Wednesday, 22 February 2017

French Conquest of Algeria 1830s-40s III

Just found my ms notes, made many years ago in my own handwriting but a style I hardly recognise, from Blunt, W S, Desert Hawk, 1947:

'Abd el Kader's regular army consisted, Daumas tells us, of 8,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 240 regulations were elaborately drawn up...greatly assisted by French and other European deserters who had joined his ranks.

"Officers and soldiers of various arms had  uniforms of different colours which were exactly described" said Azan. "Everything was fixed down to the smallest detail, even the quality of the the cloth being stated. The usual headdress was a red chéchia (a kind of tarboosh). Badges included epaulettes, crescents worn on the chest and stripes on the sleeves. inscriptions on the epaulettes or the crescents of various ranks were also fixed. Often they were pious invocations, but commanding officers (raís) had on one of their gold epaulettes 'With those in authority, patience is the key to divine aid'. Any officer or soldier who left off his uniform was rigourously punished."

"The Arab artillery was feeble and antiquated, and consisted of some 20 field pieces and a number of old bronze and iron cannon...three...mounted on poor carriages with solid wheels, the fourth in the European manner. On one...(were decorations of) drums, turbans and crescents.'

All were carried on mule back.

'Cavalry wore baggy trousers and a red jacket covered with a haik and burnous (ssc); the infantry a woolen vest and trousers and a black, hooded jacket.'

Sources quoted (from bibliography):

Daumas,General M. Moeurs et Coutumes al l'Algerie. 1847.
Azan, Paul. Sidi Brahim, 1905; L'Emir Abd el Kader, Hachette 1925; Les Grands Soldats de l'Algerie, 1930; Bugeaud et l'Algerie, 1930; Conquéte et Pacification de l'Algerie, 1931; L'Armee d'Afrique, 1930.

Anybody come across these books and can provided more details from them?

1 comment:

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