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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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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

THE OUTNUMBERED


The title of this proposed film is taken from a Company of Infantry fighting in the Rhodesian Bush War. The year is 1976.

It is the year the guerrilla forces stepped up their fight for an independent Zimbabwe. The response of the Rhodesian Government, led by Ian Smith was to make conscription mandatory for all boys of school leaving age. Anyone avoiding 'call up' faced prison.

The film's story begins with friendship. Three boys EDWARD DRAKE, WILKE OWEN and BYRON LEVY have known each other ever since ever and are about to leave school. They agree amongst themselves to "take the gap" - "the chicken run" and seek their futures abroad, in the UK.

On the eve of their escape they hear the tragic news of their friend Cutter. Cutter's family farm has been attacked by guerrillas and all but Johnny are killed. They have a change of heart and stay to fight.

The Rhodesian Army fighting an insurgency war on both fronts is overstretched. The High Command fears its tactics have been compromised by a double agent at the heart of its Intelligence. They decide to flush out the mole by deploying a small group of newly inducted infantry to "Cloud Base 9" overlooking the Mozambican border. Drake, Owen and Levy are amongst the new intake deployed. Ostensibly they are there to forewarn and report any border incursions. Unknown to the young soldiers is a High Command's ruse to see if the insurgents avoid this particular area. If so the High Command will be able to identify the double agent.

These young decoys, "goats to lure leopard" as one seasoned soldier calls them, soon get to experience the chaos of war. The double agent chooses not to inform the guerrilla fighters of their deployment and Cloud Base and its inexperienced soldiers are overrun. After a desperate battle our three friends regroup and retreat into the wilderness, away from the ferocious fire fight. What follows is their Rite of Passage through a maelstrom of close quarter fighting, wild African terrain with its predatory animals and their individual battles to survive.

This is not a war movie epic. Firefights that take place are at close quarter, intimate and intense. Any big bang stuff will be peripheral, out of vision. Nor is it a gung-ho tale. It is more a film of true courage, poetic a Homeric story of young men, initially innocent, well educated, couth and full of life being transformed, not into men, but efficient killers.

In many ways it does not matter that this war, which took place at the edge of Cold War history, is little remembered (even though for 15 years it was consistently front page international news) the point is the film will be. It will be a potent, charismatic, and involving tale that it is hoped will make young men think deeply before they are exhorted to join wars; and perhaps make them feel ashamed for even thinking this most barbaric of means is worthy.

Its impact is timely, not just because of the current insurgent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but with a twisted and poetic irony, Zimbabwe's current plight poorly reflects the courage, sacrifice and lives lost of young men and women, both black and white, who were engaged in that struggle.

I envisage a movie, movingly, and powerfully told; with a narrative that is raw, and a verisimilitude that transports the audience into a time and setting with the force of a body blow.

I know the film I envisage can be made for a modest budget. Its veracity will be enhanced by this and also by using unknowns as the principals. The Rhodesian Army at this time was unique. It was a military force made up of not just Rhodesians, but Americans, Australians, Canadians, Brits, French, Germans and of course South Africans. They were not mercenaries. All got paid the basic wage and in Rhodesian dollars. {This allows the use of international talent for supporting roles}

Regardless of the situation in Zimbabwe, it is practical to use South African locations for filming. The countryside along its borders is indistinguishable and the advanced facilities and professional personnel in South Africa will ensure the very best film is realized.

The Outnumbered
War strips away who you think you are
and leaves what you really are.

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.