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The Royal Moroccan Army is the branch of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces

responsible for land-based military operations.

The army is about 175,000 troops strong, In case of war or state of siege, an

additional force of 150,000 Reservists and paramilitary forces, including

20,000 regulars of the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie and 30,000 Auxiliary Forces

come under the Ministry of Defense command.

Army forces from Morocco have taken part in different wars and battles during the

twentieth century, from World War I, to the recent Central African Republic

conflict. History

The Moroccan army has existed continuously since the rising of

Almoravid Empire in the 11th-century. During Colonisation and the

protectorates period, large numbers of Moroccans were recruited for service in

the Spahi and Tirailleur regiments of the French Army of Africa. Many served

during World War I. During World War II more than 300,000 Moroccan troops served

with the Free French forces in North Africa, Italy, France and Austria. The

two world conflicts saw Moroccan units earning the nickname of "Todesschwalben"

by German soldiers as they showed particular toughness on the battlefield.

After the end of World War II, Moroccan troops formed part of the French Far

East Expeditionary Corps engaged in the First Indochina War from 1946 to 1954.

The Spanish Army also made extensive use of Moroccan troops recruited in the

Spanish Protectorate, during both the Rif War of 192126 and the Spanish Civil

War of 193639. Moroccan Regulares, together with the Spanish Legion, made

up Spain's elite Spanish Army of Africa. A para-military gendarmerie, known as

the "Mehal-la Jalifianas" and modelled on the French goumieres, was employed

within the Spanish Zone. The Royal Armed Forces were created on

14 May 1956, after French Morocco, a French Protectorate, was dissolved.

Fourteen thousand Moroccan personnel from the French Army and ten thousand

from the Spanish Armed Forces transferred into the newly formed armed

forces. This number was augmented by approximately 5,000 former guerrillas

from the "Army of Liberation". About 2,000 French officers and NCOs remained

in Morocco on short term contracts, until crash training programmes at the

military academies of Saint-Cyr, Toledo and Dar al Bayda produced sufficient

numbers of Moroccan commissioned officers.

The first wars that Moroccan troops have taken part in the 20th century as an

independent country were the Ifni War and Sand War.

In the early 1960s, Moroccan troops were sent to the Congo as part of the first

multifunctional UN peacekeeping operation, ONUC. But the Moroccan Armed

Forces were mostly notable in fighting a 25-year asymmetric war against the

POLISARIO, an Algerian backed rebel national liberation movement seeking the

independence of Western Sahara from Morocco.

The Royal Moroccan Army fought during the Six-Day War and on the Golan front

during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and intervened decisively in the 1977

conflict known as Shaba I to save Zaire's regime. After Shaba II, Morocco

was part of the Inter-African Force deployed on the Zaire border,

contributing about 1,500 troops. The Armed Forces also took part in the Gulf

War with a Mechanized Battalion and an infantry battalion in the Omar and Tariq

Task Forces. In the 1990s, Moroccan troops went to

Angola with the three UN Angola Versification Missions, UNAVEM I, UNAVEM

II, and UNAVEM III. They were also in Somalia, with UNOSOM I, the U.S.-led

Unified Task Force, sometimes known by its U.S. codename of 'Restore Hope,' and

the follow-on UNOSOM II. They saw fighting during the 34 October 1993

confrontation in Mogadishu to rescue a U.S. anti-militia assault force. Other

peace support involvement during the 1990s included United Nations

Transitional Authority in Cambodia in Cambodia, and the missions in the former

Yugoslavia: IFOR, SFOR, and KFOR. Recent United Nations deployment in

Africa and elsewhere have included the United Nations Organization

Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UNOCI, BINUCA

and MISCA Other missions have included:

Perejil Island crisis International Security Assistance Force

Joint Command Operation Scorched Earth

MINUSTAH United Nations Supervision Mission in

Syria Algeria, Morocco, and other Maghreb

states affected by the GSPC insurgency have been assisted in fighting Islamist

militants by the United States and the United Kingdom since 2007, when

Operation Enduring Freedom Trans Sahara began.

Army of Liberation The Army of Liberation was a force

fighting for the independence of Morocco. In 1956, units of the Army

began infiltrating Ifni and other enclaves of Spanish Morocco, as well as

the Spanish Sahara. Initially, they received important backing from the

Moroccan government. In the Spanish Sahara, the Army rallied Sahrawi tribes

along the way, and triggered a large-scale rebellion. In early 1958,

the Moroccan king reorganized the Army of Liberation units fighting in the

Spanish Sahara as the "Saharan Liberation Army".

The revolt in the Spanish Sahara was put down in 1958 by a joint French and

Spanish offensive. The king of Morocco then signed an agreement with the

Spanish, as he asserted control over the rebellious southern border areas, and

parts of the Army of Liberation was absorbed back into the Moroccan armed

forces. Nationalistic Moroccans tend to see the

Army of Liberation battles in Western Sahara as a proof of Western Sahara's

loyalty to the Moroccan crown, whereas sympathizers to the Polisario Front view

it only as an anti-colonial war directed against Spain. Sahrawi veterans of the

Army of Liberation today exist on both sides of the Western Sahara conflict,

and both the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

celebrate it as part of their political history.

Forces today = Situation and equipment =

From the beginning of 21st-century, the Moroccan army began a modernisation

program that included the purchase of modern equipment and the transformation

into a more professional army performing multiple exercises with allied's armies,

as a Major non-NATO ally, member of the initiative 5+5 and other cooperation

agreements. The army's modernisation program took shape with the acquisitions

of weapons such as the Chinese VT-1A and MRLS AR2, American M1A1 Abrams, the HAWK

air defense system or the M109A5 Self-Propelled Howitzer.

The organisation and structure of command remained the same:

General Command HQ Northern Command

Southern Command Formations are 10 Independent Armored

battalions, 3 Mechanized Brigades with 19 battalions, 35 Independent Infantry

Battalions, 6 Light security Brigades, 2 Cavalry and 3 Camel Corps battalions, 2

Paratroops Brigades, 2 Airborne battalions, 4 Commando battalions and 13

Artillery battalions, Air defence is included in the Artillery structures and

divisions. Armored units are mostly deployed in

eastern and southern provinces, all along Algerian border and Moroccan wall.

More than 600 tanks are in service: 150 VT-1A, 148 T-72B and 427 M60A3/A3TTS

Patton. Some M48 Pattons were retired from active service and stored as

reserve with the 1991 cease-fire, the SK-105 Krassiers had the same fate. In

Addition, 200 ex-US M1 Abrams Abrams are expected to be delivered after

refurbishement and modernization to the M1A1SA "Special Armor" Configuration.

The mechanized brigades and Cavalries, equipped with Light Armored Carrier,

armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles for transport, combat

and recon missions, are equipped with, more or less: 1,200 M113 in different

variants, 60 Ratel 20/90, 395 VAB VCI/VTT, 110 ex-Belgian AIFV, 175 AML

90/60 and 110 AMX 10 RC. Other APCs are part of other corps as the Auxiliary's

UR-416, or the recent purchase of 88 Lenco BearCat for the Royal Moroccan

Gendarmerie. The Artillery, grouped in GARs, includes

Self-Propelled Howitzers, towed Howitzers, MRLS and Air Defense Systems,

mortar carriers are part of the RIMZ. The equipment includes: 213 155mm M109

SPH in different versions, 60 203mm M110A2 SPH, received as EDA from USA,

and 100 155mm Mk F3 remain in service. Note that only 155mm towed howitzers are

deployed all along the Moroccan Wall, that includes 140 155mm, 18 130mm and 54

105mm are deployed in different regions. 2 Battalions of MRLS are also listed as

part of RMAs inventory, the first with 36 122mm BM-21 and the second with 36

300mm AR2. Moroccan Anti-Aircraft Warfare have been

based basically on Self Propelled Air Defense Systems, waiting the arrival of

MIM-23 Hawk XXI HIMAD SAM. In its inventory we find 72 MIM-72 Chaparral,

12 Tunguska M1, 90 ZSU-23-4 and 115 M163 VADS, in addition of The MANPADS used by

the infantry are the 9K32 Strela-2, 9K38 Igla. Other systems include AAG

as M1939, ZU-23-2 or M167 VADS, usually mounted on LUVs and CUCVs. For base

protections 100 Type-90 were purchased from China, and recently, vehicles part

of the AF902 FC5/35mm AA Gun Air Defence System has been seen in Moroccan roads.

= International projection = The Kingdom of Morocco is part of

multiple international organisations, is a Major non-NATO ally, part of the Arab

League, and has established military cooperation with different countries

such as USA, Russia, Portugal, Tunisia, China, Qatar, Italy, France, Spain, UAE

or Turkey. As part of the UN, Moroccan Army participed in different

Peacekeeping missions. Moroccan troops were sent as part of SFOR, KFOR,

MINUSTAH or the more recent UNSMIS in Syria. It has also responded the call of

its allies, taking part of conflicts such as Shaba I, Battle of Mogadishu,

the Gulf War or the Operation Scorched Earth, among others. Morocco has

dispatched several field hospitals to conflict zones and areas affected by

natural disasters, the latest contributions were at Libyan Civil War,

the Syrian civil war. and in the Gaza strip after Operation Pillar of Defense.

The Royal Moroccan Army also performs annual training exercise called "African

Lion" with the United States Marine Corps. The exercise is a regularly

scheduled, combined U.S. - Moroccan military exercise designed to promote

improved interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics,

techniques, procedures, unit readiness and enhancing foreign relations.

Morocco has also been the venue for Exercise Jebel Sahara since September

2000, taken 10 times since, and gathering elements from 33 Squadron, 230

Squadron, 18 Squadron, 27 Squadron, Joint Helicopter Force HQ from RAF

Benson, 1st Battalion Royal Gibraltar Regiment and 2nd Brigade dInfanterie

Parachutiste of the Royal Moroccan Army. The aim of the Exercise was to increase

the Support Helicopter warfighting capability in desert hot and high

conditions and foster good relations between the UK and Morocco. To achieve

this, the scenario consisted of a joint counter insurgency operation in the

desert and mountain foothills to re-establish control and authority

within a troubled region of North Africa. Another exercises were the

Jebel Tarik, with the Moroccan contribution of service personnel to an

annual bilateral deployment of two companies of the Royal Gibraltar

Regiment to the UK, on seven occasions since 2003. Desert Vortex, a one-off

bilateral helicopter exercise which is run between 16 May and 30 June 2009.

This was a UK training exercise with objectives set by Joint Helicopter

Command and run concurrently with Moroccan Air Force annual helicopter

crew training. The Royal Gibraltar Regiment ran an

exercise with the Moroccan 2e Brigade d'Infanterie Parachutiste in late 2008.

The Royal Armed Forces also take part of different international exercises as

Leapfest [7], Flintlock [8], Blue Sand [9], and occasional military operations

exercises with Belgium, U.A.E., Spain, France and others.

Ranks Militaires du rang / Enlisted

Soldat de deuxime classe / Private Soldat de premire classe / Private

First Class Caporal or Brigadier / Lance corporal

Caporal-chef or Brigadier-chef / Corporal

Sous-officiers / non-commissioned officer

Eleve Sous-Officier / candidat at Non-Commissioned Officers School

Sergent / Sergeant Sergent-chef / Staff Sergeant

Sergent-major / Sergeant First Class Adjudant / Warrant officer

Adjudant chef / Chief Warrant Officer Officiers subalternes / Junior officers

Eleve Officier Officer Cadet Aspirant / Aspirant

Sous-lieutenant / Sub-lieutenant Lieutenant / Lieutenant

Capitaine / Captain Officiers suprieurs / Senior officers

Commandant / Major Lieutenant-Colonel/ Lieutenant Colonel

Colonel / Colonel Colonel Major / Colonel Major

Gnraux / General officers Gnral de brigade / Brigadier General

Gnral de division / Major General Gnral de corps d'arme / Lieutenant

General Gnral de l'arm et commandant en chef:

General of the Army and Commander-in-chief Retained by His

Majesty the King of Morocco. In 2009, the Moroccan army had:

24 Generals 80 Colonel-Major

200 Lt-Colonel Equipment

Uniform The most common service uniform of the

Royal Moroccan Army is olive drab, but you can also see Moroccan troops with

other types of uniforms such as the Desert lizard, Red Lizard and Camouflage

Centre Europe uniforms. See also

Royal Moroccan Armed Forces Royal Moroccan Navy

Royal Moroccan Air Force Moroccan Royal Guard

Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie Auxiliary Forces

References Further reading

Anthony Cordesman, 'A Tragedy of Arms' John Keegan "World Armies" ISBN

0-333-17236-1 R. Hure "L'Armee d' Afrique 1830-1962"

The Description of Royal Moroccan Army