Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Americans in Rhodesia

Americans in Rhodesia

In 1979, legendary mercenary Mad Mike Hoare stated his opinion on the Bush War that the basic problem(for Rhodesia ) is lack of manpower.. Some might say that this was obvious, yet it is echoed by all of the people who saw the war thru to its bitter end. Many have stated that there were no more than 1000 combat boots on the ground at any given time. Considering the geography and size of Rhodesia, roughly the size of Montana, it certainly is an undertatment. Yet for close to 15 years, Rhodesian Forces held the country and inflicted a disproportionate amount of casualties on the insurgents or terrs under incredible logistical and ideological stress. The only conclusion a person can reach is that the military tactics, intelligence and pure guts kept Rhodesia alive till Eastern powers with the acquiesence of the West let them drown.

With emigration of the white population, sanctions by the West and ever increasing support in material from the East, the choice was clear. Fight or give up your civilization. Yet, those that stayed on to fight the war had to resort to outsourcing. PMC's in the fashion we have today did not yet exist outside of Black paramilitary adventures of the CIA and the Kremlin. Caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea, they reached out for help. The internet didnt yet exist and news coverage was unfavorable to the countries ruling party so getting out the word was a challenge. Outside of word of mouth through the mostly Ex -Special Forces community, the only viable option to reach the targeted audience was a magazine, Soldier of Fortune. Much maligned in the world of journalism as lunatic, war mongering and white supremist, it certainly did the reporting no one else was willing to do. Get out in the bush and report from a foxhole.

Articles started appearing and the word got out that there was opportunity for the willing to come to Rhodesia and enlist to fight a war against communism. This struck a chord with many veterans of the Vietnam conflict who felt betrayed by their government and saw our retreat as a win for the Reds. That war left many professional soldiers with a feeling of loss. As if the US decided in the fourth quarter up by 10, to forfeit the game and put in the C string players and move on. Its debatable whether the US would have achieved success operating in set piece warefare. Those critics of the established rules of operation such as Col. David Hackworth, author of the Vietnam Primer, could see the end before it came. Much like Bernard Fall, who predicted this outcome in the early sixties based on his study of the French foray against the communists, American intervention without out G'n the G would end in tradgedy and waste.

Due to many influences of the SAS experience in Malaya and elsewhere, the Rhodesians sought to out guerilla the guerilla and had great success. Yet, the strains of manpower and embargoes on vital supplies put their backs to the wall.

more to come......


Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am pleased that you have taken to writing again, Simon.

I need to add that the collapse of Rhodesia was, from my point of view, orchestrated by the West and notably US Pres Jimmy Carter and his associate, Andrew Young.

I have some documentation somewhere in my files on their actions and will send them to you when I dig them out.

Of course, the East played a significant role but the loss of Smith's government was more political than it was militarily.



Tango said...

"The only conclusion a person can reach is that the military tactics, intelligence and pure guts kept Rhodesia alive "

As a South African i had the honour to do service up there in 1974 and 1975 whereby as Eeben in his comment states due to political interference we had to withdraw.

A Lt Col JJ Viktor (SAP)said in those days that there are four things that he does not have time for in life


As a younster i could never understand why "Politicians " were included.

I look forward to reading your next post on Rhodesia .

(Long live the Colonel- now a retired General- i salute you )

Tango said...

simon said...

Yes, that imbecile Andrew Young will come up in my future posts. Im hoping for another segment this weekend. I would appreciate any information you can send me on this. Its a subject I had the fortune of learning about thru reading and also talking with a Crippled Eagle. Be patient with me, Im a novice at this stuff lol. Cheers.