Charles R. Shrader - The First Helicopter War, Logistics and Mobility in Algeria, 1954-196

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The First Helicopter War

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THE FIRST HELICOPTER WAR Logistics and Mobility in Algeria, 1954-1962 CHARLES R. SHRADER

QN

PIRAE

Westport, Connecticut London

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Shrader, Charles R. The first helicopter war : logistics and mobility in Algeria, 1954-1962 / Charles R. Shrader. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-275-96388-8 (alk. paper) 1. Algeria—History—Revolution, 1954-1962. 2. Military helicopters—Algeria—History. I. Title. DT295.S487 1999 965'.046—dc21 98-40913 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 1999 by Charles R. Shrader All rights reserved. No portion o\' this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 98-40913 ISBN: 0-275-96388-8 First published in 1999 Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. www.praeger.com Printed in the United States o\' America The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48-1984). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

In memory of my parents

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Contents Illustrations Note on Translation, Acronyms, and Measurements Preface Introduction

ix xiii xv 1

CHAPTER

1. The Physical Environment

CHAPTER

2. The French Armed Forces in Algeria

27

CHAPTER

3. French Logistics in Algeria: Supply and Maintenance

53

CHAPTER

4.

CHAPTER

5. The Algerian National Liberation Front and Its Army

CHAPTER

6.

The Logistics of the Algerian Army of National CHAPTER 6. The Logistics of the Algerian Army of National 163

CHAPTER

7.

Mobility, Counter-Mobility, and Interdiction

199

Logistics and Mobility in Algeria, 1954-1962

227

CHAPTER 8.

French Logistics in Algeria: Transportation

APPENDICES APPENDIX APPENDIX

A. B.

APPENDIX

C.

Major French Combat Forces in Algeria in 1960 Characteristics of French Transport Aircraft and Helicopters Common French Map Symbols

5

101 131

237 239 241

viii

Contents

Glossary Selected Bibliography Index

243 259 265

Illustrations TABLES 1.1

Population of Major Algerian Cities, I960

14

1.2

Crop Area and Production of Selected Crops in Algeria, 1959-1960

17

1.3

Capacity of Major Algerian Ports, 1957

19

2.1

Civil Government Hierarchy in Algeria with Corresponding Military Structure

35

2.2

Growth of French Regular Ground Forces in Algeria, 1954-1962

41

2.3

Distribution of French Ground Forces in Algeria, 1 February 1959

42

2.4

French Auxiliary Forces, 1957-1959

45

2.5

French Combat Battalions in Algeria as of 13 March 1959

46

3.1

Weight of the French Ration

64

3.2

Weapons Authorized for Various Tactical Units

70

3.3

Monthly Provisioning Rate for Ordnance Materiel (Kilograms/Man/ Day)

71

Growth in Number of Items Supported by the SM in Algeria, 1954-1956

73

3.5

Weight of Standard Units of Fire for Various Units

83

3.6

Standard Planning Factors for Monthly Ammunition Consumption by Arm

84

3.7

Requirements for Land Mines

85

3.8

Average Monthly Consumption (in U.S. Gallons) of POL in Algeria, November 1954-October 1955

90

3.4

x

Illustrations

3.9

Standard Units of Fuel (UE) in U.S. Gallons for Various Units

4.1

Units of the Train in Algeria, January 1960

105

4.2

Personnel Status of the Train in Algeria, January 1960

108

4.3

Operational vs. Logistical Motor Transport Movements, JulySeptember 1959

110

510th Colonial Transport Group Operational Statistics, March and July 1956

115

Army H-21 and Air Force H-34 Helicopter Operations, August 1957July 1958

123

French Estimates of ALN Personnel Strength, November 1954July 1962

152

6.1

FLN/ALN Support Facilities in Tunisia, 15 May 1959

176

6.2

FLN/ALN Support Facilities in Morocco, 15 May 1959

179

6.3

Armament of the Rebel Commands in Algeria, 15 January 1958

183

6.4

Balance of French and ALN Weapon Losses, November 1954July 1960

185

Summary of French Estimates of Rebel Weapons in Algeria on Selected Dates

187

6.6

Representative Successful Shipments for the ALN

189

6.7

Distribution of FLN Motor Vehicles by Type, February 1960

192

7.1

Representative Shipments for the ALN Intercepted or Seized

203

7.2

Frontier Deployment of French Forces, April 1957

205

7.3

ALN Supply Caravans Originating in Morocco, April-May 1959

219

7.4

ALN Receipt of Arms and Ammunition in Algeria, AprilDecember 1959

222

4.4 4.5 5.1

6.5

91

MAPS 1

Algeria, 1954-1962

6-7

2

Civil Departments of Algeria, ca. 1957

29

3

Military Organization of Algeria, ca. 1957

32

4

Territorial Organization of the FLN in Algeria

142

5

ALN Logistical Facilities outside Algeria, 1958

173

6

ALN Infiltration Routes into Algeria, January-March 1959

191

Illustrations 7 8

xi

Engagement in the Djebels Ergou, el-Aloui, and el-Azega, 31 March 1958

212

Engagement in the Djebel Tenouchfi, 15-16 April 1958

215

FIGURES 2.1

Military Command Structure in Algeria, 1959

31

2.2

Organization of the 10th Military Region, May 1959

33

2.3

Organization of the 5th Air Region, May 1959

43

2.4

Organization of the 4th Maritime Prefecture, May 1959

44

2.5

Standard French Infantry Battalion Organization

47

3.1

Organization of the Service de VIntendance in Algeria, ca. 1960

61

3.2

Organization of the Service du Materiel in Algeria, ca. 1960

66

3.3

Divisional Maintenance Company—Type AFN

75

3.4

Organization of the 674th Army Light Aviation Maintenance Company

79

3.5

Organization of the Service des Essences in Algeria, ca. 1960

88

4.1

Train Headquarters in Algeria, January 1960

104

4.2

Organization of an Infantry Division Train

112

4.3

Organization of a Divisional Motor Transport Group

113

4.4

Integration of Air-Ground Operations in Algeria

117

4.5

Organization of the 101st Army Light Aviation Group

122

5.1

First Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (19 September 1958)

140

5.2

Organization of the High Command of the ALN, 1958-1959

148

5.3

Organization of the High Command of the ALN from January 1960

149

5.4

ALN Tactical Unit Hierarchy, 1956

154

5.5

ALN Infantry Battalion—Type "Boumedienne"

157

6.1

ALN Logistical Organization, October 1958

165

6.2

French and ALN Weapon Losses, November 1954-July 1960

186

6.3

Decline in Potential Armament of the ALN in Algeria, May 1958July 1960

188

Schematic of the Morice Line

207

7.1

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Note on Translation, Acronyms, and Measurements An extended discussion of any military organization necessarily involves frequent repetition of terms, abbreviations, and acronyms, particularly those relating to unit types and designations. The problem is compounded when the discussion involves more than one military establishment, each of which is organized on a different pattern. Additional complexity is added by the necessity to translate from two languages into yet a third. The welter of lengthy designations and repeated acronyms can be confusing as well as distracting. The following procedures have been adopted in this volume in an attempt to simplify the identification of political (territorial) entities and military organizations. At first mention in each chapter, French political entities and military organizations are identified in full by an English translation of the original French designation, which follows immediately in parentheses, along with the corresponding French abbreviation. Thus, one finds the 10th Military Region (We Region Militaire; lOe RM); the Constantine Corps Area (Region Territoriale et Corps d'Armee Constantine; RT/CAC, or simply CAC); or the 5th Armored Division (5e Division Blindee; 5e DB). For subsequent references within the same chapter, any of the three forms may be used, usually the French acronym. The most frequently used French acronyms and their English equivalents include: lOe RM

10th Military Region

DI

Infantry Division

RT/CAC

Constantine Corps Area

DIA

Alpine (Mountain) Division

RT/CAA

Algiers Corps Area

DIM

Motorized Infantry Division

RT/CAO

Oran Corps Area

DB

Armored Division

CSI

Joint Sahara Command

DP

Parachute Division

Algerian nationalist territorial divisions and military units are identified in English when first mentioned and subsequently by the transliterated form of the

xiv

Note on Translation

appropriate Arabic or Berber term. Thus, one finds the 1st Political-Military Region (Wilaya 1), the 2nd Political-Military Zone (Mintaka 2), a battalion (fai'lek), or a company (katiba). North African place names and Arabic or Berber proper names follow the transliterations and forms used by French authorities in the period under examination. Exceptions to the rule are countries (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, etc.) and the city of Algiers (Alger), for which the familiar Anglicized names are used. It is assumed that most readers are familiar with the metric measurements for weight, distance, and area but that they may be less certain about others. Thus, most measurements are given in the metric system except for temperature, for which the Fahrenheit system is used, and volume, in which case liters and cubic meters have been converted into gallons or barrels. Unless otherwise noted the term "ton" refers to the metric ton of 2,204.62 pounds. It may be useful to recall the following equivalencies: 1 meter = 39.37 inches 1 kilometer (km) = 0.6214 miles 1 square meter (m2) = 1.196 square yards 1 hectare = 2.471 acres 1 kilogram (kg) = 2.2046 lbs

1 metric ton (tonne) = 2,204.62 lbs 1 short ton (ST) = 2,000 lbs (907.2 kg) 1 liter = .2641 U.S. gallons 1 cubic meter (m3) = 201.987 U.S. galIons 1 barrel (bbl) = 42 U.S. gallons

Preface A key element in counterinsurgent warfare, as indeed in any type of military conflict, is mobility—the movement of men and supplies. Mo...

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