Historical thread: Rhodesian armed forces | World Defense

Historical thread: Rhodesian armed forces

sarvar_preus

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The Rhodesian armed forces had their roots in the British south Africa company armed forces, originally created during the company's rule in the 1880s. they later became the armed forces of the self-governing British colony of southern Rhodesia in 1923 in post WW1 British ruled Africa. from 1953 until 1963 the southern Rhodesian armed forces were merged with the armed forces of northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) & Nyasaland (now Malawi) after 1963 the Rhodesian security forces maintained the same form they would have until 1980. in 1965 the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia would issue a UDI (unilateral declaration of Independence) from the British empire to avoid the transition to popular rule during which the colonial armed forces remained loyal to the government in the capital Salisbury, refusing to crush the revolt with military force. the British & the United Nations responded by declaring Rhodesia an illegal & rouge state.

After the UDI, the fledgling Rhodesian armed forces fought on behalf of Salisbury against the black African Marxist organizations ZANU & ZAPU (backed by the USSR, Maoist China & most of the eastern bloc) with only limited aid from South Africa & Salazar's Portugal. during the conflict which lasted from 1964 until 1979 the Rhodesian armed forces operating a mismatch of commonwealth, other western, captured soviet & domestic weaponry dating from early cold war to world war 2 vintage, made a name for themselves as a small but very well trained professional army. inflicting disproportionately large causalities on their Marxist enemies while sustaining far less in return. However in 1979 it was decided that Rhodesia would give into the demands of both black nationalists, the UN & the Marxist militants by allowing a popular election in 1979. after which the Rhodesian armed forces were merged with the militant wings of the black Marxist organizations ZANU & ZAPU to form the armed forced of Zimbabwe.
The Rhodesians today are remembered as a truly world class army, which fought for decades against unfavourable odds & won the military fight against a widely backed enemy (only defeated politically). which gave us military inventions such as the Rhodesian brushstroke camouflage pattern & the MRAP vehicle class.
 

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Soldiers of the Rhodesian African rifles aboard a patrol boat at lake Kariba. contrary to some people's beliefs Rhodesia's security forces were majority Black.



Rhodesian African rifles boarding a transport aircraft

 

sarvar_preus

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Rhodesia operated a total of 8 T-55LD tanks in it's army


Rhodesian troops in front of a polish built T-55LD tank (donated by south Africa)

Rhodesian tanker crew on T-55.
 

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Rhodesian Eland-90 armoured cars.
Made originally in south Africa the Eland is an air portable, light armoured car based on the panhard AML mounting either a 60mm breech-loading mortar or a Denel 90mm gun on it's compact chassis. although light in armour it's permanent 4x4 drive makes it faster than many MBTs over flat terrain.

 

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The Pookie vehicle was created to deal with the constant mining of the roadways during the bush war in Rhodesia.
the Pookie was fitted with formula one tires purchased from South Africa after the grind prix in that country second-hand. The wide tires prevented the detonation of the mines by exerting less ground pressure than a human footprint and spanning the whole mine's circumference. the vehicle was made via Volkswagen Kombi parts & bares a resemblance to an elevated Go-cart.
The bottom of the cab had a V-shaped reinforced hull to deflect the blast away from the operator. Sensor 'pans', resembling rectangular wings, were lowered and used perpendicular to the ground below the cab. When the vehicle was transported, the pans were raised at a 45 degree angle.
76 vehicles were built between 1976 and 1980, none ever detonated a mine, though 12 were lost and two drivers were killed (via remotely detonated mines).
the Pookie was exported by Rhodesia to south Africa.
 
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