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Shakari Connection Bookshelf, Issue #004
April 25, 2011
Shakari Connection Bookshelf Newsletter
Issue 004 | 25th April 2011
This month the Shakari Connection Bookshelf Newsletter brings you some books about the Rhodesian Bush War. Hunters from all over the world choose to hunt in Zimbabwe and may hear some of the extraordinary stories of this little known war.
Some of the men who fought in these wars are still in the bush but using their vast knowledge of the African bush in the hunting industry.
2011 is the 50th anniversary of the Rhodesian Light Infantry Regiment which was formed on 1 February 1961. In its short 19-year existence, this commando airborne unit gained a reputation as one of the world's foremost proponents of counter-insurgency warfare.
Last Friday, our friends at High Caliber Radio hosted a fascinating live radio interview with Chris Cocks who served in 3 Commando, The Rhodesian Light Infantry.
Mr Cocks has written 2 books about his experiences in the RLI which are definite 'must-reads' for anyone with an interest in Rhodesian military history.
Fireforce: One Man's War In The Rhodesian Light Infantry by Chris Cocks (2009) is the compelling, brutal but true account of Chris Cocks' service in 3 Commando, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, during Zimbabwe's bitter civil war of the '70s a war that came to be known almost innocuously as 'the bush war'. 'Fireforce', a tactic of total airborne envelopment, was developed and perfected by the RLI, together with the Selous Scouts and the Rhodesian Air Force. Fireforce became the principal strike weapon of the beleaguered Rhodesian forces in their struggle against the overwhelming tide of the Communist trained and equipped ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas.
Out Of Action by Chris Cocks (2008) was originally published as 'Survival Course' in 1999, now long out of print, 'Out of Action' is a reworked and updated edition, the sequel to the bestselling 'Fireforce'. Part 1, 'War', chronicles Chris Cocks's final 16 months of combat in the Rhodesian bush war, as a stick leader in PATU, the Police Anti-Terrorist Unit. It is a time of unbelievable cruelty as the part-time white reservists battle overwhelming odds, without air support and without a future, as Mugabe's ZANLA guerrillas swamp the country in the build-up to independence in 1980. Part 2, 'Peace', recounts the author's painful adjustment to life as a civilian - a fifteen-year odyssey in the embryonic state of Zimbabwe. It is an intensely personal journey in which the author pulls no punches as he describes his clumsy attempts to come to terms with the new dispensation of black Africa and himself. It is a cri de couer, the story of a young man, brutalized by war, who seeks escape in alcohol and drugs, and who, in the process, causes immeasurable pain and suffering to those around him.
Chris Cocks collaborated with Alexandre Binda who wrote...
The Saints: The Rhodesian Light Infantry by Alexandre Binda & Chris Cocks (2008) (With DVD). Dubbed 'The Killing Machine' by Charles D Melson, chief historian of the US Marine Corps, the RLI was a veritable 'foreign legion' with over 20 diverse nationalities serving in her ranks. The RLI fought the bitter Zimbabwean 'bush war' for 15 years, against the overwhelming tide of communist-trained guerrillas. Kill rates don't win wars, but during its brief 19-year history, it is estimated that the RLI accounted for between 12,000 and 15,000 enemy guerrillas, for the loss of 135 men. RLI soldiers were recipients of four Silver Crosses and 42 Bronze Crosses of Rhodesia. An RLI trooper holds the world record for operational parachute descents - a staggering 73 op jumps - most under 500 feet!
Masodja: The History Of The Rhodesian African Rifles And Its Forerunner The Rhodesia Native Regiment by Alexandre Binda (2008) (With DVD). Originally formed as The Rhodesia Native Regiment during World War I, this fine regiment first saw action in East Africa, pitted against von Lettow-Vorbeck and his army of German askaris. Disbanded and later reformed, the regiment was to distinguish itself during World War II in the Burma campaign. Using the counter-insurgency experience gleaned from the Malayan Campaign of the 1950s, the RAR provided the frontline troops in the battle for Rhodesia in that country s bitter civil war of the 1960s and 1970s.
Other books about this time in Rhodesia's turbulent bush war history that may be of interest....
The Bush War In Rhodesia: The Extraordinary Combat Memoir Of A Rhodesian Reconnaissance Specialist by Dennis Croukamp (2007) chronicles his eventful service with the Rhodesian Regular Army, the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) and the Selous Scouts Reconnaisance Troop as he took part in cross-border reconnaissance operations, HALO jumps behind enemy lines, urban ops in the townships of Salisbury, raids, ambushes, demolition missions, prisoner snatches and more. And through it all, Croukamp brought along a camera, providing a remarkable visual documentation of this little-known war.
The Rhodesian War: A Military History by Paul L Moorcraft & Peter McLaughlin (2010) Amid the colonial upheaval of the 1960s, Britain urged its colony in Southern Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) to grant its black residents a greater role in governing the territory. The white-minority government refused and soon declared its independence, a move bitterly opposed by the black majority. The result was the Rhodesian Bush War, which pitted the government against black nationalist groups, one of which was led by Robert Mugabe.
Counterstrike From The Sky: The Rhodesian All-Arms Fireforce In The War In The Bush, 1974-1980 by J R T Wood (2009) is accompanied by a DVD containing an audio-visual presentation by Chris Cocks.
My life may not be worth living if I don't tell you about Steve's book How To Become A Professional Hunter In Africa which has been updated with new chapters and released in a hardcover version.
How To Become A Professional Hunter In Africa by Steve Robinson (2011) is a practical guide and comprehensive training manual for anyone wanting a career in the African hunting safari industry.
If you like this newsletter, please do me a big favour and "pay it forward."
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Good Reading & Good Hunting
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