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The Ethiopian Army - Order of Battle

Orbat as of 2014
Central Command
8th Mechanized Division
31st Army Division
35th Army Division
24th Army Division
22nd Army Division
33rd Army Division
Northern Command
14th Army Division
21st Army Division
11th Army Division
25th Army Division
22nd Army Division
4th Mechanized Division
South Eastern Command
19st Army Division
44th Army Division
13th Army Division
12th Army Division
32nd Army Division
6th Mechanized Division
Western Command
23rd Army Division
43rd Army Division
26th Army Division
7th Mechanized Division
Major ground units in 1977 were 7 infantry divisions vs. 5 previously.

Any representation of the order of battle of the Ethiopian army would seem vulnerable to a fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Open sources provide little insight into an institution that is by nature secretive and difficult to access for outsiders. Apparently authoritative sources provide significantly conflicting depictions of the army's structure. CENTCOM reported that as of 1998 the army consisted of 3 Corps, 6 Divisions, 1 Independent Mechanized Division, and 3 Independent Mechanized Brigades. Orbat.com, which appeared to have more granularity than any other source, reported essentially the same order of battle as of 2004.

Demobilization following the cease-fire of 2000 reduced the armed forces to an estimated 180,000 in 2004. Under the planned reorganization, the military eventually will have three military districts, each with its own headquarters and under the command of army headquarters in Addis Ababa. On paper, each district will have its own corps with two divisions and one mechanized brigade. A strategic reserve of six brigades will be located in Addis Ababa. According to sources, forces around Addis Ababa in 2004 (two divisional formations, each with three brigades) were thought to be well equipped with serviceable main battle tanks and other heavy, mechanized equipment. There are army bases throughout the country, including in Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Debre Zeyit, Dire Dawa, Gondar, Gore, and Jijiga.

By 2007 orbat.com was reporting that while as of 2004 it was planned to reduce the army to 7 divisions (including 1 strategic reserve) and 3 corps HQ, the current structure is 4 corps HQ, 4-5 mechanized divisions, 17+ infantry divisions, and another 6 separate brigades. IISS agrees there are 4 Corps, but reports that each has 1 mechanized division and 4-6 infantry divisions [for a total of 4 mechanized divisions and over 17 infantry divisions], with another 4 divisions and 6 specialist brigades as part of a central strategic reserve. Thus the total number of recently reported "divisions" is at least 22 [orbat.com] and as many as 25 [IISS].

Nominal Orbat as of 2010
Central Command Headquarters
Infantry Division
Infantry Division
Infantry Division
Infantry Division
Corps Headquarters Corps Headquarters
Mechanized Division Mechanized Division
Infantry Division Infantry Division
Infantry Division Infantry Division
Infantry Division Infantry Division
Infantry Division Infantry Division
Infantry Division
Corps Headquarters Corps Headquarters
Mechanized Division Mechanized Division
Infantry Division Infantry Division
Infantry Division Infantry Division
Infantry Division Infantry Division
Infantry Division
Infantry Division
Orbat.com provides unit designations for the divisions, and indicates the number of each type of division assigned to each corps headquarters, but does not indicate which specific units are allocated to each corps.

Orbat.com also reports that each "division" has only 5-6,000 troops and is commanded by a colonel. Upon reflection, it seemed possible that between 2004 and 2007 the Ethiopian army was de-layered, and the superfluous division headquarters disbanded, with the brigedes formerly composing the divisions nominally elevated to "division" status, reporting directly to the corps headquarters, and with officers with rank and pay commensurate with division status.

According to the US State Department the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) numbered about 200,000 personnel as of November 2011 [essentially all in the land forces], while orbat.com reported 180,000 and IISS reports only 135,000 troops. The tooth-to-tail ratio in the US Army is about 50:50, which means that for every soldier in a manuver unit, there is another soldier in a non-deploying support unit. Assuming "divisions" of 5,000 troops, an end-strength of 135,000 would supply 27 divisions, with no support troops, while an end-strength of 200,000 would supply 20 divisions, assuming a lavish American-style tooth-to-tail ratio. All of these numbers are roughly in the same ballpark, but none of them are mutually consistent.

The precise composition of each corps probably changes over time as units rotate to and from front line deployments. Thus, in late October 2007 the ENDF rotated the 31st Infantry Division off of the front lines near Badme -- where it had been deployed for several years -- and replaced it with the 22nd Division previously located outside of the Adjacent Area.




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