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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The uncontrollable force: a brief history of the Liberian Frontier Force, 1908-1944
Author:Nevin, Timothy D.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Liberia
Subjects:armed forces
military history
Abstract:The Liberian Frontier Force (LFF) was formed in February 1908 to be 'employed in garrisoning the posts on the frontiers and maintaining public order'. From its inception, two seemingly competing but actually compatible cultural ideologies and modes of warfare were at work in the Force. The officer corps, which included the Americo-Liberian officers along with their American advisors, operated under military codes influenced by the practices of European colonial forces operating in tropical Africa. The indigenous troops incorporated into the LFF applied time-honoured indigenous methods of warfare, generally conceptualizing warfare as a raiding system that aimed to collect booty, to exact revenge, or to liberate pawns from servitude. By allowing raiding and looting, the government did not need to pay the soldiers, or establish a costly command and control system to ensure discipline. This paper examines the history of the LFF from 1908 to 1944, paying attention to its origins; LFF uniforms; mutinies among LFF troops; tactics of traditional warfare in the hinterland; visible and invisible weapons; revolts against LFF-administered indirect rule in the hinterland districts; corruption; discipline; and forced-labour recruitment. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]