A Brief Background to Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army

July 13, 2015
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Download article as PDF Introduction The Lord’s Resistance Army appeared on the conflict landscape of Central Africa at the dawn of perhaps one of the bleakest period of post independence African history, the 1980/90s. This was the era of Afro-pessimism, during which the proliferation of war and crisis in Africa appeared simply overwhelming. It was during this period that the continent began to feel the full weight of the AIDS crisis, which was exacerbated by economic stagnation, continent wide corruption, poor governance, the highest levels of unemployment since decolonization and apparently unsolvable conflicts in regions as diverse as Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola, Western Sahara, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and of course that region of perennial instability, the Great Lakes region of […]

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US Intervention Somalia 1992/3 and The Battle of Mogadishu

May 22, 2015
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Download article as PDF Introduction In character, the Isa [a Somali clan] are childish and docile, cunning, and deficient in judgment, kind and fickle, good-humoured and irascible, warm-hearted, and infamous for cruelty and treachery – Sir Richard Burton First Footsteps in Africa There is an ancient and oft quoted Somali saying that in many ways sums up the outside perception of Somalia, a race that appears unchangeably wedded to warfare and internal conflict. ‘Me and my clan against my nation. Me and my family against the clan. Me and my brother against the family. Me against my brother’. Somalia crept into the general global consciousness during the early 1990s as yet another distant and incomprehensible bout of African warfare began […]

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The History of Boko Haram

May 6, 2015
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Download article as PDF The Historic Social Divide in Nigeria Colonial Nigeria The modern state of Nigeria, as it is recognizable today, came into being in 1914, with the creation of the British Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. This was the defining moment when the vaunted British theory of Indirect Rule found practical expression, and the point at which the idealism of a handful of enlightened British colonial civil servants was put to the test. The early evolution of Nigeria as a British overseas territory had followed a somewhat formularized pattern that by the end of the 19th century had been established in the wider empire, but perhaps most particularly in Africa. In the British African context there existed fundamentally […]

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Book Review of the Rhodesia Regiment History by Brigadier (retd) G. de V.W. Hayes CBE

January 7, 2015
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Download article as PDF RHODESIA REGIMENT 1899–1981 by Peter Baxter, Hugh Bomford, Gerry van Tonder Rhodesia Regiment 1899–1981 is a wonderfully written and marvelously illustrated history of that famous colonial unit, The Royal Rhodesia Regiment. From its origins in 1899, to protect the frontiers of Southern Rhodesia against Boer invasion, to final disbandment in 1981, following independence and the creation of Zimbabwe, the story of the Regiment is told in fascinating and meticulous detail.Any military historian will find it an invaluable source of material especially on the prolonged period of the Rhodesian Bush War (1964–1979), about which surprisingly little is widely known or documented. The Rhodesia Regiment’s association with the Green Jackets, specifically the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC), resulted […]

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Battle of Mavonde – The Liberation version of Operation Miracle

December 27, 2014
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Download article as PDF First published in the Patriot in September 18, 2014, composed by Booker Tichazvipedza (this version was pirated). A version of the Operation Miracle, known in liberation circles as the Battle of Mavonde.  Part I THE Mavonde/Monte Cassino battle pitting a supposedly superior white Rhodesian Airforce against a crack ZANLA artillery unit was a duel fought during the Lancaster House talks in London in September, 1979 where the Rhodesians intended to weaken the Patriotic Front’s ZANU and ZAPU bargaining power at the talks. The Rhodesians suffered a heavy defeat at Mavonde/Monte Cassino and the British government summoned the Rhodesian Army General, Peter Walls, to London where he was reminded that he was not going to win the […]

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The History of the Rhodesia Regiment – 1890 to 1981

August 15, 2014
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Download article as PDF The Rhodesia Regiment history, just released by the Rhodesia Services Association as an independent publication, might seem an obscure subject for many, but in fact it is an important addition to the general body of knowledge surrounding the British and Commonwealth forces that fought in both world wars, and which formed part of the global imperial military structure at a time when European, and particularly British patriotism and social coherence was at its most vibrant. I make this point largely for my American friends and readers who have, I say with great love and affection, often struck me as believing that it was US servicemen alone that drove the Hun and the Nip off the battlefield […]

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Biafra: A Quick Overview of the first African Civil War

May 14, 2014
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Download article as PDF Nigeria exists today as the most populous, the most vibrant but also one of the most corrupt and unpredictable nations in Africa. Like many colonies within the European imperial spectrum , it began its modern existence as an asset of a chartered company, in this case the Royal Niger Company. The territory more or less conformed to two regional blocs, the north and the south. The north comprised the Islamised Hausa/Fulani language group which fell under the leadership of traditional emirs who maintained a conservative adherence to ancient codes and systems of education that were extremely resistant to modern influence. The South, very broadly speaking, was home to the Christian/Animist Yoruba and Igbo blocs, closer to […]

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Biafra: The Nigerian Civil War 1967 to 1970

May 14, 2014
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Download article as PDF The name Biafra remains inextricably associated with starving children, their bellies distended and their hair discolored by kwashiorkor, lending the first indications to an incredulous world of what post-independence Africa might look like. Biafra, however, was the name of a separatist entity that briefly existed between 1967 and 1970 as a breakaway partner in the post-independence Nigerian Federation. The war that followed the secession of Biafra is generally termed the Biafran War, but is perhaps more accurately termed the Nigerian Civil War, for that in effect was what it was. A more detailed overview of the Nigerian Civil War is available here. Militarily The Nigerian Civil War was a lesson in command dilettantism and one of […]

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Rhodesia Bush War 1966 to 1980

May 14, 2014
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Download article as PDF Having published quite a number of books pertaining to both African Warfare and Rhodesian History, this offering serves as an entry level overview of the Rhodesian War as one of the last great military episodes in the African liberation period. The Rhodesian Bush War, or the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle as it was also known, was in simple terms the culmination of a half century of failed efforts to find an accommodation between the races in Southern Rhodesia. During the late 1950s and early 1960s the liberation movements throughout Africa were claiming one success after another in their efforts to remove the residue of European rule on the continent, but south of the Zambezi there was a […]

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An Innocent Abroad: Of Submarines and Spies

August 6, 2013
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Download article as PDF Excerpt from Bruce Daymond’s diary For images and explanatory text AN INNOCENT ABROAD: OF SUBMARINES AND SPIES Diary Of Bruce Daymond DSO DFC, an Australian Catalina Pilot with the RAF 1941 to 1945 Covering his service with 209 Squadron Coastal Command Published privately by Bruce Cunynghame Daymond Copyright Bruce Cunynghame Daymond 2005 Except where the works of others are quoted, all rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright above, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the author’s estate. September 2005 Squadron Leader Bruce Daymond DSO […]

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Rhodesia Regiment – A Complete History 1899 to 1981

June 28, 2013
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Download article as PDF The definitive history of the Rhodesia Regiment was authored by Peter Baxter as a combined project with the Rhodesia Services Association, including significant contributions from: Hugh Bomford Craig Fourie Tony Fraser Adrian Haggett Gerry van Tonder The book covers the formation and evolution of the Rhodesia Regiment from the earliest days of the settlement of the British colony of Rhodesia, through it’s involvement in the Anglo/Boer War, WWI, WWII and the iconic Rhodesian Bush War that was fought throughout the 1970s, culminating in independence for Rhodesia, the formation of Zimbabwe and the dissolving of all the formations of the Rhodesian Security Forces. The book includes some 2000 images chronicling the Regiment from its inception to its […]

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Somalis: US Intervention 1992 1994

June 28, 2013
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Download article as PDF The end of the Cold War introduced an altered global dynamic. The old bond of East/West patronage in Africa was broken, weakening the first crop of independent revolutionary leadership on the continent who no longer had the support of one or other of the superpowers. With collapse of the Soviet Union, all this changed. The question of global/strategic security devolved into regional peacekeeping and peace enforcement, characterized primarily by the Balkans War, but also many other minor regional squabbles across the developing world that erupted, as old regimes fell and nations sought to build unity out of the ashes. In Africa, the situation was exacerbated by an inherent tribalism and factionalism that had tended to be […]

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Eco Travel Over Fifties New Years Eve 2013 Summit of Kilimanjaro

January 8, 2013

Download article as PDF Trip Overview What better way to ring in the New Year than catch the first morning light of 2014 from the roof of Africa! Kilimanjaro offers an opportunity to challenge one of the world’s principal peaks with a surprising level of comfort and without too many technical challenges. Eco Travel Africa works with established local operators to establish a compatible route structure and a time frame suitable for a gradual altitude adjustment. We also emphasize maximum level of individual support to assist you in preparation and planning of your trip. Our route of choice is Lemosho Route (Route Map). Entering the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park from the east, the ascent is gradual, moving first through the […]

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Selous Scouts Operation Miracle: 26 September 1979

October 20, 2012
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Download article as PDF Gerry van Tonder is a well known author, archivist and researcher on warfare in Southern Africa, Rhodesian military history and military history in general. He, along with Adrian Haggett, is the author of the definitive Rhodesian War Roll of Honour In spite of previous Rhodesian Security Forces successes against ZANLA bases in the Manica Province of Mozambique, it became evident from reconnaissance missions that camps had again been established in a sixty kilometre radius from the town of Chimoio, not far from the Rhodesian border town of Umtali. Within this area, in what was now called the Chimoio Circle, and to the east of the Chimoio-Tete Road, aerial photographs revealed a large sprawling complex of five […]

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Selous Scouts Operation Eland

October 12, 2012
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Download article as PDF In early July 1976 Reid Daly began preliminary planning for Operation Eland. Air reconnaissance over the camp continued and Winston Hart searched ‘every capture and scrap of paper found in the rubbish tip, or on dead terrorists’ to build an accurate intelligence picture of the Nyadzonia Camp.[1] Reid Daly’s account of the operation, and several other sources too, make mention of a ZANLA section commander by the name of Morrison Nyathi who was captured in Inyanga and debriefed personally by Mac McGuinness. The impression gained is that information received by Nyathi clarified the picture considerably, lending detailed information on numbers, camp protocols, layout and other key intelligence. Discussion with surviving Special Branch Liaison Officers involved in […]

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Fireforce: A Memoir of the Rhodesian Light Infantry

April 30, 2012
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Download article as PDF Fireforce: One Man’s War in the Rhodesian Light Infantry. Written by Chris Cocks. Published by 30 Degrees South, Johannesburg South Africa. 2006 There is always a book somewhere out there that should have been read, but has not. As an author and writer on themes of African warfare and general history it is incumbent on me to read as much on the subject as is available, and there is a lot available. The Rhodesian War has generated an enormous amount of biographical material and general military analysis over the years, to the extent, I sometimes feel, that the whole episode has been mythologized far beyond the scope and significance of the war itself. To put it […]

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Kilimanjaro Western Breach Summit: A Viable Option For Older Climbers

April 19, 2012

Download article as PDF >> Tanapa Western Breach protocol Separating the Fact from the Fiction There has long been an aura of risk about climbing Kilimanjaro via the famed Western Breach. The matter came to a head in early 2005 with the death of three American climbers as a consequence of a rockfall. The route was briefly closed and assessed, perhaps more an act of protocol than safety, and opened again soon afterwards. It must be remembered throughout that these types of endeavors carry with them an inherent risk, and although every effort is made by climbing outfitters to both sanitize the risk and talk up the adventure, accidents happen, and the random nature of a tumbling scree of boulders […]

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Operation Quartz: Zimbabwe/Rhodesia on the brink

April 18, 2012
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Download article as PDF Ceasefire and Elections The closing chapter of Rhodesian history was decided in Lancaster House, London, between 10 September-15 December 1979. There, in what has been described by some as the Funeral Parlour of the British Empire, the principal protagonists in the unfolding drama of the Zimbabwe/Rhodesia Bush War brought the curtain down on this, the last substantive act in the drama of British imperial disengagement. It was a moment of profound delicacy. The Rhodesian conflict had been deliberately regionalised in an effort (a) to attack and destroy external guerrilla forces in their bases of operation in both Mozambique and Zambia (also in Angola during Operation Vanity in February 1979), and (b) to so reduce the national […]

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Biological Warfare in Rhodesia

April 15, 2012
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Download article as PDF This is an excerpt from Rhodesia: Last Outpost of the British Empire. Article by Jeremy Brickhill highlighting the matter in more detail. On the battlefield, meanwhile, the intensity of reprisal and counter-reprisal grew, and as manpower shortages in the armed services became critical, any and every type of force multiplier was considered. The Selous Scouts and Special Branch were behind most of these ideas and were highly creative and successful in employing them. One such scheme turned the tables on the terrorist‟s tendency to rob rural stores. Operatives fitted transistor radios, much coveted by guerrillas in the field, with secret homing transmitters effective within a radius of 50 kilometres. The transmitters were usually only active when […]

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Zimbabwe’s Poisoned Legacy: Secret War in Southern Africa

April 15, 2012
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Download article as PDF This is an embedded article published in Covert Action Quarterly dealing with the use of biological agents during the Zimbabwe Rhodesia War of 1965-1980. A brief summary of the Rhodesian biological war program can be found here CAQ Magazine Zimbabwe,Rhodesia,Anthrax

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Climbing Kilimanjaro for Boomers and Over Fifties

April 4, 2012

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of those bucket list achievements that anyone with an outdoor bent should consider.

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The Beginning of the End for Crater Camp

March 22, 2012
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Download article as PDF The current buzz in Kilimanjaro is the imminent closure of Crater Camp. I discovered this on my most recent trip when a few mates and I summited via the Western Breach and spent a long and ugly night at Crater Camp. Crater Camp is touted as the last word in isolation on the slightly over-trammeled Kilimanjaro circuit. There is no doubt that getting up there, particularly via the famous Western Breach, is a large undertaking, and spending the night at over 5500m is not for lightweights, but isolated Crater Camp is not! We made the trip up from Arrow Glacier Camp in about 7-hours of fairly solid slogging up the middle of the Western Breach. Scrambling […]

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Mau Mau: The Legacy of an African Rebellion

March 21, 2012
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Download article as PDF The Africa@War series Volume 7 offers and introduction to Mau Mau and will be available in mid-2012. In 1952 violence broke out in the British colony of Kenya, setting in motion what would be arguably the first of the modern African liberation struggles. The characteristics of the Mau Mau Rebellion were very different from later manifestations of the African liberation movement – the most notable of these probably being the Rhodesian War, but also similar wars in Angola, Mozambique and South West Africa (Namibia). The Mau Mau rebellion was fairly narrowly defined inasmuch as it was largely a Kikuyu affair, and took place in the Kikuyu heartland of what is today the Central Province, and what […]

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The South African Air Force in the Border War

March 21, 2012
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Download article as PDF The Africa@War series Volume 9 offers and introduction to South African air force operations in Angola  and will be available in mid-2012. The South African Border War was the last of the true African Liberation Struggles, which, at its simplest, pitted the monolithic South African Defense Force (SADF) and South African Air Force (SAAF) against the rag-tag guerrilla army of the South West African people’s Organization, or SWAPO. It was also, however, intertwined with the internal and international anti-Apartheid struggle, with the simultaneous war of liberation in Zimbabwe, and both the Angolan liberation war and the subsequent Angolan civil war that immediately followed. Initially – from 1966 to 1976 – the war followed a low-key counter-insurgency […]

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The South African Border War

February 4, 2012
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Download article as PDF At the end of 1987 and the beginning of 1988 arguably the largest tank battle in Africa since WWII, and the only one of its kind ever to take place in sub-Saharan Africa, was fought. The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale was a key episode in what has since come to be known as the South African Border War. While the Portuguese fought two intense guerrilla wars in the region, those being Angola and Mozambique, and white Rhodesia similarly battled internal nationalist movements throughout the 1970s, none of these compared in any way in terms of size and regional impact to the semi-conventional, and at times fully conventional, war that South Africa fought against a combination of […]

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Robert Bell Smart the Royal Engineers Signals Unit

January 27, 2012
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Download article as PDF I was recently contacted by Eleanor Smart regarding a collection of photographs belonging to her and concerning her father who served in East Africa during WWI. What follows is her own description of the circumstances of Robert Bell Smart, and a selection of his photographs. Robert Bell Smart.  Born in Glasgow July 1890. Died in Paisley Sept. 1962  My father started his working life as a telegraph boy in the Post Office in Glasgow. In 1915 he enlisted in the Royal Signals, or The Royal Engineers Signals Unit, as Sapper R B Smart.  Not sure exactly. He was sent to France. This bit he never spoke of, so I don’t know where he was or what […]

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December 27, 2011

Download article as PDF By COMMANDER G . B. SPICER-SIMSON,. S.O., R.N. Wednesday, 28th March, 1934, at 3 p.m. ADMIRAL SIR WILLIAM GOODENOUGH,. C.B., M.V.O., in the Chair. The Chairman, in introducing the Lecturer, said that Commander Spicer-Simson had had a very varied and adventurous career. He saw service in China; he was on the Boundaries Commission in North Borneo; he made a triangulated survey of the Upper Yangtze; and between 1910 and 1914 he was the Director of the Gambia Survey. In 1915 he was sent out with a small party of officers and men on the expedition to Lake Tanganyika, which, if it was a minor operation of the War, was nevertheless one of great importance. Lake Tanganyika […]

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Ian Henderson and the Hunt for Dedan Kimathi

December 4, 2011
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Download article as PDF During the course of 1956 an extraordinary drama played out in the forests of the Kenyan Aberdare Range, as two men, Dedan Kimathi, a Kikuyu Mau Mau forest leader, feared in equal measure by friends and enemies alike, and Ian Henderson, a local Special Branch member and guerrilla hunter extraordinaire, enacted a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that marked the final death throe of one of Africa’s first authentic liberation struggles. The Mau Mau is one of those historic events that has the capacity to be all things to all people To the white settler community of the time, anguished by a sudden and catastrophic rebellion against their very existence, the Mau Mau represented a reversionist, primal […]

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I Can Never Say Enough About the Men

September 8, 2011
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Download article as PDF I had noticed in my general browsing of the web that a new book associated with the East Africa Campaign of World War I had been published, strongly titled I Can never Say Enough About the Men. It did not drift into my orbit, however, and I found no opportunity to read it until I was contacted by Andrew Kerr, the author of the book, with a request to review it on behalf of the Great War in East Africa Association. This I gladly agreed to do and shortly afterwards a copy arrived in the post. At a glance I found a richly illustrated narrative configured along the lines of a standard regimental history that dealt, […]

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The Rhodesia Regiment

August 15, 2011
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Download article as PDF The Old Drill Hall Nowadays serving as an Interior Ministry building along Leopold Takawira Street more or less opposite the Harare Gardens. The Lion & Tusk is still in evidence. This is a reproduction of an historic publication reproduced by the Orafs, otherwise known as Old Rhodesian Air Force Sods How many thousands of soldiers have passed through (and sweated in and around) Salisbury’s Drill Hall In the past 60 years? And how many have staggered or been removed from the adjacent “Rat Pit?” It was in the Drill Hall that “Bomber” Harris, of Royal Air Force fame, after World War Two blew again a bugle which he had sounded when he served with the Regiment […]

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