Overview of the War of the Rif

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The Rif Army
The war of the Rif, also known as the second Moroccan War, was fought from 1920 to 1926. Spain, France and the Moroccan Berbers, of the Rif’s mountain region, had joined forces to take control and divide the country of Morocco into even parts. The reason behind this was because they wanted power, like most imperializing countries strive for. What the invading force did not know was that this was not going to be an easy task.
The Rifs, the indigenous tribes of Morocco had joined forces to fight this super power using guerrilla warfare that devastated the Spanish and French forces. Led by Abd al-Karim, the Rifs defeated the Spanish on their initial invasion and took control of large amounts of European weapons (Pletcher,
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Although the Spanish army had more than 140,000 soldiers on ground, they were no match for the highly skilled Rifian army. Eventually the Spanish reservists had to call for assistance from the Spanish army of Africa to aid them in this conflict. The Spanish army began to train with the French army on combat tactics and procedures in which they eventually adopted, thus the “Spanish Legion” was established in 1920 under the command of General Francisco Franco. As their numbers grew larger, so did their reputation for being extremely ruthless, as they led a large number of offensive operations, ravaging and devastating the country of Morocco.
The War
During the course of the war, the Spanish army in northern Morocco was defeated by the Rif army in July of 1921. This day is now known as the “Disaster of Annual”. 8,000 soldiers and officers were reported killed in action or had disappeared out of an initial total of 20,000 soldiers. The Spanish were starting to be pushed back over the following five years due to the evolving tactics that the Rif army was using against Spain. As the Rif army pushed east, they had captured over 130 Spanish military forts. Towards the end of 1921, Spain had lost all of the territory they had gained during the initial invasion in 1909. The remaining 14,000 Spanish soldiers fell back to one of the last remaining forts in eastern Morocco “Melilla” which happened to be their largest military fort in
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