Alternate History

Military of Botswana (1983: Doomsday)

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Having survived Doomsday relatively unharmed Botswana has retained its military and it remains around pre-war strength, although has in recent times grown beyond that due to an influx of volunteers.



At the time of independence, Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after attacks from the Rhodesian and South African armies that the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) was formed out of self-defense in 1977. The president is the commander-in-chief and appoints a defense council. The BDF has approximately 12,000 to 18,000 members.


On Doomsday the BDF was conducting operations in the Okavango Delta as part of a self-defense operation to show nearby countries that Botswana could hold its own in a war. However, a sizable proportion of the army was still stationed outside Gaborone at the time of its overrunning by South African refugees. Around a third of the Botswanan Defense Force was wiped out or trapped in the south. However the BDF's command structure remained intact and was able to help the government restore order in the time following doomsday.


In the weeks and months following doomsday the BDF was ordered to enforce martial law and rationing until the civilian infrastructure could be rebuilt. As the country recovered and martial law was ended the BDF aided the government in their reconstruction efforts. With their help, the government was able to rebuild Botswana’s roads and infrastructure. Under the early seclusion governments of Botswana the main duty of the BDF was to guard Botswana’s borders from immigrants and any hostile forces from Zimbabwe and South Africa. The BDF was also responsible for maintaining civil law until a police force could be implemented.

Recovery of the Constitution

In the 1990's the BDF was ordered to recover the Botswanan constitution and prepare for elections. The operation to recover the constitution was the largest operation carried out by the BDF since its inception. The south was a lawless zone and the BDF was attacked by small groups of raiders and several groups of South African refugees on its way to the old houses of parliament. They survived to recover the documents and returned to the north victorious in 1996, however the commander of the expedition ordered that his men kept quiet on the discovery of organized South African refugees. They were assigned to guard the polling stations and afterwards returned to their duties at the border. They continued their duties as border guards under the Mmusi government but under Khama oversaw the evacuation of zone two and the shrinking of Botswana’s government.

Expansionist Policies

Under the Expansionist policy of Ian Mmusi the BDF was tasked with reoccupying the south and restoring the Botswanan government's influence across the region. Right from the start however, the BDF encountered massive resistance from survivors and South African refugees. Botswanan tanks stormed across the border and occupied the northern areas of the Zones. However as they approached the former capital resistance from groups became much larger and the BAW (Botswana Air Wing) was called in to orchestrate air strikes. However, when the mistreating of Botswanans was reported in a national newspaper the outrage at the situation meant that the campaign was ended by 2008 and with the defeat of Mmusi's government the army was withdrawn to the northern zones.

Unity Policy

Under the Unity government BDF forces started to explore the region surrounding Botswana. In preparation for relations with other nations the BDF grew in size to protect their nation from other factions.



Botswanan Defence Force
Flag of Botswana
Flag of the Botswana Defence Force
Active 1977 -Present
Country Botswana
Allegiance AEC
Role Protection of Botswanan Sovereignty
  • 10,000 Men
  • 10 Tanks
  • 50 IFV's/APC's
Garrison/HQ Francistown
Mascot Cheetah
  • Southern War
  • Angolan Skirmishes

The Botswana Defense Force or BDF acts as the army of Botswana and is referred to as such by many political commentators and civilians. Prior to Doomsday it had received massive backing from the USA and as a result is well equipped by post-doomsday standards. The primary duty of the army is to protect Botswana’s borders from refugees and oversee reconstruction projects.

Organization & Strength

Despite having been backed by the USA, Botswana’s army follows a similar organizational structure to the British army prior to Doomsday. The organizational structure is listed below.

  • Divisions are made up of two or three brigades with an HQ element and support troops. Commanded by a Major-General (due to the small size of the BDF operations, division strength forces are practically non-existent).
    • Brigades are made up of three to five battalions, an HQ element and associated support troops. Commanded by a Brigadier.
      • Battalions contain about 700 soldiers, made up of five companies commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel.
      • Battle group. This is a mixed formation of armour, infantry, artillery, engineers and support units and its structure is task specific. It is formed around the core of either an armoured regiment or an infantry battalion, and has other units added or removed from it as necessary. A battle group will typically consist of between 600 and 700 soldiers under the command of a Lieutenant Colonel.
        • Company of about 100 soldiers, typically in three platoons, commanded by a Major.
          • Platoon of about 30 soldiers, commanded by a Second Lieutenant, Lieutenant or, for specialist platoons such as reconnaissance or anti-tank, a Captain.
            • Section of about 8 to 10 soldiers, commanded by a Corporal.

Following Doomsday and the influx of volunteers from the general populace the BDF's high command reorganized the armed forces to provide easier issuing of orders and improve organization.

Name Headquarters Subunits
1st Mechanized Brigade Francistown Two mechanized and one tank battalion.
Southern Border Guards Mamuno & Serowe Four infantry battalions.
Western Border Guards Ghanzi One infantry battalions.
Northern Border Guards Maun One infantry battalion.
Eastern Border Guards Francistown Two infantry battalions.
1st Infantry brigade Francistown Three infantry battalions.
2nd Infantry brigade Serowe Three infantry battalions and one engineer battalion
1st Artillery Regiment Francistown Two artillery battalions.
Special Forces Regiment Francistown Two special forces battalions.


The BDF is equipped with a variety of weapons and vehicles all of which date back to at least the 1970's but some of which can be produced by factories in Botswana as because in 1983 Botswana’s army only numbered around 8000 men the factories have had to build on basic soviet (and a few US) patterns to produce the army today. The BDF is equipped with:

  • BTR-60 APCs
  • Cadillac-Gage V-100s
  • Ak-47s
  • RPG-7s
  • T54 Tanks
  • Several howitzers.

Air force

The Botswanan Air Wing or BAW is responsible for the movement of the BDF and air strikes, unlike the army it has not grown since 1983 and remains the same size and uses the same equipment as it did then. Aircraft used include:

Aircraft Origin Type Version In Service
Fighter Aircraft
BAC Strikemaster GB Fighter Mk 83, Mk 87 11
Military Helicopters
UH-1N Twin Huey USA Military helicopter CUH-1N 6
Cargo/Transport Aircraft
Bell 412 USA Transport helicopter 412 6


It is a common misconception that as a landlocked country Botswana has no navy. While this is technically the truth the BDF does operates a river patrol and with the new prospective plans to link Botswana to the sea the navy may become a powerful force in southern Africa. Currently, however, the navy is small with only a few patrol boats although the first major sea going vessel is under construction in the Sua Pan after which the ship will be broken down and transported to wherever the canal is to be built. Currently though, the BDF's river patrol arm is armed with fishing boats with a small machine gun mounted at the prow. The vessel being built in the Sua Pan is based on the President Class frigates built for the South African Navy.

The Standardization Plan

During the invasion of the south it became obvious to Botswanan military commanders that their ex-USSR equipment was in desperate need of replacing. A lot of the equipment was easily damaged by sand and the APC's/IFV's broke down regularly, The worst instance of this was during the attack on Gabrone when all but the V-100 vehicles became stuck in the sand slowing down the advance. The lack of BAW aircraft also effected the campaign as BDF commanders couldn't get the air support they needed. In light of this Mmusi ordered Botswana Air Systems to begin planning for the construction of new BAW aircraft and other companies to begin planning and building new vehicles.


The BAS has began construction on several new turboprop aircraft to replace and supplement the BAC strikemaster and BI (Botswana Industries) has started to build their new BI Lea helicopters to replace the Bell Hueys. Following the Standardization plan the following aircraft/helicopters will be in service;

Aircraft Origin Type Version In Service
Combat Aircraft
BAC Strikemaster GB Fighter-Bomber/Trainer Mk 83, Mk 87 11
BAS Skysweeper Botswana Fighter Mk I 20
BAS Skyblitzer Botswana Bomber Mk I 5
Military Helicopters
UH-1N Twin Huey USA Military helicopter/Trainer CUH-1N 6
BI Lea Botswana Attack helicopter Attack 3
Cargo/Transport Aircraft
Bell 412 USA Transport helicopter/Trainer 412 6
BI Lea Botswana Transport helicopter Transport 3
BAS Skyblitzer Transport Botswana Transport aircraft Mk I 5


A variety of companies have begun construction on the ordered equipment and unlike the BAW equipment they are designed to replace entirely the current equipment. After the plan is completed the BDF will use:

  • BI-21 IFV
  • BMS V-150 APC
  • BA-210 Tank

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