Monday 23 October 2023


Photo:  Spahi of the 5th Regiment de Spahis Algériens (5th RSA) from Wfa België

Spahi insignia

The 1st Spahi Regiment (French: 1er Régiment de Spahis) is an armoured regiment of the modern French Army, previously called the 1st Moroccan Spahi Regiment (French: 1er Régiment de Spahis Marocains). 

The Regiment was established in 1914 as a mounted cavalry unit recruited primarily from indigenous Moroccan horsemen. The regiment saw service in the First World War, and in the Second World War as part of the Forces Françaises Libres, as well as post-war service in the French-Indochina War and elsewhere. The modern regiment continues the traditions of all former Spahi regiments in the French Army of Africa.

The Moroccan Spahis of the French Army were created in 1914 by Général Hubert Lyautey. The initial title of the regiment was that of the Régiment de Marche de Chasseurs Indigènes à Cheval (R.M.C.I.C). The French Army had already raised four regiments of indigenous cavalry in both Algeria and Tunisia during the 19th century, and extended the designation of "spahis" to the Moroccan mounted units recruited after 1908.

The first Marching Moroccan Spahi Regiment (Régiment de Marche de Spahis Marocains, R.M.S.M) participated in the First Battle of the Marne. Subsequently, sent to the Eastern Front, the regiment served with distinction at Pogradec, Skumbi, Bofnia, Uskub and on the Danube. The regiment was accordingly awarded 5 citations and a fourragere with the colours of the Médaille militaire.

The 5th RSA was founded in August 1914 and consisted of 8 squadrons and was dissolved in 1962.

The Indochina Wars (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars which were waged in Southeast Asia from 1946 to 1992, by communist Indochinese forces (mainly the Democratic Republic of Vietnam) against the opponents (mainly French, the State of Vietnam, South Vietnam, American, Cambodian, Laotian Royal, and Chinese forces). The term "Indochina" originally referred to French Indochina, which included the current states of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In current usage, it applies largely to a geographic region, rather than to a political area.   

Saturday 21 October 2023

The Raid on the Suez Canal, 1915


The Raid on the Suez Canal, also known as Actions on the Suez Canal, took place between 26th January and 4th February 1915, when a German-led Ottoman Army force advanced from Southern Palestine to attack the British Empire-protected Suez Canal, marking the beginning of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign (1915–1918) of World War I (1914–1918).

Substantial Ottoman forces crossed the Sinai Peninsula, but their attack failed – mainly because of strongly held defences and alert defenders.

Since its opening in 1869 the Suez Canal had featured prominently in British policy and concerns. Among its great advantages were as a line of communication and also the site for a military base as the well equipped ports at Alexandria and Port Said made the region particularly useful. 

However, the Egyptian public was becoming increasingly opposed to the British occupation of Egypt, in particular various policies issued by Britain during the occupation.

The Convention of Constantinople of 1888 by the European great powers guaranteed freedom of navigation of the Suez Canal. In August 1914 Egypt was defended by 5,000 men in the Force in Egypt.

Photos:  Memorial photo - Chorley Pals Memorial by Andrew Mackay

The Ottoman Camel Corps 1916