Chad Table of Contents
Chadian troops receiving instruction on the use of
Courtesy Joseph Krull
France has played a paramount role in the training of the Chadian armed forces since independence. In 1980, during the worst fighting of the Chadian Civil War, the French withdrew their training mission and other forms of military cooperation. French involvement resumed in 1983 when Habré appealed for help against renewed Libyan intervention in northern Chad (see Foreign Military Cooperation , this ch.). As of late 1987, the French training mission consisted of about 250 officers and enlisted men. Of the 10,000 soldiers composing FANT at its inception in 1983, about 8,000 had been rotated through French training by 1987. The principal training sites were at N'Djamena, Koundoul, and Moussoro. At an instructional center at Mongo, thousands of former codos (commandos) had been "recycled" by French trainers, assisted by a large cadre of Chadian military. A small number of codos had been integrated into FANT, but most had been organized into work brigades for service as agricultural or road laborers.
The French-supervised training was complicated by the extreme variation in educational and experience levels of the soldiers. In some cases, combat veterans had to be combined with new recruits. Most enlisted men were illiterate and did not understand French; when an interpreter was unavailable, instruction was done by demonstration and imitation. The wide range of equipment and weapons in the growing Chadian inventory presented a further challenge for the French instructional teams.
An interservice officers' school staffed by the French was located at N'Djamena. In 1986 the school graduated its first class; an earlier school on the same site had suspended operations in 1979. The annual intake of thirty-five cadets was selected from those civilian and military candidates who had a junior high school level education. The two-year program combined general and military subjects; graduates were commissioned as infantry platoon leaders with the rank of second lieutenant.
A number of officers were also selected for advanced training abroad, principally in France and in other francophone countries of Africa. According to Chadian government data, in 1987 it was expected that forty officers would be assigned to schools in France, thirty-one to Senegal, and about forty to Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, and Zaire combined. A total of forty officers and NCOs had received training in the United States in infantry and engineering skills and in equipment repair and maintenance. In addition, United States mobile training teams visited Chad in the late 1980s for periods of one week to two months to offer instruction in the use of new weapons.
Data as of December 1988