Thursday, 6 January 2022

Rif War bibliography

Sources and reading material related to the Spanish/French wars in Morocco 1908 – 1926

Rif War from the Spanish side

The Betrothed of Death by Jose E. Alvarez (ISBN 0-313-3069704)

An excellent book on the Rif War and the Spanish Foreign Legion

The Spanish Foreign Legion (Osprey men-at-arms 161) by John Scurr (ISBN 0-85045-571-5)

A good general history of La Legion, some nice colour illustrations

Francisco Franco’s Moroccan War Diary translation and annoted by Paul Southren (ISBN 978-0-946955- 61-5)

A direct translation of Franco`s war diary and the operations he commanded, some good scenario ideas (Convoy to Casabona), maps and illustrations

Tropas Regulares Indigenas by Delfin Salas (ISBN 84-86629-17-9) Spanish text

History of native Moroccan units includes colour illustrations and some good photos.

The Track by Arturo Barea (ISBN 0-00-654091-0)  

Barea served in Morocco and this is an account of his experiences

Deadly Embrace by Sabastian Balfour (ISBN 0-19-925296-3)

Balfour examines the use of chemical weapons during the conflict, this book caused great controversy when released

Uniformes De Las Unidades Militares De La Ciudad De Melilla by Jose Maria Bueno Carrera (ISBN 84- 86629-26-8) Spanish text

65 pages with 30+ uniform illustrations in colour, covers the long history of the Spanish presidio including the Rif War and SCW up to the 1980s

ALEA magazine No.12 (March-April 1972) Spanish text

An interesting board-game supplement based on the French/Spanish advance into the Rif in 1926, includes some background history

En Ese Lugar by Alejandro Ramirez (ISBN 84-921869-8-4) Spanish text

The Villaviciosa Lancers in the campaign in Larache 1924, good history of this unit includes some organisation and action details

Nafziger list 936SGAE – “Spanish Army of Africa, July 1936”

Micromark list S10 – “Spanish Army of Africa 1934-37”

Una Guerra Africana by Ignacio Martinez de Pison Spanish Text

Novel, set during the Rif war

Historia de la Marina de Guerra Espanola – Alberto Cuevas Torres-Campo (1984) Spanish text

A short history of the Spanish Navy includes the Rif War and SCW

Las Imegenes del Desastre – Annual 1921 by Antonio Carrasco Garcia (Spanish text) ISBN 978-88496-170209

An excellent book on El Desastre, great maps and loads of photos

Historia Extra No16 (April 1979) Espana en Africa (Spanish text)

A good basic coverage of the war

Historia de la Guerra magazine No24 – Dossier: La Guerra de Rif 1921-1926 (Spanish text)

A good basic coverage of the war

Atlas Illustrado de las Guerras de Marruecos 1859-1926 by Emilio Marin Ferres (Spanish text) ISBN978-84-677-1896-6

An excellent book with maps and illustrations covering all the Spanish adventures in Morocco up to and including the war

Fuerza Regulares Indigenas (de Melilla a Tetuan 1911-1914) various authors (Spanish text) ISBN84-96170-27-6

The Regulares were so important within the Army of Africa and even though this book covers the early years prior the Rif War, the level of detail is just superb. Organisations down to platoon level including troopers names – WOW. Good illustrations and photos too.

Soldiers Raids magazine Extra No1 – Desembarco de Alhucemas (Spanish text)

Great coverage of the landings, maps, illustrations and photos

Desperta Ferro magazine No11 – El Desembarco de Alhucemas 1925 (Spanish text)

Good coverage of the landings including colour maps, illustrations and photos

Desperta Ferro magazine No30 – El Desastre de Annual 1921 (Spanish text)

Good coverage of El Desastre including colour maps, illustrations and photos

The Rif War vol1 – Taxdirt to Annual by Javier Garcia de Gabiola ISBN978-1-914377-01-3

A new book covering the early period of the conflict from 1909 up until Annual. Good information, some nice maps and some good photos.

El Alcantara 1921 by Julio Albi ISBN978-84-92714-25-4

Excellent coverage of the Alcantara`s actions during the retreat from Annual, colour illustrations, maps and some excellent photos.

La Legion 1921 by FranciscoMartinez Canales ISBN978-84-92714-13-1

Great coverage of the Legion and its battles to drive the Riffi back from Melilla and relieve those positions still holding out. Colour illustrations and numerous photos.

General histories

Rebels in the Rif by David S. Woolman, Stanford University Press 1968

Good history of the war

The Conquest of Morocco by Douglas Porch (ISBN 0-88064-57-X)

A general history covering the entire period of the conquest of morocco from 1900 to the mid-1930s. Highly recommended for the background information

An American among the Riffi by Vincent Sheean (The Century Company 1926)

Sheean an American journalist journeyed into Morocco to meet and interview Abd el krim, he writes and interesting first-hand report of what he saw and heard.

A Military History of Modern Spain edited by Wayne H. Bowen & Jose E. Alvarez (ISBN 978-0-275- 99357-3)

Good overview of C20th Spain and her military history

Abdel Krim by Rupert Furneanx (Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, 1967)

Good autobiography of the Berber leader, covers his whole life until he jumped ship in Egypt.

The Spanish Enclaves in Morocco – Robert Rezette (Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1976)

Good historic background on Ceuta and Melilla

El Ejercito Espanol en Ultramar y Africa (1850-1925) – Jose Manuel Guerrero Acosta (ISBN84-95464-31-4) Spanish text

Superb book with lots of info and illustrations, recommended

War in the Shadows: The Guerrilla in History – Robert B. Asprey (ISBN0595225934)

Covers many small conflicts including the Rif War

The Passing of Shereefian Empire - E. Ashmead-Bartlett (1910)

Famous reporter Ashmead-Bartlett toured Morocco in the early 1900s. The book gives good background info and Bartlett was actually witness to Spanish troops fighting near Melilla in 1908.

The Conquest of Morocco by Vice-Admiral C.V.Usborne (Stanley Paul & Co Ltd, 1936)

Covers the early period of French colonisation and pacification, but very interesting

In Morocco with the Legion by G.Ward Price (The Beacon Library 1937)

Actually covers the later post Rif War pacification period, but a great first hand report on Legion and French operations in Morocco

Paths of Glory (The French Army 1914-18) by General Andre Bach ISBN0-304-36652-8

General history of the French Army during WW1, includes a section on Morocco

Legionnaire (novel) by Jaques Weygand (George G. Harrip & Co Ltd 1952)

A novel based on the authors (son of General Maxime Weygard) own experiences in Morocco during the later post Rif War Pacification period

The Conquest of the Sahara by Douglas Porch ISBN0-224-02134-6

Covers areas outside Morocco and the Rif War, but worth reading for the overall background info

With the Rif Kabyles by Bernd Terhorst (Arrowsmith 1926)

A first-hand account from a German business man who lived in Morocco at the time of the war. Worth reading for the background colour.

In Morocco with General D`Amade by Lt. Col. Sir Reginald Rankin (Richard Clay & Sons Ltd 1931)

Rankin was a British military observer who accompanied Gen. D`Amade`s expedition into Morocco in 1908. An excellent first-hand account with good comparisons with the British experiences against the Boers in South Africa – where Rankin served and D`Amade was a French observer!   

Morocco that Was by Walter Harris ISBN0-907871-40-2

Harris lived in Morocco for many years, his observations are well worth reading

Lords of the Atlas by Gavin Maxwell ISBN0-7126-0068X

Covers the history of one influential Moroccan family over 70yrs including the Rif War and pacification period

France, Spain and the Rif by Walter Harris (Edward Arnold & Co 1927)

Harris lived in Morocco for many years and had intimate contact with many notables involved in the war

Colonial Armies (Africa 1850-1918) by Peter Abbott ISBN1-9011543-07-2

Good coverage of colonial armies

Risings and Rebellions 1919-1939 by Edwin Herbert ISBN 1-901543-12-9

Covers both the Rif War and later pacification period

Rif War from the French side

My Life in the Foreign Legion by Prince Aage of Denmark (ISBN 0-89839-196-2)

A first-hand account through the eyes of an experienced staff officer

The Bugle Sounds – Life in the Foreign Legion by Major Zinovi Pechkoff (ISBN 1-845741-28-5)

Another first-hand account from this former White Russian officer, includes information on motorised columns used by the French towards the end of the war.

Les Chasseurs D`Afrique by Jacques Sicard and Francois Vauvillier (ISBN 2-908-182-874), French text

Uniform and equipment info about this famous unit, some orbat info also, lots of photos and colour prints

France, Soldiers and Africa by Anthony Clayton (Brasseys, ISBN 0-08-034748-7)

In my opinion this is the best general study of the French Colonial Army out there in English, some organisational info, but more useful for the historic information and explanations.

The French Foreign Legion 1914-45 (Osprey men-at-arms 325) by Martin Windrow (ISBN 1-85532-761-9)

Good general history, covers the Rif War and the final pacification period (1930s), good illustrations

The French foreign Legion by Erwan Bergot (ISBN 0-427-00011-4)

General history includes a section on the Rif War

The Foreign Legion by Patrick Turnbull, Mayflower-Dell 1966

General history includes a section on the Rif War

March or Die by Tony Geraghty (ISBN 0-00-636537-X)

General history includes a section on the Rif War

La Coloniale - du Rif au Tchad 1925-1980 by Erwan Bergot (ISBN 2-7242-1497-8) French text

Good history of the French Colonial Army

The French Foreign Legion by Douglas Porch (ISBN 0-06-016652-5)

General history includes a section on the Rif War, an excellent book by an acclaimed expert on North Africa and the Legion

One Man`s Wars (the story of Charles Sweeny: Soldier of Fortune) by Donald McCormick (ISBN 0-213- 99432-1)

Sweeny was an American who flew with the Escadrille Cherifiene group of mercenary pilots who flew with the French air-force in Morocco during the Rif War

Our Friends Beneath the Sands by Martin Windrow ISBN978-0-7538-2856-4

An excellent book by this expert in the field, covers all the periods from the first French expansion into Morocco until the final pacification period in the 1930s.

The French Foreign Legion (Airfix Guide no13) by Martin Windrow ISBN0-85059-224-0

Airfix wargames/modelling guide, maybe a bit basic these days

Les Troupes de Marine by Charles Lavauzelle (French text) ISBN2-7025-0572-4

A huge volume on the history of the French Colonial Army, has sections on the French occupation of Morocco, the Rif War and the later pacification period.

French Army 1918 by Andre Jouineau ISBN978-2-35250-105-3

60 pages of coloured uniform illustrations of all aspects of the French Army from 1915 to 1918


The Atlantic Monthly (August 1925) an article by Vincent Sheean – “Abd el krim and the War in Africa”

The Literary Digest (October 31, 1925) an article by an un-named author “Abd el-Krim is Sultan Mahommed if you Please”

The SOTCW Journal Compendium (issues 9-12) contains an article “Pax Gallica” by Steve Blease

Which details the French Foreign Legion actions in Morocco between the wars

Aviation Quarterly (Vol. 5, No2, Spring 1979) An article by an American volunteer pilot - Paul Rockwell – “Moroccan Bomber”

Rockwell flew with the famed Escadrille Cherifiene group of mercenary pilots who flew with the French air-force in Morocco, superb photos

The Journal of Military History (Vol. 63, No1, January 1999) has an article by Jose Alvarez – “Between Gallipoli and D-Day: Alhucemas, 1925”

A good overview of the landings

 Historia (No 324, April 2003) has an article “Guerra Quimica en el Rif (1921-1927)” by Maria Rosa de Madariaga & Carlos Lazaro Avila – Spanish text

Chemical weapons and their use during the Rif War

Historia (No 319, Nov.2002) has an article “Que vienen los Moros!” by Maria Rosa de Madariaga – Spanish text

Savage & Soldier (Vol.XVI No.2 Apr-Jun 1984) has an article – “The Forgotten Army: The Spanish in Morocco” by Ron Vaughan

Military History Quarterly (winter 2005) has an article “Spain`s African Nightmare” by Douglas Porch

Military History (Feb. 2003) has an article by David S. Woolman “The Spanish Foreign Legion, Bridegrooms of Death”

Leslie`s Monthly Magazine (Vol. LVIII, No5, September 1904) an article by Ion H. Perdicaris – “In Raissuli`s Hands”

Military Modelling An article by Charles Esdaile “The Spanish Civil War” a wargamers guide to organisation and equipment

History of the 20th Century (magazine) issue 36 article by General Andre Beaufre “Abd el Krim”

International Bank Note Society Journal (Vol. 41, No 3, 2002) article by Peter Symes “The Notes of the Rif Revolt”

Bank notes and finance within the Rif Republic

Article by Angel Larios Magan – “El Uniforme de 1914 en las campanas de Marruecos” (Spanish text) 

Armes Militaria (magazine) No173 article by Bruno Chapelle – “Le 37th Regiment D`Aviation Dans le Rif” French text

The Combat Tanks Collection (vol.6) published by De Agostini, article – “Conflicts in the Interwar Period”

The Combat Tanks Collection (vol.7) published by De Agostini, article – “Tanks in the Rif War, Morocco”

Blackwoods Magazine (No MCCCXXI, November 1925) article by Gerald Spencer Pryse “Through the lines to Abd-El-Krim’s Stronghold in the Riff”

Armoured Car (The Wheeled fighting Vehicle Journal) [issue 11, May 1992] article by Javier de Mazarrasa “Coches Blindados del Ejercito Espanol” (Armoured Cars of the Spanish Army)

Armor magazine (Jan-Feb 1997) article by Jose E. Alarez “Tank Warfare During the Rif Rebellion”

Asia magazine (September 1925) article by Vincent Sheean “The Story of Abd El-Krim”

National Geographic Magazine (March 1925) has an article by Harriet Chalmbers Adams “Across French and Spanish Morocco”

Current Opinion Magazine (April 1925) has an article “Abd el Krim of Morocco”

Mundo Grafico magazine (November 1921) has an excellent photo article on the Moroccan war (Spanish text)


I have also put in many hours scouring the web and numerous internet searches which have thrown up random articles from period newspapers or other snippets of info.

Iron Ivan Games

Jayson Gardner working with Iron Ivan`s creator Chalfant Conley created a supplement for the Rif War “Harkas Y Arma Blancas” to use with Iron Ivan`s - Disposable Heroes & Coffin for Seven Brothers rules. This supplement was available as a pdf document as was a scenario – “Death by Harka”. Unfortunately these pdfs don`t seem to be online anymore?

A couple of really useful wargames websites:

This site has loads of info on wargaming the Rif period with weapons, uniform and organisational detail.

Some excellent period photos of FT17s in Morocco can be found on this site -

A new company from Madrid – Baraka Miniatures have a very active Facebook page and have produced a set of skirmish rules for the period available in both Spanish and English, plus some painting guides.


  1. Very useful- thanks.



    1. Cheers Pete, though the sheer number of books and magazines i own on this one topic could be seen as obsessive :)

  2. Your list is very much appreciated. Iron Ivan Games does not seem to exist any longer do you have another address for these rules and scenario?

    1. WOW I did not know that?

      I`ll have to ask around, the Disposable Heroes rules are still available??

      I have copies of their Rif War rules and the scenario on pdf which I could send if you want to email me?

    2. The Disposable Heroes rules are still available, however, the Rif War and scenario seem to be non-existent. I would great appreciate them both

    3. I knew I`d still seen the WW2 rules, shame about the website though - I`ll edit my post.

      I found the two pieces and will email them over.

  3. Missed catching this earlier in month! Very useful inspiration. I keep chipping away at many of these, (which I used for my article on the Battle of Annual, in Sotcw Journal). I got diverted to other things colonial by your inspiration to look at different 'colonial' combat areas or wars early in 20th century. Must put some of it into an article for new Sotcw Journal. All best, Carl

    1. People kept asking for sources so it seemed to make sense to update the original bibliography that was printed in my TooFatLardies Guide.

  4. This: "Some excellent period photos of FT17s in Morocco can be found on this site -" is now located here:

    1. Thank you, I have copies of all those photos on file from when I first found them. Steve Thomas` site is excellent, I`ve corresponded with him quite a bit over the years, we share similar interests.