“No, Kapitein, they are not coming down the Congo River! They are coming from the East!... Over the forest... YES! OVER! They are FLYING!”
Unfortunate Belgian radioman during the African Warlord’s liberation of the Congo. While the African Warlords may not have scientists and advanced engineering, they are extraordinarily talented at adapting technology for their own purposes and learning from their former occupiers. Aerial platforms were first brought to the continent by the French in the mid-19th Century as observation balloons. They were used to assist various military forces in the subjugation and control of West Africa. Over the following decades many colonial personnel in the Armée d’Afrique, were entrusted with their operation in local conflicts - particularly the Tiralliers Algériens during the occupation of Morocco. Early variants and prototypes of the ‘zeppelin’ were also tested over africa, using the impressive designs of Alberto Santos-Dumont. When the storm of rebellions spread across Africa, the wiser Warlords found potential in these European contraptions not just for their unique advantages, but for the untapped potential found in their application. Any balloons captured from the Europeans were secured and examined. Any ‘traitorous’ colonial pilots experienced in their operation were spared execution and interrogated. Soon the Warlords had large teams of technicians in Senegal working on the ‘dirigible’ - great balloons that could be steered and directed. Through cooperation seldom seen between the bickering factions of the African Warlords, the dirigible was developed for independent manufacture and immediately put to use. Each vehicle was crudely assembled using parts from as many different sources and materials as feasible, but was capable of consistent flight and piloted by hastily-trained, but eager,men. Unfortunately for these pilots, observation was not enough for the Warlords. The dirigible was often loaded with various weapons, bombs or, most commonly, a large howitzer, that made them intolerably unstable. They often managed to remain in the air long enough for the battle to end but, just in case, they could be stacked with explosives to ensure that should it go down, it’ll take their arrogant foes with it! The pilots were not always aware of this detail. Regardless, they became the bane of many the arrogant commander that would underestimate the ‘primitive’ Warlords.
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