The French had been using camel-mounted troops in North Africa for some time. With typical patrol areas equivalent to travelling from London to Naples and back (2,500 miles), they had proven ideal for ‘flying the flag’ in the remote desert areas of the Sahara and Maghreb. With similar large areas to cover it was natural that they should raise similar units in the Côte française des Somalis. While there was only a reduced company of two platoons raised, these provided a similar presence in the interior regions of the colony.
While few in number and with limited support weapons, these platoons could form a core around which local auxiliaries, in a similar fashion to the goums raised by the French in Algeria and Morocco, could be formed to create an irregular force to subjugate rebellious chieftains or to deal with bands of shifta (bandits, or anyone opposed to French rule effectively).
While they were of limited value in a conventional warfare scenario, they could operate as an irregular force behind enemy lines, attacking supply routes and interdicting watering parties, both of which were far more important when a force was trying to traverse the vast arid and open spaces of Somaliland.