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  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Rhodesian COIN (consolidated thread, inc original RLI)

    Moderator's Note

    I have consolidated four RFI threads into this:All matters Rhodesian / Rhodesia (merged thread)

    A lot of information sits in the main thread: Rhodesian COIN (consolidated thread, inc original RLI) and the recently published book: Africa's Commandos - new book on the RLI (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 and COIN in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War, 1961–1974 (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?

    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 (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
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-03-2017 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Mods note added. Link update in brackets).

  2. #2
    Council Member bismark17's Avatar
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    Default

    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.

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    A student paper from last year's Key Strategic Issues List:

    The Rhodesian Insurgency: A Failure of Regional Politics
    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.

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    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?

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Sharp analysis, and you might just be right.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Shades of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    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
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default ZIPRA and ZANLA

    Marc,

    Just a quick point to something you should look at:

    Bob Ramsey's paper on advisors 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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    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.

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    Council Member sgmgrumpy's Avatar
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    Talking Rhodesian Insurgency

    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
    Last edited by sgmgrumpy; 07-06-2006 at 03:31 PM. Reason: fatfingers

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default I have several

    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...competence.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

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default For others who may be interested

    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.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Copy please...

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

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Another on COIN in Rhodesia

    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_...e=12&tmpl_id=3

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

    Best
    Tom

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    Default OK, so I'm just now getting to something from 3 years ago....

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    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...
    Brant
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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    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.

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    Default "Fireforce" by Chris Cocks

    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.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default Fireforce...Concur wholeheartedly

    That was where I was going to share the op order with sgmgrumpy. Great book.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default It's him

    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.

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    Council Member sgmgrumpy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Good Info

    Thanks for all the help.

  20. #20
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default Materials in the mail

    I sent the docs off to you sgmgrumpy. For the fireforce material, I am working on getting them into a .pdf.

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