Author: John P. Cann
Publisher: Helion and Company
In 1961, Portugal found itself fighting a war to retain its colonial possessions and preserve the remnants of its Empire. It was almost completely unprepared to do so, and this was particularly evident in its ability to project power and to control the vast colonial spaces of Africa. Following the uprisings of March 1961 in the north of Angola, Portugal poured troops into the colony as fast as its creaking logistic system would allow; however, these new arrivals were not competent and did not possess the skills needed to fight a counterinsurgency. While counterinsurgency by its nature requires substantial numbers of light infantry, the force must be trained in the craft of fighting a ‘small war’ to be effective. The majority of the arriving troops had no such indoctrination and had been readied at an accelerated pace. Even their uniforms were hastily crafted and not ideally suited to fighting in the bush. In reoccupying the north and addressing the enemy threat, Portugal quickly realized that its most effective forces were those with special qualifications and advanced training. Unfortunately there were only very small numbers of such elite forces. The maturing experiences of the Portuguese and their consequent adjustments to fight a counterinsurgency led to the development of specialized, tailored units to close the gaps in skills and knowledge between the insurgents and their forces. This book is about the Fuzileiros or Portuguese marines, a naval force that operated in the riverine littorals of Africa and that was both feared by the enemy and loved by those loyal to Portugal. The Fuzileiros underwent one of the longest and most physically demanding specialist infantry training regimes in the world, lasting some forty-two weeks. Perhaps only 15 to 35 percent of the inductees eventually passed the course and were awarded the traditional and highly coveted navy blue beret. When deployed to Africa, they underwent further acclimation for weeks until they were able to move through the slime and mud of a riverbank with ease, as their lives depended on it. They became experts at riverine warfare and regularly ranged inland on extended patrols, many of which are recounted here. They were comfort able with the uncomfortable fighting environment, and this ability translated into an unpredictability that the enemy feared. This book is the story of how they came to be formed and organized, the initial teething difficulties, and their unqualified successes.
Nominated for the NYMAS Arthur Goodzeit Book Award 2013 Portugal's three wars in Africa in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea (Guiné-Bissau today) lasted almost 13 years - longer than the United States Army fought in Vietnam. Yet they are among the most underreported conflicts of the modern era. Commonly referred to as Lisbon's Overseas War (Guerra do Ultramar) or in the former colonies, the War of Liberation (Guerra de Libertação), these struggles played a seminal role in ending white rule in Southern Africa. Though hardly on the scale of hostilities being fought in South East Asia, the casualty count by the time a military coup d'état took place in Lisbon in April 1974 was significant. It was certainly enough to cause Portugal to call a halt to violence and pull all its troops back to the Metropolis. Ultimately, Lisbon was to move out of Africa altogether, when hundreds of thousands of Portuguese nationals returned to Europe, the majority having left everything they owned behind. Independence for all the former colonies, including the Atlantic islands, followed soon afterwards. Lisbon ruled its African territories for more than five centuries, not always undisputed by its black and mestizo subjects, but effectively enough to create a lasting Lusitanian tradition. That imprint is indelible and remains engraved in language, social mores and cultural traditions that sometimes have more in common with Europe than with Africa. Today, most of the newspapers in Luanda, Maputo - formerly Lourenco Marques - and Bissau are in Portuguese, as is the language taught in their schools and used by their respective representatives in international bodies to which they all subscribe. Indeed, on a recent visit to Central Mozambique in 2013, a youthful member of the American Peace Corps told this author that despite having been embroiled in conflict with the Portuguese for many years in the 1960s and 1970s, he found the local people with whom he came into contact inordinately fond of their erstwhile 'colonial overlords'. As a foreign correspondent, Al Venter covered all three wars over more than a decade, spending lengthy periods in the territories while going on operations with the Portuguese army, marines and air force. In the process, he wrote several books on these conflicts, including a report on the conflict in Portuguese Guinea for the Munger Africana Library of the California Institute of Technology. Portugal's Guerrilla Wars in Africa represents an amalgam of these efforts. At the same time, this book is not an official history, but rather a journalist's perspective of military events as viewed by somebody who has made a career of reporting on overseas wars, Africa's especially. Venter's camera was always at hand; most of the images used between these covers are his. His approach is both intrusive and personal and he would like to believe that he has managed to record for posterity a tiny but vital segment of African history.
Author: John Cann
Publisher: Helion and Company
In 1961, Portugal found itself fighting a war to retain its colonial possessions and preserve the remnants of its empire. It was almost completely unprepared to do so, and this was particularly evident in its ability to project power and to control the vast colonial spaces in Africa. Following the uprisings of March of 1961 in the north of Angola, Portugal poured troops into the colony as fast as its creaking logistic system would allow; however, these new arrivals were not competent and did not possess the skills needed to fight a counterinsurgency. While counterinsurgency by its nature requires substantial numbers of light infantry, the force must be trained in the craft of fighting a ‘small war’ to be effective. The majority of the arriving troops had no such indoctrination and had been readied at an accelerated pace. Even their uniforms were hastily crafted and not ideally suited to fighting in the bush. In reoccupying the north and addressing the enemy threat, Portugal quickly realized that its most effective forces were those with special qualifications and advanced training. Unfortunately, there were only very small numbers of such elite forces. The maturing experiences of Portuguese and their consequent adjustments to fight a counterinsurgency led to development of specialized, tailored units to close the gaps in skills and knowledge between the insurgents and their forces. The most remarkable such force was the flechas, indigenous Bushmen who lived in eastern Angola with the capacity to live and fight in its difficult terrain aptly named ‘Lands at the End of the Earth’. Founded in 1966, they were active until the end of the war in 1974, and were so successful in their methods that the flecha template was copied in the other theaters of Guiné and Mozambique and later in the South African Border War. The flechas were a force unique to the conflicts of southern Africa. A flecha could smell the enemy and his weapons and read the bush in ways that no others could do. He would sleep with one ear to the ground and the other to the atmosphere and would be awakened by an enemy walking a mile away. He could conceal himself in a minimum of cover and find food and water in impossible places. In short, he was vastly superior to the enemy in the environment of eastern Angola, and at the height of the campaign there (1966–1974) this small force accounted for 60 per cent of all enemy kills. This book is the story of how they came to be formed and organized, their initial teething difficulties, and their unqualified successes.
During the 13-year insurgency (1961-74) in Portuguese Africa, more than 800,000 men and women served in the Portuguese armed forces. Of this number, about 9,000 served as commandos (or about 1 percent). Yet their combat losses ― 357 dead, 28 missing in action and 771 wounded ― represented 11.5 percent of the total casualties (a percentage 10 times that of normal troops). It is well established that these warriors were responsible for the elimination of more insurgents and capturing more of their weapons than any other force during the war. Great pains were taken to stay abreast of the latest enemy operational methods and maintain the 'warrior edge' in the force. This edge, in essence, was an approach to fighting that pushed the commandos always to think of themselves as the hunter rather than the hunted. Officers returning from contact with the enemy were rigorously debriefed, and commando instructors regularly participated in operations to learn of the latest enemy developments. This information was integrated with intelligence from other sources gathered by the military and national intelligence services, and from this current knowledge, training was constantly revised to remain attuned to the enemy and his behavior. The commandos became a breed apart - and their reputation was such that when insurgents discovered a unit deployed into their area, they would generally withdraw until the killers left. This commando training - and its sympathy with the fighting environment - made the commandos the most effective ground force in the Portuguese Army. The commandos were expert practitioners in the art of counterinsurgency, and their practice of destroying the enemy in great numbers quickly and quietly served as inspiration not only to South Africa and Rhodesia, but to the enemy himself. This is the story of the Portuguese commandos: their beginnings, their unique operations and their legacy and influence in subsequent sister units such as the Buffalo Battalion of South Africa.
Flight Plan Africa
Author: John P. Cann
Publisher: Helion and Company
Following the 1952 reorganization of the Portuguese Air Force from the army and naval air arms, Portugal now had an entity dedicated solely to aviation that would bring it into line with its new NATO commitment. As it proceeded to develop a competence in modern multiengine and jet fighter aircraft for its NATO role and train a professional corps of pilots, it was suddenly confronted in 1961 with fighting insurgencies in all three of its African possessions. This development forced it to acquire an entirely new and separate air force, the African air force, to address this emerging danger. This is the story of just how Portuguese leadership anticipated and dealt with this threat, and how it assembled an air force from scratch to meet it. The aircraft available at the time were largely castoffs from the larger, richer, and more sophisticated air forces of its NATO partners and not designed for counterinsurgency. Yet Portugal adapted them to the task and effectively crafted the appropriate strategies and tactics for their successful employment. The book explores the vicissitudes of procurement, an exercise fraught with anti-colonial political undercurrents, the imaginative modification and adaptation of the aircraft to fight in the African theaters, and the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures for their effective employment against an elusive, clever, and dangerous enemy. Advances in weaponry, such as the helicopter gun ship, were the outgrowth of combat needs. The acquired logistic competences assured that the needed fuel types and lubricants, spare parts, and qualified maintenance personnel were available in even the most remote African landing sites. The advanced flying skills, such as visual reconnaissance and air-ground coordinated fire support, were honed and perfected. All of these aspects and more are explored and hold lessons in the application of airpower in any insurgency today.
Portuguese paratroopers or "paras" began as a stepchild of the army and found a home in the Portuguese Air Force in 1955. Initially, the post-World War Two Portuguese Army seemed to have had mixed emotions about the need for elite, special-purpose forces that operated in small units with the attendant flexibility and elevated lethality. Shock troops have been traditionally controversial, and even the vaunted military theorist Baron Karl von Clausewitz saw little point in them. The history of the paras in the Portuguese Army is illustrative of this ambivalent view. Nevertheless, in a "war of the weak" in which insurgents avoid government strengths and exploit its vulnerabilities using agility, deception, and imagination, such small, crack government units are particularly well suited to counterinsurgency operations. This appreciation emerged with the threat of a new kind of war in Portuguese Africa, an insurgency, and the new and visionary Air Force well understood the potential of paras when combined with the mobility of the helicopter. The Air Force saw an urgent need for troops who could fight an unconventional war, who could not only defeat an enemy but separate him from the population in which he sought concealment and support and on which he depended for funding, recruits, and intelligence. These were specialised warfighters who in one minute were physically destroying an insidious enemy and in the next administering aid and support and protecting a vulnerable population. These were just the troops that Portugal would require for military success in its approaching battle fought between 1961 and 1974 to retain its African possessions, and this vision would be realized on the African battlefield with devastating consequences. This book tells the paras' story as researched from Portuguese sources. It details how they were formed and trained and how they developed their imaginative, effective, and feared tactics and applied them in operations to protect the population from insurgent predations and destroy a vicious enemy.
Angola, slowly recovering from a twenty-seven year civil war, is becoming a regional super-power in southern Africa. This rise can be attributed to oil, diamonds, a battle-tested armed forces and a political system that is dominated by one party – the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – MPLA). Problems remain to be solved. The vast wealth is in the control of the elite while the vast majority of the people live on less than two dollars per day. Corruption is rife, the health and education system in shambles, landmines remain a festering problem and the opposition is intimidated and split into various factions. President Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled Angola for almost thirty-eight years, has opted not to run for re-election in the August 2017 elections. Instead his hand-picked successor João Lourenço was elected president. Interestingly, dos Santos has not surrendered his presidency of the party. This third edition of Historical Dictionary of Angola contains a chronology, an introduction, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 700 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Angola.
An in-depth examination of Portugal's bloody, thirteen year war in Angola, and the reasons Portugal lost the hearts of its own citizens.
These photographs of the transition to self-rule of the former Portuguese colonies, were captured by photographers of the Argus Africa News Service, "a small, highly professional South African agency. These have been compiled here by its then editor, Wilf Nussey, who wrote the accompanying text." -- Back cover.
Author: Gavin Baddeley
Publisher: Plexus Publishing
Street Culture explores the family tree of youth movements, examining the lines that tie Beatniks to Bikers, Punks to Emos, Goths to Metal Heads. Illustrated throughout, the book presents a sumptuous visual history of youth culture, and the style, behaviour and values of the groups who have defined it.
Modern African Wars (2)
Author: Peter Abbott
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Portugal was both the first and the last of the great European colonial powers. For 500 years Portugal had colonies in Africa. In 1960, as liberation movements swept across colonial Africa, the Portuguese flag still flew over vast expanses of territory across the continent. The spread of decolonization and the establishment of independent states whose governments were sympathetic to the cause of African nationalism led, in the early 1960s, to a series of wars in Angola (1961–1975), Guiné (1998) and Mozambique (1977). This book details each of these liberation movements, focusing on the equipment, uniforms and organization of the Portuguese forces.
Vietnam's American War
Author: Pierre Asselin
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
A survey of the Vietnamese communist experience during the Vietnam War (1954-75) with a focus on high-level decision-making and military planning.
Human Rights Watch presents "Rwandan Patriotic Front," a section of the March 1999 report entitled "Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda." Human Rights Watch credits the Rwandan Patriotic Front for ending the 1994 genocide in Rwanda by defeating the civilian and military authorities responsible for the killing.