Monday, August 15, 2011
Belgians Aid Defense of Ethiopia
The contribution of foreign experts to the instruction and modernization of the Ethiopian military was considered crucial and the largest probably came from Sweden. However, there were Swiss, British, Dutch, Finnish and an array of other foreigners represented in helping the Ethiopians prepare themselves to fight the Italians. The Belgian government sent a military mission to Ethiopia in 1934 which established itself at Harar to build up two completely modern infantry battalions, in addition to squadrons of horse cavalry, camel cavalry and armored cars. In 1935 one Belgian Colonel Reul commanded the "Unofficial Belgian Mission" to Ethiopia, all modern soldiers where he reported to Emperor Haile Selassie at his headquarters at Dese. The Belgian Congo also sent many military instructors and these were highly prized since the Force Publique was the most feared military force in Africa made up of African soldiers. They helped to organize and modernize the Ethiopian army and Belgian officers even led some of these troops into battle such as Captain Cambier who was killed in one of the early battles with the Italians.