My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress. Vol 1 (Ch 44 pt2)

Anxious that no harm should befall the rest of Our army for lack of precautions, We transmitted to them the orders set out here below and divided into eight paragraphs:

 

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(1) It is at 2 o’clock in the evening (= 8 p.m.) that you are to depart from your camp to the place to which you have been ordered.

(2) When you march at night to go to the battle front, you are to follow the way which your officer will show you, but you must not shout to your friend and sing war songs, shine a light or blow a trumpet. The reason for this is that, if the enemy were to hear your voice, he would harm you by waiting for you in a state of preparedness; but if you were to launch an unexpected attack upon him, before he hears or knows about it, our enemy would be greatly hurt.

(3) Take care lest our enemy, appearing to be fleeing, should induce you to enter in the midst of his fire where his machine-guns are positioned on all sides. While wary of the enemy’s ruses and before you pull back, fall upon your enemy, leaving him when he tries to lead you on and going to his flank.

(4) We have to be dedicated to destroying completely the enemy who has now invaded us, as he has set out to extinguish altogether Ethiopia and her people. By killing just one man before the battle ends and going back exhibiting him as a war trophy before the enemy’s defeat is known, is bound to hamper our war effort; for if you return and say “for me alone things have gone well”, you are leaving your friend on his own and exposing him to enemy attack; thus the trophy will not be counted in your favour if you return in the morning claiming that you have been successful.

(5) Since for the Ethiopian people the chief possession is freedom, do not hasten to pillage things before you have defeated and put to flight the invading enemy who has come to destroy that freedom and before you have caused him to abandon his position. If you plunder him and he then takes it back, what benefit will you have derived? A man who takes away the enemy’s property, in order to ensure for himself the permanence of the possessions he has taken, has first of all to destroy the enemy to prevent him returning and snatching things back.

(6) Having spent the day fighting and if, perhaps, on one occasion you did not manage to win because the enemy has been too strong for you, you have to fight fiercely until We send you support troops; but you are not to turn back until you are told to withdraw.

(7) A rocket signal will be given on Adimoshash to indicate “open fire!”

(8) Especially when men of rank are found, they are to be taken prisoners-to the extent that it is possible for you, since it is through the evidence of prisoners that the enemy’s secrets and strength are found out-except, of course, if the enemy threatens you with pistol, hand-grenade or dagger.

19th Magabit 1928 (= 28th March 1936).’

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Afterwards We divided the strategic order, by which we were going into battle, into four groups and, adding the troops collected from various offices, We arranged that one group be directly commanded and led by Ourselves and that the remaining three groups be led by three commanders, i.e. by H.H. Ras Kassa, by H.H. Ras Seyum, and by Ras Getatchaw. The part commanded and led by Ourselves direct was divided as follows:

At the front, the corps of the guard of honour under Qagnazmatch Makuriya Bant Yergu and his deputy Grazmatch Kefle Ergatu.
On the left, the corps of the guard of honour under Grazmatch Abara Gezaw.
On the right, the corps of palace servants and footmen under Qagnazmatch Balhu Daggafu.
At the rear, the corps of palace guards under Dejazmatch Adafersaw.

We directed them to be placed in battle position.

The three groups led by their respective commanders were divided as follows:

 

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ON THE CENTRE FRONT

We divided in the following manner the men mustered on the central front under the command of H.H. Ras Kassa Haylu:

Ras Kabbada Mangasha with his men.
The Mahal Safari corps commanded by Ligaba Tassaw Walalu.
The army of the Ministry of the Palace commanded by Fitawrari Ashanafi.
The army of Baso and Gola commanded by Dejazmatch Gezaw Jimma.
The army of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Dejazmatch Abara Tadla (attached as direction guide, since he was a native of the district and governor of Maytchaw).

 

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ON THE RIGHT WING

We divided in the following manner the men mustered on the right-wing front under the command of H.H. Ras Seyum Mangasha:

The corps of Schneider rifle carriers.
The army of Wallaga Arjo and of Wallaga Gudru.
The cavalry.
The contingent of Liqa Makwas Hayla Maryam Walda Gabriel.
The artillery corps commanded by Qagnazmatch Walda Yohannes Walda Ab.
Fitawrari Tafari Tadla (attached as direction guide, since he was a native of the district).

 

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ON THE LEFT WING

We divided in the following manner the men mustered on the left-wing front under the command of Ras Getatchaw Abata:

The army of Kambata.
The army of the treasury and stores.
The army of the Ministry of Finance.
The army of the Post and Telephone Ministry commanded by Qagnazmatch Takla Marqos Walda Gabr’el.
The excellent rifle bearers commanded by Qagnazmatch Ababa Rade.
The army of the Master of the Horse commanded by Qagnazmatch Bayyana Balaynah.
Dejazmatch Haylu Kabbada (attached as direction guide).

 

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Other than these, the spiritual fathers who had followed Us to help with prayer and supplication: Abuna Petros, bishop of Wallo, Etchage Gabra Giyorgis, Liqe Gabra Krestos and Liqa Liqawent Gabra Ab; We arranged that they be mustered, together with their retinue of priests, with the group where We were. Among princes and nobles the following were assigned to be close to Us for consultation and the transaction of essential major affairs: H.H. Ras Kassa Haylu, H.H. Ras Seyum, Fitawrari Berru Walda Gabr’el, Dejazmatch Wandirad, Dejazmatch Wand Bawassan Kassa, Dejazmatch Abara Kassa, and Ato Walda Giyorgis Walda Yohannes.

 

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After We had arranged that the organization of the battle order and the strategy of approach be conducted in this manner, a sign was given to Our army that would serve to distinguish our side from the enemy forces during the battle and in the course of communications.

The password was that, when someone said ‘to whom do you belong’, the person questioned was to reply to him: ‘To Abba Taqel’. If he asked him ‘What does Taqel mean?’, he could not be trusted to be in my army. He was to say ‘The power is God’s’. If the person questioned replied to him with this password, he could believe him to be of our side. But if it was impossible for him to reply thus, then he would know that he belonged to the enemy army and he was to regard him with hostility.

 

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Besides We issued a precautionary password to the guard officers who had been ordered to look after the arms and ammunition, equipment and property which remained in the Ba’tawayo cave: ‘If perchance Our army should be defeated, have the arms and equipment set on fire, lest they should fall into enemy hands, as soon as We send you the sign.’ This message is ‘Our God has not departed from us.’

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