During the Biafran war, there was no official support for the Biafran Army by any nation throughout the war. So to improve their chances of winning the war, foreign mercenaries were employed by Biafra to help fight for the cause.
Below are 7 notable Mercenaries that fought alongside Biafran soldiers during the Nigerian civil war.
1. COLONEL ROLF STEINER
Colonel Steiner was a German-born ex-Foreign Legion sergeant who spent most of his life fighting.
He came into Biafra in 1968 to help with the breakaway revolt and after proving himself several times, he was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel, in charge of planning.
Inspite of all his achievements though, he was arrested together with five other Mercenaries and bundled out of the biafran state after an arguement with Ojukwu.
However, far from being a mercenary, he had fought for the Biafrans without pay, serving long after most other mercenaries or European Soldiers of Fortune as they are often called had left the cause.
2. CAPTAIN ALEC
A one time British Paratrooper , Capt Alec came into Biafra in 1968. It was said that through out his stay in the region he used to walk around with a submachine gun, a rifle, and a shotgun, “just in case I have to shoot my way out of this bloody place.” He said. Capt Alec believed in the “little people,” who, he would say in all seriousness, “will jam your machine guns and cause your rockets to misfire.” What he meant by this statement for sure no one knows.
He fled Biafra after sustaining a life threatening injury.
3. TAFFY WILLIAMS
Noted for his bravery while under fire, Taffy Williams served two tours of duty with the Biafran Army. He rose to the rank of Major, and was assigned one hundred Biafran commandos. One of the feat he achieved with his commandos while fighting for Biafra was to keep two battalions of black mercenaries from Chad serving with the Federal Army at bay for twelve weeks using only the crudest of weapons.
Williams found his Biafran troops to be completely different from those who he commanded in other African countries.
“I’ve seen a lot of Africans at war, he was quoted as saying. But there’s nobody to touch these people. Give me 10,000 Biafrans for six months, and we’ll build an army that would be invincible on this continent. I’ve seen men die in this war who would have won the Victoria Cross in another context” when he made the statement above, there’s no doubt he was referring to the Sheer Will, Patriotism and Strength of Biafrans.
Taffy Willams was eventually forced to withdraw from the war due to a shortage of ammunition.
He was the only white Mercenary to stand by Biafra for the full duration of the conflict and spent over twelve months in combat. He was also the last white mercenary to leave the country as Federal Troops closed in.
4. ALEXANDRA GAY
Alexandra Gay came into Biafra In 1968, to fight under Frenchman Robert Faulques who he knew from his time in Congo. During his stay in Biafra he met up with and made friends with Rolf Steiner and Frederick Forsyth, and together three of them wrecked havoc on Nigerian troops. He too also ended up leaving the country in 1969, due to a shortage of ammunition.
5. MARC GOOSENS
Marc Goosens,was a decorated millitary man who after his mission in Congo In 1964, came to Biafra in 1968 to help with the cause by training Biafra’s Millitia. He also fought alongside his trainees whenever there was need to. While in Biafra He served under the French Mercenary leader Robert Faulques, where he held the rank of Major.
He was killed During an attack on Onitsha by Nigerian soldiers.
6. RON ARCHER
Ron was an American pilot that served Under the 493rd Bomb Group during WWII. His 493rd Bomnb Group also happens to be the last Eighth Air Force Group to become operational, flying their first combat mission from Debach, Suffolk, on D- Day, 6 June 1944.
Ron Archer may not be a mercenary in the literal sense, but he was active in the biafran region during the war. He also supplied arms for/to the Biafran army.
7. ROBERT FAULQUES
After his mission in Katanga, Robert Faulques (a french high profile mercenary leader) came to Biafra in 1968 to lead the breakaway revolt with the assistance of some group of Mercenaries he recruited by himself. Though he fought well, he was no match for the large troops of Nigerian soldiers. He fled the state of biafra with his tails between his legs when the Federal Troops started closing in.