anm document

Projet de liason du Niger au Taout (1902)
in ANM 2 N 62 fonds anciens

© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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This is a long and detailed document about how to open a route across the Sahara. It includes detail on the land, people and vegetation.

Under "4° Plan des Operations," the report lists personnel requirements for an operation that was intended to construct a base north of Bourem. One column would select the site and build the base, and a second column would provide a garrison for the base and continue north towards Algeria. The first column was composed of 200 tirailleurs, a platoon of Spahis, a Section d'artillerie, 100 Kountas (camel-mounted scounts recruited from among the desert people) and 300 camels. They were to leave Bourem in November carrying two months' worth of food, and find the best location between Kidal, Es-Souk, Tashda‹t and Teleta.

The second group was composed of 200 tirailleurs, 100 Kountas and 600 camels. After building and occupying the post, 100 men would remain as a garrison. This entire project required 420 tons of supplies, and at 7 camels per ton, 2,940 camels.

There was a long list of supplies, tools, presents and equipment that included things like "outils à boucher" (butcher's utensils) and "parfum, étoffes riches, tabac de France et de Taout", etc. A note warns "On devra se montrer resérvé pour les cadeaux d'armes si on ne préfère s'en abstenir complètement" (we should limit the number of weapons that we give as gifts. It would be best if we gave none.)

There is a list of the weapons considered necessary for the expedition: 400 rifles (model 1892) and 450 cartridges per man in the first group, 500 cartidges per man in the second group, 50 muskets (model 1892) with bayonets (for the Spahis), 25 revolvers (model 1892) and 5000 cartridges, 50 rifles (model 1874) and 5000 cartridges for the Kountas, 2 80-millimeter artillery pieces with 400 rounds (140 shells with grapeshot, 60 exploding shells and 200 regular shells).