These feared and fearless mounted gunners have minds as keen as their aim - learning from every victory, and every defeat.
In the 19th century, the Oromo-speaking populations were one of the largest and most influential linguistic groups in Ethiopia. Located in the central and southern regions, they were generally referred to as gallas by Europeans traveling through the country.
The subject of numerous, lavishly illustrated, sensationalist newspaper articles, the Oromo mounted infantry had acquired an almost mythical status in Europe by the beginning of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1885-1896). Because of this, these soldiers, who were presented as bloodthirsty warriors who wouldn’t hesitate to mutilate armed, captive enemies, had a tremendous impact on the Battle of Adwa in 1896.
Present in low numbers (8,000), they were sent in pursuit of the demoralized Italian troops, who were in full flight. Their arrival onto the battlefield drove some soldiers to cast down their weapons, while others committed suicide out of sheer fear of being taken alive.