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SWJED
06-08-2006, 09:54 PM
Moderator's Note

I have consolidated four RFI threads into this:All matters Rhodesian / Rhodesia (merged thread) (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=3407)

A lot of information sits in the main thread: Rhodesian COIN (consolidated thread, inc original RLI) (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2090&highlight=rhodesia) and the recently published book: Africa's Commandos - new book on the RLI (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=15803&highlight=rhodesia) (Now in Historians arena).

As the war in Rhodesia was within a region wracked by conflict it is worth checking another thread: South Africa's COIN war in SWA/Namibia/Angola (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=10859&highlight=rhodesia) and COIN in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War, 1961–1974 (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=19529&highlight=portuguese) (Now in Historians arena).

A debate over the Rhodesian tactic 'Fireforce' is found in the Afghan context: Moving the Rhod. Fire Force concept to Afghanistan? (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=10742&highlight=rhodesia)

A general search finds Rhodesia / Rhodesian appears in over a hundred threads, often in book lists for example. (Ends).



H/T to Erik who sent in a link to this online book - Counterinsurgency in Rhodesia (http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/Books/rhodesia/Contents.htm) (link no longer works) by J. K. Cilliers. The book was written in 1985; here are the chapters:


Brief History of the War for Zimbabwe 1890 - 1979
Command and Control
Protected and Consolidated Villages
Border Minefield Obstacles
Psuedo Operations and the Selous Scouts
Internal Defence and Development
External Operations
Operation Favour: Security Force Auxiliaries
Intelligence
The Security Situation by Late 1979
Conclusion


Was a separate thread and merged today

bismark17
06-09-2006, 03:01 AM
On the same vein, I really liked Lt. Col. Reid Daly's book on the Selous Scouts and Barbara Cole wrote an excellent book on the Rhodesian SAS.

sgmgrumpy
07-06-2006, 03:18 PM
Does anyone have any good references for research. on Rhodesian Fire Force Units from this conflict. Found a Rhodesian COIN Manual, but any papers I would be highly interested in.

Thanks

jcustis
07-06-2006, 03:40 PM
sgmgrumpy,

I have quite a few documents, although most were pulled from these links: http://www.rhodesia.nl/rhomil.htm http://www.rhodesianforces.org/Pages/Army/Rhodesia%20-%20a%20study%20in%20military%20incompetence.htm

I have a couple other documents given to me by Mr. Charles Melsom of the Marine Corps History Division. PM me with a snail mail address and I can provide copies.

S/F,

JC

jcustis
07-06-2006, 05:50 PM
I will be sending two documents to sgmgrumpy. One is a visualization of Fireforce tactics given to me by Chuck Melsom (another Rhodesian military follower) of the History and Museums division. The second is a copy of an external operation OPORD. It is similar to the basic SMEAC format, but the coordinating instructions are a gem because there is insight into how the
Rhodies thought and planned.

I only have them hardcopy now, but intend to scan and build into a .pdf. PM me if you'd like a copy.

SWJED
07-06-2006, 07:09 PM
If there are no copyright restrictions I will post the docs to the SWJ Library.

Tom Odom
07-06-2006, 07:23 PM
Here is a link to download an out of print book from the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa

http://www.iss.co.za/index.php?link_id=3&slink_id=232&link_type=12&slink_type=12&tmpl_id=3

Just found it so I can't comment on it.

Best
Tom

jcustis
07-06-2006, 10:16 PM
SWJED posted that in an earlier thread, and it is a really good reference. Although Covos Day is the publisher, the OPORD (in an annex) might not be copyrighted. I will investigate a bit.

And before I forget, one of the comprehensive Fireforce references is a book called The Chopper Boys: Helicopter Warfare in Africa by A.J. Venter. ALthough much of it is anecdotal, is as current as Somalia, and the Rhodie part is similar to previously published J.R.T. Wood material, it is a rich book that I consider a prize on my bookshelf. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1853671770/104-4170993-0237514?v=glance&n=283155

slapout9
07-06-2006, 10:56 PM
jcustis, If Charles Melsom is the same guy I think he is, he helped me on a close combat project I was working on for LE officers. Dealt with point shooting and other hand to hand combat. He is an expert in the USMC contibution in this area all the way back to China Marines and what they learned. At the time he was a major about to retire. Wrote a couple of very good books if he is the same guy. I wondered what happened to him. This is very strange if this is the same guy. I was ambushed by a stalker at my home some years ago and I survived based upon some of his research. my experience is know taught at some police officer survival courses. If this is the same guy I would really like to contact him about this. Can you help??

jcustis
07-06-2006, 11:09 PM
I just looked at the documents, and the last name is actually Melson, and his bio is here: http://www.nps.gov/wapa/indepth/extContent/usmc/pcn-190-003121-00/sec5.htm

If he's the gentleman you're looking for, I can work the connections.

arty8
07-07-2006, 12:54 AM
One of the best primary sources I've read on the Rhodesian Light Infantry. This book is worth reading and rereading. I thought it was particularly interesting how all their vehciles were designed to survive mine explosions, and this was back in 1979.

jcustis
07-07-2006, 01:16 AM
That was where I was going to share the op order with sgmgrumpy. Great book.

slapout9
07-07-2006, 01:57 AM
It is him! I have 2 books by him and I compared author photos to his Bio picture. I just cannot believe this. Without boring you of the details I had been to many Army sources with no help at all, so I told it to the Marines and it worked out great. I actually ended up getting a copy of a declassified OSS training film from some connections he gave me. Anyway I guess we should do the PM thing so as not to disrupt the discussion. Thanks so much for your help.

sgmgrumpy
07-07-2006, 12:22 PM
Thanks for all the help.

jcustis
07-16-2006, 03:38 AM
I sent the docs off to you sgmgrumpy. For the fireforce material, I am working on getting them into a .pdf.

carpsf03
08-25-2006, 06:30 PM
Can any one point in the direction of a Rhodesian COIN manual available for download?

franksforum
08-25-2006, 08:00 PM
I believe this should help.

http://members.tripod.com/selousscouts/rhodesian_coin_manual.htm

I'll try again. If this doesn't work, here is the external link to the book. Need Adobe Acrobat reader.

http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/Books/rhodesia/Contents.htm - Cached

jcustis
08-25-2006, 10:11 PM
To clarify, those links are to two different documents. The Cilliers book is a recap of sorts, while the material from the Selous Scouts page is the Anti-Terrorist Operations (ATOPS) manual. Two different documents altogether.

Jedburgh
09-20-2006, 06:19 PM
A student paper from last year's Key Strategic Issues List:

The Rhodesian Insurgency: A Failure of Regional Politics (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/ksil28.pdf)

This Strategy Research Project (SRP) will examine the impact that regional politics had on the outcome of the Rhodesian insurgency that was fought between 1965 and 1980. Specifically, it will focus on how the foreign policy of South Africa in conjunction with the foreign policies of the U.S. and Britain affected the outcome of the insurgency and ultimately led to the fall of the white-rule government in Rhodesia. The central position of this SRP is that the outcome of the Rhodesian insurgency was determined by the political goals of South Africa, the regional power. The U.S., Britain, and the other western powers were pre-occupied with the Cold War and allowed South Africa to set the strategic agenda in Southern Africa during the period of the Rhodesian insurgency. This study will briefly describe the military developments and economic aspects of the insurgency, as well as the diplomatic developments that led to Rhodesia losing its war against the nationalist insurgents.

Rifleman
09-20-2006, 08:00 PM
The Rhodesian armed forces were tactically superior to their enemies and yet today Rhodesia is no more.

Seems like the lesson is that good tactics usually can't compensate for poor strategy in the long run; and, like it or not, strategy is sometimes more political than military.

Are we seeing a repeat of that in the middle east?

slapout9
09-21-2006, 03:38 AM
Sharp analysis, and you might just be right.

marct
09-21-2006, 12:59 PM
The Rhodesian armed forces were tactically superior to their enemies and yet today Rhodesia is no more.

Seems like the lesson is that good tactics usually can't compensate for poor strategy in the long run; and, like it or not, strategy is sometimes more political than military.

Are we seeing a repeat of that in the middle east?

Could well be. One of the more effective ploys that was pulled was to create a mediaspace in large parts of the Commonwealth where the insurgency was popularly viewed as opposing an export of apartheid rather than as a tribal-based insurgency. Mugabe was especially effective in pushing Smith to pass laws that the Crown was forced to repeal, which had the basic effect of shifting perceptions that Smith's government was "beyond the pale".

Marc

Jedburgh
09-21-2006, 01:32 PM
Seems like the lesson is that good tactics usually can't compensate for poor strategy in the long run; and, like it or not, strategy is sometimes more political than military.

Are we seeing a repeat of that in the middle east?
I would say that is a truism for small wars in general. A quick study will bring several examples of where a conventional army consistently defeats the guerrillas in the field, but the nation fighting that battle finds its larger goals frustrated in the end - politics winning out over the gun.

Tom Odom
09-21-2006, 01:35 PM
Marc,

Just a quick point to something you should look at:

Bob Ramsey's paper on advisors (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=1250) has some great insights on the cross-cultural misread in our advisory efforts.

Back to the Rhodesia issue, timing is often everything. The Rhodesian war reached its peak as the government and army of South Vietnam collapsed. And to a large degree, it was popularly seen as an extension of dying colonialism. It is interesting to look today at the Wikipedia entry for the Second Chimurenga (The Rhodesian War); the article identifies the 2 rebel groups as communist, split by theior backers: Russians the ZIPRA; Chinese and NK, ZANLA). To find that the 2 were actually ethnic based, you have to go to sublistings for their armed wings. Nkomo's ZIPRA was Ndebele. Mugabe's ZANLA was Shona.The Ndebele were offshoots of the Zulus and had long dominated the Shona. In independent Zimbabwe, Mugabe ultimately made sure that the Shona won. Unfortunately Zimbabwe is still losing.

best
Tom

marct
09-21-2006, 01:53 PM
Marc,

Just a quick point to something you should look at:

Bob Ramsey's paper on advisors (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=1250) has some great insights on the cross-cultural misread in our advisory efforts.

Hi Tom,

I just downloaded them, but I haven't had a chance to read them yet. I'll probably get to them on the weekend (too much other stuff on the go right now).


Back to the Rhodesia issue, timing is often everything. The Rhodesian war reached its peak as the government and army of South Vietnam collapsed. And to a large degree, it was popularly seen as an extension of dying colonialism. It is interesting to look today at the Wikipedia entry for the Second Chimurenga (The Rhodesian War); the article identifies the 2 rebel groups as communist, split by theior backers: Russians the ZIPRA; Chinese and NK, ZANLA). To find that the 2 were actually ethnic based, you have to go to sublistings for their armed wings. Nkomo's ZIPRA was Ndebele. Mugabe's ZANLA was Shona.The Ndebele were offshoots of the Zulus and had long dominated the Shona. In independent Zimbabwe, Mugabe ultimately made sure that the Shona won. Unfortunately Zimbabwe is still losing.

best
Tom

The older I get, the more suspicious I get about history (wry grin). I remember when I was a kid of about 9 or so, talking with my great uncle about his fathers' part in the Boer War. Since my father was doing a fair amount of work in South Africa and Botswana at the time, I got really interested in the historical movements of the various tribes and groups and tried to read up on them There's actually a surprising amount of anthropology on Africa - part of the links between British Social Anthropology and the policy of indirect rule that was used throughout large parts of the empire).

Later on, I think it was 1974 or 1975, I remember when Nkomo's brother came to Ottawa trying to drum up support for ZIPRA. What I found fascinating was that he was quite open about the tribal nature of the conflict: he called it a three-cornered civil war. I can't remember if he ever said that in a public forum, but he certainly did in private small groups.

I found the dichotomy between the private understandings and the public rhetoric, both in Rhodesia and in South Africa, to be quite informative. I think it's why I have a tendency to look at mediaspace now whenever I consider conflict.

Marc

jcustis
09-21-2006, 04:09 PM
When I was a snot-nosed sophmore in college, I wrote a paper about the Rhodesian crisis, as I thought there was an amount of cognitive dissonance going on with the African peoples within the borders. I was specifically delving into rationale behind the recruitment, employment, and retention of African troops, fighting for a government that was viewed by most of the world as racist. I was curious about the perspective of the African soldier fighting under the Rhodesian flag. What drove him to do it, considering the years of public outcry against the Rhodesian government after its Unilateral Declaration of Independence against the Crown. Did he belive that the government was subjugating his people, but also believe that the fabric of his society was at risk and thus necessitated his service? Or was it something more primitive and tribal, Shona vs. Ndebele?

I've since studied the situation more closely, and realize that there were so many more dynamics involved that the picture is not clear. The matter of advisors is, however, an interesting one if you step back and look at the situation of certain units (e.g. Rhodesian African Rifles and Selous Scouts). The RAR was a predominantly all-African formation, with Anglos serving as the officers. A book titled The War Diaries of Andre Dennison is an excellent insight into the world of a white who serve as the OC of one of the companies.

I look at what I've read about Rhodesia since my sophmore days and now begin to wonder. We've had previous threads about "turning terrorists" and developing indigenious forces in the image of insurgent groups, so that they may fight them at their own game. We can look to the Selous Scouts for lessons on the snoop and poop aspect, but can we also learn something from the more conventional Rhodesian units, and the white OIC/leader issues then to the current advisor issues we face today?

Just some fodder for discussion.

jcustis
09-21-2006, 04:42 PM
Also, South Africa did play a significant role during the waning days of White Rhodesian rule, and it wasn't solely in the form of military support. IIRC, much of the pressure that Smith faced stemmed from S. Africa's political game, and Johannesburg saw the writing on the wall. Rather than have a violent overthrow of the Rhodesian govt., it saw accomodation as a means to an end, and expended considerable effort driving the point home that a transitional government, followed by majority rule was in Rhodesia's best interest. In fact, many argue they were looking to cover their own rear ends.

marct
09-21-2006, 06:54 PM
In fact, many argue they were looking to cover their own rear ends.

I would certainly agree with that! It would be interesting to look at who is doing the same in Iraq right now.

I'd like to go back to an earlier comment you made and "muse" on it for a bit.


can we also learn something from the more conventional Rhodesian units, and the white OIC/leader issues then to the current advisor issues we face today?

One of the "lessons" coming out of Rhodesia was that the conflict operated at a whole series of different levels: military, political, ethnic and, most important to my point at the moment, how a "state" is perceived. Is a "state" going to be equivalent to an ethnic/tribal group, or is it going to be composed on multiple ethnic/tribal groups in some form of a powersharing relationship?

I think that discussions of exactly what the state is / will be are important if for no other reason that you have to have an acceptable reason for fighting for a state. It is usually fairly easy to develope that mind state of "why to fight" in a monocultural state which is, after all, the basis of modern nation states. It it much harder to do so when you have multi-cultural states where core cultural values may be in direct opposition to each other.

Marc

Tom Odom
09-22-2006, 01:04 PM
I think that discussions of exactly what the state is / will be are important if for no other reason that you have to have an acceptable reason for fighting for a state. It is usually fairly easy to develope that mind state of "why to fight" in a monocultural state which is, after all, the basis of modern nation states. It it much harder to do so when you have multi-cultural states where core cultural values may be in direct opposition to each other.

The interesting thing about this point and this discussion in general is that for the most part all elements in the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe war could agree that they were fighting for a state (the definition of which was the center piece issue of the war). The same held true in Rwanda: defining that state centered on defining the Tutsi as either an alien race (the Hutu Power position) or an integral part of the Rwandan ethnic quilt (the RPF position). The aftermath of both conflicts is still unfolding. In the case of Zimbabwe, I spent a little time there in 84 and heard the stories of American mercs who had fought on the losing side, lost their citizenship, and stayed in the newly consolidated military. Their stories were NOT happy ones; one was a parapalegic who had been an SF engineer sergeant, fought as a merc, and then was used--literally--to clear mines until his luck ran out. I sponsored a Zimbabwean officer at Leavenworth in 85; he was Ndebele. It took several months but he finally started talking about how his future looked in the Shona dominated government. I believe that Zimbabwe is going to hit bottom soon; the results will not be pretty.

As for Rwanda, I gave a 2-3 hour lecture the other day on COIN in Rwanda 94-98; key discussion point in that lecture was amnesty/reconciliation/and integration of the 2 militaries. My overall point in raising those issues was that the RPA could win on the battlefield but could not win the peace until those issues were addressed. That was very hard to do after genocide killed 14% of a state's population, most of whom were from an ethnic group constituting less than 20% of the pre-war population. (The return of long term Tutsi exiles effectively offset the losses of the geoncide in numerical terms; that does not mean in any fashion that their return lessened the social impact of the genocide.) Two critical things had to happen: a. an end to impunity in ethnic killings to satisfy genocide survivors and b. reconciliation (especially integration of the militaries). The first condition was achieved with the first public executions after trials in 98. The second actually began in 94 when the RPA opened the reintegration program for ex-FAR officers at Gako. By 97 and 98, graduates of the Gako program, Hutu (and former ex-FAR) officers were commanding RPA battalions and brigades in the COIN campaign in western Rwanda. They proved absolutely critical in defeating the insurgency that year. I admit freely that in 1994 I was very sceptical about the Gako program; the Rwandans proved me wrong.

Finally I would hold up the Congo as an example of the other extreme: where a state does not really exist and a Congolese "people" do not really exist. It has been a problem since King Leopold carved out his private empire in the 19th century; independence in 1960 brought all the tensions to the fore for the next 5 years. Mobutu more or less (actually less given that foreign interventions became almost common place) held it together from 65 to 97 when the Rwandans showed him the door. In Congo-like conditions, it is VERY difficult to establish a military that has the state as its center of gravity.

best
Tom

Russeleoin
10-03-2006, 08:29 PM
As a child during this very war I read with interest the comments and viewpoints. I find myself wondering if the learned gentlemen here posting know whether information from sites such as this is ever used or considered when the bigger decissions are made by the politicians. As a species we do not appear to be learning much from history yet the views on here show that a problem has been recognised.

Soccer35
11-14-2006, 03:49 PM
One of the best primary sources I've read on the Rhodesian Light Infantry. This book is worth reading and rereading. I thought it was particularly interesting how all their vehciles were designed to survive mine explosions, and this was back in 1979.



Chris Cocks also wrote another book called "Survival Course" that details his time as a reservist the PATU - Police Anti Terrorist Unit. It's another very good read.

I actually met Chris at a book signing in Pietermaritzburg South Africa and he is truly a gentleman

Rifleman
02-01-2007, 12:02 AM
Tomorrow is the birthday of the RLI. Also known as The Saints and The Incredibles, 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry was formed on February 1, 1961.

www.therli.com

Moderator's Note

In April 2010 this thread was re-titled and became the current "catch all" for posts on Rhodesian COIN, including the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) and in Post No.78 is a list of other Rhodesian threads.

jcustis
02-01-2007, 01:55 AM
Great post! where you come about this link? There hasn't been much web-based RLI stuff to come along in a while. Many have tried, but several of those sites are dead links now.

Even more interesting is the notification of a book launch:


30° South Publishers is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of The Saints – The Rhodesian Light Infanrty by author Alex Binda and compiled and edited by Chris Cocks. The book will be launched in London on 14 June 2007.

The Saints
Alex Binda
The Saints contains a wealth of previously unpublished, material, significant anecdotal and historical contributions, personal writings and over 5,000 photographs.

This will almost certainly be a must-have. Heck, even Charles Melson gets a nod http://www.therli.com/images/Saintsflyersmall.pdf (which reminds me that he would be a nice addition to the SWC):


An ‘international’ regiment in the truest sense—with foreign volunteers from North America, UK, Europe, Australasia and South Africa—and nicknamed ‘The Saints’ or ‘The Incredibles’, The 1st Battalion The Rhodesian Light Infantry was formed on 1 February 1961. In its short 19-year existence, this airborne commando unit carved a reputation for itself as one of the world’s foremost proponents of counter-insurgency warfare. This was achieved through their innovative ‘Fireforce’ operations and daring pre-emptive strikes against the overwhelming tide of the communist-backed ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, based in Mozambique and Zambia. For these reasons, Charles D. Melson of the USMC has described the RLI as “The Killing Machine”.

I will be eargerly waiting the arrival of June.

Rifleman
02-01-2007, 03:12 AM
I just found the site googling/surfing. I recently ordered Fireforce by Chris Cocks from Amazon (it hasn't arrived yet) and that sort of got me to looking for RLI information on the internet.

Most people on this site are probably aware of T.A.L. Dozer's Selous Scouts site. Although mainly about the Selous Scouts it also gives a nod to the RLI, Grey's Scouts, and the Rhodesian SAS. For those who haven't seen it here's a link.

http://selousscouts.tripod.com/

It's a great site. If you print out all the notes and articles on combat tracking and put them in a binder you've got a little tracking book that's as good as anything you can buy in the nature section of Barnes and Noble.....if not better.

slapout9
02-01-2007, 03:17 AM
JC I second that about Charles Melson and the website! Did you see the pictures of the obstacle course? Man:eek:

bismark17
02-01-2007, 06:29 AM
Didn't look any worse than the Darby Queen! ;) Not that I could do either one now....:mad:

jcustis
02-01-2007, 05:02 PM
If you find that you like Fire Force, you will enjoy The Elite: Rhodesian SAS. It is a great book...pricey on Ebay, but you may get lucky and find an auction for less that $30.00

Rifleman
02-01-2007, 06:47 PM
To those who served in one of the greatest light infantry regiments in history - whether you ever read this or not - some of us continue to be inspired by your courage, professionalism, and dedication to your comrades and country.

With respect, honor, and sincerity - Present...ARMS!

jcustis
02-01-2007, 11:00 PM
I invited an ex-pat American to join the SWC tonight. He served with the RLI, and graciously shared some of his experiences with me a few years ago as I developed material for a MC Gazette article.

If he shows, welcome him. He can certainly be as colorful as Stan. :D

Chalkiethepom
02-08-2007, 05:42 PM
Thank you.
Lest we forget . . . . . .

Regards

Chalkie
Ex 2 Commando, RLI

uitlander
02-14-2007, 04:20 PM
I served with the RLI, Support Commando Recce troop from April 1979-to Sept-1980. The RLI was one of the professional soldiers I have served with in Africa along with the 44 Para Bde Pathfinder CO SADF.
As a Vietnam combat paratrooper it was a great to be a soldier and be able to to our job.....engage & destroy the enemy. If the Army was not betrayed the country would have continued to be a diamond in Africa.

jcustis
02-21-2007, 07:38 PM
I had the occasion to correspond with an RLI veteran (who shall remain anonymous), and asked him a few questions to round out my fairly broad understanding of Fire Force Ops in Rhodesia.

I'm always curious as to how the various Rhodesian security forces performed on the ground, as some of their lessons may be important as the Marine Corps looks to refine its Distributed Operations concept.

My questions, and the very in-depth reply, are posted below in 2 parts:


As a "troopie", you definitely operated at the level I am interested in. I understand the flushing fire used in Drake shoots, and I've never been able to find any good references to how you guys did it. I mean, geometry of fires is an important thing to consider in any offensive action, and the current military tactic is to use a 90 degree offset as much as possible between the covering force and maneuvering force.

You gentlemen had stop groups all over the place, blocking likely avenues of escape once the terrs went to ground. I can only imagine that deconflicting the location of the stops and sweep line must have been difficult.

Did most of the deconfliction come from amongst the NCOs leading the sticks, from the FF commander in the K-car, or a combination of both? I imagine each contact was different and you were sometimes undermanned, but with even three stops on the ground and a sweep line, I'm thinking crossfire!

How much did the NCO's appreciation of the terrain come into play, and did stop groups attempt to find cover behind a decent piece of terrain? Or did you often find yourselves simply going prone and waiting to see what appeared?

As for your stick radios, what sort of range did you get with them, and did you ever find it lacking on a FF op? I'm assuming that with the K-car aloft, or a ParaDak overhead as a radio relay, the various elements could communicate, even it took some time.

A final question for now...What did you think of the anti-aircraft threat against the Alouettes when you were inbound to the contact zone? Were RPGs, SAMs, and ground fire just a routine part of the fight, or not often encountered? I ask because I am a firm believer that we are not employing our helicopter assests in Iraq to the fullest extent, because we fear the threat is too high. In a way, I feel it is almost shameful, because we are fighting the insurgents on their terms. the Rhodesian air force certainly had fewer airframes and precious spares, but had the helos on top of the bad guys all the time.


I joined the RLI at the beginning of 1980, and so I am no expert on Fire Force. However to answer your questions I can add the following, with an apology for making statements that you have already covered, and repeating the obvious:

Other than Fire Force ops, RLI also carried out the usual patrol, ambush, O.P. operations expected of infantry units. Our use of fire and movement, snap and drake shooting etc, was basically the same regardless of the operation type, the difference being the immediate helicopter assistance available in Fire Force. As far as 90 degree offsets for covering sweep lines are concerned, we generally didn`t use them, although they were certainly part of anti-vehicular ambush drills, and L-shaped ambushes etc.

Obviously, when sweeping, everyone moved forward (reasonably slowly), keeping the line as straight as feasible (a wry smile as I write this). When contact is made the action would depend largely on the distance of the terrs from the troops, immediate action drills dictating the response - together with the nature of the terrain and bush (I don`t actually think you can ever train enough to cover all the possibilities) A very close contact would result in an immediate run through (the thickness of the bush could prevent that), while longer distances would result in drake shooting - emptying 2 magazines each as quickly as accuracy makes possible into likely cover, together with K-car shells etc etc. We would not waste time trying to identify the exact position of the individual terrs (ie looking for muzzle flash etc), although obvious targets would be dispatched immediately. Observation of the target was generally carried out while drake shooting. At some appropriate point the sweep became a skirmish line, ie splitting the sweep into two, the left section (called a flank) goes forward say 20 feet, while the right flank covers. When the left flank goes down, the right flank then moves forward while the left now covers, each troopie Drake shooting when he is part of the covering flank, or firing from the shoulder on the run if he is part of the flank moving forward. At some point both flanks combine to finally run through the terrs position firing from the shoulder. The other skirmish option was called a Pepper-pot, where individuals moved forward in random, each troopie on the ground covering those going forward - NCO`s or junior officers decided the skirmish method, while coordinating with the FFC for the timing of the assault. Pepper-pot (or something that resembled it) was the usual for 4 man sticks.

The overall point of the exercise was for the sweep line to locate the position of hidden terrs, at which point the K-car or Lynx gave them their attention. If an air strike was called for, then our job was to keep their heads down until the strike craft ordered us to stop firing just at the end of his run in (so we didn`t hit him!) The stops, or Stop Groups, were set in place to ambush points of escape, usually dry river beds, obvious paths through thick bush, the saddles in small hills etc, but their overall position was dictated by the FFC, while how the stops ambush was laid out, by their NCO. Stops would not be placed in the immediate front of any sweep line (!) and could often be quite far from the center of attention - A man can run a kilometer in a few minutes when he is frightened. At some point, decided by the FF commander, the stop groups could then be picked up and set elsewhere, or be required to sweep down said saddle, dry river bed etc etc to locate stragglers. When terrs were sited by either sweep or stops groups, or the shooting simply started, a call to the K-car would bring him over, or one or more of the G-cars. When a definite sighting in close proximity was made by troops, we would snap-shoot the target (double tap, or single tap, or a controlled 2-3 round squeeze on fully auto), and then drake shoot as normal. To again state the obvious, the idea was for the sweeps never to walk into each other, or into the stop groups, and all overall movement on the ground is dictated to by the Fire Force Commander. To move around unbidden in the overall combat zone was a definite no no, and would invite unwelcome attention from above - I am aware of at least one occasion when a stick from 1 Commando was attacked by a K-car. Unfortunately I never listened in on the chit chat between FFC and NCO, so cant comment further.

The A76 radios were ok at line of site communication, but they really went to hell in hilly terrain. For example while I had no problem speaking with a helicopter some kilometers away (5-7 km in this instance), the chopper couldn`t raise the other half of my callsign at the foot of the hill I was on - I was a few hundred feet up the side. The Allouette I was talking in onto their location was flying down a river valley at roughly the same altitude as my stick.

jcustis
02-21-2007, 07:39 PM
The A76 ate batteries, and they had no means of indicating the power level left in the battery, other than a terse "change your battery you are breaking up," or something ruder, you were never sure if it was fully ok other than a radio check with friends etc. They were also large by todays standards, for what they did - but we are talking about seventies technology. They worked just fine with overhead callsigns, although sometimes they received "flutter" from the helicopters as they turned. I should add that A76`s came with an attachment to plug into the aerial socket called a Sputnik (it looked like one). This basically consisted of a coax cable connected to a small hub with 3 or 4 inverted and flexible aerial blades screwed into it. The idea was to fix the sputnik up a tree, and this increased our comms range by quite a bit. I remember sending sitreps to a relay stick sat on top a large hill about 15 KM`s from my position, where the terrain between us was very hilly and broken up. The relay was placed there to allow a number of sticks to communicate with our base camp some 30 km`s away.

For much longer distance comms we had another beast of a machine that would fill a back pack by our usual light weight standards. I think this was called a B52, if memory serves me correct, and I don`t think any pun on the bomber was intended. I can only remember our stick carrying one of these on one occasion, and that after the war while our Commando was exercising in the Inyanga Mountains by doing the SAS selection course for a laugh (!) The B52 had an elaborate aerial arrangement that had to be laid out in a certain pattern, and were really meant for a base site, rather than a patrol. They were great at picking up Radio 5 in South Africa though, a popular music channel (strictly forbidden of course, just mentioned in passing :)

Rhodesian Allouettes were all modified to try combat Strelas (SAM7). Basically the airforce engineers designed a shroud that directed the hot air leaving the turbine up into the blades of the chopper, instead of straight out the back as was standard. If you look at pics of Rhodesian Allouettes you will see the mod. For reasons unknown the South Africans didn`t take the design up and it was absent on their Allouettes. Thankfully troopies were generally unaware of the strela threat, but of course we were aware of the danger from RPG7 rockets (etc). Our training had us out of the choppers pretty smartly after the wheels contacted the earth - bump and go. G-cars hugged the tree tops especially on run in, and they used ground features to good effect. I was frequently surprised by Allouettes suddenly appearing as they rose from over behind a small hill very near to our position, and their overall "quietness" when watched on approach was frankly astonishing. The Bells on the other hand could be heard many miles away when inbound, and of course they deafened the hell out of us by the time we got out of them. While they carried 8 troops instead of 4, the noise would have made them awful in the "surprise" department. Dont underestimate the effect of the comparative quietness of the Allouettes on approach, this will have played a huge part in Fire Force`s success.

Why didn`t more K-Cars, Daks, or Lynxs get shot down by Strelas given their relatively higher flying altitude? I have absolutely no idea. It seems to me the terrs could have caused mayhem with our FF if they had applied a few clever traps with those things. They certainly knocked a few Trojans down, and a Canberra went down in Mozambique apparently shot down, and of course we lost two civilian airliners, but to my knowledge we never lost a chopper to a strela. Strange, perhaps they kept the fact quiet? We certainly had choppers shot down by ground fire, a few of which crash landed and were recovered, and we had a South African Puma helicopter and a Dak take RPG7 hits in Mozambique, the former causing the greatest single loss of RLI troops.

As an aside, I always found pictures of the troops on FF ops interesting. Certainly by the end of 1979/1980, the use of short trousers was no longer, and we all wore normal camo long trousers, or one piece camo jumpsuits. This was because a number of troops had taken hits in the legs, so a dress change was instituted, but I don`t know what year this occurred - sounds all rather casual I know, but the use of shorts and light running shoes was originally designed to help increase speed and mobility. People are sometimes surprised by our dress in the bush, however while spit and polish and identical kit was expected in the barracks, out in the bush we were free to make our own choice in webbing, light weight boots or running shoes, etc etc. We wore face veils as bandanas to keep the sweat out of our eyes (who the hell is Rambo anyway?), and no helmets (unless jumping from a Dak) because of their weight (I`m sure you know this anyway). I used to wear a pair of shoes called Veld Skoens, a popular, soft, tan coloured leather shoe sported by officers, but not allowed as normal dress when in barracks for the other ranks (boots only for us). I modified my "Vellies" (pronounced Fellies, or Felt Skoons, an Afrikaans word) by having our cobbler replace the sole with car tyre tread, as car tyres were used by the locals out in the villages to make sandles. It made the shoe a bit heavier, but the tread spoor blended in well when in a TTL. And those vellies gave me 30 000 miles . . . :)

This exchange reminded me of an important fact, and that was the degree of independent action expected from the troops on the ground. Because Fire Force operations required a very detailed synchronized ballet of air assault support, close air support, observations posts, paratroopers, and sweep and stop groups, independent action was not expected. In fact, it was more likely frowned upon. Much of the coordination was accomplished through the Mk. 1 eyeball, and restricting movement was a simple means of deconflicting the ever so dangerous geometry of fires.

bismark17
02-23-2007, 05:07 AM
Thanks for posting the Q&A! Very interesting. I need to dust off my old books, I got the Elite and the first version of the Selous Scouts book but have not got the revised edition. I better get back on my old book seller and start ordering from them again. They have a better selection than amazon.com when it comes to Rhodesian and SADF books.

jcustis
02-23-2007, 12:30 PM
Thanks for posting the Q&A! Very interesting. I need to dust off my old books, I got the Elite and the first version of the Selous Scouts book but have not got the revised edition. I better get back on my old book seller and start ordering from them again. They have a better selection than amazon.com when it comes to Rhodesian and SADF books.

I have both of those as well, and Assignment Selous Scouts by Jim Branch (Special Branch) in the mail from SA right now.

It's an interesting coincidence that NPR discussed Mugabe's birthday party this am, and contrasted it against the fact that the "average" Zimbabwean can't buy a loaf of bread. Sensationalistic for sure, but the truth is still bad.

Rhodesian
03-25-2007, 11:34 AM
Sirs

Full article is available upon request.

Regards
Ian Rhodes

"In 1964 the Rhodesian Light Infantry changed roles to that of a Commando Battalion. Deployed in rapid reaction "Fire Force" operations designed to vertically envelop insurgent groups, the cover shooting technique played a significant part in the Battalions overall success. In it`s 19 years of existence, most of those fighting at the very forefront of a bush war, the Rhodesian Light Infantry never lost a battle.


The Rhodesian Cover Shoot - "Kill" the concealment, kill the terrorist.

29) In general, Rhodesian cover shooting was the deliberate "killing" of probable cover used by terrorists. No actual visual sighting of terrorists was therefore needed to "take them out," and no time was wasted attempting to identify the exact location of individual terrorists by first searching for muzzle flash or blast, a movement, a shape, and so on. Rather, careful observation of the terrorist`s position was carried out while "killing" their cover.

30) When cover or “drake” shooting, riflemen were to shoot directly into and through the terrorists position, keeping their aim deliberately low, while gunners were required to aim at the ground immediately to the front of that cover - Tumbling rounds, dislodged stones, or fragments of smashed rocks and trees do great injury to those lying in cover, while the earth that MAGs can kick up has excellent distraction and demoralizing value. The basic action was to draw the barrel of the rifle or machine gun across the cover area, usually beginning left to right, while squeezing the trigger at appropriate moments so as to "rake" it from one side to the other. Each round or burst is fired in a deliberately aimed fashion. Experienced riflemen sometimes used two, but no more than three round bursts on fully automatic when snap or cover shooting. Again the first round was aimed deliberately low because the design and power of the FN causes the barrel to rise rapidly on fully automatic. By aiming low, the first round was intended to "skip" and strike a prone target, while the second would go directly home as the barrel lifted. Obviously with a standing target, the terrorist would be "stitched" by the burst. Squeezing off two or three round bursts on fully automatic was also useful for dealing with positions on rising ground or hills.

31) FAL 7.62 long rounds have the power to punch through the tree trunks generally found in the African savanna and jesse bush! AK47`s using 7.62 short, on the other hand, generally did not. This fact was used to great effect by the Rhodesians. When firing into an area that included trees, rocks or ant hills etc, a single round down the left hand side of a solid object was good practise (not forgetting most opponents are right handed), then double tap the base of the tree and continue to the right, squeezing off single (or double) rounds in fairly close proximity (In a Conventional situation, moving from left to right takes out the trigger man before the machine gun loader or second.) Smallish rocks, strange "lumps", or "bundles of rags" were to be killed. In fact anything out of place was to be dealt with - the "rocks" may be heads, hands, or a pattern on a camouflage uniform etc. The soldier then moved his aim to the next area of cover and repeated the process.

32) To "Win the Fire Fight," riflemen would consume the first two magazines as quickly as it remained practical to maintain accuracy, using single rounds or double taps (While trained to use the double tap, my Commando`s policy was the use of single rounds - Aim, Squeeze and Switch). As with the rifleman`s use of magazines, the gunner was free to offload the first one or two belts. Each stick member was responsible for monitoring his own ammunition usage during the fire fight, and running out was an unforgivable sin!


"Ian Rhodes" served in 2 Commando, the Rhodesian Light Infantry.

SWCAdmin
03-25-2007, 11:57 AM
Ian Rhodes,

If that was published anywhere or available via web, please advise. If not, please send to me at webmaster@smallwarsjournal.com, I'll upload it and place a link here.

I think it will be of great interest not just in the Africa forum, but to our historians and our current day Trigger Pullers as well.

- Bill

SWCAdmin
03-25-2007, 01:14 PM
The full article (http://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/rhodesian-cover-or-drake-shooting.pdf), courtesy of the author.


The article has not been published anywhere, and has been assembled by myself, under the pen name Ian Rhodes. Please find the PDF document attached.

Regards
I.R

bismark17
03-25-2007, 05:25 PM
Thanks for posting that. I have been fascinated with that conflict since I was a kid. Are you aware of any studies on the defensive techniques of the Rhodesian farmers? I was reading somewhere that they ended up installing large floodlights that would be triggered upon attack to buy a few seconds to get the guns out and start returning fire.

Rhodesian
03-25-2007, 10:18 PM
Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements

I knew many Rhodesian farmers and have visited many farmsteads over the years. At every farm, defensive arrangements were made up to suit their particular situation and infrastructure. The following would be a general overview:

1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside of all windows. Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled.

2) Many farmers built thick walls about a meter in front of bedroom windows to stop bullets, but particularly to deal with RPG 7`s. Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

3) It was usual to have a designated safe room within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attack.

4) Every farmhouse in a given area was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal rocket - The Agric-Alert system was not done away with after the war, such was the lack of trust in Mugabe`s promises. It performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status.

5) Around all farmhouse gardens were erected security fences with barbed wire (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them. Some I believe were electrified, if not before the end of the war, certainly afterwards. Within the fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.” Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc. The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse.

6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids. In one famous incident a child successfully fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night.

7) Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, as a favourite of terrorists was to landmine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.

8) Some farm gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth. I witnessed tests with these and the tubes cleared large areas of their intended aiming point of all bush cover and leaves from trees etc for about 30 meters into the bush. By placing a number of figure 8`s in front of these tests, it was apparent from the strike patterns that not one of them would have walked again had they been terrorists.

9) Some farmers also hired soldiers on leave to guard their premises at night. Usually these were men looking for extra “beer” money. They were called Bright Lights, and often ended up in fire fights with the terrorists, where they came as a nasty surprise to the terrs when the latter were expecting a nice soft hit and run. Like all farmers in an area, Bright Lights would participate in the support of other farmers when the situation required.

10) Good relationships with farm labour, particularly the house staff, very often warned of problems before they occurred. All of us who grew up in the country have fond memories of those employees who took care of us as kids, and who often placed themselves at great risk for doing so.

I.R.

Rhodesian
03-25-2007, 10:23 PM
Thanks Bizmark

As a different subject, I have started a new thread (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2467) concerning farmers and their defensive arrangements for your consideration. I do not know of any formal study that has been done on this subject.

Regards
I.R.

bismark17
03-26-2007, 11:33 PM
Thanks for the post!

Bill Moore
03-27-2007, 02:43 AM
Rhodesian thanks for sharing your knowledge. These techniques can be adapted in a number of locations in the world. Keep the good information coming. Bill

jcustis
03-28-2007, 09:30 PM
I had an advance read of this article, and I will say that this definitely opened my eyes in a few areas of RSF operations. For any student of the art of the rifle, this is a must-read.

Rhodesian, I have several Marines reading this, time now. It may change the way they conclude their close-in assaults.

There is a consolidated Rhodesian COIN thread at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2090

jcustis
05-09-2007, 07:36 PM
For any members who served in the RLI, I have a nagging question, and it's about the quality of the maps that were used.

I haven't been able to put my hands on a map from that era, but considering the degree of dismounted movement that had to be choreographed from the K-Car, I imagine accurate maps must have been critical.

I actually have a second question as well. How frequently did sticks use map grid references to control movement? Was it for those occasions when a pace count and a compass came into play, with the rest of the time spent utilizing terrain association? I've read several accounts of movements across the borders that required long legs which I assume were accomplished through dead-reckoning.

jcustis
05-11-2007, 10:29 PM
Mr. Charles (Chuck) Melson just informed me that he will be in attendance at the unveiling of the new RLI book, The Saints next month.

I'm going to stop by his office (he is the Chief Historian for the Marine Corps) and see if I can get him to carry a copy of Fireforce and get a signature from Chris Cocks, or at least pass on an invitation to Cocks to visit the SWC and share some of his thoughts on the business of prosecuting the nastier end of COIN.

Rhodesian
05-24-2007, 10:39 PM
The Rhodesian military issued restricted maps of excellent quality, although my own stick often came across “recently” erected fences which farmers had put up, and which weren't marked on them. I don`t think the maps were updated that regularly, and in my experience at the end of the war, they were at least a few years out of date. While on a few night patrols my stick occasionally came across unmarked fences which shouldn`t have been there. We used to take the red filter off a pen-light torch and inspected the age of the barbed-wire etc, and they were all obviously only a few years old or less, and so probably not a problem.

My stick only genuinely got lost once, in a very hilly region at night where we had no horizon to work with. We eventually saw a light and walked in on it, and it turned out to be a hotel we all knew of. “Unfortunately” we "just had to" spend the rest of the night there, in front of a fire-place with a pile of logs, and a full blown steak supper and a few free beers.

Actually it was very funny when we first arrived and went straight into the Cocktail Bar, camo`d top to bottom, stinking from a few days patrol, and armed to the teeth. The bar was fully of Ladies and Gents in their best evening finery, and the conversation in the room completely died as we walked in with our FN`s pointing at the ceiling. We smiled our bestest smiles :D, and I said, "Good evening, mine`s a Lion" (a type of beer), and we promptly fled to go find the manager. Although we apparently scared the hell out of everyone :eek:, they all seemed quite glad to have 4 RLI "troopies" on the premises, as long as we stayed out of their bar and didn`t stink the place up any further! It certainly beat freezing our butts off out in the middle of an African winter when the temperatures can drop easily below freezing, especially in that mountainous area. We never did tell our Troop (Platoon) Officer where we were that night, and the other two sticks of our Troop basically slept in the mountains and froze. Ag man what a shame.

My father also had an interesting experience while on patrol with PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), when in the middle of the night his “sixth-sense for trouble” kicked in and he told his stick leader to leave a fence crossing for 10 minutes or so. Sure enough a terrorist gang of some 20 guerrillas came marching down the fence line, using it to walk in on the farmhouse they intended to attack. The terrs had a bad day.

On night marches it was usual to take a bearing every 20 minutes or so, pick a star on that bearing and then walk on it until running into expected objects like fences, windmills, roads etc. I can`t honestly remember using “paces” as a means of measure, but it was decades ago now. I do remember my stick frequently used maps for grid references, but the savanna allows a lot of “general” position fixing using “gomos” or hills, river bends etc. If in need of chopper support, all our Alouette IIIs had Direction Finding equipment fitted and all that was required was for us to key the mic for 15 seconds with a hand over the mouth-piece when commanded to. They would then fly in on that bearing and we would call when they flew over head. Alternatively a smoke grenade is useful too. Our Troop Officer also insisted that all the soldiers within the call-sign be aware of the sticks position on a map, just in case, and we generally stopped every hour for five to ten minute breaks and checked the position. Sticks on a “follow up” however generally did so “on the run,” and there wasnt a lot of time for those sort of niceties, which is why the DF kit on the Allo`s was so useful.

As for Mozambique, I am lead to believe those maps were pretty good too, largely due to the fact that there was a lot of cooperation between the Portuguese and Rhodesians prior to 1975. I can`t speak on Zambia, no idea. For more detail on “external” maps you would need to speak the Stick Leaders who used them.

Some time ago I found the following web page which shows some maps of border regions with Mozambique, some dated 1975. The scale is far larger than those normally used by us, but at least these give a general idea.

http://eusoils.jrc.it/esdb_archive/EuDASM/Africa/lists/czw.htm

And while I think of it, farmers sometimes also put up power lines and telephone cables which were a hazard to low flying choppers, especially in valleys. These weren`t marked either, and a few choppers hit them and went in, killing all on board, including one with a lot of high ranking officers.

Sorry not really much info for you

I.R

jcustis
05-24-2007, 11:41 PM
Sorry not really much info for you.

Oh yes, it was a considerable amount indeed! Thanks.

taldozer
07-08-2007, 09:24 PM
I have seen a lot of chat here on different book here are two I recommend also on the Rhodesian and South African Bush Wars. Both books focus on singleton and small team (2-man) recce operations by the Selous Scouts and the SA 5 RECCE. They are “Only My Friends Call Me Crouks” by Dennis Croukamp (S. Scout) and “Journey Without Boundaries” by Col André Diedericks (SA RECCE). The later just came out on the coat tails of Crouks book. Crouks book gives some outstanding insight to the Selous Scouts and by far one of the best books on the Rhodesian Bush War to date, while Andre book is also a valuble insght to SA 5 Recce. Both books are currently avalible. I have links to them on my Selous Scouts website.

Cheers,
T. A. L. "Dozer"

jcustis
07-08-2007, 11:23 PM
T.A.L.,

Welcome, and kudos on keeping that outstanding site up. You may vaguely remember, but you gave me a very good hook-up in the way of the RSF COIN manual.

I've been giving that Croukamp book a look, but haven't gotten around to picking it up. I'm currently reading Assignment Selous Scouts, plus a ton of unrelated works so that may have to wait.

taldozer
07-09-2007, 01:48 PM
If you get the time and have to pick from the two, do read “Crouks” first. I enjoyed reading “Assignment” but It got unfavorable remarks from the S. Scouts Association. I really enjoyed the perspective gave on pseudo ops, but I personally did not agree on some of his political points made in the book, but again I was not their and only know what I have read else were. Overall I give the book 4 out of five stars. Just my .02 cents! And I do recall the COIN Manual that was a little while ago. I hope it helped out. I have four different Rhodesian COIN manuals and I am currently editing all four together with various added comments and references, and to as well show how some of the doctrine changed as new versions became available.

jcustis
07-09-2007, 02:27 PM
Hmm..PM sent sir.

Rhodesian
07-14-2007, 12:29 PM
Howzit

FYI there were some photographs taken at the RLI book launch held recently in London. We kept up the fine tradition of getting absolutely planked after the event, understandable I guess when you meet with friends again some 27 years plus after the fact. Nevertheless it proved to be a superb evening all in all, with the Scots Guards band in attendance and in fine order.

Jon I believe you may recognise a friend of yours.

http://www.therli.com/A_Events_Booklaunch.asp

I`m not wishing (or needing) to promote sales etc, but the book "The Saints" and the DVD that comes with it are frankly superb (I can say that with a smug grin as I`m in the latter somewhere). If you happen to be interested in our particular bun-fight then these might fill in a few blanks.

Cheers
I.R.

jcustis
07-15-2007, 04:06 AM
What is the going price in $US for a copy, if any, and are there going to be any US distributors as far as anyone can tell?

It would truly round out my collection to get this new book, and I hope to not have to pay Egay prices after only a month from the release date!

jcustis
07-15-2007, 04:09 AM
And in the photos...is that tall gentleman on the platform whom I think he is?

Rhodesian
07-15-2007, 03:09 PM
Jon

I`m not sure which fellow you are referring to, but the ex-officer on the platform giving the salute is the last C.O. of the RLI, Lt Col. Charlie Aust.

I believe the book, which includes the DVD, would cost about US$95-00 excluding post and packaging. I`m not aware at the moment of any agents selling it in the US.

The advertising spiel is as follows:

Book Description

The Saints is a glossy, coffee-table, pictorial format book of the history
of the Rhodesian Light Infantry. Often underrated, but arguably one of the
most effective counter-insurgency units of all time, the RLI brought the
`Fireforce' concept to the world's attention--a devastatingly ruthless
airborne tactic. The RLI was a veritable `foreign legion' with over 20
nationalities represented. They fought the bitter Zimbabwean `bush war' for 15 years and RLI soldiers were recipients of four Silver Crosses and 42
Bronze Crosses of Rhodesia. An RLI trooper holds the world record for
operational parachute descents - a staggering 73 op jumps - most under 500 feet. The Saints contains hundreds of colour photos, maps, rolls of honour, honours and awards. It includes a host of previously unpublished material and many former RLI members contributed photos, memorabilia and anecdotes to the project. Also included is a DVD containing previously unseen combat footage.

Synopsis
At last! This is the history of the Rhodesian Light Infantry. We've seen the stories of the more 'glamourous' Selous Scouts, the SAS and the Rhodesian Air Force, but very little about the RLI, often underrated, but arguably one of the most effective counter-insurgency units of all time. This was the unit that brought the 'Fireforce' concept to the world's attention - the devastatingly ruthless airborne envelopment and annihilation of a guerrilla enemy. The RLI was a veritable 'foreign legion' with over 20 diverse nationalities serving in her ranks. It is a glossy coffee-table, pictorial format with hundreds of colour photos, maps, rolls, honours and awards. It is not intended as a definitive history but, with more of a classic 'scrapbook' feel, the presentation attempts to capture the essence of this fine unit - what it was like to be a troopie. We have accessed a host of unique, previously unpublished photos and illustrative material and many former RLI members have embraced the project, generously contributing photos, memorabilia and anecdotes. Ian Smith has written his tribute in the front and the foreword is by the last CO, Lieutenant-Colonel Charlie Aust.


You can order online via website www.30degreessouth.co.za (http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/)Full colour, hard cover, coffee-table format544 pages, with over 1,500 photos and maps Price: ZAR 695.00 (approx US$95.00 or £50.00) + shipping


I.R.

BoonDock
07-16-2007, 02:40 PM
I have seen a lot of chat here on different book here are two I recommend also on the Rhodesian and South African Bush Wars. Both books focus on singleton and small team (2-man) recce operations by the Selous Scouts and the SA 5 RECCE. They are “Only My Friends Call Me Crouks” by Dennis Croukamp (S. Scout) and “Journey Without Boundaries” by Col André Diedericks (SA RECCE). The later just came out on the coat tails of Crouks book. Crouks book gives some outstanding insight to the Selous Scouts and by far one of the best books on the Rhodesian Bush War to date, while Andre book is also a valuble insght to SA 5 Recce. Both books are currently avalible. I have links to them on my Selous Scouts website.

Cheers,
T. A. L. "Dozer"

Hi "T.A.L.",
I dunno about "on the coat-tails".. but I did just release Andre Diederick's book "Journey without Boundaries". (http://www.justdone.co.za/catalog/product_info.php/manufacturers_id/61/products_id/141)

Also of possible interest to readers of this topic is Charlie Warren's story "Stick Leader; RLI". Chris Cocks used one or two of the stories from Charlie's book in his book "The Saints". (http://www.justdone.co.za/catalog/product_info.php/manufacturers_id/15/products_id/33)

Also BTW.. you really need to update some of the links on your site which point to my old sites at the Univ of Stellenbosch which haven't been active for about 3 years now. The Roll of Honour is now at http://www.justdone.co.za/ROH/.
All the best
John

jcustis
07-17-2007, 12:27 PM
It appears that a few points of clarification are in order regarding published works mentioned in this thread.

Alexandre Binda is the author of The Saints, and Chris Cocks is the compiler/editor. There may have been confusion with so much mention of Cocks, who most certainly penned an excellent work with his Fireforce.

As for Assignment Selous Scouts by Jim Parker, it appears that it is not endorsed by the Selous Scouts Association. Although I am just realizing that there is indeed a S. Scouts Assoc. in existence, and I am enjoying my read of Parker's book, I offer this information up for folks to digest as they see fit.

Copies of The Saints are for sale from Amazon.co.uk, and I just picked up mine for a modest $111.00

BoonDock
07-17-2007, 01:12 PM
Alexandre Binda is the author of The Saints, and Chris Cocks is the compiler/editor.
Chris is also one of the owners/partners in the publishers of the book, 30 degrees South Publishing http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/

All the best
John

Rhodesian
07-28-2007, 10:27 AM
FYI - It would appear we Rhodesians are a fine bunch of war-mongerers :D

A genuine shame that the British Government conveniently forgot our contribution to THEIR cause when it was no longer convenient - I heard of a number of these Ex-service people living on dog-food (when it was available ) before finally I left - in complete disgust.

I.R.

http://www.abc.net.au/wa/anzac/allied.htm#ra




The military history of Rhodesia until the early sixties is a history of Rhodesia's participation in wars fought on behalf of Britain, the mother country. Rhodesians partook of these varied conflicts with competence, bravery and a marked degree of enthusiasm which, on consideration of their military inclination and origins, is perhaps not surprising. The first of these wars was the South African War 1899-1902. Rhodesia's main contribution was in sending the new BSA Police and the Southern Rhodesians Volunteers to the relief of the siege of Mafeking. This force included a new unit, the Rhodesia Regiment, raised specifically for the occasion. Rhodesians were also prominently involved in the defence of Mafeking. The first shots of the war were fired against Rhodesians.


Although this conflict saw the emergence of trench warfare, concentration camps and a variety of other refinements, a real appreciation of the nature of modem war did not penetrate the consciousness of western man until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. It was in the mud of the Somme and Flanders and on the barbed wire and machine guns of the German lines that Rhodesia's sunshine settlers, in company with the whole European race, finally lost their innocence.


Over 6000 white Rhodesians 'played the game' and went to war in Europe, East Africa and South West Africa. This represented two-thirds of all European men between the ages of 15 and 44, and a quarter of the total white population of the country.


Rhodesia served in eighty Imperial regiments ranging from the Black Watch (all twelve who joined this unit were killed) to the Tank Corps, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. This, in addition to those who joined the 1st and 2nd Rhodesia Regiments (2000) men, the BSAP, the Union of South Africa forces and the 400-man Rhodesian Platoons of the King's Royal Rifle Corps. Some 2800 men of African and mixed race, most of them in the Rhodesia Native Regiment, also went to war. 900 were killed, of whom 732 were European.
A total of 527 decorations, ranging from Britain's Victoria Cross to Russia's Order of St Viadimir and France's Croix de Guerre, were awarded to Rhodesians. Pitiful compensation, perhaps, for the unbelievable obscenity and horror of war.


An indication of how small the Rhodesian armed forces were between 1920 and 1939 is that in the latter year, the Permanent Staff Corps totalled only 47 officers and men. The BSA Police, however, have always been trained as both policemen and soldiers, a dual role which was abandoned with the outbreak of WWII but not completely relinquished until 1954. With the upsurge of armed incursions into Rhodesia in the 1960's however, the BSAP once again became a para-military force.


Distance, for Rhodesians, has always made the heart grow patriotic. They flocked to volunteer when, on Monday 4 September 1939, the local press carried full page advertisements for recruits. According to one historian, quite a few seriously wondered whether Germany would be defeated before they could get into action. They were not to be disappointed. Conscription, that Catch 22 technique of modern industrialised man, was introduced and initially six full time units were formed. Some 6650 white and 1730 black Rhodesians served outside Rhodesia in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and Burma. A total of nearly 11000 Europeans and mixed race personnel of whom 1500 were women, actually went into uniform, as did 15000 African troops.


Rhodesia supplied more troops per head of population to the allied war effort than any other country in the empire. One in ten of the 8500 Rhodesians of all races who served overseas were killed or died on active service.


Rhodesia's most important contribution to the ultimate success of the allies, it could be argued, was the fact she provided the nucleus, and the enemy free skies, for the huge Rhodesia Air Training Group of the Royal Air Force. During the six years of war the Southern Rhodesia Air Force itself was absorbed into the RAF initially as No. 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron (in which Prime Minister Ian Smith served) and later in the form of at least two other squadrons. Of the 2409 Rhodesians who joined the Air Force, 498 were killed. The squadrons performed splendidly.


In the variety of conflicts that preceded Britain's post-war shedding of her colonial possessions, Rhodesia's armed forces have occasionally played a limited role.


These have included sending men of the Southern Rhodesia Far East Volunteer Unit to Malaya in 1951 as the Rhodesian Squadron of the Special Air Services, Malayan Scouts. The last chief of Rhodesia's Security Forces, General Peter Walls, was the commanding officer of this unit. In 1952 a detachment of 400 men of the Rhodesian Africa Rifles went to Egypt for deployment in the Canal Zone. The Regiment also later fought in the foetid jungles of Malaya against the "CT's". By 1959 the Royal Rhodesian Air Force, acquired a wider responsibility as apart of the RAF's potential in the Middle East, helping to cover such hot spots as Aden, Kuwait and Cyprus with their Vampires and Canberra bombers.


From the first clashed with the Matabele in 1893 to the early counter- insurgency moves in the 1972-80 guerilla war, Rhodesians have acquired a fighting tradition which is often their rationale and inspiration.


*Contact: Graharn Blick 53 Davallai Road Duncraig 9448 6941



There is a consolidated Rhodesian COIN thread at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2090

jcustis
08-12-2007, 12:12 AM
I checked up on my Amazon.co.uk order for The Saints, and was disappointed to see that the ship date had changed from a end of July suspense, to the first freaking week of January 2008.

Question for Alex Binda, did the initial printing sell completely out already?

Alexandre Binda
08-14-2007, 12:07 PM
I checked up on my Amazon.co.uk order for The Saints, and was disappointed to see that the ship date had changed from a end of July suspense, to the first freaking week of January 2008.

Question for Alex Binda, did the initial printing sell completely out already?

Dear Major Custis. This is news to me! I know the New Zealand consignment of 500 sold out immediately & Hugh Bomford had to order more. I assume from your news that the UK supply has also sold out! Will check with Chris Cocks. I think the initial print run was a small 2500 ...so somewhat of a collectors item (I predicted this...!) Cheers. Alex. PS It has received a good review in SOLDIER (Brit Army Mag)

Alexandre Binda
08-14-2007, 12:21 PM
I checked up on my Amazon.co.uk order for The Saints, and was disappointed to see that the ship date had changed from a end of July suspense, to the first freaking week of January 2008.

Question for Alex Binda, did the initial printing sell completely out already?

Hi. Its me again. Just checked Amazon. They are offering one copy at £55.
Please also note (& warn members?) there is an unscrupulous individual who has a web advertising Rhodesiana Nostalgia. It begins with the word M...anyway what this person is doing is buying copies of "The Saints" from the publisher, removing the DVD and substituting a crappy one of his own (he is backed by good technology apparently) then selling both separately.The book for £79 and the DVD for god knows what. Alex

jcustis
08-14-2007, 02:00 PM
Oh, I know that bugger all too well Alex. I ordered a book through that set-up and received a damn Rugby Shirt. When I contacted him to get things sorted out, he asked me to work it out with the fellow who had received the book (The Rain Goddess - Stiff), but that other fellow wanted to keep the book. I got my money back, but only after considerable shuffling on their part. And then when I gave him a negative feedback on Egay for advertising Baddcock's Images of War as being Rhodesian in nature, I was made persona non grata for future auctions. Caveat emptor and all that I suppose.

I can understand delays, but if amazon tells me that I cannot receive a brand new book for another 6 months...I begin to worry.

Rhodesian
08-14-2007, 06:33 PM
Howzit Alex and Chris

A lekker job on the book ouens, made me very proud, thank you to all for your hard graft, and the chiboolies etc at the book signing! (Ag man what a babbelaas!) Jon, apparently not all the Crocs live in the Zambezi!

Alex is probably a little modest, but the review is worth inclusion (I know, I`m biased, but I dont care :D):

http://www.soldiermagazine.co.uk/reviews/books.htm#feature




Alexandre Binda, compiled and edited by Chris Cocks (30º South Publishers, 544pp, £50).
Review: John Elliott

HISTORY, declares former Rhodesian premier Ian Douglas Smith, will show that the battle for his country was not a war against a “liberation army” but against terrorists who threatened a bastion of Christian civilisation in a lonely African outpost.

“From the beginning of hostilities to the end, the panache and fighting spirit of the Rhodesians was epitomised by the officers and men of the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI), who fought throughout with courage, fortitude and reckless disregard for their own welfare,” writes Mr Smith in a tribute published on the first page of this picture-rich, glossy, coffee-table publication.

Here your reviewer must declare an interest. As a 20-year-old in the late 1960s he completed a year of National Service in the Rhodesian Army, beginning with several weeks of old-fashioned basic training straight out of the British Army manual, delivered in the main by RLI regulars whose accents revealed their formative years were as likely to have been spent in London or Liverpool as Southern Africa.

To us part-timers, the troopers of the RLI were the real deal: tough, resourceful, confident, up for it, within our borders or without, a self-contained, scary band of hell-raisers who fought hard, played harder and spoke an incomprehensible, slang-filled patois. To the white citizens of Bulawayo and Salisbury they were heroes, although many would have taken their nickname – The Saints – with a large dose of salts.

Arguably one of the most effective counter-insurgency units of all time, the RLI developed the “Fireforce” concept of ruthless airborne envelopment and annihilation of the guerrilla enemy. A superb fighting unit, they won every battle but lost the war.

Their last commanding officer, Lt Col Charlie Aust, now living in the UK, is unequivocal about the RLI’s legacy. “Tutored under the auspices of the British Commonwealth, the unit grew and matured in peace and war to become one of the finest regiments of a small and determined army, which itself became the most efficient and successful irregular warfare machine ever known in Africa or indeed, perhaps the world” is how he puts it in a foreword to the book.

Built on a foundation of Rhodesians, the ranks of the RLI were augmented by soldiers from the armies of many nations, not least that of the United Kingdom. Ironically, that tradition operates today in reverse, with hundreds of Zimbabweans currently in the uniform of the British Army.

Binda, who served for 15 of the 19 years (1961-1980) that the regiment existed, has woven together a mass of personal and operational detail, maps, sketches and photographs compiled by Chris Cocks, who saw action with 3 Commando, 1 RLI.

Insertions by helicopter and parachute (from ever-reliable Second World War-vintage Dakotas) were followed by hard, aggressive action on the ground. At the height of the war troopers were jumping two or three times a day into contact zones. One racked up 79 operational drops.

An American NCO in 3 Cdo reckoned soldiers on Fireforce missions – operations deep into the bush – required two qualities: a healthy instinct for survival and a lot of luck. Another believed what was needed was aggression, a high standard of sharp-shooting and initiative. “Slow or hesitant reactions and poor shooting,” he said, “wasted the effort of everyone involved in putting sticks on the ground.”

This, writes Ian Smith, was a regiment that “filled Rhodesians with pride”. Binda’s book tells us why.

I.R.

SWJED
08-14-2007, 07:43 PM
Alex, Chris,

Would like to post an excerpt of a chapter from the book in the SWJ mag and Blog with a link to Amazon on purchase. We've done this with two books so far - Tom Odom's Journey Into Darkness (Rwanda) and Bing West's No True Glory (Iraq).

Or if you prefer - an unique Blog entry or mag article on your experiences - I.R. too... Let me know - we would be proud to spread the word...

You can PM me here or e-mail...

Dave

Alexandre Binda
08-14-2007, 09:26 PM
Oh, I know that bugger all too well Alex. I ordered a book through that set-up and received a damn Rugby Shirt. When I contacted him to get things sorted out, he asked me to work it out with the fellow who had received the book (The Rain Goddess - Stiff), but that other fellow wanted to keep the book. I got my money back, but only after considerable shuffling on their part. And then when I gave him a negative feedback on Egay for advertising Baddcock's Images of War as being Rhodesian in nature, I was made persona non grata for future auctions. Caveat emptor and all that I suppose.

I can understand delays, but if amazon tells me that I cannot receive a brand new book for another 6 months...I begin to worry.

Hi Jon. Chris Cocks says to email him.He is baffled as stocks are plentiful...Alex his email = info@30degreessouth.co.za

Alexandre Binda
08-14-2007, 09:29 PM
Alex, Chris,

Would like to post an excerpt of a chapter from the book in the SWJ mag and Blog with a link to Amazon on purchase. We've done this with two books so far - Tom Odom's Journey Into Darkness (Rwanda) and Bing West's No True Glory (Iraq).

Or if you prefer - an unique Blog entry or mag article on your experiences - I.R. too... Let me know - we would be proud to spread the word...

You can PM me here or e-mail...

Dave

No problem on my part Dave & kind of you to offer. But check with Chris also at ; info@30degreessouth.co.za Keep well. Alex

jcustis
08-15-2007, 09:37 PM
Out with Amazon.uk, and in with Paladin Press. I expect to get a copy in my hands before my next TAD trip.

jcustis
08-23-2007, 02:29 PM
All is right with the world. I am on leave, it is dark and dreary, and the man in the little brown truck paid me a visit yesterday. Without a doubt, go with paladin Press on this one if you have the coin to drop. A review is pending.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c309/deftac03/100_1202.jpg

jcustis
09-21-2007, 01:07 AM
Professor Woods' website has three detailed graphics that explain how the Fire Force concept developed, as well as an excellent artcle on D coy, RAR, that I had not come across before.

http://www.jrtwood.com/default.asp

Enjoy.

davidbfpo
11-17-2007, 12:28 PM
In the UK published journal Small Wars & Insurgencies, June 2007, is an article 'The Wretched of the Empire: Politics, Ideology and COIN in Rhodesia 1965-80'. The author Dr Mike Evans lived in Rhodesia / Zimbabwe until the early 1980's and now works for the Australian Defence Forces.

Worth a read for the context of the Rhodesian military experience and the political factors involved.

davidbfpo

Rifleman
04-10-2008, 01:52 PM
*Bump*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0-wrng6Ru8&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46XGmUh0TFw

slapout9
04-11-2008, 02:35 AM
Great Links Rifleman, especially the second one. Lowest recorded parachute jump 200 feet:eek:

Rhodesian
04-23-2008, 10:28 PM
Great Links Rifleman, especially the second one. Lowest recorded parachute jump 200 feet:eek:In this instance the load was dropped down the length of a rising valley, with the pilot of the Dakota apparently failing to account for the rising ground. The first ouens out the door were ok, but not surprisingly injuries generally increased the later the troopers exited the bus. They were not very happy!

As an aside, probably the highest parachute-less "jump" was completed by Des D and his stick in 3 Commando, who were "evicted" from a chopper above tree height in Mozambique. Having crashed through the branches to land in a very winded heap, he became aware of guerillas running in panic all around him. He was`nt very happy either!

Oh how we loved the airforce . . . . :mad:

I.R.

davidbfpo
05-21-2008, 08:40 PM
A classic account written 25yrs by Paul Moorcraft 'Chimurenga: The War in Rhodesia' is being re-published as 'The Rhodesian War: Thirty Years On'. This is from a meeting to discuss the book in London this Friday at RUSI: http://www.rusi.org/events/ref:E47F2626F13096/

I've still got the original and will buy the new edition. Update in a few months time as my pile of reading grows.

davidbfpo

Rhodesian
09-10-2008, 04:44 PM
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/09/09/iraq.secret/index.html

High-Tech Selous Scout ops?

I.R

davidbfpo
09-10-2008, 08:48 PM
Elsewhere others have commented on the Woodward book, partly on the oh-so secret programme: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=6005

On another website (http://www.schneier.com/blog/ ) the Woodward exposure has little credibility and some accuse himn of seeking publicity for his book.

IR alludes to the Selous Scouts; from my reading there was little technical involvement, rather a lot of human skill in persauding (being polite) newly captured nationalist fighters to change sides.

davidbfpo

slapout9
09-10-2008, 11:36 PM
Found this at Danger Room. http://blog.wired.com/defense/files/Richardson_Continuous.pdf scary stuff:eek:

Ron Humphrey
09-11-2008, 12:01 AM
Found this at Danger Room. http://blog.wired.com/defense/files/Richardson_Continuous.pdf scary stuff:eek:

The question has really never been could it be done so much as it, is, will, and should be just on whom and how it is used. Protocol for this needs to be VERY implicit in its use otherwise it will simply turn into one more tool which can be used by those who may not hold themselves to (shall we say (righteous) implementation).

Anything developed to be used with the best intentions also carry's the with it the possibility of mis-application for ulterior motives

Hennie
02-03-2009, 01:23 PM
I had the occasion to correspond with an RLI veteran (who shall remain anonymous), and asked him a few questions to round out my fairly broad understanding of Fire Force Ops in Rhodesia.

I'm always curious as to how the various Rhodesian security forces performed on the ground, as some of their lessons may be important as the Marine Corps looks to refine its Distributed Operations concept.

My questions, and the very in-depth reply, are posted below in 2 parts:

Initialy we wore shorts, T shirts and clandestine footwear (Black joggers with a plain sole) during our operations, including our para jumps. In 1978 the late Brigadeer Parker who was also a former CO of the RLI visited us at Mtoko where we were based as fire force. (1 Commando) He decided that he would like to do a training para jump with us wearing the standard dress as stated above. There was a fairly strong breeze blowing during the jump and he got a bit banged up hitting the ground. He then gave the instructions that we will not be allowed to jump in the same attire ever again. This was an order that we could not disobey. The camoflage jump suit was then issued to all para troopers.
During the earlier part of Fire Force we very seldom took cover, but preferred to walk or run straight at the enemy whilst firing at any target that presented itself. This worked well against the Zanu terrorists as they were not as aggressive as the Zapu terrorists. The Zapu were recruited mainly from the Matabele tribe which were of Zulu descent. During these attacks we were fortunate to have the K-Car armed with a 20mm cannon firing explosive rounds as air cover. Sometimes we also had prop driven earoplanes (Similar to the Vampire jet, I forgot the name) who dropped Frantan bombs (Rhodesian equavelent of Napalm bombs) and 37mm Sneb rockets.
The K-Car commander would orchestrate and co-ordinate the complete attack from the air. The sweep line would be informed if they were near any stop group. The stop groups were normally dropped off by helicopter, and would try and get into the best defensive and protected position they could without decreasing there fighting ability.

davidbfpo
03-28-2009, 10:10 PM
The UK comment blogsite: http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.com has an article today on the UK's military role in Afghanistan and cites the lessons learnt by Rhodesia. Refers to a RAND report from 1991, which I'd not seen before, although my interest in that COIN war abated many years ago: http://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/2005/R3998.pdf . The authors include Bruce Hoffman (who I respect as an analyst).

I am sure Jon Custis will comment (if he can).

davidbfpo

Spud
03-29-2009, 05:43 AM
Apart from the books already mentioned I've found Continent Ablaze: The insurgency wars in Africa 1960 to the present by John W. Turner to be pretty useful as a first port of call. There's a chapter on Rhodesia and then some of the nearby similar actions (Mozambique, Southern Africa etc).

There's also a fascinating thread over at militaryphotos.net that has a range of personal accounts/images (intersperesed with the normal train spotters) to help visualise the whole thing

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=134312

baluraj007
04-07-2009, 03:15 PM
hello folks.. does this unit still recruits. foreinirs into this unit.. I am very excited.. let me know whats the max age for this.. quickly

Tom Odom
04-07-2009, 03:38 PM
hello folks.. does this unit still recruits. foreinirs into this unit.. I am very excited.. let me know whats the max age for this.. quickly

Since Rhodesia ended with the beginning of Zimbabwe, you are out of luck for this one.

Tom

BayonetBrant
04-07-2009, 05:17 PM
Since Rhodesia ended with the beginning of Zimbabwe, you are out of luck for this one.
Tom

Just for effect, I would've worded it as
"Since Rhodesia ended with the beginning of Zimbabwe in 1980, you are out of luck for this one." :rolleyes:

davidbfpo
04-07-2009, 10:58 PM
This year the British-Zimbabwe Society (BZS) are devoting their annual research day, 20th June 2009, in Oxford, to looking at the issues via Rhodesia / Zimbabwe. Follow the link for details: http://www.britain-zimbabwe.org.uk/RDprog09.htm

Non-BZS members are welcome and these research days can be good.

davidbfpo

Rhodesian
05-01-2009, 06:05 PM
No man you gents got it all wrong, Rhodesia was a country, Zimbabwe Ruins is its national symbol, if he`s buying the beer he can sign up by placing his X here ....... Mine`s a Castle!

Ya ok it was a good try. I.R.

Tom Odom
05-02-2009, 06:15 AM
No man you gents got it all wrong, Rhodesia was a country, Zimbabwe Ruins is its national symbol, if he`s buying the beer he can sign up by placing his X here ....... Mine`s a Castle!

Ya ok it was a good try. I.R.

A noble one at that...

Rhodesian
05-09-2009, 11:09 AM
Sirs

The following link will be of interest to those of us whose days of running over mountains has somewhat been superceded by the struggle to get out of the arm chair for the next beer. It gives insight into the methods and founding ideas into "finding" a terrorist, before the RLI or others went in by chopper and killed him. There is a suggestion that some of the Selous Scout concept came from Vietnam, perhaps those of you know more on this would like to comment as this was news to me, not being American or particularly familiar with that war? I can say that the author of this particular article is well respected within my "circle of flatulence."

Cheers
I.R.

http://choppertech.blogspot.com/2009/05/warfare-lessons-from-selous-scouts.html

davidbfpo
05-09-2009, 11:49 AM
My understanding is that local factors and persons were the roots of the Selous Scouts, founded in 1973, in particular their C.O. Ron Reid Daly and a police Special Branch (BSAP) Ch. Supt. 'Mac' McGuinness. The Scouts were a recce unit primarily and in the early years of the war the BSAP Special Branch directed much of the military effort. They were not a direct action unit.

The field conversion of captured terrorists (guerilla fighters) was brutally simple and rapid. The change in loyalty was reinforced by the very high bonuses paid for each kill, which made them very wealthy.

There is a new book due out on the 'Fire Force' concept: http://www.bushveld.net/store3/erol.html#316x0&&http%3A%252F%252Fwww.google.co.uk%252Fsearch%3Fq%3 D%2522mac%2522+mcguiness+%252B+rhodesia%26hl%3Den% 26rlz%3D1T4ADBF_en-GBGB312GB313%26start%3D0%26sa%3DN


davidbfpo

William F. Owen
05-09-2009, 03:51 PM
There is a suggestion that some of the Selous Scout concept came from Vietnam, perhaps those of you know more on this would like to comment as this was news to me, not being American or particularly familiar with that war?

There is vast body of evidence (referenced in some part by davidbfpo) that the Selous Scouts concept was born from the BSAP Special Branch and drew from the experience of the Kenyan Police's Counter-Gangs against the Mau-Mau and the infamous "Ops Research Group" in Malaya.

Combine to all this that the British evolved the Counter Gang concept from both observing the covert operations of the Jews in Palestine (Mistaravim) dating back to WW1 and their own experience in India.

It has been suggested that the, "Ops Research Group" idea was in some part responsible for the CIA's "Phoenix Program" so I suggest this author is unencumbered by history on this one.

jcustis
05-09-2009, 11:46 PM
I haven't run google search strings on things RLI and Selous Scouts for some time, and so I was surprised to see that blogger site. It is excellent for putting forward many of those seemingly mundane things that make the study of that bush war very interesting.

And I also get an advance copy order in at the same time...Thanks David. :D

There is a consolidated Rhodesian COIN thread at: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2090

davidbfpo
06-02-2009, 08:05 PM
Came across references to 'Lost in Africa' by Stu Taylor, pub. 2007 by 30 Degrees South; blurb says he served 1967-1980. Large parts can be read on: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=llAgjC91ESYC and the publisher: http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/shop/index.php?main_page=pubs_product_book_info&products_id=56

No review readily found.

davidbfpo

davidbfpo
07-11-2009, 09:19 PM
The RLI website (mentioned at the start in 2007) appears to have been substantially updated; sorry Jon only two maps. Worth checking: http://www.therli.com/default.asp

Looked at today as I learnt recently two UK academics have an oral history project, to get Rhodesian military memories recorded; either by interview in the UK or a questionaire. PM me for additional details if interested.

davidbfpo

jcustis
07-12-2009, 06:34 AM
That is definitely a good update.

Spud
07-12-2009, 08:01 AM
Picked this one up in a second-hand store a couple of weeks ago. "Fiction based on fact" (to protect the guilty more than anything). Forward by LTCOL Reid-Daly and includes a fair smattering of his pics. Not a bad read if you can find it anywhere.

Publisher is RLI Publishing, Queensland, Australia. 1997. Covos did a second edition which is apperantly still on Amazon

http://www.rhodesianlightinfantry.com/images/ico.jpg

jcustis
07-13-2009, 04:31 AM
If you enjoy that, then Chris Cocks' Fireforce would be a great companion read.

IntelTrooper
07-19-2009, 06:32 AM
I just saw this on Amazon today and thought some here may be interested (it won't be released until August but can be pre-ordered now):

Counter-strike from the Sky: The Rhodesian All-arms Fireforce in the War in the Bush, 1974-1980 (http://www.amazon.com/Counter-strike-Sky-Rhodesian-Fireforce-1974-1980/dp/1920143335/ref=pd_ys_qtk_fr_img?pf_rd_p=423951401&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=home&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=179036DZ29ZXKTK5YR0V)

Fireforce as a military concept dates from 1974 when the Rhodesian Air Force (RhAF) acquired the French MG151 20mm cannon from the Portuguese. Coupled with this, the traditional counter-insurgency tactics (against Mugabe's ZANLA and Nkomo's ZIPRA) of follow-ups, tracking and ambushing simply weren't producing satisfactory results. Visionary RhAF and Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) officers thus expanded on the idea of a 'vertical envelopment' of the enemy (first practised by SAS paratroopers in Mozambique in 1973), with the 20mm cannon being the principle weapon of attack, mounted in an Alouette III K-Car ('Killer car'), flown by the air force commander, with the army commander on board directing his ground troops deployed from G-Cars (Alouette III troop-carrying gunships and latterly Bell 'Hueys' in 1979) and parachuted from DC-3 Dakotas. In support would be a propeller-driven ground-attack aircraft armed with front guns, pods of napalm, white phosphorus rockets and a variety of Rhodesian-designed bombs; on call would be Canberra bombers, Hawker Hunter and Vampire jets.

jcustis
07-19-2009, 07:08 AM
Hmmm. I would have never guessed Amazon would pick that up. I've had a copy for a couple months now. Cost me a heftier penny though.

IntelTrooper
07-19-2009, 07:29 AM
Hmmm. I would have never guessed Amazon would pick that up. I've had a copy for a couple months now. Cost me a heftier penny though.
Was it worth it? Or worth the future price?

jcustis
07-19-2009, 07:40 AM
That 34% off price is probably as cheap as it will ever be found. It has lots of new pics and narratives i haven't seen before, so it was definitely worth it. Then again I'm a RLI junky of the highest order.

IntelTrooper
07-19-2009, 07:42 AM
That 34% off price is probably as cheap as it will ever be found. It has lots of new pics and narratives i haven't seen before, so it was definitely worth it. Then again I'm a RLI junky of the highest order.
Excellent, thanks for the review!

slapout9
07-20-2009, 02:19 AM
That 34% off price is probably as cheap as it will ever be found. It has lots of new pics and narratives i haven't seen before, so it was definitely worth it. Then again I'm a RLI junky of the highest order.
JC,I always knew you were Airborne at heart;)

jcustis
07-20-2009, 02:36 AM
JC,I always knew you were Airborne at heart;)

Haha, or at least Air Cav. :D

I spent my first tour as an infantry officer in a helo (read as heliborne-focused) company, so I was justly fascinated with getting the business of vertical envelopment done right.

slapout9
07-20-2009, 02:51 AM
Haha, or at least Air Cav. :D

I spent my first tour as an infantry officer in a helo (read as heliborne-focused) company, so I was justly fascinated with getting the business of vertical envelopment done right.

Heliborne,Air Cav it's All good. There is a book I am trying to remember about a guy the was in the 1st of the 7th Air Cav Aero Rifle Platoon that was supposed to be the inspiration for the Air Assault in Apocalypse now. He received a battlefield commission to Lieutenant because of his exploits, it was a great book.....now if I can just remember the name:confused:

Rifleman
07-20-2009, 03:22 AM
Brennan's War?

http://www.amazon.com/Brennans-War-Vietnam-1965-1969/dp/0671705954

But I believe 1/7 was an airmobile infantry battalion. 1/9 was the air cav squadron with gunships, scouts, and aero-rifle platoons. They considered themselves "The Cav of the Cav."

slapout9
07-20-2009, 03:59 AM
Brennan's War?

http://www.amazon.com/Brennans-War-Vietnam-1965-1969/dp/0671705954

But I believe 1/7 was an airmobile infantry battalion. 1/9 was the air cav squadron with gunships, scouts, and aero-rifle platoons. They considered themselves "The Cav of the Cav."


Rifleman That's it!! Thanks. Yea, 1/9th. It is also the closest thing to what General Gavin had as an original concept for "Sky Cavalry" for what he termed "Brush Fire Wars".

jcustis you gotta read this book!! everybody else should for that matter.

davidbfpo
07-20-2009, 07:23 AM
For those interested check the author's website: http://www.jrtwood.com/default.asp and for non-USA residents an option to buy the book: http://www.30degreessouth.co.uk/counterstrike.htm

davidbfpo

There is a consolidated Rhodesian COIN thread at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2090

davidbfpo
09-25-2009, 11:18 AM
A report on this UK-based oral history project: http://www.britain-zimbabwe.org.uk/RP4onslowbramley.htm

For those who are interested in Rhodesian / Zimbabwean military history follow this link: http://www.britain-zimbabwe.org.uk/RD09papers.htm - the papers from the 2009 BZS Research Day on War and Soldiers.

davidbfpo

davidbfpo
09-25-2009, 11:22 AM
Just came across this, via a link from a BSAP History email, a fascinating site itself: http://www.ourstory.com/archive.html?v=106512#recent_y2007 but the comments on the RLI closure in 1980 and the comments in their regimental magazine 'The Cheetah' I'd not heard of or seen: http://www.ourstory.com/thread.html?t=357313

davidbfpo

Mark O'Neill
09-25-2009, 01:55 PM
Just back from RSA, interviewing folks and giving a few presentations to the SANDF, ISS and the Uni of KZN about COIN. Two sundays ago had a great lunch and chat with Prof Richard Wood in Kwa-Zulu Natal. He has a great book out on Fireforce ops. You can check it out and order it here:

http://http://www.jrtwood.com/bio_publications.asp

Richard also holds a lot of Ian Smith's private papers. He has published several historical works derived from these that are first rate. You can check these out and order via the website (above).

Cheers

Mark

Rhodesian
09-25-2009, 10:06 PM
Sirs

A PDF file of this particular issue of the Cheetah is available on the web at the following address, together with other material which may also be of interest:

http://www.rhodesia.nl/onbook.htm

Cheers
I.R.

Rhodesian
09-25-2009, 10:45 PM
PS Somewhat inflamatory that web page, apologies for any offence caused. I.R

davidbfpo
10-15-2009, 10:15 PM
Just in case the SWJ item is lost for Rhodesia observers and from a BSAP viewpoint by a journalist: http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/306-noonan.pdf

davidbfpo

slapout9
10-15-2009, 11:32 PM
Important point from the paper about the balance of terror and how to handle it. Hadn't seen the paper thanks for posting davidbfpo.



Because on a balance of terror, they will always tend to win. We arrest people and put them in jail, the insurgents take much more ferocious action. It's the western paradox, but also it’s inherent in asymmetrical conflict. If you are going to lose in the balance of terror, then you have to be able to promise protection in return for support

Ken White
10-16-2009, 12:55 AM
NEVER to promise anything I couldn't deliver...

BayonetBrant
10-21-2009, 01:18 PM
I will be sending two documents to sgmgrumpy. One is a visualization of Fireforce tactics given to me by Chuck Melsom (another Rhodesian military follower) of the History and Museums division. The second is a copy of an external operation OPORD. It is similar to the basic SMEAC format, but the coordinating instructions are a gem because there is insight into how the
Rhodies thought and planned.

I only have them hardcopy now, but intend to scan and build into a .pdf. PM me if you'd like a copy.


If there are no copyright restrictions I will post the docs to the SWJ Library.

Did these ever make it into the library? I was trying to find them, to no avail...

jcustis
10-21-2009, 03:11 PM
The fireforce tactics piece can actually be easily found on the 'net with a little bit of searching, but no, it never made it here. As for the opord, it never made it either, but should you PM me an email address, I could get it to you once I get back off my current trip to the field.

zealot66
01-31-2010, 06:04 PM
Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

Im still here. You all have alot more experience in debating this issue that I do. My question came as a result of studying wars in southern africa and the measures they took to overcome the landmine issue. I think that terrain, strategy and even a landmine vs an IED demand differences in employment of troops. It is just a sick feeling to watch our casualties from IED's knowing that they werent even the result of a contact just some kid with a remote control. Keep going. I look at this board everyday and consider it an education.

I find the above posts about landing patrols away from the target and walking to a target very interesting and in though the terrain in afghanistan might prohibit some of this, The issue still remains are we using the choppers to their fullest and are there enough ?

davidbfpo
01-31-2010, 07:47 PM
Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

Zealot66,

I know a few here will interested in the end product of:
My question came as a result of studying wars in southern africa and the measures they took to overcome the landmine issue.

I recall some Rhodesian annoyance - after 1980 - to find that the South Africans (SADF) had developed their anti-mining equipment and had not shared this with them. The SADF deployed their kit in Angola and SWAfrica - where I expect ex-Rhodesians, now in the SADF noticed. IIRC Peter Stiff authored a book on the Rhodesian counter-IED programme.

jcustis
01-31-2010, 08:33 PM
Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

The objective area vs. Walk in issue was the exact issueI looked at in a MC Gazette article a ways back that analysed Fire Force. We can technically do it, BUT I don't think we are doctrinally organized to do it.

Pete
02-01-2010, 12:16 AM
Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

Wait a minute, Mr. Custis, you wrote that article on the Rhodesian Fire Force concept in Marine Corps Gazette. Was the reluctance to walk to the objective mainly to enhance the speed of execution?

jcustis
02-01-2010, 01:43 AM
Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

If by THAT article you mean the one circa 2000, yes, that was mine.


Was the reluctance to walk to the objective mainly to enhance the speed of execution?

With this question, are you asking about the Rhodesians? If you are, I think the actions of the various elements (RLI, RAR, etc.) that provided Fire Forces were founded on the mobility that the helicopters provided first and foremost, but you have to remember the factors someone else already described.

The Rhodesian Sec Forces were very small, considering the land mass they were responsible for. With that in mind, and considering the fact that multiple sightings of terrorist "gangs" could be made in a single day and in a single ops area, the Rhodesians generally could not afford to walk to the objective. It just took too much time. That's not to say that they never walked about...it's just that in order to reset the Fire Force, the techniques employed worked best when they were dropped straight in. Please note that the Selous Scouts and C Sqdrn SAS boys did plenty of long range inserts to gain observation over enemy infiltration routes, encampments, etc.

Of note is the fact that the terrorists would often split up into very small groups (either on purpose or plain lack of discipline) and "bombshell" out for some distance before trying to go to ground. In order to assess the avenues of escape that they might try to use, the command helicopter usually pulled right into an orbit over the target area, so it makes sense that the maneuver sticks that were dropped in followed the same route and went straight to the area. Fire Force was the classic employment of counter-terrorist techniques that we hear argued for by some with regard to Afghanistan. It was conducted in a COIN campaign for sure, but the techniques only solved a single problem set.

I disagree with Wilf that Fire Force was borne out of the lack of helicopters. The use of old CH-47 Dakotas for parachuting sticks in was a result of the lack of aircraft, but the Fire Force was born out of precisely the mobility that the Alouettes and later Bell Hueys (only dispatched for FF work infrequently if I remember correctly) provided.

I also disagree that the concept would have had problems if pitted up against a more determine foe that employed more MANPADS. Although they didn't employ active anti-SAM measures in the way of IR decoys, the flight profiles employed and exhaust manifolds bolted on did work to an effect. It's also important to remember that the FF did not just stumble into a target area based off of some fleeting spot report. An OP was typically in position with a view of the tgt area, and knew the terrorist composition, strength, and armament, and had fed the information via radio retransmission to the ops center responsible for the FF strike.

If the terrs had decided to stand and fight, all the better targets for the 20mm Hispano autocannon and the .303 quad guns. They would have had a success here and there for sure, but I'm not certain it would have been operationally significant unless they brought down more than 10 helicopters. I cannot remember the numbers of aircraft actually shot down, but I think there were more incidents of combat accidents than anything else. And if the SAMs had become an issue, I suspect that the Rhodesians would have simply started attaching snipers to the OP teams so that those threats could be addressed.

We could achieve similar effects for sure with unmanned aerial systems in overwatch of a terrorist encampment, but we just employ Hellfire and JDAM to resolve those matters if the collateral damage factors don't give cause for concern, but I am convinced that there is no better ISR sensor than the Mark I, Mod I eyeball. In the Afghanistan context, we have to remember that the bad guys over there have a background in baiting and setting traps for heliborne forces employed by the Soviets, and the terrain in much of the country supports that sort of defense. I don't have a crystal ball view on what they might do against a force organized and employed like a Fire Force, but that goes back to my earlier point about the doctrinal issue. We simply do not keep the ground force commander aloft anymore, like the FF commanders did, and that prevents us from being able to effectively assess just what is going on relative to the threat's actions.

ETA: I think a great resource for training to this standard would be to start with FF vets, and supplement that with time spent talking shop with police chopper pilots from the large metropolitan depts.

If we were to put heliborne forces into an area to go up against some knuckleheads laying over on their way to say, Kandahar, methinks that we would need lots of them, and about five times the size of Fire Force elements in order to cover the various ratlines involved. There is a certain mobility luxury that the enemy might enjoy in the way of a brace of mopeds and red racing stripe Toyota pickups.

davidbfpo
02-01-2010, 08:04 AM
The cited article on Fire Force tactics by Jon Custis, in the USMC Gazette March 2000, is alas behind a pay wall: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/mca-marines/results.html?QryTxt=jon+custis&Submit=Search

I suspect Jon has placed much of the article on SWC already in his posts on Fire Force.

jcustis
02-01-2010, 08:21 AM
I suspect Jon has placed much of the article on SWC already in his posts on Fire Force.

Aye, and much of that in turn came from JRT Wood's writings.

NOMAN
02-02-2010, 05:35 AM
Read these in order:
Fire Force (Ranger type inside and out side of country)
The Elite (SAS/JSOC outside)
Pamwe Chete (SF/Advanced Phoenix program, Level III skills utilized in pseudo operations inside and outside of country)
See You in November (intell/ Level III: outside of country)

When you get to the last one you will understand how they tied it all together to pull off the terrorist camp raids with only 142 men verses 1000 terrorist. Some of the best COIN tactics for the battle field. Then remember Jan Braytenbach from South Africa who trained with the Scouts and you will understand how those TTP evolved in South Africa with the Recces, Ops K, 32 Bn and their Intell agency to fight their COIN war. Then when you are done remember that it is a political war and the best the military can do is get into the Red Zone only it takes a political solution to get it into the End Zone. Why Rhodesia is no more, South Africa has changed, the IRA has Northern Ireland, and the PLO has been voted into power and Palestine will become a country.

William F. Owen
02-02-2010, 06:32 AM
Some of the best COIN tactics for the battle field. Then remember Jan Braytenbach from South Africa who trained with the Scouts and you will understand how those TTP evolved in South Africa with the Recces, Ops K, 32 Bn and their Intell agency to fight their COIN war.
Not really COIN, but solid irregular warfare. "ATOPS" - anti-terrorist operations in the parlance of the day.

Then when you are done remember that it is a political war and the best the military can do is get into the Red Zone only it takes a political solution to get it into the End Zone.
If you are saying that all wars are political, and it is the setting forth of policy weighed against how the war changes the policy that creates the alteration or not, in the policy. - as Clausewitz did, then I concur.

Why Rhodesia is no more, Rhodesia is no more because of the vast economic harm it's military action did to Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana, which mobilised efforts to end the conflict via Lancaster house, rather than a Soviet/Libyan backed ground invaison

South Africa has changed, - as it had to. The policy was unworkable.

the IRA has Northern Ireland, No they do not. Quite the reverse is true.

and the PLO has been voted into power and Palestine will become a country. - again, not true. Hamas is in power in Gaza, and Fatah control the PA in the West Bank. A Palestinian State (or 2- States) has been a viable solution since 1971 or 1988, depending on your viewpoint. The Israeli use of force has, for 20 years been aimed at defining the nature of that state and the political policies it seeks to set forth.

zealot66
02-04-2010, 09:21 PM
My primary research over the last 3 years has been the Rhodesian conflict and the Border War of SA. I think one of the chief errors of the bush administration was prostrating ourselves to an imaginary border in pakistan. Who the hell is pakistan ? Who the hell were the Cambodes or Pathet Lao ? track your prey, follow its spoor and kill it. External operations were the only thing that kept rhodesia alive as long as it did and the only thing that kept Soviets, Cubans and Swapo from kicking down the door of south africa was action on and across the Angolan border. However, the Marxists went in the back door anyway....

Hopefully the Taliban holds up in Helmand and wants to get their martyrdom in the spring. And we should disregard a two faced Pakistan and track down every insurgent in the valley and get rid of them. There should be no safe place. It sucked the blood from us in Vietnam and its doing it now too.

davidbfpo
02-04-2010, 10:01 PM
Zealot66,


My primary research over the last 3 years has been the Rhodesian conflict and the Border War of SA.... External operations were the only thing that kept rhodesia alive as long as it did ....

I am aware that some Rhodesians after 1980 concluded 'external operations' did not help in their war.(A bigger topic so I shall stop there).

"Boots on the ground" raids and drone attacks across the Durand Line have also been criticised, IIRC David Kilcullen is one critic and Bruce Hoffman has commented at the peak of drone attacks in one part of the FATA the training of Zavi, the alleged NYC bomber, was not affected.

'External operations' appear to be an easy option, with a limited, short-term impact and meet IMHO the agenda of domestic political needs.

In the Pakistani context this is made even more complex, if not confusing by US drone attacks coming from bases within Pakistan, with an apparent official, if denied, Pakistani input to targeting.

William F. Owen
02-05-2010, 06:37 AM
I am aware that some Rhodesians after 1980 concluded 'external operations' did not help in their war.(A bigger topic so I shall stop there).

Yes and no. They concluded that their extremely successful attacks so damaged the economies and security of Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana that the international community stepped in and forced an agreement on them. Tactics failed to serve strategy!

zealot66
02-05-2010, 09:32 PM
I pretty much agree with your assesment of Afghanistan, Ken. The books Ive read on our involvement during the soviet occupation pretty much point to leaving the mujahadeen alone to form their own govt as a reason for this mess. In First In, Gary Schroen after orchestrating the initial salvo writes that Iraq was a strategic mistake and basically the wrong war at the wrong time and that we would have to take the train there again. He wrote that in 2005.

As for External Ops in Rhodesia. The only conclusion I can reach regarding people not believing externals held Zanla and the likes off for a long period, is the political outcome. In terms of 'boots on the ground' and living in relative security ( I use that term vaguely) until 1980, fighting an empowered terrorist horde inside the borders would have been a mess of epic proportions. Keeping them defending themselves outside of rhodesia at least slowed down the eventual death by suffocation in hopes of a detente with the West. Or Hoping South Africa would shore them up. That war is a microcosm of many of the things we face now.

JMA
03-28-2010, 04:17 PM
This exchange reminded me of an important fact, and that was the degree of independent action expected from the troops on the ground. Because Fire Force operations required a very detailed synchronized ballet of air assault support, close air support, observations posts, paratroopers, and sweep and stop groups, independent action was not expected. In fact, it was more likely frowned upon. Much of the coordination was accomplished through the Mk. 1 eyeball, and restricting movement was a simple means of deconflicting the ever so dangerous geometry of fires.

How "independent" is independent? Yes the Fire Force battle field was generally well choreographed by the Fire Force Commander (FF Cmd). When contact was made it was often at very close ranges where even the use of the 20mm canon from the K-Car would have been potentially dangerous to that particular stick (4-man callsign). These short range contacts were also normally short and sharp. In this 'corporals war' it was the stick commander's skill and aggression which was the critical success factor. By the time he had a chance to call in on the radio the local contact was all but over. Quite often an adjacent or nearby stick would report the contact to the FF Cmd who would then come overhead and at 800 ft and could see what was happening on the ground subject of course to the local tree cover. Over time we got better and better at what and how we did things on Fire Force and integral to the overall success was the ability of the generally 19-20 year old L/Cpls to deal with their local contact situations together with the aggression and skill of the gunner in the stick (armed with a FN- MAG).

JMA
03-28-2010, 04:41 PM
For any members who served in the RLI, I have a nagging question, and it's about the quality of the maps that were used.

I haven't been able to put my hands on a map from that era, but considering the degree of dismounted movement that had to be choreographed from the K-Car, I imagine accurate maps must have been critical.

I actually have a second question as well. How frequently did sticks use map grid references to control movement? Was it for those occasions when a pace count and a compass came into play, with the rest of the time spent utilizing terrain association? I've read several accounts of movements across the borders that required long legs which I assume were accomplished through dead-reckoning.

We (ground troops) used no maps during Fire Force (only the pilots did). When dropped the sticks were in the main instructed to move in bounds by the Fire Force Commander (FF Cmd). For example the FF Cmd would say something like. "Can you see the K-Car? OK, walk to wards the K-Car.... now, and in 150m you will come across a road, when you do stop, mark your position and call me." The FF Cmd would say 'now' when the K-Car was in the correct position to indicate the direction the stick was to move. The position when static was marked by putting a map sized piece of white plastic sheeting on the ground. When on the move this would normally be stuffed down the front of the stick cdm's shirt. If one was left overnight in the area the orders and instructions were normally verbal and movement limited due to the proximity of other sticks in the area. On occasion when a map was needed a chopper would drop a marked map to the stick cmd in need.

Why no maps, well first the logistics of having all those maps (for the large operational area) ready for all sticks did not warrant the effort. Secondly the distances were tight. The idea was to close off the area as tight as possible as we did not have enough troops to throw a wide cordon. Yes we lost some kills that way to be sure but with a kill rate of some 80% of gooks contacted we could live with that. The trick for the FF Cmd was to make sure that the sticks did not walk into each other or fire into each other as the distances were a couple of hundred meters here and a couple more there and very often much closer. You should listen to the tape of the 1976 Fire Force contact to get the idea.

jcustis
03-28-2010, 05:16 PM
JMA,

First off, welcome to the Council. I'm am keenly looking forward to whatever contribution you might make.

On the point of indepedent operations, I was referring to my understanding that once dropped off in a stop, stick ldrs were not expected to maneuver around at the slightest indication of an adjacent contact, or unverified report of a fleeing terr. I admit that it may have seemed I thought sticks never moved, but I realize that there always had to be some degree of initiave and thought applied. It would have, I imagine, sharply contrasted with current team and squad-level operations seen today.

jcustis
03-28-2010, 05:25 PM
I have heard that contact recording, and it is very interesting.

Throughout me read of FF operations materials, i have always focused on anything that indicated the thought that went into deconfliction of the geometry of fires, especially when sticks could not see each other. Did the FF Cmd ever give compass directions, or even azimuths, and direct sticks to restrict their fires to those directions? I'm familiar with the "show map" radio call, mentioned in the Venter book, so I believed at least small sketch maps were used. Thank you for the insight there.

Would you mind answering a series of questions about your equipment and fighting load?

JMA
03-29-2010, 02:42 AM
JMA,

First off, welcome to the Council. I'm am keenly looking forward to whatever contribution you might make.

On the point of indepedent operations, I was referring to my understanding that once dropped off in a stop, stick ldrs were not expected to maneuver around at the slightest indication of an adjacent contact, or unverified report of a fleeing terr. I admit that it may have seemed I thought sticks never moved, but I realize that there always had to be some degree of initiave and thought applied. It would have, I imagine, sharply contrasted with current team and squad-level operations seen today.

Happy to be here, thank you.

When dropped off there was always some degree of movement required to move into position. If the FF Cmd wanted a line of flight 'blocked' he would direct a stick to a position where he wanted them and they would take up a position, mark that position and wait there. These sticks would have a good idea of where the other sticks were in relation to them and had a good idea of the limits of their movement was. Positions of stop groups may be adjusted from time to time according to how the action developed. There was no hard and fast rule as the ground and situation dictated the plan. With experience Fire Force Cmds got better at 'reading' the ground and knowing where to put sticks/stops where/when to sweep when to keep certain sticks static etc. It was always a very fluid situation. The action may take a few hours or take all day and extend overnight. If the call-out was based on a sighting of say 10 terrs and they were all accounted for then we would move on. If not we would keep searching the area to find the rest. The OP would remain in place so sometimes it would be a plan to withdraw the FF and let the OP call us back when the survivors came out of hiding. The average kill rate was 80% so as the war got hotter and call outs came virtually every day maybe the FF did not spend the time on searching for the last one or two terrs as we used to do in the early days.

JMA
03-29-2010, 03:24 AM
I have heard that contact recording, and it is very interesting.

Throughout me read of FF operations materials, i have always focused on anything that indicated the thought that went into deconfliction of the geometry of fires, especially when sticks could not see each other. Did the FF Cmd ever give compass directions, or even azimuths, and direct sticks to restrict their fires to those directions? I'm familiar with the "show map" radio call, mentioned in the Venter book, so I believed at least small sketch maps were used. Thank you for the insight there.

Would you mind answering a series of questions about your equipment and fighting load?

The recording I'm talking about is this one: http://kiwi6.com/file?id=5i20a1ox5m It is the first part of 6 and is in MP3 format.

That recording was from mid 1976. You will hear stick being warned that a stick was in the "village' to their North and to watch out for them or that a stick (say Stop 3) was approaching them along the river-line from the East. The lie of the land was never as flat as a board so there was normally some protection provided against stray fire into a particular direction. In the event of a particular stick having a contact other sticks in the general line of fire would take cover if necessary. The "crack and thump" and the sound of that fire (which weapon) would indicate what action should be taken. New men would tend to over react to any firing and it was only with experience that they learned to differentiate between "stray" rounds passing over head and those aimed at them. There is specific training needed in this aspect in my opinion. I note much talk of the "Drake Shoot" as a training aid. Yes it really helps and can be repeated in modified form to make sure that troops are applying the lesson. However, there were not to many times where we swept through an area using continuous prophylactic fire into likely cover. In contact yes, troops would (or should have) fired into their arcs but if no fire is being returned it is rather pointless to just keep on firing.

The best instructions for direction were when given in reference to the position of the K-Car (as in "walk towards me.... Now"). But yes often sticks were told to move North, or East etc but never by degrees in my experience. Often the direction of movement was corrected by the FF Cmd either again by reference to his position or by a feature on the ground ("can you see the village ahead of you? OK, then on the right of that village (in relation to the stick) is some thick bush, I want you to move in that direction and clear that bush.")

Of course I will answer questions. The 30 years may have dulled my memory a bit but I'll give it my best shot.

PS: I'm using our terminology in the main so if you need clarity just ask. Like the word "deconfliction" is one I'm not familiar with.

Graycap
03-29-2010, 10:25 AM
Thank you for your great informetions and insight.

As a long time lurker of this council I've been infected by Jcustis interest in Rhodesian bush war and I'm trying to find time enough to read all the books ans docs collected (I've found a good copy of Ron Daly Sealous Scouts! ).

I'd like to inform you that the link that you have provided is not working.

I obtain a 0 byte file.

Is it just me?

v/r

jcustis
03-29-2010, 02:17 PM
No, it's not just you. I cannot play the file either.

JMA, you asked about any freedom to adjust equipment, and as I said, I'm curious about the fighting kit you carried. What was your standard load for each callout, and what was adjusted based on time of day and threat? Also, how much rifle ammunition and grenades did a trooper carry? Finally, besides the A76 radio, did stick ldrs carry other mission-specific equipment?

JMA
03-29-2010, 10:59 PM
No, it's not just you. I cannot play the file either.

JMA, you asked about any freedom to adjust equipment, and as I said, I'm curious about the fighting kit you carried. What was your standard load for each callout, and what was adjusted based on time of day and threat? Also, how much rifle ammunition and grenades did a trooper carry? Finally, besides the A76 radio, did stick ldrs carry other mission-specific equipment?

Let me try to remember.

Riflemen carried a minimum of 100 rounds – five magazines – I carried 9, 4 on the chest and two double pouches on the belt and one on the weapon. (Got down to my last mag one day so I had a personal issue with ammo)
Also one frag grenade and one WP (white phos)
Maybe a smoke grenade or so, maybe a spare radio battery, maybe a spare belt for the gunner. The maybies were not hard and fast nor maybe did everyone insist on grenades being carried. It probably differed from troop to troop and commando to commando.
Two water bottles were standard and some carried a light weight sleeping bag in a roll above the webbing in the small of the back. Those who had spent the night out in winter without generally did carry a sleeping bag and those who had not yet had that experience often did not think it necessary.
Optional also was to carry some army biscuits and some brew kit (I mostly did but many did not bother)
Machine gunners normally carried 500 rounds (10 x 50 rd belts). I did not insist on them carrying anything else and no spare barrel. I seem to remember carrying a 50 rd belt in a kidney pouch from time to time so maybe we spread the load a bit.
Each person carried a shot of Sosegon and a first field dressing. Trained troop medics carried a small medic pack containing bandages, drip-set and some general tablets and ointments. Probably not one per stick universally in all subunits but I seem to remember the term “stick medic pack” so maybe my sticks did.

Other than the A76 radio with a spare battery, I had a compass, a mini flare projector with various colours, a couple of small smoke grenades, and a white plastic sheet to mark my position.

Certainly not overloaded by any manner of means.

I think that was about it. Maybe I will remember other things as we go along.

30 years ago we had no fancy technology but certainly could had used some of the stuff that is available today.

jcustis
03-29-2010, 11:34 PM
Some of it may have helped, but at some point, we hit a threshold and returns are diminished. Outside of better communications, and night vision, there probably is little our current equipment would add but weight.

JMA
03-30-2010, 12:23 AM
Some of it may have helped, but at some point, we hit a threshold and returns are diminished. Outside of better communications, and night vision, there probably is little our current equipment would add but weight.

Radio comms on Fire Force was never a problem in my experience. The odd radio may go u/s but there was always a spare in the gunship if the need arose.

Night vision equipment on the other hand would certainly have been a major advantage especially for the choppers which departed the scene before last light. Even first generation equipment which was available then was not available to our choppers due to sanctions would have made a huge difference.

GPS equipment and laser or other target marking equipment would have allowed an accurate first time air strike by fixed wing on static enemy with maximum casualties rather than having to try to trap fleeing enemy with a relatively small force.

In many instances thermal imaging from aircraft or drone would have made a significant difference in a number of scenarios.

JMA
03-31-2010, 04:10 PM
Some of it may have helped, but at some point, we hit a threshold and returns are diminished. Outside of better communications, and night vision, there probably is little our current equipment would add but weight.

Further comment:
I hear this talk of communications problems. On fire force we had aircraft overhead all the time so I don't know of any problems. The a63 and A76 were fine for that purpose. We analysed our radio issues and found a lot of troubles were self inflicted like a handset going u/s due to the cable getting snagged and then ripped out. That was normally sorted out quickly. Radio failure was a pain and then we needed to put out a yellow dayglo panel instead of the white one and if three cover warranted it to throw a yellow smoke and remain static and expect and watch out for another callsign to come to link up.

The most important thing was that the handset be "hung" high up on the should as close to the ear as possible the radio could be answered first time by being heard over the noise of battle and the choppers overhead. Modern equipment I believe has taken care of this problem.

I don't know much about night vision equipment and how much training would be necessary for troops to fight effectively and with confidence at night. I'm talking about the troops on the ground.

We never had body-armour 30 years ago, but the chopper air-crews did, heavy stuff in those days. I was wondering whether the issue of bady armour is a necessity backed up by historical wound location stats or this with those goggles are more psychological than anything else?

davidbfpo
04-02-2010, 04:39 PM
Following another theme I found this website:http://choppertech.blogspot.com and within an untested link to a series of K-Car radio segments: http://choppertech.blogspot.com/2010/03/live-radio-transmissions-from-k-car-on.html This link does not work, go to Post 76 for one segment.

I'd not heard of the book 'Choppertech 1976-1980 A Gunner's Reflection of Fireforce in Rhodesia' by Beaver Shaw. All because the book has yet to be published and will be privately published by the author in the second quarter 2010; so there is no review available - info from http://www.booksofzimbabwe.com/store3/erol.html

Hope this helps.

JMA
04-02-2010, 07:36 PM
Following another theme I found this website:http://choppertech.blogspot.com and within an untested link to a series of K-Car radio segments: http://choppertech.blogspot.com/2010/03/live-radio-transmissions-from-k-car-on.html

I'd not heard of the book 'Choppertech 1976-1980 A Gunner's Reflection of Fireforce in Rhodesia' by Beaver Shaw. All because the book has yet to be published and will be privately published by the author in the second quarter 2010; so there is no review available - info from http://www.booksofzimbabwe.com/store3/erol.html

Hope this helps.

Beaver Shaw's book soon to be published will be a good read to be sure perhaps should be read after Group Captain Petter Boyer's book "Winds of Destruction". I have found that book excellent and it filled in gaps in my knowledge about matters which at my level in those times I was not on the "need to know" list for. (ISBN 141201204 or http://www.amazon.com/Winds-Destruction-PJH-Petter-Bowyer/product-reviews/141201204X) or in UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Winds-Destruction-Autobiography-Rhodesian-Combat/dp/0958489033
I read Beavers blog from time to time because it is also interesting even though its purpose seems to be to promote his book (I will be buying a copy anyway).

As to the MP3 download yes I see there seems to be a problem. 123 downloads at 31 MB at a time and now maybe free site has switched it off. If there is somewhere else to upload the six parts to be housed I can do that.

JMA
04-02-2010, 09:54 PM
Thank you for your great informetions and insight.

As a long time lurker of this council I've been infected by Jcustis interest in Rhodesian bush war and I'm trying to find time enough to read all the books ans docs collected (I've found a good copy of Ron Daly Sealous Scouts! ).

I'd like to inform you that the link that you have provided is not working.

I obtain a 0 byte file.

Is it just me?

v/r

I have uploaded Part 1 to the following:

http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/4/2/2814579//3CdoFireForce1976-01.mp3

There is a 1 Gig download limit so first come first served. Let me know if it works and then we can make a plan with the other 5 parts.

JMA
04-03-2010, 08:00 PM
Which is why most units in Iraq and Afghanistan made or make extensive use of vehicles -- lots of vehicles, usually four to six per infantry platoon -- especially issued in excess of normal allowances to generally preclude foot patrols where they are inappropriate.

OTOH, in urban areas and in some mountainous areas as opposed to generally open area, some foot movement is desirable or necessary

The problem in Afghanistan in particular is in the areas of the nation with terrain that is largely mountainous but does have occasional broad valleys. The lack of roads and a conscious and deliberate decision by the US not to use tracked vehicles means that some insertions of infantry units by truck or helicopter are going to occasionally have to cross open ground. More common is foot movement in the mountains themselves where vehicle movement is not possible.

If you have solutions to those two problems, we'd be glad to hear them...

I don't claim to have solutions but I do have comments. When I read some of this stuff bells start ringing and lights go on.

It is pointless patrolling open ground on foot or by vehicle unless the enemy are to be found sitting in the open ground.

If one assumes that movement on foot in the open is merely to cross what the commander sees as a "danger area" and where some degree of tactical maneuver procedure is applied then OK. To sweep through open ground is plain ridiculous.

Vehicles. What good is a vehicle 'patrol' confined to a road which gives many minutes of advanced noise warning to the enemy to clear the roads and standby to fire the IEDs? Crazy.

As a 2Lt I learnt this first hand. Not by getting shot up thank heavens but through the futility of it all. (I wish I could attach images to illustrate my point). I spent days patrolling commercial farmland for signs of insurgents having being briefed off a 1:50,000 map. On the ground all the arable land was plowed and at that time fallow. The only areas of bush were rocky outcrops and low lying river lines. The rocky outcrops were in the main surrounded by open plowed land. (yes giving good vision of any approach but effectively trapping insurgents in the 'island' of bush - later during fire force operations where insurgents made such serious mistakes it resulted in a turkey shoot) the river lines likewise allowed for movement only in two directions - up stream of down stream and we always approached from upstream. I started marking up my maps with all the clear areas and bushy areas where there was some potential for a base camp and handing them in during post patrol debriefings. I was wasting my time. It was about the same time I met a young pilot in the officers mess who had recently finished and air recce course and after I told him my frustrations he told me straight out that it would take him a few hours to 'clear' what had taken me days of patrolling to achieve. I was wasting my time. I wanted to go up with him and see what he saw.

It did not take long for us to get a list of possible camps from these recce pilots and would visit them one by one with the fire force to tick them off one way or the other. The success rate got better as the pilots learnt more and especially when the next day they were taken to the sites to briefly walk the ground to convert what they saw with mark one-eyeball into the reality on the ground. Of course nowadays he could take a night flight over the area with a terminal imaging camera to take a look. It would need some interpretation to ensure we were not going to put an attack in on a herd of cattle (we did a few of those - the troopies loved them as we normally took the cow home to roast on the fire - we call it a braaivleis). So effectively blind routine foot and vehicle patrols were not only dangerous but also pretty pointless and not a productive use of resources.

We could still use the roads as the mines were not command detonated. The Pookie was a wonderful little vehicle which detected landmines. On one move at night to collect patrols along the road running West from Victoria Falls we picked up two landmines which we would otherwise have hit either on the outward journey or on the way back. I guess the insurgents sitting and watching from the North bank of the Zambezi were disappointed their efforts came to naught. Now if they were able to detonate the mines on command it would have been a different story. So if you ask me whether it is sane to travel on roads where at any place and at any time some guy with a cell phone can blow you to hell and back... it is not. You just have to make a new plan to get around.

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:01 PM
Which is why most units in Iraq and Afghanistan made or make extensive use of vehicles -- lots of vehicles, usually four to six per infantry platoon -- especially issued in excess of normal allowances to generally preclude foot patrols where they are inappropriate.

OTOH, in urban areas and in some mountainous areas as opposed to generally open area, some foot movement is desirable or necessary

The problem in Afghanistan in particular is in the areas of the nation with terrain that is largely mountainous but does have occasional broad valleys. The lack of roads and a conscious and deliberate decision by the US not to use tracked vehicles means that some insertions of infantry units by truck or helicopter are going to occasionally have to cross open ground. More common is foot movement in the mountains themselves where vehicle movement is not possible.

If you have solutions to those two problems, we'd be glad to hear them...

What would be the typical purpose of a vehicle patrol?

Few roads all in the valleys littered with IEDs...

There may be cases where for inexplicable reasons a resupply has to take place via road in a high IED risk area and that takes one back to the Portuguese in Mozambique and their monthly resupply runs which were normally at walking pace and experienced an ambush or a mine incident virtually every time. Like lambs to the slaughter.

I do agree to a large extent that the military has a 'duty of care' towards their men. I believe that the families of troops killed by IEDs should explore their legal options...

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:26 PM
... -- just do not presume that your experience in one war translates well to others. Every war is different. While there are timeless tactical principles that can generally be applied, there are no guarantees that they can always be applied. Or that they'll always work. It is also dangerous to assume from fragmented reporting and a position of less than full knowledge that what appears to have happened actually did happen; often the actuality is totally unlike the initial reports...

Worst thing about wars is not everyone will do it your way. Troops learn that, so they adapt and cope -- just like you did. These kids aren't stupid, they, like you did, are doing what they have to do the best way they can.

Yes exactly, every war is different and that is why historical establishment and equipment tables from some past war, doctrine strategy and tactics from some past wars and all predicated on a very different enemy in very different terrain conditions should be carefully scrutinised and radically changed if necessary.

Simply forcing troops to reinvent the wheel themselves with experience paid for in blood is not in my opinion an intelligent approach nor morally, ethically or even legally defensible.

It is seldom up to the 'kids' to change things that lies with the generals and the colonels. The question is how many 'kids' must die before the generals and the colonels to ring the changes?

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:39 PM
... one may have to cross open ground on foot or by vehicle to get from one's current location to the possible location of the evil enema. What then?Well, we can agree on that. That answers my question and trashes your objection, though... :... While I certainly agree with your statement and I'm sure many folks in Afghanistan also agree, there are times when one has to cross open areas; there are times when one has to travel on roads that are highly probably going to have mines or IEDs. .

By any definition open ground is classed as a 'danger area' which requires tactical maneuver and the positioning of troops/weapons in positions ready to provide covering/supporting fire immediately they be needed. In any war, in any terrain, in any theater it is surely poor/weak/incompetent leadership not to select lines of advance so as to avoid 'danger areas' and if unavoidable to use appropriate tactical maneuver to prevent troops being caught in open ground by enemy fire.

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:58 PM
Or he's out of his mind pissed off that he's risking being shot to walk across the battlefield screaming at someone to get down so he doesn't get hit.

Schmedlap hit it in that the modern Army dismounted teams are trained enough to know when to get down and/or find cover without being told.

There are references above to companies being pinned down. I'm not sure from what war those references are from, because the US Army (and I'm thinking the Marines also) haven't maneuvered companies in a situation to be pinned down in a very long time.

I asked the question earlier somewhere as to whether "crack and thump" demonstrations are a regular part of training and the answer was for the best units yes, for the rest maybe.

So now in a situation where whole raw units are brought in at the same time for a 'tour of duty' it is likely that the vast majority of the soldiers have had no combat experience. So how would they have the experience to know what constitutes 'effective enemy fire' and what constitutes the odd stray or way off target round passing overhead?

It must surely be a concern that raw troops can decide for themselves when to take cover or even open fire (when not at very close range) ... and yes that IS the corporals job being to command his section and not just look after himself. Surely?

JMA
04-05-2010, 11:46 AM
Our training isn't great (In my opinion) but it is adequate; you asked about crack and thump training -- in US usage that is purely a technique for range estimation. It was taught in WW I and until post Viet Nam -- the ranges in Viet Nam were so short and the number of weapons being fired in most fights made it ineffective. It is often be taught in units and as you inferred, good units will do it and as units go through cycles due to personnel turnover, most are good at one time or another. It may be taught in institutional training now, they've added a bunch of stuff in the last few years. I doubt it, a real fire fight doesn't pose much need for it though it is handy for scouts and to estimate range to artillery or mortars.

So you asked about an esoteric technique which has some value but not enough to warrant spending initial entry time on it for the value derived.

Not sure mediocrity should ever become acceptable... under any circumstances.

Yes well I should have elaborated. Yes the basic 'crack and thump' takes you only so far. (probably as far as the fieldcraft manual envisaged). Here is what the Canadian fieldcraft manual states:


CRACK AND THUMP

24. When a bullet passes near, one hears two noises: first, the crack of the bullet passing, then the thump of the weapon being fired. The crack is heard before the thump because the bullet travels faster than sound. The thump indicates the direction of the weapon. The
distance to the weapon can be estimated by timing the interval between the crack and the thump. The further away the weapon, the longer the interval between the crack and the thump. The time between the crack and thump at the following ranges is:

a. 300 metres — 2/3 of a second;

b. 600 metres — 1 1/3 seconds; and

c. 900 metres — 2 seconds.

25. Judging the distance to an automatic weapon is slightly more difficult. The last crack and the last thump must be picked out in order to establish the correct automatic weapon range. If the distance is great and the bursts are short, all the cracks of one burst will be heard, followed by the thumps.

Now having found that we needed to train troops in understanding and correctly reacting to the 'crack' we had to take this a stage further and beyond what the fieldcraft manual narrowly envisaged.

Follow this quote from Nick Downie - Brit SAS trained turned war TV camera man. (Who incidentally worked with Lord Richard Cecil the journalist killed while covering operations in Rhodesia:


The standard tactic when 'assaulting' a known or suspected guerilla position is the sweep-line method described above. The advance is carried out at a slow walk, with little or no prophylactic fire, and, unless there is a particularly sinister-looking piece of scrub, the men depend on good observation and fast reactions. If anything moves, or they glimpse a patch of clothing, they will fire perhaps five or six aimed shots, or, in the case of a machine-gunner, a one-second burst. These contacts take place at a range of between two and ten yards. The killing is usually done by one man alone, although occasionally the next man in the line will join in if he too can see the target. As someone opens fire, everybody else pauses. The ones nearest the firing may flinch at the sudden noise, but most of the others do not even turn their heads.
The sweep-line waits while the body is checked and the weapons removed, and the advance then continues at the same measured pace. Once an enemy presence is confirmed, the Rhodesians continue sweeping back and forth until they are certain that all the guerrillas are either dead or have escaped.

Look at the bold type. It was important for all troops to be absolutely comfortable with the type of 'crack' and when the 'crack' indicated something personal. Clearly we could not accept ever man jack deciding when he felt like taking cover and opening fire. It was all about control and discipline and the stick commanders from L/Cpl to Lt had to enforce that. When more than one stick was joined together to sweep an area (normally under a sgt or officer) it was even more important to keep the line straight and maintain the impetus of the advance.

How did we carry out this training? I can only speak for myself.

The textbook crack and thump dem was carried out under basic training to teach first the crack and thump sounds and then to judge distance to weapon based on the interval and then to try to locate the shooter by the location of the thump. That was done.

What we needed to our troops to be able to differentiate between was the differences of crack from our weapons and theirs AK / RPD. Easy lie on the shooting range or in the bush and have those weapons fired over your head. This with the variant of shooting from very close but not directly over ones head to note the difference (in other wards note yes a weapon has been fired at close range but not at you.)

To indicate when it had really become personal we fired over the heads of troops at probably not more than two foot. Starting with high shots and working down closer until the 2 ft 'experience' when yes the soldier could start to dance around without having been ordered to do so.

OK, so part one, to differentiate between their weapons and ours. Two, at close range is the fire in your direction or in someone else's. If not in your direction hold your ground. And three when it moves from a sound to a 'sensation' then he can take the appropriate action.

To us on Fire Force where contact was made at extremely close ranges this training was vital, as said, to keep the line straight and maintain the impetus of the advance.

This training however would be valuable to all infantrymen likely to come into contact with the enemy.


What you did not ask about was live fire training, of which we do a great deal, in initial entry institutional training, in unit sustainment training and heavily in pre-deployment training as well as in refresher training conducted in theater. I suspect US troops fire far more than most armies and there's plenty of training wherein the troops learn to diffrentiate near and far misses from the thud of a hit -- even if they don't do crack and thump routinely to ascertain the approximate range to a fired weapon...

I made a note to avoid this topic with you because of the comment you made which seemed to accept a 1-2% casualty rate during training.

Yes there will be some unintended positive consequence arising from live firing exercises. (depending on the type of firing done)

I my case It was a specific outcome that was required and therefore the training was tailor made to achieve the desired aim.

Which unit, which army shoots more or less is unknown to me. We shot a lot despite being continually on operations and enjoying plenty of action.


It is not a concern to me that troops can decide for themselves -- occasionally with a little NCO assistance -- to seek cover; in fact, I wouldn't have it any other way. You have to give troops responsibility, no need to treat them like children. We tend to value life so we encourage taking cover then deciding whether one needed to do that. It takes about two firefights for the average person to sort that out properly. As they say, it isn't rocket science . It would concern me a great deal if NCO direction was constantly needed on that and other basic skills. In a real firefight, there's way too much noise and confusion for commands to be heard so the troops have to know what to do. We do generally get them to that point before deploying them.

That is obviously a personal opinion.

I couldn't find the US doctrine online and wasn't prepared to pay for a copy of the Brit manual so I settled for the Canadian manual which is available online.

Lets go to Section Battle Drills : Battle Drill Two - Reaction to Effective Enemy Fire (page 5-2-4):


Execution. Effective enemy fire in this situation is enemy small arms fire which would cause casualties if the section continued on its course.

9. Sections must continue the advance in spite of the noise of fire directed at someone else and regardless of stray rounds amongst them. Most soldiers instinctively drop to the ground when under fire. This action is generally wrong because the enemy usually opens fire when a target is in a place offering little or no cover. The best course is to react effectively, as taught in this battle drill.

So it is then agreed (subject to confirmation through sight of the US doctrine) that the 'every man for himself' any time he likes is generally not a good idea. We on the same page now?

I could go on here Ken but I do believe that it is you who is out of step with the doctrine.

To turn your other argument on its head we had a very low casualty rate with a very high kill rate. The doctrine worked, it was not negotiable and the young kids were able to hold their nerve.

JMA
04-06-2010, 04:04 AM
Ters allowing a sweep-line to roll them up like that is of course every infantrymen’s dream. I’d like to think that if I was the wearer of that patch of clothing, I wouldn’t be waiting for the sweepline to shoot first. And once that sweep-line becomes established SOP, more competent ters will come up with appropriate ambush techniques.

Also, continuous air support with choppers overhead (and low) is probably not something that many other foes would passively endure, even ignoring availability. Blackhawk Down anyone?

That’s not to devalue your/Rhodesian experiences and tactics. I think I can safely say that most here are fairly impressed with it; I know I am. And there is bound to be a lot that can still be learned from it. But again…..context.


Yes and no. The simple point of departure is that the sudden violent envelopment of the contact area by the fire force trapped, separated and maybe isolated the insurgents.

Only the K-Car overflew the contact area at a height of 800-1,000 ft. Sure it was fired on often and often hit but because of the green tracer one was able to get a good idea from where the fire was coming from (or the ground troops could assist with the location). Once located the ‘brave’ man who fired on the aircraft was history in seconds (the 20mm HE saw to that). So by a process of natural selection the ‘brave’ died first and the fleetest of foot and the ones who crawled into a hole and hid there survived. After the initial contact sweeps of the area would locate those hiding away and then it was not always a simple ‘turkey shoot’ if he was seen he was dead. If he fired from very close range when he realised he was about to be found he was dead too, but could take one of us with him. The third possibility was that they just lay there. Dead already from the gunship? Paralysed by fear? I don’t know. All I know is that a desperate man with an AK at 2-5 metres can be pretty lethal.

We tried to keep the trooping-choppers away from overflying the contact area. Where that failed and they overflew a group they would get seriously shot up. One chopper got 56 hits, the tech/gunner took three bullets as did the one other passenger and the pilot protected by his armoured seat got minor Perspex fragments in his face and just made a 'hard' landing back at base.

Often the initial contact was ferocious. With the K-Car engaging opportunity targets and the first callsigns on the ground getting into punch-ups straight away. As I said once all the ‘brave’ guys had been accounted for the sweeps were often merely mopping up the contact area to find those not yet accounted for.

If you listen to that Fire Force tape you will see in part 6 almost two hours into the scene the group is finally cornered by the sweep line and they bolt into a stop group with predictable results. Up to that point the concern was that they had got away.

On Op Dingo (the attack on the Chimoio base housing 4,000) the ten K-cars all had hits from small arms and some from anti-aircraft gunfire with one pilot being shot through his helmet and having his forehead grazed. The pilots stayed on station some joisting with the AAA and others having a turkey shoot. One troop carrying chopper was damaged and limped back to the admin base and the 6 para Dakota aircraft were taken on by AAA while running in for the drop. The book by Group Captain Petter-Bowyer “Winds of Destruction” is essential reading. We got 1,200 kills that day for 2 KIA and six wounded. While in any mans language that is a turkey shoot there were moments when things got pretty hairy.

The bottom line is that the Allouette III chopper could take hits so the crews donned flak jackets, stayed overhead and did the business. We had good days when we had a turkey shoot and then we had bad days when we had to earn our pay and sadly lost some friends along the way.

The other important factor was that we accounted for some 84% of insurgents contacted on fire force. These included virtually all the ‘brave’ guys and didn't leave too many ‘leaders’ left to figure out what to do next time.

Chris jM
04-06-2010, 06:42 AM
...the sudden violent envelopment of the contact area by the fire force trapped, separated and maybe isolated the insurgents.


Please excuse my ignorance in this theatre JMA, I have only read Chris Cock's book on the subject and even then have some trouble recalling the way the fire-force tactics worked.

I'm interested in how you guys enveloped a target. A quick internet search tells me that a four man 'sweep' element would be positioned by the K-car as a cut-off. Was this ever done as a standard drill, i.e. a first wave isolates the target by deploying into a cut-off prior to an assault, was this reactive or was the deployment of a cut-off dictated by situation?

JMA
04-06-2010, 09:06 AM
Yes and I was 95% through a lengthy response when my computer crashed. So Ill try again tomorrow. Sorry.

The quick answer is that I do not have a strong position either way over this issue based on calibre only.

We used the 7.62 x 51mm and they used the 7.62 x 39mm which we called long and intermediate respectively.

I was not able to carry out or get sight of any test results indicating the wound ballistics differences between the two.

We did some tests with claymore mines some of which were locally made using ballistic clay but to me such tests would be important when deciding on a weapon for use in a theatre. We really did not have much of a choice but I was not unhappy with the hand we were dealt.

In fact the penetration dems we put on from time to time to prove to troops that our weapons were superior were never absolutely convincing to me one way or the other.

To me the knock down effect of the FN was a big plus. You hit him once and know you got him good. None of this ‘he keeps on coming at you’ stuff. Then again our guys when hit by an AK would go down too.

We had no weight problem with the FN and the ammo that I can remember. The FN weight was fine and we (again my commando) did not allow slings and did “Pokey Drill” (rifle dexterity drill ) everyday after muster parade.

100-200 rounds of ammo was no problem either for young fit and reasonably strong men.

I had no issue with the weight or the length of it but found that we had to make sure that the correct butt length was issue to riflemen.

Can’t remember any stoppage issues either. Maybe when you know you are going to have to use the thing you damn well keep it clean.

I carried a G3 for a short while as a test and had no strong opinion one way or tuther except that it seemed to come in one butt length (or maybe the ones we got for trial did).

I carried an AK on a few special ops and found it a bit ‘light’ after the FN. Also I noted that the change lever (safety catch) was on the wrong side of the weapon and that the first click was auto which may account for why the first shots were uncontrolled bursts going way to high. Seems the thinking is the TB like to fire on auto or is it that they fire after the first click? (which is understandable).

The SAS carried the RPD as the MG of choice so maybe they have more light to shed on the matter which hopefully would be a decision based on more than just the weight issue.

We (my commando) did not want to mix up weapons so as to prevent not being able to identify whether it was friend or foe firing. I have recently seen a photo of other RLI paras before an op where one had an RPD, so clearly not everyone agreed with our position.

We loved the MAG… and the gooks feared it (as a number of interrogation reports confirmed).

If there is any music in war it is the sound of bursts of 2-3 rounds from a MAG with the gas set low.

At twice the weight of the RPD theMAG certainly delivered.

A platoon and in our case a troop was broken down into callsigns of four called ‘sticks’. In 1973 we still had 5 man sticks as the choppers could carry 5 pax. After the added weight of the armoured seat and the fact the Alouette III pulling too much power at the average altitudes they settled on 4 man sticks. So there was no tactical or operational reason for the use of 4 man sticks. (thought that might be interesting).

We carried one MAG per 4 man stick. So the standard 9 man section divided into to sticks one commended by the section commander (corporal) and the other by the lance corporal. The platoon commander and platoon sergeant picked up there sticks from the pl HQ element and any extras from the sections. So theoretically a standard infantry platoon would have 8 MAGs (2 per section and two in Pl HQ – it gets a little confusing with the RAR [Rhodesian African Rifles] as they had the post of Platoon Warrant Officer – a kind of WO3 position.)

The RAR also loved the MAG I remember the case of 5 sticks of RAR being attached to one of the fire forces and out of the 20 that arrived there was 13 MAGs. There we have an illustration of the psychology o that weapon. The positive psychology of that 20 man sweep line having 13 MAGs and the negative psychology of being on the receiving end of that fire power.

In knowing your enemy we knew that when operating against groups of insurgents always outnumbering us we had to take the initiative right from the first seconds through a high volume of fire. The MAG helped to achieve this. With well trained troops when coming under effective enemy fire we tend to take cover and get our heads down. With the other lot when they got freaked out they would jump up and take off. That is exactly what we wanted and those that were not instantly killed became gunship fodder as they ran.

I did training on the Bren in 1973/4 and found it to be fine. The argument I think had by then advanced to being between magazine fed and opposed to belt fed. The decision had already been taken to phase it out so I was not even considered.

In the fire force context the MAG was nearly always fired from the hip unless static in a stop position. Some of the big boys were known to fire it from the shoulder from time to time. One of my gunners a Scotsman (ex-Scots Guards) used to load a 100 round belt (2x50) when on fire force as I used to get him to clear the bush ahead of us when necessary and I suppose also to let any lurkers know what’s coming their way. He wrapped the belt over his left arm somehow.

So effectively we needed the firepower down to stick level.

What if no MAG available per stick? Then I would go for 2 x RPD per stick.

Gunners carried 500 rds as standard and on other ops we would up it and share out the extras. Depending on the type of op we would up it to 800 or 1,000 rds.

Did training on UZI and Sten in 1973 but neither were ever considered a contender. Did see some police carrying them, mainly the UZI, but maybe if needed in house clearing or whatever a folding but AK would have done the trick. (just an opinion)

Finally I had the unfortunate experience when on a scene and was sent to sort a sniper out and the approaching 40 man sweep line had not be warned. As we went into reorg the sweep line took us on and get your head down took on a whole new meaning (10 MAGs firing). Holy s**t! From then on I could understand how and why the gooks just up and took off when under intense fire.

They hit my gunner in the arm but thankfully that was all. That we survived was probably due to the need for those troops in the sweep line to have another Drake Shoot to improve their bush shooting.

That’s it for now.

JMA
04-06-2010, 09:25 AM
Please excuse my ignorance in this theatre JMA, I have only read Chris Cock's book on the subject and even then have some trouble recalling the way the fire-force tactics worked.

I'm interested in how you guys enveloped a target. A quick internet search tells me that a four man 'sweep' element would be positioned by the K-car as a cut-off. Was this ever done as a standard drill, i.e. a first wave isolates the target by deploying into a cut-off prior to an assault, was this reactive or was the deployment of a cut-off dictated by situation?

Yes Chris' book is a good troopies eye view of matters.

But this article with a view diagrams will help you to understand things a lot clearer.

http://www.jrtwood.com/article_fireforce.asp

Also once read download this MP3 file and listen to a recording of part of a fire force call out. Only the commander (c/s 39) and the aircraft transmissions can be heard.

http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/4/2/2814579/3CdoFireForce1976-01.mp3

Enjoy

davidbfpo
04-06-2010, 07:32 PM
The new member JMA has added many posts on another thread, so please visit there:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=9942&page=8

I have now (18th April 2010) copied most of the posts in the above thread to this thread. Some may appear a little out of order.

JMA
04-07-2010, 12:05 PM
Being able to pass the APWT was proven to have no benefit to shooting conducted under stress. This was confirmed by trials. Most empirical evidence seems to indicate that a "good enough" standard of shooting is all that is required.

I look at it this way. If a soldier can't group (from the prone position) 5 rounds within 4 inches @ 100m or 1 inch @ 25m then you do two things. You fire his instructor and take his weapon away and issue him with a machette.

All he will do is make the contact area more noisy and be a greater danger to you than the enemy.

Once qualified to marksman level in the equivalent of APWT then the real training can begin.

Remember there is basic training and recruit training and then there is ETS training (exercise trained soldier). In most armies the basic training does not flow directly into being inserted into unit already in a war situation.

In Rhodesia we did and that made the training people get a lot smarter. And in many instances the training instructors were NCOs rotated out of ops to do the training and subsequently were 100% operationally current.


There's sub calibre devices, TPTP rounds, and today you even have simulators.

OK, but that is not live firing. So can we agree then that the live ammo allocated to training will be fired by the selected crews who in turn are probably selected as a result of using the other stuff?


Well IIRC Moltke said that in war only the simple succeeds. My whole point is to keep it all very simple. My take is to massively reduce "musketry" to simple operational shooting skills and spend the rest of the time and budget on the other platoon weapons.

Ok, lets agree on the basics here and they are , aiming , holding, breathing and squeezing. Once this is mastered at the 'entry level' say by score a 4" group @ 100m etc etc then we introduce light variation, moving targets, making the shooter out of breath before having to shoot etc etc. What goes and what stays and what gets added?

But yes... I think I can see where you are coming from. More kills are propably made by weapons other than rifles and so concentrate on where the difference will be made.

JMA
04-07-2010, 12:50 PM
Concur. Reducing hand held dispersion is the basis of all else. If he can hit a Fig-11 5-second exposure, at 150m, from standing, firing as many rounds as it takes to get 1 hit, I'm happy as well.

B'Ezrat Ha Shem! Yes, we agree.

There was at one time a raging debate in Rhodesia over the "one aimed shot" school of thought and the "double tap" school. In the end I just said to my guys to do what works for them.

What about a Fig 11 moving zig-zag at 50m?

What about jungle-lane shooting?

JMA
04-07-2010, 01:26 PM
My experience on Jungle Lanes is that one aimed shot does not work. If the one aimed shot misses, you are going to need to do another very quickly.
Rapid multiple shots seems to work much better. "FFF" "Fire till the F**ker Falls.

Another issue I have with "jungle lanes" is that what you are doing in them, has to work within the Contact Drill SOP you are using.

"Rapid multiple shots" equals... a series of single shots... or a series of double taps?

My biggest worry with jungle lanes was that they were one at a time per instructor. Too time consuming.

We tried to get 'stick' jungle-lanes going but found location, safety and that they were pretty quickly 'shot out' almost insurmountable problems.

Maybe just settle for one objective and that is the shooting training with the appropriate post engagement response as in "take cover" with the instructor acting as the stick or section commander.

davidbfpo
04-11-2010, 10:56 AM
There are several threads on the Rhodesian experience (Posts x and Views) and I have locked up all the others adding a note in the last post to use this thread:

Counterinsurgency in Rhodesia (43; 7.5k): http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=868

New Book and DVD on the RLI (10;1.5k):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7853

Selous Scouts (7; 1.5k): http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=6013

Rhodesians at War (1; 1k):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=3564

Rhodesian Cover or Drake Shooting (5; 1.2k):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2464

Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements (2;4.3k):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2467

Outside the Africa Forum are numerous threads where 'Rhodesia' appears and I've added a few here:

MAJ Ehrhart - Increasing Small Amrs Lethality in Afgh. :http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=9942

Vertical envelopment and the IED :http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=9473

Greys Scouts/cavalry in modern small wars:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=3407

An Interview with Peter Godwin (re BSAP & COIN):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=8683

IIRC a number of book reviews appear too, but I suspect most books on Rhodesia appear in these threads.

davidbfpo
04-11-2010, 12:07 PM
Yesterday I watched a newly purchased DVD 'Rhodesia Remembered' made by the RLIRA (UK Branch), which can be ordered via the RLI website:http://rhodesianlightinfantry.org/ Note available in the RSA and UK, so unsure if it will work on US VD, although the cover says 'All Regions DVD'.

The DVD has three parts: RLI History, The Trooper (Laying up RLI Colours and unveiling statue) and The Nkomo Assignment.

In the later Lt.Col. Ron Reid-Daly, who moved from the RLI to create the Selous Scouts and an ex-RN helicopter pilot Mick Borlace, who flew in the RRAF and became an undercover agent, talk generally about the scouts.

At one point Reid-Daly refers to the increasing flow of nationalist guerillas into Rhodesia ended the flow of intelligence, provided by the BSAP SB and ground cover, so the scouts were born (I shall have to check my books on this point). Then adds words similar to '68% of the kills involved the scouts'. A figure I don't recalls seeing before; Jon C, Rhodesian, JMA and others any comment?

Rhodesian
04-12-2010, 03:52 PM
David, this one is a hornets nest lol!

Mmmm . . . yes . . . being acutely aware of the friendly rivalry between the RLI and the Selous Scouts on the one hand, the Selous Scouts and Special Branch on the other, and with the Airforce demanding a fair bite of this particular cherry too, this perhaps is an area where an “angel” should fear to tread!

While the Scouts deserved their fine reputation (I'm fishing for more beer here), they were regarded by everyone other than an ex Selous Scout as being “just” another edge of the sharp-pointy-bit at the tip of a far bigger intelligence driven Rhodesian “spear.” Special Branch (SB) were regarded generally as the brains behind the Scout effort, so perhaps it could be argued that SB should take the larger credit for the “68 percent”? This thought pleases my two ex-SB friends a lot, and gets me lots of beer. It does however leave my other very large and formerly very hairy friend feeling a little unhappy . . .

And whatever the real figure, of the “68 percent” of kills that may or may not have involved the “Selous Scouts,” the vast majority of those were either offed by the RLI, or the side-mounted 20mm canon of a Rhodesian Airforce K-car, as too were a good chunk of the remaining 32 percent that had no Scout involvement at all. The Airforce will of course swear to you that they were responsible for a HUGE number of kills . . . . . especially inside other peoples countries, but as I was once bombed by them I generally dispute this unless they are buying, in which case I agree with everything they say.

Whatever the truth, I get drunk a lot.

On a more serious note, “Uncle Ron,” founder of the Scouts is not very well at the moment, so banter aside I'd like to add that he is greatly admired and respected by many, and we wish him well in his present, and probably his greatest fight.

I.R.

JMA
04-12-2010, 11:10 PM
Zealot66,
I am aware that some Rhodesians after 1980 concluded 'external operations' did not help in their war.(A bigger topic so I shall stop there).


Who might these Rhodesians be?

Graycap
04-13-2010, 10:30 AM
Thank you JMA!

Downloaded right now.

Everything works fine.

JMA
04-13-2010, 01:44 PM
Thank you JMA!

Downloaded right now.

Everything works fine.

Great. Just shout if you need a translation.

Part 2 is here:

http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/4/2/2814579/3CdoFireForce1976-02.mp3

JMA
04-13-2010, 01:45 PM
Yesterday I watched a newly purchased DVD 'Rhodesia Remembered' made by the RLIRA (UK Branch), which can be ordered via the RLI website:http://rhodesianlightinfantry.org/ Note available in the RSA and UK, so unsure if it will work on US VD, although the cover says 'All Regions DVD'.

The DVD has three parts: RLI History, The Trooper (Laying up RLI Colours and unveiling statue) and The Nkomo Assignment.

In the later Lt.Col. Ron Reid-Daly, who moved from the RLI to create the Selous Scouts and an ex-RN helicopter pilot Mick Borlace, who flew in the RRAF and became an undercover agent, talk generally about the scouts.

At one point Reid-Daly refers to the increasing flow of nationalist guerillas into Rhodesia ended the flow of intelligence, provided by the BSAP SB and ground cover, so the scouts were born (I shall have to check my books on this point). Then adds words similar to '68% of the kills involved the scouts'. A figure I don't recalls seeing before; Jon C, Rhodesian, JMA and others any comment?

Lets accurately define the claim. It is claimed that 68% of all kills internally were as a result of call outs initiated by Selous Scout call signs on the ground or by action of the Selous Scouts themselves.

It would have been simple matter for the Scouts to tally up all Fire Force kills where their call signs had initiated the call out and add them to their kills from other actions and work the percentage against the daily totals for the whole country. 68% is not really able to be challenged by anyone who does not have the stats in front of them.

Further stats issues. The Scouts kept record of their call-outs and the results. For example if they called out the fire force on a group of say 20 terrs and the result was 16 or 17 kills then the kill rate was between 80-85%, for the RLI. Their view was certainly they wanted a RLI Fire Force to react to their call outs, often requesting confirmation of the address group of the Fire Force responding.

In addition the kill rate in contacts where Fire Force was not involved was 18.5% and as a simple comparison the Brit SAS in Malaya achieved a kill rate per contact of 13%.

We have touched on matters relating to these stats elsewhere but we probably need to mention that there was another successful method of locating the enmy camps and that was through air reconnaissance using the good old mark 1 ‘eyeball’. A few ‘naturals’ emerged the most notable being Cocky Beneke, an Air Force pilot, who its appears was advantaged by a minor colour vision defect to see under the tree cover what other pilots could simply not. A number of successes resulted from a small but skilled number of recce pilots.

JMA
04-13-2010, 03:18 PM
Yes Chris' book is a good troopies eye view of matters.

But this article with a view diagrams will help you to understand things a lot clearer.

http://www.jrtwood.com/article_fireforce.asp

Also once read download this MP3 file and listen to a recording of part of a fire force call out. Only the commander (c/s 39) and the aircraft transmissions can be heard.

http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/4/2/2814579/3CdoFireForce1976-01.mp3

Enjoy

Not sure how much following that link clarified matters for you.

The envelopment of a target area was often not quite that. If the Fire Force comprised a K-Car and 3 G-Cars (3 x 4 man sticks) with 20 paras (5 x sticks) following the a Dak (Dakota-DC3) one could rarely seal off an area. The trick was to get a complete and detailed briefing from the call-sign on the ground and select the likely escape routes given the line of approach of the aircraft. The troops in the para-Dak would then be dropped in a cultivated field somewhere close by and ferried in closer by chopper. The Allouette III was great as it could get into a tight LZ and you had to get the pilot, the fuel line or the tail rotor to really put it on its ass.

There was a lot of skill required by the Airborne Commander and the K-Car pilot (the senior pilot) to work the deployment to its best tactically.

I never heard of the paras being dropped in a stop line on the ground where they stayed. It always required movement or ferrying to get into position. And the need for paras was only there because there were not enough choppers to lift enough troops in.

Later in the war there was a increase in the number of choppers through South Africa sending in (I think) 27 choppers and crews so the 'Jumbo' Fire Forces were established (jumbo only in the Rhodesian context) with two k-Cars and 5 G-Cars each with a para Dak (DC3) and two Lynx (Cessna 337 Skymaster) aircraft. The second K-Car was normally what was termed and alpha-fit where insted of the 20mm cannon there were four .30 Browning MGs side mounted. The alpha-fit was actually more lethal than the 20mm cannon because when there was tree cover the rounds would explode on contact with very little resulting penetration and when the ground was soft the rounds would penetrate fractionally before exploding with the resultant limited shrapnel spread. (A 7.62mm minigun would be similar to the alpha-fit)

Chris jM
04-15-2010, 12:23 AM
Not sure how much following that link clarified matters for you.


Thanks for the link/s JMA - that and the content on the related RLI thread provides a lot of good info. I need to read more about the entire period to get an understanding of it though - I still am very ignorant of the guerrilla situation, tactics, aims etc so my current knowledge of fire-force tactics is rather flimsy. It will require a few more books for me to make get to grips with the how's and why's of the war.

Sylvan
04-15-2010, 04:44 PM
Not sure how much following that link clarified matters for you.

The envelopment of a target area was often not quite that. If the Fire Force comprised a K-Car and 3 G-Cars (3 x 4 man sticks) with 20 paras (5 x sticks) following the a Dak (Dakota-DC3) one could rarely seal off an area. The trick was to get a complete and detailed briefing from the call-sign on the ground and select the likely escape routes given the line of approach of the aircraft. The troops in the para-Dak would then be dropped in a cultivated field somewhere close by and ferried in closer by chopper. The Allouette III was great as it could get into a tight LZ and you had to get the pilot, the fuel line or the tail rotor to really put it on its ass.

There was a lot of skill required by the Airborne Commander and the K-Car pilot (the senior pilot) to work the deployment to its best tactically.

I never heard of the paras being dropped in a stop line on the ground where they stayed. It always required movement or ferrying to get into position. And the need for paras was only there because there were not enough choppers to lift enough troops in.

Later in the war there was a increase in the number of choppers through South Africa sending in (I think) 27 choppers and crews so the 'Jumbo' Fire Forces were established (jumbo only in the Rhodesian context) with two k-Cars and 5 G-Cars each with a para Dak (DC3) and two Lynx (Cessna 337 Skymaster) aircraft. The second K-Car was normally what was termed and alpha-fit where insted of the 20mm cannon there were four .30 Browning MGs side mounted. The alpha-fit was actually more lethal than the 20mm cannon because when there was tree cover the rounds would explode on contact with very little resulting penetration and when the ground was soft the rounds would penetrate fractionally before exploding with the resultant limited shrapnel spread. (A 7.62mm minigun would be similar to the alpha-fit)

30mm is the soft sand is having the same problem. While wonderful for top attack on armored vehicles, a M134 would be much better for what we find ourselves doing now.

JMA
04-15-2010, 08:22 PM
30mm is the soft sand is having the same problem. While wonderful for top attack on armored vehicles, a M134 would be much better for what we find ourselves doing now.

What incidence of stoppages are found with the M134?

With the Alpha-fit (4 x .30 Brownings) if one gun had a stoppage it was not the end of the world as the remaining three were still pretty good. With the 20mm if it had a stoppage then you had nothing.

davidbfpo
04-18-2010, 10:55 AM
I know there are a number of Rhodesian history sites, a few appear scattered in the threads and this link came via BSAP History email: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?134312-Rhodesian-Bush-War-Phtotographs

It is mainly a collection of photos, with copies of contemporary articles from SOF magazine and elsewhere. There are hundreds of photos and I've only dip sampled a few pages.

baboon6
04-18-2010, 03:55 PM
There is also this site, the New Rhodesian Forum:

http://www.newrhodesian.net/

davidbfpo
05-06-2010, 10:18 PM
This is a small privately published book, Own Goals: national pride and defeat in war: the Rhodesian experience, by Roger Marston. It is available via Amazon: UK link:http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1899820817/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_imgand USA:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1899820817/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

Attached is my review. I open with:
Roger Marston’s short book (193 pgs) is a good read and as Zimbabwe marks thirty years of independence the passage of time has enabled a fuller picture of what happened to Rhodesia. It will be difficult reading for some, not just Rhodesians, but those who admire her military performance – in a bloody insurgency campaign (1971-1979).

Closing with:
For me the author is on less certain ground when he writes in the concluding chapter ‘So what?’ that other settler countries need to learn those lessons – Israel and the USA. It would be an interesting subject for staff college discussions – the “ghost” of the last Rhodesian military commander, General Peter Walls, lives on today in Western COIN campaigns, discuss.

JMA
06-09-2010, 10:13 PM
This is a small privately published book, Own Goals: national pride and defeat in war: the Rhodesian experience, by Roger Marston. It is available via Amazon: UK link:http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1899820817/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_imgand USA:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1899820817/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

Attached is my review. I open with:

Closing with:

David, I have ordered this book and will comment once read. Do you believe his comments are supported by in depth research?

davidbfpo
06-12-2010, 10:03 PM
David, I have ordered this book and will comment once read. Do you believe his comments are supported by in depth research?

JMA,

Yes, I first met the author a long time ago when I was looking at Rhodesian history.

JMA
06-23-2010, 01:55 PM
JMA,

Yes, I first met the author a long time ago when I was looking at Rhodesian history.

I have got it (in ebook form) read it and its twaddle (sorry to say).

Will do a review for amazon over the next week.

Why I asked if you knew this guy was that I had a hunch that he was carrying some psychological baggage from his time back in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and reading his screed seems to confirm it. Sad to see he has been lecturing at Sandhurst for many years. Hope not in any critical area. He seems to have decided on his opinion and then pulled some snippets out of history to supposedly prove his point. Would have failed the exercise where I come from by situating the appreciation. Not good at all.

davidbfpo
06-27-2010, 11:01 AM
In the last few days some posts have appeared on What is presence patrolling? about the Rhodesian Fire Force concept and body counts. Specifically posts: 158, 161-165. Note the last refers to a Fire Force concept evaluation exercise in North America currently.

I decided to create a new thread: Moving the Rhod. Fire Force concept to Afghanistan and please check there: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=10742.

Rhodesian
06-30-2010, 05:41 PM
Sirs

As an ex-RLI Trooper, too naughty to promote, I'm hoping I may add a few thoughts from the bottom of the pile on the Ant Farm? We had an interesting experience at the end of the Rhodesian war, when the Brits arrived to check that we weren't scaring the general population with our fierce looks, just before that farce of an election held in 1980. We were very impressed with the Hercules transports you all showed up in, but couldn't work out the logic of placing a giant white cross on the nose of the aircraft so that everyone, including a peasant with a rifle, had something nice and visible to aim at. And we aimed at your white crosses a lot . . . When the Rhodesians politely suggested (ahem), that sticking such an obvious aiming point on the front of said aircraft was perhaps not wise, and that perhaps it should rather be on the tail so that anything aimed at it will whizz behind the moving Herc, the surprising response was, “Don't tell us what to do, we have flown all over the world.” This incident became rather infamous inside Rhodesian circles as an “obvious” sign that the “Brits don't really know what they're doing.”

I raise the point, again if I may, for the following reasons. It seems to me that while the Big Ants here are busy having a “Who's got the Biggest . . ” discussion, poor Johnny Bravo seated at the rear of your pretty Hercules has had his life placed at greater risk, because of the wanton stupidity of someone who didn't think about where to paint his white cross, and then wouldn't admit his mistake. It also seems to me that the discussion on Fire Force and why it isnt happening in Afghanistan has equally gone the way of the Herc - We got the cross in the wrong place, we wont admit it, we wont move it, and when questioned we'll use words like, “It wont work, it cant be done, it costs too much, what cross are you talking about, what's a helicopter, and who the £*$! cares about little Johnny Bravo anyway?”

Rhodesians were great at kill rates, and bloody awful in the Hearts and Minds department. In fact the only thing we knew for certain about Hearts and Minds was how to shoot them. This aside, if we are discussing the relevance of the application of over-whelming vertical force within the Afghan theatre etc, then Fire Force was a good example of how to up a kill rate. Rhodesian culture is what made Fire Force work. While you lot plonked sanctions on us, our country grew to have the second largest industrialized economy on the African continent. Our dollar was worth US2.00 at the end of the war! The same ingenuity that made the economy do amazing things was applied to how we do everything else, including how Fire Force was designed to meet our needs, using what we had available. We are a “can do” people, when faced with a problem we “Make a Plan” (words that form a saying we use), we are of Pioneering stock, reinforced by British, yes British, and Dutch, and German, and French and even Portuguese skills and ingenuity, and we are taught from a very early age to look for simple solutions to problems and not to get overwhelmed by the sight of the problems themselves. A lot of the discussion held here is coming from people who “have flown all over the world,” telling everyone, some in a sarcastic manner, why FF wont work, cant be done, it's too scary, it might kill people, its really gonna annoy the ROE inspectors, and we might even get rockets fired at us etc. Also with genuine respect, Rhodesia had plains, and mountains, and caves, and green zones, and so on and so on (I actually found the pics really interesting, thank you, looked like Bulawayo . . . I hated Bulawayo!) We worked in many similar environments, including the nasty thick stuff inside Mozambique, and we would get dropped at the top of the hills, not on the open ground of the plains. Did you really think we were idiots? Actually, attacking terrs hiding in caves was a Rhodesian sport . . . but I digress,

May I humbly suggest, and again without sarcasm or any intent to embarrass, that perhaps leaving the cross where it is, and re-engineering the entire Hercules so that the cross magically appears where the tail used to be is also the wrong way to go? And may I ask on behalf of little Johnny Bravo the following:


How long are you going to make me drive around in a snatch landrover, or patrol with no expectation of an air-strike within 45 minutes, nor have any chance of a quick uplift in the event that I get hurt?
When can I expect to be able to direct 20mm canon fire to within 5 meters of my own position if needed and on very short notice?
When will I be able to call in an air-strike from a light aircraft that goes everywhere I go, buzzes around for hours, and attacks within minutes of my request being made?
When can we expect Terrence to discover that fighting aggressively merely gives his position away, and that he will be quickly surrounded and so severely smacked from all directions that he thinks twice about being naughty again?
When, God forbid, can I expect to be Medevacked (Casevacked) and flown off to see a pretty nurse within 7 minutes of receiving my injury?
And when will some of the Big Ants accept that Rhodesians fixed many of YOUR obvious problems just with what they had, without over-engineering the solution, without fancy kit, and all of this well over 30 years ago?

I am sorry sirs, but it's embarrassing to see all the hand wringing from those who have “flown all over the world.” China, YOU PUT YOUR £$%^&* CROSS IN THE WRONG PLACE. FIX IT!

Ken White
06-30-2010, 06:51 PM
SirsBut I'm not and was not a sir -- I did get promoted -- but only 'cause I managed to stay alive all over the world before and after there was a Fire Force. Still never got to the 'sir' level... :D
the surprising response was, “Don't tell us what to do, we have flown all over the world.” This incident became rather infamous inside Rhodesian circles as an “obvious” sign that the “Brits don't really know what they're doing.”Surprising and disappointing display of arrogance and willful ignorance (as opposed to real ignorance). Brits are bad about that, so are we Americans all too often. No excuse for that, shame on 'em.
...Fire Force and why it isnt happening in Afghanistan has equally gone the way of the Herc - We got the cross in the wrong place, we wont admit it, we wont move it, and when questioned we'll use words like, “It wont work, it cant be done, it costs too much, what cross are you talking about, what's a helicopter, and who the £*$! cares about little Johnny Bravo anyway?” Could be. I don't see it that way but discussion boards are an imperfect communications medium. I missed anyone saying any of those things, particularly that last and there are enough people here who have worried about a bunch of Johnny Bravos and are worrying about them as we comfortably write back and forth on a board to make that a comment in rather poor taste .
This aside, if we are discussing the relevance of the application of over-whelming vertical force within the Afghan theatre etc, then Fire Force was a good example of how to up a kill rate.Totally agree but I don't think we were. Rightly or wrongly, that hearts and minds BS permeates UK and US society and political thought -- and therefor, military action. Now. Hasn't always been that way and likely will not be at some time in the future, everything goes in cycles...

Our emphasis, no matter how misplaced, is not on the kill rate for most of the force. For that small part where that is emphasized most of your concerns are met but no more details make it into print than did some Fire Force or other Rhodesian actions at the time of the ops, that all tumbles out later.
Rhodesian culture is what made Fire Force work.Excellent point and I totally agree. No question about it. Be nice if modern western types had some of those attributes. Unfortunately, times and mores change and we mostly -- not all -- don't nowadays. Kids from Liverpool and Los Angeles are not going to react the same way nor are senior Army types from Surrey or Kansas. That doesn't even address the fact that you guys did a great job of cutting the BS and bureaucracy to fight an existential war while we are flooded with an almost Byzantine bureaucracy, BS in ten pound bags and fighting, lackadaisically, a minor war of choice. We don't have to be there and most everyone knows it. That makes a difference. A huge difference.:(
A lot of the discussion held here is coming from people who “have flown all over the world,” telling everyone, some in a sarcastic manner, why FF wont work, cant be done, it's too scary, it might kill people, its really gonna annoy the ROE inspectors, and we might even get rockets fired at us etc.I didn't see all that much sarcasm but agree with rest -- only pointing out that the guys who would have to do it (except for the helicopter jockeys who really do tend to worry with good cause about RPGs up tail pipes) are not the ones who have those concerns; it's their nominal civilian bosses back in the States and Whitehall. I didn't see any suggestions re: what to do about that...
LIST {omitted}... I am sorry sirs, but it's embarrassing to see all the hand wringing from those who have “flown all over the world.” China, YOU PUT YOUR £$%^&* CROSS IN THE WRONG PLACE. FIX IT!I won't respond to your list by item. I will merely point out that what you folks did in one war against one enemy in one place at one time in one set of circumstances was great, it really was. However IMO trying to apply it almost verbatim to another war fought by other people with differing political rules and parameters in another time and place is just as surprising and disappointing a display of arrogance and willful ignorance (as opposed to real ignorance) as were the RAF with their crosses.

Rex Brynen
06-30-2010, 10:38 PM
We were very impressed with the Hercules transports you all showed up in, but couldn't work out the logic of placing a giant white cross on the nose of the aircraft so that everyone, including a peasant with a rifle, had something nice and visible to aim at.

Perhaps that might have been because a white cross was the agreed recognition symbol for Operation Agila (http://www.riv.co.nz/rnza/tales/subritzky5.htm), the Commonwealth ceasefire and elections Monitoring Force in Rhodesia?

http://www.britains-smallwars.com/RRGP/Agila/Subs8.jpg
http://www.britains-smallwars.com/RRGP/Agila/Subs17.jpg
http://www.britains-smallwars.com/RRGP/Agila/Subs12.jpg

Since the reason for having the symbol was so that locals wouldn't fire on aircraft and vehicles, there's every reason to have it on the nose--where it hopefully gets seen before they fire--as well as on the tail, where it gets seen after they've shot. :wry:

Rhodesian
06-30-2010, 11:08 PM
Since the reason for having the symbol was so that locals wouldn't fire on aircraft and vehicles, there's every reason to have it on the nose--where it hopefully gets seen before they fire--as well as on the tail, where it gets seen after they've shot.
I remember a Brit Bobby on a truck ranting, "They cant do this, they cant do this," just after his vehicle got rocketed and shot up by a few terrs who didnt bother with things like "agreed recognition symbols." We armed him after that, at his request :)

JMA
07-01-2010, 09:32 AM
Sirs

As an ex-RLI Trooper, too naughty to promote, I'm hoping I may add a few thoughts from the bottom of the pile on the Ant Farm?

Howzit?

Was in your 2 Cdo in ’73 then after commissioning was in 3 Cdo. Good to see you still have the same fire in your belly which made the RLI what it was.

Of course it hurts bad that even though we killed them as fast as they pushed the cannon fodder over the border we were overtaken by the political events of the time.

When Carter was elected in the US the Brits saw their chance to slap down this little rebel state that had declared UDI and humiliated Britain in the eyes of the world and especially the Afro-Asian block. Back to the war.

As to Hearts and Minds the RLI had very little opportunity to do that stuff from about ’77 onwards as it was either fire force ops or external ops and patrols on Mozambique and Zambia. And of course the kind of troopie who gravitated to the RLI was not the type to hand out sweeties and soccer balls anyway.

The Rhodesian fire force kill rate was magnificent especially when we finally concentrated our helo resources and created the Jumbo fire forces with 2 gunships, 5-6 troopers, a Dak and two Lynxs. While we culled them like it was going out of fashion remember too that we lost 31 of our own in 1979 alone. We took the weapons and left the bodies and probably understated the kills as there was no longer a point to prove. The Selous Scouts pseudos relied on body count as they got a bounty per dead gook. Good luck to them.

Sanctions were a great motivation in that it brought innovation in the military as well in in commerce, manufacturing, mining and agriculture. In the Air Force they were fabulous with what they achieved. The locally made bombs (Golf-bomb, Alpha-bombs and the Frantan (napalm) were outstanding weapons and yes they worked with the South Africans on much of this. We in the army had to make do with what we had and what a victory it was when I managed to get 8 H-frame Bergens issue to the commando so when we did patrols in Mozambique we had a decent pack to carry our stuff. My first set of chest webbing was put together by the cobbler at the QM store based on SKS webbing a gook no longer needed with FN pouches he stitched on. Then before you know it Faraday’s was selling chest webbing and before we knew it we were the only army who bought their own webbing from Camping Supply Shop in downtown Salisbury.

The fire force as a concept is the application of the principles of war; Surprise, Offensive Action, Concentration of Force and Cooperation, all suddenly and violently on one small piece of terrain occupied by the enemy. To achieve this we used helos as a gun-platform and as means of delivery troops into contact. If there were 10, 15, 20 gooks or more sitting in one place the idea was to involve them all instantly in the contact through being engaged by airstrikes while the troops were put on the ground to close with and kill them.

In Rhodesia we used what we had and adapted to our situation in terms of terrain and enemy and went for maximum kills per contact. In another theatre such as Afghanistan there may be other means of achieving the same aim. Sadly it appears that they have more (politically imposed) constraints that hinder many possible tactical application of the fire force concept. Yes there are the faint hearted among them that may even be secretly happy that these constraints are in place. But you can be assured that there are plenty plus US and Brit kids as young as we were back then who would be up for a modern fire force version even more violent due to the weapons and stuff available today. And like in our day there will be plenty of young helo pilots who will take their chances with RPGs as our young pilots did back then.

One assumes that there is a nice reward for RPGs being handed in by the locals and surely masses of booby trapped RPG rockets (explode on firing) are being fed into the Taliban supply chain?

What one needs to sift through at this stage is whether respective militaries are champing at the bit under these political restrictions or are at least some happy and secretly thankful to take cover behind these restrictions?

The Taliban have got this thing sewed up. The ROE are such that there is no possibility of a re-run of the Rhodesian Style fire force in Afghanistan. Not going to happen as long as they have got this hearts and minds thing so ballsed up. And yes its irritating to hear people go on about the RPG as if it is the greatest weapon ever invented. But speare a thought for the US Joe and the Brit squaddie who are probably just as keen as you or I to get stuck in. We could, they can't.

But you are correct in a number of things. Back then in the lates 1970s we were far ahead of the game in terms of many aspects. CAS in those days was C.L.O.S.E. People don't believe it today when you say you called in an 19 gal Frantan (naplam) strike at 20m, then with a 37mm SNEB strike the "twirler" lands safely behind you. The yes then the 5m away 20mm gunship strike puts some shrapnel in the ass of one of your riflemen from a tree burst. So don't expect too much appreciation of how close was close back then. But remember that the guys who put that strike right on the button time after time were youngsters like you and I whose dad had probably flown Spitfires for the Brits during WWII.

We were 20-30 yerars ahead on individual medical training and casevac because we had to be. Did you know that I went through our old 3 Cdo 1977 photo with Chris Cocks the other day and we found that fully 34% of the people in that photo had been either KIA or seriously wounded by the end of the war. We had to get the medical side right. Remember too that the added value in a quick casevac was to get the rest of the callsign back into the contact ASAP. Head wounds, sucking chest wounds and arterial bleeding needed immediate attention on the ground but for the rest, get them on a chopper and out of there. Funny thing about contacts where we took casualties. Seemed we took very few prisoners on those days.

Ken has some wise words on this. I'll try to translate into English for you. Correctly he states that Rhodesians were fighting for the very existance of their country, their way of life and everything they held dear. It was the end game. That is why Rhodesian 18 year olds were able to pull enormous reserves of courage and endurance and innovation from within to achieve such results against seemingly impossible odds. This is not the same for the troopies in Afghanistan.

Oh yes, the monitoring force. In 3 Cdo we knew just how to welcome them to Rhodesia. See below the 3 Cdo welcome at Kotwa airfield 1980.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4074/4751662180_7bdee902ff.jpg

baboon6
07-01-2010, 11:55 AM
. But you can be assured that there are plenty plus US and Brit kids as young as we were back then who would be up for a modern fire force version even more violent due to the weapons and stuff available today. And like in our day there will be plenty of young helo pilots who will take their chances with RPGs as our young pilots did back then.



Correctly he states that Rhodesians were fighting for the very existance of their country, their way of life and everything they held dear. It was the end game. That is why Rhodesian 18 year olds were able to pull enormous reserves of courage and endurance and innovation from within to achieve such results against seemingly impossible odds. This is not the same for the troopies in Afghanistan.



Aren't you contradicting yourself here? Are you implying US and UK soldiers in Afghanistan aren't trying their best within the political and tactical constraints they are operating under?

The point it's not just the ROEs or the motivation (which I doubt is lacking), many people in this thread have pointed out technical and tactical reasons too. The way you go on about it you would think you guys had invented the wheel or something. Fireforce was obviously very effective at that place and time, but again as others have pointed out other militaries have used variations on the theme before eg. the US Army Eagle Flights and USMC Sparrowhawk forces in Vietnam. Helicopter-borne quick reaction forces have been used in Iraq and Afghanistan too, obviously not quite in the same way.

Finally, while Rhodesia operated under some major disadvantages, as Wilf posted above you had some advantages too- operating on your own territory, able to gather intelligence far more easily, without the constant and sometimes debilitating scrutiny of the politicians and media, without the need to keep a coalition of nations together, without the need to satisfy the whims of a host/client government. There are certainly lessons to be learned from the Rhodesian experience, and you are undoubtedly correct about some of the major mistakes the NATO governments and militaries have made. But we've been through this numerous times before.

Rex Brynen
07-01-2010, 02:10 PM
While I don't want to divert this thread into a political discussion, it is worth pointing out that, in at least two ways, the high Rhodesian kills rates achieved against ZANLA and ZIPRA were politically problematic.

First of all, the military success achieved against black nationalist guerillas appears to have blinded many in the the Rhodesian government to what had been perfectly obvious since 1965: that, in the end, the Rhodesian experiment with white minority rule was doomed to eventual failure. By delaying the point of implementing one person, one vote it ended up weakening Rhodesian negotiating power (which would have been far stronger in, say, 1967 than it was at Lancaster House, by which time Rhodesia had become almost universally reviled). At the same time the war actually strengthened ZAPU and ZANU relative to other potential political forces in the country (much as the wars in Vietnam, Algeria, Mozambique, or Yemen strengthened the Viet-Minh, FLN, Frelimo, and NLF/YSP).

Second, Rhodesia's external operations—while hugely successful in a narrow military sense, with kill rates of up to 3000:2 in Op Dingo—also served to weaken rather than strengthen the country's international position, and thereby increased external pressure. Certainly those in the international anti-Apartheid movement at the time saw them as a political godsend, facilitating efforts to paint Rhodesia as a rogue, racist state.

While there's no doubt that ISAF ROE could be tweaked in a variety of useful ways, the political reality is that if ISAF started racking up similar kills rates, greater civilian casualties, and conducting major raids into Pakistan it would have the effect of undermining US domestic and international support for the counterinsurgency, weaken Karzai, alienate Pakistan, and probably increase Taliban recruitment rates. As Wilf and Ken are inclined to remind us, the military is an instrument of policy, and wars are fought in a context. There's no point undertaking operations that win battles at the cost of losing the broader political-military struggle.

On a side issue, might I also suggest that we start referring to the black Zimbabweans killed in the war as ZANLA, ZIPRA, "black nationalist guerillas," or something else a little more appropriate than terrs and gooks? SWJ has always frowned on the use of "gooks" for the Viet-Cong, "ragheads" or "hajis" for Iraqis or Afghans, "wogs" in the former British Empire, "kaffirs" for blacks, "stücke" or "figuren" for Jews and gypsies, etc,—regardless of whether such derogatory terms were in common use in theatre by the troops of the day.

tequila
07-01-2010, 02:40 PM
Also, despite the Fire Force's high kill rates, wasn't the rate of infiltration towards the end of the war far exceeding this rate? Didn't this lead to the effective abandonment of most of the countryside to the insurgents by 1978, and indeed this was simply recognition that the insurgents had already broken down Rhodesian government authority in those areas?

If any of this is inaccurate, please let me know.

Ken White
07-01-2010, 03:11 PM
Yes there are the faint hearted among them that may even be secretly happy that these constraints are in place. But you can be assured that there are plenty plus US and Brit kids as young as we were back then who would be up for a modern fire force version even more violent due to the weapons and stuff available today.True -- and not just the kids, many of the older people as well. However, I think you answered your own question:
What one needs to sift through at this stage is whether respective militaries are champing at the bit under these political restrictions or are at least some happy and secretly thankful to take cover behind these restrictions?Some of the latter, many of the former. So it has always been. In every Army.
People don't believe it today when you say you called in an 19 gal Frantan (naplam) strike at 20m, then with a 37mm SNEB strike the "twirler" lands safely behind you. The yes then the 5m away 20mm gunship strike puts some shrapnel in the ass of one of your riflemen from a tree burst.A lot of folks from Viet Nam can recall Nape right on top of their position and 2.75 Rockets spewing Nails at them. They'll all believe you.
Ken has some wise words on this. I'll try to translate into English for you. Correctly he states that Rhodesians were fighting for the very existance of their country, their way of life and everything they held dear. It was the end game. That is why Rhodesian 18 year olds were able to pull enormous reserves of courage and endurance and innovation from within to achieve such results against seemingly impossible odds. This is not the same for the troopies in Afghanistan.That's noty exactly what I said. In your case the NATION was committed to an existential war. In our case today that is not true; quite the opposite, it's a war many object to and that affects what the Congress, the civilian policy makers and even the senior military leadership can do. The troop capability to do good things is little diminished and that only insofar as western society has changed in the last 40 years.

The kids will do what they're allowed to do and chafe because they cannot do more.:(

Forty years? Wow! you're old... ;)

Steve Blair
07-01-2010, 03:12 PM
There are also parallels to the 9th ID's operations in lower III Corps and IV Corps under Julian Ewell in '68 and '69. Ewell shifted his division to a heavy use of H&I fires, night helicopter operations (to include snipers and .50 caliber MGs on the birds), and sweeps (both riverine and land-based) that relied on heavy firepower. It was also widely rumored (and confirmed on a couple of occasions as I recall) that he rated his subordinate commanders (battalion and up) based on their body count reports. As a result, the 9th ID's kill ratios climbed, but the number of recovered weapons (considered a better indicator of enemy casualties by many) dropped drastically. Ewell ended up defining his operations based on what he called the exchange ratio (friendly losses versus reported hostile KIA numbers) and goes into this in some detail in Sharpening the Combat Edge (http://www.history.army.mil/books/vietnam/sharpen/index.htm). Some reports referred to the division HQ as "bloodthirsty" and obsessed with body counts.

Ken White
07-01-2010, 03:27 PM
OTOH, the Brigade I was with in '66 had two brags. They had not been in their Base Camp in over 300 days and they had a higher weapon count than body count. Different strokes...

Unfortunately, body counts can get get corrupted in the name of propaganda. Oops. I mean PsyOps, Information Warfare, Influence Operations or something... :wry:

When I went back in '68, I was visiting a nearby unit's TOC and noticed a Body Count of 800 some of and a Weapon Count in the low hundreds. I asked some skeptical questions and got what amounted to a shoulder shrug. The idea really got corrupted by us in Viet Nam and thus it is a no-no for us today. However, Ewell was right -- so was JMA -- in that the ratio is the important thing. Today, the troops keep score, even if units do not. :cool:

William F. Owen
07-01-2010, 03:46 PM
While I don't want to divert this thread into a political discussion, it is worth pointing out that, in at least two ways, the high Rhodesian kills rates achieved against ZANLA and ZIPRA were politically problematic.

First of all, the military success achieved against black nationalist guerillas appears to have blinded many in the the Rhodesian government to what had been perfectly obvious since 1965: that, in the end, the Rhodesian experiment with white minority rule was doomed to eventual failure.
While UDI was strategically pointless, it must be remembered that the white Rhodesian government enjoyed so much support from the UK population as to make military action against Rhodesia, impossible. Thus the Government policy that followed was for a negotiated transition to majority rule.

From a military standpoint what the Rhodesian Army's successes did was force ZANLA and ZIPRA to recognise they could only win via massive conventional military action. Lancaster House was convened to prevent the war escalating to a state that would have forced external intervention - certainly from the UK and external raids by the Rhodesians had crippled the economies of all the states harbouring and supporting ZANLA/ZIPRA.

Now the viability and even the reality of a ZANLA/ZIPRA conventional invasion is very debatable, but the Rhodesian Army ensured the the cost of a guerilla campaign was unacceptably high, and progress unacceptably slow - thus talks were the only option. What military action ensured was a negotiated peace and not a forced one - which is what the armed insurgency sought.

Pete
07-01-2010, 03:49 PM
But I'm not and was not a sir ...
In similar situations some American NCOs have been known to say, "Don't call me sir, my parents were married."

Steve Blair
07-01-2010, 03:55 PM
However, Ewell was right -- so was JMA -- in that the ratio is the important thing. Today, the troops keep score, even if units do not. :cool:

True enough, but you also need to consider which ratio you're looking at.

Rex Brynen
07-01-2010, 04:35 PM
Now the viability and even the reality of a ZANLA/ZIPRA conventional invasion is very debatable, but the Rhodesian Army ensured the the cost of a guerilla campaign was unacceptably high, and progress unacceptably slow - thus talks were the only option. What military action ensured was a negotiated peace and not a forced one - which is what the armed insurgency sought.

Wilf, I'll have to disagree somewhat on your take here--both in terms of what Smith originally hoped to achieve through UDI, and whether ZAPU and ZANU saw a negotiated transition to power as somehow second-best to a forced one.

Much of ZANLA's political mobilization and force-in-waiting strategy through the 1970s was precisely predicated on the view that either through military exhaustion or external pressure, the Rhodesian government would eventually either collapse or be forced to step down, at which point a combination of ZANU preparations and its larger Shona political base would allow it to triumph over ZAPU. There was no reason to see negotiations as a the second best way of doing this—on the contrary, by the late 1970s Mugabe and Tongogara were generally convinced by the argument (especially made to them by Samora Machel) that a military victory risked bring South Africa into the war in an even larger way, and that a negotiated route to power (legitimated by African and international support) was the safer bet.

This, of course, is exactly what happened.

Note that I'm not saying that ZANLA didn't attempt to inflict the maximum possible casualties on Rhodesian forces (and even civilians). I am saying that they believed, correctly, that their military power gave them political advantages too, and that the Lancaster House route was a perfectly acceptable way of securing victory.

In my view, Smith would have got a better deal in the late 1960s and early 1970s (pre-Altena Farm) than by the late 1970s. However, with Rhodesia having the upper hand militarily in the initial years after UDI, there was little incentive to negotiate--resulting in a worse outcome later. That's why I argue that Rhodesian military success on the battlefield came at a cost in terms of political and diplomatic common sense.

JMA
07-01-2010, 07:13 PM
Aren't you contradicting yourself here? Are you implying US and UK soldiers in Afghanistan aren't trying their best within the political and tactical constraints they are operating under?

You don't seem to understand the fundamental difference. Perhaps you can let me in on your active service background?

Even the South African troops who served in Angola were unable to connect the dots as to exactly how their efforts there were protecting their families and their homes in South Africa itself.

As far as the Brits are concerned there are not many left who believe their military efforts in Afghanistan actually translate into safer streets in the UK.

So let me try again then, do you see the motivational difference between a soldier fighting a war for the very survival of his country, his way of life and his family and friends and that of a squaddie who squeezes a 6 month tour of Afghanistan into an otherwise busy schedule of other military stuff?

JMA
07-01-2010, 07:14 PM
While I don't want to divert this thread into a political discussion, ...

Then don't Rex.

JMA
07-01-2010, 07:21 PM
In reference to CAS.


A lot of folks from Viet Nam can recall Nape right on top of their position and 2.75 Rockets spewing Nails at them.

I suggest what I am saying is how close the CAS target actually was. Not necessarily narrow escapes from off target ordinance.

The Cessna 337 was good for us in that it carried light ordinance that allowed effective delivery at very close safety tolerances.

baboon6
07-01-2010, 07:36 PM
You don't seem to understand the fundamental difference. Perhaps you can let me in on your active service background?

Even the South African troops who served in Angola were unable to connect the dots as to exactly how their efforts there were protecting their families and their homes in South Africa itself.

As far as the Brits are concerned there are not many left who believe their military efforts in Afghanistan actually translate into safer streets in the UK.

So let me try again then, do you see the motivational difference between a soldier fighting a war for the very survival of his country, his way of life and his family and friends and that of a squaddie who squeezes a 6 month tour of Afghanistan into an otherwise busy schedule of other military stuff?

I do understand the difference but how do you measure how hard someone is trying? Are they trying 10% less hard? 20%? When soldiers are actually at war (as opposed to back home) aren't political considerations less important? The governments clearly aren't putting all the effort in but I don't how you can claim that for the people on the ground. I've never claimed any active service.

JMA
07-01-2010, 07:40 PM
From a military standpoint what the Rhodesian Army's successes did was force ZANLA and ZIPRA to recognise they could only win via massive conventional military action. Lancaster House was convened to prevent the war escalating to a state that would have forced external intervention - certainly from the UK and external raids by the Rhodesians had crippled the economies of all the states harbouring and supporting ZANLA/ZIPRA.

Now the viability and even the reality of a ZANLA/ZIPRA conventional invasion is very debatable, but the Rhodesian Army ensured the the cost of a guerilla campaign was unacceptably high, and progress unacceptably slow - thus talks were the only option. What military action ensured was a negotiated peace and not a forced one - which is what the armed insurgency sought.

There were plans to take out all the strategic bridges in Zambia and Mozambique that would have been used in a conventional invasion.

Op Manacle was the name of the Op for the Mozambican bridges and was first in line. But on the 15th November 1979 during the Lancaster House Talks there was a switch and the go ahead was given to take out the Zambian bridges which effectively put ZIPRA out of the war.

As the rush was on to prepare for the Mozambique part of the op the word came through from London that the cease fire had been signed and all external ops were terminated.

The thinking has been since then that the switch was orchestrated by Carrington who had 'influence' over Bishop Muzorewa to take ZAPU out of the equation and open the road for Mugabe. "Ours not to reason why..."

JMA
07-01-2010, 08:00 PM
Also, despite the Fire Force's high kill rates, wasn't the rate of infiltration towards the end of the war far exceeding this rate? Didn't this lead to the effective abandonment of most of the countryside to the insurgents by 1978, and indeed this was simply recognition that the insurgents had already broken down Rhodesian government authority in those areas?

If any of this is inaccurate, please let me know.

OK, this is not something that can be dealt with in a sound bite. (Wikipedia does not always tell the whole story ;)

Rhodesia never had the troops to hold all the ground. There had been a debate for years over why the military should concentrate on the vital ground and strategic communication routes and carry out raids into areas of no tactical importance through a combination of Selous Scouts and RLI fire force actions. So yes there were some areas which they could have termed "liberated areas" but we could go in there whenever we wanted and had the troops to do so. So they got relaxed and then we went in and killed a few hundred then moved on.

From the government authority point of view no rural police station was ever closed down. Schools were closed as teachers were killed or intimidated. Cattle dipping ceased, clinics closed and it all went back to nature.

Later in 1979 there was a push by ZANLA certainly to get as many insurgents into the country as possible for pre-election activities. But at the same time Bishop Muzorewa's militia was starting to have an effect in the rural areas which had no real strategic value. There were about 10,000 of them out there and there were numerous contacts between them and ZANLA.

Then of course you may be aware that the southern edge of Rhodesia and the adjacent portion of Mozambique were being taken care of by South African troops. Took the local farmers a while to realise why these Puma helos were flying around in their areas.

Interesting little war where they did a lot of the right (political) things too late to make the required difference.

JMA
07-01-2010, 08:13 PM
I do understand the difference but how do you measure how hard someone is trying? Are they trying 10% less hard? 20%? When soldiers are actually at war (as opposed to back home) aren't political considerations less important? The governments clearly aren't putting all the effort in but I don't how you can claim that for the people on the ground. I've never claimed any active service.

Maybe someone else can give a better explanation than I?

I will say that there are many times in these little wars where your resolve is tested. After a hard day where friends were CASEVAC'd and you are standing-to at last light (when the flies have gone and before the mosquitoes arrive) when to get to think things through.

Please take my word that you will know how hard people are trying when you are out there in front and never have to look behind to see where you men are. You know, you just know the difference between the 'committed" and the "this is not worth dying for" crowd.

tequila
07-01-2010, 08:14 PM
Later in 1979 there was a push by ZANLA certainly to get as many insurgents into the country as possible for pre-election activities. But at the same time Bishop Muzorewa's militia was starting to have an effect in the rural areas which had no real strategic value. There were about 10,000 of them out there and there were numerous contacts between them and ZANLA.


So by 1978, were the insurgent zones of control expanding or fading? Sure, perhaps they could not or did not contest RLI or Fire Force incursions, but since the RLI did not bother to contest control of the population, what did it matter?

William F. Owen
07-02-2010, 05:06 AM
Note that I'm not saying that ZANLA didn't attempt to inflict the maximum possible casualties on Rhodesian forces (and even civilians). I am saying that they believed, correctly, that their military power gave them political advantages too, and that the Lancaster House route was a perfectly acceptable way of securing victory.

I would 110% agree. As the IRA used to say, "ballot box in one hand, Armalite in the other." They used violence to create the conditions in which the policy might be set forth - which it eventually was.
Mugabe was trained by the Chinese. The Chinese teach Clausewitz - but never admit it. Mao was a Clausewitian!

The Rhodesian Army's actions just ensured increasing cost to ZANLA and forced an international dimension in terms of a negotiated settlement and internationally observed cease fire. Two things that would not have happened if they hadn't had some success.

davidbfpo
07-02-2010, 08:52 PM
I have moved the posts from No.108 to here from the thread on 'Moving Fire Force concept to Afghanistan' and hopefully they make sense.

Link:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2090

Rex Brynen
07-02-2010, 09:08 PM
The Rhodesian Army's actions just ensured increasing cost to ZANLA and forced an international dimension in terms of a negotiated settlement and internationally observed cease fire. Two things that would not have happened if they hadn't had some success.

Yet they could have had those thing many years earlier, arguably under much better conditions--but didn't, because the Rhodesian Army was so successful that Smith couldn't see the writing on the wall.

And there lies, IMHO, the paradox of Rhodesian counterinsurgency.

davidbfpo
07-03-2010, 10:00 AM
Rex,

You wrote just:
Yet they could have had those thing many years earlier, arguably under much better conditions--but didn't, because the Rhodesian Army was so successful that Smith couldn't see the writing on the wall.

At several points in post-UDI Rhodesia, before the war took hold, the senior military commanders did visit Ian Smith, urging him to change his stance in negotiations as Rhodesia was in such a strong position it could make concessions and each time Ian Smith said no there was no need to.

The first time Ian Smith's confidence was punctured was Henry Kissinger's visit in 1976, when a presentation was given by the USA on all aspects of the situation and in particular that the war was not winnable. By that time "taking the gap", falling re-enlistment rates and lack of resources were all having an impact. The Rhodesian military were also astonished that so much had been learnt, much of it from satellite imagery, SIGINT etc.

JMA
07-03-2010, 11:51 AM
Yet they could have had those thing many years earlier, arguably under much better conditions--but didn't, because the Rhodesian Army was so successful that Smith couldn't see the writing on the wall.

And there lies, IMHO, the paradox of Rhodesian counterinsurgency.

Rex, I am fascinated by your take on this. What is your source if I may ask?

JMA
07-03-2010, 02:09 PM
Rex,

You wrote just:

At several points in post-UDI Rhodesia, before the war took hold, the senior military commanders did visit Ian Smith, urging him to change his stance in negotiations as Rhodesia was in such a strong position it could make concessions and each time Ian Smith said no there was no need to.

The first time Ian Smith's confidence was punctured was Henry Kissinger's visit in 1976, when a presentation was given by the USA on all aspects of the situation and in particular that the war was not winnable. By that time "taking the gap", falling re-enlistment rates and lack of resources were all having an impact. The Rhodesian military were also astonished that so much had been learnt, much of it from satellite imagery, SIGINT etc.

Don't forget that the first wake-up call was the coup in Portugal in 1974. Who could have predicted that? The shock wave was also felt in South Africa as Angola now opened up access to SWA/Namibia for SWAPO/PLAN.

Then you focus on the supposed "gee-whizz" electronic stuff when you forget (or don't mention) that Smith agreed to the Kissinger Agreement of 1976 (probably only after South Africa threatened to cut off all financial and military aid if he did not) and went to the Geneva Conference to sign the agreement only for the Brits under the Chairmanship of that hopeless incompetent Ivor Richard to collapse like a wet paper bag before the increased demands of the nationalists and the OAU.

davidbfpo
07-03-2010, 05:57 PM
JMA,

My comments on the Rhodesian military and advice to Prime Minister Ian Smith are based on conversations with several Rhodesian officers. IIRC some books also refer to this, but I cannot cite sources - except didn't Ken Flowers mention it? For the new to Rhodesia readers Ken Flowers was the ex-policeman who headed Rhodesia's external agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and somewhat controversial.

The comment on the Kissinger presentation in 1976 is based on wider conversations with politicians and the military, plus an academic who watched the situation. Again IIRC I think the reaction is shown in some books.

You refer to:
the supposed "gee-whizz" electronic stuff.

My recollection is that the USA did not pay great SIGINT attention to the region, although more after Portugal's exit and after the Soviet-Cuban arrival in Angola. What surprised the Rhodesian military was the extent of US understanding of their problems, for examples the exit dates for serving career officers and who was who in operations from monitoring car parking at headquarters. Some Rhodesians thought some, if not more of the information came from "insiders", traitors and elsewhere. The other snag was that much of the information and analysis was known about within parts of the military, but had not been given to the politicians.

I left alone what happened to the Kissinger involvement as that was peripheral to SWJ and my interest in Rhodesian history is not all embracing.

Later on, with the Lancaster House Agreement, I recall the reporting on the emergence from the "bush" right across Rhodesia of thousands of guerillas and followers into the assembly points etc. This was also commented upon in the open literature by the Commonwealth Monitoring Force and others which I read in 1980 and shortly after - including articles in UK Army publications.

I fully accept that many of the guerillas remained in the "bush" to ensure that the rural voters cast their votes for ZANU and that many of those in the assembly points (BBC cites 22,000) were not guerillas.

JMA
07-04-2010, 08:30 AM
JMA,

My comments on the Rhodesian military and advice to Prime Minister Ian Smith are based on conversations with several Rhodesian officers. IIRC some books also refer to this, but I cannot cite sources - except didn't Ken Flowers mention it? For the new to Rhodesia readers Ken Flowers was the ex-policeman who headed Rhodesia's external agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and somewhat controversial.

The comment on the Kissinger presentation in 1976 is based on wider conversations with politicians and the military, plus an academic who watched the situation. Again IIRC I think the reaction is shown in some books.

You refer to:.

My recollection is that the USA did not pay great SIGINT attention to the region, although more after Portugal's exit and after the Soviet-Cuban arrival in Angola. What surprised the Rhodesian military was the extent of US understanding of their problems, for examples the exit dates for serving career officers and who was who in operations from monitoring car parking at headquarters. Some Rhodesians thought some, if not more of the information came from "insiders", traitors and elsewhere. The other snag was that much of the information and analysis was known about within parts of the military, but had not been given to the politicians.

I left alone what happened to the Kissinger involvement as that was peripheral to SWJ and my interest in Rhodesian history is not all embracing.

Later on, with the Lancaster House Agreement, I recall the reporting on the emergence from the "bush" right across Rhodesia of thousands of guerillas and followers into the assembly points etc. This was also commented upon in the open literature by the Commonwealth Monitoring Force and others which I read in 1980 and shortly after - including articles in UK Army publications.

I fully accept that many of the guerillas remained in the "bush" to ensure that the rural voters cast their votes for ZANU and that many of those in the assembly points (BBC cites 22,000) were not guerillas.

I would suggest that it was a surprise to Rhodesians as to why the US was bothering to show that degree of interest in situation in their little country. So what was the implied threat of holding this knowledge? That Kissinger would pass it on to the Soviets (in 1976)? Or pass it on to the insurgents?

I suppose you heard of the arrest in June 1979 of three CIA agents? (Smith's book "The Great Betrayal" pg 308) And how Carter promised to lift sanctions against (then) Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in exchange for the release of the spies who had also been operating in Kenya and South Africa. Sadly the idiot Muzorewa agreed to release the spies on Carter's word. Big mistake. The rest is history.

As to information being passed to foreign governments during the war. We were never concerned with (nor should we ever have been) stuff classified as "Restricted" ending up anywhere from the CIA to MI6 to the insurgents.

Of concern to us was the fact that at one point operational intel was being passed on. For example on one camp attack into Zambia when we were going through the paperwork in their ops room we found a fresh signal they had received that morning saying "You will be attacked at 12h00 today". Then there were the numerous cases where attempts were may to kill/assassinate Nkomo and Mugabe but on arrival they were never at home. A number of other examples. It was a war and we were aware that everyone was out there with their spies and sources. Everyone trying to be more clever than the next.

davidbfpo
07-04-2010, 11:03 AM
JMA,

Amidst your post was:
Of concern to us was the fact that at one point operational intel was being passed on. For example on one camp attack into Zambia when we were going through the paperwork in their ops room we found a fresh signal they had received that morning saying "You will be attacked at 12h00 today".

I learnt when in Zimbabwe in 1985 that operational security lapses had caused immense concern and aside from the "usual suspects" some thought was given to the regular arrival of external supporters before each major external operation. Supporters who provided the funding and more - they were not identified, but the finger of suspicion pointed northwards to Arabia. Their arrival in executive jets invariably was to Salisbury and could have been monitored.

After 1980 the Rhodesians discovered that some of the lapses could be attributed to the weather station at Salisbury airport, which was all-African and from their position could monitor the build-up of aircraft. Maybe even requests for weather reports? IIRC the Rhodesian Air Force main operating base, New Sarum shared the civil Salisbury airfield.

Security did work and I was told that ZANLA had never worked out where the ammunition was stored for the AML armoured cars; it had been in the squash courts and had been unseen.

davidbfpo
07-04-2010, 11:14 AM
JMA,

You cited:
Op Manacle was the name of the Op for the Mozambican bridges and was first in line. But on the 15th November 1979 during the Lancaster House Talks there was a switch and the go ahead was given to take out the Zambian bridges which effectively put ZIPRA out of the war.

As the rush was on to prepare for the Mozambique part of the op the word came through from London that the cease fire had been signed and all external ops were terminated.

In the late-1980's there was a Granada TV series 'End of Empire', with two episodes on Rhodesia (UDI & Lancaster House) and many years later the BBC had another. Dropping the bridges was mentioned IIRC in both and in one, cannot recall which now, a Mozambique government advisor to Samora Machel referred to the intense pressure applied to Mugabe to agree in London. Not sure of the dates, but that may explain why the switch of targets was made to Zambia.

baboon6
07-04-2010, 12:07 PM
JMA,

Amidst your post was:

I learnt when in Zimbabwe in 1985 that operational security lapses had caused immense concern and aside from the "usual suspects" some thought was given to the regular arrival of external supporters before each major external operation. Supporters who provided the funding and more - they were not identified, but the finger of suspicion pointed northwards to Arabia. Their arrival in executive jets invariably was to Salisbury and could have been monitored.

After 1980 the Rhodesians discovered that some of the lapses could be attributed to the weather station at Salisbury airport, which was all-African and from their position could monitor the build-up of aircraft. Maybe even requests for weather reports? IIRC the Rhodesian Air Force main operating base, New Sarum shared the civil Salisbury airfield.

Security did work and I was told that ZANLA had never worked out where the ammunition was stored for the AML armoured cars; it had been in the squash courts and had been unseen.

There have also been allegations in the past of a spy or spies within COMOPS. Who they were, how they would have passed on information and whether the allegations have any merit- I couldn't say. I don't know if this is related to the three CIA agents mentioned by JMA above.

JMA
07-04-2010, 01:42 PM
There have also been allegations in the past of a spy or spies within COMOPS. Who they were, how they would have passed on information and whether the allegations have any merit- I couldn't say. I don't know if this is related to the three CIA agents mentioned by JMA above.

Yes there was certainly a leak in COMOPS. Later a very strict "need to know" basis was maintained in that only Gen Walls (who had authorised the Op) and the implementing unit knew of the pending Op. There was still some potential for leaks as to get to Lusaka there was a lot of Air Force types in the loop and to get to Maputo (by South African Navy submarine or gunboat) also required a lot of people to know. Apart from that one camp in Zambia where had they had the ability that Op could have been a disaster most of the assassination attempts resulting in the target being called away at short notice for and urgent meeting or other and apart from Mugabe in Maputo, Nkomo left his guards and staff to face the music. Obviously the source did not want to blow his cover if there was a massive welcoming committee when the troops arrived. And yes there were always a number of battle indications when helicopters started to concentrate in one particular area etc etc the key source would always have been if they had someone planted in the Air Force as they were always deeply involved and by necessity a lot of people got to know about what was about to go down.

baboon6
07-04-2010, 02:05 PM
Yes there was certainly a leak in COMOPS. Later a very strict "need to know" basis was maintained in that only Gen Walls (who had authorised the Op) and the implementing unit knew of the pending Op. There was still some potential for leaks as to get to Lusaka there was a lot of Air Force types in the loop and to get to Maputo (by South African Navy submarine or gunboat) also required a lot of people to know. Apart from that one camp in Zambia where had they had the ability that Op could have been a disaster most of the assassination attempts resulting in the target being called away at short notice for and urgent meeting or other and apart from Mugabe in Maputo, Nkomo left his guards and staff to face the music. Obviously the source did not want to blow his cover if there was a massive welcoming committee when the troops arrived. And yes there were always a number of battle indications when helicopters started to concentrate in one particular area etc etc the key source would always have been if they had someone planted in the Air Force as they were always deeply involved and by necessity a lot of people got to know about what was about to go down.

Was the leak ever identified?

JMA
07-04-2010, 02:18 PM
JMA,

You cited:

In the late-1980's there was a Granada TV series 'End of Empire', with two episodes on Rhodesia (UDI & Lancaster House) and many years later the BBC had another. Dropping the bridges was mentioned IIRC in both and in one, cannot recall which now, a Mozambique government advisor to Samora Machel referred to the intense pressure applied to Mugabe to agree in London. Not sure of the dates, but that may explain why the switch of targets was made to Zambia.

Up until Nkomo's people shot down the two civilian aircraft (Viscounts) (http://home.iprimus.com.au/rob_rickards/viscounts/disasters.htm) Smith was in talks with him with a view to an agreement to the exclusion of Mugabe. After that and with Nkomo laughing about it in international TV there was no chance of 'white' Rhodesia accepting an agreement with Nkomo. (In his memoirs, Story of My Life (1985), Nkomo expressed regret for the shooting down of both planes)

Yes it is understood that Machel virtually forced Mugabe to attend to Lancaster House conference and when Mugabe walked out at one point he received a message from Machel stating that if he left London he was not to return to Mozambique.

As far as the switch (of bridge targets from Mozambique to Zambia) was concerned it appears that the Brits realised that the only way to end the war was to hand the country to Mugabe. Nkomo/ZIPRA had maintained a conventional force and had an invasion plan (planned by the Russians) via Victoria Falls. There was still a chance that Nkomo/ZIPRA could use that force to invade after Mugabe won the election so the Brits arranged for the Rhodesians to drop the key bridges and thus put the ZIPRA conventional force out of the war.

To be truly astonished about how the events on the Brit side unfolded one just has to trace Maggie Thatcher's timeline where at one stage she refused to meet "the terrorist" Mugabe and promised to lift sanctions through to when Mugabe was awarded a knighthood and not a sound was made by Britain when Mugabe's North Korean trained 5th Brigade did their little genocide thing on 30,000 Ndebele (the ethnic group represented by Nkomo and ZIPRA) in the early years after independence.

The Brit excuse is that they had to try and show the white South Africans that it was indeed possible to have a peaceful and economically successful African state and news of the genocide would not help with the acceptance of the possibility of benign majority rule. So careful management and aid was supplied to Zimbabwe until South Africa was a done deal and then they cut Zimbabwe loose... the rest is history.

JMA
07-04-2010, 02:27 PM
Was the leak ever identified?

Nobody could understand why Ken Flower was retained as head of the CIO by Smith. Nothing confirmed.

But we have one certainty here: "The secret Zimbabwe policeman's cricket ball" (http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/The-secret-Zimbabwe-policemans-cricket.2398697.jp)

baboon6
07-05-2010, 06:21 PM
Nobody could understand why Ken Flower was retained as head of the CIO by Smith. Nothing confirmed.

But we have one certainty here: "The secret Zimbabwe policeman's cricket ball" (http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/The-secret-Zimbabwe-policemans-cricket.2398697.jp)

Yes I have read about Danny Stannard before. But would he have been privy to the kind of information we're talking about prior to 1980? As I understand it he wasn't particularly high up in the BSAP.

JMA
07-05-2010, 07:36 PM
Yes I have read about Danny Stannard before. But would he have been privy to the kind of information we're talking about prior to 1980? As I understand it he wasn't particularly high up in the BSAP.

Networks, my friend, networks. Different sources corroborate the specific pieces of Intel and they probably don't know of each other.

JMA
07-06-2010, 08:40 AM
Concur. All Wars are 80% political! Externals were a very sound military policy, but also politically counter-productive. No mystery or anything new in that.

Its all a question of timing. The Rhodesian SAS were keen to blow up bridges and things as that was their role as they saw it.

(Here comes some wisdom in retrospect) Take the Zambian bridges dropped during the Lancaster House talks (from 15 Nov 1979). If they had been dropped earlier it would have probably forced ZIPRA (and their Russian advisors) to drop the idea of a conventional invasion at Victoria Falls (and Chirundu). Maybe then the 20,000 ZIPRA troops sitting Zambia would have been sent across the border and would have been difficult to stop if deployed skillfully.

On the other hand the Mozambique externals were delayed as somehow people (Smith, the South Africans?) thought that they would be able to work out a deal with Machel. Should have dropped all those bridges in the early days when there was still chaos in Mozambique after the Lisbon coup and when the roads and rail links started being used to ferry insurgents up to the border. More support should have been given to Renamo. Using Renamo to fight a more extensive proxy war would have taken a lot of pressure off the northeastern and eastern borders prevented much of the infiltration into the internal tribal areas.

JMA
07-13-2010, 01:19 PM
After the shooting down of the first civilian Viscount passenger aircraft near Kariba talks broke down between the Rhodesian government and Joshua Nkomo of ZAPU who had laughed and bragged about the atrocity on internationally broadcast TV.

The attack on ZIPRA camps at Westlands Farm, Mkushi and CGT-2 were in retaliation for the downing of the Viscount (http://home.iprimus.com.au/rob_rickards/viscounts/viscounts.htm)

The Westlands Farm attack was an air force only affair with the SAS doing Mkushi and the RLI doing CGT-2.

At Westlands Farm the Hawker Hunter jets lead with Golf bombs and Frantan (50 gallon naplam) followed by Green Section (Camberras) with Alpha bombs and followed up by four Alouette III with 20mmm cannon. Later ZAPU itself announced that that attacks cost them 396 killed and 719 were seriously wounded and 192 missing. (missing normally relates to no identifiable body parts found or those who took to the hills deciding that the freedom struggle was not worth the risk)

These attacks are well remembered through the release of the cockpit voice recording made by the pilot of Green Leader - Squadron Learder Chris Dixon of the bombing run itself and his instructions issued to Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) Tower with a message to the Zambian Air Force.

The Green Leader Tape (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p1NRLFso6Q)

Notes:
Golf Bombs were a Rhodesia invention and are described as follows:
"The 450kg Golf Bomb employed double steel plating to sandwich thousands of pieces of chopped 10mm steel rod. The double skin and chopped rod driven by the high-volume gas generating explosive, Anfo (Amatol), when added to shredded vegetation proved Golf Bomb to be a truly devastating weapon. A pair of these bombs gave a bush flattening-pattern 90 metres wide by 135 metres in the line of attack with lethal effects extending beyond."

Alpha Bombs were a Rhodesia invention and are described as follows:
A circular shaped anti-personnel (cluster) bomb that, when dropped by the Canberra from level flight, gave a natural dispersion pattern. The bomb would strike the surface activating the fusing mechanism and then bounce into the air to detonate about four metres above ground.
Due to the sphere shape, when released they spread apart both laterally and vertically because air pressure builds up between them and pushes them away from each other. The Alpha is a hallow sphere(155mm external diameter.) pressed out of 3mm plate with two halves welded together. Inside the outer casing is a smaller sphere of 8mm steel. Between the two spheres is packed 240 hard black rubber "bouncing" balls of 15mm diameter. (Similar to those glow in the dark type bouncing balls kids have.) When dropped from low and fast aircraft, they hit the ground at less than 17 degrees from the horizontal. On impact most of the rubber balls compressed against the outer wall, thus creating forward bounce for about 60ft in the direction of the aircraft and rising no higher than 12ft. The inner sphere is similar to a grenade and on impact with the ground the fuze fired a cap with a 7 sec delay. The bomb exploded between 6 - 12 ft above the ground dispersing on average one lethal fragment per square yard with a radius of 15 yards from explosion. The Canberra carried 300 Alpha bombs in groups of 50 inside six hoppers fitted to the bomb bay and was operated electrically. They could be dropped in salvo or in ripples. Delivered at 400ft at 300 knots the effective coverage was 1,100m long x 120m wide.

JMA
07-20-2010, 05:16 PM
I regret to inform that Gen Peter Walls passed away this morning - 20 July 2010.

The initial report was as follows:


General Walls died this morning at George airport at about 10h30. He and Eunice were about to travel Johannesburg to meet up with family for a stay in their time share in Kruger. It is reported that he collapsed as he was getting out of the car - immediate efforts to revive him failed.

RIP Sir.

davidbfpo
07-20-2010, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the update. I met him once (long story) and he gave his all. In Rhodesia he served past the end, yes he had his critics, few questioned his determination and more. Will be interesting to see how the obituary columns report on him now.

JMA
07-21-2010, 02:22 PM
Lieutenant-General G. Peter Walls GLM, DCD, MBE

Served as Commanding Officer of 1RLI from 1 December 1964 to 18 June 1967

Peter Walls was born and educated in Rhodesia. He first served in the military with the Black Watch at the end of World War Two. He returned to Rhodesia after the war and served in the Staff Corps, before being commissioned into the Northern Rhodesia Regiment (NRR). In 1951, he was selected to take an all-white unit, The Malayan Scouts, to Malaya to assist with that Emergency. He was promoted to captain as 2IC of the unit with an experienced British officer as OC. On reaching Malaya it was decided that, as it was an all-Rhodesian unit, it should be commanded by a Rhodesian - he was thus promoted to major and became OC. The unit stayed in Malaya for two years, becoming C (Rhodesia) Squadron SAS.

On return to Rhodesia in March 1953 the unit was disbanded. For his services in Malaya he was awarded an MBE. After various staff appointments he attended Staff College at Camberley in the UK, before assuming command of RLI in 1964 and transforming the battalion into a commando unit.

He was responsible for introducing the regiment’s green beret, which subsequently distinguished it from all other regiments on parade. On relinquishing command he became Commander 2 Brigade. He later became Chief of Staff as a major-general, before becoming Army Commander in 1972.

He was appointed Commander of Combined Operations (ComOps) in 1977, an appointment he held until he retired to South Africa in late 1980 after Zimbabwean independence.

General GP (Peter) Walls and Eunice were about to board an aircraft yesterday morning (20 July 2010) bound from George to Johannesburg. The General succumbed to a heart attack prior to boarding the aircraft.

He was a man of great integrity and grit and led the armed forces of Rhodesia well in the toughest of wartimes.

General Walls will be sadly missed by all the members of the 1RLIRA and we extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Eunice Walls, the family and Peter’s friends.

"How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest!
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung.

God and a soldier all people adore
In time of war, but not before;
And when war is over and all things are righted,
God is neglected and an old soldier slighted.

Enough of merit has each honoured name
To shine untarnished on the rolls of fame,
And add new lustre to the historic page."

Chairman
1RLIRA-SA
(1 Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association - South Africa)

JMA
07-25-2010, 03:16 PM
Peter Walls, General in Zimbabwe, Dies at 83 (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/world/africa/22peterwalls.html)

New York Times
By ALAN COWELL
Published: July 22, 2010

PARIS — Lt. Gen. Peter Walls, the last commander of white Rhodesian forces in what is now Zimbabwe, who played a central and sometimes ambiguous role in the first days of his country’s transition to majority rule only to fall out bitterly with its first black leader, died on Tuesday in South Africa, where he lived in exile. He was 83.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/07/22/world/PETERWALLS-obit/PETERWALLS-obit-articleInline.jpg

A son-in-law, Patrick Armstrong, said Wednesday that General Walls had collapsed at an airport in George, on the Indian Ocean coastline. The cause of death was not immediately known.

As the overall commander of Rhodesian forces from 1977 onward, General Walls oversaw an ultimately doomed campaign to halt a shifting bush war conducted by guerrillas loyal to Joshua Nkomo, a nationalist patriarch, and Robert Mugabe, who went on to become the increasingly autocratic president of Zimbabwe after the country achieved independence in 1980.

As the fighting unfolded, Rhodesia, named for the British archcolonialist Cecil John Rhodes, was an international pariah, shunned by most countries with the exception of apartheid-ruled South Africa, its neighbor.

The Rhodesian forces were far superior to the sometimes ill-equipped guerrillas, displaying their military might with cross-border strikes against insurgent rear bases in Mozambique and Zambia, even as General Walls spoke of winning the “hearts and minds” of the black majority inside the country.

By 1980 the options open to Rhodesia’s white minority had narrowed, whittled away by international economic sanctions, the withdrawal of unconditional South African support and the growing recognition that a deal with the guerrilla leaders was inevitable.

The prospect of black rule sent tremors of concern through many whites, and as elections — brokered by Britain, the former colonial power — approached in early 1980, the country seemed on a knife edge, balanced between the expectations of the black majority and fears that white soldiers under General Walls might resist the new order and even stage a coup.

In a memoir published in 1987, Ken Flower, the intelligence chief of both the last white government and the first black one, said General Walls himself had helped deepen fears of a coup among the British officials overseeing the transition to majority rule. But, Mr. Flower said, the idea of a coup was never seriously debated by the military and security elite.

White apprehensions sharpened on March 4, 1980, when the election results were announced and the clear victor was Mr. Mugabe, seen by many whites as a Marxist rabble-rouser who would hound them out of the country.

But instead of staging a coup, General Walls publicly appealed to the white minority “for calm, for peace,” Mr. Flower recalled.

Mr. Mugabe also went out of his way to assure whites. In what seemed a political masterstroke, he appointed General Walls to oversee the planned fusion of the former white-led army with the two guerrilla armies.

Deep down, though, profound mistrusts lingered from the war years, and Mr. Mugabe began to pay heed to reports circulating at the time that General Walls had indeed plotted against him.

In one widely reported exchange after several attempts on his life, Mr. Mugabe was said to have asked why the general’s soldiers were trying to kill him. General Walls reportedly replied that if his men had been involved in the attempts, Mr. Mugabe would be dead.

General Walls also acknowledged in a BBC interview that he had asked Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister at the time, to annul the results of the election that brought Mr. Mugabe to power because vast numbers of voters had been intimidated. Mrs. Thatcher refused, British officials said.

Increasingly estranged from Mr. Mugabe, General Walls offered his resignation within months of independence and later moved to South Africa’s Eastern Cape region, where he lived for many years in relative obscurity.

Born in Rhodesia in 1927, General Walls had a long military career, training at the British military academy in Sandhurst and the staff college at Camberley. As a commander of a special forces unit, he also fought insurgents in colonial-era Malaysia.

He is survived by his wife, Eunice, three daughters and a son, said Mr. Armstrong, his son-in-law.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

---------------------------------------
Correction: July 23, 2010

An obituary on Thursday about Lt. Gen. Peter Walls, the last commander of white Rhodesian forces in what is now Zimbabwe, erroneously credited the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, with a distinction. Mr. Mugabe is the second — not the only — president since the country achieved independence in 1980. (The Rev. Canaan Banana was president and Mr. Mugabe was prime minister from 1980 to 1987.)

Rhodesian
07-26-2010, 12:12 PM
Deep down, though, profound mistrusts lingered from the war years, and Mr. Mugabe began to pay heed to reports circulating at the time that General Walls had indeed plotted against him.


And not without good reason:
http://www.rhodesia.nl/quartz.htm

I remember many of us on the ground were annoyed when Quartz was cancelled, but we were young and we didnt really give any thought to what would happen in the long term - Pointless? Perhaps, but then again seeing what has happened since, perhaps not, hind-sight is a perfect science.

I.R.

JMA
07-26-2010, 02:30 PM
And not without good reason:
http://www.rhodesia.nl/quartz.htm

I remember many of us on the ground were annoyed when Quartz was cancelled, but we were young and we didnt really give any thought to what would happen in the long term - Pointless? Perhaps, but then again seeing what has happened since, perhaps not, hind-sight is a perfect science.

I.R.

As a young staff officer at one of the brigades I did much of the drafting of the Op Order for Op Quartz in that area. It was quite simple, take out the Assembly Points where the insurgents had been grouped and place troops at all the vital installations on the brigade area. The Op would be triggered once the elections results were announced and showed that Mugabe had lost and carried out before his forces could drift back into the bush to continue the war as they had threatened to do if they did not win the election. It was a simple contingency plan which did involve the South Africans. Of course everyone knew but the Brits refused to acknowledge that the assembly points were full of men and kids from the villages while the main insurgent groups remained in the villages to make sure the people voted correctly. So they wanted Walls out and went after him on this. Again the Rhodesians were proved naive in that they actually believed the Brits were going to insist upon a free and fair election being held. But the Brits just went through the motions having already decided that they were going to hand the country over to Mugabe.

davidbfpo
07-28-2010, 08:11 AM
From the UK's Daily Telegraph:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/special-forces-obituaries/7913263/Lieutenant-General-Peter-Walls.html

Added 29th:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/28/lt-gen-peter-walls-obituary

Rhodesian
08-05-2010, 04:26 PM
Howzit - Apologies if the following webpage has been highlighted elsewhere, I missed it. This is a blog containing the notes etc for a book no longer being written, called Choppertech.

http://choppertech.blogspot.com/

It contains some fascinating insights into Fire Force as seen from the Tech/Gunners point of view, and includes many operational notes/logs of both internal operations and the strikes inside Mozambique etc.

Cheers
I.R.

H3nnys
08-06-2010, 05:31 AM
Hi Guys

I would like to know if anyone knows the name of the Documentery that was shot in 1974 of the RLI

I saw it once many years ago and one of the chapters or scenes was shot with my fathers troop at mount darwin in 1974 and I think it was in Afrikaans although I can not remember as I was still a young boy when I saw it

I am desperately looking for the movie again and was hoping that someone here might know what it was called

Thank you

davidbfpo
08-06-2010, 08:33 AM
There are a few people who will know more!:wry: Could it be the work of Lord Richard Cecil, see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Richard_Cecil

The RLI have an active regimental association and at least one poster here belongs and they'll belong along shortly.;)

Rhodesian
08-06-2010, 11:46 AM
Hi
The RLI Association can be found at http://www.therli.com assuming you're not already aware. I personally don't know of this specific documentary, but there are contact details for the various sub-branches within the Contact Us tab of the association's web page, and someone may know of the work you speak of. There are also a few DVD's out there that have been collated and produced in the last few years, and it may be that the footage can be found in one of them? Try http://www.rhodesianvideos.mazoe.com/

Wish you well in your search, let us know if/where you find it, a few folks here would be interested.

Cheers
I.R.

JMA
08-08-2010, 09:20 AM
There are a few people who will know more!:wry: Could it be the work of Lord Richard Cecil, see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Richard_Cecil

The RLI have an active regimental association and at least one poster here belongs and they'll belong along shortly.;)

Richard Cecil and Nic Downie's work "Frontline Rhodesia" was first aired on Thames TV in early 1979 (I'm pretty sure)

JMA
08-08-2010, 09:45 AM
Hi Guys

I would like to know if anyone knows the name of the Documentery that was shot in 1974 of the RLI

I saw it once many years ago and one of the chapters or scenes was shot with my fathers troop at mount darwin in 1974 and I think it was in Afrikaans although I can not remember as I was still a young boy when I saw it

I am desperately looking for the movie again and was hoping that someone here might know what it was called

Thank you

You probably need to go to youtube and do a video search under "Rhodesia". 1974 were the early days. Try this Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk6H9_vpRUY)

If you private message me some more details on your father I'll try to steer you in the right direction.

JMA
08-08-2010, 09:48 AM
Howzit - Apologies if the following webpage has been highlighted elsewhere, I missed it. This is a blog containing the notes etc for a book no longer being written, called Choppertech.

http://choppertech.blogspot.com/

It contains some fascinating insights into Fire Force as seen from the Tech/Gunners point of view, and includes many operational notes/logs of both internal operations and the strikes inside Mozambique etc.

Cheers
I.R.

I.R., it is important that Beaver's book gets published. Please go to his blog and leave a message to that effect. He must be encouraged to finish the job.

Did you know that he was the gunner who shot down that Botswana Defence Force Islander (fixed wing aircraft) with his side mounted 20mm cannon in his Allouette III gunship during a cross border scene in Botswana?

JMA
08-09-2010, 08:53 PM
It is with deep regret and sadness to the RLI, Selous Scouts and Rhodesian forces fraternity that uncle Rod Reid-Daly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reid-Daly) passed away peacefully at home on the 9th of August 2010. RIP Uncle Ron.

Boris
08-11-2010, 10:57 AM
I never meet the man. Only know of him by his book, and by what others have said about him. From what little I know, his passing is a loss to many.

JMA
08-25-2010, 07:33 AM
It is with deep regret and sadness to the RLI, Selous Scouts and Rhodesian forces fraternity that uncle Rod Reid-Daly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reid-Daly) passed away peacefully at home on the 9th of August 2010. RIP Uncle Ron.

A Celebration of the Life of Lt Col Ron Reid Daly was held in Cape Town on 20 August 2010

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4096/4926010870_a1da4062f0_b.jpg

JMA
08-30-2010, 07:31 AM
Proud bear the news that one of our veterans is assisting "hurt" US veterans through the American Red Cross.


Art From the Heart (http://www.x11v.com/page5/page5.html)

In August, American Red Cross Fort Bragg will be working with Artist Craig Bone and the Army Wounded Warrior Career Program, Warrior Transition Brigade and the Wounded Warrior FRG to identify 12 artistic Wounded Warrior soldiers who are transitioning to civilian life and are interested in pursuing painting or art as a new career. The 12 soldiers who are chosen for the project will get to work with Craig Bone, a well known and respected painter and former Rhodesian Light Infantry soldier, to foster their creative abilities before returning to civilian life. By beginning this process before going into the civilian sector, it will create a stable goal that the service member can hold onto once reentering the civilian world. Each member will work with Craig Bone to create a piece of art and develop the inspiration or the back story to go along with it.

At the end of the project, each member will get the opportunity to have their piece, as well as their back story, published in a book. Each soldier choosing to be published will retain 100% rights to their painting and story, as well as, receive any proceeds they may earn from the sales of the book. Members of the program who do not choose to publish their work will still retain all rights to their work and any other work they do in the course.

For the duration of the project, Craig Bone will relocate to Ft. Bragg in order to be closer to his students. The program is anticipated to take place from August-October.

The project will kick off with an official Open House at the main Red Cross office on Ft. Bragg. This will give the community an opportunity to become aware of the project, meet the artist, and gain information about other valuable Red Cross resources available. As a closure to the project, the Red Cross will host another open house to do a final exhibition of the art created during the course.

All supplies and space will be donated by the Red Cross.

I served with Craig although he was in (Lt) Roddy Smith's Troop when seriously wounded by a mortar attack whilst on operations in Mozambique. Here is a bio of Craig:


Craig Bone (http://www.seanbone.com/page11/page12/page12.html) was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1955. He studied Graphic Art at Natal University in South Africa.
In 1973 Craig returned to Rhodesia to perform his National Service in the Rhodesian Light Infantry. During this time he painted vivid scenes of combat and was totally immersed in the war. Craig was severely wounded by a mortar attack, which almost cost him his legs and his life, subsequently his focus turned to painting full time.

Craig has since devoted his time, energy and skills to helping various organizations and charities.

Craig’s strong sense of community spirit and his passion for the military has encouraged him to support veteran programs throughout the United States and in Zimbabwe. Most recently, Craig has raised over $100,000 for the Safari Club International Veterans Committee which supports soldiers from Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraqi battlefields who have been wounded during active duty. His painting, entitled “Earth, Wind and Fire,” is a depiction of the reality of the Vietnam War and honors the sacrifice of American soldiers. This work of art presently hangs in the Pentagon. Craig is currently working on similar projects connected to the Iraq and Afghanistan War.

Craig has been awarded the Safari Club Medal of Valor for his consistent support and dedication to
the Veteran’s Committee, and in 2003, Craig was also awarded the Safari Club International Wildlife Artist of the year. Due to his obvious passion and support of veteran programs, Craig was honored to participate in the official opening of Fort Bragg’s Airborne and Special Operations Museum in North Carolina. Within his own community, Craig has volunteered his time to the Cancer center Health park of Fort Myers, Florida.

Recently, Craig was approached and commissioned to paint a portrait of the Zulu King, Goodwill
Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu, the reigning king of Zululand.

I believe this painting may be the one referred to:

Earth, Wind and Fire
http://www.x11v.com/page2/files/earth-wind-and-fire.jpg


and another one...

Hill 65, 8th Of November, 1965
Sacrifice and Valor
http://www.x11v.com/files/nov8.jpg

JMA
09-24-2010, 07:47 PM
Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Reid-Daly (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/special-forces-obituaries/8014261/Lieutenant-Colonel-Ron-Reid-Daly.html)

Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Reid-Daly, who has died aged 81, was the colourful and outspoken founder and commander of the Selous Scouts regiment, whose unorthodox tactics during Rhodesia's bush war against nationalist insurgents were as effective as they were controversial.