Sudan Table of Contents
Sudanese army soldiers in T-54 tanks
Courtesy Thomas Ofcansky
The army was basically a light infantry force in 1991, supported by specialized elements. Operational control extended from the headquarters of the general staff in Khartoum to the six regional commands (central, eastern, western, northern, southern, and Khartoum). Each regional command was organized along divisional lines. Thus, the Fifth Division was at Al Ubayyid in Kurdufan (Central Command), the Second Division was at Khashm al Qirbah (Eastern Command), the Sixth Division was assigned to Al Fashir in Darfur (Western Command), the First Division was at Juba (Southern Command), and the Seventh Armored Division was at Ash Shajarah near Khartoum (Khartoum Command). The Airborne Division was based at Khartoum International Airport. The Third Division was located in the north, although no major troop units were assigned to it. Each division had a liaison officer attached to general headquarters in Khartoum to facilitate the division's communication with various command elements.
This organizational structure did not provide an accurate picture of actual troop deployments. All of the divisions were understrength. The Sixth Division in Darfur was a reorganized brigade with only 2,500 personnel. Unit strengths varied widely. Most brigades were composed of 1,000 to 1,500 troops. Each battalion varied in size from 500 to 900 men, and a company might have as few as 150 and as many as 500. In the south, the First Division was supplemented by a number of independent brigades that could be shifted as the requirements of the conflict dictated. According to The Military Balance, 1991-1992, the main army units were two armored brigades, one mechanized infantry brigade, seventeen infantry brigades, one paratroop brigade, one air assault brigade, one reconnaissance brigade, three artillery regiments, two antiaircraft artillery brigades, one engineering regiment, and one special forces battalion.
The army did not have its own general headquarters but functioned under the immediate control of the deputy chief of staff for operations. Headquarters and training facilities were maintained in or near the national capital area for most of its specialized corps. These included the armored, artillery, signal, and medical service administrations; the transportation and supply corps; and the engineering branch. Among other support elements were the military police and the border guards.
The Sudanese army's inventory of armaments and equipment was extremely varied, reflecting its shifting military relations with other nations in a position to supply arms. At different times, Britain, the Soviet Union, China, the United States, Libya, and Egypt have been important sources of weaponry (see Foreign Military Assistance , this ch.). Much of the equipment delivered to Sudan, particularly from the Soviet Union, was obsolescent and maintenance has been seriously deficient. Because Sudan had been deprived of support from a number of countries and was unable to afford foreign exchange to pay for needed spare parts, much of the existing stock of arms was believed to be inoperable. The army was virtually immobilized at times for lack of fuel and ammunition.
During the 1970s, the bulk of the army's armored strength consisted of T-54 and T-55 medium tanks delivered by the Soviet Union early in the decade. About seventy Chinese Type 62 light tanks were also delivered in 1972. During the early 1980s, this equipment was supplemented by M-41, M-47, and M-60A3 tanks produced in the United States. Most of the Soviet tanks were believed to be unserviceable, and only the M-60A3 tanks were considered to be up-to-date. The Sudanese army also had a mixed collection of armored personnel carriers (APCs), armored reconnaissance vehicles, and other wheeled fighting vehicles. The most modern of these were 36 M-113 APCs and 100 Commando-type armored cars from the United States, and 120 Walid APCs from Egypt (see table 12, Appendix).
Artillery pieces included a number of guns and howitzers mostly of United States and Soviet origin. All of the artillery was towed with the exception of 155mm self-propelled howitzers acquired from France in 1981. The army's modest antitank capability was based on the jeep-mounted Swingfire guided-wire missile, manufactured in Egypt under British license.
Data as of June 1991
Sudan Table of Contents