Category: African War History

Versions of African War History

A Brief Background to Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army

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… Read more →

US Intervention Somalia 1992/3 and The Battle of Mogadishu

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… Read more →

The History of Boko Haram

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… Read more →

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

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… Read more →

Battle of Mavonde – The Liberation version of Operation Miracle

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… Read more →

The History of the Rhodesia Regiment – 1890 to 1981

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… Read more →

Biafra: A Quick Overview of the first African Civil War

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,… Read more →

An Innocent Abroad: Of Submarines and Spies

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,… Read more →

Images from 209 Squadron RAF Coastal Command

These images were shared with me by Australian Denis Saunders, whose father, a pilot with the RAF, served with 209 Squadron off the coast of East Africa for much of WWII. RAF 209 Squadron began life in 1918 as No: 9 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service in 1918, being renamed 209 Squadron in March 1930 when all former RNAS squadrons… Read more →

Spioenkop Battlesite South Africa

Spioenkop (lookout, or spy hill), or Spionkop  as it is frequently, but incorrectly spelled, is another of the better known battlesites that litter the South African Battlefield Route. It is located  about 20 miles southeast of Ladysmith, and was fought as part of the British attempts to break the Siege of Ladysmith that took place between 30 October 1899 and… Read more →

Spionkop Lodge: A History Unto Itself

My visit to Spioenkop Battle Site on the KwaZulu Natal Battlefield Route included a stay as the guest of Raymond and Lynette Heron, owners of the lovely Spionkop Lodge. The Spionkop Lodge complex is an upgraded farm compound with its own historical significance in relation to the iconic Spioenkop battleground that it is named after, being that it was British… Read more →

Selous Scouts Operation Miracle: 26 September 1979

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… Read more →

Selous Scouts Operation Eland

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… Read more →

Siege of Elands River: 4 – 16 August 1900

Map: Siege of Eland’s River Staging Post 4-14 August 1900 Map: Battle of Eland’s River 4 August 1900 With the capitulation of Johannesburg and Pretoria by early June 1900, the Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in South Africa, Lord Frederick Roberts VC, divided the Western Transvaal operational theatre into districts, with the sole objective of mopping up pockets of Boer resistance. … Read more →

Fireforce: A Memoir of the Rhodesian Light Infantry

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… Read more →

Operation Quartz: Zimbabwe/Rhodesia on the brink

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… Read more →

Biological Warfare in Rhodesia

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… Read more →

Robert Bell Smart the Royal Engineers Signals Unit

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… Read more →

Rourkes Drift and Isandlwana: Key sites of the Anglo Zulu War of 1879

Deep in the signature countryside of Zululand – undulating grassland punctuated by rubble crowned kopjies and shallow river valleys – lie two key sites in the mythology of the black/white struggle for Southern Africa. The Anglo/Zulu War in many respects was the beginning of the end of black independent monarchy in Southern Africa. It came about as a consequence of… Read more →