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Battle of Taghit
Part of South-Oranese Campaign
Bonifacio Légion JPG1.jpg
Monument to the French Foreign Légionnaires who died during the South-Oranese campaign
Date17–20 August 1903
LocationTaghit, Algerian - Moroccan border
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg France Moroccan Berbers
Commanders and leaders
Captain de Susbielle Sharif Mouley Mostepha
Strength
470 4,000
Casualties and losses
9 dead, 21 wounded about 400

The Battle of Taghit was the siege of a fort held by a contingent of the French Army of Africa against Moroccan tribesmen during the South-Oranese Campaign.

Background

In the 1890s, the French administration and military called for the annexation of the Touat, the Gourara and the Tidikelt,[1] a complex that had been part of the Moroccan Empire for many centuries prior to the arrival of the French in Algeria.[2]

An armed conflict opposed French 19th Corps Oran and Algiers divisions to the Aït Khabbash, a fraction of the Moroccan Aït Ounbgui khams of the Aït Atta confederation. The conflict ended with the annexation of the Touat-Gourara-Tidikelt complex by France in 1901.[3]

Aftermath, France faced numerous incidents, attacks and looting by uncontrolled armed groups in the newly controlled areas to the south of Oran.[4] Under the command of General Lyautey, the French army's mission was to protect these areas newly occupied in the west of Algeria, near the poorly defined Moroccan boundaries.[4] This loose boundary, between French Algeria and the Sultanate of Morocco, promoted incursions and attacks by Moroccan tribesmen.[4]

The battle

On the 17 August 1903, Sharif Mouley Mostepha, at the head of 4,000 tribesmen from the Guir and Tafilalt, followed by 5,000 non-combatants of all ages, arrived at the military fort of Taghit. During four days they besieged the outpost and its French troop, but the fierce defense of the garrison and the several sorties ordered by Captain de Susbielle forced the tribesmen to flee and disperse in the desert.[5]

French units involved

Aftermath

A few days after the battle of Taghit, 148 legionnaires of the 22nd mounted company, from the 2e REI, commanded by Captain Vauchez and Lieutenant Selchauhansen, 20 Spahis and 2 Mokhaznis, forming part of escorting a supply convoy, were ambushed, on September 2, by 3,000 Moroccans tribesmen, at El-Moungar.[4]

References

  1. Trout, Frank E. (1970). "Morocco's Boundary in the Guir-Zousfana River Basin". pp. 37–56. JSTOR 216479. "The Algerian-Moroccan conflict can be said to have begun in the 1890s when the administration and military in Algeria called for annexation of the Touat-Gourara-Tidikelt, a sizable expanse of Saharan oases that was nominally a part of the Moroccan Empire (...) The Touat-Gourara-Tidikelt oases had been an appendage of the Moroccan Empire, jutting southeast for about 750 kilometers into the Saharan desert" 
  2. Trout, Frank E. (1969). Morocco's Saharan Frontiers. Droz. p. 24. ISBN 9782600044950. https://books.google.com/books?id=IO69HppDTDgC&printsec=frontcover&hl=fr. "The Gourara-Touat-Tidikelt complex had been under Moroccan domination for many centuries prior to the arrival of the French in Algeria" 
  3. Lefébure, Claude (1986). "Ayt Khebbach, impasse sud-est. L'involution d'une tribu marocaine exclue du Sahara". pp. 136–57. http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/remmm_0035-1474_1986_num_41_1_2114. "Les Divisions d'Oran et d'Alger du 19e Corps d'armée n'ont pu conquérir le Touat et le Gourara qu'au prix de durs combats menés contre les semi-nomades d'obédience marocaine qui, depuis plus d'un siècle, imposaient leur protection aux oasiens." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Historique de la bataille d'El Moungar". French Ministry of Defence. http://www.defense.gouv.fr/terre/bloc-a-la-une/historique-de-la-bataille-d-el-moungar. 
  5. Montagnon, Pierre. Histoire de la Légion de 1831 à nos jours. https://books.google.com/books?id=pr76Vsk3sjkC&pg=PT182&dq=combat+de+Taghit&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=VJ87VejyFYneavHagPgJ&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=combat%20de%20Taghit&f=false. 

Bibliography

Coordinates: 35°26′00″N 4°03′00″E / 35.433333°N 4.05°E / 35.433333; 4.05

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