Tribute to the Rhodesian soldier
Ross Dix Peek
Call me biased but I think the greatest fighting-man to ever walk the face of the earth was the Rhodesian Soldier.Intelligent,rugged, doggedly-determined and virtually invincible, the Rhodesian fighting-man was a warrior second-to-none, a “Zeus” among mere mortals.Heir to a fine fighting lineage, the Rhodesian Warrior was forged in the crucible of War.He had shown his raw-courage and great prowess during the Matabele and Shona Rebellions’ of 1893 and 1896; in the “mud, guts and blood” of World War One (1914-1918); during the great cataclysm that was the Second Great War (1939-1945), and in the rain-soaked jungles of Malaya (1950s), where death lurked in every shadow.But the Rhodesian fighting-man’s “finest hour” was the vicious war fought in his own country, from 1972-1980; a war in which many Rhodesians’, both black and white, would sadly succumb.Always outnumbered, short of essential equipment, and the world’s “scapegoat”, the Rhodesian warrior’s ingenuity, enterprise and daring was truly wonderful to behold; both on the ground and in the air.Bronzed and ready, with the ubiquitous “FN”-Rifle ever-present, and invariably clad in a camouflage cap, “T-shirt”, “Shorts” and “Tekkies”, the Rhodesian was the quintessential “bush-fighter”.Surrounded on all sides by opportunistic enemies, the Rhodesians’ (ever-alert and always aware of their country’s vulnerability) would often venture forth into Mozambique or Zambia, intent on pre-emptive action; their small mobile-columns’ creating havoc and mayhem, leaving behind a battered and bloodied enemy.In addition, whenever the need should arise, they could always beseech the great African-sky, wherefrom their winged-brothers, the indefatigable Rhodesian Air-Force (RhAF), would unleash yet more carnage upon a bewildered enemy.Ah, the units… The "Rhodesian SAS", the “Selous Scouts”, “The Rhodesian Light Infantry”, The “Rhodesian African Rifles”, The "Rhodesia Regiment", "Grey's Scouts" and the “Rhodesian Air Force”, truly a pantheon of greats.And let us not forget the father of Rhodesian arms, the British South Africa Police (BSAP), and those redoubtable Rhodesian women, pretty-as-hell, and tough-as-teak!Then there were the leaders. Men such as Rhodesia’s prime-minister, Ian Smith, Africa’s “Nostradamus”; General Peter Walls, the Rhodesian Commander-in-Chief and a veritable “Hercules” in Uniform; Major-General John Hickman, that fine old soldier, and Lieutenant-Colonel John Reid-Daly, the founder of the fearsome “Selous Scouts”, a fighting-man if ever there was one.But of course, the most exalted of all Rhodesian Warriors are those men and women, many mere boys and girls, who sacrificed their precious lives for Rhodesia and the Rhodesians -“Lest we forget”.And now, although just a memory, the Rhodesian “Troopie”, the very personification of courage, grit and determination, that fighting “denizen” of the African Bush, still lives on forever in the hearts of those of us who still proudly call ourselves “Rhodesians”.No, you can keep your American “Marines” or the British “SAS”, give me the Rhodesian Soldier any-day!A toast… to the Rhodesian Fighting-man; the very best of the best!
More of his work can be seen on http://peek-011.livejournal.com/ There is some good stuff on Rhodesians in the Second World War etc