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The Ghana Army (GA) is the main ground warfare organizational military branch of the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF). In 1959, two years after the Gold Coast obtained independence as Ghana, the Gold Coast Regiment was withdrawn from the Royal West African Frontier Force, and formed the basis for the new Ghanaian army. Together with the Ghanaian air force (GHF) and Ghanaian navy (GN), the Ghanaian army (GA) makes up the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF), controlled by the Ghanaian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Central Defence Headquarters, both located in Greater Accra.
Ghana Armed Force History
The command structure for the army forces in Ghana originally stemmed from the British Army’s West Africa Command. Lieutenant General Lashmer Whistler was the penultimate commander holding the command from 1951 to 1953. Lt Gen Sir Otway Herbert, who left the West Africa Command in 1955, was the last commander. The command was dissolved on 1 July 1956.
In 1957, the Ghana Army consisted of its headquarters, support services, three battalions of infantry and a reconnaissance squadron with armoured cars. Total strength was approximately 5,700 men. Partially due to an over-supply of British officers after the end of the Second World War, only 12% of the officer corps in Ghana, 29 officers out a total of 209 in all, were black Ghanaians at independence. Under Major General Alexander Paley, there were almost 200 British Ghanaian officers and 230 warrant officers and senior commissioned officers posted throughout the Ghanaian Army.
Ghanaian Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah wished to rapidly expand and Africanise the army in order to support his Pan-African and anti-colonial ambitions. Thus in 1961, 4th and 5th Battalions were established, and in 1964 6th Battalion was established, from a parachute unit originally raised in 1963. Second Infantry Brigade Group was established in 1961 to command the two battalions raised that year. However, 3rd Battalion was disbanded in February 1961 after an August 1960 mutiny while on Operation des Nations Unies au Congo service at Tshikapa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The changeover from British to Ghanaian officers meant a sudden lowering of experience levels, training and professionalism.
The Ghanaian commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel David Hansen, had on appointment as battalion commander only seven years of military experience, compared to the more normal twenty years’ of experience for battalion commanders in Western armies. He was badly beaten by his troops during the mutiny. 4th Battalion was raised under a British commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Cairns, from the single company of the 3rd Battalion that had not mutinied.
Ghana Armed Force Structure
The Ghana army is divided into three (3) brigade sized “commands”:
- Northern Command (Tamale)
- 6th Battalion, Ghana Regiment
- Airborne Force (One company sized formation each in Upper West and Upper East regions respectively).
- Central Command (Kumasi)
- 3rd Battalion, Ghana Regiment (Sunyani)
- 4th Battalion, Ghana Regiment (Kumasi)
- 2nd Reconnaissance Armoured Squadron (Sunyani)
- 2nd Signal Squadron (Kumasi)
- 2nd Field Workshop (Kumasi)
- 49th Engineer Regiment (Kumasi)
- 2nd Field Ambulance (Kumasi)
- 2nd Transport Company (Kumasi)
- 2nd Field Operations Center (Kumasi)
- Southern Command (Accra)
- 1st Battalion, Ghana Regiment (Tema)
- 2nd Battalion, Ghana Regiment (Takoradi)
- 5th Battalion, Ghana Regiment (Accra)
- 64th Infantry Regiment (Accra)
- 1st Reconnaissance Armoured Squadron and Reconnaissance Armoured Regiment HQ (Accra)
- 66th Artillery Regiment (Ho)
- 48th Engineer Regiment (Teshie)
- 1st Field Workshop (Accra)
- 1 Motor Transport Battalion (Accra
Ghana Armed ForceInfantry
The Ghanaian Army consists of three distinct infantry elements:
- Ghana Regiment – The major element of the army is the six light infantry battalions of the Ghana Regiment. Three battalions are assigned to each brigade.
- Airborne Force – The Airborne Force (ABF) is a battalion sized formation including a parachute trained company assigned to the Northern Command.
- 64 Infantry Regiment – 64 Infantry Regiment is the commando trained rapid reaction force assigned to the Southern Command (formerly known as President’s Own Guard Regiment).
Ghana Armed Force Combat Support
The Ghanaian Army has a number of units designated as combat support, including its armour, artillery, engineers and signals:
- Reconnaissance Armoured Regiment
- 48 Engineer Regiment (Teshie, Greater Accra Region)
- 49 Engineer Regiment
- 66 Artillery Regiment (Volta Barracks, Ho; formed 2004 from previous Medium Mortar Regiment)
- Signals Regiment (Accra)
- Logistics Group
Ghana Armed Force Rank structure
The GA rank structure is similar to the British army ranks structure, they are arranged in descending order:
- Field Marshal
- Second Lieutenant
- Chief Warrant Officer
- Master Warrant Officer
- Senior Warrant Officer
- Warrant Officer Class 1
- Warrant Officer Class 2
- Staff Sergeant
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