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Operation Blue Bird
Part of Algerian War
Date April 1956 - 1st October 1956
Location Kabylia, Algeria
Result Algerian Victory
• Failure of French troops
Belligerents
Algeria ALN France France
Commanders and leaders
Algeria Krim Belkacem
Algeria Saïd Mohammedi
Algeria Zaidat Ahmed
Algeria Mehlal Said
Algeria Omar Toumi
France Robert Lacoste
France General Lorillot
France Captain Hentic
Strength
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown, generally assessed to few wounded about 18 killed


Operation Blue Bird or "Force K" or "Operation K" was implemented by the SDECE (French secret services) in 1956, the second year of the Algerian war of independence. The project, devised at the end of 1955 by the General Government of Algeria, envisages detaching from the FLN rebellion several hundred Kabyles and then transforming them into clandestine commandos, operating with outfits and weapons analogous to those of the ALN, the armed wing of the FLN, and charged with implementing a real "counter-maquis" in Kabylia called "Blue Bird" or "Force K" as in "Kabyle".[1] It was sold out by a bitter failure, better, by a total reversal, since it supplied the FLN with weapons, men and funds, this operation long kept secret is still largely unknown to French and Algerian historians and opinions. Yves Courrière boasts of being the first to reveal it.[2]

History of the operationEdit

OrganisationEdit

The idea of setting up a "counter-maquis" in Kabylie came from Henry Paul Eydoux, technical advisor to the cabinet of Governor-General Jacques Soustelle. He instructed Gaston Pontal, director of the DST and the Algiers police, to set up the operation.[3] Initially solicited to take charge of an operation which would aim to constitute a "counter-maquis" in coastal Kabylie, the Service Action of the SDECE is rejected, repugnant to engage in a case initiated by d and which, moreover, does not appear to enjoy sufficient discretion. Soustelle obtained from General Lorillot, commander of the Tenth Military Region and his 2nd Bureau, an agreement for the construction of a counter-maquis operation. Captain Benedetti of the Operational Intelligence Service (ORS) will be the correspondent. Decided in the course of 1955, the operation called "Force K" (like Kabylie), later called "Blue Bird" 3, was continued by Governor Lacoste, who succeeded Soustelle. Captain Camous is asked to supervise the practical details of the operation. The latter, with the appropriate mistrust, the result of a long experience of special missions, first left the police departments, manipulators of the undercover agent, the real key to the system. The inspector of the DST Ousmeur, himself of Kabyle origin, on the order of his hierarchy comes into contact with Tahar Hachiche, one of his "obligés" of Azazga. The latter easily accepts the idea of helping to constitute an anti-FLN maquis in this region where the supporters of the MNA are numerous. It opens with these proposals to Ahmed Zaidat, innkeeper-grocer, well introduced to the population. Apparently interested, the latter is careful not to reveal that he occupies functions in the FLN structure, merely to request a brief period of reflection. In fact, he reports to his friend, garage mechanic Mohamed Yazouren, friend of Said Mohammedi, who encouraged Krim Belkacem reluctant at first. They entrusted him with the organization and responsibility of the maneuver. On the ground, especially in Iflissen, Omar Toumi will take charge of the recruitment, and Mehlal Said is in charge of the recruitment in Azazga region (a stela is erected in Azazga in honor of Mehlal Said and Zaidet Ahmed for their contribution in Operation Blue Bird). Toumi has all the confidence of Captain Maublanc who commands the Compagnie du 15e BCA, responsible for the sector. The agreement of Zaïdi obtained, Hachiche claims the arms and the promised funds. Algiers immediately executed, the van that delivered the newspaper L'Echo d'Alger brought the first weapons (muskets, Garand, Sten, shotguns), the corresponding ammunition and 2 million francs. Thus, 200 weapons of war are delivered in January 1956, 80 in February–March. The funds allocated by the Governor General amount to 9 million per month.[4]

External linksEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Jean Servier, Adieu djebels, Paris, Éditions France Empire, 1958. Témoignage où l'affaire est évoquée, Hentic et Camous étant baptisés « béret rouge » et « béret bleu »
  • Camille Lacoste-Dujardin, Opération oiseau bleu. Des Kabyles, des ethnologues et la guerre d'Algérie., La Découverte, 1997, (ISBN 9782707126665). Dans un compte rendu dans la revue des Annales, le spécialiste de l'histoire coloniale Jacques Frémeaux déplore que le livre de Camille Lacoste-Dujardin ne présente que « très peu de documents » sur l'opération Oiseau bleu proprement dite
  • André-Roger Voisin, INTOX et coups fourrés pendant la guerre d'Algérie, Ed. Cheminements, 2008, (ISBN 978-2-84478-662-3)
  • Maurice Faivre, Le renseignement dans la guerre d'Algérie, collection Renseignement, histoire & géopolitique, Édition Lavauzelle, 2006 (ISBN 2-7025-1314-X)
  • Mohamed Salah Essedik, Opération Oiseau bleu, Ed. Dar El Oumma, 2002, (ISBN 9961-67-141-4)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Si cette opération est connue sous le nom d'« Oiseau bleu » répandu par les historiens qui utilisent une compilation répétée de sources don't l'imaginaire n'est pas toujours absent, aucun des initiateurs ou des participants ne le confirme. Pour eux, il s'agit de « Opération K », comme Kabylie. Trésor du Patrimoine, no 4, sept-oct 2002, Éditions Historiques, p 6
  2. Yves Courrière (1970). Guerre d'Algérie: Les fils de la Toussaint. I. Fayard. 
  3. Le montage de l'affaire K, dite Oiseau Bleu [archive], Maurice Faivre, etudescoloniales, 27 décembre 2010
  4. Trésor du Patrimoine, no 4, sept-oct 2002, Éditions Historiques, pp : 7

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