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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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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rhodesian Army Minedog


1978 Keith Nelson RHODESIA

January 23, 1978 Vol. 9 No. 3 A U.S. Mercenary Maimed in Rhodesia Bravely Accepts the Cost of His CallingBy Frank W. Martin
Only a year ago Keith Nelson left his home in little Sycamore, Ill. to fight guerrillas in Rhodesia as a soldier of fortune. He was 25 years old. "Our society had grown complacent, and our lives were predictable," he explains. "I wanted to experience life outside of that—not just read about it in books." For six months, as a corporal in the Rhodesian infantry, Nelson worked as a medic near the border of Mozambique where guerrillas are bivouacked. Caring mainly for black Africans blasted apart by mines was "ugly work," he recalls, "but you did the best you could, and the more you saw the more callous you got. It was a job."

Nelson was eagerly awaiting transfer to Rhodesia's elite Selous Scouts when in June, on patrol with his combat squad, he tripped a mine loaded with six and a half pounds of TNT. "Three guys ahead of me apparently stepped over it," he recalls. "I stepped squarely on it. It was like jumping off a 70-foot ledge and hitting belly first. I tried to move my legs and couldn't. My right arm was torn up at the elbow and my little finger was gone."

Clinging to consciousness, Nelson gave his buddies first-aid directions and told the doctor from nearby Mtoki how to dress the wounds until he could be airlifted to the capital city of Salisbury. Doctors there managed to save Nelson's mangled arm, but the blast had disintegrated his right leg from the knee down, his left from midcalf. Surgery was followed by five months of grueling daily therapy and an agonizing withdrawal from morphine. But Nelson was determined to be home for Christmas, and walking again—on artificial legs.

That he succeeded testifies not only to his own stubborn courage but to the loving care of his Rhodesian girlfriend, Mary Winship, a 2l-year-old civil service clerk who visited him in the hospital constantly, then took him into her parents' home and "treated me as a person—not as a cripple." But how does one explain Nelson's undimmed sense of war as adventure—even as recalled from a wheelchair? "Combat is the ultimate game," he insists. "You're not playing for points but for lives. I'm still enthralled and excited by it." He was one of an estimated 100 Americans in a foreign force of 1,000.

In retrospect Nelson seems an improbable soldier of fortune or, more pejoratively, a mercenary. The eldest of six children, he enjoyed hunting and camping with his podiatrist father, but, as one high school friend remembers, "he just wasn't the military type." A late bloomer physically, he shunned school sports—partly because he disliked authority—and had few friends. Adrift after graduation in 1969, he fetched up in Alaska as a surveyor's assistant, then began feeling restless again. His enlistment in the U.S. Army in 1970 was sudden and impulsive. "I wanted to get some experience in something," he says.

By that time Nelson had begun to enjoy testing his growing physical powers, and basic training provided a challenge. Soon, despite his lifelong fear of heights, he volunteered for Special Forces and compulsory jump school. Nelson eventually logged 200 jumps and, as the medic in his 12-member combat team, saw action in Southeast Asia. "My job carried a lot of respect," he says, and he enjoyed being "around a group of men who were physically fit, intelligent, trustworthy and able to work as a team."

When his hitch was up in 1973, Nelson decided to go home and begin pre-med studies. For the next four years he worked toward a college biology degree, compiling an A-minus average. But then his veteran's benefits ran out, and he began to doubt he would get into med school. Sparked by letters from jump school friends already in Rhodesia, his wanderlust returned, and he was lured by his old love of battle. "Many people today see professional soldiers as the scum of the earth," he says. "The Green Berets are considered killers and baby eaters. But it's just like any other job that requires intensive training."

Although Mary Winship was wary of becoming involved with a soldier, she was attracted to the quiet American. "Keith was different," she says. "He understood politics and talked about lots of things—not just the army." His allegiance may have been bought and paid for by the white-minority Rhodesian regime (Nelson received about $1,000 a month), but he believed fervently in the cause that he served. "The press makes it a race issue," he says, "but only 10 percent of the people support the terrorists, who are Communist-supplied and Communist-financed."

Though his recovery continues, Nelson must still use a cane and needs help with stairs and physical chores. But movement in his right arm is improving, though, as he puts it, "What do you need a little finger for anyway?" His psychological scars are more subtle. Mary complains that he neglects ordinary please-and-thank-you politeness and tends to male chauvinism. Nelson, however, believes he is coming around. "Like most people," he says, "as I get older I get less dramatic and use more common sense."

Despite the fact that time is running out on white rule in Salisbury, Nelson and his bride-to-be will return there next week—she to her old job, he to the University of Rhodesia Medical School, which accepted him shortly before his return to the U.S. They plan to make Salisbury their permanent home—even under eventual black-majority rule. "I just hope it will be representative for whites and blacks alike," he says. "Nobody should be oppressed by anybody else." As for the terrible personal price he has paid, Nelson is proud of his anti-terrorist service, and willingly accepts the role of the stoic. "I was doing a job, and I knew the consequences," he says. "I have no regrets."



Fireforce as a military concept dates from 1974 when the Rhodesian Air Force (RhAF) acquired the French MG151 20mm cannon from the Portuguese. Coupled with this, the traditional counter-insurgency tactics (against Mugabe’s ZANLA and Nkomo’s ZIPRA) of follow-ups, tracking and ambushing simply weren’t producing satisfactory results. Visionary RhAF and Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) officers thus expanded on the idea of a ‘vertical envelopment’ of the enemy (first practiced by SAS paratroopers in Mozambique in 1973), with the 20mm cannon being the principle weapon of attack, mounted in an Alouette III K-Car (‘Killer car’), flown by the air force commander, with the army commander on board directing his ground troops deployed from G-Cars (Alouette III troop-carrying gunships and latterly Bell ‘Hueys’ in 1979) and parachuted from DC-3 Dakotas. In support would be a propeller-driven ground-attack aircraft armed with front guns, pods of napalm, white phosphorus rockets and a variety of Rhodesian-designed bombs; on call would be Canberra bombers, Hawker Hunter and Vampire jets.


About The Authors:
DR. RICHARD WOOD, born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, is a Commonwealth Scholar, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a graduate of Rhodes and Edinburgh universities. He has enjoyed sole access to the hitherto closed papers of Ian Smith to write this book. So Far and No Further! complements his definitive The Welensky Papers: A History of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland: 1953-1963 and The War Diaries of André Dennison.

CHRIS COCKS was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1957. He now lives in Johannesburg. He is a partner in the recently established South African publishing house, 30° South Publishers. He is the author of Fireforce (now in its fourth edition); Cyclone Blues; and is the editor and compiler of The Saints—The Rhodesian Light Infantry. He is currently writing the biography of his childhood, of growing up in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and the subsequent adjustment to life in the rebel colony of Rhodesia

Beaver Shaw
I participated in the DVD and explained Fireforce from the Airforce view and went through what it was like to be a helicopter crewman during the Rhodesian Bush war.


My fellow Squadron mate Bob Thompson succumbed to cancer just recently and I am saddened by this brave man's passing.
Bob you fought for your cause and later on in life against that dreaded cancer which ravaged your body.
On sending Pam your sister my condolences this is the poignant reply:-
Thanks so much. We did not realise how many chums Bob had out there. It has been terrific to hear from so many of you who served with Bob. He was a good man and fought very hard for life. Alas, he won the battles along the way but not the war. A bit like you chaps, really?

Kind regards

Can someone who has a photo of Bob please send me a copy to post here?


Superempowerment -- an increase in the ability of individuals and small groups to accomplish tasks/work through the combination of rapid improvements in technological tools and access to global networks -- has enabled small groups to radically increase their productivity in conflict. For example, if a small group disrupts a system or a network by attacking systempunkts, it can amplify the results of its attacks to achieve as much as a 1,400,000 percent return on investment.

Open source warfare is an organizational method by which a large collection of small, violent, superempowered groups can work together to take on much larger foes (usually hierarchies). It is also a method of organization that can be applied to non-violent struggles. It enables:
High rates of innovation.
Increased survivability among the participant groups.
More frequent attacks and an ability to swarm targets.
Here are some suggestions (this is but one of many methods based on recent history, I'm sure that over time a better method will emerge) for building an open source insurgency:

A)The plausible promise. The idea that holds the open source insurgency together. The plausible promise is composed of:
An enemy. The enemy serves as the target of attacks. This enemy can either be either received or manufactured (any group or organization that can be depicted as a threat). The enemy can be any group that currently holds and exerts power: invader, the government, a company, an ethnic group, or a private organization.
A goal. This objective animates the group. Because of the diversity of the groups and individuals that join together in an open source insurgency, the only goal that works is simple and extremely high level. More complex goal setting is impossible, since it will fracture/fork the insurgency.
A demonstration. Viability. An attack that demonstrates that its possible to win against the enemy. It deflates any aura of invincibility that the enemy may currently enjoy. The demonstration serves as a rallying cry for the insurgency.
B)The foco. Every open source insurgency is ignited by a small founding group, a foco in guerrilla parlance. The foco sets the original goal and conducts the operation that provides the insurgency with its demonstration of viability. It's important to understand that in order to grow an open source insurgency, the founding group or individuals must follow a simple path:
Relinquish. Give up any control over the insurgency gained during its early phases. In practice, this means giving up control of how the goal is achieved, who may participate, how to communicate, etc. The only control that remains is the power of example and respect gained through being effective.
Resist (temptation). Stay small. Don't grow to a size that makes the original group easy for the enemy to target (very few new members). Further, don't establish a formal collection of groups, a hierarchy of control, or set forth a complex agenda. This will only serve to alienate and fragment/fork the insurgency. In some cases, it will make the foco a target of the insurgency itself. It will also slow any advancement on the objective since it limits potential pathways/innovation.
Share. Provide resources, ideas, information, knowledge, recruits, etc. with other groups and individuals that join the insurgency. Share everything possible that doesn't directly compromise the foco's integrity (operational security and viability). Expect sharing in return.

Stigmergy and the Selous Scouts in Rhodesia

Author, Andrew Yeoman, founder of the Bay Area National Anarchists, and the original link of publication, at http://www.rosenoire.org/articles/rhodesian_scouts.php

Stigmergy is scientifically defined as, "a mechanism of spontaneous, indirect coordination between agents, or actions, where the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of subsequent actions by the same or different agents. This swarming effect is a form of self-organization that produces complex, apparently intelligent structures. There is no need for any planning, control, or even communication between the agents. Stigmergy is derived from the Greek words stigma (sign) and ergon (action), and captures the notion that an agent's actions leave signs in the environment. These signs are then sensed by the agent, and determine the agents subsequent actions. While loaded with occult connotations, in this essay we will explore stigmergy as applied to human conflict, specifically the Selous Scouts of Rhodesia.

In warfare, the first and most difficult task of a combatant is to find the enemy. In a large country consisting of thousands of square kilometers of a diverse and varied landmass, such an endeavor can cause even the most expert warriors to become desperate when up against an enemy who cannot - and does not want - to be found. Such was the case in Rhodesia in 1973 in that nations struggle against Marxist terrorists. The terrorists preferred tactic consisted of randomly attacking and murdering farmers throughout the country. Police units like the Special Branch received incidental bits of information about what was happening in their sectors. Unfortunately, the information the authorities wanted most was the most elusive: the location of the enemy personnel and their intentions. This is referred to as a problem of HUMINT, the human intelligence aspect of military intelligence operations. It took the civil authorities of Rhodesia years to admit that the problem the country was facing could no longer be contained through law enforcement. With great protest the police resisted the idea that the problems facing the country could be solved with anything other than standard police work. However, events forced the police commissioners to admit that the game had radically changed for the worse.

Once reliable sources of information dried up amidst intimidation by communist forces among the African population. As communists ranks swelled in the early 1970s, the situation became even more difficult.

Among Rhodesians, whose full citizens never numbered more than two hundred and seventy thousand people, a standing army built along the lines of the British Army (complete with Light Infantry and SAS formations) was implemented in the uncertain times of colonial authorities in the 1950s. The armed forces primarily consisted of white careerists and a small proportion of Africans. Even up until this day, military scholars often write of the high level of professionalism and outstanding service displayed by the men in uniform. These soldiers exemplary conduct is nearly universally acknowledged twenty-nine years after the fall of Rhodesia. Few people know that a primarily African regiment was among the most skilled and effective fighting force of the all white Rhodesian government. In 1973 a regiment was commissioned called the Selous Scouts, which by the year 1979, when the war had peaked, accounted for 68% of confirmed terrorist kills. The Selous Scouts were referred to as a pseudo gang and were deployed in the bush as fake terrorists. To the chagrin of the more conventional officials in the government, most of the African members of the regiment were recruited from captured terrorists who switched sides when given an offer they couldn't refuse. (The charge of terrorism was a capital offense.)

The regiment was led by white officers who often hid their appearance with blackface that they would remain in for weeks at a time. The Selous Scouts had a unique operational campaign that crossed national boundaries and brought the fight to the enemy, man to man.

An explanation of who the Rhodesian people were fighting is necessary to understand why the Selous Scouts were formed. In the civil war, Rhodesia was facing two primary opponents. The two groups were referred to by their initials: ZANLA and ZIPRA. Both were communist-funded and communist-trained. The USSR and China jockeyed for influence in the region. Secondary opponents existed in the international arena. The governments of the UK and USA were openly hostile to Rhodesia and used organizations such as the UN against the Rhodesians as much as possible. Although the focus of this article is on the mixed fighting units on the ground, it cannot be stressed enough that the eventual defeat of Rhodesia lay in the complacent hands of the USA and UK. These two nations enacted complete trade embargoes against Rhodesia through the UN. They were hell-bent on bringing egalitarian democracy to the entire population of Rhodesia. In actual practice, this meant giving the country to the Communist forces waiting in neighboring countries. The uncompromising intent of these foreign powers led directly to Robert Mugabes seizure of power in 1980 (which he has held onto ever since).

On the ground the Selous Scouts were organized as an elite unit and much of their existence was classified. As their mission was top secret, their official cover was that they existed as a group dedicated to tracking enemies by the trail said enemies left in the African bush. Black and white operators were trained to live off the land, become expert trackers of game, and to become more ferocious than the prey they hunted. Remarkably few casualties were the result of superb training, the caliber of men in the units ranks, and the element of surprise that the men invariably employed when contact with the enemy commenced. A typical operation consisted of a team of four to eight operators searching for terrorists in a given district. The team members carried the same weaponry and equipment as the terrorists, and would develop trust with locals. The locals would then arrange meetings with the real terrorists. Depending on the mission, engagements with guerrilla forces took place either ad hoc or planned in conjunction with other units. With the help of these secondary units, a net would be created from which the terrorists could not escape. White Rhodesian personnel were expected to remain behind the scenes or literally hidden most of the time they were in the field. The whites were often proficient in the local language and customs of the tribal people and would never venture out into the bush without the complete respect of the men with whom they served. The black pseudo-terrorists were paid the same wage as the whites. Black personnel also had their immediate families provided for with housing and medical care. Both of these practices were unusual.

This regiment is an example of a type of stigmergic process. With little or no intelligence information, regiments would approach a local population and seek information on "comrades" that they could link up with. With guile and the knowledge of terrorist practices (most of the Scouts had been terrorists a short time before), the members of the regiment would be introduced to local terrorists. The enemy personnel would then be eliminated, sometimes in coordination with the military. This practice of posing as terrorists and gaining the trust of the local population greatly confused the terrorist forces, who soon began to distrust any other groups that came into their areas. The results were often lethal. Morale plummeted in terrorist circles, as friends turned upon friends and desertion soared.

In a backhanded compliment, the Scouts were called in the Shona language 'Skuz'apo.' This was a nickname given them by the terrorists. Skuz was a corruption of the English 'Excuse me' & 'apo' is a Shona word meaning here. Hence, the phrase might be translated as, 'Excuse me for being here. However, the phrase was the type used by a pickpocket who bumps into you and mutters 'Skuz'apo' as he smiles and makes off with your wallet!

The most celebrated operation undertaken by the Scouts was the 1976 Nyadzonya raid in Mozambique. About seventy Scouts wore the uniform of the communist government of Mozambique and infiltrated into the country one morning. They set off in a caravan of vehicles painted in the same colors as the opposition. They cunningly made their way to a camp that consisted of over five-thousand terrorists. As the inhabitants of the camp jubilantly welcomed the Scouts, the order was given to commence fire. The devastation that resulted was so great that the terrorists successfully bade the United Nations to list the camp as a refugee station.

The experiences of the Selous Scouts illustrate the metapolitical character of political struggles. They also reveal the process of turning weakness into strength. In the case of the Scouts, small teams often consisting of no more than four men, became super-powered. They radically increased productivity in conflict by adopting and improving the modus operandi of the enemy. This allowed high rates of innovation, increased survival among friendly groups, more frequent attacks, and the ability to swarm targets. These are traits characterized by the term "4th Generation Warfare" that even modern militaries in the present day have yet to fully understand.



Rhodesia: Tactical Victory, Strategic Defeat Major Charles M. Lohman, USMC
Major Robert I. MacPherson, USMC 7 June 1983

Selous Scouts Top Secret War Lt. Col. Ron Reid Daly, Peter Stiff

Pawme Chete Lt. Col Ron Reid Daly

OPEN SOURCE INSURGENCY >> How to start John Robb http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2008/03/starting-an-ope.html


More details of the Nyadzonya raid can be seen at http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs7V_IBQcDg

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A poem by Chas Lotter

A footslogger’s feet are as vital to him as the rifle he carries.

He cares for them both with equal devotion

Which, perhaps,

It is why

A dead soldier’s boots

Draped out of a chopper

With the toes turned out

Is the saddest sight of them all.