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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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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