BRIEF HISTORY OF 5TH INFANTRY BATTALION
The 5thInfantry Battalion has its origin from 5 West African Bde grouping (5 Gold Coast Regiment, 7 Gold Coast Regiment and 8 Gold Coast Regiment) during the Burma Campaign in 1941. In Nov 1942 it came under 81 West African Div.The Unit just before the Burma Campaign concentrated in Nigeria in April 1943 and moved to Burma where it fought in the campaign from July 1943 till February 1944. It returned to the Gold Coast in September – October 1945, and was disbanded in July 1946, alongside the other Battalions after the 2ndWorld War.
The Unit was re-formed after Independence at Tamale in Kamina Barracks on 30thJanuary 1961 under a Bristish Commanding Officer, Lt Col DJ Cairns who commanded the Unit from January – July 1961. The Unit which comprised of elements from 3 Bn Coy that had refrained from taking part in the Congo mutiny and another Coy from 4 Bn.
The Unit initially consisted of a Bn HQ, Four Rifle Coys and a Support Coy.The established strengths of personnel and equipment could not be attained until 1964.
MOVEMENT OF UNIT
In 1963, the Unit moved from Kamina Barracks and then to Accra (Arakan) in 1968, under the Command of Maj LK Kwaku.The four-rifled Coys organization was maintained during the NRC/SMC regimes (Jan1972 – 1979) until the latter part of 1980 when it reverted to the status of a three-rifle company Battalion, to conform with the other Battalions whose extra coys were dissolved in December 1970.
CONTEMPORARY EXTERNAL OPERATIONS
The Unit contributed troops for a number of International Peace-keeping Operations which included the following:
ONUC (Congo 1960 – 64 ) The Unit relieved 3 Bn from January – August 1962.
UNEF (Sinai, Egypt 1973 – 79) The Unit had its turn as Ghanbatt 6 under
the Command of Lt Col F Oteng from December 1976 – April 1977.
UNIFIL (Southern Lebanon) tours are as fols:
- Ghanbatt 13 under the Command of Lt Col Asare-Djan (April – November 1980).
- Ghanbatt 32 under the Command of Lt Col FY Mahama from June 1989 – February 1990.
- Ghanbatt 38 under the Command of Lt Col SA Odotei from September 1992 – May 1993.
- Ghanbatt 42 under the Command of Lt Col SA Odotei (March –September 1995).
- Ghanbatt 50 (Golden Ghanbatt) was under the Command of Lt Col Okai (March – September 1999).
- Ghanbatt 62 with the Command of Lt Col JBE Guyiri (Sept 2005 – March 2006)
ECOMOG – LIBERIA The Unit had its share in the Operation as fol:
- Ghanbatt 5 under the Command of Lt Col DCK Kattah from Feb – Aug 92
- Ghanbatt 9 was under the Command of Lt Col SA Odotei from March 1994 – 1995.
UNAMSIL – SIERRA LEONE The Unit operated in Sierra Leone under the Command of Lt Col JBE Guyiri from Nov 02 – Apr 03.
The 5thInfantry Battalion also contributed troops towards Peace Keeping duties in UNAMIR – Rwanda, UNTAC – Cambodia and UNAMSIL – Sierra Leone.
Operation Gongong, an Internal Peace Enforcement initiative which was initiated in 1993 to clamp down on tribal conflicts in the Northern Region found troops from 5 Bn in action. 2/Lt Agbanyo who was barely six months in the service after commission as well as Cpl Felix Ayisi who lost their lives, were the notable casualties suffered by the Unit in the operation.
The Unit participated in all Field Exercises conducted in the Army over the period and performed quite creditably. These included Exercises HOT FOOT, TIGER’S PATH, FIRE BLAST, TEAM WORK, WAR LORD, STAR LIGHT STRETCH, WOUNDED LEOPARD, AS YOU ARE, BOLD KING AND PINK HEAD.
EX PINK HEAD is a traditional demonstration exercise conducted twice in each year to depict the exact layout of a Bn HQ in the field for students of GAFSCS Jnr Div and ACTS (Combat Team Commanders Courses)
Fifth Battalion of Infantry as part of the Ghana Armed Forces has been and is still responsible for ensuring absolute protection of Ghana’s territorial integrity.The Unit has the specific responsibility of ensuring the internal security of the Greater Accra Region, with the capital city Accra inclusive; by assisting the civil authorities to maintain law and order. The Unit also provides assistance during periods of natural disaster in the Region. Instances of Unit involvement in maintaining security in the region include:
Protection and defense of vital Government installations during the 1995 Kume-Preko riots.
In 1995, 5 Bn, in conjunction with other units in Accra, assisted to evacuate flood victims from certain residential areas affected by floods.
In 1997, 5 Bn conducted joint patrols with the Civil Police to rid Accra of criminals in an operation codenamed CALM LIFE. Similar operations were conducted in the 1980s and still in force currently.
In 1998, 5 Bn conducted patrols to rid the Region of Chainsaw Lumber in an effort to safeguard the environment in an operation code named HALT and still in force.
The Unit continues to ensure security of certain vital installations in Accra.
These are Operation Citadel (Castle Guard) Operation Mercury (Broadcasting House Guard) and Operation Response (Defence of the Eastern Border of Ghana).
The Unit was honoured in the following battles:
- Ashanti – 1873 – 1874.
- Ashanti – 1900.
- West African Medal and Clasp – 1903.
- Kamina – 1914.
- Duala, Cameroons – 1914 – 1916.
- Naragumber – 1916 – 1918.
- East Africa – 1916 – 1918.
- Wal Garis, ElWak Juba Bulo Brillo, Gelib, Alexandra, Wadarra Abyssinia 1940 – 41.
- North Arakan, Kaladan, Tinma, Mayu Valley Myohaung Arakan Beaches Kangaw, Taungup and Burma 1943-45.