(A note to Readers: With the root background of the Rhodesian SAS C Squadron having been explored, it is time to focus on a few of the missions that they undertook against the backdrop of a War on Terror. A war thats aim was to destroy the Government of Rhodesia, take the land and evict those of European descent. There are resources available (though hard to find) that follow the actions of the SAS over the course of a decade of constant contact with the enemy. With that amount of time elapsed, it would be impossible in this format to do justice to all of the men who served and their combat records. Not to mention the hundreds of actions taken by the SAS.)

Rhodesia Against the World

Just as Britain had carved up the Federation, they also made demands on the people of Rhodesia. They wanted to govern a people from London that had carved out their living from the wilderness of Africa. Although no formal form of Apartheid existed in Rhodesia, the British declared that Rhodesia must immediately give up white Majority rule. Unlike South Africa at the time, Native Africans were part of the Ian Smith government. The Rhodesians themselves were working towards integration of Blacks into a larger segment of politics and the economy. The Tribal Trust Lands were administered and provided for by the government. Ironically, the war would take a higher toll on the Black Rhodesians than the Whites as the Communist Terrorists slaughtered thousands of Shona and Matebele men, women and children. Smith believed it would be disastrous to turn over the government to a people not yet integrated into the work or education necessary to govern a nation.

The demands from Britain led to the Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Rhodesia declared itself free from being ruled as a Colony and would go it alone. The British immediately retaliated with sanctions on oil and other commodities in an attempt to strangle them into submission. Fortunately, there were a few allies that defied the United Nations to help Rhodesia in its struggle. South Africa was a stalwart ally, along with Israel and a few other Middle Eastern countries.

Much of the desire for Independence revolved around the Communist influences making headway into Africa. A western worldview was incompatible with allowing their enemies to gain strength by altogether allowing Communist African Nationalists to run the government.

They would have to go to war alone. On a personal note, as I have discussed the war with several veterans of Rhodesia and South Africa, I have marveled at the amount of time being deployed. In many ways it is different than the current War on Terror, in that, they had no place to rotate home to. Many veterans spent over 15 or more years on active duty, enduring hundreds and hundreds of firefights. The answer is always the same, ‘We had no choice, it was our home and we had nowhere to go.’

With the UDI and the service that these soldiers from the RLI, SAS to the Selous Scouts, I am reminded of another country in its first hundred or so years declaring independence from Britain and ending up in a war because of it…

Directly after the break from Britain, Rhodesia took matters into their own hands at stopping the Communist Insurgency on its borders. They were no longer worried about their Overlords looking at their military actions and condemning them to suffer outright murders of their citizens. It was decided that rather than catch a crook in their home, they would hunt them down on their own territory and prevent them from ever getting into Rhodesia.

ZANU, supported and trained by the Communist Chinese had begun infiltrating from Zambia. Crossing the mighty Zambezi River and Valley, they were getting deeper and deeper into Rhodesia. A horrifying event finally tipped the anger of the country and caused them to use their finest tool of war. In May of 1966, Johannes and Barbara Viljoen, farmers with children, answered a knock at the door. They were shot dead and mutilated. The anger of the nation turned on these Terrorists.