The battle of Elhri

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Geographical situation

Elhri is a small village located at the south to 20 km of where the troops camped of Mouha or Hammou Zayani(éstimées with 1000 riders) aprés the catch of Khénifra in June 1914 per Berger,ce village entered the history by this famous battle known as ofElhri, which was held on November 13, 1914 at dawn. It is often appellée it Dien Well Phu Morrocan because of the defeat that have undergoes the attackers, malheuresement this battle did not have the praise which it deserved on behalf of the historians. The bravery and the warlike tenacity of the Berber tibus to knowing Zayane and Ichkinrn étaitent with return.A war memorial is set up to memorize the defeat of Elhri.

Military operations of Mangin(13/Sep/1913)

Le boucher de la pacification du Maroc
The butcher of the pacification of Morocco

Who is the this colonel ?

Mangin is the intsigator of countryside of Morocco 1913, called the butcher by his acts of cruelty made against the Moroccan population, with the deployment of the military apparatus news technology in particular aviation, guns and machine-gun etc.

  • Colonel Charles Mangin:(Born in Sarrebourg (the Moselle), Charles Mangin (1866-1925), took part, with the head of the Senegalese riflemen, the Congo-Nile mission into 1898-1900 pennies the orders of Merchant. Colonel in Morocco with Lyautey, it took Marrakech.

General, it orders in 1914-15 a brigade of infantry then a division, the 5e D.I from Rouen, at the time of the battle of the borders, on the Marne, in Artois. May 22, 1916, it attacks in vain the fort of Douaumont (Meuse) then, always in Verdun, it directs the offensives of reconquest to the sides of Bubble. In 1917, it is with the Way of the Injuries, chief of the 6th army. The attack enlisant itself, it is dismissed. It returns in 1918 to order the 10th army with which it carries out celebrates it counter-attack from July 18 with Villers-Cotterêts where it breaks the enemy. Winner in Aisne with the autumn, it breaks the German face, releases Soissons and Laon.The armistice cancels its offensive envisaged in Lorraine. It enters to Metz on 19 November, reached the Rhine in Mainz on December 11, occupies the Rhineland.

Convinced of the value of the troops sénégalaises, it was a burning partisan of a African army ("the black Force") more and more powerful, with the service of France. For the anecdote, let us recall that 1906 to 1922, its faithful ordinance was Bambara of high stature, Baba Koulibaly, which took care day and night on him with devotion and an ostentation that the General appreciated, being itself readily theatrical. Mangin such as it, was adored or hated, really incarnated the type of the officer colonial, untiring, tempestuous, dominating the men and forcing the événements)Source: MINDEF/SGA/DMPA.

  • Cruelty of Mangin falls down on the Average Atlas.

A French doctor-captain will write resistance in the Means-Atlas which "it reaches the limits of the improbability". Of course, terror: massive reprisals, women and children taken as hostages, shaved villages, and of the abominable stratagems, such these sugar loafs stuffed of explosive distributed in the rebellious zones. The Mangin General, celebrates butcher of 14-18, was characterized by his cruelty. It had as a speciality to force the populations raflées with steps of extermination of which no one did not return alive.

  • Thanks to its intervention, menéé by the 2nd battery of the 1st Regiment of Artillery of Mountain for the period of September 6, 1912 to October 16, 1913, arrived Casablanca splits some on September 13, 1913, without any incident to be announced during the crossing.

The Moroccan cities and villages fell one aprés the other, stage by stage, starting with Médiouna (27/sep/1913), Oued Zem(14/nov/1913), Tadla, Beni Mellal, El Kssiba where Mouha or Said méne of the attacks in collaboration of Mouha or Hammou Zayani, April 8, 1913 El Kssiba was destroyed by the group of colonel GUEYDON the DIVINE ones.

June 13, 1913, All the fractions of the mountain since BENI MELLAL included until Zayan included fought the 10 and underwent losses exceeding 400 killed. "Our offensive highly impressed the tribes of the mountain" with declared colonel Mangin. .All tribes:Ouira has, Has Rabaa, Smaalas, Beni Amir, Beni Ayad etc. During this period which will précèdera the catch of Khénifra (June 1914).The presence of Zayanes to various the operations was not negligible, but malheursement had not had military impact discounted, on the unfolding of the évenements.Because the strategic policy of Mangin, is carried out by the catch of Tadla, and Boujaad, with the borders of Zayanes. This policy lies within the following scope:

  • -1/Occuper plates of Tadla and Beni Mellal consideréés like reserve of approvisionnemt in food for the colonists.
  • -2/Laisser the Zayanes tribes in withdrawal in the mountains in order to isolate them from any confrontation which could, to harm the tactic under consideration by Mangin.

The telegram adréssé with the Captain OF REYNES, Lieutenants LATIL, MARSAN, Sous-Lieutenant ROLANDEZ of it is the proof:

  • The mail of the convoy brings the following telegram of congratulations of Commandanten Chef:

"N° 139 - Cheer! All my satisfaction: Firstly - for the strength of the blow and the brilliance success; Secondly - not to be let to you involve and have understood that it was necessary to reject MOHA or HAMMOU in country ZAIANI without penetrating there; Thirdly - to have begun again with BRAKSA a position will as well dechra enabling you to check and cause tender that you to relate to any other objective that there would be to break. My congratulations with the valiant troupiers who provided such an effort " Extract of the "Newspaper of the steps and operations of the 2nd battery of the 1st Artillery Regiment of Mountain for the period of September 6, 1912 to October 16, 1913" writing by CH. Mangin with Kasba Tadla, June 13, 1913.


Mobilisation de la colonne  française pour Elhri 1914
Mobilization of the French column for Elhri 1914

The battle of Elhri is, of the consent even of French, the greatest disaster known by their army in all his countryside in North Africa. It opposes the French Army to the tribes bérbère Zayane, of Ichkirn (El Kbab), of Ihand of (Krouchen) Has, of Has Soukhmane, of Hdidou Has led by the rebel Mouha or Hammou zayani. This last gathers the tribes by its idiology jihadist. The French columns led by the Laverdure officer, with the nomdre of 43 officers and 1230 men, arrival of Khénifra in reinforcement, besieges the quota of Mouha or Hammou Zayani based to 20 km of Khénifra, which was surpis at dawn, by the brutality of the qualified military intervention of savage, the disorganization seizes within Zayanis. Phase marked by the plundering of the goods, two women of its Harem are captured. During this operation Mouha Or Hammou successful to escape from the blockade while being made pass for a black servant. With the great surprise of French, counters it offensive Zayanes tribes and tribes avoisnnantes was immediate, Efficace and disastrous for the attacker, thanks to the warlike spirit and devotion to the xenophobe principles of Amazhighes towards ' Iroumines' (Christians). In spite of this victory, Zayananis could not push back the attacker, déja with the borders of their territory.

  • Assessment

Official assessment of the losses with dimensions French: Aprés official statement of Lyautey:

  • 33 motrs parimis officers:of which colonel Laverdure
  • 650 soldiers
  • 176 bléssés

Lyautey had declared that the losses undergone by French are catastophiques of Afique of north.what Gay had also affirmed Trip hammer, proffessor of history at the school of the French navy. Following this defeat, French revises their policy of colonization towards Zayanes benefitting from anarchy Siba who y régnait(guerre inter tribal), in addition to the ineglity of the armament deployed by let us français(canons, mitalleuse). The framework of action of the Marshal Lyautey become resident géneral was "the pacification of Morocco"

Poetry of Amazigh resistance

The Berber poetry élement literary by which, the poéte (Amliaz)s éxprime , to describe a historical addition to its function of poéte, it is considered as historian of its time.The oral tradition remains a reference of choice for the generation future, this poetry makes it possible to us to locate us in a given time.

Although the handbooks of history does not give a important role to resistance vis-a-vis to colonization at the beginning of the XXème century, the oral tradition, and particularly poetry, the possibility offers to us of reconsidering these pioneering days of our national history. The selected poetic worms treat resistance of Morocco Central vis-a-vis with advanced French troops. This poetry remains an edifying testimony because it informs us on the progression of the machine of colonial war and on the suicidal resistance delivered by the tribes amazighes of the central Atlas. The places quoted in this poetry are used as reference mark with the progression of the colonial army. It testifies to the attachment of the combatant to their belief and their will to fight until death. We adopted a progressive classification. The catch of the cities involved resistance towards the mountain. And with each defeat, the poet expresses himself and allows us to apprehend the evolution of the French soldiers.

After the catch of the Atlantic coastal cities, the colonizer advances as it testifies some towards which informs us about the catch of the large cities of central Morocco:

With nall I FAS, AD have allegh I MEKNAS, has y AGURAY With SFRU, TABADUT han irumin zlan agh has

  • Let us cry Fès, Meknès, Agouray
  • Sefrou, Tabadout, the Christians ruined us.

The plain of Saiss "is thus subjected" and the machine of French war tackles the mountain. As these worms testify some:

Berci yserreh awal, iggufey is isdaâ KHNIFRA is Al itteddu G ayt ttaât

  • The catch of Khénifra per Berger is confirmed,
  • Such an amount of the resistant ones is not warlike truths.

Same desolation is translated in it towards which refers to the tender of Lehri, small village located at ten kilometers of Khnifra.

Uran T tzemmurin ass has gan T amm unna Yemmuten, has LEHRI tsiwel digun tawuct

  • You are, now, without force and like death
  • Ô Lehri, the owl makes hear its lugubrious cry.

The progression of the colonial troops is done by stages. After ELhri and Khénifra, the colonizer climbings the mountain. Started from Khénifra, it takes Alemsid, then Aghbala and its approximately. And after the battle of Tazizawt, it successful has to reach the collar having to offer a passage to him towards the south Is. It acts of the collar of Bab N Wayyad, border natural separating the confederation from Ayt Sokhmane d' Aghbal and the confederation of Has Yafelman.

These worms are the illustration of this projection.

Immut Buâzza, may ttabaâm has yimnayen S ixf ULEMSID ibbi wuzzal packed nnes

  • Bouâzza died, riding, inutil of
  • To charge towards Almsid, iron bored its entrails.

Ar ittru WEGHBALA allig isru IKWSAL rear ittru BUWATTAS, has TIZI N TURIRT

  • Aghbal tear and makes cry Ikousal
  • And Bouwatta, ô Tizi N Tewrirt

With TUNFIYT ttughen Saligan wessaght afella nnem AD D iâdel I sselk AD D iddu ghurrem

  • O Tounfiyt, sénagalais them activate themselves,
  • To connect to you to the Christian by telephone

Inna m BAB N WAYYAD has tizi N taqqat Han arumy ibedda D has nebdu G imyamazn

  • Bab N Wayyad says to you, ô collar
  • The colonist is there and the engagements are announced.

The French attacks also proceed on the maroco-Algerian border. It is what it towards us reveals on the catch of the village of Boubnib in the South East.

Ha BUDNIB ijjmeâd ddunit lla ttemmenzaghn inselmen D irumin afella nnun Boudnib,

  • center interest of the Théâtre world
  • of confrontation between Christians and mlusulmans.

Thus, poetry remains a source of priceless information on resistance to colonization during the first decades of the XXème century.

The authenticity of the facts expressed and conveyed by this poetry of resistance is confirmed by the reports/ratios and writings of the French soldiers. The poet quotes at the same time the name of the cities, villages and subjected villages and the name of the colonial officers who took part in the various battles.

The collective memory keeps always long-lived this poetry. A poetry which takes up several duties: to testify for the future generations and to express the rout of a population which underwent leu fire of artillery and aviation Frenchwomen. Text:(Moha Moukhlis).


Remise de la caserne de Mouha ou Hammou aux français  1920
Handing-over of the barracks of Mouha or Hammou to French 1920
les partisans alliés Goume
the allied partisans Goume

The catch of Khénifra per Berger (June 1914) constitutes a strategic asset for their hand put on all the area regarded as stronghold of resistance. The conquest of the mountains atlassiennes (basin of Oum Errabia) Berber is a failure. Thus, the control of the mountain it was only indirect by the tender of the tribes thanks to the support of large the caïds local, resulting from notable Zaynes, in particular the nomination of Pasha Hassan wire of Mouha Or Hammou facilitated colonial hegemony on the country of Zayanes, other nominations of Caids were suivèrent some, Caid Amahrouk, Caid Oulaidi, caid Brahim, caid Ougrirane, caid Baadi etc. In June 1920, his/her Hassan son delivered well the casérne D' Elhri to French before the death of his father, Hassan will sra appointed Pasha on a great part of the Average Atlas, its to pouvvoir despotic will help the colonists with to take a lead in the ground, with the instrar of the Pasha El Glaoui de Marrakech. By the intrigue and handling, the Zayanis tribes divide.The Pasha Hassan organizes a repression on the tribes which refuse the collboration. The grounds are confiscated with the profit of the clan of the Pasha. This new political sitution reverses the social balance of the Zayanes tribes, which will contribute to their definitive defeat. Humiliation was felt by the Berber ones. The major part of the unsubmissive people, obliged to leave the zone conquered to continue to badger the French colonists by actions with guerilla sporadic, until the death of Mouha Or Hammou it March 27, 1921 fallen as a martyr with Taouiguelt, buried with Tamllakt to 38 km of Khénifra(on the circontances its death is unaware of). The unsubmissive people continued the fight for finally taking part in the battle of Tazgzaout in 1932 and that of Boughafer in 1933 when the tibbu of Has Atta last bastion of resistance had shown its devotion to the honor of the tribe. committed talks of reconcilliation(Soulh)sont in order to allow the return of inssugés and them urged to take share in the capacity as in different operations so much in Morocco and later in Europe, which will show their efficacity during the hardest combat of the second world war. In spite of this glorious victory, the battle of Elhri did not have impact on the course of the events politico-startegic for which, it engaged, for lack of unified mouvevements nationalist and political maturity. France is of now and déja present, but this domination on Amazighes of the Means and the High Atlas was not easy, resistance lasted of 1908 to 1936.

The Colonial army

Tirailleur sénégalais
Senegalese rifleman
  • History of the colonial army in Morocco.

External Bonds


  • Abes, M, izayanes of Oulmès, Files Berber, 1915.
  • Amarir, O, Moroccan poetry amazighe, 1975
  • Aspignon, R, Study on the habits of the tribes zayanes, éd. Moynier, 1946, Put.
  • Basset hound, A, Berber Literature, The Pleiad, 1955.
  • Ben Daoud, O I, Notes on the country zayan, files Berber, 1917.
  • Shepherd, F, Moha Ouhammou the zayani, éd. Atlas, 1929.
  • Bernie, G, Moha Ohammou, Berber warrior, éd. Gautey, Put, 1945.
  • Chafik, M, Thirty three century of the history of the imazighen, Boukili éd. 2000(3e éd.).
  • Chafik, M, poetry amazighe and the resistance armed in the Average Atlas and Are High Atlas, review of the Academy of the Kingdom, no4, 1987.
  • Camps, G, Berber with the margins of the history, éd. Espérides, 1980
  • Guennoun, S, the Berber mountain, OR HAVE THEM Oumalou, éd.Oumnia, Reduction, 1933
  • Guennoun, S, the voice of the mounts, M?urs of Berber wars, éd. Oumnia, Reduction, 1934.
  • Guillaume, A, (General), Berber Morrocans and the pacification of the Atlas Central(1912-1933), Julliard, 1946

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