by Mitch on December 29, 2010 0 Comments

The Franco– Viet Minh War (1946–1954) began following skirmishes between French and Viet Minh (Vietnamese Liberation League) troops in Haiphong and Hanoi. The war lasted eight years and marked the end of French colonial rule in Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos).



Although the war began in 1946, the conflict between France and Vietnam can be traced back to 1885, when France colonized Vietnam and divided it into three separate administrative areas: Cochin China, Annam, and Tonkin. Vietnamese resistance to French colonial rule was immediate and constant. In 1930 the Vietnamese independence movement reached a decisive turn, when Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) helped create the Vietnamese Communist Party. The party later changed its name to the Indochinese Communist Party in order to include Laos and Cambodia. The party provided an organizational framework for obtaining independence from France. In 1941, at the suggestion of Ho Chi Minh, the Viet ...

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The [British] Indian Army

by Mitch on December 26, 2010 2 Comments

The continuance of British power ultimately depended upon the Indian army, and there was general agreement among the British authorities that the mutinies in the army in 1857 reflected basic weaknesses, making reform essential. Under the East India Company, each of the three presidencies—Bengal, Madras, and Bombay—had separate armies under the general control of a commander-in-chief, and this cumbersome system was revised by unifying all the armies under the civilian governor-general, but with a commander-in-chief of the army as the second most important person in the government. This recognition of civilian, not military control of the government was a basic element of British power in India and remained a fundamental characteristic of the government of independent India. The most significant clash between the rights of the civilian and military chiefs took place during the administration of Lord Curzon (1899–1905).


Another issue of special concern, after the uprisings ...

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The Early Soviets and Afghanistan

by Mitch on December 22, 2010 0 Comments

Soviet civil aircraft shown.

In 1925, the Soviet Union presented the ARAF with a squadron of R-2 reconnaissance-bombers. In addition, the Soviet Union agreed to host 50 ARAF pilots for training and technical education purposes. Polikarpov R-1 and R-2 Copy of DH.9A built in Soviet Union, originally at Duks Aircraft Works, supervised by Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov. Early aircraft were powered by Mercedes DIV or Armstrong Siddeley Puma, but with most powered by an M-5 copy of the Liberty Engine. Produced 1922-1932, with over 2,400 built

While the British and the Afghans were struggling to finalize their independence agreement, the Russians moved forward with establishing amicable relations with Afghanistan. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 led to dramatic changes in the Russian government and also in the pacification efforts of their Muslim inhabitants. As such, the Soviet government sought to establish amicable relationships with neighboring Islamic countries to mollify any ...

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by Mitch on December 22, 2010 0 Comments

Arrival at Landi Kotal of the Afghan peace delegates after the 3rd Afghan War in 1919. By this time roads had been constructed, and cars were able to cross the Frontier.


King Amanullah was resolute in his stance on Afghan autonomy from foreign control. Over the past 40 years in Afghanistan, since the Second Anglo- Afghan War, the boundaries of the country had been devised by foreign governments and their desire to implement Afghanistan as a buffer state. The various treaties and agreements over the years, some of which Afghanistan was forced to comply with, instilled Amanullah’s implementation of a regime to create a nation composed of independent rule. The British-imposed Treaty of Gandamak in 1879 and the application of the Durand Line in 1893 forced British control and influence in Afghanistan. On the opposite side of the Great Game, the Russians imposed the settlement of the lands of ...

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by Mitch on December 22, 2010 0 Comments

The clothing worn by the Pathans varied from tribe to tribe, but the basic garments were the angarka— loose blouse—and baggy trousers, usually of off-white cotton. Headgear consisted of the kullah, the pointed overstitched cap, round which the lungi was tied to form a loose turban. The lungi could also be worn as a waist-sash. In cold weather the reversed goatskin poshteen was normally worn; its amount of embroidery depended on wealth and status. The Waziris tended to favour a dark-red or indigo turban and a dark-red or pink waist-sash. The Kurram Valley tribes wore an angarka of dark blue with white patches similar to the dress of Sudanese dervishes. Khyber Pass Afridis usually wore a grey or blue angarka with off-white trousers. Tribes often adopted a predominant but by no means uniform combination of colours.


Besides the captured rifles which were the constant and most valuable form of ...

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by Mitch on December 22, 2010 0 Comments

In a unique turn of events in Afghanistan, Habibollah Khan’s ascension to the throne was peaceful and was not contested after Abdur Khan’s death. On commencement of his reign, Habibollah’s regime would prove to be much different than his fathers, and as such his tenure in office is regarded one of severe neutrality. In stark contrast to his father, Habibollah abolished his father’s spy system on Afghan tribes and foreign countries. Furthermore, Habibollah Khan is regarded as a progressive thinker who sought to establish a modern land with advancements in technology, education, and medicine. Despite his dominating policy of noninvolvement in World War I, he is credited with opening the technology portal for Afghanistan by introducing such innovations as electricity and the automobile.


Overall, the country of Afghanistan remained neutral during World War I despite the encouragement of the Germans to persuade the Afghans into anti-British ...

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French West Africa (Afrique occidentale française)

by Mitch on December 20, 2010 1 Comment

A gathering of former Governors of Senegal in Dakar, 1950s.

French West Africa came into being in 1895 when France decided to consolidate its African holdings. Initially, French West Africa was a temporary combination of Senegal, French Guinea (now Guinea), French Sudan (now Mali), and Côte d’Ivoire. In 1904 it became permanent, with territories including Dahomey (now Benin), French Guinea, French Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauretania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). The federation was ruled by a governor-general fi rst from Saint-Louis and then, after 1902, from Dakar, both in Senegal. The federation supported Vichy France during World War II before accepting the Free French in November 1942.


The federation occupied an area of 4,689,000 square kilometers, most of which was desert or semidesert in the interior of Niger, Sudan, and Mauretania. One of the largest colonial possessions in Africa, the federation reached from ...

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French mandate in Syria and Lebanon

by Mitch on December 20, 2010 1 Comment

Potez 650 Unit: GT I/15 Serial: N15 Pilot - Adjudant Chef Renouard. Alep, Syria, June 1941.

Breguet Br.270 A2 Unit: GAO 509, Armee de l'Air

Following the defeat and the subsequent collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the geographic area of greater Syria came under French mandate rule as stipulated by the League of Nations in 1920. Under French rule, the mandate authority, in addition to expanding the Ottoman Wilayat of Lebanon at the expense of Syria, divided Syria into four new separate districts: Aleppo, Latikia, Damascus, and Jebel Druze. French rule in Syria faced violence, rebellions, and political opposition by the Syrians, who never accepted French domination


The country now known as Lebanon was created on September 1, 1920, by enlarging the Ottoman Wilayat of Lebanon to include previously Syrian-held territory north and south of its borders. The entity of greater Lebanon (1920–26), as the ...

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Druze Revolt of 1925 – 27 and French Air Power

by Mitch on December 20, 2010 0 Comments

When the French occupied their Mideast colonies of Lebanon and Syria in 1919, they faced the same sort of nationalist unrest that the British faced in Iraq. Initially, the French sent a larger air contingent to garrison Syria than the British sent to Iraq and by the end of 1919 had built up a force of four squadrons in Syria. French Breguet 14 light bombers, sturdy aircraft from the Great War, played the same role that the RAF's DH-9s played in British colonial operations. Gen Maxime Weygand, commander of the garrison in Syria, argued that airpower was "indispensable" and requested more air squadrons so that he could withdraw ground troops. In 1924 Weygand issued directives to his air units that closely resembled British air-control doctrine. He intended to use aircraft to bomb tribal groups when incidents occurred as a means of intimidating them into complying with the French regime ...

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by Mitch on December 17, 2010 0 Comments

Chinese Prisoners During Sino-Japanese War. Japanese soldiers march Chinese prisoners during the first Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). The war marked the beginning of Japan’s policy of imperial expansion.


When young radicals overthrew the Tokugawa shogun in 1868, their overriding goal was to create a strong, sovereign Japan that could overcome the unequal treaties imposed by the Western powers. Over the next seventy-seven years, until defeat in World War II (1939–1945), Japan would assemble a vast empire in east Asia and the western Pacific. Yet the course of acquiring this empire was not predetermined but buffeted with disagreement and circumstance. Indeed the new leadership split over a plan to invade Korea in 1871. That action was blocked, but in 1875 Tokyo sent a fleet to the isolated nation, forcing Korea to open up to Japanese trade and contact.



For the next two decades Tokyo vied with ...

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Sarraounia Sorceress-queen of the Azna Kingdom (fl. 1899)

by Mitch on December 10, 2010 0 Comments

Photo collage from modern film.

The Azna occupied the Dallol Mawri, a broad valley in the Hausa country of the present-day Dogondoutchi district of Niger in northwest Africa. As has happened with so many heroes of history, myths have grown about Sarraounia’s childhood. She had a Spartan upbringing with adoptive parents. At the age of eighteen she already knew how to lead men into battle, and as a tribal sorceress, she held her warriors and her enemies alike in thrall. When the Fulani of Sokoto attempted to convert her and her people to Islam, she and her warriors fought bravely to drive them back. She had also successfully resisted invasion by the Tuaregs from the north before the white man appeared.


In January 1899, French troops—primarily black mercenaries— commanded by captains Voulet and Chanoine left Segou in Mali, crossed the territories of the Zarma and of the Gourma ...

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Ethiopian Air Force

by Mitch on December 10, 2010 0 Comments

Fokker F.VIIa/1m 'Abba Dagnew'


The aircraft equipped with Lorraine motor. The drawing based on images in a TV Documentary of John Ford in the 1930`s.

Potez 25A-2 'Nesre Makonnen'  Serial: 3

Nesre Makonnen (Prince Makonnen), Addis Ababa, 1933. This aircraft is coloured Dark Green overall. The serial number and Amharic script appear in White with a Yellow shadow effect. The Lion of Judah symbol is painted in Light Brown and Yellow with Black detailing. No markings were carried on the wings of rudder at this stage, but by the time of the Italian occupation rudder stripes had been added and the inscription and Lion of Judah removed. Rudder stripes consisted of equal horizontal stripes of (from top) Green, Yellow and Red. Other aircraft in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force carried a rectangle on the wing surfaces in Green, Yellow and Red, but it is not known if ...

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Protecting Ethiopian Sovereignty: The Military

by Mitch on December 10, 2010 0 Comments

Hubert Julian

Haile Selassie had begun reforming the military since when, as regent in 1919, he appointed a small group of Ethiopians and Russian officers with many in the former group having served in the British-led King’s African Rifles and training exercise. He continued the process through a heavy project of recruitment, armament purchase, and extensive use of foreign military advisors from diverse backgrounds including English, French, and Belgian. The Swedish missions were, however, favored in the training of the Imperial Guard, which helped maintained the emperor’s hegemony in the capital while protecting him from regional opposition such as that posed by Ras Gugsa, the governor of Gondar and Begemder, who was soundly defeated in the 1930 conflict. In 1934, a military college was opened at Holeta under the guidance of Belgian instructors, and soldiers of promise were sent to the French military academy at St. Cyr for ...

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