Zimbabwe National Army Mechanised Brigade
Zimbabwe National Army Mechanised Brigade – Details of Zimbabwe National Army Mechanised Brigade
The 5th Brigade was an infantry brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). The 5th Brigade was created in 1981 from three former battalions of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA).
It later incorporated over 3,000 ex-ZANLA guerrillas from various units. The brigade was based in Gweru and participated in the Mozambican Civil War as well as a controversial domestic operation known as Gukurahundi which targeted defenceless Ndebele people and former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) soldiers.
The 5th Brigade was reactivated in 2006 following a prolonged period of inactivity.
The 5th Brigade was subordinate only to the Chief of the Zimbabwe National Army. In 1983, it consisted of five infantry battalions as well as an armoured company equipped with T-54 tanks. The brigade was at least partly mechanised and possessed a number of BTR-152 armoured personnel carriers.
At the time of its formation, the 5th Brigade was the ZNA’s only mechanised infantry brigade, and most of its arsenal—including T-54 tanks, BTR-152 armoured personnel carriers, BRDM-2 scout cars, towed anti-tank artillery, and multiple rocket launchers, far exceeded the capabilities of ground weapons in the other four brigades’ inventories. However, serious practical difficulties also resulted in the brigade’s use of unique codes and radio equipment which were otherwise incompatible with those of other army units.
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