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Thread: Rhodesian COIN (consolidated thread, inc original RLI)

  1. #421
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Ex-UK SAS and reporter: Rhodesia was a study in military incompetence

    Years ago there were a famous pair, infamous to some, of British TV reporters in the later years of Rhodesia: Nick Downie (cameraman) and Robert Cecil (reporter). This week You Tube's algorithm produced their most famous report 'Rhodesian Bush War 1978', a very short film (7.5mins) of a Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR) action in the bush; I had forgotten how vivid it was and noted his closing remarks became all too telling for Zimbabwe. There is a fuller documentary 'Frontline Rhodesia' (30 mins), alas that appears to remain in a TV company vault.
    Link to the You Tube film clip:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPLFp9-zupc

    As Nick Downie remarks in the film Richard Cecil was die in another action (explained later).

    From a blogger an explanation for Nick Downie's success in filming:
    Nick Downie, former SAS trooper turned war cameraman. Some of the nastiest fighting was documented by this chap throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's. His training allowed him to get closer than most would dare:
    Link and note the focus is Dhofar & the SAS:http://mysecretwardhofar.blogspot.co...-for-nick.html

    It appears that Nick Downie wrote a critique of the Rhodesian campaign at the time. It opens with and my emphasis in bold:
    The Guerrilla war in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia is at the same time both a classic counter insurgency situation, yet unique in the methods employed against the insurgents. The author, a freelance cameraman and former soldier (having served in five campaigns, three times in the counter in surgency role, and twice as a guerrilla commander) spent six months in Rhodesia in 1978 filming the conduct of this campaign. His partner, journalist Lord Richard Cecil, was killed during contact between government troops and ZANU guerrillas. In his opinion, any professionally trained guerrilla force operating in the Rhodesian bush could have brought the country to its knees literally years ago.

    This article outlines the methods employed in COIN duties within Rhodesia, specifically describing an operation by one of the elite Fire Force units of the Rhodesian Army......Indeed, the liberation armies of ZANU and ZAPU are arguably the worst guerrillas to have taken to the field this century.
    Link:http://rhodesianforces.org/RhodesiaS...competence.htm

    There is a fuller account of how Richard Cecil died on a blogsite ARSSE, once well known here in the UK. Earlier I used 'infamous' as both men wore Rhodesian uniform and carried a firearm - not something many journalists would do. This account gives IMHO a considered explanation.
    Link:https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/african-infantryman-of-the-year.126106/page-315#post-8125623

    There is a main thread on Rhodesian COIN, with 303k views to date and one day this thread will be merged into it.
    Link:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...-original-RLI)
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-26-2018 at 12:33 PM. Reason: 251v when stand alone thread. Thread has 308,016v today.
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  2. #422
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Rhodesian Air Force Operations

    Discovered this book via the BSAP History Group email. It was published in 2014 and is still available via the second link (in various formats).

    The book summary:https://books.google.co.za/books/abo...AJ&redir_esc=y

    The publisher:https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?...hodesian&type=
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-04-2018 at 07:15 PM. Reason: 318,179v today 10k up since posted
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  3. #423
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    Default Operation Enterprise - The Battle for Salisbury

    Once more a discovery thanks to the BSAP History Group email; again published in 2014 on a website I'd not seen before 'Our Rhodesian Heritage'.

    It is a long report by a Special Branch officer on 'Operation Enterprise - The Battle for Salisbury' as the war ended, so to just after the elections. A few snippets: the US SF Master Sgt who joined the Army who was a spy; the use of motorcycles in the open ground and the value of intelligence. Most of the operation was conducted in the African rural areas around Salisbury (now Harare) and some in the city itself.

    Link:http://rhodesianheritage.blogspot.co...attle-for.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-07-2019 at 06:22 PM. Reason: 327,027v today
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  4. #424
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    Default Sergeant-Major A. J. Balaam, Selous Scouts, late Rhodesian Light Infantry

    A set of medals is due to be auctioned and the bio sketch illustrates what the Selous Scouts did:
    A scarce Rhodesian Military Division Order of the Legion of Merit pair awarded to Sergeant-Major A. J. Balaam, Selous Scouts, late Rhodesian Light Infantry, a master ‘pseudo-operator’ during the Bush War, who thought nothing of operating behind enemy lines for stints of a month at a time, often on his own in horrendous conditions, whilst co-ordinating multiple pseudo groups.

    A Mortar expert, Balaam also suffered shrapnel wounds whilst serving on a covert operation against a Frelimo target in Mozambique. Over the course of five years’ service with the Selous Scouts he took part in the attack on Mapai in June 1976, and the notorious raid on Nyazonya, 9 August 1976, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 ZANLA insurgents (four Scouts wounded).

    After the formation of Zimbabwe in 1980, Balaam was employed in 5 Reconnaissance, South African Defence Force, Special Forces. He subsequently became a civilian advisor responsible for training the Transkei Defence Force, and from there became involved with the training of both the Lesotho Liberation Army and the Ciskei Liberation Army. The latter led to a failed coup, 19 February 1987, which ultimately led to Balaam’s arrest.
    Link:https://www.dnw.co.uk/auctions/catal...3&lot_id=50692
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  5. #425
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default 1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association

    Checked out their website just, quite a few articles to read and so enjoy.
    Link:http://www.therli.com/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-01-2019 at 01:50 PM. Reason: 334,858v today
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  6. #426
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Rhodesia PSYOP 1965-1980

    I found this previously unknown website and a 'long read' on Rhodesia, which I have quickly skimmed through. Note the author appears to be sympathetic to the Rhodesian cause, but does include a first-hand witness to the situation faced by the mainly rural African population.
    Link:https://www.psywar.org/content/rhodesia

    The website's 'About Us' states:
    PsyWar.Org is an archive of wartime aerial propaganda leaflets and research site for the history and techniques of psychological warfare, PSYOPS and information operations. The website which would become www.psywar.org was first launched in mid-1997 by Lee Richards. Since then the site has established a reputation for primary research in this field and has built a large following from professionals working in the information, influence and social science spheres, educators, war studies students and those with a general interest in military history and propaganda.
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  7. #427
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    Default Tracking in the Rhodesian Army by Allan Savory

    Copied from the Rhodesian COIN thread.

    Discovered this likely "gem" looking for something else and I recognised the author's name. It is a short article (13 pgs) and opens with:
    Any book about the Scouts would be incomplete without some reference to its earliest origins and how the Rhodesian Army became the first army we knew of to train army trackers as opposed to employing native or indigenous trackers, as the British did in Malaya and Borneo, with the Senoi Praaq and the Sarawak Rangers. To understand how the Rhodesian Army became the first to train and use army trackers, rather than recruiting local native trackers, I need to go back to explaining why my thinking was so different from that of my fellow officers. I grew up during the Second World War, fiercely proud of the role of Rhodesians in various theatres and could think of little but joining the army at the first opportunity. I could foresee at least twenty years of peace ahead of us and I did not want to be a peacetime soldier. Vaguely I could foresee a different kind of warfare emerging after that – guerilla warfare.
    Link:http://pitchstonewaters.com/wp-conte...ory-Savory.pdf

    There are a number of remarks on the wider context of being a tracker, after all the author became an open opponent of the Rhodesian government. His later career was as an ecologist. See:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Savory
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-04-2019 at 07:59 AM. Reason: 335,201v up 145v in 2 days
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  8. #428
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    Default Warfare and Tracking in Africa, 19521990 (Warfare, Society and Culture)

    Looking for something else I found this complimentary book review; the author Professor Timothy Stapleton is a Canadian and has written other books on warfare in Africa. Amazon states:
    During the decolonization wars in East and Southern Africa, tracking became increasingly valuable as a military tactic. Drawing on archival research and interviews, Stapleton presents a comparative study of the role of tracking in insurgency and counter-insurgency across Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
    One reviewer used to frequent here and in this post cited in part:
    This book does an excellent job at weaving all the historical facts and figures around the players. It details the complete evolution of tracking as an effective counter-insurgency tool. .....As well, the sections on Rhodesia were also very enlightening with tons of information I was unaware of, as it relates to the development of tracking in the Rhodesian Security Forces from pre-Tracker Combat Unit to the Selous Scouts.
    Link:https://www.amazon.com/Warfare-Track...s%2C229&sr=1-4

    The reviewer suggests readers track down the author's earlier article, which has a section on Rhodesia; free via this link:https://mantracking.files.wordpress....uth-africa.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-29-2019 at 10:54 AM. Reason: Copied and edited from Tracking thread
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