The men of the Malayan Scouts returned as Heroes to their Native Rhodesia. Filled with experience and the haggard look of men hardened by battle, they were promptly deactivated. Rhodesia relied mainly on the Rhodesian African Rifles, the Native Regiment led by white officers and Territorials or Reservists for their standing Army. Like many Armies around the world, Special Operations was still not considered useful to maintain during peacetime due to costs and time restraints.

The De-Colonization of Africa was still blazing across the Continent. Portugal was losing control in Angola and Mozambique. The nature of that guerrilla war gave birth to the Flecha, a COIN unit trying to put down rebellion in Portugal’s cash cows. The winds of change cycloned around Rhodesia and the debris began to fall into its borders.

Counter-Terrorist enforcement fell largely to the British South African Police who operated inside Rhodesia’s borders. Their fundamental training was that of Policing work, not of the Infantry or a Special Forces Soldier. Military Planners began to look ahead and revived the idea of raising a full time SAS unit that would be able to battle Terrorist actions and fight fire with fire.

Before 1964 there was a Northern Rhodesia and a Southern Rhodesia which formed the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In 1959, the African National Congress began to coalesce and engaged in a campaign of physical intimidation and protests. Still under British supervision, a commission was sent to Rhodesia to give advice. ANC leaders were jailed, cells broken up and Britain recommended that the Federation be dismantled to appease and quell the violence. Hard line Rhodesian Nationalists were not willing to do so and decided in favor of building a better and more ready Army.

The raising of the First Battalion of the Rhodesian Light Infantry came to pass in 1961 along with an Armored car squadron named the Selous Scouts (the name would later be passed onto another legendary group) and a Parachute Detachment to become the Rhodesian SAS.

The training of the SAS Regiment began with the Parachute Evaluation Detachment. An officer from the RAF arrived and began forming a cadre. Initial training was focused on physical fitness. After the volunteers were brought up to standard, Parachute training commenced. Several of the volunteers went to Britain to qualify as Parachute Instructors and six outstanding and Malayan experienced Rhodesian officers and NCO’s were to undergo SAS training in Hereford, England.

They had little idea what to expect out of the exchange course and decided to commence training on their own to prepare them for the rigors ahead. Daily PT and ruck marches over the most inhospitable terrain were the prescription. They arrived in Britain more than prepared physically but were greeted with some disdain by 22 SAS. Even though a formal training exchange had taken place, the 22 were interested in their own business. Nevertheless, the Rhodesians made themselves available and persistent, taking every opportunity they could find to get the knowledge they had come for. They were able to take part in another exchange the British had with the Danish. War Games were played in quarantined areas where the population was involved much to the enjoyment of the Rhodesians.

Their three months came to an end with some time at the Rhodesia House in London, trying to recruit men to join the Army in Rhodesia. Upon their return, they began developing firm plans on the TO/E of the organization. It was to be six Sabre Squadrons of 17 men each with a total of 182 men to fill the ranks. It was a tall order and much of it would be morphed to fit the African continent.