During the Communist-run governments of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (also known as the Derg, 1974–1977) and the dictatorial Mengistu (1977–1991), the Ethiopian navy grew under the influence of the Soviet Union.
Training: Officer training – The 1984 class comprised 48 ensigns; typical of the size of classes in subsequent years. After the rise of the Communist government in Ethiopia, select members of the navy attended the Soviet Union’s naval academy in Leningrad.
Enlisted training – Seamen, technicians, and marines enlisted men were trained at Mitsiwa; their term of service was for seven years.
After the end of World War II, Ethiopia was given control over Eritrea and its ports, allowing the creation an Ethiopian Navy.
In 1958, the Ethiopian Navy became a separate branch of the armed forces. Haile Selassie I appointed Norwegian naval officers to help organize a coastal navy.
Also, a number of retired British naval officers acted as advisors and trainers until the advent of the Derg in 1974.
The Emperor also founded the Ethiopian Naval College, located in Asmera (now part of Eritrea).
The education comprised a 52-month program of study. Some members of the navy also went on to study at Leghorn, Italy.
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The Ethiopian Navy under Haile Selassie
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Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam (born 1937) was the most famous officer of the Derg, the military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and the president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
He oversaw the Ethiopian Red Terror of 1977-1978, a repression campaign against the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party and other anti-Derg factions.
After the downfall of Haile Selassie, Ethiopia was controlled by Communist regimes which shifted the equipment, organization and doctrines away from Western European and American influences towards those of the Soviet Union and other Communist countries, especially Cuba.
The modern ENDF has a wide mix of equipment. It does not produce its own weapons, so all arms must be imported.
It has used its position to act as a reseller of arms to other African nations, such as Burundi and Somalia.
Many of its major weapons systems stem from the Communist era and are of Soviet and Eastern bloc design.
The United States was Ethiopia’s major arms supplier from the end of World War 2 until 1977, when Ethiopia began receiving massive arms shipments from the Soviet Union.
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The Ethiopian National Defense’s (ENDF) Equipment
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The Battle of Adwa, Adwa also spelled ADOWA, Italian ADUA (March 1, 1896), military clash at Adwa, in north-central Ethiopia, between the Ethiopian army of King Menilek II and Italian forces.
The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy’s attempt to build an empire in Africa comparable to that of the French or the British.
The death (in 1889) of the Ethiopian emperor Yohannes IV was followed by great disorder, during which the Italians helped Menilek of Shewa (Shoa) win the throne.
In addition, the Treaty of Wichale (Ucciali), which Italy had signed with Menilek in 1889, was interpreted by the Italian premier Francesco Crispi as implying the declaration of an Italian protectorate over Ethiopia.
The Eritrean-Ethiopian War was a border conflict that took place from May 1998 to June 2000. On May 8, a platoon of Eritreans soldier deployed into Badme region.
Fighting escalated to artillery and tank fire leading to four weeks of intense fighting. Ground troops fought on three fronts.
Eritrea claims Ethiopia launched air strikes against Eritrea’s capital Asmara while Ethiopia accused Eritrea of striking first.
The fighting led to huge internal displacement in both countries as civilians fled the war zone. The conflict ended in stalemate and deployment of UNMEE
On October 4, 1935 Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia. Italian forces were able to defeat the Ethiopian forces in 8 months with superior manpower and advanced weaponry.
In violation of International agreements, the Italians used poisonous gas in a number of battles.
Second Italo-Abyssinian War and the Mukden Incident is often seen as a precursor to World War II, and a demonstration of the ineffectiveness of the League.
After years of occupation, Emperor Haile Sellasie with the help of the British, led a large Ethiopian front to defeat the Italian army in 1941.
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Second Italo-Abyssinian War and Korean War
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The Ethiopian military has made many reorganisations in its structure through out history. In this post we will give you the overview of this structural changes and related topics. Constituting about 97 percent of the uniformed services, the army is the backbone of the armed forces.
In early 1991, the army was organized into five revolutionary armies, which included thirty-one infantry divisions supported by:
• Thirty-two tank battalions
• Forty artillery battalions
• Twelve air defense battalions, and
• Eight commando brigades
The army had expanded in size:
• 41,000 in 1974
• 50,000 in 1977
• 65,000 in 1979
• 230,000 in early 1991
The Ethiopian Civil War (1974-1991) began on September 12, 1974 when Derg staged a coup d’état against Emperor Haile Selassie, and lasted until the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of rebel groups, overthrew the government in 1991.
The revolutionaries put an end to the monarchy in March of 1975 and Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen settled permanently in London, United Kingdom where several other members of the Imperial family were already based.
The other members of the Imperial family who were still in Ethiopia at the time of the revolution were imprisoned.
After Communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, the war raged up and down the peninsula several times as the United States, the United Nations (U.N.) and finally Communist China sent ground forces there.
It was during this time that Ethiopia sent 1,271 – 3,518 troops as part of the United Nation Forces to aid South Korea. The troops were known as the Kagnew Battalion under the command of General Mulugueta Bulli.
Ethiopia furnished three 1,200-man battalions to the UN Command, beginning in June 1951 but only one battalion at a time. The first of these battalions — known as Kagnew (Conquerors) Battalions — arrived in May 1951 and was assigned to the U.S. 7th Infantry Division.