Republic of Chad
What is known today as the Republic of Chad (République du Tchad or جمهورية تشاد) was once considered a crossroads of civilization, connecting many North African empires during the first two millenia BCE. The Kanem Empire (700 to 1387 CE) absorbed most of modern Chad into its own territory and controlled the trans-Saharan trade routes, as did its many successors. By 1900, the French had claimed much of North Africa as its territory and established the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad, yet the region was ruled rather loosely and considered primarily a source of raw cotton. Chad was granted independence on August 11, 1960, following the French trend of releasing most of its former colonial possessions that began in the early 1950s.
Chad has unfortunately been plagued with civil war and struggled against external aggression since shortly after gaining independence. The first of these internal wars was instigated by a coalition of Muslim groups who overthrew the government and executed François Tombalbaye, the first president of Chad, in 1965. A state of sporadic civil warfare would subsequently exist from 1978 until 1987, with Libya involving itself in military matters on four seperate occasions. The Libyans would ultimately be defeated and expelled in what is often called the Toyota War (December 16, 1986 to September 11, 1987) when Chadian forces pulled together under the leadership of Hissène Habré. Habré would govern the nation as a dictator until 1990, when he was overthrown by General Idriss Déby. A short period of stability and peace lasted until 2003, when a new civil war broke out, pitting the Chadian government against various dissident groups such as the United Front for Democratic Change, United Forces for Development and Democracy, Gathering of Forces for Change, and the National Accord of Chad. The country continues to struggle with war into the present period.
The Armed Forces of Chad are today called the Forces Nationale Tchad (FNT).
Camouflage Patterns of Chad
- One of the earliest dissident groups to form in Chad was the Front de Libération Nationale du Tchad or FROLINAT (1966-1993). Supported by Libya, during the 1980s many combatants were known to wear a "leopard spot" pattern camouflage, similar to that worn by Zaire but having a much more yellowish colorway. It is speculated the uniforms may have originated in Libya.
- From the late 1970s until perhaps the late 1980s, some Chadian government forces wore the Egyptian made "rocks" pattern camouflage, undoubtedly imported from that country.
- Another camouflage design to emerge during this period was a variation of the Belgian jigsaw design, similar again to a design worn by Zaire. The Chadian pattern features black, brown and turquoise jigsaw shapes on a khaki background, whereas the Zairean version is more green in appearance. Of undertermined origin, the pattern and fabric may have originated in Europe. Some of these uniforms would later end up in the hands of Libyans.
- French tenue de leópard or lizard pattern was also a frequently encountered camouflage pattern during this late 1970s and early 1980s period. The F1 style uniform was exported by Asian manufacturers all over Africa, in nations as disparate as Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, and Rwanda.
- Similiar to the Asian copy of French lizard camouflage, but having distinctive shapes, a Chinese "lizard" pattern has also been heavily exported to many African nations, including Chad. Its use here dates to the present era, primarily with Chadian government forces.
- An Asian-made copy of the US six-color "chocolate chip" pattern camouflage has been worn by Chadian government forces since the late 1980s.
- Also appearing among Chadian government forces during this period is an Asian-made copy of the US m81 woodland camouflage pattern.
- More recently (2006 to present), government forces of Chad have worn the US tricolor desert pattern, undoubtedly imported from Asia.
- Some elements of the FNT also wear the Kuwaiti National Guard "amoeba" pattern.
- An Asian copy of the US-designed Multicam pattern is also in use by the FNT.
- One unique design worn by Chadian forces is based on the US woodland camouflage design, but incorporating dark brown, medium brown and beige shapes on a tan background.
- A more literal copy of the US woodland camouflage pattern is also currently worn by the ANT, particularly in the Southern regions of Chad.
- Although reputedly under copyright and strict license guidelines, a copy of the Jordanian KA2 desert digital camouflage pattern has been documented in use by members of the FNT. No doubt the origins of the pattern and uniforms are Chinese, where international copyright laws do not seem to be recognized.
- Personnel from Chad serving with the OAU in 2012 have also been observed wearing a copy of the KA2 Jordanian Royal Guard camouflage pattern, seen here.
- Another frequently-copied digital pattern that has appeared on some personnel from the Chadian Armed Forces is this Asian-made version of USMC MARPAT.
- Another variation of the woodland camouflage design appeared on Chadian participants to exercise Flintlock 2015. This variation has a distinctive yellowish-base color.
- First appearing in the 2014-2015 period, a copy of the Norwegian desert camouflage pattern is also in use with some personnel of the Chad Armed Forces.
- Chadian personnel deployed to Mali with the UN in 2016 wore a unique three-color desert pattern incorporating large patches of brown on sand, with very sparse black shapes.
- Army Special Operations personnel were observed in 2016 wearing a copy of the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) while undergoing instruction from US Army Special Forces.