Ghana Armed Forces
The history of the Ghana Armed Forces dates back to the pre-colonial era. There were in the then Gold Coast indigenous military organisations before the coming of the Europeans, but these were not standing armies.
They were rather called Asafo Companies. Threats against British interests during the period of the Slave Trade and trading in general in the West African sub-region caused the British to establish a defence organisation which was called
The Royal African Company. The operations of other trading companies of Dutch, Portuguese and French also necessitated the establishment of defence organisations to contain opposition and stem the competitive aspirations of rival metropolitan powers.
Later, all these militias were amalgamated by Sir George Goldie an adventurer who gave up military career to explore Egypt and Sudan, and the he gave them the name The Royal Niger Company. It was this force that Sir Charles MacCarthy, one of the earliest Governors of Gold Coast and Nigeria, later organised into a Regiment of 3 companies called the Royal African Colonial Corps of Light Infantry with the primary aim of preventing Ashanti raids into his domain.
The British wanted peace for better trade relations and therefore wanted to make the whole of the Gold Coast a protectorate. This triggered off Sir Garnet Wolseley Ashanti campaign of 1873 74 which became known as the Sagrenti War. In the pursuit of this war, native troops were raised alongside British troops in the British Colonies in West Africa. Earlier in 1865 a Corps of Hausas had been established to take care of upheavals in the Sub region. This force which was under the command of Captain Glover was popularly known as Glover Hausas and was used in the 1873 Ashanti Campaign. It was however disbanded after the operation, leaving only 350 who were used to form the nucleus of the Gold Coast Constabulary in 1879.
The constabularies who served the trading companies were observed to be too rudimentary and inadequate. They were therefore transformed into a more disciplined organisation, given a military bearing with improvement in their drill and training and given the name. The Gold Coast Constabulary. This was organised into a Regiment of 3 companies and was later incorporated into the West African Frontier Force (WAFF) officered by British and British NCOs, which became an integral part of the British Arm mainly for the maintenance of internal security and defence of the Colonial territories. By 1906 the Gold Coast Regiment had been reorganised with stations in Kumasi, Accra, Mampong, Nkoranza and Odumasi. The GC Regiment as part of the 1st Division of WAFF took part settled down to peacetime duties, and in 1933 it was reorganised in anticipation of the 2nd World War.
In 1939 Lt Gen Giffard was appointed as the first General Officer Commanding with his headquarters in Achimota, Accra. The 24th Gold Coast Brigade under the Command of Brigadier CEM Richards fought in East Africa and later in Burma as part of the famous 81st and 82nd West Africa Divisions. On their return from Burma the Regiment was reorganised. All the wartime Battalions were disbanded, leaving only the 1st and 2nd Battalions. The experience of the demobilized soldiers however acted as a powerful catalyst for the demand for independence from the Colonial British Government. At independence the Ghana Army consisted of a Brigade Group of 3 Infantry Battalions, a Field Battery and Field Engineer Squadron, a Recruit Training centre and the Supporting Services.
The Ghana Navy took its roots from the Gold Coast Naval Volunteers Force, which was established in 1936 just before the 2nd World War. Their role was to provide seaward defence to carry out sea patrols and to keep the coastal waters free of mines. The Ghana Navy and the Ghana Air Forces were established by an act of Parliament in 1959.
The Air Force was established in 1959 under the supervision of Indian and Israeli officers with an Indian Air Commodore as the 1st Commander. Later in 1960 the training agreement with Israel was terminated and the task was assumed by the British, supplemented by a small group from the Royal Canadian Force. The first 10 Ghanaian pilots qualified under Israeli Instructors in 1960. In September of the same year a Ghanaian Army Brigadier was appointed as Chief of Air Staff. The Ghana Air Force now has stations in Takoradi, Accra and Tamale.
Today, the Ghana Armed Forces is made up of the Ghana Army, Ghana Navy and Air Force all operating under a Joint Service General Headquarters.