The title of this book(let) doesn’t cover the content: in a very clarifying manner the geopolitical developments in the western part of the Sahara are stated, from the pre-historical time! At the end of the 15th century begins ‘our’’ Western interference with this area. Ending in the colonisation by Spain and France from 1830 onwards. Even before that, in 1777, the Sultan of Morocco had, as first nation in the world, acknowledged the United States of America!
The colonisation of the North coast of Morocco and the Western Sahara fell to Spain, while Mauritania and the rest of Morocco was occupied by France. Algeria also became a France colony. The barren and enormous expanse of these areas was the reason for the deploy of aircrafts. From 1907 onwards artillery observations were done with manned gas balloons. In 1910 followed some Bleriot’s, Farman’s and Wrights, which were deployed in North- America by France. One of their first pilots was, by the way, a Vietnamese lieutenant!
This book tells the story of the almost continuous turmoil in the Spanish and France colonial area. The freedom desire of the local civilians was awakened by the violent manner in which they were suppressed! Against this background the deploy of more and more modern aircrafts, is set out. It was a true experimental garden for the young military aviation.
For Spain and her colonies the Spanish civil war and the following dictatorship of General Franco was of decisive meaning till the deceasing of the Caudillo in 1975. In Spain as well as overseas the military apparatus were German made. German aircrafts from the beginning of WO II were produced in licence by CASA and from all types of engines foreseen (Me 109’s with a Merlin engine!) Especially the USA was, in exchange for military bases in Spain, easily prepared to keep the Spanish aircrafts in the air. And thus these Spanish/German aircrafts staid up till 1975 in the Spanish Sahara. Which gives rather unique pictures. Many of them are included in this book.
The France colonisation had left Morocco already from the 2nd of May 1956. Sultan Mohammed V became king of Morocco. His successor, Hassan II encountered stirring moments when in 1972 his Boeing 727 was attacked by 3 Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighters, as introduction of a coup. Till their dismay the F-5 pilots discovered that their artillery was loaded with training rounds! (not explosive). The 727 was well damaged but the pilot saw chance to dodge the F-5’s and land in Morocco. The coup was suppressed.
With an emphasis on the deploy of aircrafts, more smaller internal conflicts (and larger ones – with neighbouring country Algeria) are also set out. Some bizarre but surely interesting and readable described. And with, already mentioned, lots of unique photo material but also great colour plates of almost all the deployed aircrafts in this part of Africa. For the ones whose interest has been triggered for the ending of the Spanish colonisation and how it went with Mauritania, there is a Volume 2 of the Western Sahara Air Warfare.