France In Centrafrique
From Bokassa and Operation Barracude to the Days of Eufor
Series : Africa@War #2
Author : Peter Baxter
Out of print
General - Pages : 72 | Images : 8pp colour photos, many b/w photos, maps
Paperback - Date of Publication : November 2011 | Size : 297mm x 210mm | ISBN : 9781907677373 | Helion Book Code : HEL0299
France in Centrafrique explores the early colonial and post-colonial history of French Equatorial Africa with a particular emphasis on the role of the Central African Republic in the Second World War and the Free French Movement. One of the key figures to emerge from this period, and a man who would shape the modern destiny of the Central African Republic, was Jean-Bédel Bokassa. Bokassa served alongside the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle and later in the metropolitan French military as an NCO in Indo-China. The narrative traces the his ascent from these humble beginnings to his position as one of the region’s most notorious dictators, exploring both his excesses of violence and personal aggrandizement and the role played by France and the wide-reaching Foccart intelligence network in his rise and fall. Baxter examines the past and present relationship of France with her erstwhile African colonial possessions, giving substance to the cause and effect of the many French interventions and the play of various individual personalities, both French and African, and how this has affected the current complexion of the region and its ongoing relationship with France. The book traces the overt and covert French military actions in the region, the rise of internal violence and insecurity and the increasing involvement of the international community in the series of coups and counter-coups that characterized the 1990s and the new century. Featured are Operation Barracuda, Operations Almandin I, II and II, Operation Boali and the various regional, international and European regional interventions.
At any given time, there are at least half a dozen conflicts taking place in Africa, from civil strife and brutal insurgencies to full-blown conventional wars. Yet, apart from the grand campaigns and battles of colonial yesteryear—Omdurman, Isandlwana, Spioenkop et al—little is known outside the Dark Continent of the plethora of brushfire wars that occur with monotonous regularity. Following the Second World War, with the colonial powers—Britain in particular—looking to divest themselves of their burdensome empires, the ‘winds of change’, fuelled by the Cold War, swept through every nook and cranny of the continent. From Algeria to South Africa, from the Congo to Kenya, the continent literally erupted in conflict. Butchery and barbarism, under the guise of Black Nationalism, became bywords of African insurgencies; the tactics of terror, so espoused by Chairman Mao, one of the principal backers—in competition with Soviet imperialism—of African liberation movements, became standard operating procedure.
Africa—the continent that gave the world ‘pseudo’ counterterrorist operations as developed in Kenya to combat the Mau Mau, the Rhodesian Fireforce concept, radical innovations in vehicle mine-proofing, South African armour which fought the Cubans to a standstill at Cuito Cuanavale in the largest continental tank battle since Alamein, MiG and Mirage dogfights over the skies of Angola—is not all doom and gloom: it is as rich in its cultural diversity as it is in its martial traditions. Apart from a colourful array of liberation movements, mercenaries, brigands, pirates and terrorists, the cast includes such legendary units as the King’s African Rifles, the Portuguese Flechettes, the French Foreign Legion, the Rhodesian Selous Scouts and SAS, and the South African Recces, 32 Battalion and Koevoet.
Africa@War, a ground-breaking series, studies Africa’s post-1945 conflicts and military players in an informative and entertaining manner, examining some of the lesser known campaigns and shedding new light on some of the better known operations.
"An incisive look at French influence in Central Africa."
Lt-Col Robert Brown, Soldier of Fortune magazine
“Africa@War is a ground-breaking series concept, studying Africa’s conflicts and military players in an informative and entertaining manner, examining some of the lesser-known campaigns and shedding new light on some of the better-known operations … great models of what the combination of authors and publishers can produce by way of useable case studies for the market place in a concise illustrated format. They are recommended as professional military education references.”
Charles D. Melson, Chief Historian, U.S. Marine Corps
"Each of the books in this series is a well-documented and researched synopsis of the events that they are focused upon. They layouts and presentation are logical and of a very high quality ... As an introduction to this field of operation, this series is outstanding. A definite asset for those wishing to improve their knowledge and understanding of the development of successful, multi-faceted doctrine in the fight against insurgent/assymetric war."
Major Chris Buckham, Royal Canadian Air Force Journal