With the 1960’s closing and the success rate of incursions into Rhodesia from Zambia dropping to practically zero, both African Nationalist groups ZANU and ZAPU looked for alternatives. To the East of Rhodesia lay the nation of Mozambique. Both countries had established a good relationship and many Rhodies went to the beaches along the African coast on Holiday. Yet, Mozambique became gripped by Russian inspired anti-colonialism and FRELIMO sprouted to fight its Portuguese masters. The SAS was instrumental in helping their government learn to fight against the insurgency.
With its recent experience in the Zambezi Valley, it dispatched troops to help hunt down FRELIMO and to keep the war inside Mozambique’s borders. The SAS men were paired with mainly conscript troops whose only desire in life was to get out of the Army and not get killed. Though the SAS men were there as Advisors, it usually ended up in the Operators chasing down the Communist Terrorists themselves.
This was good experience for the men as the terrain was vastly different and required enhancing their skills in rainy, mountainous and jungle environments. ZANU and ZAPU were looking to operate in the North of Mozambique and flow down into Rhodesia. Initially FRELIMO wanted to work with the Soviet aligned ZAPU but the offer was not acted upon. As the action intensified, FRELIMO wanted someone to work with them and in turn, they would allow access to Rhodesia. ZANU acted upon the offer and the war began to take on a higher and more violent tempo.
As ZANU gained more recruits and an easier infiltration route, the SAS spent the majority of its time in Mozambique, hitting the Terr’s bases, supply, and infrastructure hard. ZANU began to gain steam in Mozambique mainly due to their Maoist ideology. Rather than the ironfisted ZAPU way, they mixed with the locals, gained their trust and turned them into guerrilla fighters. ZAPU was still persistent to the North and the vigilance and daring of the SAS was necessary.