Mar Verde

The Portuguese Amphibious Assault on Conakry, 1970

José Augusto Matos

A blow-by-blow reconstruction of the famous Portuguese commando attack and a coup attempt in Conakry, the capital of Guinea-Conakry, that caused a major diplomatic crisis between multiple capitals in Europe and Africa.
Date Published :
September 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
80 photos, 4 maps, 15 color profiles
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781914377006
Pages : 60
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available


In the early hours of 22 November 1970, six Portuguese warships surrounded Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea, on the West African coast. Taking advantage of the darkness of the night, a military force landed on the northern and southern coasts of the sleeping city.

At the head of these men was a young Portuguese marine officer, Commander Alpoim Calvão, who had been appointed to command this secret operation, codenamed Green Sea - Mar Verde in Portuguese. The main objective of the invasion was to promote a coup d'état in the former French colony and overthrow the regime of President Sékou Touré, who supported the guerrillas of the PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde), who were fighting for the independence of Portuguese Guinea. The invaders also sought to destroy the naval resources that the guerrillas and the Guinean navy had in the port of Conakry, capture the leader of the party, Amilcar Cabral, and rescue a group of Portuguese soldiers held in a PAIGC prison.

The incursion would not have the expected success concerning the coup d'état, and Portugal would be condemned by international organizations for the invasion of a sovereign state, but this operation would remain in the memory of many as the most daring carried out during the colonial war in Africa, although the Portuguese regime never recognized its involvement.

About The Author

José Matos is an independent researcher in military history in Portugal with a primary interest in operations of the Portuguese Air Force during the colonial wars in Africa, especially in Guinea. He is a regular contributor to numerous European magazines on military aviation and naval subjects, and has collaborated in the major project ‘The Air Force at the end of the Empire’, published in Portugal in 2018. This is his first instalment for Helion.


" interesting discussion both of an interesting military operation and of the guerilla war in general."

- The Miniatures Page

"...might make for an interesting tabletop scenario."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"This book illustrates a lesson for how not to conduct secret military operations. Recommended for learning how political issues control military outcomes, and for an intriguing but sad story."


"Color plates – warships, aircraft, and uniforms – provide potent project potential. Maps help graphically chart events. And rare period photos and archival images further adorn the account."

- Cybermodeler

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