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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

BLOOD THE INK FOR MY AUTOPSY

BLOOD, THE INK FOR MY AUTOPSY

By Kudakwashe KANHUTU

The plan had been hatched by a very far sighted person. As the struggle for liberation intensified there was an urgent need for able bodied men to join the fight. This led to acceptance of hardened criminals and those who habitually traversed the borders of sanity, into the fighting ranks of ZANLA. The exigencies of recruiting for a war already underway did not allow the set up of a Criminal Records Bureau, to painstakingly vet all cadres joining the struggle. However, one commander in the Dare reChimurenga (the War Council for ZANLA), had anticipated this problem with extra-ordinary foresight and countered it with equal cunning.

For the uninitiated I am taking you back to the colonial period in the Southern African country formerly called Rhodesia, specifically between 1972 and 1980. This is the time when the black nationalists’ demand for a release from the yoke of white minority oppression reached its apex. The main form of the demand was an armed struggle called Chimurenga II, which saw black people leave their country for training in neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia then return to talk to the white oppressor in terms which were unequivocal. The two main fighting groups were ZANLA, which was dominated by the Shona tribe, and ZIPRA which was smaller owing to it being composed of the minority Ndebele tribe. We were fighting a war of liberating the whole black population from the indignity of being disenfranchised in our own land by foreigners. The leader of the white minority was that rabid racist, Ian Smith.

I insist that the greatest compliment I ever received as a combatant in this war came from our sworn enemy, Ian Smith, in briefing his regular JOC meetings, he is said to have uttered that “Mabhunu’s fighting force shortens our projection for a thousand year rule”. I had adopted the nom de guerre Mabhunu Muchaendepi and the grudging respect of my enemy was not so much a source of pride, but confirmation that our methods were effective.

I must say I was initially averse to what I perceived as a waste of scarce resources when I was informed I would be part of a unit, charged with terminating comrades on the battlefield who were compromising the war by being cruel to the black population we were fighting to free. It was a terrible anti climax, hearing that my engagement with the white enemy would only be coincidental. I found it hard to believe I had shared caves with pythons, walked barefoot across game parks in the middle of the night to reach Mozambique, tottering, on legs swollen to twice their size, to fight, not the enemy; but my own fellow combatants.

It felt like a betrayal of the spirit of Liberation, a betrayal of the nation of Zimbabwe, but any qualms I had were laid to complete rest once we began our training. Basic training was administered to all who arrived at Chimoio, this involved political education, weapons and physical training. Our commanders then assigned us to different fields we would man, based on their assessment and judgement of our abilities, an essential division of labour for any effective fighting force.

It was in training I came into contact for the first time with the criminals who were to be my comrades in liberating Zimbabwe. I remember the vacant look in the eyes of some of these cadres, the inordinate eagerness to get weapons and return to the theatre of war. If I were to say today that I knew instinctively that these people were sadistic, any decent magistrate would throw me in jail owing to the paradigm shift since, but in a time of war, this instinct was indispensable and invaluable an attribute.

Vindication for that instinct would come of course from a reading of the brutal massacre of black civilians between Chipinge and Wedza which took place in such a short time after our pass out from Chimoio. It evoked despondency to watch on the news while we were at advanced training in Libya, the hacked off legs, burnt corpses, pregnant women stabbed by bayonets lying lifeless in row after row, murdered by their supposed liberators.

Ian Smith’s government of course to win the battle of hearts and minds allowed reporters from all over the world to have a field day when such massacres occurred. Extreme double standards because when the Rhodesian Army, frustrated by how cunning the genuine liberators were, massacred civilians in the hundreds, reporters would be banned from these areas. I would also venture that the reason Ian Smith began to doubt his government’s resolution for a thousand year white domination of the majority blacks was – has to be – the existence of a unit in ZANLA charged with protecting civilians from wayward liberators. Was this not a clear example of the advanced political acumen he was telling the world blacks inherently lack? Furthermore the atrocities visited on civilians by Smith’s army went unpunished even when it was so obvious and undeniable.

To be able to shed light on why my autopsy is being written in this sort of ink, let me posit that my death is imminent as I have chosen to let out the most closely guarded secret of Chimurenga II. The secret is that the black liberation fighters lost the war; we lost the war the day when Comrade Josiah Magama Tongogara died. The Kaguvi Sector, my unit in the armed struggle and a brain child of Comrade Tongogara, evolved to become an army within an army, fighting a war within a war. The Sector developed its own ethos which bordered on a preference to actually lose the war than gain leverage by terrorising civilians. Unfortunately this sentiment was not shared across the board, even in Dare reChimurenga Comrade Tongogara was an isolated figure as the other members were proponents of the scorched earth policy. It is a fact that some people in high positions of government today actually instructed the other guerrillas to be ruthless against the black population, summary executions were endorsed, cruel and unusual punishments shamelessly promoted, an all is fair in war doctrine.

Of the Kaguvi Sector numbering 85 at the end of the armed struggle, I am the only one left. 30 of my comrades were detained in Chimoio during the Lancaster House talks and were massacred on the same day that Comrade Tongogara died in a bizarre accident. 20 more comrades did not make it alive from Dzapasi Assembly Point. Over the years the other 34 remaining combatants of the Kaguvi Sector have met ignominious ends over the course of their lives in independent Zimbabwe, in very suspicious circumstances, so it is left to me to honour the memory of the foremost liberation unit by letting the truth be known instead of the myth that has been perpetuated that we won the war of liberation.

Do not waste your pity on me, better people have already died; Comrades Mandebvu, Elliot Hondo, Comrade Mabhunu Muchapera, Hokoyo, Zvaipa, Tafataona, Dragon, Tichafa… 

HERBET CHITEPO ASASSINATION INFO

 author/source:Zimbabwe Standard
published:Sun 30-Sep-2001
posted on this site:Mon 1-Oct-2001

Article Type : News

Josiah Tongogara, Rugare Gumbo, Henry Hamadziripi, Kumbirai Kangai, Mukudzei Mudzi named in 1975 report into Chitepo's murder

Staff Writer

Top Zanu commanders from the Dare Rechimurenga and the Zanla High Command killed former Zanu chairman, Herbert Chitepo, in Zambia in 1975, a special report by a Zambian commission into the late leader's mysterious death reveals. This is the first time that the report has been made public since the lawyer-cum-politician's assasination 26 years ago. Chitepo died when a car bomb planted under the driver's seat in his VW Beetle detonated as he was trying to reverse the car from the garage at his Zambian house. The Standard this week reveals for the first time the contents of the report. The report puts paid to claims from within Mr Mugabe's party that Chitepo had been killed by agents of the Ian Smith regime. The late chairman's widow, Victoria Chitepo, is on record as saying it was common knowledge that the leader was killed by fellow party members.

The Report of the Special International Commission on the Assassination of Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo, which was commissioned by former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, in Lusaka, 1976, cites the late Zanla commander, Josiah Tongogara; current deputy minister of home affairs, Rugare Gumbo, who was secretary for information and publicity; Henry Hamadziripi, secretary for finance; Kumbirai Kangai, secretary for public and social welfare; and Mukudzei Mudzi, secretary for administration as the people responsible for assassinating the Dare chairman, Chitepo.

The report said the late chairman was a victim of a tribal power struggle within the party. Said the report, in the possession of The Standard: "The members of Dare and the High Command decided on March 1975 to kill Chitepo for reasons already stated. On that day, Dauramanzi and Mpunzarima were sent to collect a bomb from Rex Nhongo. They returned on Monday 17 March when Chimurenga handed the bomb to Sadat Kufamazuba for safe keeping until midnight when Chimurenga, Rudo, Short and Sadat planted the bomb on the driver's seat of Chitepo's car. The four men were acting under the directions of Tongogara. On the same night, Tongogara sent Robson Manyika to Chitepo's house to go and check whether Chimurenga, Rudo and Short had carried out the mission. Manyika said he did all this and reported back to Tongogara. This account is consistent with the corroborative evidence of the members of Dare and the High Command before the Commission and with their demeanour when they appeared before us."

The report continues: "The members of Dare and the High Command could all therefore be indicated as principals to the murder of Chitepo because jointly and severally they actively desired to bring this about and did in fact bring it about. Although only one individual may have completed the final act to consummate the crime and though some may not have been present as in the case of Hamadziripi and Chigowe, who claim to have been in Malawi at the material time, they could all be charged for Chitepo's murder."

The report says members of the High Command who gave evidence admitted that on hearing rumours some of them were to be arrested, scattered and ran away from Zambia instead of being eager to assist Zambian Police. "So the whole evidence both circumstantial, as well as direct with regard to the Chitepo assassination, points inevitably and clearly to his colleagues in the Dare and the High Command, especially Tongogara, Chigowe, Mudzi, Gumbo, Kangai and Hamadziripi," says the report.

The commission was chaired by Reuben Chitandika Kamanga and Mathias Mainza Chona, both Zambians, representatives of African countries from Botswana, Congo, Ivory Coast, Libya, Malagasy, Morocco, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania and Zaire. Its terms of reference was to inquire into the events and circumstances leading to death of Chitepo on 18 March 1975. It was to investigate and establish "whether any racists or imperialists agents, or any racists or counter-revolutionaries or saboteurs were directly responsible for the said death." It was to investigate and establish the identity and the motive of the person or persons responsible for the said death. The commission was tasked to: "Make recommendations with regard to the measures or any additional measures that ought to be taken for the security of persons engaged in any political activities aimed at the attainment of freedom and independence of the people of Zimbabwe and any other country in Africa still under colonial or minority rule."

Said Kaunda on Zambian national radio on 31 March 1975: "We are shocked. We are still grieved and angered. We remain bitter against the murderous act, bitter against the murderers - the enemies of Zambia and Africa. Many Zambians are, to say the least, very dismayed and justifiably irritated by statements made by some Zimbabwe nationals, some, even nationalist leaders, have shown no concern whatsoever for the assassination of Mr Chitepo. To them, Mr Chitepo has been assassinated and that must be the end. Instead of calling upon the party and government to track down the killers of this gallant fighter, they are either completely silent, while others virtually demand that we stop the investigation altogether and thereby shelter the assassins."

Twenty-fours years later, Kaunda was still bitter as he told The Standard in 1999 when he came to visit the grave of the late vice president, Joshua Nkomo: "Chitepo was a committed leader. And some day we will talk about how he died. It is one blot in the history, a sad reflection of the whole liberation of this region. Some of the Zanla leadership left Zambia soon after the burial. I didn't expect them to leave immediately...this was their death. It was our death too, and it required all of us to work together on it," said Kaunda.

At the Review Conference of September 1973, the following were elected to the Dare: Herbert Chitepo - chairman (Manyika); Mukudzei Mudzi - administrative secretary (Karanga); Noel Mukono - secretary for external affairs (Manyika); Kumbirai Kangai - secretary for labour, social services and welfare (Karanga); Rugare Gumbo - secretary for information and publicity (Karanga); John Mataure -political commissar (Manyika); Henry Hamadziripi - secretary for finance (Karanga); Josiah Tongogara - chief of defence (Karanga). Apart from being an astute politician, Chitepo made history by becoming the first black advocate in southern Africa.

EXCLUSIVE - The Standard will, from next week, serialise the Report of the Special International Commission on the Assassination of Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo which was commissioned by former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda. The report is the most authoritative account into events surrounding the cold-blooded murder of the former nationalist leader. Standard editor, Mark Chavunduka, said yesterday that not a single sentence of the entire report will be edited out.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

FIRST COPY OF CHOPPERTECH PRINTED

Well there it is the first copy of Choppertech... get your orders in as it is a limited print
Wonder how many stones the book will upturn?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

ANC ZIPRA BATTLE AGAINST RHODESIANS IN WANKIE AREA

The Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns of 1967-8 had a significant impact internationally and within the country, demonstrating to the people of South Africa that the ANC's armed struggle was very much alive, writes Sandile Sijake, an ex-cadre of Umkhonto Wesizwe.


When the ANC and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) agreed on close cooperation in relation to guerrilla operations, it was understood that the activity was taking the existing solidarity a step further. The relationship between the peoples of South Africa and those of Zimbabwe had from then onwards to be tempered in the fires of the common experiences in the struggle for social, economic, political and cultural emancipation.

In the ANC there had been a long period of unplanned attempts at infiltration of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) members back to South Africa. These attempts were mainly focused on finding a route through Botswana. To facilitate the crossing we established a bone milling facility in one of the farms outside Livingstone. The facility worked very well for some time.
However the process of infiltration involved very small groups of one or two at a time. The rate of arrests and interception by the Botswana Paramilitary Police led some of us to suspect that there was a serious leak of information. The second concern was that whatever weapons the cadres carried along ended up in Botswana and there was no way that these could be recovered.
A number of frank discussions were held, mainly with then ANC President OR Tambo. In his absence these meetings would be chaired by Moses Kotane. Moses Mabhida and JB Marks were charged with finding routes other than Botswana. They set up a number of networks that became promising, and were operational.
There was an apparent tendency that some individual leaders placed more emphasise on commercial interests than the struggle for social, economic and political emancipation. These interests manifested themselves in the fact that these leaders set up factories and operated commercial farms mainly in Zambia. Bitter arguments also related to the fact that cadres sent to South Africa were given a mere five pounds to see them through operations, food, transportation and accommodation, to give but a few requirements of any political-military operation.
Members of MK appealed to the leadership that they be part of the planning of routes home. The joint operations with ZAPU's armed wing, the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), evolved out of this process. We agreed to have a combined venture with the specific understanding that we were to be on our way to South Africa. This took place after MK tried to have similar arrangements with FRELIMO in 1966. This could have been feasible given that at that stage FRELIMO was still operating up to Tete Province north of the Zambezi River.

The operations
Once the political strategic levels accepted the rationale of undertaking a form of combined operations, a number of corresponding structures had to be put in place to ensure implementation of the agreement.

Sijake has a high regard of Dabengwa as a great soldier. A Kenyan newspaper once described Dabengwa as the most trained soldier in the entire African continent.
A joint intelligence-cum-reconnaissance structure was established with Eric Manzi (MK) and Dumiso Dabengwa (ZIPRA) as respective leaders. There was also set up a Joint Headquarters (JHQ) consisting of the Overall Commanders, Commissars, Chiefs of Staff, Chiefs of Operations, Chiefs of Logistics and Supplies and a limited involvement of medical officers.
Each of these components of the JHQ had its particular teething problems, some of which it was possible to address, others were to be placed in abeyance, while some had to be wished away. In reconnaissance these challenges led to a form of ad hoc and autonomous activity. All the moves and steps taken were to be balanced to ensure all parties were happy with the process. When the structure of the detachment was assembled each level of authority had to be given serious consideration. It was finally agreed that John Dube of ZIPRA be the detachment commander and Chris Hani the detachment commissar.

In August 1967 a combined force of MK and ZIPRA freedom fighters were seen off across the Zambezi River by Tambo. The force numbered about 96 men with no maps, and limited dependence on ZIPRA cadres who, although Zimbabweans, had no better clue about that part of their country. The detachment had to rely on compasses for a general direction of march.

When this detachment was to cross into then Rhodesia there were two clear directives. The ZIPRA comrades were to establish themselves in their country as a guerrilla force. The ANC cadres were to head to South Africa and without any particular intention that they should engage the enemy inside Rhodesia except when necessary and as means of self-defence.
Inside Rhodesia the detachment was going to split into two main groups and a third part was going to be a group of two cadres using a train. One company was to head east towards the Matopo Hills, Paul Petersen and two other comrades were to go to the nearest railway station and take a train towards the midlands, and the main body was to move on the western part heading south.
The MK contingent intended to use Rhodesia as a passage home and not to conduct any operations in that country. No one among us knew that the first clashes with the enemy would take place in the vicinity of Wankie.
The members of this first detachment had to learn on their feet as they could not avoid blunders associated with undertaking such an operation without sufficient means and equipment. The situation was tense. On crossing the Zambezi river the detachment set up its own reconnaissance section. Some of the functions of reconnaissance were to move forward and backwards finding the routes to follow, water points, food, and information on the activities of the enemy.
The going was never smooth. On certain occasions arguments would be sparked by the issue of who must lead the detachment to the point identified by reconnaissance. Most times the ZIPRA cadres in reconnaissance would insist that they wanted to lead. Every time one of them had been given the opportunity to lead, the detachment would end up going astray and never linking up with that small contingent of reconnaissance left ahead to secure a new temporary base.
On the second day inside Rhodesia, the detachment ran out of food, bullets were in short supply and most, if not all, the MK members had about five pounds and not much water. There was no information about the quantities of rations each was going to get until they were on the banks of the Zambezi River and ready to cross.
The detachment reached the first village on the second day. The small community there gave valuable information to the guerrillas. They indicated that the previous day some soldiers came to their village and said they were looking for guerrillas. They could not remember the number of trucks or soldiers. The leader in that community was a ZAPU supporter and told the detachment that the soldiers did patrols during the day and at night; and their camp was on the other side of the next village. This man was willing to go to a shop owner at the next village and arrange for the purchase of food. The community gave some food to the reconnaissance group for the rest of the detachment.
The reconnaissance group discovered that the shop owner at the second village was also a ZAPU supporter. He gave valuable information about the enemy activities. He told them that all the passable routes converged near the soldiers' camp. After leaving his place the reconnaissance group established that there was a small enemy contingent at that camp. They were seated next to a fire and now and then one of them would go and look along the road intersection and return to the fire. The detachment decided to walk past the camp as they believed they would easily overwhelm the enemy. On seeing the detachment the soldiers ran away, abandoning the camp.
The detachment marched the whole night before deciding to have a long rest. After some rest we noticed that one member from Charlie Company was missing. We searched for him and after about two hours the search was called off and the detachment moved on.

On about day six, the detachment ran out of the food they had bought from the village shop. However, they arrived at a game reserve on the Shashi River valley where they shot a zebra for a meal and provisions. They had some water after having dug in the sand for about one and half metres.
Company B was now to move east in the general direction of Matopo Hills. Their immediate task was to see Paul Petersen to a train station at Dede. They parted with the rest of the detachment that now numbered about eighty guerrillas, heading in the general direction of Wankie.
Early the following day, radio news reports on some battles involving Company B started to filter through to the rest of the detachment. It was reported that one of the battles took more than six hours until the comrades ran out of ammunition. Some were arrested and many died there. Putting the pieces of information together, it appears that when Company B were at Dede station one of them was seen drinking water at a public tap. The enemy got an alert signal and the upshot was that the company was followed until the point of battle.
Similarly, Paul Petersen was followed as he travelled by train. He travelled over Tsholotsho area towards Plumtree. He apparently realised that he was being followed and got off the train, using a sub-machine gun he cleared the first road block he encountered. From that roadblock he took a motorbike and carried on southwards towards Plumtree. Riding on along the road, he found himself at an even bigger roadblock than the previous one. He opened fire, fighting his way and finally fell there.

On hearing the news of the fighting, the main body of the detachment decided to keep our radio sets on continuously, listening to the news. We moved more in the open with an aim of attracting the enemy, in the hope that they would not concentrate on Company B alone.
In the early morning of the ninth day while comrades Wilie, Modulo and Christopher Mampuru were conducting reconnaissance they spotted a large herd of animals. They followed the animals at a distance of about 200m. This led them to a big pond ahead. They were now cautious and had to consult with the rest of the detachment before shooting any of the animals. Wilie left Modulo and Christopher who decided to remain watching the animals while he went back to consult. They were not going to meet again.
Before Wilie could give any report to the detachment two spotter planes began circling the area of the pond. The detachment took up positions in battle formation as the enemy patrols in the air intensified and ground forces appeared in trucks from the direction we came. The enemy trucks passed the positions of the main body and headed for the direction of the pond. After a few moments gun fire sounded in that direction, apparently Christopher and Modulo engaged the enemy.
The following day, while the detachment was having a rest, it was hurled into action by the sound of an exploding hand grenade. The grenade exploded at the position occupied by members of a section consisting of comrades Berry, Baloi, Manchecker, Sparks and Mhlongo. Baloi and Berry died on the spot. Sparks got a bullet through the abdomen and Mhlongo was critically wounded. The enemy was busy shouting: "surrender there is nothing you are going to do".
The detachment engaged the enemy. Their remnants fled from the battlefield leaving behind their dead, maps, supplies and radios. There was one casualty on our side, Charles Sishuba. The members of the detachment got food supplies, fresh clothing, watches and water bottles and used the radios to mislead the enemy. From the maps members of the detachment were able to know about the plans of the enemy and routes they were using.
The disinformation attempts by the detachment proved to be effective, as the enemy acted on the information they received. They ended up one evening shooting at each other near a water pond. After that incident they changed their radio wave band.

The detachment reached the area of Manzamnyama, and they had a brief encounter with some members of the Rhodesian Rifles, who were predominantly black soldiers. After Manzamnyama the detachment was supposed to veer away from the Wankie Game Reserve. The terrain in the intended direction was sparse and any movement would be easily detected. The enemy was still pursuing the detachment.

During the day, while the detachment rested, the silence was broken by the sound of Halifax bombers pounding the bush area about a kilometre away from the isolated trees where the detachment rested. The bombings started a yellowish fire, characteristic of napalm bombs. After the bombers, the ground forces arrived in their trucks and started to conduct a mop-up operation.
Late the following evening the detachment fought its last major battle with a combined force of South African and Rhodesian soldiers. The enemy was routed and the detachment's casualties include comrades Donda and Jackson Simelane.
The detachment proceeded in the general direction of Plumtree. As they moved they did not realise they had strayed into Botswana. They were arrested by Botswana paramilitary police in small groups as they came across them.
The arrest of the last group more or less ended the Wankie part of the campaign and triggered the Sipolilo phase.
Sipolilo
The JHQ undertook a general review of the Wankie battles and as the news reached Lusaka through Rhodesian citizens working in Zambia and other numerous sources, the main talk in both the ANC and ZAPU circles was that of sending reinforcements. This remained in the heads of the members of the JHQ after the fighting had died out and all survivors had been arrested. The second phase was to follow a different belief and thinking.
The plan for the second phase was based on the assumption that it was important to have a sustainable base inside Rhodesia before starting operations in South Africa.
The second detachment crossed to Sipolilo between October 1967 and January 1968. At the end of December 1967 there were over 150 guerrillas in the bushes of the eastern part of Rhodesia. The number fluctuated as more people joined and a few returned to Zambia.
The second detachment was instructed to establish guerrilla bases inside Rhodesia. They were to identify a place to set up an internal headquarters with all the necessary components, as well as alternative bases in case of need. Timeous communications with Morogoro and Lusaka (linking to ANC HQ) was going to be maintained by means of a long range multi-functional radio acquired from Germany. The radio was to be powered by means of a generator. The fuel for the generator was to be acquired from Zambia and stores were to be established by the detachment itself.
The detachment was expected to establish a number of arms caches, assisted by a supply group assembled for the purpose. The weapons, rations and uniform replenishment were supplied from Lusaka. Some of the reasons behind supplying the detachment with food and clothing was to ensure that they did not get involved in extensive hunting as that would attract the enemy.
The JHQ in Lusaka left all the main decisions to the command structure of the detachment. Teams visited the front from Lusaka and Tanzania, taking photographs to show that we had a presence behind the enemy lines. At the same time enemy activities started to grow in the general vicinity of the game reserve.
Early one morning in April 1968 the main bases that had been established in the area were the target of intensive bombing. The enemy ground forces followed the bombing. The enemy had learnt from the previous operations the importance of combining air and ground firepower. This attack triggered the clashes that were to last for more than a week, as pockets of the detachment fought in different directions, with the main force fighting towards Salisbury.
A number of comrades died in the battles that ensued, some were arrested and a few ended up in South Africa. There were then two routes to South Africa; some comrades found their way home and finally got arrested, while others were brought home through an agreement between Rhodesian and South African officials.
April 1968 was the climax of what has come to be known as the Wankie campaigns. The significance of these campaigns internationally is that they led to countries like the USA reshaping their policies on Southern Africa. Internally, the South African regime formulated the notorious Terrorism Act. The masses of our people became aware that the ANC was very much alive and still the main political vehicle for social, economic, political and cultural emancipation. Pan African Newswire

SANDILE SIJAKE was a member of the Luthuli Detachment of Umkhonto we Sizwe.





Thursday, March 10, 2011

DOCUMENTARY CHOPPERTECH AND POLL?

I NEED SOME COMMENTS ON THIS PLEASE-Would Choppertech make a good movie documentary say for History or Discovery Channel?
ALSO WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THIS SUBJECT ?
Email me at shawzie@hotmail.com

CHOPPERTECH LIFE LESSONS

Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Life, I Learned As a Helicopter Tech on Seven Squadron.

Reliving my pre-loss of innocence youth. I found this a long time back, and added a bunch of penciled notes. Cleaned it up a while ago, and just found it again while clearing files. Sending to a few who might understand.

A lot of this is inside stuff. 

1. Helicopters are cool!
2. A wallet in your trouser pocket can be a real pain in the arse.
3. Decisions made by someone over your head will seldom be in your best interest.
4. Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to wonder if this is a good idea.
5. There is no such thing as a small contact.
6. A frozen area has nothing to do with economics.
7. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon especially if it is 20mm.
8. NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than the other guy.
9. When you shoot your gun, clean it the first chance you get.
10.White phos can make a dull day fun.
11. The terms "Protective Armor" and "Helicopter" are mutually exclusive.
12. "Chicken Plates" are not something you order in a restaurant.
13. If you are wearing a flak jacket, the incoming will probably miss that part.
14. Dying can hurt a lot. So can Living.
15. It hurts less to die with a uniform on than to die in a hospital bed.
16. A sucking chest wound may be God's way of telling you it's time to go home.
17. Prayer may not help . . . but it can't hurt.
18. Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running.
Running is better than crawling. All of these however, are better than extraction by a Cas-Evac, even if this is technically a form of flying.
19. It is a fact that helicopter tail rotors are instinctively drawn toward trees, stumps, rocks, etc. While it may be possible to ward off this natural event some of the time, it cannot, despite the best efforts of the crew, always be prevented. It's just what they do.
20. The engine RPM, and the rotor RPM, must BOTH be kept in the GREEN. Failure to heed this commandment can affect the morale of the crew.
21. If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything is going exactly as planned, you're about to be surprised.
22. Loud sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention.
23. The BSR (Bang Stare Read) Theory states that the louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges.
24. The longer you stare at the gauges, the less time it takes them to move from green to red.
25. If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
26. The farther you fly into the mountains, the louder the strange noises become.
27. Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of these can be deadly.
28. It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.
29. Gravity: It may not be fair, but it is the law.
30.Landing in Buffalo Beans is not a good idea.
31. Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. Visit the loo when you can.
The next opportunity may not come around for a long time. If ever.
32. Combat pay is a flawed concept.
33. Medals are OK, but having your body in one piece at the end of the day is better.
34. Thousands of Rhodesians earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded.
35. Hot FAF food is better than hot rat packs, which, in turn is better than cold rat packs, which is better than no food at all. All of these, however, are preferable to cold Sadza (given to you by the RAR) even if they do have the little pieces of fish in them.
36. Always make sure someone has a 9 mm Star.
37. Girlfriends are fair game. Wives are not.
38. Everybody's a hero on the ground in the pub after the fourth drink.
39. Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOUR.
40 Pilots always ask you to keep your eyes open?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ZIPRA CAMPS REVISITED



Extracted from new zim situation.com


In Bulawayo A group of ZIPRA liberation war veterans has toured Mkushi war-time guerilla Camp in Zambia, to pay homage to more than 420 of their colleagues killed by a Rhodesian bombardment on the Camp on October 19, 1978. On arrival following a two-day Zambian expedition, the Mkhushi camp survivors broke into war-time ZIPRA revolutionary songs. They toyi-toyed, they chanted ZAPU slogans, there were also prayers and choruses – in all languages – reverberated through the dense forests, and should have awaken the spirits of the dead cadres sleeping in the mass graves and defence pits. The atmosphere was really somber. Even the crocodiles in Mkushi River should have noticed that this was a different day. Two buses full of ex-fighters who survived the bombing endured a two-day journey from Zimbabwe to Mkushi. The trip was the veterans’ own initiative and was funded from their own pockets, with assistance from some well-wishers. Mafela Trust, an organization that researches and documents the political and military activities of ZIPRA during the liberation war, sent some of their officers on the trip to assist with records and other information. "Mafela" was the liberation war name of the last ZIPRA commander Lookout Masuku (late). The Trust was registered in 1992 and hasMade remarkable progress in researching and recording the role of ZIPRA during the war of liberation. Mkushi camp was exclusively for female ZIPRA cadres. Female guerillas administered and commanded the camp. Mafela Trust national coordinator, Nkomo ... Latest News and Pictures">Zephaniah Nkomo said the trip was successful from the point of view that it enabled the ex-guerillas to fulfill their long-standing desire of going back to the camp to pay homage to their departed colleagues. He said while the ex-fighters appreciated efforts by the Department Of Museums And National Monuments in looking after the place, they felt more could be done to improve the shrine. Mafela Trust urges the department to also erect sites at ZIPRA camps in Tanzania, Botswana ... Latest News and Pictures">Angola And Botswana where hundreds of other freedom fighters were killed in bombings by the Rhodesian Regime during the struggle. "We appreciate the efforts of the department of museums to construct shrines in Zambia and Mozambique, Mafela Trust feels the exercise must move to erect similar shrines at camps in Tanzania and Angola," Nkomo said. He added that there was also need to recognize Botswana’s role in facilitating the struggle through their invaluable support with transit camps, Food and other utilities. Mkushi camp was raided by the Rhodesian forces on the 19th October 1978, killing hundreds of trainees and trained cadres, leaving hundreds others injured. The raid was supported by helicopter gun ships, paratroopers and ground laid ambush enemy forces. The camp, located 130 km from Kabwe Mining Town North East in the savanna grassland along Mkushi river banks became a potential target in the height of the liberation war targeting ZIPRA Camps in Zambia. Those who survived the raid continue to Live with memories of the traumatic experience, 31 years after the incident. It is this sad memory that Made the survivors to undertake the historic memorial visit to Mkushi. Survivors of the Mkushi raid, Mrs. Gift A.Basutu and Mrs. Sebenzile A. Mazinyane among others, initiated the trip and mobilized others for the tour. Mafela Trust, an organization that documents Zapu and Zipra history, was brought in at the final stages of the trip, and assisted with some logistics. The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, the custodian of all shrines, and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation were taken on board. Report compiled by Zephaniah Nkomo Despite challenges with resources, transport, fuel and immigration issues, the trip succeeded. Two buses left Bulawayo and picked up other cadres in Gweru and Harare. The traveling party arrived on the 17th and put up for the night at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Lusaka, before proceeding to Kabwe. Zambian authorities provided police escort and security to the entourage to Mkushi Camp. We arrived at Mkushi Camp at 7 pm on the 18th of October 2009. On arrival, survivors marched to the fenced shrine gate in solemn files. War cries, songs, and traditional salutes were performed as a way of announcing arrival at the shrine. More war songs, church songs, toyi-toyi, slogans, prayers and choruses – in all languages – reverberated through the dense forests, and should have awaken the spirits of the dead cadres sleeping in the mass graves and defence pits. The atmosphere was really somber. Even the crocodiles in Mkushi River should have noticed that this was a different day. As it was getting dark, candles were lit amid ritual dances, heroes’ praises, poetry and sobs by some of us as we remembered our colleagues who Lost their lives at Mkushi. It was time for the survivors of the last Mkushi ZIPRA last detachment to give their personal experiences of the attack. Their tales were harrowing. Joshua Tsharu, a local Mkushi community resident told the touring party how he and fellow residents participated in the collection of skeletons and scattered bones of the bombing victims after Zimbabwe museums authorities promised that they would be paid for their efforts. Tsharu said that a Zimbabwean delegation that visited the camp 2002 identified him and other community leaders to search and collect human skulls in the Mkushi surroundings. For every skull they found, they would be paid 50 thousand kwacha, they were made to believe. He said he collected five skulls from Camp B. His wife collected three skulls and another four along Mkushi river. Three 50kgs bag full of loose bones were collected. The Mkushi residents called off the search after no payment came from the Zimbabwean authorities. An emotional Mr Tsharu said he was bitter over the issue, and complained that no cleansing ceremony had been done, in line with tradition. In addition, the Mkushi community was further promised that a clinic and a school would be built as a thank you gesture for their support and suffering during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle. This also has not been fulfilled. On the following day (19 October) a prayer and singing of the national anthem opened the day. The tour proceeded to inspect the grave sites, identification of memorial features at the Mkushi river banks, the old clinic site, kitchen, and defense pits. The tour revealed that bones and skeletons were still scattered in the defense pits and had not been removed for a decent burial. Mr Tsharu indicated more than 30 defense pits and shelters that have been covered by soil, where bones could be buried. These defense pits and shelters stretch on an area of more than 300 meters. The travelers were later addressed by ZRP Commissioner Nonkosi Ncube, a survivor of the bombings. She expressed profound gratitude to all stakeholders involved on the pilgrimage, in particular Mafela Trust and the Government for efforts to project the role of ZIPRA in the liberation struggle. Observations on Mkushi camp site The tour observed that the shrine has been mash-wire fenced enclosing 10 mass graves of bricks and cement. One mass graver has an inscription which says "411" lay there. A large quantity of expended cartridges litters the parade square zone. Another grave within the fenced area has not been properly marked and constructed. The biggest mass grave is outside the fenced area and has apparently not been properly identified and marked because thePeople who constructed the shrine did not know about it, a museums official admitted. There is need to address this urgently. The official noted that efforts were in progress towards raising the shrine to accepted standards. He also admitted the anomaly on the mass grave left outside the fence and agreed to take up the matter with Head Office. He also concurred with the delegation that there was need to redo the boundaries of the shrine regarding findings in Respect of identified defence pits and shelters and the mass grave left outside the fenced area. The delegation also called for the inscription of the Mkushi Role of Honour with the assistance of Mafela Trust, which has the personnel and records. Mafela Trust has on numerous occasions discussed with the Director Of Museums And Monuments Of Zimbabwe on the partnership projects as relating to the liberation war time archival material and information with a view to adopt user-friendly means and ways to strengthen partnership and hope the long awaited M.O.U. between the two parties will be signed and implemented soon. "Mafela" was the last ZPRA commander Lookout Masuku’s (late) liberation war name. The trust was registered in 1992 to research and document the History of Zapu and ZPRA.

303 BSAP BY MIMI CAWOOD

So far, there has been no book that has been written by someone who was involved with one of the most important and vital key roles during the Rhodesian Bush War and that is the world of signals. Radio communications is an essential service especially in the army, airforce, and police and also where there are large areas without telephones, particularly the remote farming areas. The author served in the BSAP and was based in Beitbridge, on the south east border with South Africa. Mocambique is only 150km away and the region was a hotbed of terror and anti-terror activity. There, she liaised mainly with the quick reaction Fire Force based in the area comprising of RAF 7 Squadron (Alouettes) and the army's 1 Indep Company. Her call-sign was '303' and many in the area knew her as the 'Voice' or '303'. She took advantage of the fact she was female and would constantly be cheeky with the menfolk whilst being really strict and that kept everyone on their toes. There are many stories that will bring back memories - stories that will make you laugh, smile and bring tears to the eye. She was once overwelmed when a survivor who lost both his legs from a RPG7 incident was driven to Beitbridge to thank her for saving his life, a very emotional experience - she had intercepted a Mayday call several months earlier just by chance (her normal channel to Bulawayo was not working and so switched over to the Fort Victoria channel), an act which saved the victims' life.
Mimi is keen to hear from anyone who recalls call-sign '303' and have stories to contribute.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FOREWARD OF CHOPPERTECH BY DON PRICE BCR OC 3 Cdo RLI


 
Someone asked me the other day, "Hey Don, did you know this guy Gordon Shaw? I think they called him Beaver. He was a blue job, a chopper tech. Did you know him? Did he see any action?" I do know Beaver Shaw and I did have the pleasure to operate with him!

My mind wanders off and I remember........Fireforce, a call-out, the wind in my face, the speed we were moving over the ground towards the target area.....and.......
“One minute out," came the words from the pilot. We pulled up and the command, "Smoke! Now!" filled my headset. I lobbed the smoke canister out the open door and we banked sharp left, the blades chopping the air in a clatter of noise; there was that brief second, when time seemed to stand still as we waited for something to happen. Then it came............

The chopper tech barked into his mouthpiece, "Roger, Gooks 10 o'clock......left, bank left, bank left now! K Car is firing!" Dum-dida-dum, the sound of the 20 mm cannon firing, dum-dida-dum and the action was on! You talk about an adrenalin rush, something to shove you to the edge of your seat, exciting stuff, all of this and more, much more! A time to pray, a time to laugh, sometimes to cry. All of these emotions come to you at different times in an airborne Fire- force assault. The experience is something once never forgotten. It is exhilarating, exciting, fast, often frightening but always, always..... magic!

In the contact described above I have recollections of glancing to my left as we circled the contact area. The tech, K Car gunner, was crouched kneeling and firing the 20 mm gun with deadly effect. His crooked smile, calm demeanor and self confidence steadied and calmed my nerves as the battle unfolded! There are flashes of green and orange on the ground followed by the roar of incoming enemy ground fire. The Perspex shatters just to the left of my head and I am stung by the plastic and shrapnel which suddenly fills the cock-pit slams into my shoulder! It feels like a hefty punch and when I touch my shoulder it’s wet, sticky and hot. Apart from that I am fine and there is no time to worry about this now as things are happening and fast! The floor between my legs bursts upwards like thin silver paper being torn as rounds crash through the aircraft floor and green hornets whizz around I duck and feel vulnerable and stupid all at the same time as there is nowhere to take cover! Nowhere to hide or dodge the bullets! I look to my left once more.....the tech is still smiling, still firing and once more I relax. Beaver you biscuit sort them out, bud! You go Boy!!

So the battle continues. The para Dak runs in over the target and deploys just off to the west. The paras seem to be ejected from the aircraft but then they steady to float and swing down towards the ground and the enemy below. All the time the K Car circles and the team watches; flashes all over the place and men running. Suddenly a billowing mushroom of white smoke makes us zero in on a contact taking place below. The radio crackles to life, "Contact, contact! Stop one we have a contact!" Beaver adjusts his position and shuffles left or right on his knees behind his gun, taking in the situation He looks, aims and a split second before firing he advises both the K Car team and the troops below, "K Car firing!" and the 20 mm once more spits out its deadly load.
There are yellow-white flashes and then a plumb of smoke as he makes a direct hit on a gook scrambling for cover behind a baobab tree. In an instance the gook disappears, vaporized. Everything is in slow motion now and the 20 mm spits again......Duda-doom....dud -dum!

Back in camp and safe on the ground I swing out of the chopper and onto terra-ferma. The chopper tech walks around and claps me on the shoulder, "Great stuff, Ishe! Wasn't that outstanding?" The pilot, Chas, unclasps his mouth-piece, "Good work, Beav! Spot on shooting, mate well done!" Chas and I saunter back to the Ops room for a debrief and some hot tea. For us the show is over for a while anyway. But for Sgt Beaver Shaw and the other chopper techs like him it has only just begun. He must now get to work and work quickly as there is no time to waste. The next call-out could come at any moment and he must re-arm, clean his gun to avoid stoppages, check everything on the aircraft, refuel, re-grease, check all oil levels and seals, all joints and blade tips as everything must be 100 % before the next siren blast signals another call-out!

Later that evening in the troop’s canteen the lads relive the battle. Stories are told and retold.The drinks flow but eventually, rather quickly actually, the lads are finished, expired, too much adrenaline has been pumping; one by one they peel off but before they go each and everyone says , Hey Beav...thanks bro you were magic up there, man. You made that 20 mil sing boet.....thank you Beav, thank you!" There are high fives all around. Eventually only a few of us are left and we reflect one last time on the day’s action and punch-up! The swirl of the last swallow and one last look at the dying fire. "Good night you all.....good job Chas and great shooting Beav. Cheers everybody. See you tomorrow." So ends a normal Fire Force day; what will the morrow bring?

Sgt Beaver (Gordon) Shaw was one of those dedicated chopper techs, a true professional who loved every minute of his work and calling. As a gunner both in the G Car and K Car he was unparalleled; apart from being a deadly shot with an uncanny knack of knowing the gooks next move before it happened he was also a great guy and a superb airborne soldier who always remained extremely modest.

I met Beaver in 1978 when he was posted as part of Fire Force Delta to Beitbridge where I was OC 1 (Independent) Coy RAR. The area was tough, dry and very hot in both meanings of the word - temperature wise and gook action. Beaver worked with me as tech/gunner in the K Car on many a call-out and I can honestly say I was always impressed by this quiet often shy young man in olive green overalls. For me he was and will always be one of the Blue Job's (Air force’s) unsung heroes as during his time with 7 & 8 Squadron his accurate shooting accounted for hundreds of gooks killed. He spent day after day doing what I described in just one action, never bitching, whinging or finding fault in anyone....just quietly doing his job!

Beaver went on to be actively involved in almost every operation where choppers were deployed as well as airborne assaults into Mozambique like the raid on Chimoio in Operation Dingo. In fact the list of his deployments is staggering.

Beaver also accompanied pilots into neighboring hostile (enemy) countries on “hot extraction” missions playing an important role in rescuing soldiers from life threatening situations and bringing them back to safety. Tasks the normal soldier never spoke or heard about but which were very real. Again, chopper techs like Beaver were never praised for their part in these highly dangerous airborne mercy missions; to this day they remain unsung heroes!
.
Beaver’s memoires, “Chopper Tech” is a must read for both military historians and civilians alike. It is a wonderful record from a totally different perspective of the Rhodesian war and our fight against terrorism.

I am honored to have been asked to write a foreword for this quiet totally unassuming and modest professional ….. Sgt Gordon (Beaver) Shaw.

Major Don Price BCR
OC 3Cdo
1 RLI

Friday, February 11, 2011

AN INTERESTING LINK ON FIREFORCE

http://www.combatreform.org/RLIfireforce.htm

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Chimurenga war in a nutshell

Rhodesian Bush War

Encyclopedia
The Rhodesian Bush War—also known as the Zimbabwe War of Liberation or the Second Chimurenga
Chimurenga
Chimurenga is a Shona word for 'revolutionary struggle'. The word's modern interpretation has been extended to describe a struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice, specifically used for the African insurrections against British colonial rule 1896–1897 and the guerrilla war...
—was a civil war in the former country of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) fought from July 1964 to 1979. The Rhodesian government under Ian Smith and Zimbabwe-Rhodesian government under Abel Muzorewa
Abel Muzorewa
Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia from the Internal Settlement to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979...
 fought against Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the second and current President of Zimbabwe. One of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power as the head of government since 1980, as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987, and as the first executive head of state since...
's Zimbabwe African National Union and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union
Zimbabwe African People's Union
The Zimbabwe African People's Union is a once militant organization and political party that fought for the national liberation of Zimbabwe from its founding in 1961 until it merged with the Zimbabwe African National Union in December 1987....
. The war and its subsequent settlement ultimately led to the implementation of universal suffrage, the end of the white minority ruled Rhodesia and the short-lived government of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and resulted in the creation of the Republic of Zimbabwe under the leadership of Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Zimbabwe
The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe is the head of government in Zimbabwe. From 1980 to 1987, Robert Mugabe was the first person to hold the position following independence from the United Kingdom. He took office when Rhodesia became the Republic of Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980...
 Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the second and current President of Zimbabwe. One of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power as the head of government since 1980, as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987, and as the first executive head of state since...
.

Background


The origins of the war in Rhodesia can be traced to the colonization of the region by white settlers in the late 19th century, and the dissent of black African nationalist leaders who opposed white minority rule. Rhodesia was settled by British and South African pioneers beginning in the 1890s and while it was never accorded full dominion status, Rhodesia effectively governed itself after 1923. In his famous "Wind of Change" speech addressed to the parliament of South Africa in 1960, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan stated Britain's intention to grant independence to British territories in Africa. As a consequence many Rhodesians were concerned at the possibility that decolonization and native rule would bring chaos, as had resulted when the Congo became independent . Britain's unwillingness to compromise on the policy of "No independence before majority rule" led to Rhodesia unilaterally declaring independence
Unilateral Declaration of Independence (Rhodesia)
The Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia from the United Kingdom was signed on November 11, 1965, by the administration of Ian Smith, whose Rhodesian Front party opposed black majority rule in the then British colony. Although it declared independence from the United Kingdom it...
 on 11 November 1965. Though Rhodesia had the support of neighbouring South Africa and Portuguese-ruled Mozambique, it never gained formal recognition from any other country. A common misconception is that blacks were subjected to extreme racism and this was the factor that led to the war; however, while some social services were segregated, voting was colourblind (with qualifications), and the white-run government provided health, education and housing services to blacks. The nationalists went to war over white rule and land dispossession.

By contrast, most white Rhodesians viewed the war as one of survival with atrocities committed in the former Belgian Congo, the Mau Mau Uprising campaign in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa fresh in their minds. Many whites (and a sizable minority of black Rhodesians) viewed their lifestyle as being under attack, which both had considered safer and with a higher standard of living than many other African countries.

Although the vote in Rhodesia was open to all, regardless of race, property ownership requirements effectively denied the franchise to most of Rhodesia's blacks. and the 1969 constitution provided for "Non-Europeans" (principally blacks) to elect representatives for 8 of the seats in the 66 seat parliament. A further 8 of these seats were reserved for tribal chiefs.

Amidst this backdrop, black nationalists advocated armed struggle to bring about independence in Rhodesia. Resistance also stemmed from the wide disparities in wealth possession between blacks and whites. In Rhodesia, Europeans owned most of the fertile land whilst Africans were crowded on barren land, following forced evictions or clearances by the colonial authorities.

Two rival nationalist organizations soon emerged: the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union
Zimbabwe African National Union
The Zimbabwe African National Union was a militant organization that fought against white minority rule in Rhodesia, formed as a split from the Zimbabwe African People's Union...
 (ZANU), following a split in the former in August 1963, following disagreements over tactics as well as tribalism and personality clashes.. ZANU and its military wing ZANLA were headed initially by the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, and later Robert Mugabe, consisted mainly of the Shona
Shona
Shona may refer to:*Shona people, a Southern African people*Shona language, a Bantu language spoken in Zimbabwe and parts of Mozambique. It has several dialects which include Zezuru spoken by the people in the northern part of Zimbabwe, Manyika in Manicaland, and Karanga in southern part of...
 speaking tribes. ZAPU and its military wing ZIPRA consisted mainly of Ndebele ethnic groups under Joshua Nkomo.

Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition existing after World War II , primarily between the Soviet Union and its satellite states, and the powers of the Western world, particularly the United States...
 politics played into the conflict also, with the Soviet Union supporting ZIPRA and Communist China providing support to ZANLA. Each group subsequently fought a separate war against the Rhodesian security forces, and the two groups sometimes fought against each other as well. In June 1979, the governments of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean. It consists of the island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city....
 and Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest.The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in...
 offered direct military assistance to the Patriotic Front, but Mugabe and Nkomo declined. Other foreign nations also contributed to the conflict, for instance North Korea
North Korea
North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...
n military officials taught Zimbabwean militants how to use explosives and arms in a camp near Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of North Korea, located on the Taedong River. According to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, it has a population of 3,255,388....
. By April 1979 12,000 ZANLA troops were training in Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a nation in central East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.The United...
, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa. Officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is the second-most populous nation in Africa with over 79.2 million people and the tenth-largest by area with its 1,100,000 km2. The capital is Addis...
, and Libya
Libya
Libya , officially the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya , is a country located in North Africa...
. On the other side of the conflict South Africa clandestinely provided both material and military support to the Rhodesian government.

Inevitably the Bush War occurred within the context of regional Cold War in Africa, and became embroiled with a number of conflicts in several neighbouring countries as well. Such conflicts included the Angolan War of Independence
Angolan War of Independence
The Angolan War of Independence began as an uprising against forced cotton harvesting, and became a multi-faction struggle for control of Portugal's Overseas Province of Angola with 11 separatist movements...
 (1961–1975) and Angolan Civil War
Angolan Civil War
The Angolan Civil War began in Angola after the end of the war for independence from Portugal in 1975. The war featured conflict between two primary Angolan factions, the communist MPLA and the anti-communist UNITA. A third movement, the FLEC, an association of separatist militant groups, fought...
 (1975–2002), the Mozambican War of Independence
Mozambican War of Independence
The Mozambican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the guerrilla forces of the Mozambique Liberation Front or FRELIMO , and Portugal...
 (1964–1974) and Mozambican Civil War
Mozambican Civil War
The Mozambican Civil War began in 1977, two years after the end of the war of independence. The ruling party, Front for Liberation of Mozambique , was violently opposed from 1977 by the Rhodesian- and South African-funded Mozambique Resistance Movement...
 (1977–1992), and the Shaba I
Shaba I
Shaba I was a conflict between the neighbouring states of Zaire and Angola in 1977, and was arguably a consequence of Zaire's support for the FNLA and UNITA factions in the Angolan Civil War....
 (1977) and Shaba II
Shaba II
Shaba II was an invasion of the Shaba separatist movement FNLC into the Zairian province of Shaba on 11 May 1978. The FNLC had its bases in eastern Angola and probably had the support of the Angolan government...
 (1978) conflicts.

Perceptions


The conflict was seen by the nationalist groups and the British government of the time as a war of national and racial liberation. The Rhodesian government saw the conflict as a fight between one part of the country's population (the whites) on behalf of the whole population (including the black majority) against several externally financed parties made up of predominantly black radicals
Radicalization
Radicalization is the process in which an individual changes from passiveness or activism to become more revolutionary, militant or extremist. Radicalization is often associated with youth, adversity, alienation, social exclusion, poverty, or the perception of injustice to self or...
 and communists. The Nationalists saw their country as having been occupied and dominated by a foreign power, namely, Britain, since 1890. The British government, in the person of the Governor General, directly ruled the country from 1923, when it took over from the British South Africa Company
British South Africa Company
The British South Africa Company was established by Cecil Rhodes through the amalgamation of the Central Search Association and the Exploring Company Ltd., receiving a royal charter in 1889...
. In 1965, Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front
Rhodesian Front
The Rhodesian Front was a political party in Southern Rhodesia when the country was under white minority rule. Led first by Winston Field, and, from 1964, by Ian Smith, the Rhodesian Front was the successor to the Dominion Party, which was the main opposition party in Southern Rhodesia during the...
 party took over the government when it unilaterally declared independence. The minority Rhodesian government believed they were defending Western values, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament....
, the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law is a legal maxim according to which no one is immune to the law.While the rule of law has been described as "an exceedingly elusive notion" giving rise to a "rampant divergence of understandings", a dichotomy can be identified between two principal conceptions of the rule of law: a...
 and democracy
Democracy
Democracy is a political form of government carried out either directly by the people or by means of elected representatives of the people...
 by fighting Communists. They were unwilling to compromise on most political, economic and social inequalities. The Smith administration said the traditional chiefs were the legitimate voice of the black Shona and Ndebele population and that the nationalists were dangerous usurpers.

In 1978-1979 the Smith administration attempted to blunt the power of the nationalist cause by acceding to an "Internal Settlement" which ended minority rule, changed the name of the country to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and installed the country's first black head of government, Abel Muzorewa
Abel Muzorewa
Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia from the Internal Settlement to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979...
. However, unsatisfied with this and spurred on by Britain's refusal to recognise the new order, the nationalist forces persisted. Ultimately the war ended when the white-dominated government of Rhodesia returned power to the British government with the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement
Lancaster House Agreement
The negotiations which led to the Lancaster House Agreement brought independence to Rhodesia following Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. The Agreement covered the Independence Constitution, pre-independence arrangements, and a ceasefire...
. The Rhodesian government did so at the behest of both South Africa (its major backer) and the United States. Britain recognised this new government, headed by Robert Mugabe, and the newly independent and internationally recognised country was renamed Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the continent of Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers...
.

Rhodesian Security Forces


Despite the impact of economic and diplomatic sanctions, Rhodesia was able to develop and maintain a potent and professional military capability.

The regular army was always a relatively small force, but by 1978-79 it consisted of some 10,800 regulars nominally supported by about 40,000 reservists - though by the last year of the war, perhaps as few as 15,000 were available for active service. While the regular army consisted of a professional core drawn from the white population (and some units, such as the Rhodesian SAS and the Rhodesian Light Infantry
Rhodesian Light Infantry
The 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry was a regular airborne commando regiment in the Rhodesian army. The RLI was originally formed as a light infantry regiment in 1961, reformed as a commando battalion in 1965, became a parachute Battalion in 1977 and was disbanded at the end of the...
, were all-white), by 1978-79 the majority of its complement was actually composed of black soldiers. The army reserves, in contrast, were largely white and, toward the end of the war, were increasingly being called up to deal with the growing insurgency. The regular army was supported by the para-military British South Africa Police
British South Africa Police
The British South Africa Police was the police force of the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia...
 with a strength of about 8,000 to 11,000 men (the majority of whom were black) and supported by between 19,000 to 35,000 police reservists (which, like their army counterparts, were largely white). The police reserves acted as type of home guard.

The war saw the extensive operation of Rhodesian regulars as well as elite units such as the Selous Scouts
Selous Scouts
The Selous Scouts was the name given to a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army, which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous , and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona, roughly means...
 and the Rhodesian SAS. The Rhodesian Army fought bitterly against the black nationalist guerrillas. The Rhodesian Army also comprised mostly black regiments such as the Rhodesian African Rifles
Rhodesian African Rifles
The Rhodesian African Rifles, or RAR, was the oldest regiment in the Rhodesian Army, dating from the formation of the 1st Rhodesian Native Regiment in 1916 during the First World War. This was followed by the creation of the Matabeleland Native Regiment, and the 2nd Rhodesian Native Regiment,...
. As the war went on, the frequent callup of reservists was increasingly utilized to supplement the professional soldiers and the many volunteers from overseas. By 1978 all white males up to the age of 60 were subject to periodic call-up into the army; younger men up to 35 might expect to spend alternating blocks of six weeks in the army and at home. Many of the overseas volunteers came from Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is the third largest island in Europe and the twentieth largest island in the world. It lies to the northwest of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. To the east of Ireland is Great Britain, separated from it by the Irish Sea. The Republic of Ireland...
, South Africa, Portugal, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America with the latter three being held in high regard for their recent Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from November 1, 1955 , to April 30, 1975 when Saigon fell...
 experience.

The Rhodesian Army was, considering the arms embargo, well-equipped. The standard infantry weapon was the Belgian FN FAL
FN FAL
The Fusil Automatique Léger or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal . During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, with the notable exception of the United States...
 Rifle as produced in South Africa under license as the R1 Rifle and supplemented by the H&K G3 rifle that came from Portuguese forces. However other weapons such as the British L1A1 variant of the FAL and the older British Lee-Enfield
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...
 bolt action rifle were used by reservists and the British South Africa Police
British South Africa Police
The British South Africa Police was the police force of the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia...
. Other weapons included the Bren
Bren
The Bren, usually called the Bren Gun, was a series of light machine guns adopted by Britain in the 1930s and used in various roles until 1991...
 LMG, Sten
Sten
The Sten was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War. They were notable for having a simple design and very low production cost....
 SMG, Uzi, Browning Hi-Power
Browning Hi-Power
The Browning Hi-Power is a single-action, 9mm semi-automatic handgun. It is based on a design by American firearms inventor John Browning, and later improved by Dieudonné Saive at Fabrique Nationale of Herstal, Belgium. Browning died in 1926, several years before the design was finalized...
 pistol, Colt M16 rifle
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle...
 (very late in the war), FN MAG
FN MAG
The FN MAG is a Belgian 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, designed in the early 1950s at Fabrique Nationale by Ernest Vervier. It has been used by more than 80 countries, and it has been made under licence in countries such as Argentina, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the...
 general-purpose machine-gun, 81 mm mortar
L16 81mm Mortar
The United Kingdom's L16 81 mm mortar is the standard mortar used by the British armed forces. It originated as a joint design by UK and Canada. The version produced and used by Australia is named the F2 81mm Mortar, whilst the version used by the U.S...
, and Claymore
M18A1 Claymore Antipersonnel Mine
The M18A1 Claymore is a directional anti-personnel mine used by the U.S. military. It was named after the large Scottish sword by its inventor, Norman A. MacLeod. The Claymore fires shrapnel, in the form of steel balls, out to about 100 meters within a 60° arc in front of the device. It is used...
 mines. After UDI
Unilateral Declaration of Independence (Rhodesia)
The Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia from the United Kingdom was signed on November 11, 1965, by the administration of Ian Smith, whose Rhodesian Front party opposed black majority rule in the then British colony. Although it declared independence from the United Kingdom it...
 Rhodesia was heavily reliant on South African and domestically-produced weapons and equipment, as well as international smuggling operations.

The Rhodesian Air Force (RhAF) operated a variety of equipment and carried out numerous roles, with air power providing the Rhodesians with a significant advantage over their enemy. When the arms embargo was introduced, the RhAF was suddenly lacking spare parts from external suppliers and was forced to find alternative means of keeping their aircraft flying. The RhAF was also relatively well equipped and used a large proportion of equipment which was obsolete, such as the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world's nations, including all of the great powers, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
 vintage Douglas Dakota
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...
 transport aircraft and the early British jet-fighter the de Havilland Vampire
De Havilland Vampire
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter. It was commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF, after the pioneering Gloster Meteor...
. It also used more modern types of aircraft like the Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter was a British jet fighter aircraft of the 1950s and 1960s. The Hunter served for many years with the Royal Air Force and was widely exported, serving with 19 air forces. A total of 1,972 Hunters were produced by Hawker Siddeley and under licence.-Development:The origins of the...
 and Canberra
English Electric Canberra
The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. It proved to be highly adaptable, serving in such varied roles for tactical bombing, photographic, electronic, and meteorological reconnaissance...
 bombers, the Cessna Skymaster
Cessna Skymaster
The Cessna Skymaster is a United States twin-engine civil utility aircraft built in a push-pull configuration. Its engines are mounted in the nose and rear of its pod-style fuselage. Twin booms extend aft of the wings to the vertical stabilizers, with the rear engine between them. The horizontal...
 as well as Aérospatiale Alouette III
Aérospatiale Alouette III
The Aérospatiale Alouette III is a single-engine, light utility helicopter developed by Sud Aviation and later manufactured by Aérospatiale of France. The Alouette III is the successor to the Alouette II, being larger and having more seating...
 helicopters until they were supplemented by the Augusta Bell 205. Very late in the war, the Rhodesian forces were able to obtain and use a very few smuggled in Bell UH-1 Iroquois
UH-1 Iroquois
The UH-1 Iroquois is a military helicopter powered by a single, turboshaft engine, with a two-bladed main rotor and tail rotor. The helicopter was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet the United States Army's requirement for a medical evacuation and utility helicopter in 1952, and first flew on 20...
 helicopters.

At the beginning of the war much of Rhodesia's military hardware was of British and Commonwealth origin but during the course of the conflict new equipment such as armoured cars were procured from the South Africans. Several captured Soviet Bloc T-55
T-55
The T-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of...
 tanks were provided to Rhodesia by the South Africans, though only in the last year of the war. The Rhodesians also produced some of their own armoured vehicles, including unlicensed copies of the Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of luxury automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. It is currently a division of the parent company, Daimler AG , after previously being owned by Daimler-Benz...
 UR-416. The means with which the Rhodesian's procured weaponry meant that the arms embargoes had little effect on the Rhodesian war effort. During the course of the war most white citizens carried personal weapons, and it was not unusual to see white housewives carrying submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol...
s. A siege mentality
Siege mentality
Siege mentality is a shared feeling of victimization and defensiveness. It is a state of mind whereby one believes that one is being constantly attacked, oppressed, or isolated and make one frightened of surrounding people. This can cause a state of being overly fearful leading to a defensive...
 set in and all civilian transport had to be escorted in convoys for safety against ambushes. Farms and villages in rural areas were frequently attacked.

The Rhodesian government divided the nation into eight geographical operational areas: North West Border (Operation Ranger), Eastern Border (Operation Thrasher), North East Border (Operation Hurricane), South East Border (Operation Repulse), Midlands (Operation Grapple), Kariba (Operation Splinter), Matabeleland (Operation Tangent), Salisbury
Harare
Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and communications centre...
 and District ("SALOPS").

Rebel/Guerilla Forces


The two major armed groups campaigning against Ian Smith
Ian Smith
----Ian Douglas Smith GCLM ID served as the Prime Minister of the British self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia from 13 April 1964 to 11 November 1965...
's government were:
  • ZANLA (Zimbabwe National Liberation Army), the armed wing of ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union
    Zimbabwe African National Union
    The Zimbabwe African National Union was a militant organization that fought against white minority rule in Rhodesia, formed as a split from the Zimbabwe African People's Union...
    ).
  • ZIPRA
    ZIPRA
    Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army was the armed wing of the Zimbabwe African People's Union, a political party in Rhodesia. It participated in the Second Chimurenga against white minority rule in the former Rhodesia....
     (Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army), the armed wing of ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People's Union
    Zimbabwe African People's Union
    The Zimbabwe African People's Union is a once militant organization and political party that fought for the national liberation of Zimbabwe from its founding in 1961 until it merged with the Zimbabwe African National Union in December 1987....
    ).


The fighting was largely rural, with both movements attempting to secure peasant support and to recruit fighters while harassing the administration and the white civilians. Unlike the town-dwellers, rural whites faced danger and many were killed but in 1979 there were still 6,000 white farmers. They were vulnerable every time they left the homestead.

ZANLA



ZANLA was the armed wing of ZANU. The organization also had strong links with Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest.The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in...
's independence movement, FRELIMO. ZANLA, in the end, was present on a more or less permanent basis in over half the country, as evidenced by the location of the demobilisation bases at the end of the war, which were in every province except Matabeleland North
Matabeleland North
Matabeleland North is a province in western Zimbabwe. It borders the provinces of Midlands and Mashonaland West to the east and northeast respectively, and the province of Matabeleland South and the city of Bulawayo to the south. Its northern border is defined by the Zambezi river, while its...
. In addition, they were fighting a civil war against ZIPRA, despite the formation of a joint front by their political parties after 1978. It was ZANLA's intention to occupy the ground, supplant the administration in rural areas, and then mount the final conventional campaign. ZANLA concentrated on the politicisation of the rural areas using force, persuasion, ties of kinship and collaboration with spirit mediums.

ZANLA tried to paralyze the Rhodesian effort and economy by planting Soviet anti-tank land mine
Land mine
A land mine is usually a victim-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage its target via blast and/or fragments....
s on the roads. From 1972 to 1980 there were 2,504 vehicle detonations of land mines (mainly Soviet TM46s), killing 632 people and injuring 4,410. The mining of roads increased as the war intensified; indeed the increase from 1978 (894 mines or 2.44 mines were detonated or recovered a day) to 1979 (2,089 mines or 5.72 mines a day) was 233.7%. In response, the Rhodesians co-operated with the South Africans to develop a range of mine protected vehicles. They began by replacing air in tyres with water which absorbed some of the blast and reduced the heat of the explosion. Initially, they protected the bodies with steel deflector plates, sandbags and mine conveyor belting. Later, purpose built vehicles with V shaped blast hulls dispersed the blast and deaths in such vehicles became unusual events.

ZIPRA



ZIPRA was the anti-government force based around the Ndebele ethnicity, led by Joshua Nkomo
Joshua Nkomo
Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was the leader and founder of the Zimbabwe African People's Union and a member of the Kalanga tribe. He was affectionately known in Zimbabwe as Father Zimbabwe, Umdala Wethu, Umafukufuku or Chibwechitedza...
, and the ZAPU political organization. In contrast to ZANLA's Mozambique links, Nkomo's ZIPRA was more oriented towards Zambia
Zambia
The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is...
 for local bases. However, this was not always with full Zambian government support, and by 1979 ZIPRA's forces, combined with ANC
African National Congress
The African National Congress has been South Africa's governing left-wing party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...
 and SWAPO forces in Zambia, was a major threat to Zambia's internal security. Because ZAPU's political strategy relied more heavily on negotiations than armed force, ZIPRA did not grow as quickly or elaborately as ZANLA, but by 1979 it had an estimated 20,000 combatants, almost all based in camps around Lusaka, Zambia.

ZIPRA
ZIPRA
Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army was the armed wing of the Zimbabwe African People's Union, a political party in Rhodesia. It participated in the Second Chimurenga against white minority rule in the former Rhodesia....
 was responsible for two attacks on civilian Air Rhodesia Viscount airplanes
Air Rhodesia Flight RH825
Air Rhodesia Flight 825 was a scheduled flight from Kariba to Salisbury that was shot down on September 3, 1978 by ZIPRA guerillas using a SA-7 surface-to-air missile-Incident:...
, using a SAM-7
Strela 2
The 9K32 “Strela-2” is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude surface-to-air missile system with a high explosive warhead and passive infrared homing guidance...
 surface-to-air missile
Surface-to-air missile
A Surface to Air Missile or ground-to-air missile is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft. Development of surface-to-air missiles began in Nazi Germany during late World War II with missiles like the Wasserfall. It is one part of the anti-aircraft system...
s. Ten out of the eighteen civilians on board who survived the first crash were subsequently killed by the ZIPRA militants. Nkomo later spoke to the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is the largest broadcasting organisation in the world. The BBC is an autonomous public service broadcaster that operates under a Royal Charter...
 of the attack in a way some considered gloating. In his memoirs, Story of My Life (1985), Nkomo expressed regret for the shooting down of both planes, claiming ZIPRA intelligence believed the plane was carrying General Walls and his aides.

ZIPRA took advice from its Soviet instructors in formulating its version of popular revolution and its strategy for taking over the country. There were about 1.400 Soviets, 700 East German and 500 Cuban instructors deployed to the area. On the advice of the Soviets, ZIPRA built up its conventional forces, and motorised with Soviet armored vehicles and a number of small airplanes, in Zambia. ZIPRA's (i.e. ZAPU's) intention was to allow ZANLA to bring the Rhodesian forces to the point of defeat, and then to take the victory from the much lighter forces of ZANLA and the essentially defeated Rhodesians. ZIPRA kept a light presence within Rhodesia, reconnoitering, keeping contact with the peasants and sometimes skirmishing with ZANLA. ZIPRA's conventional threat actually distracted the Rhodesians from fighting ZANLA to an extent. By the late 1970s, ZIPRA had developed a strategy known as Storming the Heavens to launch a conventional invasion from Zambia, supported by a limited number of armoured vehicles and light aircraft. An operation by the Rhodesian armed forces to destroy a ZIPRA base near Livingstone in Zambia was never launched.

The ZAPU/ZIPRA strategy for taking over Zimbabwe proved unsuccessful. In any event, the transfer of power to black nationalists took place not by the military take-over expected by ZAPU/ZIPRA, but by a peaceful and internationally supervised election. Rhodesia reverted briefly to real British rule, and a general election took place in early 1980. This election was supervised both by the UK and international forces. Robert Mugabe (of ZANLA/ZANU) won this election, being the only major competitor for the vote of the majority ethnicity, the Shona. Once in power, Mugabe was internationally recognised as Zimbabwe's leader and was installed as head of government, as well as having the backing of the overwhelming majority ethnic group. He was therefore able to quickly and irreversibly consolidate his power in Zimbabwe, forcing ZAPU, and therefore ZIPRA which was ZAPU's army, to give up hope of taking over the country in the place of ZANU/ZANLA.

Civil disobedience (1957–1964)


In September 1956, bus fares in Salisbury
Harare
Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and communications centre...
 were raised to the point at which workers were spending between 18% and 30% of their earnings on transportation. The City Youth League responded by boycotting the United Transport Company's buses and succeeded in preventing the price change. On 12 September 1957 members of the Youth League and the defunct ANC formed the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress, led by Joshua Nkomo. The Whitehead administration
Edgar Whitehead
Sir Edgar Cuthbert Fremantle Whitehead, OBE, was a Rhodesian politician. He was a longstanding member of the Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly, although his career was interrupted by other posts and by illness. In particular he had poor eyesight, and wore very thick glasses, and later...
 banned the SRANC in 1959 and arrested 307 leaders, excluding Nkomo who was out of the country, on 29 February in Operation Sunrise
Operation Sunrise
Operation Sunrise may refer to:*Operation Sunrise , a 1962 test of the Strategic Hamlet Program*Operation Crossword or Operation Sunrise, a series of secret negotiations conducted in March 1945 in Switzerland...
.

Nkomo, Mugabe, Herbert Chitepo
Herbert Chitepo
Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo led the Zimbabwe African National Union until the Central Intelligence Organization of Rhodesia assassinated him in March 1975....
, and Ndabaningi Sithole established the National Democratic Party in January 1960. Nkomo became its leader in October. An NDP delegation headed by Nkomo attended the constitutional conference in January 1961. While Nkomo initially supported the constitution, he reversed his position after other NDP leaders disagreed. The government banned the NDP in December 1961 and arrested NDP leaders, excluding Nkomo who, again, was out of the country. Nkomo formed the Zimbabwe African People's Union which the Whitehead administration banned in September 1962.

The United Federal Party
United Federal Party
The United Federal Party, previously known as the United Party and the United Rhodesia Party, was one of Southern Rhodesia's most successful political parties, and governed the country for over 30 years...
, campaigning on majority rule, lost overwhelmingly in the 1962 general election to the more conservative Rhodesian Front
Rhodesian Front
The Rhodesian Front was a political party in Southern Rhodesia when the country was under white minority rule. Led first by Winston Field, and, from 1964, by Ian Smith, the Rhodesian Front was the successor to the Dominion Party, which was the main opposition party in Southern Rhodesia during the...
. Nkomo, legally barred from forming a new political party, moved ZAPU's headquarters to Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre...
, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a nation in central East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.The United...
.

In July 1963 Nkomo suspended Ndabaningi Sithole, Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the second and current President of Zimbabwe. One of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power as the head of government since 1980, as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987, and as the first executive head of state since...
, Leopold Takawira
Leopold Takawira
Leopold Takawira served as the Vice President of the Zimbabwe African National Union after supporting the National Democratic Party and later the Zimbabwe African People's Union.Leopold Takawira was also known by his Mhazi to totem as 'Shumba yeChirumanzi'Takawira was born at Chirumanzi, Victoria...
, and Washington Malianga
Washington Malianga
Washington Malianga is one of several leaders of the Zimbabwe African People's Union who left ZAPU in 1963 and founded the Zimbabwe African National Union. ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo suspended their membership due to their opposition to his continued leadership. The other leaders were Ndabaningi...
 for their opposition to his continued leadership of ZAPU. On 8 August they announced the establishment of the Zimbabwe African National Union
Zimbabwe African National Union
The Zimbabwe African National Union was a militant organization that fought against white minority rule in Rhodesia, formed as a split from the Zimbabwe African People's Union...
. ZANU members formed a militant wing, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army
Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army
Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army was the military wing of the Zimbabwe African National Union, a militant African nationalist organization, and participated in the Rhodesian Bush War against white minority rule in Rhodesia....
, and sent ZANLA members to the People's Republic of China for training.

In July 1964 ZANLA forces assassinated a Rhodesian Front official and the war began.

First phase (1964–1972)


In July 1964 ZANLA ambushed and killed a white civilian, Petrus Oberholtzer, in the first act of war to occur in Rhodesia since the 1890s. The killing had a lasting effect on the small, close-knit white community, even though it was an isolated incident. The Smith administration subsequently moved to detain the ZANU and ZAPU political leadership in August 1964. The major political leaders imprisoned were Ndabaningi Sithole, Leopold Takawira
Leopold Takawira
Leopold Takawira served as the Vice President of the Zimbabwe African National Union after supporting the National Democratic Party and later the Zimbabwe African People's Union.Leopold Takawira was also known by his Mhazi to totem as 'Shumba yeChirumanzi'Takawira was born at Chirumanzi, Victoria...
, Edgar Tekere
Edgar Tekere
Edgar Zivanai Tekere is a Zimbabwean politician. He was a president of the Zimbabwe African National Union who organised the party during the Lancaster House talks and served in government before his popularity as a potential rival to Robert Mugabe caused their estrangement...
, Enos Nkala
Enos Nkala
Enos Nkala is one of the founders of the Zimbabwe African National Union. During the war, he served on the ZANU high command, or Dare reChimurenga. He was detained by the Rhodesian government at Gonakudzingwa....
, Maurice Nyagumbo
Maurice Nyagumbo
Tapfumaneyi Maurice Nyagumbo was a Zimbabwean politician.Working in South Africa in the 1940s, he joined the South African Communist Party. He spent most of the years 1957 to 1979 in detention in Southern Rhodesia. During this time he wrote an autobiography, With the People...
. The remaining military leaders of ZANLA, consisted of Dare ReChimurenga, the barrister Herbert Chitepo
Herbert Chitepo
Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo led the Zimbabwe African National Union until the Central Intelligence Organization of Rhodesia assassinated him in March 1975....
, and Josiah Tongogara
Josiah Tongogara
Josiah Magama Tongogara was a commander of the ZANLA guerrilla army in Rhodesia. He attended the Lancaster House conference that led to Zimbabwe's independence and the end of white minority rule...
. Operating from bases in Zambia and later from Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest.The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in...
, militants subsequently began launching attacks against Rhodesia.

The conflict intensified after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
 on 11 November 1965. Sanctions
International sanctions
International sanctions are actions taken by countries against others for political reasons, either unilaterally or multilaterally.There are several types of sanctions....
 were implemented by the British government after UDI, and member states of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations Organization or simply United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace...
 endorsed the British embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of the movement of merchant ships into or out of a country's ports, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the embargo-imposing-country, to elicit a given national-interest result from...
. The embargo meant the Rhodesians were hampered by a lack of modern equipment but used other means to receive vital war supplies such as receiving oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, toxic, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights, and other organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface.The term petroleum was first used in the treatise De...
, munitions, and arms via the government of apartheid-era South Africa. War material was also obtained through elaborate international smuggling schemes, domestic production, and equipment captured from infiltrating enemy combatants.

Five months later on 28 April 1966, the Rhodesian Security Forces engaged militants in Sinoia
Chinhoyi
Chinhoyi is a large provincial town and is the capital of Mashonaland West province in Zimbabwe. Sinoia was established in 1906 as a group settlement scheme by a wealthy Italian called Lieutenant Margherito Guidotti who encouraged 10 Italian families to settle there.- Overview :Chinhoyi is located...
, during the first major engagement of the war. Seven ZANLA men were killed during the fighting and in retaliation the survivors killed two civilians at their farm near Hartley three weeks later.

Prior to the collapse of Portuguese rule in Mozambique in 1974-75, the Rhodesians were able to defend their frontier with Zambia with relative ease and prevent many guerrilla incursions. The Rhodesians were able to set up a strong defensive line along the Zambezi River running from Lake Kariba to the Mozambique border. Here 30-man camps were etablished at 8 kilometer intervals supported by mobile rapid reaction units. Between 1966 and 1970 these defences accounted for 175 insurgents killed for the loss of 14 defenders.

In the latter months of 1971, the black nationalist factions united and formed a coalition which became known as the 'Joint Guerrilla Alliance to Overthrow the Government.' Regardless, the conflict continued at a low level until 21 December 1972 when ZANLA attacked Altena Farm in north-east Rhodesia. In response the Rhodesians moved to hit their enemy in their foreign camps and staging areas before they could infiltrate into Rhodesia.

Secret cross-border operations by the Special Air Service began in the mid-1960s, with Rhodesian Security Forces already engaging in hot-pursuits into Mozambique. However three weeks after the attack on Altena Farm, ZANLA killed two civilians and abducted another who was subsequently taken into Mozambique and then Tanzania. In response SAS troops were inserted into Mozambique with the approval of the Portuguese administration, in the first officially sanctioned external operation. The Rhodesian government began authorizing an increasing number of external operations.

In the first phase of the conflict (up until the end of 1972), Rhodesia's political and military position appeared to be a strong one. Nationalist guerrillas had been unable to make serious military inroads against Rhodesia and Britain's efforts to isolate Rhodesia economically had not forced major compromises from the Smith Government. Indeed, late in 1971 the British and Rhodesian Governments had negotiated a compromise political settlement which would have bowed to the Smith Government's agenda of postponing majority rule into the indefinite future. Nevertheless, when it was found that such a delayed approach to majority rule was completely unacceptable to most of Rhodesia's African population, the deal fell apart. It would take the collapse of Portuguese rule in Mozambique to create new military and political pressures on the Rhodesian Government to accept the principle of immediate majority rule.

Second phase (1972–1979)


For Rhodesian Army counter-insurgency "Fireforce" tactics see:

The black nationalists continued to operate from secluded bases in neighbouring Zambia
Zambia
The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is...
 and from FRELIMO-controlled areas in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest.The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in...
, making periodic raids into Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in Southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...
. In April 1974, a left wing coup in Portugal heralded the coming end of colonial rule in Mozambique. FRELIMO formed a transitional government within months, and officially took over the country in June 1975. Such events proved beneficial to ZANLA but disastrous for the Rhodesians, adding an additional 800 miles of hostile border. Indeed with the demise of the Portuguese empire Ian Smith realised Rhodesia was surrounded on three sides by hostile nations and declared a formal state of emergency. Soon Mozambique closed its border, however Rhodesian forces continued to cross the border in "hot pursuit" raids, attacking the nationalists and their training camps.

By 1976 it was clear that an indefinite postponment of majority rule, which had been the cornerstone of the Smith Government's strategy since UDI, was no longer viable. Late in 1976, Ian Smith accepted the basic elements of the compromise proposals made by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Henry Alfred Kissinger is a German-born American political scientist, diplomat, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...
 to introduce majority rule within two years. The Smith Government then sought to negotiate an acceptable settlement with moderate black leaders, while retaining strong white influence in key areas. The Rhodesian military, in turn, had the job of eroding the rising military strength of the ZANLA and ZIPRA to the greatest extent possible in order "buy time" for an acceptable political settlement to be reached.

The Rhodesian Security Forces called up part-time soldiers in preparation for a major counter-offensive on 2 May 1976. In August 1976, Rhodesian Selous Scouts
Selous Scouts
The Selous Scouts was the name given to a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army, which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous , and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona, roughly means...
 destroyed a camp at Nyadzonya in Mozambique containing many hundreds of trainees, which they claimed was a military target. The Rhodesians reported more than 1,000 insurgents killed when they were caught by surprise on the parade ground , while the nationalists claimed the site was a refugee camp. The Rhodesians also operated into Zambia
Zambia
The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is...
 after Nkomo's nationalists shot down two unarmed Vickers Viscount
Vickers Viscount
The Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...
 civilian airliners with Soviet supplied SAM-7 heat-seeking missiles. In the first incident, Air Rhodesia Flight RH825
Air Rhodesia Flight RH825
Air Rhodesia Flight 825 was a scheduled flight from Kariba to Salisbury that was shot down on September 3, 1978 by ZIPRA guerillas using a SA-7 surface-to-air missile-Incident:...
, ten passengers who survived the crash landing were shot and killed at the crash scene. Militants bombed a railroad bridge over Matetsi River on 7 October 1976 when a train carrying ore passed over.
As the conflict intensified, the United States and Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
 attempted to negotiate a peaceful settlement. However this was rejected by the Rhodesian government insofar at it involved any potential surrender of power to the ZANLA or ZIPRA.

By 1977 the war had spread throughout Rhodesia. ZANLA continued to operate from Mozambique, remained dominant among the Mashona peoples in eastern and central Rhodesia. Meanwhile ZIPRA remained active in the north and west, using bases in Zambia and Botswana, and were mainly supported by the Ndebele tribes. With this escalation came increasing sophistication and organisation. No longer were the guerrillas the disorganised force they had been in the 1960s. Indeed now they were well-equipped with modern weapons, and although many were still untrained, an increasing number had received training in Communist bloc and other sympathetic countries. Weapons fielded included AK47 and SKS
SKS
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic carbine chambered for the 7.62x39mm round, designed in 1945 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. SKS is an acronym for Samozaryadniy Karabin sistemi Simonova , 1945 , or SKS 45...
 assault rifles, RPD
RPD
The RPD is a 7.62mm light machine gun developed in the Soviet Union by Vasily Degtyaryov for the intermediate 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge. It was created as a replacement for the DP machine gun chambered for the 7.62x54mmR Mosin rifle round. It is a precursor of most SAW's -History:Work on the weapon...
 and RPK
RPK
The RPK is a 7.62x39mm light machine gun of Soviet design, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the late 1950s, parallel with the AKM assault rifle...
 light machine guns, as well as RPG-2
RPG-2
The RPG-2 was the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher designed in the Soviet Union.-Development:The RPG-2 , was a man-portable, shoulder-launched rocket propelled grenade anti-armor weapon...
 and RPG-7
RPG-7
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket propelled grenade weapon. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...
 rocket propelled grenade launchers. Just how well equipped the nationalists had become only became evident from Rhodesian raids on guerrilla base areas which even revealed mortars as well as 12.7mm and 14.5mm heavy machine guns, and even heavier calibre weapons such as 122mm multiple rocket launchers towards the end of the war.

On 3 April 1977, General Peter Walls
Peter Walls
Lieutenant General George Peter Walls served as the Commander of the Combined Operations Headquarters of the Military of Rhodesia, and later Zimbabwe, from 1977 until his retirement on 29 July 1980 during the Rhodesian Bush War. He lives in exile in Eastern Cape, South Africa.-Military...
 announced the government would launch a campaign to win the "hearts and minds" of Rhodesia's black citizens. In May Walls received reports of ZANLA forces massing in the city of Mapai
Mapai, Mozambique
- History :In June 1976 a Selous Scouts attack from Rhodesia named Operation Long John was launched on the ZANLA transit camp in Mapai and Chicualacuala...
 in Gaza Province
Gaza Province
Gaza is a province of Mozambique. It has an area of 75,709 km² and a population of 1,333,106 .Xai-Xai is the capital of the province. Located to the east is the Inhambane Province, to the north is Manica Province, and to the south is Maputo Province....
, Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest.The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in...
. Prime Minister Smith gave Walls permission to destroy the base. Walls told the media the Rhodesian forces were changing tactics from contain and hold to search and destroy
Search and destroy
Search and Destroy, Seek and Destroy, or even simply S&D, refers to a military strategy that became a notorious component of the Vietnam War. The idea was to insert ground forces into hostile territory, search out the enemy, destroy them, and withdraw immediately afterwards...
, "adopting hot pursuit when necessary."

On 30 May 1977, 500 troops passed the border and travelled 60 miles to Mapai, engaging the ZANLA forces with air cover from the Rhodesian Air Force and paratroopers in C-47 Dakotas. The Rhodesian government said the military killed 32 ZANLA fighters and lost one Rhodesian pilot. The Mozambican government disputed the number of casualties, saying it shot down three Rhodesian planes and a helicopter and took several troops prisoner, all of which Minister of Combined Operations Roger Hawkins denied. The United Nations Security Council subsequently denounced the incursion of the "illegal racist minority regime in Southern Rhodesia" into Mozambique in Resolution 411, on 30 June 1977. Walls announced a day later that the Rhodesian military would occupy Mapai until they had eliminated ZANLA's presence. Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Josef Waldheim was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992...
, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, condemned the incident on 1 June, and Rhodesian forces withdrew. The American, British, and Soviet governments also condemned the raid.

Militants bombed Woolworth's department store in Salisbury
Harare
Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and communications centre...
 on 11 August, killing 11 and injuring 70. They killed sixteen black civilians in eastern Rhodesia on 21 August, burning their homes on a white-owned farm. In November, 1977, in response to the buildup of ZANLA guerrillas in Mozambique, Rhodesian forces launched Operation Dingo
Operation Dingo
Operation Dingo, also known as the Chimoio massacre was a major raid conducted by the Rhodesian Security Forces against the ZANLA headquarters of Robert Mugabe at Chimoio and a smaller camp at Tembue in Mozambique from November 23-25, 1977...
, a pre-emptive combined arms surprise attack on guerrilla camps at Chimoio and Tembue in Mozambique. The attack was carried out over three days, from November 23 to 25, 1977. While these operations reportedly inflicted thousands of casualties on Robert Mugabe's ZANLA cadres, probably blunting guerrilla incursions in the months that followed, a steady intensification of the insurgency neverthless continued through 1978.

In order to disrupt FRELIMO's hold on Mozambique, the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organization
Central Intelligence Organization
The Central Intelligence Organisation is the national intelligence agency or "secret police" of Zimbabwe.-History:The CIO was formed in Rhodesia on the instructions of Prime Minister Winston Field in 1963 at the dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and took over from the...
 helped to create and support its own insurgency movement within Mozambique. This guerrilla group, known as RENAMO battled with FRELIMO even as Rhodesian forces fought the ZANLA within Mozambique.
In May 1978, 50 civilians were killed in crossfire exchanged between Marxist militants and the Rhodesian military, the highest number of civilians to be killed in an engagement up to that point. In July Patriotic Front members killed 39 black civilians and the Rhodesian government killed 106 militants. On 4 November 1978 Walls said 2,000 Patriotic Front militants had been persuaded to defect and fight for the Rhodesian Security Forces. In reality only 50 militants defected.
In 1978 450 ZANLA militants crossed the Mozambique border and attacked the town of Umtali
Mutare
Mutare is the fourth largest city in Zimbabwe, with a population of approximately 170,106. It is the capital of Manicaland province.-History:...
. At the time ZANU said the militants were women, an unusual characteristic, but in 1996 Joyce Mujuru
Joyce Mujuru
Joice Mujuru is a Zimbabwean politician, currently serving as Vice President of Zimbabwe. She has held this post since December 2004, and is also Vice President of ZANU-PF...
 said the vast majority involved were men and ZANU concocted the story to make Western organizations believe women were involved in the fighting. In retaliation for these acts the Rhodesian Air Force bombed guerrilla camps 125 miles inside Mozambique, using 'fatigued' Canberra B2
English Electric Canberra
The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. It proved to be highly adaptable, serving in such varied roles for tactical bombing, photographic, electronic, and meteorological reconnaissance...
 aircraft and Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter was a British jet fighter aircraft of the 1950s and 1960s. The Hunter served for many years with the Royal Air Force and was widely exported, serving with 19 air forces. A total of 1,972 Hunters were produced by Hawker Siddeley and under licence.-Development:The origins of the...
s — actively, but clandestinely, supported by several of the more capable Canberra B(I)12 aircraft of the South African Air Force
South African Air Force
The South African Air Force is the air force of South Africa, with headquarters in Pretoria. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra...
. A number of joint-force bomber raids on guerrilla encampments and assembly areas in Mozambique and Zambia were mounted in 1978, and extensive air reconnaissance and surveillance of guerrilla encampments and logistical build-up was carried out by the South African Air Force on behalf of the RhAF. In October, 1978 Rhodesian Air Force Canberra bombers, Hunter fighter-bombers and helicopter gunships attacked the ZIPRA guerrilla base at Westlands farm near Lusaka, Zambia while Zambian forces were warned by radio not to interfere.

The increased effectiveness of the bombing and follow-up 'air mobile' strikes using Dakota
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...
-dropped parachutists and helicopter 'air cav' techniques had a significant effect on the development of the conflict. As late as September 1979, despite the increased sophistication of guerrilla forces in Mozambique, a raid by Selous Scouts, with artillery and air support, on "New Chimoio" still reportedly resulted in heavy ZANLA casualties.
However, a successful raid on the Rhodesian strategic fuel reserves in Salisbury
Harare
Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and communications centre...
 also underscored the importance of concluding a negotiated settlement and achieving international recognition before the war expanded further.

The larger problem was that by 1979, combined ZIRPA and ZANLA strength inside Rhodesia totalled at least 12,500 guerrillas and it was evident that insurgents were entering the country at a rate greater than the Rhodesian forces could kill or capture. In addition, 22,000 ZIPRA and 16,000 ZANLA fighters remained uncommitted outside the country. Joshua Nkomo's ZIPRA forces were preparing their forces in Zambia with the intent of confronting the Rhodesians through a conventional invasion. Whether such an invasion could have been successful in the short term against the well trained Rhodesian army and air force is questionable. However, what was clear was that the insurgency was growing in strength daily and the ability of the security forces to continue to control the entire country was coming under serious challenge.

By putting the civilian population at risk, ZIPRA and the ZANLA had been particularly effective in creating conditions that accelerated white emigration. This not only seriously undermined the morale of the white population, it was also gradually reducing the availability of trained reserves for the army and the police. For a discussion see: The economy was also suffering badly as a result of the war with the Rhodesian GDP in consistent decline in the late 1970s.

Politically, the Rhodesians were therefore pinning all their hopes on the "internal" political settlement that had been negotiated with moderate black nationalist leaders in 1978 and its ability to achieve external recognition and support. This internal settlement led to the creation of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia under a new constitution in 1979.

Resolution


Under the agreement of March 1978, the country was to be known as Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and in the general election of 24 April 1979, Bishop Abel Muzorewa
Abel Muzorewa
Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia from the Internal Settlement to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979...
 became the country's first black prime minister. The factions led by Nkomo and Mugabe denounced the new government as a puppet of white Rhodesians and fighting continued. The hoped for recognition of the internal settlement, and of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, by the newly elected Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative and Unionist Party, more commonly known as the Conservative Party, is a political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to a right wing ideology of conservatism and British unionism...
 government of Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990...
 did not materialize after the latter's election in May, 1979. Likewise, despite the fact that the US Senate voted to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, the Carter administration also refused to recognize the internal settlement.

While Prime Minister Thatcher clearly sympathized with the internal settlement and thought of the ZANLA and ZIPRA leaders as "terrorists", she was prepared to support a push for further compromise if it could end the fighting. Britain was also reluctant to recognize the internal settlement for fear of fracturing the unity of the Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic".More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations....
. Thus later in 1979, the Thatcher government called a peace conference in London to which all nationalist leaders were invited. The outcome of this conference would become known as the Lancaster House Agreement. During the conference, the Zimbabwe-Rhodesian Government accepted a watering down of the 1978 internal settlement while Mugabe and Nkomo agreed to end the war in exchange for new elections in which they could participate. The economic sanctions imposed on the country were lifted in late 1979, and British rule resumed under a transitional arrangement leading to full independence. On 21 December 1979 a cease-fire was subsequently announced.

The elections of 1980 resulted in a victory for Robert Mugabe, who assumed the post of prime minister after ZANU-PF
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front is a Zimbabwean political party that was the ruling government in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, led by Robert Mugabe, first as Prime Minister with the party simply known as ZANU, and then as President from 1988 after taking over ZAPU and...
 received 63% of the vote. Accusations of voter intimidation by Mugabe's guerrilla cadres, sections of which were accused of not having assembled in the designated guerrilla assembly points as required under the Lancaster House Agreement, may have led the Rhodesian military to give serious consideration to a coup d'etat in March 1980. This alleged coup was to have included the assassination of Mugabe and coordinated assaults on ZANLA guerrilla assembly points within the country. However, even in the context of alleged voter intimidation by ZANLA elements, widespread support for Mugabe from large sections of the black population (in particular from his own Shona
Shona
Shona may refer to:*Shona people, a Southern African people*Shona language, a Bantu language spoken in Zimbabwe and parts of Mozambique. It has several dialects which include Zezuru spoken by the people in the northern part of Zimbabwe, Manyika in Manicaland, and Karanga in southern part of...
 tribal group which made up the overwhelming majority of the country's population) could not be seriously disputed. Moreover, the clear absence of any external support for such a coup, and the inevitable conflagration that would have engulfed the country thereafter, scuttled the plan.

The result was that on 18 April 1980 the country gained independence and international recognition. Two years later the government changed the name of the country's capital from Salisbury to Harare
Harare
Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and communications centre...
.

Aftermath



Following independence, Robert Mugabe acted incrementally to consolidate his power.

Fighting between ZANLA and ZIPRA units broke out in 1981 and led to what has become known as Gukurahundi (Shona: "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains")) or the Matabeleland Massacres, which ran from 1982 until 1985. Mugabe used his North Korean trained Fifth Brigade to crush any resistance in Matabeleland. It has been estimated that 20,000 Matabele were murdered in these first years after the war.

Beyond Zimbabwe's borders, as a result of Rhodesian aid and support for RENAMO, the Bush War also led to the outbreak of the Mozambique Civil War, which lasted from 1977 until 1992. That conflict claimed about 30 times the number of lives lost in the Rhodesian War and also led to some 5 million people being made homeless.

See also

  • British South Africa Police
    British South Africa Police
    The British South Africa Police was the police force of the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia...
  • Grey's Scouts
    Grey's Scouts
    Grey's Scouts were a Rhodesian mounted infantry unit raised in July 1975 and named after George Grey, a prominent soldier in the Second Matabele War. Based in Salisbury , they were known for their participation in the Rhodesian Bush War...
  • Military history of Africa
    Military history of Africa
    The military history of Africa is one of the oldest and most diverse military histories. Africa is a continent of diverse regions with diverse people speaking hundreds of different languages with many different cultures and religions...
  • Mozambique Civil War
  • Operation Dingo
    Operation Dingo
    Operation Dingo, also known as the Chimoio massacre was a major raid conducted by the Rhodesian Security Forces against the ZANLA headquarters of Robert Mugabe at Chimoio and a smaller camp at Tembue in Mozambique from November 23-25, 1977...
  • Portuguese Colonial War
    Portuguese Colonial War
    The Portuguese Colonial War , also known as the Overseas War in Portugal or in the former colonies as the War of liberation , was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974...
  • Rhodesian African Rifles
    Rhodesian African Rifles
    The Rhodesian African Rifles, or RAR, was the oldest regiment in the Rhodesian Army, dating from the formation of the 1st Rhodesian Native Regiment in 1916 during the First World War. This was followed by the creation of the Matabeleland Native Regiment, and the 2nd Rhodesian Native Regiment,...
  • Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment
  • Rhodesian Light Infantry
    Rhodesian Light Infantry
    The 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry was a regular airborne commando regiment in the Rhodesian army. The RLI was originally formed as a light infantry regiment in 1961, reformed as a commando battalion in 1965, became a parachute Battalion in 1977 and was disbanded at the end of the...
  • Rhodesia Regiment
    Rhodesia Regiment
    The Rhodesia Regiment was one of the oldest and largest regiments in the Rhodesian Army. It served on the side of Great Britain in the Boer War and the First and Second World Wars and served the Republic of Rhodesia in the anti-terrorist counter-insurgency war of the 1970s...
  • Rhodesian SAS
  • Second Matabele War
    Second Matabele War
    The Second Matabele War, also known as the Matabeleland Rebellion and in Zimbabwe as the First Chimurenga, took place from 1896–97....
    , officially known within Zimbabwe as the First Chimurenga
    Chimurenga
    Chimurenga is a Shona word for 'revolutionary struggle'. The word's modern interpretation has been extended to describe a struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice, specifically used for the African insurrections against British colonial rule 1896–1897 and the guerrilla war...
  • Selous Scouts
    Selous Scouts
    The Selous Scouts was the name given to a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army, which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous , and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona, roughly means...
  • Security Force Auxiliaries
    Security Force Auxiliaries
    Security Force Auxiliaries were black armies who fought in Rhodesia during the Bush War for the Rhodesian Front. Ndabaningi Sithole, founder of the Zimbabwe African National Union, and Abel Muzorewa, the first and only Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, led the auxiliaries.In 1978 the Rhodesian...
  • South African Border War
    South African Border War
    The South African Border War, commonly referred to as the Angolan Bush War in South Africa and also known as the Namibian War of Independence, refers to the conflict that took place from 1966 to 1989 in South-West Africa and Angola between South Africa and its allied forces on the one side and...
  • ZANLA
  • ZIPRA
    ZIPRA
    Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army was the armed wing of the Zimbabwe African People's Union, a political party in Rhodesia. It participated in the Second Chimurenga against white minority rule in the former Rhodesia....

External links