Monday, March 26, 2007

Guest Picture

Here's a shot of Dougie's Robinson's Rhodesian's.
This shot will either motivate you to start the period or leave you in despair about your own painting skills. I am leaning toward the latter.
Thanks to Rolf at Liberation miniatures for the pic.

Rhodesian Air Force

This is a partial list of the available aircraft in 1/72 scale.
1 squadron fighter : flew Hawker Hunter FGA .9 available from airfix
2 squadron fighter/trainer: DH Vampire F.9. Frog and airfix makes F.5. The F.9 is a tropicalized F.5. Trainer variant is tandem seated T.11 there is a model available unknown maker.
3 squadron transport: C-47 / DC-3 Italeri, Esci, testors
4 squadron COIN: Provost, Cessna 337, Matchbox makes a Provost. Arii makes cessna. Airfix makes an o-2 which is a militarized cessna
5 squadron Bomber: Canberra airfix
6 Squadron Training: Provost . matchbox
7 squadron Helicopter: Alouette III Heller makes several versions of this helicopter
8 squadron Helicopter: AB205 Italian built version of huey. esci
this list is NOT comprehensive I am still working on it and as additions to it become known I will add them on.

all of the above can usually be found on ebay
a good website on vampires

Friday, March 23, 2007

Game on 3/22/07

This series of posts is about a game that was played between Chris H. Author of a great new set of miniature rules that are forthcoming and myself. (your welcome for the plug)
The rules set was Fireforce found for free on David Manley's site. The figures are all Liberation miniatures 20mm figures. The aircraft are a mix of airfix and heller 1/72. Due to my limitations on the computer start reading the posts at #1 and continue on to 12.


The strikes are not as effective as hoped but the last group of ZANLA disperse leaving a batter Rhodesian Security Forces in command of the field.
The game over, points are added resulting in a narrow ZANLA victory. congrats to Mr. OOS for a excellent game.


Green Leader! A flight of Hawker Hunters are brought in due to the heavy casualties the Rhodesians have experienced.


The firepower of the last Zanla group proves to much for the last stop group and they retreat into heavy cover carring their wounded with them but they have 1 last trick up their sleeves...


The surivors of the 1st two stop groups combine and continue the sweep.

They're found! a firefight ensues beween the 2 sides.


The firefight has not been without cost to the Rhodesians. 2 wounded require immediate medivac.


A successful strike! as the lynx pulls up the Frelimo group bombshell in an attempt to escape the onslaught.


The lance Corporal leading the stick calls in the lynx for an airstrike.


Meanwhile a furious firefight continues to the west as the third stop group is pinned down by heavy FRELIMO small arms and RPG fire.


After several turns of being caught in a cross fire the Frelimo group finally disperses in an attempt to escape.
The 2 Rhodesian stop groups are battered in the exchange losing 4 KIA.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


meanwhile, stop 3 sends a scout ahead of the main group to check some suspicious elephant grass.


The lynx arrives to strafe the group while the fire team attempts to pull back out of range. Meanwhile the southern stop group attempts to aid and draw fire from the beleaguered group.


This is the 2ND play of the Fire force rules. a joint ZANLA/FRELIMO force has penetrated into tribal trust lands, spotted by a Selous scouts patrol a Fire force has been called out.

The RLI force is 3 sticks of infantry and a LYNX aircraft VS 30 guerrillas. The 1st stick blunders into a Frelimo group waiting in ambush. Small arms fire grenades and RPG round explode around the stick. quickly knocking the fire team down to 2.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

C.K.'s Book list part 2

Someone Elses War: Mercenaries from 1960 to the Present by Anthony Rogers(published in 1998 has a pretty fair overview of Rhodesia and the transition ofsome into the SADF after 1980. Not as good as Anthony Mockler's "The NewMercenaries" or Peter Tickler's "The Modern Mercenary" but both of those are outof print)No Mean Soldier by Peter McAleese (professional soldier serving in British SASand then Angola, Rhodesia, South Africa and Columbia. 25% of the book dealswith his time in Rhodesia)Dead Leaves by Dan Wylie (somewhere between "Fireforce" and "Mukiwa" in gamingrelevance deals with the diary of a Rhodesian National Serviceman and his twoyears of "call-up")Echoes of an African War by Chas Lotter (coffee table book of poetry and picsfrom the Rhodesian war. The poetry is pretty bad, but the pics are from thepersonal collections of the likes of Chris Cocks and Ron Reid-Daly)WAR DOG: Fighting Other People's Wars -The Modern Mercenary in Combat by AlVenter (good book but deals more with modern period, if you are looking forsource Rhodesian info this is not the place)Other books I don't own on the topic but want:So Far and No Further! by JRT WoodBritain's Rebel Air Force: The War from the Air in Rhodesia 1965-1980 by Nesbit& othersThe Rain Goddess by Peter StiffThe War Diaries of Andre Dennison edited by JRT WoodServing Secretly: An Intelligence Chief on Record Rhodesia into Zimbabwe1964-1981 by Ken FlowerSurvival Course by Chris CocksRed Zambezi by Joe Hale

Friday, March 16, 2007

C.K. Smith' s Book list

Here are the sources that I recommend (borrow these inter-library loan at yourpubluc library and read and copy what you need, they are too expensive to gethere in the U.S.):See You in November by Peter Stiff (undercover CIO operative engaging in covertattacks against ZIPRA in Zambia -- Good Ideas for RPG play)The Elite by Barbara Cole (Rhodesian SAS -- Good information on Cross Border["externals"] operations)Pamwe Chete by Ron Reid-Daly (the updated version of "Selous Scouts: Top SecretWar", great for Selous Scout operations both internal and external")Chopper Boys by Al J. Venter (necessary for RLI Fire Force operations, but youcan get the JRT Wood articles that make-up the core of the Rhodesian part ofthis for free on-line)The Osprey Book is okay, but there is nothing there that cannot be found online(I own all 3 of the Modern African Wars series and find the Rhodesian one to bethe weakest one of the three)We Are Everywhere: Narratives from Rhodesian Guerrillas by Michael Raeburn(formerly published as "Blackfire!")Books that add interesting flavor but might not be directly applicable togaming:One Commando by Dick GledhillFireforce by Chris CocksWhite Tribe by Robin Moore (formerly published as "The Crippled Eagles")Mukiwa by Peter GodwinDon't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight by Alexandra FullerMugabe: Power & Plunder in Zimbabwe by Martin MeredithBitter Harvest: The Great Betrayal and the Dreadful Aftermath by Ian SmithI own all of the above (many purchased when I was in South Africa in 2002), butI have not been able to obtain copies of the two following that are consideredto be the quintiscential references:Rhodesians Never Die by Peter Godwin and Ian HancockThe Past Is Another Country by Martin Meredith

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Having never been to Africa my knowledge of terrain is based entirely on pictures and the Internet. having said that here is my initial attempt at elephant grass. I think I will try to mix different colors in for future projects.

book Review 2

Fireforce by Chris Cocks
This book written by a 3 year veteran of the Rhodesian light infantry is gritty down to earth account of the Rhodesian bush war. He holds no punches and definitely tells it like it must have been. I felt exhausted by the end of the book but also couldn't put it down. from a wargame perspective it gives a great feel for the war as well as showing a private and later a stick leader's view of fire force actions. available on amazon for $24.00. This is a very well written book .4/5 stars

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


The Selous Scouts used transport vehicles and fox armoured cars painted to look like Frelimo vehicles. These were used on external operations in Mozambique. This unimog has been painted in that way. I wanted to give it an old run down look. This is one of the liberation figures resin models and I really like the look of it. I unfortunately forgot to order a driver so that will have to wait for another time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Book Reviews

Selous scouts top secret war...Wow this was a fantastic book by the commanding Officer of the unit Lt. Col. Ron Reid Daly. It covers from the foundations of the unit through its disbandment with extensive writing on each of the external raids as well as "pseudoterr" work. For the wargamers there is tons of ideas for scenario's and great back ground information along with very good pictures.
On the down side is price. I found a copy on EBAY for $49.00. it is also available on amazon for just about the same cost. Out of all the books I have read so far this is the one you gotta have. 5/5 stars

Anti aircraft weapons

If you have aircraft you have to have anti-aircraft weapons! This is a ZU -1, 14.5mm gun, weapons of this type would have been seen primarily on external operations in Zambia and Mozambique. Also in use were the strela SA-7 missile system and RPG-7's against low flying helicopters.

Hawker Hunter

The Hawker Hunter made up the most modern fighter available to the Rhodesian Air Force. limited in numbers they were called on to perform ground strikes as well as combat air patrols on external operations. All Hunters were a part of Number 1 squadron.
This model is an airfix 1/72 FGA 9. building models is not really my strong suit but it went together nicely without any major problems

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Figures: so Far the only figures I have used are Liberation miniatures. I am a big fan of both sculpting, range availability and customer service. In the US that has been Syr Hobbs Wargames, Duane has been really great on special orders and promptness in getting orders out.

The African range is extensive and multiple figure packs are usable. My one quibble with this love fest is the Rhodesians.There are not enough styles available. I hope more packs will be coming out but there are numerous ideas for figures that still need to see the light of day. Greys Scouts on horse back and dismounted. Long pants and caps. para helmets with long pants would be great as well. Rhodesian African Rifles in caps and mixed shorts/ long pants. Eland 90"s and a specially made 20mm cannon for the alouette and gunner figures would be fantastic.

Overall great range.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


The larger of the 2 Movements and the 1 destined to rule the country after it became Zimbabwe. ZANLA used Chinese advisers and followed Maoist Guerrilla practices. Because of this uniforms where not worn and the guerrilla's tried to blend more with the local tribal populations. I have come across a couple of references though to a semi uniform appearance in blue denim uniforms and I will try to tailor this look a little more closely with future purchases.


These figures can be used to represent Frelimo or ZIPRA troops. Frelimo were the Mozambique troops that can to power after the Portuguese left. The actual guerrilla troops were from 2 faction that divided on tribal lines. The ZIPRA and ZANLA, both sides hated each other and there where numerous "dirty tricks" between the two.

Uniforms where pretty mixed. khaki and olive green where common, left over Portuguese camo and east German rain pattern. I painted the medium brown with the rain pattern in mind but if any one has a better idea I'm all ears!

Rhodesian security forces where involved in many clashes with Frelimo forces both during internal and external operations.

Zipra where the smaller of the 2 guerrilla movements. st ageing out of Zambia they had Soviet and Warsaw Pact advisers and tried to build a conventional army to conqueror the country. This force never came in to play as elections stopped the fighting prior to their deployment.


The Rhodesian armoured car Regt was equipped with a wide arrange of vehicles. This included South African made Panhard 90 armed with a 90mm gun and the British made Ferret armoured car equiped with a MG, also where various makes of locally produced anti mine warfare vehicle and a locally made APC called the "pig". The Regt was used for both internal and external raids into Mozambique. By the end of the war 8+ t-55 were acquired by Rhodesia but only saw limited service.
I know of only 1 potential engagement fought between Mozambique T-54 and PAnhard's. I do not believe any shots where exchanged as fire from 25lb Artillery caused the T-54 to retreat prior to engagement.

This model is a Liberation figures Ferret with turret. I can't say enough good things about Liberation figures and especially syr hobbs wargames which sells their products in the US.


The Rhodesian Light Infantry was a Battalion size organization. It consisted of 3 line commandos e.g. Companies and a support commando e.g weapons company. each was divided into troops. each soldier was referred to as a trooper or "Troopie". the smallest unit was a fire team known as a stick made up of a NCO and a MAG gunner and 2 rifle men armed with FN FAL's.


The Alouette III made up the vast majority of Rhodesian Helicopter assets. grouped together in 7 squadron Rhodesian Air Force.

This model is a 1/72 Heller Alouette. per RH models they have a supply of them although I have had problems finding them in the states. I have 3 and picked them up off of ebay. Luckily they are not that expensive I got them for under $ 12.00 for the 3.
The model goes together really well. A note on Rhodesian air force markings, as far as I can tell Aircraft and helicopters did not carry the roundel insignia during the height of the war. Bonus, no expensive decals to try and locate!

To make the model truly authentic large air filters would need to be placed over the intakes and I am going to try this in the future but that's a latter project. also the machine gun is a soviet 12.7 that I had left over from a t 62 I built. this is as far as I know wrong and I am going to try for future builds to make more realistic weapons.
The only other modification made is cutting out the side door. I will do this all subsequent models as well as doing both sides on a couple of models


The light aircraft used as spotter and light attack craft were a part of 4 squadron Rhodesian Air force. The primary types used included a Percival Provost an aircraft used for primary flight training throughout the 50's-60's in most commonwealth air forces. and used as a trainer by 6 squadron. Aeromacchi/Lockeed 260 known as Trojan by the Rhodesians and the Cessna 337 skymaster made under license in France by Rhiems known in Rhodesia as a Lynx.Shown here are 2 shots of a 1/72 Skymaster I acquired on ebay. Armament consisted primarily of 37mm rockets, Frantans which were locally produced napalm and Machine guns.
I wish I could remember the name of the company that produced the model but I have since thrown out the box. the model went together fairly quickly but the side windows fogged pretty good after I assembled the top wings with the fuselage. Also it has a pretty wicked warping onthe pylons connecting the fuselage to the rear flight controls. otherwise fairly decent model that works for a wargaming piece.


currently I am working on finishing a complete fireforce. Each fireforce would have 1 K car (command helicopter armed with a 20 mm cannon) 3-5 G cars (troop caring helicopter armed with mag or 50 cal MG's) a light Recce /COIN aircraft of which there were several types. and 1 Dakota c47/dc 3 carring 18-20 paratroopers.

Helicopters used by the Rhodesian Air Force were the Alouette III capable of caring 4 troopers each. or after 1978 the AB 2o5 which off the top of my head carries 8 although I will double check that figure when I get some models of those.

The bulk of the fireforce effort was borne by the Rhodesian Light Infantry and later the Rhodesian African Rifles. although some other units also participated.

the Concept was that through recon by other units. a body of guerrillas were located, at which time a fireforce would be activated. strategically based at forward airfields through out the country. the fireforce commander in the K car would position sticks of men from each helicopter also called stops around a suspected area. if paratroopers were also being used they would form a stop line that would prevent the guerrilla's from escaping as the heliborne infantry moved in.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

1st Post

This little corner of the internet is concerned with my quaint hobby of miniature wargaming. why wargaming you ask ? I have no idea, except I love history and and the idea of replicating even a some part of it has had endless apeal. I started this blog to cover my current interest of 20mm modern skirmish wargames. and even more specificly the Rhodesian conflict of the 1970's. For quite a while (15 + years) I have had a interest in this conflict. but after finding Liberation miniature's excellent range I finally decided to start gaming this period.

Why Game this period?
1 interesting tactics. The Rhodesian armed forces were masters of COIn warfare. The fireforce concept of using airmoble and airborne infantry to surround an enemy set the standard by which all future COIN operations are conducted.

2 Interesting units . Rhodesian African rifles, Rhodesian Light Infantry, Selous Scouts , Special Air Service just to name a few of the units involved.

3 Small sized engagements. fire forces of 12 men going against 20-40 enemy were the standard size firefights although much larger engagements certainly took place.

4 unusual equipment. Alouette III , hawker hunters, canberrra bombers, Ferret scout cars vs all the standard east bloc equipment from the 50-60's .

future post will have bibliography, scenarios and lots of pictures