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"Maroc 1923: Hell on earth in the Bat' d'Af" Topic

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375 hits since 9 Mar 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 9:39 p.m. PST

"The Bataillon d' infanterie légère d' Afrique better known as the BILA or Bat d´Af served for over a century as the infamous penal battalions of the French Army.

Men with prison records who still had to do their military service or soldiers with serious disciplinary problems were shipped of to Tatahouine, headquarters of the Bat d´Af, to serve a term in a hell.

Although discipline was extreme and the conditions harsh the BILA should not be confused with a military prison or a hard labour gang. The men were often used for back breaking construction work but were trained as soldiers. "Battailonaires", better known as "les Joyeux" (the "the joyful ones") fought in the Crimean war, won high honours during WW1 and bled and spilt blood in many long forgotten skirmishes in France's North African colonies…."
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