Read the previous part here

With the 1960s coming to a close 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 country of Mozambique. Rhodesia and Mozambique 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 Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) sprouted to fight its Portuguese masters. The SAS was instrumental in helping the Mozambiquan government learn to fight against the insurgency.

With SAS’ recent experience in the Zambezi Valley, Rhodesia 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, they usually ended up chasing down the communist terrorists themselves.

This was a good experience for the men as the terrain was vastly different from Zambia’s 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 took up FRELIMO’s offer and the war began to take on a more intense and violent tempo.

As ZANU gained more recruits and an easier infiltration route, the SAS spent the majority of their time in Mozambique, hitting hard the terrorists’ bases, supply, and infrastructure. ZANU began to gain steam in Mozambique mainly due to their Maoist ideology. Rather than the ironfisted ZAPU, they mixed with the locals, gained their trust, and turned them into guerilla fighters. Yet, ZAPU was still persistent in the north and the vigilance and daring of the SAS were necessary.

The senior men of SAS C Squadron were accumulating experience. The officers instilled into the men that they were the eyes and ears of the Army and not shock troops. Missions involved Deep Range Recce’s, and infiltrating through HALO or chopper, thus building a picture of what they were dealing with. A game of cat and mouse began with between the SAS and the terrorists, with recce missions that helped build a support plan for larger groups to assault terrorist camps, supply lines, and other patrols. The SAS developed great ambushing skills: With a tradition of tracking, they used their knowledge to run the enemy in circles until they made a mistake. Harassment of the enemy heightened as available intelligence grew. Rarely did the SAS go External without leaving presents for pursuers or the random patrol to step on and blow their limbs apart.

External missions followed a proven pattern. An area was decided on and pathfinder units would locate an acceptable Drop Zone. The numbers of men dropped varied depending on the area covered. At night, the operators would HALO into the DZ and then store their parachutes in plastic bags to be picked up on extraction. The Sabre would split up into small patrols, of usually four to six men and fan out to their assigned areas. The teams would not see each other again for up to six weeks. If all went well, they would be resupplied every 14 days by helicopter with food, water, and ammunition. This was the rotation pattern that lasted throughout the war: Six weeks in the bush with 10 days back in Salisbury.