Battle of Bab El Oued

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Battle of Bab El Oued
Part of the Algerian War
Bab el Oued 114.jpg
Modern day view of Bab el Oued
Date 23 March 1962 - 6 April 1962
Location Bab El Oued, Algiers, Algeria
Result French government forces took control of Bab-el-Oued
Belligerents
France France Organisation de l'Armée Secrète (OAS)
Commanders and leaders
France Charles Ailleret Raoul Salan
Casualties and losses
15 killed
77 wounded[1]
20 killed
60 wounded[1]

The Battle of Bab el Oued, or occasionally the Siege of Bab el Oued, (French: Bataille de Bab el Oued) was a battle of the Algerian War (1954–1962) between Organisation de l'Armée Secrète (OAS) militants opposed to Algerian independence and the French army in a traditionally working-class European quarter of Algiers from 23 March to 6 April 1962.

Context[edit]

The OAS uprising (19 March)[edit]

Algeria: Tense Cease Fire Bab el Oued, 22 March 1962

The OAS was an organisation of hard-line European "Pieds Noirs" living in (the then-French territory) Algeria who were opposed to the cease-fire announced by French president Charles de Gaulle on 19 March 1962 between French forces and the Front de libération nationale (FLN) forces fighting for Algerian Independence. The OAS decided to dig in in their stronghold of Bab El Oued (a traditionally European working-class area) to fight the Evian Agreements by force.

Siege of Bab el Oued (from 23 March to 6 April)[edit]

The Battle of Bab el Oued was principally a battle between the French Gendarmerie Mobile and the OAS Commando Delta. The French used M8 Greyhound armoured cars to control the exits to the town whilst suspicious buildings were surveilled from the air by T-6 and T-28 aircraft departing from Boufarik Air Base. Four T-6s strafed the roofs to clear them from snipers after Army helicopters dropped canisters with tear gas.[2] As part of the attack, naval artillery support from the T 47 class destroyers Surcouf and Maillé-Brézé was planned, though it soon became evident that this was not practical and was soon called off. Most of the troops setting siege to the quarter had been ferried to Algeria by these destroyers on 2 March.[3]

In support of Bab-el Oued, 200 OAS maquis marched from Algiers to Ouarsenis, a mountainous region between Oran and Algiers. They tried to capture two French military outpost and gain support from local Muslim tribes loyal to France, but instead they were harassed and eventually defeated by Legion units led by Colonel Albert Brothier after several days of fighting.[4]

Arrest of General Jouhaud (25 March)[edit]

On 25 March 1962, General Edmond Jouhaud (adjutant to the Commander of the OAS Raoul Salan and commander of the OAS-Oranie, the Oran branch of the OAS) was arrested at the Hôtel Panoramic d'Oran with his adjutant, Commander Julien Camelin.

Massacre on the rue d'Isly (26 March)[edit]

The Grande Poste d'Alger where the massacre took place, taken in 2009. On independence, the rue d'Isly which was named after the 1844 Battle of Isly was renamed in honour of the commander of the FLN Larbi Ben M'hidi

The massacre on the rue d'Isly (French: Fusillade de la rue d'Isly) was the action on 26 March in which a largely peaceful demonstration of pro-French Algeria Pied-Noirs (though many had links with the OAS) tried to force their way through French roadblocks around the Grande Post (Great Post-Office). The protestors ran into a road block manned by 45 French soldiers of the 4e régiment de tirailleurs algériens (4e RTA) (5th regiment of Algerian rifles) who fired on the crowd. The official death toll given by the French government was 54 killed and 140 injured.[5]

Casualties[edit]

According to the historian Benjamin Stora, 35 people were killed during the Battle of Bab el Oued and around 150 were wounded.[6] Six French soldiers were killed by the OAS in a previous ambush.[7]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Amouroux, André and Courriere, Yves (1988). La France contemporaine, La guerre d'Algérie, t.IX. Tallendier, p.424 (French)
  2. ^ Time magazine, Volume 8, p. 119. Time Incorporated, 1962
  3. ^ Labour research, Volumen 51, p. 112. Labour Research Department, 1962
  4. ^ Harrison, Alexander (1989). Challenging De Gaulle: The OAS and the counterrevolution in Algeria (1954–1962). Greenwood press, p. 120. ISBN 0-275-92791-1
  5. ^ Evans, Martin (24 November 2011). Algeria: France's Undeclared War. Oxford University Press. p. 315. ISBN 978-0192803504. 
  6. ^ Benjamin Stora, Les mots de la guerre d'Algérie, Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2005, p.18 (French)
  7. ^ 26 mars 1962, la fusillade de la rue d’Isly à Alger,Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH, Human Rights League), article based on sources from Benjamin Stora,Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie, La gangrène et l'oubli and Sylvie Thénault, Histoire de la guerre d'indépendance algérienne (French)

Coordinates: 36°47′14.56″N 3°3′5.8″W / 36.7873778°N 3.051611°W / 36.7873778; -3.051611