Steyr 4K-7FA G127 tracked APCs of the Nigerian Army - assembled in Nigeria

Steyr 4K-7FA G127 tracked APCs of the Nigerian Army

16 June, 2013

Twenty-one military officers from 14 African countries and 137 from Nigeria have commenced practical training on the application of land, maritime and air assets to confront war situations. The training which is the climax of the Senior Course for student officers of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) is a one-week combined and joint exercise of the Army, Navy and Airforce officers.

Speaking at the occasion which kickstarted the training codenamed Exercise Sea Lion at Jaji, near Kaduna, AFCSC Commandant, AVM Eko Effiom Osim said the exercise was designed to provide the students the opportunity to plan, conduct and decide on the employment of land, maritime and air assets in a combined and joint setting.

According to him, “The exercise is also designed to give the students more practice in operational writing, oral briefings and consolidate their knowledge in the techniques of war gaming.” AVM Osim noted that this year’s exercise, which is the ninth since AFCSC adopted the teaching of manoeuvrist approach to warfare and its related concept is special as it has 21 foreign student officers from 14 African countries and the Republic of Korea.

According to him, “This will no doubt set stage for the eases operational planning and execution in future combined/multi national exercises at the sub-regional and regional levels.”

Earlier in his welcome address, Director of Joint Studies, AFCSC, Brigadier General Ademoh Salihu said the students who have been on course at the college since about 10 months ago are expected to appreciate the capabilities and peculiarities of sister services. The students who are in the rank of Army Major and equivalent in the Airforce and Navy kickstarted the training with practical demonstration on use of aircraft, boats and armoured vehicles to convey troops and weapons to battlefields and evacuate injured ones.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. beegeagle says:

    Interesting to see Jaji regain the clout which it enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s when it was a hugely popular destination for many an African military officer, dozens of Zimbabwean and Ugandan officers most notably. The most famous of those at this time would be the Chief of Defence Forces of the UPDF, General Katumba Wamala.

    In a related development, not many of us Nigerians are aware of the fact that when Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, the pioneer crop of 100 cadets of that country’s new integrated army were sent to be trained at the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna.

    Many of those were ex-ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas who were already hardened combatants and as such they were particularly difficult for their trainers to reshape and remould. They had a reputation for stubbornness. So much so that the byword for “stubbornness” at the NDA to this day remains “proving Mugabe”, a reference to that country’s worthy leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe which goes back to the antecedents laid down by Zimbabwean cadets as long ago as 1980.

    Rwandese officers later came by in droves as well, not least the incumbent UNAMID Force Commander, Lt General Patrick Nyamvumba who trained at the NDA. These days, most foreign cadets at the NDA come from Niger, Togo, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    Back to the AFCSC Jaji, last time I checked, there were officers drawn from ten foreign military establishments there. Now there are officers from fifteen countries outside Nigeria.

    Well, keep it up AFCSC. You are probably getting it right.

  2. freeegulf says:

    battlefield manouevre is a key element in staff college training. there’s a big difference between officers that have been to staff colleges and those that haven’t.

    if majors and Lt Cols do not learn manouevre warfare – the planning and nerves of steel formulation that it entails – i wonder where else they will learn it.

    movement of troops, combined arms coordination, planning, logistics, marrying up infantry and armour, military cauldron, breakout, hedgehog, feint, defence in depth, envelopment, and above all temperance. they all come into play and officers are expected to ‘mature’ and understand these martial abilities. manouevre is such a complex skill, with advance being easy, but tactical withdrawal (with cohesion) a nightmare.

    • jimmy says:

      These things I all agree with you. But the ultimate test of a battle field commander to me personally is the decisions that these Majors , Lt Cols and Cols make when battle situations go completely wrong, WW2 the battle of the bulge, Nigerian Civil war the siege of the federal forces at owerri and the eventual breakout. GULF WAR 2 The race to BAGHDAD where A LT COL at the head of an armored brigade decided from the outskirts of KUWAIT to race to BAGHDAD minus adequate army infantry support.
      Remember OGA FREE GULF just like life nothing beats BATTLEFIELD experience.
      Most army officers will tell you now taking head on a sea borne AMPHIBIOUS invasion at a 3: 1 ratio will be disastrous without air cover and Naval bombardment ( onitsha) comes to mind..

  3. freeegulf says:

    guerillas have always been known to be particularly stubborn, with transformation to conventional warfare being particularly scary and alien to lots of them. changing from their ‘bush thinking’ is a nightmare.

    nigeria trained not just the army officers of zimbabwe, but a number of their pilots and air officers.

  4. beegeagle says:

    Yeah, they were still coming to train at the 303 FTS at Kano into the early 1990s.

    • doziex says:

      Yeah Beeg and freeegulf, these facts should make nigerians impatient with the status quo.
      At the start of the war in the DRC, the zimbabwean airforce had over 100 trained fighter pilots.
      Inspite of financial difficulties, they have fielded 2 sqns of F-7s, 1 k-8, attack/ jet trainer with mig- 23s and hawk sqns in storage.

      The quality of their pilot training is so good, that the wayward South african air force short listed the zimbabwean and the ethiopian airforces, as suitable programs to train their new pilots.

      Our current airforce leaders, are congratulating themselves too much for achieving too little.

      Remember our training programs stood up the same AFZ.

      With our wealth and our pedigree, we should not be rubbling shoulders with or lagging behind the vast majority of african airforces.

      • jimmy says:

        Preach my brother PREACH!

      • freeegulf says:

        i really dont know what happened and what is currently still happening with NAF. yes, babangida broke their wings, and abacha refuse to even acknowledge their importance. but this was decades ago. their wings re no longer clipped.
        its high time NAF keep up with the times. they still cant boast of a 4th gen fighter jet after 12 years of return to democracy. apart from funding, there re no conspiracies to keep them grounded. hmmm, it doesn’t speak well of their ambitions and determination to be a credible air worthy fighting force

        as for AFZ, they did great in mozambique in the 80s. although they where severely handicapped by the lack of experience and much needed helicopter pilots in that conflict, they quickly built a decent force and went on to fight with great distinctions too in DRC.

  5. freeegulf says:

    yea gen jimmy, it was why i capped it with the word ‘temperance’. nothing is more important than that. steel of nerves; that stage where execution of the task is experiencing hitch, and the commander either looses his nerves and throw in a much later-needed-plan, thereby offsetting everything, or he, the commander, gets a feel of the battle, its initial hitch, and the way it is swaying.

    they say even the best plan goes flying out of the window on contact in battle, it takes a good commander to have his finger on the feel of things and keep his flexibility, while at the same time hoping his superiors are just as flexible, and his neighbouring battlegroups can react with same speed and tactical acumen

    as for the americans, i dont like quoting them, and i think no self deserving military should copy their style. how do you show martial prowess when everything is overwhelmingly on your side? talk about overkill. hardly any risk, with no faltering battlefield edge. theirs, is much like the old adage; merely fighting for the victory is already guaranteed in a conventional war. fighting a rotting iraqi army hardly qualifies as battlefield genius.

  6. Spirit says:

    Freegulf, una don talk am finish!

  7. Spirit says:

    Im so glad Jaji is becoming ‘Jajish’ again. A lot of African countries owes the foundation of their military institutions to Nigeria. I beg Beeg eagle to give us a list of countries whose top military men were trained or are being trained in Nigeria

    This country has served this continent, yes we have.

  8. jimmy says:

    NICE I LOVE YOUR DIALOGUE. Things do go wrong for the Americans you know in Korea ’53.THEY MISCALCULATED THE WILL OF THE CHINESE to sustain horrendous casualties once they crossed the yellow river. in Vietnam despite superior air coverage ,Mcain the scion of the ADMIRAL leading the NAVAL TASK FORCE was shot down as well as plenty of other AIRMEN.
    in fact one of the former minsters of Vietnam is credited with shooting down 9 AMERICAN PLANES IN AIR TO AIR COMBAT!.
    My point is this: the American mantra bring” force to bear” overwhelming force ala THE COLIN POWELL DOCTRINE you cannot completely ignore in the context of winning a war going all the way regardless of whose side you were on during the NIGERIAN civil war.
    Fact #1 either by default or by design the Biafrans initially had better trained infantry officers and seemed to be able to recoup better from what would appear a disastrous battle.The federal officers suffered painfully not on winning initial battles but on what to do when things as you said went” wrong” ADEKUNLE winning many towns and then losing certain towns with heavy casualties comes to mind eventually EXPERIENCE and more logistics( heavier weapons and even more manpower) cold heartedly begins to bear the inefficient officers are either killed off or transferred ala the 1969 position of the Nigerian civil war OBASANJO comes to mind or the end of the sri lankan/ tamil civil or the mpla/ unita angolan civil ALL AT THE END followed the American maxim BRING OVERWHELMING FORCE ON multiple fronts.

    • ifiok umoeka says:

      Well said guys, my worry is why most of these countries so benefit from us yet turn around to spite us! Is there something else we need to do?
      On the other hand, if we want to get back to what we use to be and even better, then we need to get new training asset, develop new doctrines and cross train with the best. With little time we’ll bet it all back. It goes to tell you what happens when u sleep. Even SAAF is suffering from this.

      • ifiok umoeka says:

        I remember a quote from tom clancy… ‘ Drills are bloodless battles and battle bloody drills. While the americans depend on overwhelming force, they don’t play with military exercise. Before 68, they where pissing planes like mad then top gun came and the viets and their soviet instructors paid dearly. Fast forward to 82 and then israel nearly annihilated the syrian airforce. Until the man and his machine become one, all you have is a pony show and that’s what drills are for. Check indo- pak 65 and 71. Drills make all the difference

    • freeegulf says:

      the presence of a commander on ground can never be underestimated or understated. the morale effect on troops,the shoring up confidence of unit leaders, and flexibility to developing battlefield situation, makes for a great commander.

      as for the americans, it is difficult comparing them with any contemporary military. efficiency and a business like approach to warfare, makes them such a potent force to contend with. the vast resources they have, and the ability to respond to, and conduct strikes in any part of the world within a very limited time frame makes them such a deadly superpower. with dozens of bases spread around every nook and cranny of the globe.

      never since the roman empire has the world seen such an immensely fearsome superpower. they might not have the best infantry, in terms of light infantry and ability to absorb blows, but their firepower is so overwhelming that they will rarely find themselves in such positions. and it is not surprising that when they did find themselves in some sticky situations, without artillery and air power, their relative performance left much to be desired, whether in Korea or in Vietnam.

  9. freeegulf says:

    yes gen jimmy, firepower above all else. i always say this, when it comes to defence in depth, it is the firepower, and next, the skill of the commander that count the most. far more than the number of troops needed to man the trenches and bunkers. a skilled commander can even build several blockhouses as decoy to confuse attacking troops. meanwhile, his manned lines are well entrenched and camouflage from the attackers.
    it is the same firepower that will slow the pace of a pursuing attacker, and give the defending troops time to withdraw in a tactical manner to create another defensive belt

    since both the Nigerian and biafran officers came from the same army, it was unsurprising that they will have a good take at each others capability. and do not forget that the biafran army inherited the middle level officers of the NA. whereas, the federal army seriously lacked experienced mid level commanders. they had some few senior officers, other than that, they where left with mostly junior leaders that had barely led even a platoon. the haphazard way of armament acquisition also affected the federal performances, divisions where unable to structure their battalions in a standard manner to take advantage of the overwhelming firepower superiority.

    lastly, the coordination between troops and fire support was quite bad, they where unable to exploit the lethal power of their artillery. the barrage time and infantry’s response where so predictable that the biafrans knew when to duck and when to create anti tank ditches for the armoured cars, since the fed troops always kept to main primary roads. while soviet, Chinese, and Vietnamese troops excelled in night fighting and infiltration, with the soviets particularly deadly with their night artillery barrages. the fear of darkness was never really overcome during the Nigerian civil war.

    commanders like ADEKUNLE and SHUA, where good, but warlordism affected their combat performance. ADEKUNLE was too stubborn and refused to cooperate more with neighbouring units. others like RAMAT and BISSALA where too political. even when OBJ, who was quite diplomatic and different from the above GOCs, tried to cooperate with 1DIV, BISSALA frustrated his plans.

    Lagos too did not help matters. how many times did the chiefs of staff in HQ visited the front? they where all starring at maps at the comfort of their own offices without ever showing up at the frontlines to personally ascertain the war’s progress.
    overall, i see ADEKUNLE and SHUA as the best on the federal side. he ADEKUNLE, had flare and with a little bit more coordination and support from lagos, the war would have been over in ’68

  10. ifiok umoeka says:

    Free gulf, u 4got 2 add that Ojukwu taught tactics to Ramat in Ghana and could 2nd guess him thus the little progress in the enugu sector until the black scorpion came. Also, just as the north lacked middle level commanders, the south lacked NCOs and foot soldiers to implement the directives of the COs hence the stalemate. Bottomline, don’t underestimate the importance of low level commanders, they are the ones to implement commands and tactics in the field. The better trained they are, the better they can receive, interpret and implement instructions and commands

  11. freeegulf says:

    yes herr general, ojukwu did in fact teach Ramat, however, Ramat commander 2Div, onitsha sector. while Shua commander Enugu, the slow sector.

    you got it right on the money about junior leaders and NCOs. this was where the sadf of yore fared better than the NA. their junior leaders where allowed freedom of action and the NCOs had a well defined role in leadership structure. the same could not be said of the NA within same period. the junior leaders where always scared to voice their opinion, without the ogas choking them. it was even worse with the NCOs. since the NCO coup of july ’66, the officers corp viewed them with suspicion and feared their supposed ‘independence’.

    fortunately, this outdated perception is beginning to change, and the NCOs are getting their dues. they, the NCOs, determined and guide discipline in the army. and without discipline, battlefield cohesion will remain a nightmare for any would be commander.

  12. beegeagle says:

    True that, Generalissimo Freeegulf.

    1 Infantry Division, initially commanded by Colonel Mohammed Shuwa, mustered in today’s Kogi and Benue states and attacked in a north-south movement of the rebel enclave(Obollo Afor-Eha Amufu-Nsukka-9th Mile-Enugu-Abakiliki-Afikpo-Ohaozara-Udi-Lokpanta etc). 1 Division had the largest assemblage of experienced NCOs who had come through WW II, the Cameroon Insurgency and the Congo campaign. They were slow in their advance, methodical and invariably took their targets. Enugu was taken directly by a brigade under the command of Lt Colonel TY Danjuma

    – 2 Infantry Division, initially commanded by Colonel Murtala Muhammed, mustered in today’s Edo and Delta states and attacked in a west-east movement. They attacked Asaba, ONITSHA, Abagana, Nkpor, Obosi, Agulu, Awka etc. The botched opposed crossings of the River Niger happened in this AOR and the chief architect of the resistance was Colonel Conrad Nwawo on the rebel side. A lot of outstanding rebel commanders who later got reabsorbed into the post-war NA fought against 2 Division troops. This was where men such as Colonels Robert Akonobi and Godfrey Nebo made their names, blowing an 8-mile gap in the federal lines and making a link-up between 1 Div and 2 Div planned between Abagana and Nkpor, impossible for practically all of the period between the 1968 debacle at Abagana and the end of the war.

    – 3 Marine Commando Division, initially commanded by Colonel BAM Adekunle, attacked from the Atlantic/Niger Delta in a south-north direction, inserting an estimated 30,000 troops by sea in the first of such amphibious landings by a 3rd World Army. They saw action in places such as Port Harcourt, Patani, Burutu, Opobo, Bonny, Oron, Abak, Eket, Calabar, Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Elele, Oguta, Owerri etc. Reabsorbed rebel commanders such as Colonels Chris Ugokwe and Lambert Iheanacho made their names at Owerri following an 8-month long siege on the city, occupied by Colonel Etuk, widely adjudged to have been quite possibly the most outstanding commander on the federal side.






    * the lovely hill-crested site of today’s 14 Brigade garrison at Ohafia was actually the base of Colonel Uwakwe’s STF during the war when he fought on the rebel side. He chose the location. A coursemate to Generals TY Danjuma, Martin Adamu, Alani Akinrinade, Emmanuel Abisoye and Sam Ogbemudia, Uwakwe rejoined the post-war NA.

  13. ifiok umoeka says:

    U seem to have missed col Achuzia in ur list. Pls who led the abagana ambush party

    • jimmy says:

      It was not ACHUZIE . I will need to ask one of my FRIENDS who actually fought in the ONITSHA sector as a Captain . My friend was the real deal . he told me hair raising stories THAT WOULD RUN CHILLS DOWN YOUR spine He was shot and remained paralyzed for a couple of days before being treated and regaining the use of his limbs.
      . ACHUZIE to the best of my historical knowledge did not serve a day in the N.A. He was very adept at claiming other JUNIOR OFFICER’S successes in the Biafran Army which led to a lot of open resentment and hostility, Eventually even Ojuwku could not protect him from himself ( and his excesses of ALLEGEDLY shooting his own soldiers on THE SLIGHTEST DISOBEDIENCE) .
      Of all the federal commanders He told me T.Y.Danjuma made the greatest impression upon him.
      Achuzie till today remains one of the most controversial officers of the Biafran war perhaps fellow bloggers can shed more unbiased ( no emotional baggage please) on him. There appears to be no grey area either you loved him or you hated him and that included his own men, oga beegeagle, oga freegulf I await your comments over out.

  14. beegeagle says:

    Yeah Oga Ifiok, that is because Achuzia did not spring from the Nigerian Army. He is reported to have seen action as a mercenary during the Korean War – dunno how far that is true and the jury is still out as to who actually orchestrated the ambush at Abagana which Achuzia has claimed. His commander, Madiebo, does not think so.
    What is clear is that Colonel Nwawo and Achuzia at various times, thwarted the attempts by 2 Division to cross from Asaba to Onitsha.

    So that is why his name is not on that list of those who returned to the post-war NA. He was not there before the war. But most of the rebel commanders were – Madiebo (pioneer Commander, NA Artillery), Okwechime (pioneer Commander, NA Engineers), Njoku, Eze, Effiong, Gbulie, Onwuatuegwu, Nzefili, Nwajei, Nwawo, Ochei, Oji, Amadi, Ude, Ohanehi, Ivenso, Nsudoh, Eze, Aniebo, Omeruo, Kalu and others too numerous to mention here, all defected from the NA in 1967.

  15. ifiok umoeka says:

    Roger that sir

  16. freeegulf says:

    welldone my marshal. well said. the likes of chris ugokwe, Akonobi, and Nebo where truly outstanding commanders. shame that Ugokwe never rose to command 3 armour div.
    on the fed side, the most outstanding brigade commanders where cols Etuk, TY Danjuma, and of course, the formidable Ally

    • beegeagle says:

      Colonel Ugokwe fought in the brief border war of April 1983 against the Chadians. His tactical nous was still sound.

      The GOC 3 Armoured Division at the time was his coursemate, Major General Buhari. He later served as Colonel-General Staff of 3 Div under Buhari. Post-retirement, he has served as Chairman of the National Population Commission.

      Robert Akonobi for his part was IBB’s and Abacha’s coursemate.

  17. beegeagle says:

    Yeah, Brigadier General Godwin Ally was outstanding as well. He left the Army too soon. After the Colonels’ putsch of July 1975, he had to leave the NA. He was Commander of the Lagos Garrison at the time. Ally was a pioneer boy-soldier of the NMS alongside the likes of Emmanuel Ikwue, Joe Garba, Anthony Ochefu, IBM Haruna etc, way back in 1954.

    TY Danjuma and IBB were in 1 Division while Buhari, Jega and Yar’Adua were in 2 Division. They all performed very well. That is what the memoirs written by the participants suggest.

    At the NA Museum, there is a bullet which was pulled from Jega after the war. He is the Emir of Gwandu today – the second ranking monarch in the North.

    IBB also got injured in the explosive Umuahia-Uzuakoli front which was where the ZSU-23-4 SPAAG and the 122mm artillery were first used in battle. Not to mention Panhards, Saladins and Ferret armoured vehicles, 73mm anti-tank guns and Landrover mounted 106RRs. IBB commanded the 44 Rangers Battalion.

    After he was injured, he got pulled back to the NDA where he was Chief Instructor in 1969. There he met and groomed the likes of David Mark, Tunde Ogbeha, Mike Akhigbe, Tunji Olurin, Chris Garuba, Raji Rasaki, Leo Ajiborisa, Bzigu Afakirya, Festus Porbeni, Victor Malu, Isaac Areola, James Odeleke, Abdulkarim Adisa et al of the Regular Course 3.

    IBB also trained the incumbent NSA Sambo Dasuki, Lawan Gwadabe, UK Bello, Abdulmumin Aminu, Abubakar Umar, among others, who were junior to the RC 3 cadets.

    That is the story, my Oga at the Top.

  18. freeegulf says:

    very insightful my oga at the top. it was unfortunate that bad belle politics in the army unabashedly terminated the careers of gifted officers like ugokwe, godwin ally, and UA Etuk

  19. ifiok umoeka says:

    What is the probability that this wouldn’t happen in this era?

  20. freeegulf says:

    the first victim of military rule is the military itself.

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