmk ;md file of the non·Foreign Legion (lVll!Jn
(lrro/JOr'"5 in Algeria \\'ere short-tenn conscripts,
though mix(.'(1 with some dlree-year \"Olllnteers,
recalled and an oflen battle-pro\'cll
professional cadre,
... To bring rOllng conscripls - e\'cn those who
had \'oJunteered for jump training - to lht:
standards of fitness, skill and morale requircd
for airborne illlel"':ention tlnib no eas\ lask: lhat it achie\'ed \\'as
a tribute to Ihe remarkable leadership of the 'brotherhood' of para
colonels \\ho emerged from lhe tempering fire of Indochina, Famous
names included Bigeard and Trinquicr (3e RPC).Jeanpierre (leI' REP).
Ducournau (\dl0 led the three-battaJion Airbornc Group during winter
195....55). and Chaleau:I0bert (2e RPC). Brcrhignac (9c
RCP). and (6t: RPC).
Thc first 18 mOlllhs sa\\ .1 complex pallern of lOUrs in Algeria b\'
airborne elementS strength and dr.l.\\'n from the
25(' DIA...P (25th Airborne [nfanu'\' Di\'ision) and the Colonial troops. For
instance, the 8e BPC \I':IS of miscd regulars, conscriptS and fcc,.lled
reSel'\;Sls: the 1(01' BPC had entirely career soldiers: and the 2e IWC
(from Augusl 1955 redesignated 6c RPC) incoq)Ol<HCd man\' AfriC;1ll
from the 6e Til'aillelll'S SCm;galais. il was onl\' after the
tr.1Clion of the Suez affair in :'\O\'cmber 1956 that the classic p;utt'm of
lhc airborne 'fire lruh emerg(."'(1.
Unit and Divisional Organisation
A reorganisation of French tacLical unib in
Fomler" the infanu"\ regiment con.sisted of 1\\'0 or three b.'utalions
usualh sen;ng (apart from the ler Rep, all para unitS \\'el'e
single alllonOIllOllS Ixmalions) .. [,.eh normalI\ had thrt'e rine companies
and a combined headquancrs, scn;ces and he;I\'\ \\'capons compall\,
oftcn with a local auxilian compal1\. During 1955-56 most imen'cillion
b;malions "ere redesignated regimcnts, (Crill no\\' signifying
singJc-ballalioll combat groups each of an I JQ and compau\', 23
...---
four rifle companies. :. hean' I,'capons compam and a recollnaisSance
"quadl'on: regiments Often had twO tactical IIQs so that they
could opcnuc in 11m SCpar<lle combat groups.
The of the par'lchuw infallll)' regimenl
from 1955 was as follows:
Headquarters
Command & services Company (CeS)
Six officers, four NCOs. 157 men. 40 vehicles In
command. HO. administratIVe. signals. transport and
medical platoons.
Support Company ICA)
Six officers. 19 NCOs, 117 men, 25 vehicles In
command, mortar (3 x 120mm. 6)( 81mm) and anti-lank
(4 x jeep-mounted 75mm ACLl platoons.
Reconnaissance Squadron
Five officers, 17 NCOs, 88 men, 33 vehicles in
command (12 jeeps) and three racee platoons (each
with seven jeeps).
Four Rifle Companies
Each with six officers, 23 NCOs, 184 men and three
vehicles in one command and support
(1 x 57mm RCl) and four nfle platoons (each with two
LMGs).
of the acth'c regimcnLS \..cn: dhidcd bct\\"een the
1\1'0 PalO\chule Di\·i,iom. \\llilt' their role was b\' defi-
nilion 'nomadic'. and their mission miglu take Ihcm
:lmwhcT'c in the COIl1ll0', the IOl' DI' initially opcr;'llcd
ill the weSI of Algeria and lhe 25e Dr in lhe
24 Their composition as follows:
Ii 2e REP casu.lly I, e"acuated
In a Sikorsky 5-!l!I(H-lIt). By
1('58 some 40 ot ttMo similar but
larger S·$8 lH·34I. with apsce for
12 infantry, we.. a''''dy
a",il,bte to. taetic:,I'ransport
and escort - Slunshlp versions
we.. fitted wi1tl dual 12.7mm
MG, and' 20mm cannon.
BELOW 11 w.. common 10'
Mu.lIm detai_ to be made 10
carry .adlos tOf" F..nch foot
pat.ol•. PtMItographed durlnSl a
...t on the marc'" thl. man has
been gtQn buk French
f.tigues. (Courtesy Jim Worden'
ALGERIAN TROOPS
1: Commando, Commando de Chasse Kimono 36; Tenes, 1959
2: Moghazni, Sections Administrative Specialiseesi Grande Kabylie, 1958·59
3: Sergent-chef, 2ge Regiment de Tirailleurs; Oranais, 1959
A
B
LES PARAS
1: Chasseur. 1er Regiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes; Algiers, February 1957
2: Lieutenant·colonel Marcel Bigeard. 3e Regiment de Parachutk;tes Coloniaux; Tirnimoun, November 1957
3: Commando Parachutiste de l'Air, 1957·59
--..._----
-
3
PARA AND CONSCRIPTS
1: RCl gunner, parachute infantry; winter field dress, 1957-60
2: Soldat, Sa Regiment d'infanterie; winter field dress, 1959
3: Soldat, 81e Bataillon d'infanterie; summer field dress, 1958
c
o
1: Soldat de 1ere classe, 152e Regiment d'infanteriei winter walking-out dress, Constantine, 1957
2: Soldat, 61e Compagnie de Transmissions, HQ 11e Division d'infanterie; Constantine, autumn 1960
3: Fuslller Marin, 3e Bataillon, 1er Deml-Brigade de FusiJiers Marins; Moroccan frontier, winter 1958
4: Sous-lieutenant, 1er Compagnie, 2e Regiment de Zouaves; Perregaux, 1957
1: General de Brigade Jacques Massu, 10e Division Parachutiste; Algiers, spring 1957
2: Lieutenant de vaisseau, Commando de Montfort; Oran, 14 July 1959
3: Sous-Iieutenant, Commando Georges (Cdo 135); Saida, 1960
4: Soldat, Be Regiment Parachutiste d'lnfanterie de Marine; Tebessa, 1959
E
F
ALN
1: Moudjahid, AUrl!s mountains, February 1955
2: Dhabet el-aouel, Wilaya 1, spring 1958
3: Djoundi, Battle of the Frontiers, winter 1957-58
ALN
1: Djoundi, Battle of the Frontiers, spring 1958
2: Zonal commando, 1957·58
3: Machine gunner, winter field dress, 1957-59
G
H
SECTIONS ADMINISTRATIVES SPECIALISEES, 1955-62
1: Lieutenant, SAS
2: Berber cald. Aures mountains
3: SAS nursing sister, 19sa
2
1De Division Parachutiste
let RCP (from 1960, ge RCP)
let REP
2e RPCI2e RPIMa
3e RPCI3e RPIMa
6e APCI6e APIMa
13e ADP (Regiment de Dragons Parachutistes -
recce unit. Ferret scout cars)
2De GAP (Groupe d'Artirrerie Parachutiste)
Plus: 60e CGAP (airborne engineer company): 60e
CaG (staff company): 60e CPT (parachute signals
company); GT 507 (transport group); 60e CRD
(divisional maintenance company); 60e SAl (supply
section); 405e CMP (parachute medical company);
PMAH 10e DP (mixed light aircratVhelicopter
platoon)
25e Division Parachutiste
ge RCP (from 1960, 1er Rep)
14e RCP
18e RCP
2e REP
8e RPCI 8e RPIMa
1er RHP (Regiment de Hussards Parachutistes -
recce unit)
1135e RALP (Regl.d'Artiliene Legere Parachutiste)
Plus: 75e CGAP; 75e CaG: 75e CPT: GT 513: 75e CRD: 75e SRI: 758 CMA
(3Jrborne medical company); PMAH 25e DP.
These two divisions were disbanded in April 1961 after the 'Generals' Putsch',
as were the 1er REP, 14e and 18e RCP.
For much of the war lhe Ixu.uroopers were almost cOlllinualh' COIll-
millt·d. 35 elile Iighl inf,"nn:. 10 exhausting )earch-and-deslro\
opermions in punishing alpine lerrain, ill blal.ing summer and freel.ing
winter alike (f\.ab\lia ha:" 6.00Q-fool peak:), and SIlOI\ lie) umil earlr
summer), Ther spent Illolllh) ,u it su'ctch frOIll lheil' Ixlses
operating from tented forward !-IQs. Trucked into til(' sector, the\' \I'uukl
lake ofT across counu)' for'long opel-:ltioIlS. on fOOl and heavily loaded,
sleeping in pup-tents and living on rudimenlar\' combflt
Although the\' I\'picall\' innicted on the AL:'" ten times thcil' own le\"el
of lheir in ugh' cnCOIllHl'l" battles in lhe lhic"- scrub.
rock\ gOI'gcs. and (particularh' haled) dcep of Ihe were
IIUl The 2e REP. for esample. suffered a 10lal of 711 casu-
alties. againsl 3.650 encllu "-illed and j38 C';.lptured.
:"OIe this f\-pical imb..""ilance of dead 10 prisoner): il ,,-as l'are for
side 10 gi\"C quarlcr in Ihi) war. Tht'rc: no poim in deming that before
the Peace of the BI'a\e progrnmme 10 'IUrn' disillusioned guerrillas.
encountered under arms were 1';:\I'eh alive excepl for inter-
rugation. and seldom long: C\'en thereafter lhe proportion of
Glpltlrcd 10 killed lIdS 10\\ b\' cOIl\Cllliollal (It should be
that the fate of Ihe fel\' French prisoners taken bl the AL:\'
was usuall\' C\'en grilllmer, although some I\cre exchilllged.)
Frel\Ch motortled ilnd
mech.nl5ed units - here the 2.
RZ. t057 - used milny types of
US ".tIld.s supplied slnc.
This M3 Nlf·tn"k served In
I.roe numbe.... as did the M8
• ....-...-:! esr, Dodie We.pons
C.m..- .nd 8I8 patrol "ehlclfl,
.nd GMC 211l ton trvcks.
(Courtesy Je.n-Luc O.Iau".1
33
3.
Sud Alouette II. and a Vertol
H·21 'banana' h.avy troop carrier
during. p.... op....tlon In the
ZEC. The flret douon H-21a, with
a 20-man capacity, arrived In late
1957, During 1958 the
we.. often ta.k-grouped In
Helicopter Inte,...entlon
Detachments comprlalng four
H·21s or six H·34s, a comlNlnd
IJouette, and en H-34 'Pirate'
gunship, lc.:.urt••y.Jim Wonlen)
Ahhollgh a number of parachute drops I,'cre made in on(.... or twO-
strength. when Ihe paras flew into ballle it ll'aS nonnallr as
hclicoptcr-bol'llc air ca\11lry - a conccpt which the French pioneered in
this \\'ar. In 19t,·llhc French Army had juSt one helicopter in Algeria: by
the cnd of 1937 a crash acquisition progmlllme had assembled abo1ll80.
From 1958 lift capacity and assault tactics \\'cre steadil\' impl'O\'ed: and by
lhe end oflbe war some 120 transpon helicopters ,,'ere lirting an
of 21.000 troops lllomhl\',
)lams \,'ere I\-picalh' airlifted inlO comlJ<lI in one- or tWo<ompan}'
sirength once the had been located and fixed b\ troops on lhe
ground: and lhe hclicoplers I,'ere often held n('arb\ (0 .loub-units
around the b..'mlefic1d as the Inelieal silllation de\'elopcd, B\ lhe m.yor
operations of 1959-60, French commandcrs had become experl in lhe
eo-ordination and flexible deplopncnt of their resources: 'hunting com-
mandos' to track and locate the AI-.:" unit: rndio OPs airlifted onto
commanding peaks. working in conjunction with spotter aircrart: mech-
anised and inralllry clements rorming the walls of the 'bolllc" and
helicopter insertion or its paratroopcr 'cork': close liaison with plcntiflll
laclical air support. and with anillcry from ovcr the horil.Ol1.
TIllis the ALN were outfought: and it \nlS these
troops. and these taclics. "'hich destroyed Ulcir hopes of 1ll0\'il1g from
the guerrilla to the mobile phase of the classic ),faoisl re\'Ollllionary
','31' programme,
Representative Action, Airborne Troops
An early benchmark for the tactiCl1 use of helicopter liflS \\-as the fighl
between AL:\' CdoAI ('Ali Khodja') and lhe 3e RPC 011 23-25 ,\lay 1957
ncar Agounenda, in the foothills fringing lhe great agricultural plain of
lhe south of the c<lpital. In cady CdoA I had rOUled:1 Spahi
unit. killing 60 for the loss or onl)' sen::n: a fortnight later lhe\' ambushed
the 5c BTA, killing :, c:'ptain and 15 men and persuading others to
defect. Intelligence suggested that Cdo.41 \,'ould now head west.
escorting 4 commanders to a rendez\'ous \\ith other forces ncar
:-'ledca: and Lt. Col. Bigeard pickL-d .o\gouncnda 011 the Qued Boulbane.
a knO\\1l AL'\ route. for an ambush. Tnlcked from their b<ISC at Sidi-
Fcrnlch to Hill 895 by OI30hrs on 23 :-'Ia\·. Bigeard's ;00 pal'aS made a
cold, four-hour night approach march o"er rough tcrrain under StriCt
noi<te and light discipline. Bcfol'c dawn the\' were in place and
concealed. The I-IQ and mormrs \\'cre on Hill 1298; the 151. 2nd and
3rd Cos. and the Reece Sqn. (on foot) were spread o\'er IOkm on four
cresLS o\'crlooking the enemy's probable route: the 4th and SuPPOrt Cos,
wcre in rcscn·c. and helicopters and ground-anack aircr-Ift \\'cre on
stand-b}' at :-'Iedea.
At 1030hrs thc most northerly and exposed compan}" (3rd, ·Bluc'.
under Capt. LJamby) radioed sighting a large AL\' force approaching
his position above the north bank of the Oucd Boulbane from thc east:
at 1045 he opcned fire. Already warned by a shepherd. Si Al.I.ecline-
leading a column of at least three companies - was attcmpting to
outflank thc panlS from the nonh. LJamby, his 100 men otltnulllbered
three to one. calllC under fierce pressurc. The helicopu:rs werc already
on their \\';1),: Bigcard ordered the Support Co. lifted onto
high ground north of 3rd Compan\'. TIle first sticks jumped from thc
doors at 1055: the whole compam' were in action b,' 1130. \\llile the
1st and 2nd Cos. forcc·marchcd anoss countr\, to the support of the 3rd.
the Sikorskys lifted the unenb'<lged Recce Sqn. and 4th Co. sJighth north-
east of Llaml,,"s battle.
Cnaccoulltably. the _-\L'\ took to the Oued Boulb:me.
dominated from higher ground b\ Ihe paras - 3rd. 4th. SuPPOrt and
Reece - north of it. and lsi. 2nd and HQ to the SQUlh.
In a sene of nlllning battles onr somc 30 square
kilometre:>. which Ia:.ted 48 hours. CdoA I and oH leasl
twO other kalibas made sc\'eral "igorous countcrattacks
which COItllC to hand-ta-hand fighting. Despite the
support of tactical aircraft the paras ,,'cre tOO thinly
stretchcd to maintain a tight cordon. ho\\·c\,cr. and
SOtll/: 200 ALN c\'t:ntually managed to slip awar
They lefl 96 dead and a dozen prisoners. bill
carried oIT ;,11 but 45 weapons and most of their
wounded: the paras lost eight dead and 29
wounded.
If the French \,·ere encour.lged by thc success
of balliefieid air portability, the ALN took from
Agollnenda the lesson that large-scale con-
frontations in the hean of the counu,\, must in
fmure be a\'oided at all COSts. E\"en \\'hen the" did
occur. ho\\'c\er. the paldS did nOI ah\'a\"$ 1)."1" such
a low pricc for \'iCtory. For instance. dUI'ing the
'Sattle of Sollk.-Ahras· jlLSt inside the :-'lorice Line
on 29 April 1958, the 3e Cie. 9c RCP. air-lifled
onto the Djebel :-'Iolladjene, \,-as surrounded by
superior numbers in thick bmsh \,'hich hampered
air suppOrt. and suffered neal'l\' 30%- dead and
3011 \,·oUl\(led.
Pilra·hussilrs of the 1I1er RHP
p....de in the fleld. with
squadron fallion mounted In I
rifle muzzle. Re<:ea alamantl
onen fought on foot, lalvlng
their Irmoured cars al blaa.
These men wear Blgearet eaps;
M19471S6 eamouflage fatlgulls.
tha trousers wllh brown
se<:ondary paltem
the green primary; blue squedro...
s.c:erf at left shoulder, M Ig50
TAP webbi"" with.
MInd grenade and MAT.g
pol,fChes; en heve field dressings
taped to thIIleft
sus.pender.
35
ABOVE TWo ~ ~ I .J.ements of
the Challe P1,n: 0,.. In..rted on
commanding c....ts. 'nd c10..
air lIUpport. Fitted wlttl m,chine
gun, and rock.t.. 300 of the..
T-ll T....n train.,.. dl,pe,..ed In
Independ.nt "Ight. were the
backbone of ttle very effKtive
Armee de l'AIr t.ctlcal effort;
P-47 Thunderbolt•• 8·28
Invade,... and I,ter A-I
Skyralde,.. and T-28 Trojans
were al,o employed.
(Courte'y Jim Worden)
Para, wittl • m,n-portable 57mm
·recoille.. rifle' c.non sans
racul. ICSR) near ~ 'Morice
Wne·. US M1 and French M1951
Mlmet. were otten wom b)'
airborne unit. during the frontier
battl... (Courtny Jim Worden)
Mutiny, April 1961
Tilc ofApril 1961 cannot be passed over without comment. :vlan)'
lield-gr'ade and warrant onicers of the intervention uni15 were fighting
thei.· third war in 20 rear.\> of virtually non-slOp aCli,-c selyicc in Europe,
5omh-East Asia and i'iorth Africa. All had learned LO despise politicians:
and ",. 1961 the select fe\,' \.-110 had reached the forcfrolll of lheir pro-
fession were prob.'tbh· the most bailie-hardened comlxll leaders in the
,,"arId. The} had \\'orkcd lirelessly to create their magnificcllI battalions:
the" had dri"cn the enCIl1\' from the field: the" had been promised that
France '\'ould ne"er :Ibandon Algeria's Europeans and 10,..1:Ioluslims.
\\llen the alllhorit,· of Paris collapsed in :Iola\' 1958. huge European
demonslr::llioliS in Algicrs had called for the army to lake power. and
some officcrs had joined COIOII leaders on Committees of Public
When Dc Gaulle returned to pO\\'cr he tl"allsferred m:lllr such
'politicised' officers. He undcrstOod that shOrl-tcnn military \·ictory.
achieved by ruthless llu::thods I\'hich alienated :.ll moderate opinion. had
no fut me. He hoped that patient concessions "'ould bu)' some future for
the Co/OilS in a semi·independem Algeria. \\'hich he \,'ould negotiate with
the from a position of unassailablc mililal"Y dominance. while
remaining e\OlSh'c about his intemions.
\\llen the para 'centurions' final'" undcrstood that - despite
C\'cf),thing they had and achiC\'ed - outright ,iclon' was 10 be
denicr! them b,' the m:m they bclie"cd thC\ had brought to power. their
sense of bctra,..1 was biner. Isolated from lIu: increasing" sickened
mood of the French public at large (\\'hose sons pro\ided the conscript
sector troops). ioOllle par:a officers had cOllie to regard this as their O\,'n
prh..tt:' \\':1.1'. The mutin\' of April 1961 \\':1.:0 not thought through in any
detail: it was a spasm of rage. which had no achie,..ble long-term
objeclive.
Jubilant p.res examine e.ptul"1ld
we.pon••tter a winter cl.sh In
Ihe e.stem hilts, 1958; nota
quilled Jackets and woollen
toques. Visible among the
waapons are MG34s, FM24/2h,
Beretta MP1g38s and.n MP40.
Ape,., from Fre....n types, Genn.n
WWII sm.ll arms .cqulred from
Czechoslovakia .nd YUog05I8ri8
the At.H a....n...
37
This tragedy. and the purges ",hich followed. poisoned French army
morale for decades: and - most significantly - France's ncgo-
dating position with the FL':. hastening the n:l)' end which the mutineers
had sought to prc\"cllt. of those in\'oh'cd I,'ere men of unques-
tionable honour; il was a further tragedy that some (though far from all)
huer became associated with tbe murderous gangsterism of the OAS.
'"' .c,
c
,
,
C:
> \
I
I
I
£:


A----,--
(')e:-J
.L: ..
Ie:::::?
L.oj
Postscript
AI the time of \\'riling (February 199i) an insurrCClion by the funda-
mCllIaliSt Islamic Armed Grollp (CIA) against tbe government of the
Algerian Republic has been raging since 1992: deaths so far total
something bel\"Cell 80.000 and 100,000 men. women and children.
There is documemed e\'idence for lhe revival of all the worSl hOlTors of
195+62: in the 10\\'nS, assassinations and random bombings: in the coun-
u')'sidc. atrocious mass.acres and mutilations: by the SeClll'ily forces,
tOrture, summall' killings and reprisals, The reader ma)' recall lhe
amhor's COmll1elll at lhe beginning of this lext. thm the eventS of 1954-
62 were shaped more by local factors lhan by any general tbeol)' of
revolutiona1'Y or counter-insurgency "'arfare.
Schematic drllwl09' of French
M1947 fatigues: (AI four-pocket
Jacket, (B) two-pocket 'lightened'
shirt/Jacket, (e) trousel'll, These
were all produced In both drab
greeo aod, uoder the 'all ann,'
deslgoatioo, camounage pattern.
(Chri,Ul Hook)
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bail, Rene. HeJiro!I/n-t's t'l UJIIIII/tIl1dos-J\[aril1t' I'll Algerit', Charles-Lav<tllzcllc
(1983)
Galljac. Pau!. (eeL), Hisloi/l! (/es Paradllliisies Fmll(oi.f. Editions de
rAlbatros/SPL (1975)
Horne, Alistair. II Savoge Waro/Peace: tlllJ"ria /954-62, Macmillan (1977)
Hurt':, Gen. R. (eeL), Dl.nl1u d:4friqui' 1830-1962, Charles-Lantllzelle
( 1977)
Lcullietle, Pierre, SI Mid/(/r! (IIullht' Dmgol/, Hcinemann (1964)
Massu,Jacqucs, /..(1 Fmit' Ba{ai/iediHgi'r. PIon (1971)
i\1 una}', Simon, Ll'giollIwire, Sidgwick & Jackson (1978)
Simon, j., L'/lljrmlnie d:·\Jn'qlle 1830-/962. L'Associalioll S)"mboles &
Tradition (1979)
38 \\"ol'clen,James, The H'flYWlIrti I..pgiollllairl', Roben Hale (1988)
For the colour pl.lIe references I ha\·c dl,<!.\\·n upon the published
researches of D.L.-.ssus,J.Sicard and P.Pi'·cu.."t in \<trious issues of Militm7n
Magazine (panicularlr 3.... i. 8. 9. 10. 99. 102. 106. 126. 132 & 133).
and wish to acl:nowledge mr greal debt (0 them. Published b\ HiSlOire
& Collections. :; An,'lluc de la Ri:publique, 75011 Paris. France, under
the editorship of M.Philippc Charbonnier and the o\'erall direClion of
my gl'ealiy respected colleague i\I.Francois Vau\'illier, Mifi/m711 is in Ill}'
opinion simpl), the best unifOl'1Il history journal in the \\·odd.
Schemlltic drawinga of French
.irt>ome troopa' camouflage
amock M1lMlI!53.IChrlstll Hook}
BElOW Scnemallc drawings
of French airborne troops'
camouflage amock M19471!5e,
{Christa Hook}
39
\
I
Si- J
- •
,
.
patterns of various shades of green and brown on light green
(or less often, khaki drab) backgrounds: this was due to dis-
persed mass production. and was not significant - smocks
and trousers of differing appearance were often worn
together.
.,

'.
'<
It
I
THE PLATES
Note: Although the Foreign LegIOn
played a prominent part in French
operatlOllS. no Legion figures are
included here: see extensive
matenal in Elite 6 French Foreign
Legion Paratroops and Men-at-
Arms 300 French FOfflIgn Legion
since 1945.
The most common uniforms
were the French M1947 treill/s de
combat or tenve de campagne
(combat fatigues) in drab green
and later in camouflage flflish: and
the series of camouflage fatigues
for airborne troops. The green
fatigues. the almost universal
working dress of French forces
throughout the war, were also
acquired in quantity by the ALN.
The 'all-arms' camouflage version
became increasingly common from the late 19505. replacing
the green set in many French units.
The SImilarly camouflaged airnome troops' fatigues were
worn throughout the W81. There was some variatiOn in the
exact pnnting of the basically similar streaked camoufIa99
Schematic drawings 01 French
aIrborne troops' camouflage
trousers: (AI M1947152,
(Bl M1947153, (C) M1947156.
(Christa Hook)
c

5ehematic 01 typical camouflage pattern on khaki or· more
often - light gre"n ground. Th" primary colour (dark tonel
was more often green, the secondary (mid-tone) brown, find
the primary prlntad over the secondary, but reversals 01 all
these were known.
The airborne lenue de saul cam-
cuflee went through several slightly
varying versions, worn indiscrimi-
nately In Algeria. The main
identifying features 01 the various
smocks were as follows Vesto
M1947/51 - Deep Denison-type
collar: external breast pockets.
three-snap flaps. drainage eyelets.
left pocket With zipped internal
access via inner Yertical edge and
pencil pocket on lace; smaller skirt
pockets slanting inwards at boltom.
two-snap flaps. drainage eyelets:
vertical zipped vents either side of
upper back: two inwards-slanting
internal rear skirt pockets. pointed
Single-snap flaps: forward-buttoning
hip and wrist tabs; Denison-type
'beaver taH' secured to three pairs of snaps front or back,
Veste M1947/52 - Collar smaller; no rear pockets or zipped
vents; broader wrist tabs with sliding-clamp buckles. Veste
MI947/53 - Collar smaller: forward-buttoning wrist tabs:
smaller hip tabs with sliding-clamp buckles. Veste M1947/54
- 'Beaver tail' removed (and often cut oft earlier smocks by
Individuals).Veste MI947/56 - Skirt pockels oolarged, set
vertically. three-snap flaps: wrist and hip tabs removed: draw-
string hem: wrists elasticated: buttons under collar lor
optional hood.
The trousers - \'lorn indiscflminately with matching or any
other models of smock - differed progressively as follows;
Pantalon M1947/51 - Buckled tab at front waistband: two
slash side pockets. the left zip-fastooed: two internal rear
poCKets. pointed single-snap flaps: two bellows cargo
pockets on outside thighs. drainage eyelets, two-snap flaps;
three small pockets on front thighs (two left. one right).
drainage eyelets, pointed single-bulton lIaps.
Pan/alon M1947/52 - Two buttons at front waistband: hip
tabs adjusting backwards with sliding-clamp buckles.
Pan/alan M1947/53 and /54 - Small thigh pockets removed;
forward-buckling hip tabs: minor waistband differences.
Panfalon MI947f56 - Side pockets covered by slanting
three-snap flaps, left pocket Zip removed.
Two sets of personal equipment were widely used in
Algeria. The M1946 brown leather set with black metal
fittings consisted of a waistbelt. V-straps. a rear connector.
and various alternative holsters and pouches; the most
common were doubled rifle ammunition pouches, and pairs
of magazine pouches for the MAT49 sub-machine gun. This
set was the most commonly used by the 'sector' troops.
B
• •
....,L.
"
_ ;;--; A
I
-I
r r
1/ I
:::
\1
The green M1947 jacket had a fold-down collar. and four
internally hung pockets with pointed external flaps; the
trousers had slash side and flapped rear pockets. and large
cargo pockets on the outside thighs: apart from those for the
shoulder straps and wrist and ankle tightening tabs. all
buttons were concealed. An M1947/52 variation had
externally mounted skirt pockets. In ,952 a 'lightened' -
al/egee - shlrtljacket version also appeared. with breast
pockets only. buttoned cufts. and (otten) a doubled shoulder
yoke; this was worn either inside or outside the trousers.
The 'all-arms' camouflage version, tenue de combat cam-
ouflee modele 1947 toutes armes. was authorised in 1954
but not widely ayallable for some time. Originally identical to
the green sel, it acquired external jacket skirt pockets almost
at once. A two-pocket 'Iightened' version with reinlorced
shoulder yoke was also produced.
40
The web equipmeot type TAP ('troupes aeroporfoos' was
usually (though not universally, nor exclusively) issued to the
paras and other intervention units. This comprised a
walstbel! with eyelets and various typeS 01 quiCk-release
buckle, adjustable s u s p e n d ~ crossing at the rear, a web
carner for a US·type canteen, a Iafge first-alCl pouch,
doubled rille ammo pouches, pairs of live-pocket MAT49
magazne pooches, a sirrilar slightly smaller pouch lor rifle
grenades, a US-style three-pocket grenade pouch with leg
ties, etc, Both equlpmeflt sets wefe seen in use by the AlN,
Wor1d War II vmtage US Army webbing items were also still
in quite widespreacI use by both sides.
A: ALGERIAN TROOPS
Most MuslIm troopS were divkled between the traditlOl'l3l
regular units 01 !he Army of Africa -the tlralfleurs and spahJs
aJgen'ens; the hams - auxiliaries locally raised as extra
platoons al'ld companies by many FrerlCh umts; from t959,
the commandos de chasse {tracking units), often partly
composed of 'turned' ALN fighters; and the moghaZnl auxil-
iaries raised and (ed by district officers of the SAS (see under
Plate H1),
A1: Commando, Commando de Chasse Kimono 36;
Tenes, 1959 In December t958 Gen, Challe ordered the
raising of 'hunting commandos'; by April 1959 there were
about 251n each army corps, al'ld in lime at least 150 would
be affiliated to French sector units. Most had about t40 men,
but some commandos tegers had only about 70. Between
30% and 60% of the rank and file were Muslim volunteers,
including veterans of regular Ul'1Its, harlas, and 'turned' AlN
fighter.; - 01 which there was no shortage. There was a higher
than usual proportion 01 French cadre, drawn either !rom the
'parent' UI'Ilt or !rom several In that sector,
The commandos' task. was to cut the tracks of locally
active AlN unitS, and to follow them 101' however long it toott
and wherever they led. KeepII'Ig in frequent contact with
base, they were to'mark their men' (Gen. Challe was a rugby
enthuslClst) while the intervention units got ktto place to
MOrGC<:.n tir.m.ur of
tiwl h RTM In field
unlfo"", 1058: lIreen
Mt047 fll191.H1S O"'M
oU.... <:Nw'neck
._.t..,M1lM5_b
.nklets, M11150 bel1,
with. whit. <:ItI<:he
......pped tlOhtly Into.
t u ~ n - 'Indilon-.tyt.',
ICourt••y Je.n-Lu<:
Oet.vve)
An Americ:.n <:orporal 01 the
:H IIEI who HfVed In Algen.
under the n.me Donald
Thorn••• H......rs tiwlllreen
beret adopted by Legion
Inf.ntry c.1l18O: Ind the
two-pocket IIhlrtljl<:ket
....ri.nt 01 tiwl '.II-e"".'
c.mou"llI. tIUg_.,
with I rank t..b (two
green .tripe. on ark
bhloe) "-nol"ll from I
button. ICourt••y
Jim Word..,)
surround, fix, and wipe out the katiba. With good fieldcraft
skills and local knowledge, these commandos were often
highly effective. Algiers Army Corps commandos were coded
either 'K-Kimono' 01' 'P-Partlsan' followed by a numbel"; K36
was afliliated to the 1IV22e RI at Tenes, ZOA.
Green or camouflage fatigues were issued, W!!h B'98<Wd
caps or camouflage beretS, but not bush hats or helmets.
Equipment, and weapons inclUding LMGs but nothing
heavier. were standard ISSUe; but note dagger made from
cut-down German Mauser bayonet. The North Afocan
hooded woollen robe - djellaba - was carried as a
greatcoatlblanket. Commandos. harlus, and FI't!f'ICtI recce
partIeS qurte often disgUISed themselves Il"I lui or outer natIVe
Clothing.
A2: Moghazni, sections Adminislratlves SpeciaJiseesj
Grande Kabylle, 1958-59 Mounted cavalry were quite widely
used Il"I Algeria; in very broken terraJn a horse is mOl'e capable
than a VehICle, quieter, easier to refuel, and gIVes a better
VieW. The district officers of !he SAS were gwen the means to
recruit and traJn a maghzen, 30 to 40 strong. Fatigue
uniforms and eqUipment were issued, in this case the Mt948
khaki shirt, green Mt947 trousers, M1917 boots, and M1935
belt eqUipment.
The usual distinguishing headgear (as among the narkis)
was the all·red Mt946 bonner de police, and the subjecl
photograph also shows plain red shouldernoards. The
French army's standard Issue 7.5mm MAS36 bolt-action rifle
was a rather flimsily built weapon; it took only live roul'lds,
and had no safety catch. Horses and saddlery were locally
obtained.
A3: Sergent-chef, 2ge Regiment de TIrailieurs; Oranais,
1959 This career NCO leading an urban patrol, no doubt a
veleran of 'M:>r1d War II and Inooctuna. wears the M1957
bonnet de police fcalot, Ifl RTA branch colours of pale blue
and yellow, wrth the two diagonals of rus rank as a brass PIll""
on badge. A lui double chevron In brass is - unusually -
pinned to the left breast of his 'lightened' Mt947 fatsgue
shirtf)OC.ket; and lhe 2ge RTA badge is fobbed to the nght
pocket button. Two ctouble magazane pouches lor the Wldely-
used US Ml carbine are earned on hIS French Ml946 leather
bah. and another on the bun of hIS weapon; he also camas 41
42
A)'OUnsI French aspi,.."t (offieer c.ndidate - two black urs
KroU elrtgl. rank lace on ehouldera. sous·lieutenanl rank
htc. on "apl_ari"" Zoullve sld.cap end M1114e battl.-
d..... The 6eunon of the 2, RZ on his ,I"ve Ie gold on
midnight blue with the triple edging (here In red) 01 unit, 01
the tradltlonel Army of Afric.; 1M regiment's cllellon lany.,.d
I. In yellow f1Kked with green. the ribbon colou,.. of the
MiKUllIle Militalre. See under •• 01 .. 04.
(Courtesy ....n.Lue Dela_e'
Of37 hand grenades. Mt945 web anklets are wom with
rubber-soled M1945 brown leather bools.
8: LE5 PARAS
e1: Chasseur, ler Regiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes,
10. Division Parachutiste; Algiers,
February 1957 During lhe 'Bartle 01 Algiers' Lt. Col. Meyer's
181" ReP took control of the eastern sector 01 the city. For
urban dllty this paratrooper wears only an unsupported beh
WIth one set of MAT49 pouches balanced by a canteen
behind his other hlP. The rifle sectIOn was divided intO a lire
team, with the 7.5mm LMG Onilially the old magazine-loaded
FM24129, later the belt-fed AA52) and ammo carriers armed
with rilles, and an assauli team of voltigeurs armed with this
eKcelient 9mm SMG, His camouflage fatigues are of
M1ga7!52 and /53 patterns; the boots are M1952 'rangers'.
at thiS date issued in brown and overpolished black to gIve
this dark shade. FIOITI 1954 the Metropolitan chasseufs para-
chutlstes reverted from red to the royal blue beret wtuch
mart<ed their pre-'Nofkl War II f1Jf Force origins; this was worn
until September 1957 (see under Plate £4). The PUr Force
RIGHT Som.
de
CIl,ss, w .........n:I-.:I
thl. patch, In black
and whita on red, a. a
mark of good service;
e.g., on. photo show.
It wom on the left
shol.llder of c.m-
ounage ,.tlgue. by
Cdo.133 'Oriffon'
attach-.:l to the 23e
Spahl. al O'ryvma,
ZSO, ...ting
.galnst Kallba S33 In
summer 1961. See
coIouM> of royal blue and orange-yellow are also seen in the
ecusson, the diamond-shaped insIgl'lla of branctt and unit
worn on the left sleeve of servtee dress and sometimes dis-
play«! on fatigues. Parachute wngs (for e.ght jumps) and
regimootal badge are pinned to the right breast and pocket.
Insignia would not generally be worn in the field, though
some photos show paras on operations displaying divisional
shoulder patches,
82: Ueutenant-colonel Marcel 8igeard, 3e Regiment de
Parachutistes Coloniaux; Timimoun, November 1957
Bigeard - 'Bruno', from his long-time radio callsign - was a
famous member of the elite circle of paratroop colonels. A
charismatic leader, htghly decorated lor MaqulS service in
WOOd War II and lor hIS command of the 6e BPe In
Indochina, he had been prominent In the defence of Dian
Bien Phu. He returned from a Viet Minh prison camp In
September 1954; and under his command the 3e RPC
achieved many successes, both In the bled and the AlgieM>
casbah. This is the pose in which he was otten pho-
tographed: crouched over a map, surrounded by SCR300
radios, orchestrating his companies' movements on foot, by
truck and by helicopter, Bige.atd commanded the Subversive
and GueniDa Warfare Instruction centre ... 1958. and the
Salda sector of the Sud-Oranais from 1959.
In Indochina late in 1953 he devised the field cap which
army slang would name after him, copying the Word War II
Japanese and Afrika Korps equivalents; by 1957 it had
become regUlation Issue to the RePs and RPCs, and was
wotn by various other intervention units (captured caps were
much prized by the AlN). It is made flOITI standard French
camouflage cloth: but Bigeard's personal uniform for thIS
Saharan operation was a heavily modified suit 01 BritISh
M1942 WIndproof camouflage - 'sausage skin', a material
popular in Indochina lor its coolness. (Photos 01 his men
during this operation show standard camoullage smocks
and caps worn with khaki shorts.) His only insignia is a chest
rank patCh. his only equipment a US M1936 pistol belt and a
pair 01 old Afrika Korps tinted plastic goggles.
83: Commando Parachutiste de l'Air, 1957-59 The
General Reserve's need for high-quality recce and inter-
ventlQO units led to a call lor AIr Force volunteers in March
1956. By May 'Commando 10', the 150 survivors of pun-
ishing selection tratrllng. were ready lor combat orientatJOn;
Cdos.20 and 30 were operational by October, and Cdos.40
and 50 in February 1957 and February 1959 respectively. In
Apnl 1957 the first three. grouped as the GCPA al Reghaia
and Boofarik air bases. became a helicopter intervention unit
for the Corps d'Armee d'AJger,
They specialised in long fightlllQ patrols. typICaIy betrlg
inserted by helicopter on a suspected ALN route and
remaining concealed in ambush for days if necessary; when
contact was made they were highly skiJIed at co-opera.tion
with tacticalaJrCfaft. (The Aif Commandos also provided door
gunners fO( S-561H-34 gunship helicopters, manning
12.7mmf.5Oca1 machrne guns, and German MG151 2Qmm
aircraft cannon rigged on pedestal mounts.)
In the lield AJf CommancIos wore para fatigues with a
camouflage cap of flaner outline than the Bige3rd type: when
not tactical they wore the bJeu roi Alr Force befElt With a gold
badge. His M1950 TAP web equipmeot includes two pairs 01
car1ouch;eres M1950153. and the large 'commando type'
first-aid pouch. The 7.5mm MAS49/56 setf-loadill9 rifle, with
integral grenade launcher and detachable len-round
magazine, replaced the MAS36 in Intervention units from
about 1957. Taped to his heavily loaded M1951 all-arms
bergram rucksack is an air visibility panel; these were also
seen in yellowlblack bars and white/red triangles, the colours
being reversed 00 the other side, and sometimes bore addi-
tional recognition leners.
Cl: RCl gunner, parachute infantry; winter field
dress, 1957-60 This para hom the command and support
platoon of a rifle company marV'aandles the American 57mm
'recoiUess rifle'; despite its 22kg (48.51b) weight and the dIS-
advantage of its highly visible back-blast. its 3kg (6.6Ib)
fragmentation round was valuable for delivenng fire into
caves, gunies and other" heavy cover. He wears the Bigeard
cap with the split neck flap down (II was usually tucked up
inside), Ml947152 and 153 JUmp latlgues. M1950 webbing
and jump boots. In cold weather a quilted. coItaness, Iong-
sleeved olive drab Jacket was often worn under the smock.
His personal weapon is the 9mm MACSO pistol in one of two
versions 01 the M1950 web holster; his canteen is the M1952.
An air ylSibillty panel is taped to his web knapsack (musette
d'allegement M1950151). Note also the coloured scarf tied at
the shoulder as a field identification sign: usually in red, blue,
green, yellow Of white, these were widely worn throughout
the French forces at the shoulder or neck (or both, in coo-
trasting colours), the position and colour changing according
to operation orders. At Agounenda the heayily engaged 3e
Cie.. 3e RPe were 'blue company',
Th••ih... Airborne
Fon: •• betel - _
Pl,le. 8' E1.
M19C$ b,ttled..... with the Foreign Legion" ,pKlIIl
c:te,.••, _m for, doc:oration parade by the co of tM 2.
REP one 0' hi...'Ve,nt-m,jors (three aold c:he'lrons
L.-glon kuuon wtth gold HOlen-flam. triple
11_ edglnill. Not. "'Ie ,Itemating 1I01dI.i..... r lIalons 0' th<I
IHlut.nant..co!one''s rank around the top 0' his bltc:k
kepi. (Court••y Jim Wonlen'
C2: Soldat, 5e Regiment d'inianterie; winter lield dress,
1959 nus conscnpt seMng WIth the sector 1lOOPS wears
the French M1951 steel helmet: it was also common to wear
the fibre Uner alone. The Ml947/52 fatigues haye external
skirt pockets: it was unusual but not unknown for the
midnight blue M1945 ecusson to be worn in the field. This
bears the I'IIne·name grenade of the Infantry below lhe unit
number, Within the double edging of Metropolitan (and
Colonial) units, all in red. The trousers are gathered into the
US-inspired M1951 web gaiters, over M1945 boots. His
Mt946 leather equipment Includes belt, braces, and two
double rille ammunition pouches. The 5e RI were one 01
many sector units which carried US small arms: photos show
the M1 Garand, M3 'grease gun' and BAR in widespread use
as well as the ubiquitous M1 carbine, thus complicating
ammunition resupply, Jackal and fox cubs were popular pets.
C3: Soldat, 81e Batamon d'infanterie; summer field dress,
1958 This sector unit provided a weak company for an
isolated post at Guentis In the arid Nemencha Mount8Jns of
the south-east Constantinois. Asmed with an MAS36, this
conscnpl wears the lightest kit lor local duty in summer -
perhaps standing guard over the weelo;ly market in lhe
Muslim village. The Ml949 fabric bush hat was seen in both
the ongmal sand-khaki and later drab green. The M1948
khaki shirt has its sleeves shortened here: rt is worn with
matching shotts, and canvas and rubber pataugas. The
Ml946 leather belt and pouches atQ worn wrthout braces.
and with the webbing carrier of lhe M1951 canteen looped
on at the back. 43
44
Typlul Of the hith
q....Uty ot F......,h
..-vl....ntal breast
bad,.s, tMt of the
Ie RCP Is of scarlet
enlm.1 wIth gold
d.t.aUs .nd I dull
gold flllure 01 St.
Mlehael, pAtron saInt
01 paratroopers.
01: Soldat de 1ere classe, 2e Sataillon, 152e Regiment
d'lnfanterie; winter walking-out dress, Constantine, 1957
Thts recafled reseMSt wears on the left front of hIS Ml957
caIot - to( the Infantry. mldmght blue WIth red top fold and
p1P'fl9 - the red enamelled diagonal bar 01 his rank. His
M1946 wool serge battledress is worn en tenue de SOItIe,
WIth the added shoulderboards of his branch and the col·
lective cItation lanyard of his regiment: daily barracks dress.
lenue No.3. dispensed with these. but still displayed the
ecusson; the Infantry grenade is repeated on the shoulder-
boards. His single rank chevron in red on midnight blue butts
down against the dlamon<l on the left sleeve. and Is worn
alone 011 the right sleeve with a solid triangle of the backing
In the bight. The 152e wore the citation fourragere 01 the
legion d'HOl1Il8Ur. Fobbed to the right pocket is the
enamelled JegIlTlental badge 01 the 152e. 'les Dlables
Rouges'. He wears the khaki shirt wrth a stJghtly dar1l;er be;
and civil'.an-sty!e shoes.
The uniforms 01 Muslims locally recrurted into French
MetroPOlitan and Colorllal units were distlf'lQuJshed on fOtlTlal
occa5lOflS by a broad red waist sash worn under the leather
be'.
02: Seldat, 61e Compa9nie de Transmissions, HQ 11e
Division d'lnfanterie; Constantine, autumn 1960 Divislonal
patches were not WIdely worn for other than parade
occas.IOOS. That of the 11e 01 was issued from February
1957: a white-bladed sword WIth yellow and black hilt on a
red shJeId set on a pale blue backlng bord8l"ed WIth black. It
IS worn here on Ml947 an-arms camouflage fatigues by a
soIdH!t 01 the dMsional SlQnals company: an enamelled
company badge IS pinned to the nght pocket. A black beret
IS worn with a yellow metal version of the swOtd insignia - a
non-regulatIOn affectation. (Pemaps. in a division nowalmost
entirely composed of Foreign Legion units, the signallers felt
the need to cut a bit 01 a dash, too.)
03: Fusilier Marin, 3e Bataillon, 1er Oeml-Brigade de
Fusillers Marins; Moroccan frontier, winter 1958 The
3.000-strong ler OBFM was formed in July 1956 from con-
scripts. With HQ at Nemours, ZOO, the three battalions (and
their formidable locally recn.rited 'Commando Yatagan') were
responsible for some 800 square kilometres. Although the
TuniSIan border was the greater threat. the western 'barTage'
- stretctung from the coast VIa MarM. Am-selra and Beni-
Qunlf south to Colomb-B8char - got plenty of attention from
the ALN Ifl Morocco. From 1959 the OBFM's ler Bo. jOined
the General Reserve; the 3e patIOlled the barrage itself. and
the 2e provtded defence in depth further east.
This composite flQure. from photos of a half-track crew.
wears M1947 fatigues with the OBFM's left sleeve patch and
naval headgear, a woollen toque: US M1955 body armour,
and a US M1 helmet painted with a red anchor (the pho-
tographed crew wear a mi:o:ture of these and French M1951
helmets). The chest pouch rig for five SMG magazines. in
bright green canvas and light brown hide. is often seen in
photos of both lhe DBFM and the Naval Commando Group
(see Plate Ell.
04: Sous-lieutenant, ler Compa9nie, 2e Regiment de
Zouaves; Perregaull, 1957 To the ZOuaves. as 10 the
legIOn, AJgena was home. The 2e RZ served !rom autumn
1955 In the ZEO. equrpped with US half-tracks. In 1956--58
they operated alongside the leglOn's 5e REI; once the
eastern 0ranaJs was more Of less pacified they adopted the
rotJIlne of most sectOl' troops - patrols, guarding European
farms. trying to protect natllle villages !rom FLN pressure.
night ambushes on suspected enemy routes, convoy
escorts. and 'hearlS and minds' miSSions such as public
works and medical ald.
This young officer wears the Zouaves' red bonnet de
police with a midnight blue top fold; his rank Is marked by a
single small chevron of gold lace at the cap lront, and a
single gold horizontal bar on a buttoned-on midnight blue
chest tab. His 'lightened' M1947 camouflage fatigue
shlrtl"/8Cket is worn OtIIside the trousers of the Blltlsh M1942
WlOC!proof camouflage SUIt (a combination widety seen In
photos of this unrl. together with the M1951 fibre helmet
Frenc:h bonnetll de polh:l: ltopllight side 01 TirelUeurs
eap, .nllsted ranks. Ml!M&, in pale with
lemon yellow top fold Ind tum-up pipl",; (bottom) len aide
of officer qUllity Inflnt.ne e.p, resembling ttle
more rounded shape whleh would become unlv.rall with
the Ml1157, In midnIght blue with red pIpIng, lieutenant's
two gold laea chevrons, and - broken he.e - lhe gold anchor
badge 01 ColonIal reglm.nts. (Courtesy Denis L"susl
l.ner). He wears a single leather SMG magazine pouch on a
US M1936 web pistol belt, and carries an MAT49. Note the
unusually robust tropical boots. no doubt a prrvate purchase.
E1: General de Brigade Jacques Massu, 10e Division
Parachutiste; Algiers, spring 1957 A h'9hly decorated
veteran of the Uberation and Indochina. Massu slepped onto
the woOd stage in 1957 as general offICeI'" commanding the
lOe DP when it was caned into A1g18rs erty and given a fTee
hand to root out the Fl..N bombers. HIS routine sanctioning of
tOtlUI9 10 extract information remaJr'lS htghly controversial;
Massu was always completely sttalghtforward in taklng
responsibility fOf what he considered distasteful but
unavoidable methods, given his mission and resources. His
success made hllTl a hero to the pieds noirs; he supported
the relum of De GauUe and was completely loyal to him.
although hiS outspoken advocacy of the army's viewpoint got
him dismissed as GOC Algiers Army Corps in January 1960.
(His promised support for De Gaulle during the Paris riots of
May 1968. when commander of French troops in Germany.
earned the release of army personnel still in prison for their
activities in 1961-62.)
The dar\( red beret was worn by all French Metropolitan
and Colonial para units in Indochina from 1951; from 1954
returning Metropolitan units reverted to royal blue (see Plate
B1) while Colonials retained red. all para units still weanng
this silver Airborne Forces badge; Massu favoured a large
size Colonial beret. His M1947156 fatigues are modified wllh
a fuJI-length smock zip; his M1950 web belt has the Rapco
buckle, and he wore dar\( brown M1950153 jump boots.
Insignia are hIS two gold rank stars on black shoulder strap
slides, parachutJst's wmgs, the 108 DP patch on the nghl
shoulder. and hIS mpressive array 01 medal ribbons mounted
on t:Xack in the FnlOCh style.
E2: Ueutenant de vaisseau, Commando de Montfort;
Oran, 14 July 1959 The Groupement des Commandos·
Marine cornpnsed Cdos. de MontfOfl and Trepel. which
amved from Momcco and Tunisia in 1955. joined in 1956 by
Cdos. Jaubert and Penlentenyo: each was the equIValent 01
a strong company group. Their green beret pulled right in
British lashion commemorated the Free French Naval
Commandos' exploits in World War II. It was worn. with their
distinctive badge. lor all duties until c.1960. when Blgeard
caps were adopted lor operations. The GCM characteris·
tically wore camouflage para smocks with green fatigue
trousers for all duties until about mld·1959, thereafter
wearing lull camouflage suits when tactical. A number of
photos c.1956-59 show smocks in this unusual blotched
camouflage instead of the usual streaked pallern, and what
appear to be while-lined dar1l khaki shins. Rank inSignia were
naval; for this parade the CO wears naval shoulder boards.
the unit'S fourrage,e in the yellow and green 01 the Medaille
Militaire ribbon. and fuJI personal decoratlOflS: note Ihat the
des'9n of the ;Ump smock prevented the lanyards' lerrule
ends belOQ earned across to the centre of the breast in the
usual parade style.
Soldle... of the 2e Zouaves patrolli"'ll _.r P e ~ u .. In the
0 ..._ .., tgS7. Both w••r M1947 g...." f.lig....., one wTttl
the rR .na bl.... Z_v••ideeap .nd _ with • bu.h h.t.
The ..-dlo. Ir. the US SCR300 Ind, fONflround, SCR5311
'h.ndie·u.lkl.'.jCourtesy Je.n-Lue oelluv.'
Th. gold beret badge
of the Air Force
Commlndo. - In
under PI". 83.
E3: Sous-lieutenanl, Commando Georges (Cdo 135);
Saida, 1960 Some commandos de chasse acqUIred metal
breast badges. and a few - e.g. Commando Georges and
Commando Cobra. raised largely lrom former ALN fighters
by the use RIMot in the Saida sector. ZSD. in February 1959
- wore shoulder patches at teast for parades. (Initially
numbel"ed Cdos. 47 and 43. these two unlts were later redes-
ignated t35 and 134 respectively. Indicating aHiliation to
units of the 13e 01.) A photo of an Algerian officer shows the
unit's brass crescent and dagger breast badge: a red and
black shoulder patch with gold-Iellered 'Georges' (afttlf the
founding commander. Lt. Georges Grillet): French rank bars,
and a red unit searl. The 'Medal fOf security Operations and
Maintenance of Order' was Introduced in January 1958 fOf 90
days' service - it was the A1genan War C3mpalQn medal 10 all
but name.
E4: Soldal, Be Regiment Parachutiste d'lnfanterie de
Marine; Tebessa, 1959 In September 1957 all Metropolrtan
para unl1s were ordered back IOto the red beret; so In June
1958, to dlStlOQUlSh them from the chasseurs parachutJstes.
LEFT The dull gold berel b.clge of the
N.val Commando Group - .... under
Plate E2.
RIGHT The berat b.dge of the Colonial
Parachute Regiments from June 1958,'
dartl .lIver winged fl.1 and dagger on I
gold fouled anchor - ... under Plale E4,
the Colonial units received this new cap badge of the silver
winged fist and dagger superimposed on a gold anchor, In
December 1958 Colonl8l units reverted to their historic title of
'Mame reglfTlel'\ts', The use of camouflage fatigues WIth
parade embellIShments for formal occasions - such as the
parade at which thIS paf3 tIas been awarded the Croix de
Valeur Militaue. the eqUIValent of the Croix de Guene for thIS
'waf that was not a war' - became very IT'IariIed in the late
1950s. The M1946 shouldert>oards In mldmght blue bear III
red the two small chevrons and fouled anchor of Marine
troops. the anchor repeated inSIde double red edging on the
midnight blue sleeve Scusson. This, hke the 25e DP patch on
the right shoulder, is temporarily attached with hooks and
eyes. The Be RPc/RPIMa's citation lanyard In the pale blue
and red of the ribbon of the Croix de Guerre TOE ('for
external theatres of operations') is worn on the left shoulder.
Para wings and the 8e RPC/RPIMa unit badge are pinned to
the right breast.
F AND G: ARMEE DE LIBERATION NATIONALE
Although it evolved Into a well-supplied guemDa army, the
ALN was never 'uruform' In its clothing and equipment: we
illustrate only a sample of the wide vanety seen. French
latJQVeS acqull'ed VI3 TunISia or Mon:x:co gradually became
the most convnon dress, but were never unIVersal: and a
huge range of headgear was worn. For Instance, a Slf"lQIe
photo showing about 20 men of one unit in 1958 includes
French M1947 and US M1943 fatigues; French bush hats
and bonnets de poJlce, berets in both green drab and cam·
ouflage cloth, and a variety of visored field caps; French,
British and US webbing and French leather equipment;
Mauser K98 and Garand Ml rifles, and a BAR. We have not
illustrated figures 01 the external forces who only returned 10
Algena after the cease-lire. Photos of parades in Tunisia
show what appear to be Egyptian airbom& camouflage
latigues and Italian M1933 steel helrne1S, S1monov SKS rifles.
and old Hitlet]lJgend daggers as sidearms, (Others show men
traInIng with earty AK47s and RPGs, but Soviet bloc
equlJ)l'Tlel'lt played VIrtually no part Ifl the Waf itself.) Film
taken Ifl Tunisia shows some otrlCefS wearing complete
French camouflage even extending over the VISOl" of a stiff-
topped OfflCef'S cap, wrth a brass badge lfl the shape 01 a
star between the points of an upwards crescent: and applied
khaki or camouflage shouldert>oaTds wrth stars 01 f3nk.
F1: Moudjahid, Aures mountains, February 1955 A fugitive
being hunted through the hills by Ducournau's paratroopers
46 during the first winter. A composite 01 various prisoner
photos. he wears the red Berber skullcap and civilian clothes:
With thiS heavy macklnaw-stY'e hunting jacket and corduroys
he rs probably a good deal better eqUiPped than most. He is
armed only WIth a shotgun, though at close Quarters heavy
boar-shot could be devastatlng - and in the mountains many
encounters took place at vety close quarters.
F2: Dhabet el-aouel, Wilaya 1, spring 1958 A composIle,
Iarge+y hom a photo 01 a fighter captured south of Tebessa
by the 2e REP: his weapon is not visible, but grven the sma.
SIZe of the rounds in his ammunrtlOn belts we have painted
him WIth an M1Al Thompson, a prestige weapon among the
ALN. A cheche is rolled into a makeshift turban, The M1939
US Army service tunIC appears In many photos: we have
added one white and one red star to the shoulder straps for
the rank of dhabet el-aouel, equivalent to /irst lieutenant. on
the command staff of a katiba. The trousers appear to be
French M1948 khaki stacks, and variations on the French
issue pataugas were widely worn.
F3: Djoundi, Battle 01 the Frontiers, winter 1957-58 A
composite from severnl photos, iI1ustratlng a typical ALN
soldier of the middle Waf years moving up to try to cross the
'barrage'. Various knitted cap-comforters and balactavas,
some wrth integral visors, were widely used. among them thIS
US Army 'bearue'. The greatcoat is French army issue; and
personal equipment optlOflS seem to have Il"Idoded SIX or
etght of the pouches, single-size only, from the Ml935 set.
The most obvious signs of President Nasser's decision 10
supply the ALN from British surphJs stocks in Egypt are the
Mk.llt steel helmet (smaller n u m ~ 01 the Mk.lI. and the
RAC rimless pattern, were also seenl: and the SMLE Mk.IU
rifle. A BritiSh No. 36 grenade Is carried in the French 'boule
basket' leather carrier.
G1: Djoundi, Battle of the Frontiers, spring 1958 A com-
posite lrom photos. The ALN wore any French camouflage
uniforms they could get, the dress of the famous paras being
fsh to bestow prestige. ThIs certainly did not come - in the
numbers photographed - hom French dead, so must have
been bought by ALN agents 00 the open martlel. This soldier
wears the 'lightened. an-arms' VE!rslOO, wrth a 8IgeaId cap
made from French poncho material. Note plfl-on badge, with
the AlN's red star-and-<:rescent on a halved greenlwhite
baclong, on I'\Is left chest: vanous katIDa insignia were also
locally produced, but details are unknown, and insignia of
any lund were very rare In the lield. The US web rille bett
carries ammunition for his Czech,made Mauser K98, by far
the most common rille in ALN service. though the MAS36.
Garand, Ml carbine, SMLE and British No.4 were also used
in quantity. Packs were enormously various. and the non-
military colour of these straps suggests that this lighter has a
locally made rucksack or knapsack.
G2: Zonal commando, 1957-58 This djoundi wears a US
Ml943 field jacket with French Ml947 trousers, and one of
a number of field cap designs worn IndJscriminately within
ALN units; others Included an Afrika KOtps-style high-fronted
shape made ugly by the fact that its unstrHened visor flopped
sharply down over the eyes, and a 'Mao' or 'railroad
engineer' style. His British-style web beh supports an M1951
canteen and leather Ml946 SMG magazine pooches. The
Getman MP40 sut>-machine gun was widefy used. as were
the MAT49 and 8efetta M1938; rare photos also show a few
Getman SIUrmgewehr St(;.44 assault rifles. The standard
ALN left shoulder patctl was the most common insignia.
though very far from unwersal.
G3: Machine gunner, winter fiekt dress, 1957-59 ThiS
soldier wears a mot'8 substantial field cap of woollen cloth,
and over his Ml947 fatJgUeS, fOt warmth, the ubiquitous
North Afncan djeI/aba. He was photographed crewv'Ig a
French FM24129 LMG. but we have subslJluted the German
MG34 which often figured in French aftl!l"-action photos and
reports. The MG42 was less commonly encountered, as was
the old lewis; the FM24/29. Bren, and Browning Automauc
Rifle were acqUifed If! quantrty; and lripod-mounted machlne
guns included the HotchkISS and Vtckers. All ALN ammo-
nitoo resupply was a logIStIC nightmare.
H: SECTIONS ADMINISTRATIYES
SPECIALlSItES. 1955·62
H1: lieutenant, SAS Created by Governor-General
Soustelle in 1955, the SAS was an ambitIOUS 'hearts and
minds' initiatrve to provide villagers wIth practical help and a
visible French presence, improVing therr lives while pro-
Going ho",e: ",en 01 the 2e Zou.v•• lnot. badge painted on
suitca..) In fully badged battledre•• len". d. SOfti•• Th.
(right - on. gold abov. two red c:heVTOns) has
the Zouave crescent end nu",ber on his snoulder
board••• w.n •• his .lMva kuuOl'l. IJ••n-Luc Delaw.1
Probably photognllphed .ft.r the 11M2 c....-flre. two ALN
men chat to village,.. One w.a,. • beret In French
oufIaga mat.rial and wnat .ppear to be Egypti.n .Irbotne
t.tigue,. The outfit on tM right rese",b1es
French camouflage. but aho_ .... rtlc.l nIIther th.n hori.
zontal streeks. Khaki, green .nd varlo". Freneh coloUred
sidecap. _re worn by the ALN, ....ti..... with added
badges.
tectrng them from Intimldauoo. Some 400 small voIUnt6el"
teams were led by Arabic-speaking junior oHicers wrth local
knowledge. Generously funded. the programme covered
public health. education. building. agncultural aSSIstance and
adminrstration of justice. as wen as local counter-Insurgency
intelligence and liarson With the anned forces. Many of these
'kepis bleus' were admirably devoted and courageous men;
in remote posts, protected only by a handful of local auxil-
ranes, thQlr real popularrty With the Muslim villagers made
them prime targets of the FLN. This oHicer wears the sky-
blue cap, dark red shoulderboards and sleeve badge, and
90ld crescent-and-star insignia of the SAS wrth the M1948
khaki shirtsleeve uniform; he carries a Kabylie girt child
wearing typically colourful local costume.
H2: Berber caid. Aures mountains The type of Muslim
whose plight - caught between the army and the FLN,
neither of which could protect the remote villages from the
other, but both of which Inflicted reprisals for 'collaboration'
- was perhaps the most pitiable of all. He wears a typical
mixture of local dress and European cast-olfs; the colourful
straw hat was a regional speciality. His medals mark him as
a TIrailieur veteran of one or both Wortd Wars. Basic
weapons. including ancient Lebels, were Issued to trusted
village militias 'or self-defence.
H3: SAS nursing sisler, 1958 A composite, from two nurses
photographed in the Seni-Douala country south of TIzi-
Ouzou. where a fOtmer para captain had responsibility for
26.000 Berbers in 23 vinages spread over more than 80
square kilometres. Travelling between villages escorted by
the maghzen and men from 11I121e RI. thrs ntne is armed
wlttl a 12-bore S{)OI'lJng shotgun; she wears a bush hat. khaki
drill shrrt. M1947152 para trousers and pataugas. and
displays the same green fiek:I srgn at her shoulder as the
trooPS accompanyng her. 47
48
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9IIotM...r--__rn-._.........

MILITARY
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An unrivalled source of information on the uniforms, insignia and appearance of the world's fighting
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the Napoleonic wars and German airborne troops in a popular 48 page format including some
40 photographs and diagraJTlS, and eight full-eolour plates.
,-
MARTIN WINDROW left,. was born in 1944 and educated at Wellington College. He
has worked as a commissioning editor and writer in the military and aviation fields since the
1960s. A former series editor at Osprey Military and a founding editor of Military Illustrated he
is currently Editorial Director of Windrow and Greene Publishing.
MIKE CHAPPELL spent 22 years in infantry soldiering retiring in 1974, as RSM of the
1st Bn., The Wessex Regiment (Rine Volunteers). Since beginning to paint military subjects
in 1968 Mike has gained world·wide popularity as a military illustrator. He has been a prolific
artist and author for Osprey for over twenty·one years. He currently lives and works in Kent.
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MEN-AT-ARMS SERIES TITLES
THE ANCIENT WORLD
11' ANCIENT CHINESE ARMIES
109 ANCIENT ARMIES OF THE MIDDU EAST
18" IMPERIAL CHINESE ARMIES (I)
200 BC-589 AD
131 THE SCYTHlAN5 700-)00 8.C
" GIIEEK AND PERSIAN ARMIES 500-)2) BC
1"8 THE ARMY OF ALEXANDEII THE GREAT
111 AIIMIES OF THECARTHAGIAN WARS
265.10% BC
18) EARLY ROMAN ARMIES
., THE IIOMAN ARMY FROM CAESAR
TOTRAJAN
n THE "'OMAN ARMY FROM HADRIAN
TO CONSTANTINE
191 IIEPUBUCAN ROMAN ARMY Be
119 ROME'S ENEMIES (I)
GERMAN1CS" DAClANS
158 ROME'S ENEMIES (2)
GAWC & BRITISH CElTS
115 ROME'S ENEMIES (l)
pARTHIANS &SASSANIOS
180 ROME'S ENEMIES (4) SPAIN 218-19 8C
1") IIOME'S ENEMIES (5) DESERT FRONTIER
THE MEDIEVAL WORLD
1..1 ROMANQ.BTZANTINE ARMIES
4TH-9TH C-
IS" ARTHUR" THE ANGLO-SAXON WARS
195 IMPEJUAl CHINESE ARMIES (2) S90-1260AO
155 ARMIES OF THE MVSUM CONQUEST
115 ARMIES OF ISlAM. 1TH-I ITH Co
150 THE AGE OF CHARUl'1AGNE
89 BYV.NTINEAAMtES886-1118
85 SAXON. VIKING I. NORMAN
III FRENCH MEDIEV"-lARMIES 1000(1)00
)10 GERMAN MEDIEV"-lARMIES 1000-1]00
11 ARMIES OF THE CRUSADes
111 SAlADIN I. THE SARACENS
ISS THE KNIGHTS Of CHRIST
100 ELCID& RECONQUISTA IOSO-1492
105 THE MONGOLS
181 B'YZANTINE ARMIES 1118-10%1
111 THE AGE OF TAMERlANE
15 I MEDIEVAL CHINESE ARMIES
50 MEDIEVAL EUAOf'£AN ARMIES
lSI THESCOTTtSH AND WElSH WARS
12S0-10400
9. THE SWISS AT WAR Ilco.lSOO
1)6 ITAl.IAN MEDtEV"-l ARMIES Ilco.l SOO
166 MEDtEV"-l GERMAN ARMIES 1300-ISOO
195 HUNGARY & THE FAll OF E. EUROPE
lOOQ-IS68
159 THE MAMlUKS
1..0 OTTOMAN TURKS IlIJO.-In4
110 VENETIAN EMPIRE 1200-1610
III ARMIES OF CRECY AND POmERS
I.... MEDIEV"-lBURGUND'f lUr4-t"n
II) ARMIES OF AGINCOURT
1"5 WARS OF THE ROSES
" MEDIEVAL HEMlORY
Titles contiooed OIl i'tside bode
Avec en sur les planches en couteur
Mit AulZelchnungen auf Deutsch uber den Farbtafeln
ISBN 1-85532-658-2
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