Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Toyota Wars

In Africa, border clashes frequently interacted with rebellions. Libya intervened in Chad in the 1980s, both in order to pursue a territorial claim to a northern strip of the country and in order to support protégés seeking to control the entire country. Overt Libyan intervention in 1983 with about 6,000 troops led to a military response by France and Zaire (Congo), which enjoyed the benefit of intelligence provided by us aerial surveillance. The Libyan advance was reliant on Soviet doctrine and training, but this was not going to be a conflict decided by armoured vehicles and related tactics. Instead, the Chad forces opposed to Libya benefited from light vehicles and a raider's desire for mobility, and used mortars and anti-tank rockets in order to inflict heavy casualties on the Libyans. 
These tactics were employed again in the `Toyota War' of March 1987, with the Libyans losing over 3,000 troops and much of their armour as they were driven from most of the north of Chad. French aircraft were used against Libyan ground forces on a number of occasions, but the French did not act at the close of 1990 when a new faction invaded Chad from Sudan and overthrew the government. Attempted coups, rebellions and ethnic clashes continued there for years. Libyan claims were also seen as a challenge by other neighbours. In 1977, Egypt mounted a successful surprise attack on Libyan frontier positions in order to indicate its anger with Libyan pretensions and policies.

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