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Thread: All matters Rhodesian / Rhodesia (merged thread)

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Formation level operations require practising skills to that have a major flow down effect. For the fire team, there may not be a lot of difference, but for Coy Commanders on up, there will be, and very little can be adequately practised doing a CPX.

    EG: A Formation level passage of lines, at night to launch to one battle group into an opposed obstacle crossing.

    Training fire teams is cheap and easy. Training formations is vastly expensive and very complicated.

    You need bridging kit for all the vehicles, plus you need multiple bridging sites
    Having spent time as a staff officer (GSO3-Ops) at a brigade HQ I have to agree fully with you that the potential for a mark one c*ock-up threatened where the staff had not been exercised live and often.

    That said I believe if I understand the context of this thread correctly it is the dexterity of the soldier in his ability to switch from a conventional operation to COIN ops without having to undergo training. I believe we got fairly close to this in the RLI and again the key to success was the understanding at corporal level.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I edited your comment to make a comment...

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Glad we agree on this...I can only hope that the US can somehow maintain a core cadre of competent NCOs to pass on the skill at arms until this is once again needed on a grand scale...How many times in the average military career do US servicemen get bitten by the politicians? Must be damn infuriating.
    Yes, yes and YEEeessss!

    If I run across any other Rhodesian related tomes or papers I'll send you a link.
    Good heavens... been retired for 32 years! What did you do with all that time?
    Spent the first 18 working as a civilian for the Army in intel, ops and training -- I think that's called masochism...

    As a result of being overpaid at that, have been able to spend the last 15 or so doing as little as possible and looking for good Bourbon -- with some success in both areas.

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    Hello all at SWC,

    I am new to the community and the level of discussion, so hay.

    This post caught my eye. I agree with the proposition that you may find most of Rhodesia’s innovative tactics have been incorporated into modern COIN, maybe with the exception of some of the more adventurous partnering operations with ‘turned’ enemy carried out by the Scouts.

    A few years back I tried to explain in a short essay why South Africa was successful in stopping an insurgent war from developing in its own territory, which was the government’s major preoccupation once it became clear Rhodesia would fall. This was interesting because not only did SA have some innovative ideas on how to treat the local population, which differed from Rhodesia’s great failure to protect or win over its own population, but there was also some interesting kinetic COIN tactics in the border regions if I remember. I think they took the best of Rhodesia’s men, ideas and tactics after they fell and remembered not to beat on the population. Obviously, there are many other factors contributing to the outcome in Rhodesia's case, isolation being a major one, but it may prove interesting to you.

  4. #44
    Council Member Jslade0's Avatar
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    i got no answers earlier, so I'll try again...

    Did Rhodesians read their own printed doctrine?
    how often was it updated?
    What was the best way for passing around lessons learned?
    Was the school house training useful? or was field experience the primary trainer?
    What were battle drills that were trained?
    Was there the concept of the "strategic corporal"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuberk View Post
    A few years back I tried to explain in a short essay why South Africa was successful in stopping an insurgent war from developing in its own territory, which was the government’s major preoccupation once it became clear Rhodesia would fall.
    Is this essay of yours available online?

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Having spent time as a staff officer (GSO3-Ops) at a brigade HQ I have to agree fully with you that the potential for a mark one c*ock-up threatened where the staff had not been exercised live and often.
    ....and not only. If BG staffs have never had to plan a relief in place, and the Coys never done a proper hand-over it all goes to rats very quickly. A lot of of the really challenging stuff really only happens at the Formation level, where Battle Group Staffs have to liaise and co-operate.

    That said I believe if I understand the context of this thread correctly it is the dexterity of the soldier in his ability to switch from a conventional operation to COIN ops without having to undergo training. I believe we got fairly close to this in the RLI and again the key to success was the understanding at corporal level.
    I would broadly concur, but almost always you can get time to train. Deployed Units even trained during WW1, 10 miles back from the trenches.
    Yes, if you get it right at the platoon and Company level, almost all else will fall into place a great deal more easily than if not.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jslade0 View Post
    Did Rhodesians read their own printed doctrine?
    ...and what if they did? Generally that makes no difference. Doctrine is merely "what is taught." What they did in practice is what is relevant.
    Was there the concept of the "strategic corporal"?
    Hopefully not. That was a very poor concept, poorly articulated. At best it just said, "we're not very good, and we need to be." That was the bit most people missed.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jslade0 View Post
    i got no answers earlier, so I'll try again...

    Did Rhodesians read their own printed doctrine?
    how often was it updated?
    What was the best way for passing around lessons learned?
    Was the school house training useful? or was field experience the primary trainer?
    What were battle drills that were trained?
    Was there the concept of the "strategic corporal"?
    I suggest you start with the Rhodesian COIN manual first.

    Then we can take it from there.

  9. #49
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    Default The "strategic corporal" a poor concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Hopefully not. That was a very poor concept, poorly articulated. At best it just said, "we're not very good, and we need to be." That was the bit most people missed.
    Let me know what I missed again please.

  10. #50
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Let me know what I missed again please.
    a.) You cannot have a "Strategic Corporal." Everything a Corporal does is tactical. Yes, tactics must serve strategy, but that's true for everybody. Did anyone ever say "Strategic Soldier?" No? Why? Cos it would be dumb to say it.

    b.) At best you have a Corporal who "does not undermine Policy by doing something stupid." - my favourite example being the sinking of the Lusitania - OK, not a Corporal but an example of minor tactical action that changed Policy, and had strategic implications, but its actually very hard to find good examples of where decisions by NCO's have ACTUALLY changed Policy and had a real strategic effect. It's extremely rare at best.

    c.) Poor concept because it explicitly aimed to put an un-realistic burden on the Corporal, when what it was really meant to do was raise the bar to a useful minimum level. - so "We have to be a lot better." - or "Doing stupid stuff, will always be stupid." The implications for training men to believe that their every action might weigh on Policy was and is horrendous.

    The British Army never took it seriously - at least no one I know. BUT Gen. Krulack, did do some good stuff with the "Three Block War." I used to "um and err about that", but actually the idea can be made into something useful.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  11. #51
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    Default "The 'ifs' of history."

    A question often posed by historians and many others. This post refers to 1978-1979 in Southern Africa, with Rhodesia as the key focus. For complicated reasons I have long had an interest in the history of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and visited once for a holiday in 1985.

    Tonight a BBC Radio Four documentary 'Document' in a programme entitled 'Did UK warn Mugabe and Nkomo about assassination attempts?' reveals the facts behind:
    Successive British governments have accused Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe of brutal, corrupt and incompetent rule, but new evidence suggests that without British help, he might not have lived long enough to come to power.
    Link to BBC News summary, a podcast will be available tonight after the broadcast:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14311834

    Some Rhodesians have blamed 'perfidious Albion' having access to Rhodesia's inner secrets, in particular using traitors and one Ken Flowers, the CIO Director (Rhodesia's external intelligence agency). So this will reinforce their suspicions, citing the British Foreign Secretary Lord Owen can clear up that mystery too:
    The head of Rhodesian Intelligence, Ken Flowers, was also on our side. So I was well aware of what Ken Flowers was claiming was being done, and I used to read the reports.
    Ken Flowers is deceased, as are many of those he worked with and those who suspected him.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A question often posed by historians and many others. This post refers to 1978-1979 in Southern Africa, with Rhodesia as the key focus. For complicated reasons I have long had an interest in the history of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and visited once for a holiday in 1985.

    Tonight a BBC Radio Four documentary 'Document' in a programme entitled 'Did UK warn Mugabe and Nkomo about assassination attempts?' reveals the facts behind:

    Link to BBC News summary, a podcast will be available tonight after the broadcast:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14311834

    Some Rhodesians have blamed 'perfidious Albion' having access to Rhodesia's inner secrets, in particular using traitors and one Ken Flowers, the CIO Director (Rhodesia's external intelligence agency). So this will reinforce their suspicions, citing the British Foreign Secretary Lord Owen can clear up that mystery too:

    Ken Flowers is deceased, as are many of those he worked with and those who suspected him.
    David, thanks for the tip, I will certainly be listening tonight.

    It needs to be said that Rhodesian counter-intelligence was poor generally.

    On the positive side it should be noted that while the target was not at home when the boys arrived at least there was no "reception committee" in waiting.

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    Default Requesting Primary Sources on Rhodesian Military.

    Hi all,

    Just posting as I've been referred here in my search. Basically for a University assignment I'm looking at studying the Rhodesian Bush War, but the assignment relies heavily on primary sources, and so I was wandering about whether relevant sources availability to me. I can't travel to the Zimbabwean national archives for example, though some of the British archives could perhaps be doable.

    But more useful to me would be online sources that deal with the War or military of Rhodesia, specifically foreign involvement in the conflict. Any involvement, not just governmental but also foreign volunteers for example. But any sources that are accessible to me that deal with the Rhodesian military would be fantastic, so if anyone knows where these types of sources could be found, I would massively appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Gigalocus

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    Start here.
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=15803

    After spending 2 hours reading that thread, you can start emailing the authors for more info.

    Brant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigalocus View Post
    Hi all,

    Just posting as I've been referred here in my search. Basically for a University assignment I'm looking at studying the Rhodesian Bush War, but the assignment relies heavily on primary sources, and so I was wandering about whether relevant sources availability to me. I can't travel to the Zimbabwean national archives for example, though some of the British archives could perhaps be doable.

    But more useful to me would be online sources that deal with the War or military of Rhodesia, specifically foreign involvement in the conflict. Any involvement, not just governmental but also foreign volunteers for example. But any sources that are accessible to me that deal with the Rhodesian military would be fantastic, so if anyone knows where these types of sources could be found, I would massively appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Gigalocus
    If you could be much more specific as to your exact information needs it would be helpful... then I could possibly be helpful
    Last edited by JMA; 10-16-2012 at 04:40 PM.

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    Default Rhodesian Bush War; what is your interest?

    Moderator's Note: thread created to help JMA and gain hopefully responses (ends)

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I would appreciate to hear what aspects of the Rhodesian Bush War are of interest to (principally the) US reading public (as represented here).

    Responses will be much appreciated.
    Aviation operations in general with an emphasis on rotary wing operations in support of the ground forces. Also did the Rhodesian ground forces use some version of a Forward Air Controller (FAC) to help coordinate aviation assets with the guys on the ground?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-24-2014 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Add note

  17. #57
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    Default Rhodesian Bush War; what is your interest?

    From JMA:
    A little personal research...I would appreciate to hear what aspects of the Rhodesian Bush War are of interest to (principally the) US reading public (as represented here). Responses will be much appreciated.
    This RFI appeared on the long running, popular Rhodesian COIN thread, but a new thread may attract more attention and responses. Link to thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2090
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    My own interest, which may have been touched upon before, is not how the white Rhodesians fought, which is well covered in the main thread. Rather how and why those who were captured could switch sides and fight for Rhodesia.

    What is remarkable from my armchair is how Rhodesia retained substantial black African support in the rural areas (where the vast majority of them lived) till the mid-1970's.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Condor View Post
    Aviation operations in general with an emphasis on rotary wing operations in support of the ground forces. Also did the Rhodesian ground forces use some version of a Forward Air Controller (FAC) to help coordinate aviation assets with the guys on the ground?
    Thank you for the comment. Taken onboard.

    One of a very books written from the airforce side (all aviators were airforce) is:

    DINGO FIRESTORM: The Greatest Battle of the Rhodesian Bush War

    Also available on Kindle.

    Ian Pringle has done that operation justice with this book and sat the same time providing an unique airforce / aviator perspective.

    Prior to the war army officers were sent on FAC courses which involved the use of ground panels etc. During the war this fell away. Effectively all jet FAC (except for small teams operating externally in Zambia and/or Mozambique) was done by the ubiquitous piston engined Lynx (Cessna 337) either by 'talk-on' or target marking with rocket smoke or what ever.

    We the ground troops, used a simplified form of FAC - called GAC (Ground Air Control). Simply put this was to mark FLOT (forward line of own troops) with smoke then indicate target with a flare (normally a pencil flare as distances were close - hence the term close air support). When the pilot announced he was 'turning in live' the ground troops gave covering fire to distract the enemy sufficient to minimise the ground fire.

    The only time we pulled back was when there was to be a jet strike. There was no safety distance for a gun run (twin 30 Brownings), while SNEB rockets were used at any range if there was a need. The 15 gallon Frantan (Napalm) was used as a pinpoint weapon on rocky areas and small caves and the fireball at close range was spectacular (and troopies needed to warned to keep a tight a..hole

    Being a small military we got to know all the pilots - helos and fixed wing - personally and by name as we (the RLI) based with them at the airfields and had beers together if we recovered back to base at night. So, importantly, we knew them, they knew us as we worked together all the time. This allowed for a great degree of flexibility on the ground.

    GAC training was given down to stick commander level - lance corporal but clearly not all were capable of that. On fire force ops when there was a gunship (with senior pilot and army commander onboard) overhead it (they) would talk on the fixed wing and instruct the troops on the found to mark their positions etc. Dust from 20mm HE from the gunship would usefully generate dust to mark the target as well.

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    I am interested in I guess the human factor. In the US we seem to be all about machines. Back then Rhodesian didn't have recourse to machines so much so it seems to me that they had to make up for that with imagination.

    Another thing is how bush skills came into it, tracking and things like that, though that may have been covered elsewhere.

    Also what David said, about retention of loyalty of the black population and turning people.

    And, it seems to me the Rhodesian gov lost the public relations fight for world opinion. That was of vital importance. Was that seen as important as it turned out to be? Did it influence the war at the sharp end? Was there much thought given to how to fight that particular fight?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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