RBW- FARMERS FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE

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Rhodesian Farmers the first line of Defence.

Rhodesian farmers all faced daily danger of land mines on farm access roads, homestead attacks, some were called to compounds and tortured / killed. Agricalert radios were used to warn of attacks which were being mounted and call for assistance. Many Farmers were on quick response sticks in police Reserve or PATU.

 

Several families were murdered. Some were abducted and force marched to Mozambique. Peach tried to communicate with gooks and was brutally tortured. We owe a lot to the farmers.

There is a farm roll of honour which should be erected as a memorial in Salisbury UK with our other memorials. Nevill thinks the Viscount memorial should be relocated there too? Nevill Bulloch grew up on a tobacco farm and his father served 10 years in police Reserve. He is listed in Contact 1 or Contact II. We lost five farmers from Enterprise killed on call up. Many farmers had to abandon farms in the hot areas like Mtoko and Mtepatepa, Mount Darwin, Centenery etc while a few brave souls stayed on and fought.

The local sports clubs were focus points for farm moral etc and many became bases. Golf courses were used by choppers. The ladies often ran our canteens at various JOCs and locations.

In the view of JB Campbell, there are no farm attacks anywhere in the world that match the ferocity which the Rhodesian farmers (husbands, wives and children) faced and survived. The terrorists were armed by the Soviet Union and China with modern military weapons, including anti-tank landmines that were used to blow up farmers and civilians.

Farmers would also form their own militias from the farm hands and Guard Force would also be deployed where possible to help the farmers.

Farmers then had to start buying or converting their vehicles to Mine Ambush Protected vehicles to fight against the mine threat and ambushes by terrorists. After some years there were a number of vehicles used by farmers such as the mine protected Land Rover, Leopard, Cougar, Kudu, Rhino, Hyena and others extemporized versions. Some of the vehicles shown are in Police or Government use but farmers were also using these vehicles as well.

There are instances of reaction forces from which ever units there were available racing to help the beleaguered farms. By road in Mine Ambush Protected vehicles, helicopters or on foot if they thought roads were mined in the vicinity of the farm. There was even one instance I believe were sticks of RAR were parachuted in the fading light to help relieve a farm.

Farms would also increase their defences with bunkers, trenches, arming farm hands, recruiting mercenaries, or the Government providing Guard Force or troops of some description. Wire fences some electrified, plough sheers fitted with explosives to put weary attackers off.

In the 20mm range Underfire Miniatures have produced Rhodesian farmers and their farm guards.

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RBW- RIC operations

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 Neville Bulloch served with RIC (Rhodesian Intelligence Corps) and this is an interesting extract from his experience in Pseudo Operations towards the end of the war.
 Based upon intelligence received from SB informants through Sub JOC queque, either PATU sticks, Support Unit or Phumo Revanu would be deployed within Op Grapple from a forward operation such as Gokwe Police Station.
Once we received orders to mobilise, a stick of 8 or more were selected and equipped from our armoury with AK, RPD, RPG7, Sks, grenades, rifle grenades, 60ml mortar and HE rounds. We would draw rations and prepare our kit.
It was imperative to emulate the Zipra terrorist dress code and weapons. Titles were given to the team such as political commissar, section commander, carder etc so that when the guys spoke to villages they would not be compromised. Chimorenga names were also used.
Our packs, ammo, water bottles, rations etc were checked for noise by getting the guys to jump up and down on the spot. We did allow smoking and occasional mbanje as that is what the gooks used.
My camo comprised of denims, dark long sleeved clothing, Portuguese boots, a black mafushwa hairstyle and food colouring dye.
1:50000 maps of the area were marked with the intelligence info and placed in ziplock plastic bags inside our shirts. First aid field Dressings, drip and giving sets, cannulars, Bandages and Sosegon or Pentazocine was carried by myself and Joseph the commander. A TR28 was used for Comms. We still carried the daily Shackle codes for Comms.
Deployment was at night from Riscoe base in Redcliffe via a closed crocodile to Gokwe so mujibas could not inform gooks we were in the area.
Once within the SB compound I would apply camo and get further briefing from SB Sgt at Gokwe.
We were then deployed along gravel and sand roads accompanied by a convoy of a Leopard, Landrover and Crocodile. Police Reserve or Patu often accompanied the deployment. We were dropped off by opening the rear doors and crawling forward jumped off the back.
A broken branch was used to sweep the road of tracks.
Using compass bearings and map reading by covering the map and pencil torch with a dark green bivy we made our way to the suspected ct sightings. Sometimes accompanied by an informer.
This was frightening as we were never certain they were not taking us into a trap.
Joseph and I separated our command to the flanks and placed our RPG and Mortar in the middle. The RPD gunner and AKs took point.
By first light we had secured a defensive position within the Jess bush as vegetation was sparse and cover limited. We tried to avoid vegetable patches, sweet potatoes fields etc as we feared locals walking in on us.
As you’re well aware we faced Mange ridden barking dogs, young boys herding cattle or goats, women carrying wood or water on their head rings, mugiba informers who the CTs deployed around their locations up to 3 km away etc.
A hide was established from which we took it in turns to leopard crawl into and use binoculars to scan the kraal lines, “business” centres or schools. Movement of locals was monitored for typical patterns of ct activity.
The following night we’d set up an ambush and killing ground with stop groups on either side.
We never slept or regrouped in the same location twice and all evidence of our presence had to be gathered silently. Hand signals were used for Comms.
At night we often heard gatherings of small groups of zipra with locals and young girls who often cooked for them or carried equipment.
Chimorenga songs were sometimes sung and political slogans shouted when they believed there were no security forces around. Occasionally we identified a pungwe by the women carrying in home made beer, large chunks of bread, Sadza etc.
A radio sched was maintained daily with Gokwe.
If and when a challenge or contact was made with locals or mugibas Joseph or the more senior his would give intelligence of who and where our gang had supposedly entered the area. They all spoke Ndebele and I would remain well out of sight in the dark. We would ask to locate and join up with other commanders known to be in the area from informant and SB intelligence.
When a sighting was made both sides would convey greetings and attempt to establish identity. This rarely worked well as our info was often several weeks old.
We would attempt to go our seperate ways and then track the group. Fleeting Contacts sometimes occurred at a distance if the zipra suspected pfumo Revanu.
Nights in the Gorodema flats were hot and dry. Vegetation and tree cover was thin. Patrolling was curtailed on moon lit nights. We could be out for over a week subject to activity. Our major brief was to identify gook groups, gather intel and report to SB for follow up instructions. Once a contact occurred we were compromised and had to fight and hopefully get kills.
Zipra in the area often had large female groups who we found more aggressive in contact than the men.
Joseph was in fact shot and killed on a patrol into Gorodema when we were ambushed from a jess line while crossing a potato field. At the time he was identified as the commander and targeted because he carried out mortar. He was shot in the neck and chest killing him almost instantly. That contact lasted for just over an hour. Several youngsters in my stick received injuries.
The radio call into Gokwe was monitored by Que Que JOC and patu was deployed to assist us. Once the gooks had fled we checked their locations for numbers, dead or wounded. Blood spoor was identified and 13 firing positions were located. A PKM, RPD and Aks were used against us in the contact. Our RPG7 was fired twice during the contact towards the PKM.
When four Patu arrived they were asked to stop their crocodile and walk towards me with my torch flashing on and off. All four carried MAGs and were dressed in camo shirts and shorts. They were all farmers or ranchers from the area.
At the time I was exhausted and had shaking hands from the adrenalin and contact. We recovered Joseph’s body and placed him in the crocodile. The injured were attended to.
We returned with Patu to Gokwe. The next day follow up Support Unit sticks were sent out to the area and I believe made contact, killing two zipra.
I received that letter from SB for that action.
Memories of the patrol included having a sensation of being watched and followed. The terrain was difficult to traverse unseen due to sparse cover. We encountered donkeys one night and thought they were zipra. One of my younger guys fired his SKS and compromised our location.

This may assist you with your war game scenario. I attended Joseph’s funeral in Que Que with senior SB and que que police. He was a good soldier.

RBW-‘WHAT IF’ MIRAGE F1-C

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The Rhodesian Air Force was training up on South African Mirage Aircraft at the end of the bush war so in a ‘What If’ scenario Zimrhode forces would have had a squadron of these aircraft once sanctions had been lifted, giving Zimrhode forces a ground attack aircraft and interceptor to replace their aging Hunter aircraft which had also been depleted by operations.

I still need to add canopy, basic instructional markings as Zimrhode aircraft carried no national markings. Also need to add a metal washer for basing.