BRIEF HISTORY OF FIRST BATTALION OF INFANTRY

The 1st Battalion of Infantry was the first battalion to be established in the history of Ghana Armed Forces. This history however dates back to the colonial period.  By 1900, military units were raised in the British West African colonies for the West African Frontier Force (WAFF).  The 1st Battalion Gold Coast Regiment (GCR) which takes its roots from the Gold Coast Constabulary (GCC) was established on 1 Jan 1901 and was part of WAFF.  The 1st Battalion (GCR) was then headquartered in Kumasi with detachments scattered in the southern part of the then Gold Coast.  By 1907, 1st Battalion GCR was organized into eight companies with a battery of light guns.

The First Battalion (GCR) as the main component of the force saw action during the First World War in the Cameroons and in the East African campaigns. It is on records that the Gold Coast Regiment had the distinction of being the first allied unit to capture the German territory of the Togoland.

On the outbreak of the 2nd World War, the 2nd and 3rd battalions were formed and added to the 1st Battalion to form the 2nd West African Brigade of the 82 West African Division. On return from Burma in 1946, the 2nd West African Brigade was disbanded and 1st Battalion which was then reconstituted, moved to Tamale.  In March 1957, the 1st Battalion GCR was re-designated 1st Battalion Ghana Regiment.

In March 1958, 1st Battalion was again moved from Tamale to Kumasi and the following year 1959, the unit was once again moved to Takoradi (Ranchi Barracks). Even in Takoradi, the unit moved from Ranchi Barracks to Myohaung Barracks in 1963. The final move of the unit up till this date was the move from Myohaung Barracks to the unit present location in Michel Camp. This was in 1968.

The 1st Battalion participated in the first and second World Wars, and distinguished itself.

ORGANIZATION OF UNIT

The unit from its inception had gone through series of organization and re-organizations. However, the basic structure has always been maintained. There were times the number of companies in the unit was up to eight.  Currently, the basic structure of Battalion Headquarters and five (5) companies is still maintained.  Presently, the unit has five companies (namely Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Support and Headquarters) under the Battalion headquarters.

The Alpha, Bravo and Charlie companies are the manoeuvre companies (i.e. the front line troops), with the support company providing support through the mortar platoon, Machine Gun platoon, anti tank and the Assault pioneer platoon. The headquarters company is the logistic provider to the rest of the companies and controls the transport, Communication, Quartermaster platoons. The medical platoon is under the Battalion headquarters and Defence platoon.

ROLE

The role of the unit in the past and now continue to be the same. Traditionally, the role of the unit is; to train to fight and win wars/battles independently or as part of the Ghana Armed Forces anytime, anywhere as directed by the government. Additionally, the unit in peacetime is to assist the civil authority in the restoration /maintenance of law and order in situations of civil disturbance and natural disasters.

DUTIES

Every unit in the Ghana Armed Forces has its own area of responsibility (AOR). Currently 1st Battalion area is the Eastern Region. The unit duties include;

  • Assisting the civil authority to restore and maintain law and order.
  • Humanitarian assistance during disasters.
  • Security for the Armed Forces Base Ammunition Depot (BAD).
  • Provide security for vital installations within its AOR.
  • Participation in Peacekeeping/Peace Enforcement duties both internal and external.

OPERATIONS

The unit has participated significantly in operations both within the country and abroad. The unit has only contributed troops for internal operations, but has not formed the nucleus or headquarters of a Task Force for any internal operation. Some of these operations include, Ops HALT, GONGONG, MERCURY, CITADEL, COWLEG, CALMLIFE and HUNTER. The unit has however served severally as the main component or headquarters for numerous external operations. Some of these operations include:

  • ONUC (Congo – July – October 1960). HQ at Lac Mukambu with Lt Col JA Ankrah as a Commanding Officer (CO).
  • UNEF Ghanbatt 2 (Sinai-Egypt). From August 1974 – April 1975. HQ at El-Fanara with Lt Col KK Nyame and Lt Col DA Afari as COs.
  • UNEF Ghanbatt 9. From March – October 1978 with Lt Col MM Achel as CO.
  • UNIFIL Ghanbatt 30 (Lebanon).    From June – December 1988 with Lt Col DK Tettey as CO.
  • ECOMOG Ghanbatt 3 (Liberia). From January – August 1991. HQ at Baptist Seminary with Lt Col FK Mensah as CO.
  • UNIFIL Ghanbatt 37 (Lebanon).    From March – September 1992. HQ at Marakeh with Lt Col JK Attipoe as CO.
  • ECOMOG Ghanbatt 8 (Liberia). From September 1992 – June 1994. HQ at Lower Buchannan with Lt Col JK Attipoe as CO.
  • UNAMIR Ghanbatt 2 (Rwanda).  From November 1994 – May 1995. HQ at Kibungo with Lt Col JK Attipoe as CO.
  • UNIFIL Ghanbatt 43 (Lebanon).    From September 1995 – March 1996. HQ at Al Qaranis with Lt Col PBK Agudogo as CO.
  • UNIFIL Ghanbatt 52 (Lebanon).    From April – October 2000. HQ at          Al Qaranis with Lt Col TH Tawiah as CO.
  • UNIFIL Ghanbatt 58 (Lebanon).    From March – September 2003.  With Lt Col Agyekum Yamoah as CO.
  • UNMIL Ghanbatt 4 (Liberia). From February – September 2006. HQ at VOA with Lt Col A Adjaye-Gaisie as CO.

BARRACKS DEPLOYMENT

1Bn of Infantry in Michel Camp is located 3km NW Ashaiman, along the Tema-Akosombo Highway. It is located 500 metres away from the Base Ammunition Depot of the Armed Forces.  The Barracks is well structured and sectorized for ease of management and administration.  The main components of Michel Camp are:  The Administration area, the Officers accommodation area, the Other Ranks (OR accommodation areas, the blocks are further divided into sub-areas namely:  Company sector for Junior Non-commission Officers (ie. Corporals and below) and Senior Non-commission Officers (ie. Sergeants and Warrant Officers) quarters.  Within the barracks, there are three Messes, one each for the Officers, SNCOs and JNCOs.  These Messes serve as social amenity centres for the various groups for entertainment purposes.

ENTERTAINMENT

Major sources of entertainment in the unit are centred on games, dances and film/video shows. The unit normally draws a programme for the year to include inter company competitive sports/games which is a source of entertainment as well as training for the personnel.  Periodically, and during special occasions (Christmas and Easter), all ranks and family dances are organized at the Junior Ranks Mess, because that is the largest mess. At the end of the year, the Unit organizes WASSA (West Africa Soldiers Social Activities).  WASSA involves all officers, soldiers and their families.  A day/date is selected and all meet at a specific location in the unit to drink, eat and play fun games.  This day is normally crowned with an all ranks dance.  Important personalities and other friends to the unit are usually invited.

Aside these forms of entertainment, each mess is allowed to organize its own form of entertainment to include dances, film/video shows and fun games. It is the importance that the unit attaches to the entertainment of troops that it has a musical dance band called the HOT BARRELS BAND.

UNIT MOTTO      –      ONLY YOU!

UNIT SLOGAN

One Battalion      –        The Best

One Battalion      –        Ready and Willing

One Battalion      –        Sure to Deliver

LOGO/MASCOT

The Unit Logo is a dragon with a soldier with a spear killing the dragon. The grip on the dragon by a soldier on the unit badge indicates the strength of the Unit and its capability to destroy any enemy.