Ethiopia Military

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Ethiopian Military

358 Comments · Military history

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


Army commands consisted of the following:
• First Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Harar)
• Second Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Asmera)
• Third Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Kombolcha)
• Fourth Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Nekemte)
• Fifth Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Gondar)


Ethiopian armored and mechanized units had approximately 1,200 T-54/55 tanks and 100 T-62 tanks, all of Soviet manufacture, and about 1,100 armored personnel carriers (APCs), most of which were of Soviet origin.


Nevertheless, combat losses and constant resupply by the Soviet Union, East Germany, North Korea, and other communist nations reduced the reliability of these estimates.


Artillery units possessed a variety of Soviet-manufactured light and medium guns and howitzers, rocket launchers, and heavy mortars. Air defense units had quick-firing antiaircraft guns and surface-to-air missiles.


Because training in maintenance techniques had failed to keep pace with the influx of new equipment, weapons maintenance by the army was poor.


Furthermore, Ethiopian troops often deployed new weapons systems without understanding how to operate them.


During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Ethiopia relied on Soviet and Cuban technicians to maintain military equipment and to provide logistical support.


Nevertheless, because of the reduction in military assistance, spare parts, and Soviet military advisers, as well as the withdrawal of all Cuban troops in the late 1980s, the army’s maintenance ability again deteriorated. By 1991 most army equipment was operational only about 30 percent of the time.


Military Branches
The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) comprises of the following types of units:
• Militia
• Police
• Air Force
• Ground Forces


Ethiopia is landlocked and has no navy. Following the independence of Eritrea, Ethiopian naval facilities remained in Eritrean possession and ships which belonged to the former Ethiopian Navy and were based at Djibouti have been sold.


History of the Army
The Ethiopian army’s origins and military traditions cover back through the nation’s long history.

Due to Ethiopia’s location at the crossroads between the middle east and Africa; which have placed it in the middle of East and Western politics, its army has been tested for many centuries from foreign attack.


From the Egyptian aggression, Ottoman invasion, the European invasion, to concerns from to the 21st century global war on terror, Ethiopia has tackled several foreign attacks through out its history.


Ethiopia was able to drive back the Egyptian & Ottoman invasions decisively and its modern military history generally dates from its response to the European colonial expansion of the 19th Century during the Scramble for Africa; during which it maintained its independence by defeating the Italian army.




Keywords: Ethiopia , Harer, Asmera, Kembolcha, Nekemte, Gonder, Militia, Police, Air Force, Ground Forces, Emperor Menelek II, Haile Selassie I, Adowa, Adwa, Tafari Mekonnen, Korean War, Mengistu Haile Mariam,


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