Military

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Nwachineke
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Military

Post by Nwachineke » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:27 pm

At the beginning of the war Biafra had 3,000 soldiers, but at the end of the war the soldiers totalled 30,000.[23] There was no official support for the Biafran Army by any other nation throughout the war, although arms were clandestinely acquired. Because of the lack of official support, the Biafrans manufactured many of their weapons locally. Europeans served in the Biafran cause; German born Rolf Steiner was a lieutenant colonel assigned to the 4th Commando Brigade and Welshman Taffy Williams served as a Major until the very end of the conflict.[24] A special guerrilla unit, the Biafran Organization of Freedom Fighters, was established, designed to emulate the Viet Cong, targeting Nigerian supply lines and forcing them to shift forces to internal security efforts.[25]

The Biafrans managed to set up a small yet effective air force. The BAF commanders were Chude Sokey and later Godwin Ezeilo, who had trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force.[26] Early inventory included two B-25 Mitchells, two B-26 Invaders, (one piloted by Polish World War II ace Jan Zumbach, known also as John Brown), a converted DC-3 and one Dove. In 1968 the Swedish pilot Carl Gustaf von Rosen suggested the MiniCOIN project to General Ojukwu. By early 1969, Biafra had assembled five MFI-9Bs in Gabon, calling them "Biafra Babies". They were coloured green, were able to carry six 68 mm anti-armour rockets under each wing and had simple sights. The six aeroplanes were flown by three Swedish pilots and three Biafran pilots. In September 1969, Biafra acquired four ex-Armee de l'Air North American T-6Gs, which were flown to Biafra the following month, with another aircraft lost on the ferry flight. These aircraft flew missions until January 1970 and were flown by Portuguese ex-military pilots.[26]

Biafra also had a small improvised navy, but it never gained the success their air force did. It was headquartered in Kidney Island, Port Harcourt, and commanded by Winifred Anuku. The Biafran Navy was made up of captured craft, converted tugs, and armor-reinforced civilian vessels armed with machine guns or captured 6-pounder guns. It mainly operated in the Niger Delta and along the Niger River
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