Central Command has a long history dating from the 1940s. The Command was first formed as 2 West African Infantry Brigade in the then Gold Coast, now Ghana, as part of the 82nd West African Division in 1940, for operations in the Second World War. The first commander was a British officer named Brigadier Richards. Its major units were 1, 2 and 3 Gold Coast Regiments; (now 1, 2 and 3 Battalions of Infantry in the Ghana Army). The Brigade, as part of the 82nd West African Division, sailed to East Africa in June 1940, and for 14 months saw action in Abyssinia and Uaddara.
The Brigade returned to the Gold Coast in 1941 only for a brief period of time. In October 1942, it embarked on another external operation to the Gambia to counter the threats of the French forces on the borders of that territory. The Brigade returned to the Gold Coast in 1943 after the operations in the Gambia.
In April 1944, during the peak of the Second World War, the Brigade was moved to Southeast Asia where it took part in the famous Burma Campaigns with a significant achievement in the Battle of Myohaung on 23 January 1945. It is important to note that this Brigade contributed tremendously to turn defeat into victory for the allied forces in Southeast Asia. The Brigade remained operational until the end of hostilities in 1945 when it returned home and was disbanded in 1946.
On 22 July 1960, the Ghana Congo Brigade was formed out of the units that had been deployed to Zaire, ONUC (UN Operations in the Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). T/Brigadier JE Michel, until then CO 2 Infantry Battalion, was appointed Acting Commander of the Ghana Congo Brigade. In the Congo, the Brigade operated in the Leopodville and Kasai provinces.
In late April 1961, the Brigade HQ was re-designated HQ 2 Ghana Infantry Brigade Group, Luluabourg. In June the same year, this formation was re-designated HQ 1 Infantry Brigade Group and another HQ 2 Infantry Brigade Group was provisionally formed in Accra, under Brig Tadman.
Finally, on 1 October 1962, the 2 Infantry Brigade Group was formally established in Kumasi and fully incorporated into the Ghana Army under the command of Brigadier NA Aferi, the first Ghanaian Brigade Commander. Its initial major units were 3 Infantry Battalion located at Kaladan Barracks, Tamale; 5 Infantry Battalion at Kamina Barracks, Tamale; Parachute Battalion at Airport Ridge, Tamale and the Armed Forces Recruit Training Centre and Junior Leaders Company at Uaddara Barracks, Kumasi.
After the 1966 coup d’état that toppled the first republic, a number of battalion rotations took place. The 3 Bn moved to Sunyani while 4 Bn moved into Uaddara Barracks. 6 Bn replaced 5 Bn in Tamale. The parachute Battalion was re-designated Airborne Force. The Brigade was then enlarged and consisted of four major units: 3 Infantry Battalion at Liberation Barracks, Sunyani; 4 Infantry Battalion in Complex and Uaddara Barracks in Kumasi; 6 Infantry Battalion in Kamina Barracks, Tamale and the Airborne Force (ABF) in Barwah Barracks also in Tamale. There is also 2 Armoured Recce Squadron stationed in Sunyani. The support arms and services are 2 Signal Sqn, 494 Engineer Squadron, 2 Mechanical Transport Company, 2 Fd Wksp, 2 Fd Ambulance and 2 Field Ordinance Company. These are all located in Kumasi. The B Battery of 66 Artillery Regiment and 2 Field Squadron of 48 Engr Regt are affiliated to the Group but are located with their units in peace time.
The Headquarters (HQ) was located at the offices of the present Ashanti Regional Development Corporation in Kumasi. The HQ moved to its present location at Idris Barracks, which was originally the European Hospital in Kumasi, and later became the Kwadaso Camp. The camp is named after the late WO1 Idris of 48 Engr Regt who was shot dead in 1983 during an abortive attempt to overthrow the Revolution of 31 December 1981.
The Brigade’s logo or emblem was adapted from the 82 West African Division. This consists of two crossed spears passing through an African head-pad with the inscription “Through Our Carriers We Fight”, all against a yellow background. The motto and the logo recognise the vital role played by the auxiliary groups of the Division in Burma. Personnel of the auxiliary group carried very heavy loads on their heads in the traditional African style, enabling the formations to move through very dense jungle and mountainous country, a task which most non-African brigade groups could hardly accomplish.
In March 2000, the formation was re-designated Northern Command and the first General Officer Commanding the Formation (GOC) was Maj Gen HK Anyidoho. However, it is important to note that the Northern Command has had six (6) GOCs after Maj Gen Anyidoho. These are Brig Gen JH Smith, Brig Gen G Aryiku, Brig Gen JN Adinkrah, Brig Gen CK Ocran, Brig Gen R Opoku Adusei and Brig Gen JA Boampong.
In September 2014, as part of the re-structuring in the Ghana Armed Forces, the Northern Command was split into 2; Central Command with its HQ in Kumasi and Northern Command with its HQ in Tamale. The subsidiary units of the Central Command are now 1Infantry Battalion, Michel Camp, Tema, formerly under Southern Command, 3 Infantry Battalion in Liberation Barracks, Sunyani and 4 Infantry Battalion at Uaddara Barracks, Kumasi. The first GOC of the Central Command was Brig Gen JA Boampong and the current GOC, is Brig Gen CB Alhassan who took command on 26 July 2016.
The Brigade Group’s first Formation Sergeant Major was WOI Bawa Bezua. The others have been SWO Adong-Yure W, SWO Tankpara E and SWO Addo D with the current Sergeant Major being SWO Ansah-Yeboah I.As part of the Ghana Army, Central Command has contributed personnel for internal and external operations. Internally, it has been involved in all military exercises, operations and nation-building tasks. Under Op GONGONG, the Command has helped restore law and order to Dagbon and other conflict areas. Working with the Civil Police, the Command continues to provide security to the populace in its Area of Responsibility.
Externally, Units from the Command have participated in ECOMOG missions in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and UN missions in the Sinai, Afghanistan, Iran, Kuwait, Western Sahara, South Lebanon, Cambodia and Rwanda. The 3 Infantry Battalion from the Command was one of the two battalions from Ghana that fought to break the siege laid by the forces of Charles Taylor on Monrovia in 1990. It was under the command of Lt Col JB Danquah, who rose to the rank of Lt Gen and became Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS). It was the same battalion under the command of Lt Col JN Adinkrah that provided sanctuary to Kigali during the carnage in Rwanda in 1994. He also rose to the rank of Maj Gen and served as COAS between 2009 and 2013. During Op OCTOPUS in Liberia in 1992, the 4 Infantry Battalion was in action to halt the rebels from making incursions into Monrovia from the Buchanan-Robertsfield International Airport (RIA) axis. The Unit was then commanded by Lt Col G Ayi Bonte. Still in ECOMOG, it was the Airborne Force, under the command of then Lt Col V Gamor that led the operation to capture Buchanan, the second largest city in Liberia, from Charles Taylor in an operation Code named “Operation Capture Buchanan” in 1993. 6 Bnhas contributed immensely to the quest for international peace. It formed the nucleus of Ghana’s first peacekeeping battalion in Sinai, Egypt, under Lt Col Bruce-Konuah. It has also participated in other missions in Lebanon, Liberia, Cambodia, DR Congo, Sierra Leone and Chad.
The Command has personnel who are currently engaged in UN operations with MONUSCO in DR Congo , UNMIL in Liberia, UNIFIL in Lebanon, UNIMISS in Southern Sudan and MINUSMA in Mali.