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

  1. #221
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Leaks

    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

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    Default Drop the bridges in 1979

    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon6 View Post
    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.
    Last edited by JMA; 07-04-2010 at 01:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    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) 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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon6 View Post
    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"

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    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"
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon6 View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    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.

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    Default After the first civilian aircraft was shot down came the response...

    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

    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

    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.

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    Default Gen Peter Walls

    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.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Echo that RIP

    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.
    davidbfpo

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    Default Obituary Lt. Gen. G.P. Walls

    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)

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    Default Peter Walls, General in Zimbabwe, Dies at 83

    Peter Walls, General in Zimbabwe, Dies at 83

    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.



    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.)

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhodesian View Post
    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.

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    Default General Peter Walls obituary

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-29-2010 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Add second link
    davidbfpo

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    Default Choppertech

    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.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-05-2010 at 08:47 PM. Reason: Yes, it did appear awhile ago, no problem matey!

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    Default RLI Documentery

    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

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