A Brief Background to Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army

Lord’s Resistance Army Leader Joseph Kony

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, 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 that appears unchangeably wedded to warfare and internal conflict. ‘Me and my clan against my nation. 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 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 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 in London in September, 1979 where the Rhodesians intended to weaken the Patriotic Front’s 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 time when European, and particularly British patriotism and social coherence was 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, the north and the south. The north comprised the Islamised Hausa/Fulani language group which fell under the leadership 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 from reconnaissance missions that camps had again been established in a sixty kilometre 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 of a ZANLA section commander by the name of Morrison 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.  The Marico District, including the towns of Mafeking, Zeerust, 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 on the subject as is available, and there is a lot available. The Rhodesian 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 drama of British imperial disengagement. It was a moment of profound 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 most of these ideas and were highly creative and successful in employing them. read more

THE OPERATIONS ON LAKE TANGANYIKA IN 1915

 

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 read more

Ian Henderson and the Hunt for Dedan Kimathi

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 read more

The Rhodesia Regiment

'Passing sweet are the domains of tender memory', said William Wordsworth in 1817. 'Not bleeding likely' said the Rhodesian soldier from 1914 to 1974.

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 read more

The Shangani Patrol

As Rhodesian Administrator Leander Starr Jameson rode into the smoking ruins of Bulawayo in the aftermath of the first phase of the Matabele War he somewhat naively expected to find Lobengula waiting to surrender formally. This would have read more

A Quick Sketch of the Zimbabwe/Rhodesia Bush War

I have noticed a lot of search traffic on this site pertaining to the Zimbabwe/Rhodesian War.  Aside from the Wikipedia entry covering the period, there is very little on the world wide web dealing with the subject. What follows is a thumbnail sketch drawn from my own reading of the episode which is not intended to be an accurate historical synopsis.

The political background to the Rhodesian Civil War

The Rhodesian War of the 1970s was a civil war. It was fought for the preservation of the Anglo/Saxon values and culture read more

Why did you fight? Narratives of Rhodesian identity during the insurgency 1972-1980

The piece published below is attributed, and is an important observation on events of the 1970s in Rhodesia, balancing out a good many similar academic oral studies made on the guerilla forces involved, and balancing out some emotional but factually lean historic studies of the Rhodesian War from the point of view of white  Zimbabweans/Rhodesians. Here is a PFD version of the below published on the BSAP.org site

Why did you fight?

Narratives of Rhodesian identity during the (Rhodesian) insurgency 1972-1980

An oral history project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, carried read more

The successful conclusion to the Battle of Lake Tanganyika

In researching this concluding chapter of the Mimi and Toutou saga, I waited until I was able to source a book written in the early 1960s by British author Peter Shankland, The Phantom Flotilla. This is an excellent book written largely from the verbal accounts of Doctor Hanchell, gathered during extensive interviews conducted by Shankland before the Doctor's death sometime in the mid 1960s. Shankland's version is naturally configured largely from the Doctor’s perspective, although a number of key archive resources also feature. What appears to emerge as a consequence is a far more forgiving view of the main protagonist in the story, Commander Geoffrey Spicer-Simpson, than anything else I have read so far.

Doctor Hanchell did concede throughout that Spicer-Simpson was an ass - there seems to be no way to avoid that conclusion - but he also reflected that the Commander was an able and capable leader, imbibed with something that no amount of bombast or arrogance could corrupt – uncommonly good luck. This is an attribute that is common to all great leaders, from Alexander the Great through to Napoleon. General Jan Smuts and Colonel Paul von Lettow Vorbeck, both of whom would soon match wits on that very battlefield, were also gifted with extraordinary luck. Of course it is easy for an outsider to perceive successful decision making and tactical instinct as being luck, but when a commander's luck runs out, which it inevitably does, the evidence of decline and fall tend quickly to follow.

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