The Rhodesian history books currently cover the turbulent bush war years and the activities of the Rhodesian Light Infantry Regiment.
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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.
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 a) the new dispensation of black Africa and b) 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. These too are the casualties of war. Ultimately, though, it is a story of hope, of a man's triumph over his own demons.
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.
Gold And The Gospel In Mashonaland 1888 by Constance Fripp (1949) Being the Journals of 'The Mashonaland Mission of Bishop Knight-Bruce' and 'The Concession Journey of Charles Dunell Rudd'.
Sir Thomas Elkins Fuller (1831 - 1910) was a member of the Cape Town Legislative Assembly and later became Agent-General of the Cape Of Good Hope.
The Right Honourable Cecil John Rhodes: A Biography And A Reminiscence by Thomas E Fuller (1910). A monograph of Cecil Rhodes, gold and diamond miner and founder of Rhodesia. Free eBook
Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Marshall Hole (1865 – 1941) was an English pioneer, administrator and author. He went to South Africa in 1889 and met Cecil Rhodes who offered him a job as the first clerk to the newly formed British South Africa Company. He went on to take many administrative posts in Rhodesia including Civil Commissioner of Bulawayo, Chief Secretary of Southern Rhodesia, Chief Native Title Commissioner for Matabeleland and Administrator of North West Rhodesia. He was known for introducing the 'Marshall Hole Currency' in Bulawayo in 1900 which were official handstamped and signed cards which circulated as emergency currency due to a shortage of small change coinage.
Old Rhodesian Days by Hugh Marshall Hole (1928) is an account of the early pioneers of Rhodesia such as Jameson and Rhodes, development of the early settlements such as Salisbury and native and European customs including big game hunting.
The Jameson Raid by Hugh Marshall Hole (1930) is his account of the 1895/96 Jameson Raid which was a botched raid against the South African Republic carried out by British colonial statesman Leander Starr Jameson and his Company troops.Free ebook
The Passing Of The Black Kings by Hugh Marshall Hole (1932) is the story of the advance of civilisation in the interior of Africa from the native perspective rather than that the white pioneers. It looks at the characters and attitudes of the native chiefs and kings that the pioneers encountered on their journeys. Free eBook
Lobengula by Hugh Marshall Hole (1929) is about Lobengula Khumalo (c.1836 – c.1894) who was the second and last king of the Northern Ndebele people (also known as Matabele people in English). He became king in 1870 and successfully ruled over a large area of the highveldt until the possibility that gold was to be found in his kingdom which sparked machinations and wars with the British for the rights to mine in Lobengula's land.
The Making Of Rhodesia by Hugh Marshall Hole (1926)
Frank William Frederick Johnson (1866 - 1943) was a British-born Rhodesian pioneer, explorer, soldier, miner and entrepreneur who landed in Cape Town after leaving school in the early 1880s. Initially he joined the 2nd Mounted Rifles but after the formation of the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (now Botswana)he transferred to the Bechuanaland Border Police in 1885. In 1887 Johnson, with new business partners formed an exploration syndicate to gain prospecting and mining rights and concessions. This led to a meeting with Cecil Rhodes in Cape Town where Johnson was prevailed upon to organise, equip and lead a pioneer corps into Mashonaland.
Great Days: The Autobiography Of An Empire Pioneer by Frank Johnson (1940) is the autobiography of Lt Col Frank Johnson, who, in his youth, contracted with Cecil Rhodes to form and lead the pioneer column to occupy Mashonaland in 1890.
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.
Thomas Morgan Thomas (1830 - 1884) was a Welsh missionary with the London Missionary Society who was appointed to a mission in Matebeleland in 1858. He served there until his death from typhoid.
Eleven Years In Central South Africa by T M Thomas (1872) is one of the earliest books about with Matabeleland, and gives one of the best descriptions of the country and the Ndebele people under the kings, Mzilikazi and Lobengula, nearly 25 years before its occupation by the British.
Arthur Frederick Basil Williams (1867 - 1950) was a British historian and biographer.
The Downfall Of Lobengula by William Arthur Wills & Leonard Thomas Collingridge (1894). 'The cause, history and effect of the Matabeli war.' With contributions by Major P W Forbes, Major Sir John C Willoughby, Mr H Rider Haggard, Mr F C Selous, and Mr P B S Wrey. Lobengula was deposed by The First Matabele War, which began in November 1893. The British South Africa Company's use of the Maxim gun led to devastating losses for the Matabele warriors. As early as December 1893, it was reported that Lobengula had been very sick, but his death sometime in early 1894 was kept a secret for many months and the cause of his death remains inconclusive. Free eBook
Counter-Strike 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.