Congo Unravelled

Military Operations from Independence to the Mercenary Revolt 1960–68

Andrew Hudson

Post-independence events in the Republic of the Congo are a veritable Gordian knot.
Publication date:
April 2012
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
8pp colour photos, many b/w photos, maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781907677632

Dimensions : 297 X 210 mm
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• The political and military struggles of post-independence Congo

Post-independence events in the Republic of the Congo are a veritable Gordian knot. The ambitions of Congolese political leaders, Cold War rivalry, Pan-Africanism, Belgium's continued economic interests in the country's mineral wealth, and the strategic perceptions of other southern African states all conspired to wrack Africa's second largest country with uprisings, rebellions and military interventions for almost a decade.

Congo Unravelled solves the intractable complexity of this violent period by dispassionately outlining the sequence of political and military events that took place in the troubled country. The reader is systematically taken through the first military attempts to stabilise the country after independence and the two distinguishing military campaigns of the decade; the United Nations military operations to end the secession of the Katanga Province, and the Dragon Operations led by Belgian paratroopers, supported by the US Air Force, launched to end the insurgency in the east of the country. Finally, the mercenary revolt, an event that tainted the reputation of the modern mercenary in Africa, is described. Lesser known military events, such as the Irish UN forces cut off from the outside world by Katangese gendarmes and mercenaries, and a combined military operation in which Belgian paratroopers were dropped from US Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and supported by a mercenary ground force to achieve humanitarian ends, go far toward resolving the enigma surrounding post-independence Congo.

About the Author
Andrew Hudson majored in military history at the South Africa Military Academy and after two decades as an infantry officer in the South African Defence Force moved into the private sector. Still a soldier at heart he divides his time between earning an income, indulging his passion for collecting books on conflict in Africa, and road running in weird and wonderful locations.


Helion's splendid "Africa@War" series superbly summarizes men, movements and militaries in admirably balanced, handy histories. More than a half century after independence, the nation remains a political, economic and social wreck - with no end in sight. In Congo Unravelled Hudson's wonderfully distills the seeds of today's tragically endless morass. For a helpful handbook on this Cold War hot spot, grab Helion's enlightening effort. Robustly recommended!