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Selous Scouts: Rhodesian Counter-Insurgency Specialists (Africa@war) [Kindle Edition]

Peter Baxter
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Its members consisted of some of the finest guerrilla-fighting men in the western world, unconventional in many ways, disregardful of parade-ground discipline, unorthodox in their dress, yet a force so tightly knit in the face of danger that those who knew anything about them could only marvel" - The Citizen.

Formed in 1973 by the legendary Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Reid-Daly at the behest of Rhodesian military supremo General Peter Walls, the Selous Scouts were to write their name into the annals of military history as one of the finest counterinsurgency units of all time, through their innovative pseudo-guerrilla tactics, brilliant reconnaissance operations into Zambia and Botswana and daring flying-column raids into Mozambique.

Feared and hated by the liberation movements ZIPRA and ZANLA, the Scouts wreaked untold havoc and destruction on their Soviet- and Chinese-backed enemies, accounting for 68% of guerrilla casualties within Rhodesia alone during the bitter bush war of the 1970s. Uniquely ahead of its time, the regimen - a brotherhood of men that traversed cultural and racial barriers; their Shona motto was 'Pamwe Chete' (together only) - was to produce the type of soldier that earned for the unit one Grand Cross of Valour, nine Silver Crosses and 22 Bronze Crosses of Rhodesia.

Peter Baxter is an author, amateur historian and African field, mountain and heritage travel guide. Born in Kenya, Peter has lived and travelled over much of southern and central Africa. He was educated in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), leaving the country after independence for an extended bout of travel before returning in 1989. Since then he has guided in all the major mountain ranges south of the equator, helping develop the concept of sustainable travel, and the touring of battlefield and heritage sites in East Africa. Peter lives in the United States, working on the marketing of African heritage travel as well as a variety of book projects. His interests include British Imperial history in Africa and the East Africa campaign of the First World War in particular. He is married with three children.


Product Description

Review

Undoubtedly one of the most, if not the most, effective counter-insurgency units in the history of warfare. --Lt-Col Robert Brown, Soldier of Fortune magazine

Africa@War is a ground-breaking series concept, studying Africas conflicts and military players in an informative and entertaining manner, examining some of the lesser-known campaigns and shedding new light on some of the better-known operations ... Both titles are great models of what the combination of authors and publishers can produce by way of useable case studies for the market place in a concise illustrated format. They are recommended as professional military education references. --Charles D. Melson, Chief Historian, U.S. MarineCorps

Each of the books in this series is a well-documented and researched synopsis of the events that they are focused upon. They layouts and presentation are logical and of a very high quality ... As an introduction to this field of operation, this series is outstanding. A definite asset for those wishing to improve their knowledge and understanding of the development of successful, multi-faceted doctrine in the fight against insurgent/asymmetric war. --Major Chris Buckham, Royal Canadian Air Force Journal

About the Author

Peter Baxter is an author, amateur historian and African field, mountain and heritage travel guide. Born in Kenya, Peter has lived and travelled over much of southern and central Africa. He was educated in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), leaving the country after independence for an extended bout of travel before returning in 1989. Since then he has guided in all the major mountain ranges south of the equator, helping develop the concept of sustainable travel, and the touring of battlefield and heritage sites in East Africa. Peter lives in the United States, working on the marketing of African heritage travel as well as a variety of book projects. His interests include British Imperial history in Africa and the East Africa campaign of the First World War in particular. He is married with three children.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 20086 KB
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Helion (27 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007QXJ17M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #194,745 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific history of the Selous Scouts 13 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll get one small criticism out of the way first. This book is shorter than I would have liked: just 72 pages, albeit in A4 format. That said, Peter Baxter has produced an excellent history, which brilliantly covers the work of the Selous Scouts in Rhodesia's ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stem the ZANU-ZAPU tide. The book is very well written; Baxter's style makes for an easy, enjoyable read. The scope of the book is broad, ranging effortlessly from the tactical up to the military-strategic levels of war; across these levels, the author, who does not describe himself as a military historian, offers first-rate, persuasive military analysis. He also colours his work with a cast of interesting characters. This is a very balanced work - nothing is overdone - and I would very happily buy another of the author's books. P.S. I'm an avid Kindle user but I would strongly recommend buying the hard-copy version over the soft, so as to make the most of the book's rich illustration.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not what I expected 22 Jan. 2013
By KLB
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I collect publications on the war the Rhodesians fought to save their country from what was a very predictable decline from a vibrant, productive and thriving nation into the Zimbabwe of poverty and degradation of today. This publication is a great summary of the sometimes controversial Selous Scouts and their role in the war. It was not quite what I expected in that it is a thin A4-sized book (not a typical paperback size). I have, however, subsequently bought other books in the Africa@War series, and they do make a nice collection on their own. It could serve as a good introductory text to those unfamiliar with the conflict and perhaps inspire them to purchase other books on the subject
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Selous Scouts 28 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very good book. I have read a number of books about the Selous Scouts and I know of some of the Officers who served with the Regiment.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories! 24 Aug. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fine thanks
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of the Legendary Armpits with Eyeballs! 24 Dec. 2011
By T.A.L. Dozer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I have read every book publish about the Selous Scouts (or had coverage of the Selous Scouts), and this book rates at the top of the list. This is for a few reasons. The first is that this book is affordable for all to read about this deadly and world renowned elite force. Most books on the Selous Scouts are out of print and/or very expensive to obtain, for that matter most Rhodesian Bush War books are generally all very expensive to obtain. For one they are printed overseas and shipping is also very, very high. It is not uncommon for a book with shipping to be over eighty dollars which if you are not a collector would be ridicules to spend. So for me this book rates high just for this reason.

As for as content this book I will briefly hit some salient points;

The contents;

Foreword

Prelude - A Brief History of War in Rhodesia. This chapter covers briefly conflict from settlement to the fall of Rhodesia in 1980. As well, as the coverage of Rhodesian participation in WWII with the SAS/LRDG and Malaya.

Chapter One - The Formation of the Selous Scouts. This is an interesting chapter covering the evolution of the formation of the Selous Scouts from early beginning with nucleus of Special Air Service (SAS) troops and British South African Police (BSAP) experimenting with pseudo methods. This chapter clearly explains the command relationship between the Army, BSAP and Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), explaining the complicated but streamlined joint organization of the scouts. Finally it covers the initial selection and assessment process developed to get "into" the scouts.

Chapter Two - Operations Commence. Covers in detail the merging of FireForce operations with Selous Scout pseudo teams acting as "pathfinders" for the Rhodesian Light Infantry (Commando0 (RLI) direct action elements to kill and capture terrorist. As well this section elaborates on the "turning" of terrorist for pseudo-operations.

Chapter Three - External Operations - Terrorizing the Terrorist. This chapter does an excellent job at explaining the evolution of external operations by the Selous Scouts flying columns, as well it gives a brief overview of all the major external operations.

Chapter Four - Intelligence and the Reconnaissance Troop. Covers the importance of intelligence, to support pseudo-operations as the techniques became known and semi-compromised by the BSAP and terrorist. The second half is on the formation and operational employment of the Recce Troop, in particularly the employment of small team and singleton recce operators for external missions.

Chapter Five - The Selous Scouts Spies. Interesting look at the use of undercover Selous Scout agents externally in bordering countries for advance recce missions, intelligence collection, direct action and assassination.

Chapter Six - The Mud Begins to Stick. This chapter covers the beginning of the end of the Selous Scouts, due to rivalry and service in-fighting; ultimately covering up to Reid-Daly's retirement and the disbandment of the scouts. Also covers a lot of the allegations of illegal activities supposable conducted by the Selous Scouts to include chemical warfare and poaching.

Chapter Seven - Operation Miracle. This chapter covers some of the major operations up to "Miracle"; coving this operation in detail. As the author states this was the last hurrah for major Rhodesian operation. This was a somewhat conventional joint operation that included Rhodesian air assets, SAS, RLI and the Selous Scouts.

Chapter Eight - The End. Is a brief look at Operation Quartzes and some of the various plans to assassinate Mugabe during the turbulent transition period. As well as the demobilization and disbandment of the legendary Selous Scouts.

This book is lavishly illustrated with excellent maps, graphics and line drawings, as well as load of color and B&W photography, a lot I have not seen in other publications or on-line. The format of the book reminds me kind of like the Osprey line of books but with a whole lot more detail. The book is also physically larger at approximately 13.5"x 10.5" which is not a standard size print, but it works well with the format. This book is also volume four of the "africa@war" series, currently only a four volume set that includes;

Volume 1 - OPERATION DINGO: Rhodesian Raid on Chimoio and Tembue' 1977 (Africa at War)

Volume 2 - FRANCE IN CENTRAFRIQUE: From Bokassa and Operation Barracude to the Days of EUFOR (Africa@War)

Volume 3 - BATTLE FOR CASSINGA: South Africa's Controversial Cross-Border Raid, Angola 1978 (Africa@War)

If you found this book to be interesting I also recommend looking at;

"Pamwe Chete" by Reid-Daly.

"Selous Scouts - Top Secret War" by Peter Stiff and Reid-Daly.

"Assignment Selous Scouts: Inside Story of a Rhodesian Special Branch Officer" by Parker.

"The Bush War In Rhodesia: The Extraordinary Combat Memoir of a Rhodesian Reconnaissance Specialist" by Dennis Croukamp.

"Selous Scouts: Rhodesian War-A Pictorial Account" by Peter Stiff.

All I can say is this volume on the Selous Scouts is a must own and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in irregular warfare, counter-insurgency and military history.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Selous Scouts 11 Jan. 2012
By Kenneth J. Gaudet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book and has some never before seen photos of the Scouts.I would recommend this book to any collection on the Rhodesian Bush wars.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Selous Scouts 8 Dec. 2012
By Gary P. Joyce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good matter-of-fact after action-report style tale of this outfit. Some of the terminology might confuse people unfamiliar with the wars. I guess I would have liked a more personal/you-are-there style, a la, Bowden's Black Hawk Down. It's a must read if you're an African war aficionado, however.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Selous Scouts 15 Dec. 2013
By Dan Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an affordable option for anybody wanting to get an insight into this elite fighting force, the masters of pseudo-operations. I collect Rhodesian Bush War books and they are very difficult to get hold of, particularly those on the Selous Scouts. Even for those die-hard collectors, this should be a part of your collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good, Inexpensive Primer 7 July 2014
By Mike V. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As someone who has been privileged enough to own Assignment Selous Scouts, Pamwe Chete, Bush War in Rhodesia, Three Sips of Gin, et al. I think that this book fills a critical need to an objective, overarching look at the Scouts.

The book begins with a brief overview of the war, which while succinct, definitely invites the reader to read a work like J.K. Cilliers' Counterinsurgency in Rhodesia if they are not already familiar with the conflict. From there it moves on to the formation, internal, external, reconnaissance, and intelligence operations of the unit during its short history.

The book is written with talent and honesty. It provides an engaging and intriguing introduction into special operations forces at work in Rhodesia and does not overwhelm them with the intricacies and jargon of the conflict or the unit.In this sense the Africa @ War series meets and exceeds Osprey books both in pictures and information. This is particularly of note to those with an interest in African conflicts, which have been denied the slavish attention given to other conflicts. Furthermore, if you cannot pay the exorbinant amounts commanded for a copy of Pamwe Chete, you'll be happy to know that most (but not quite all) of the photos of that book have been reproduced here.

My complaints are primarily for those who are like myself. This book draws heavily from information contained in Assignment Selous Scouts and Pamwe Chete and despite being new does not add much to their accounts. While both of the prior were more personalized accounts I was hoping for a little more information of the nitty-gritty of the unit and their operational practices.

While I did not personally garner a lot of new information from the book, it serves as a compact, easy to read refresher for when my memory fails me. For those without the means, time and/or interest to pursue the topic through these other books, or for those looking to get their feet wet on the topic, I would give this book an unqualified 5 stars.
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