In 1977 and 1978, Rhodesia’s war against the communist terrorists was heating up to proportions not experienced before. It was all hands on decks. Contacts and casualties mounted as the CTs grew exponentially and began utilizing the border of Mozambique, at that point abandoned by the Portuguese colonials.

In particular, the Gaza province was made up of flat, featureless terrain with the only significant landmark being the railroad system. Free trade had been the order of the day across the Rhodesia/Mozambique border. Once the colonial government fell, all bets were off. Due to the sanctions imposed by the UN and virtually the rest of the world, the Rhodesians vigorously pursued their major rail line south from Salisbury to the Beit Bridge and the South African border.

South Africa had its own agenda, but saw the inherent value in helping its northern neighbor fend off the tide of communist African nationalism. Political battles raged between the pols and the generals over what should be done and to what extent. The British South African police were tied heavily to Rhodesia, historically. This relationship would spread to other units in southwest Africa and Angola.

The military of South Africa not only felt somewhat duty bound to help an ally, but sought to gain operational experience in war, as their own future was uncertain. At one point, half of Rhodesia’s air force consisted of South African pilots and crew. But South Africa maintained a ‘giveth and taketh away’ philosophy. They were concerned that their own internal strife brought on by apartheid and the external forces of communism would require the world’s support in order for the country to survive intact. Also for this reason, the following information was considered classified until 1983—three years after the fall of Rhodesia.