Selous Scouts

Selous Scouts

Overview
The Selous Scouts was a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army
Rhodesian Army
The Rhodesian Security Forces consisted of the Rhodesian Army, Royal Rhodesian Air Force, British South Africa Police, Rhodesian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Guard Force.- Rhodesian Army :...

, which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous
Frederick Selous
Frederick Courteney Selous DSO was a British explorer, officer, hunter, and conservationist, famous for his exploits in south and east of Africa. His real-life adventures inspired Sir H. Rider Haggard to create the fictional Allan Quatermain character. Selous was also a good friend of Theodore...

 (1851–1917), and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona
Shona language
Shona is a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify peoples who speak one of the Shona language dialects: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore...

 language, roughly means "all together", "together only" or "forward together". The charter of the Selous Scouts directed them to "the clandestine elimination of terrorists/terrorism both within and without the country." The badge (pictured) signifies the osprey
Osprey
The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

, a fish-eating bird of prey that is not common, but is instead found in small numbers in many parts of the world where there are large stretches of water.

The period during which the Selous Scouts were most relevant was known as the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

 or Second Chimurenga.
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Encyclopedia
The Selous Scouts was a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army
Rhodesian Army
The Rhodesian Security Forces consisted of the Rhodesian Army, Royal Rhodesian Air Force, British South Africa Police, Rhodesian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Guard Force.- Rhodesian Army :...

, which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous
Frederick Selous
Frederick Courteney Selous DSO was a British explorer, officer, hunter, and conservationist, famous for his exploits in south and east of Africa. His real-life adventures inspired Sir H. Rider Haggard to create the fictional Allan Quatermain character. Selous was also a good friend of Theodore...

 (1851–1917), and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona
Shona language
Shona is a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify peoples who speak one of the Shona language dialects: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore...

 language, roughly means "all together", "together only" or "forward together". The charter of the Selous Scouts directed them to "the clandestine elimination of terrorists/terrorism both within and without the country." The badge (pictured) signifies the osprey
Osprey
The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

, a fish-eating bird of prey that is not common, but is instead found in small numbers in many parts of the world where there are large stretches of water.

Context


The period during which the Selous Scouts were most relevant was known as the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

 or Second Chimurenga. This was a war of annihilation through terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 and insurgency
Insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

 waged by Black guerrillas (ZANLA/ZANU and ZIPRA
ZIPRA
Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army was the armed wing of the Zimbabwe African People's Union, a political party in Rhodesia. It participated in the Second Chimurenga against white minority rule in the former Rhodesia....

/ZAPU) with the goal of ending white minority rule in Rhodesia, a colonial nation led by Ian Smith
Ian Smith
Ian Douglas Smith GCLM ID was a politician active in the government of Southern Rhodesia, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe Rhodesia and Zimbabwe from 1948 to 1987, most notably serving as Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 13 April 1964 to 1 June 1979...

. Rhodesia at the time had the highest levels of wealth and one of the highest gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 of any nation in Africa, and its white minority citizens enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world. However, it was a small nation of a few hundred thousand whites, principally farmers, and lacked access to the sea. As a land-locked nation, which had recently broken away from the British rule
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, Rhodesia was quickly isolated by the Labour Government
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 government of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, both of which favoured majority rule in European colonies. It was hoped this policy would neutralize the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's efforts at using race warfare and class warfare
Class conflict
Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

 in lobbying the third world nationalist movement to the Soviet Bloc. In turn, by tacitly collaborating with the Black guerrilla groups and isolating Rhodesia and other white minority-ruled nations in Africa, Western corporations would retain access to Africa's strategic minerals.

Although, Rhodesia had excellent armed forces, which included highly decorated and effective services such as the Rhodesian Air Force, and the Rhodesian Army
Rhodesian Army
The Rhodesian Security Forces consisted of the Rhodesian Army, Royal Rhodesian Air Force, British South Africa Police, Rhodesian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Guard Force.- Rhodesian Army :...

, its size relative to the larger Black African nations surrounding it, a lack of support from crucial Western suppliers, and aid provided by the Soviet Union to its insurgents put the country in a precarious situation. To deal with the rising insurgency, the Rhodesian government strengthened diplomatic and economic ties with the Republic of South Africa and with Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 which controlled the neighbouring colony of Mozambique.

Additionally, it began strengthening its paramilitary and counter-insurgency forces such as the British South Africa Police
British South Africa Police
The British South Africa Police was the police force of the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia...

, the Rhodesian Light Infantry
Rhodesian Light Infantry
The 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, commonly the Rhodesian Light Infantry , was a regiment formed in 1961 at Brady Barracks, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia as a light infantry unit within the army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland...

, the Rhodesian Special Air Service (SAS), and the Rhodesian African Rifles
Rhodesian African Rifles
The Rhodesian African Rifles, or RAR, was the oldest regiment in the Rhodesian Army, dating from the formation of the 1st Rhodesian Native Regiment in 1916 during the First World War. This was followed by the creation of the Matabeleland Native Regiment, and the 2nd Rhodesian Native Regiment,...

. Ultimately, these efforts led to the creation of its counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 unit, the Selous Scouts.

Created under the command of Lt. Col. Ron Reid-Daly, it was organized as a mixed-race unit, consisting of recruits of both African and European descent, and whose primary mission was operating deep in insurgent
Insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

-controlled territory and waging war on the hostiles' rear through irregular warfare
Irregular warfare
Irregular warfare is warfare in which one or more combatants are irregular military rather than regular forces. Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare, and so is asymmetric warfare....

 including the use of pseudo-terrorism as a means of infiltrating the enemy. The Selous Scouts had many Black Rhodesians in their ranks who were from 50%–80% of its ranks, including the first African commissioned officers in the Rhodesian Army.

Selection and training


The Selous Scouts acted as a combat reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 force, with the mission of infiltrating Rhodesia's tribal population and guerrilla networks, pinpointing rebel groups and relaying vital information back to the conventional forces earmarked to carry out the actual attacks. Members of the regiment were trained to operate in small under-cover, clandestine teams capable of working independently in the bush for periods of weeks and of passing themselves off as rebels. The Selous Scouts were an entirely volunteer force. On one occasion, 14 out 126 candidates – a mere 15 percent of the total applicant pool – passed the selection process.

As Lt. Col. Ron Reid Daly stated:

...a special force soldier has to be a certain very special type of man. In his profile it is necessary to look for intelligence, fortitude and guts potential, loyalty, dedication, a deep sense of professionalism, maturity – the ideal age being 24 to 32 years – responsibility and self discipline...


The person that the Selous Scouts were looking for was a mix between the soldier who can work in a unit and a loner who can think and act on his feet.

Selection was rigorous, and even tougher than the Rhodesian Special Air Service course. When volunteers arrived at Wafa Wafa, the Selous Scouts' training camp, on the shores of Lake Kariba
Lake Kariba
Lake Kariba is the world's largest artificial lake and reservoir. It lies 1300 kilometers upstream from the Indian Ocean, along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe...

 they were given a taste of the hardships they would have to endure. On reaching the base (which was a 25-kilometre run away from the drop-off point) they saw only a few straw huts and the blackened embers of a dying fire. There was no food issued. The objective of the training at this point was to narrow the list of potential recruits by starving, exhausting and antagonizing them. This was successful, with 40 or 50 men out of 60 usually dropping out within the first two days of training.

The selection course had a total duration of 17 days. From dawn to 7 am recruits were put through a strength-sapping fitness programme. After they had completed this, they trained in basic combat skills. They were also required to traverse a particularly nasty assault course
Assault course
An assault course is a special sort of trail that combines running and exercising. It was more popular in the 1970s than it is now. It is heavily used in military training...

 several times in the course of the training program. The course was designed to overcome their fear of heights. When darkness fell, they began night training. In the first five days of the course, no food was issued, while for the rest of the period only rotten animals were allowed. At the end of training, they had to carry out an endurance march of 100 kilometres. Each volunteer was laden with 30 kilograms of rocks in his packs. These rocks were painted red, to ensure that they could not be discharged and replaced at the end. The final stage of this march was a speed march, and had to be completed in two-and-a-half hours. For those who survived these days there was a week of leave; they were then taken to a special camp for the dark phase of their training. At this camp, they learned to act and talk like the enemy. The base was built and set out as a genuine rebel camp, and the instructors were on hand to turn the recruits into fully-fledged members of the enemy groups. In this phase recruits were taught to break with habits such as shaving, rising at regular times, smoking and drinking and to adopt a guerrilla lifestyle. The recruits were in the field on patrol with the Selous Scouts only a week after the completion of their training.

Composition


The regiment was proposed by members of the British South Africa Police
British South Africa Police
The British South Africa Police was the police force of the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia...

 Special Branch
Special Branch
Special Branch is a label customarily used to identify units responsible for matters of national security in British and Commonwealth police forces, as well as in the Royal Thai Police...

, and many of its earliest recruits were policemen. The Selous Scouts differed from C Squadron 22 (Rhodesian) SAS
C Squadron 22 (Rhodesian) SAS
The Rhodesian Special Air Service or Rhodesian SAS refers to:*C Squadron, Special Air Service Regiment *"C" Squadron Special Air Service *1 Special Air Service Regiment...

, in that it was formed specifically to take part in tracking and infiltration operations, where soldiers would pretend to be guerrillas — or pseudo-operators. These tactics were used very successfully in the Mau Mau Uprising
Mau Mau Uprising
The Mau Mau Uprising was a military conflict that took place in Kenya between 1952 and 1960...

. In addition, the regiment also recruited from enemy forces; captured guerrillas were offered a choice between imprisonment, trial and possibly execution or the ability to join the Selous Scouts. This concept was initially highly controversial within the Rhodesian government; the idea of "turning" captured guerillas instead of punishing them was unpalatable to some. However, supporters of "turning", who succeeded in implementing their plans, portrayed these operations as an aspect of counter-insurgency similar to the law enforcement use of informants and 'sting' methods to penetrate and disrupt criminal and subversive organizations.

In order to keep knowledge of their existence as restricted as possible, "turned" guerrillas were paid from Special Branch funds which were not accountable to government auditors, and volunteers for the unit were not told of its actual function until they actually joined it; in some cases, where captured guerrillas had already entered the judicial system, the Selous Scouts would fake their escapes without informing the Criminal Investigation Department. In order to prevent the regular army or police from firing at the regiment while it was operating, authorities would declare "frozen areas", where all Army and Police units were ordered to temporarily cease all operations in, and withdraw from, without being told the actual rationale. Many commanders felt that the initiation of "frozen areas" ceded control to the enemy and reduced the initiative of the security forces.

In addition to the obvious tactic of luring "fellow" guerrillas into ambushes, the pseudo-operators also took measures to weaken popular support for the guerrillas; in one case, for example, a group of pseudo-operators pretending to be guerrillas accused eight of the most enthusiastic guerrilla supporters in the Madziwa region of being police informers and beat them up before leaving. Detractors cited events like this as the difference between anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism.

The Selous Scouts used covert forms of chemical warfare
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

. Clothing was impregnated with parathion
Parathion
Parathion, also called parathion-ethyl or diethyl parathion, is an organophosphate compound. It is a potent insecticide and acaricide. It was originally developed by IG Farben in the 1940s. It is highly toxic to non-target organisms, including humans. Its use is banned or restricted in many...

 and left for enemy guerrillas to find. Cigarettes and canned food were used in a similar fashion after being contaminated with thallium
Thallium
Thallium is a chemical element with the symbol Tl and atomic number 81. This soft gray poor metal resembles tin but discolors when exposed to air. The two chemists William Crookes and Claude-Auguste Lamy discovered thallium independently in 1861 by the newly developed method of flame spectroscopy...

.

The camouflage used by reserve members of this unit as pseudo-forces were captured Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 clothing originating from various countries and specified for certain operations.

The regiment achieved many of its objectives; its members were acclaimed trackers, and the unit was responsible for 68% of all guerrilla deaths within the borders of Rhodesia. However, its commanding officer
Commanding officer
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a military unit. Typically, the commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law...

, Lt. Col. Reid-Daly, had a poor relationship with many of the Rhodesian Army commanders; in addition, from 1978 there were persistent rumours that soldiers in the regiment had been implicated in ivory poaching in the Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou National Park is a National Park located in south-eastern Zimbabwe. It is situated in a relatively remote corner of Masvingo Province, south of Chimanimani along the Mozambique border. The park is a lowveld region of baobabs, scrublands and sandstone cliffs...

 and that an ivory processing "factory" existed at Andre Rabie Barracks near Inkomo Garrison. The friction between the Army command and Reid-Daly peaked on 29 January 1979, when a bugging device was found in Reid-Daly's office. This compromised ongoing Selous Scout operations, and therefore it became necessary to call them off.

The Selous Scouts numbered only about 500. When they would "turn" guerillas they would be known as "tame" terr. This figure would rise to 1000 "tame" terr if one counted the active and inactive members. According to a Combined Operations statement, they inflicted 68 percent of the nationalist guerrilla fatalities between 1973 and 1980. while losing fewer than forty Selous Scouts in the process.

Intelligence and tradecraft


Many times, due to their intelligence collecting, the HUMINT side of the Selous Scouts was more up to date than the guerillas. The job of intelligence — and the task of the Selous Scouts as well as the special branches in general — was to find out the identity of the insurgents, their plans, their training locations, the parties involved in training them, the source and location of their supply routes, their sympathizers, and any other relevant information. The pseudo-operators gained entrance into the areas controlled by ZANLA/ZIPRA through memorization of dead drops, presenting the appropriate letter at the necessary time, and by use of the information given by their intelligence. Compartmentalization was key, and the need-to-know basis was strictly enforced.

In order to gain entrance into the surrounding African countries they were required to use their callsigns and tribal spies for ZANLA/ZIPRA, in order to process and compile names so as to enable them to enter a country covertly or as “illegals”. While on a mission to assassinate Nkomo they had to observe operational security. This consisted of using code words to tell a handler when one was out of money or to warn the agent if the authorities were aware of his activities in Zambia. This message would tell the scout whether he had to leave Zambia the traditional route of using buses or cars or if he had to leave Zambia through the bush.

Notable operations


While on Operation Prawn inside of Mozambique, the objective of which was sabotaging the railways of FRELIMO, they had difficulties at first setting the charges. So they decided to kill a guerrilla and dress him up as a Rhodesian security force member and then throw bogus documents everywhere. The FRELIMO patrol took the bait and left the scene, and then the charges were placed and detonated and the operation was a success.

Apart from their internal security of Rhodesia, some notable operations outside of Rhodesia’s borders struck fear into the enemy. A particular mission took place was first thought to be a flop in Francistown, Botswana. Numerous suitcase bombs were planted by the Selous Scouts in order to liquidate ZIPRA command; the ones that did go off, went off too late and one failed to explode outside of a house. The Botswana authorities thought that ZIPRA’s explosion was due to their improper handling and care of the bombs. As a result, Botswana banned the importation of suitcase bombs within the country supplied by the Russians to ZIPRA, which undoubtedly saved the lives of Rhodesians.

Nyadzonya was an operation that took place in August 1976. It involved ten trucks and four armoured cars disguised as FRELIMO vehicles with 84 Selous Scouts. They first cut the telephone lines to the town and drove on to the guerrilla base. They opened fire on the guerrillas killing between 1,028 and 1,184. The scouts did not sustain a single fatality. Captured ZANLA documents revealed that many of those killed in the raid were either trained guerillas or were undergoing guerilla instruction.
As a result of their pseudo-operations, ZANLA were getting into firefights with other members of their guerrilla organization who assumed that they were the Selous Scouts. This invoked fear within the enemy and led to their command and communication structure being disrupted. Additionally, this meant that groups entering Rhodesia for the first time found difficulty linking up with the other members of the group; this led to a demoralisation effect since each guerrilla had to be extremely cautious about whomever he met.

Turning of guerrillas


Part of the problem in the early days of the Selous Scouts and Rhodesia, was that the security forces and the terrorists had clearly defined roles. In the first days of the Selous Scouts in 1973–1974, the objective of the government and the military was to kill or incarcerate as many guerrillas as they could, which was deemed good for public morale.

There was no previously accepted convention that one could absorb “real” or “tamed” guerrillas within the ranks of an elite pseudo-guerrilla group, so as to be able to extract intelligence, be aware of how they dressed, behaved and thought, used callsigns or observed operational security. The thinking of the leadership of the Selous Scouts was that if a guerilla —- for example a regional or detachment officer of ZIPRA/ZANLA —- were to be captured and turned, then the existing network already in place could be used in order to boost their numbers of kills as well as gather further intelligence.

When the Scouts captured a guerrilla in the field they had to make a decision between three options: execute him immediately; hand him over to others in a special division for trial and certain hanging under the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act; or try to absorb him into the Selous Scouts. If the guerrilla were injured in a skirmish, the first thing would be to make sure that no one knew of his existence: neither the locals in the area nor anyone at the security base. While still wounded the guerrilla would be brought into the Selous Scouts' fort and given the best medical attention. With the realisation that his life was being saved, a feeling of gratitude would normally follow. The next step was to send a former guerrilla or "tame terr" to visit him in the hospital. A conversation would be initiated and eventually steered round to a reminder of hardships in the bush, and of the probability of a trial and hanging under the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act without his compliance. He would next be examined by the Selous Scouts only, in order to ensure loyalty; if passed, he would be given a lump sum of money as well as a regular paying job for joining. Additionally, and where possible, the guerilla's family would be moved into protection where they would receive free rations, housing, education, and medical care.

In most cases the guerrilla chose to side with the security forces. The Selous Scouts had to make a final, difficult decision on whether to allow the turned guerrilla into their group or not. This decision had largely to do with their gut feeling of how the guerrilla presented himself: was he trustworthy or was he just biding his time? A fail-safe to test his loyalty was to hand him his weapon back, without prior knowledge that his ammunition had been rendered harmless. This was only temporary though, as the “tame terr” would soon become an integral member of the unit.

Dissolution


Following the dissolution of the regiment in 1980, many of its soldiers travelled south to join the South African Defence Force
South African Defence Force
The South African Defence Force was the South African armed forces from 1957 until 1994. The former Union Defence Force was renamed to the South African Defence Force in the Defence Act of 1957...

, where they joined 5 Reconnaissance Commando
South African Special Forces Brigade
The South African Special Forces Brigade is the only Special Forces unit of the South African National Defence Force ....

. Those that remained formed 4th Bn(HU)R.A.R. which was placed on "immediate standby" for most of its short service. The battalion covered the areas to the north of Andre Rabie Barracks, as far as Miami/Mangula in the east and as far as Kariba in the north. The unit existed from 23 April to 30 September 1980 when it changed its name for the final time and became as it is today, 1st Zimbabwe Parachute Battalion/Group.

Previous uses


The name Selous Scouts was also given to the short-lived Southern Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment, a unit in the Army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, also known as the Central African Federation , was a semi-independent state in southern Africa that existed from 1953 to the end of 1963, comprising the former self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia and the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia,...

 between about 1960 and 1962 that drove Staghound armoured cars and Ferret armoured car
Ferret armoured car
The Ferret armoured car, also commonly called the Ferret Scout car, is a British armoured fighting vehicle designed and built for reconnaissance purposes. The Ferret was produced between 1952 and 1971 by the UK company, Daimler...

s.

Asymmetric warfare


The Selous Scouts employed asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly....

 against the enemy which ranged from the bombing of private houses, abductions, M18 Claymore mine attacks against military targets, sabotage of bridges and railways (including steam engines), assassinations, intimidation, blackmail and extortion, to the use of car bombs in the attempted assassination of Joshua Nkomo
Joshua Nkomo
Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was the leader and founder of the Zimbabwe African People's Union and a member of the Kalanga tribe...

.

Notable features


People of many different races and countries of origin were employed in the Selous Scouts, including Australian, British, South African, American, and various African countries.

The nicknames of the Selous Scouts were:

‘Skuz’ apo’ — Shona meaning “Excuse me for being here”, the phrase being the type used by a pickpocket who bumps you and mutters an apology as he takes your wallet;

Armpits with eyeballs —- due to their shaggy beards that the Selous scouts were encouraged to grow;

Eskimos — being the Rhodesian Light Infantry’s term for the Scouts, since they operated in ‘Frozen’ Areas where other units were told to avoid.

Success of using reconnaissance


A major component of the Selous Scouts besides pseudo-operations was the long-range reconnaissance and to direct a fire force against guerrillas. As a result by 1974, the Selous Scouts had captured or killed 100 guerrillas. By the end of 1976 they killed 1,257 guerrillas that year alone. On the other hand, the other security forces of Rhodesia combined had killed only 400.

See also

  • 32 Battalion (South Africa)
  • Koevoet
    Koevoet
    Koevoet , also known as "Operation K" and officially known as the "South West Africa Police Counter-Insurgency Unit" , was a police counter insurgency unit in South-West Africa during the 1970s and 1980s...

  • False flag
    False flag
    False flag operations are covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is flying the flag of a country other than one's own...

  • UR-416
  • Fireforce
    Fireforce
    Fireforce is a variant of the tactic of vertical envelopment of a target by helicopter-borne and parachute infantry developed by the Rhodesian Security Forces during the Rhodesian Bush War...


External links