|What to call people? (One man's terrorist is very much another man's
freedom fighter). The Rhodesians, and many of the supportive documents,
have no hesitation in talking of terrorists, usually when connected to
atrocities carried out against innocent civilians (both black and
white). On the other side of the coin, various sources talk of
"freedom fighters", or "liberators". I will tend to
stick to the more unbiased "guerrilla" . Equally, the
historical purist in me will use the correct names for towns and cities
as they were at the time of the incident described. Thus, Gwelo was as such
until mid-1982, whilst Gweru is where the sabotage of Zimbabwean
aircraft took place.
All links lead
to pages with further information.
Force Main page, quick links to all other RhAF pages.
C Squadron, Rhodesian SAS The
first of the overseas SAS regiments; in 1978 became 1 (Rhodesian)
Special Air Service Regiment; when it was eventually
disbanded in 1980, the British SAS sent a congratulatory telegram to the
unit, noting that C Squadron remained vacant
in the SAS orbat.
D Squadron, SAS A South
A battalion of mounted riflemen -
reintroducing cavalry to the 20th century
RAR Rhodesian African Rifles
six independent companies A white officered
regiment. The first African officers were appointed only
in 1979, when the tide of battle was turning, and
there was too much pressure on the ever stretched Rhodesians to continue with
solely white-officered units.
Infantry All white. Initially caused friction in their behaviour
- an unsuspecting Rhodesian public in Bulawayo were not
accustomed to regular white soldiers; Peter
Godwin mentions an incident where their actions against civilians
caused him to realise why there was a widespread refusal to collaborate
with Rhodesian forces.
Security Force Auxiliaries
(SFA) Brought in in 1978 as a final attempt to Africanise the war. Largely
a failure - too little, too late, and when the recruitment efforts
turned from using captured guerillas to conscripted Africans, it was
clear that the concept, as being used, was a failure.
Selous Scouts Named after
Frederick Courteney Selous, a British explorer in Africa who may have
inspired Rider Haggard to create the Allan Quartermain character. Created - and commanded by -
LtCol R F
Reid-Daly. Responsible for the majority of guerrilla casualties in
the war - either directly, or through acting as a call-sign for other
units. Interpreted as either the most effective, elite fighting-unit on the African continent, or as an
undisciplined, overly aggressive rabble, with little respect for the
regular Rhodesian forces.
AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikov) Russian
designed assault rifle, produced all over the Eastern bloc and still used as
standard equipment by many armies today. Due to its rugged, simple
construction and ease of battlefield maintenance it was a standard
weapon used by guerillas. Used most notably in Rhodesian hands by
the Selous Scouts, Rhodesian SAS and Security Force Auxiliaries.
FN Used as standard equipment; a Belgian
mm air-cooled light
machine gun. FN (FAL) (R-1) 7.62mm
G-3 7.62x51mm (German)
Eastern bloc rocket-propelled grenade used
by the RSF after capture.
Captured land mines usually of much higher quality than Rhodesian
equipment, which generally dated back to Second World War.
weapons were initially traded with the SADF, until South African battles
resulted in the procurement of sufficient examples of their own to make this unnecessary.
MAG machine gun
SKS Carbine 7.62x39mm (Russian)
AKM 7.62x39mm (Russian)
Lee Enfield .303 rifle (Britain) not used by front echelon troops
M-16A1 5.56mm (USA) used only by special forces (in very limited
numbers) towards end of war
Fireforce A tactic of vertical envelopment
developed by the RLI and later the RAR - once an enemy sighting
had been made, troops were rushed - usually by helicopter, when they
were available - to the spot. Later in the war, to make three contacts a
day was not unusual. (Click here for details on Fireforce, by Chris
External Raids With the growing number of guerrilla camps
outside Rhodesia - both training, and refugee camps - especially after
the Portuguese decolonisation of Angola (November 11, 1975) and Mozambique
(June 25, 1975) Rhodesian security planners decided the most productive
response was to take the fight to the camps, rather than waiting for
incursions. Perhaps the most famous external was the "Green
Leader" raid, on Westlands Farm, Zambia.
Points With the ceasefire coming into effect in December 1979, the guerrilla
forces were supposed to be transferred into Assembly Points, where they
could be easily monitored and kept away from any fighting. It
seems that ZANLA, and to a lesser extent ZIPRA mistrusted the security
of having their cadres within those camps - perhaps wisely, with Op
Quartz then being planned by the Rhodesians, ZANU forces in
particular seem to have sent a number of "mujibas" into the
camps to make up numbers - the guerillas being instructed to disperse
into the community.
BMATT British Military
Advisory and Training Team personnel appointed to aid the post-war
casevac - Casualty evacuation, usually
COIN (Counter Insurgency)
JOCs (Joint Operations Centres) and
subJOCs - JOCs saw daily Situation Report being read, while the location
of individual incidents was noted. Discussion then followed on the
incidents and on any action that was necessary from a combined services
point of view. Discussion of military tactics and planning was not held
at these meetings but was the subject, for reasons of security, of meetings by the armed services concerned.
Mujiba Mujibas were unarmed
African children, more boys than girls, who often acted as useful
intelligence sources for the guerillas, indicating movement and location
of Rhodesian forces; a large number were to be killed 'in
No Independence Before Majority Rule - principle established January 25 1966 - (announced in British parliament 20 December 1966).
Areas The most efficient way of combating an increasingly
nation-wide struggle. Rhodesia was eventually divided into eight areas,
including one for Salisbury and the area surrounding.