I must admit I didn’t know much about this war – its one of those conflicts I’ve been aware of more through its impact on popular culture than as a conflict in its own right. This book begins with a brief history of the war, which will be of use for those like me who have little idea of what happened, then a more detailed examination of the armed forces on both sides.
One surprise was just how small the Nigerian army was at the start of this civil war – only a few thousand men, and a very small officer corps (mainly due to a purge in the aftermath of a military coup). Even so the Nigerian (or Federalist) side did have most of the regular army, and almost all of the Navy and Air Force.
This is a studious neutral account of this war, largely ignoring the accusations of war crimes levelled again both sides (other than a brief mention in a picture caption that both sides tended not to take prisoners of war). It’s most interesting feature is the comparison between the pre-existing Nigerian Federal Army and its Biafran opponents, who had to create most of their army almost from scratch, and were desperate to purchase arms overseas.
Nigerian Federal Army
Weapons & Equipment
Author: Philip S. Jowett