The Rhodesian Bush War & Rhodesian Military
The Rhodesians waged a campaign of extreme military professionalism that will deserve a place in the World’s Staff College courses for many years to come.” John Keegan
“…like many…confronted by insurgencies, the Rhodesian security forces functioned under severe financial constraints that limited their access to late model, sophisticated ‘high’tech’ weapons and to large quantities of material. [Their] ability to overcome these constraints by embracing innovative strategies and tactics, including novel techniques in…tracking and reconnaissance, small unit tactics, special operations and intelligence gathering, suggests that the successful prosecution of counterinsurgency need not entail huge expenditure…This tactical achievement is all the impressive given that the balance of government forces to insurgents was roughly 1:1—a ratio far below the 10:1 balance commonly cited as necessary or the effective prosecution of a counterinsurgency…” Hoffman/Taw/Arnold [RAND] Lessons for Contemporary Counterinsurgencies: the Rhodesian Experience
Officer Safety/Officer Survival
“To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.” Voltaire
We have a duty to learn from lessons our brothers and sisters have paid for with blood, and we owe them, our honored dead (and our wounded), a hard look at the truth of what happend to them. We don’t review incidents to pass judgment on their actions of condemn a response that may have resulted in injury or death; we look at them so we can hone our own skills and possibly prevent a similar butcher’s bill in the future. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is engraved with the names of the many hundreds who paid for these lessons. Military memorials elsewhere are similarly write. Please do not dishonor their or their families sacrifices by failing to learn from them.
In Valor There is Hope. Plutarch
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Warfighting and the Profession of Arms
“…through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purpose, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishments; but you are the ones who are trained to fight.
Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country…” Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Farewell Speech to the Corps of Cadets, West Point 12 May 62
The noble profession of arms is exactly that – Noble. The military of the United States is not so slowly evolving into a warrior caste wherein just a fraction of the population serve to protect the rest. They are, particularly in the combat arms, a misunderstood sub-culture ever more out of touch with the citizenry they are sworn to protect…frequently mocked as knuckle-draggers, often accused to be comprised of those ‘who had no other option than the military in life’, they are in fact the most educated and well trained military in the history of the world…and the best of them are in a very real sense Warrior Scholars who can easily vie with their academic analogues from ‘civilian’ educational institutions in virtually in any form of intellectual endeavor. It is not surprising, then, that the younger generations of Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman are so often voracious learners…nor is it surprising that so many potential lessons, so often paid for with blood, are ignored by the very institutions these men and women serve.
Richard Kilgore, 29 MAR 11