Republic of Tunisia
This north African nation is officially called the Tunisian Republic (الجمهورية التونسية). Like its neighbor Algeria, Tunisia was originally inhabited by Berber tribes, but was settled by Phoenicians around the 10th century BCE. Settlers from Tyre (in modern day Lebanon) founded the city of Carthage in the 9th century, which would becoming the center of the Carthaginian Empire and the dominant culture of the region from the 7th to the 2nd centuries BCE. The Punic Wars (264 to 146 BCE) were fought between Carthage and Rome, as the two empires struggled for control of the region. Carthage would ultimately be defeated by the Romans in the last war, after which it became both Latinized and Christianized. After the fall of Rome, the region was invaded by Vandals and eventually fell under Byzantine control in the 6th century CE.
From the 8th century onwards, Arab culture and Islam began to permeate the region, stemming out from the city of Kairouan and the Great Mosque founded there. Successive Muslim dynasties would rule over Tunisia for the next four centuries, during which they contended militarily with several Berber insurrections. Following a short Norman occupation in the 12th century, Arabs retook the coasts and eradicated what remained of Christian culture. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, the Berber Hafsid dynasty would control all of modern Tunisia, as well as parts of Algeria and Libya. The coasts of Tunisia were part of the infamous Barbary Coast from the 16th to 19th centuries, although technically still part of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled most of the region through the Hussein dynasty of Beys (established in 1705).
Bankruptcy and a French invasion in 1881, prompted the Bey to sign over Tunisia to the French as a protectorate. Hotly contested during the Second World War, parts of Tunisia would be occupied by Germany from 1942-1943 until regained by a combined Allied effort in May of 1943. The nation would achieve its independence from France in 1956.
The Armed Forces of Tunisia (القوات المسلحة التونسية) consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force. These are augmented by the Garde Nationale (National Guard) or الحرس الوطني and units of the Directorate of National Security (Sûreté Nationale), which includes special units such as the Brigade Anti-Terrorisme (BAT), Brigade Nationale d'Intervention Rapide, and the Brigade Nationale de Détection et de Neutralisation d'Explosifs (BNDNE). The nation's military have participated in peacekeeping efforts with the United Nations since the 1960s, most recently in the mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR).
Tunisian Camouflage Patterns
Tunisia is perhaps one of the oldest and longest African countries to use French tenue de leópard or lizard camouflage since achieving their independence. First adopted in the 1960s, the nation has worn the pattern consistently into the modern era, with variations only due to differences in manufacturing and style of uniform. Outside of France, Tunisia has probably fielded more varieties of the lizard pattern than any other nation. Illustrated below are several examples, all taken from issued Tunisian uniforms.
Since the 1990s, various units of the armed forces have also worn the US m81 woodland camouflage pattern. This includes the Commandos of the Garde Nationale, some members of the Presidential Guard (Garde Presidentielle), Army special forces and Marines and frogman units of the Navy. Although surplus US-issue BDUs have been received in the past, locally-produced variations seem to be the norm in the present era.
A special unit of the Army, the Groupement Territorial Saharien (GTS), is charged with safety and security in the desert regions bordering Algeria and Libya. Members of this unit wear a two-color desert pattern having large khaki shapes on a sand-colored background.
A special anti-terror unit of the Garde Nationale has been documented wearing British DPM pattern camouflage uniforms.
The Brigade Nationale d'Intervention Rapide (BNIR) has worn several different camouflage pattern uniforms over the years, including a woodland variant having a blue/grey colorway.
The Groupe d'Intervention Presidentielle are documented wearing a unique woodland-leaf hybrid pattern having black, dark olive green, and blue grey shapes on an off-white background.
Some members of the Unite Speciale de la Garde Nationale (USGN) wear a copy of the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) with a darker colorway, as seen here.
The Unite Speciale de la Garde Nationale (USGN) also currently deploy in a copy of the Multicam pattern now commonly found among many armed forces.
The Armed Forces celebrated its 61st anniversary in June 2017 by revealing the adoption of a new pixelated camouflage design. This pattern incorporating black, medium green and brown shapes on a khaki background has many similarities to Russian SURPAT and may even be a copy of it.
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