L’Armée d’Afrique: Zouaves

In order to flesh out the North African milieu of this blog it is necessary to explore the other French forces that composed the Armée d’Afrique from the early 1800’s to World War IIChief among these forces were the Zouaves.  Campaigns Magazine had a good article that covers the background of this fighting force and explains how the Zouave “style” came to American Civil War.  This article is posted below.  The Zouaves originally were recruited from the local North African Kabyle tribes (and led by French Officers) but these regiments eventually became all French when the Algerian Tirailleur units were created. There’s a lot of information out there on the French Zouaves and I hope to post more on this fine fighting force in the future.  They were a rival of the Foreign Legion in many regards.  They got more press, more medals and worse of all–more pay than the Legion.  When these troops met in town or the local cafes there was usually trouble to follow and commanders took care to make sure the Legion was not on pass at the same time and in the same town as the Zouaves.  Sadly, the Zouave units were disbanded after 1962 when Algeria gained independence.

Campaigns Magazine_Zouaves

About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
This entry was posted in Armée d'Afrique, Articles. Bookmark the permalink.

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