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Arms Wonders For Local Wars – Lessons From Rhodesia

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Arms Wonders For Local Wars - Lessons From Rhodesia

Rhodesia, the predecessor state of modern Zimbabwe, had a relatively short, but interesting history.

The Rhodesian Bush War, which raged from from 1965 to 1979, led not only to the creation of the independent state of Zimbabwe, but also gave rise to multiple technical innovations in the art of war. The need for these DIY-style solutions, some of which later went into serial production, was the result of a strict sanctions regime and arms embargo which forced Rhodesians to invent different ways and tools to defend their own lives, property and vehicles as well as various means of offense.  A glut of makeshift self-defense means among Rhodesians started with Ken Goosen who built a DIY four-barrel single use shotgun to defend his homestead in Claremont (near Bulawayo). It was named Kill Quick.

The device had four short 12 bore shotgun barrels lined up as a fan. While unarmed they were in a vertical position, and did not pose a threat to people farming. If intruders entered the premises, the owner would pull a rope connecting the device to somewhere inside the house, pulling out the safety pin. The Kill Quick would move to a horizontal position, striking a fixed anvil in the process, and fire out of all four barrels simultaneously. Activating Kill Quick could impede the progress of an ambush sufficiently enough to afford defenders the opportunity to hide, flee, or call for reinforcements.

Soon enough, this device, and variations of it (e.g. using an actuator for striking the anvil, bumping up the number of barrels to five or more, using longer and wider barrels and so on) was used at every remote homestead across Rhodesia.

Farmers even equipped their cars with such devices. This did not help much with the mines, but it sure did surprise some road ambushers. Mounted on the front — and later on the sides — Kill Quick allowed the driver to clear out the nearby bushes in order to make a quick getaway.

A device called Spider was on a whole new level — it fired simultaneously out of 24-36 barrels, covering the space around the car from 270 to 360 degrees. This device was often mounted on the roof of a vehicle. Rebels called it ‘zhamu-zhamu’ – the noisemaker.

The military also employed some DIY solutions. Getting into firing position with a machine gun takes time. Quickly responding to an ambush with one is out of the question. Therefore, military engineers started mounting “sawed-off” assault rifles and machine guns on special turrets, installed in the driver’s door.

Besides that, two Kalashnikov assault rifles were often installed in pickups behind the driver seat’s, firmly fixed in the body of the car. In case of an ambush, the driver would speed up and trigger the guns using an actuator by pressing a button on the deck. It was single-use, but having 30 shots fire and clearing 50m of road was quite sufficient.  Rhodesian special forces, the Selous Scouts, even used two RPD machine guns with 90 bullet snail drums instead of assault rifles.

Besides participation in open clashes, all the sides of the conflict actively mined roads and areas near key infrastructure objects. For example, from 1972 to 1980 there were 2,504 vehicle detonations of land mines (mainly Soviet TM46s), killing 632 people and injuring 4,410. The intensity of the land mine warfare was so high that unexploded mines and munitions still remains a notable problem for Zimbabwe.

This led to the development of a range of mine protected vehicles. Initially, ordinary vehicles got protection made of steel deflector plates, sandbags and mine conveyor belting. Additional tires were placed on top of vehicles in order to reduce damage in the event of flipping as a result of an explosion. These improvised protection measures allowed for a nearly 3 times immediate reduction of casualties due to mine explosions.

There were also efforts to create purpose-built mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles with V shaped blast hulls, which dispersed the blast.

The Leopard security vehicle, which was actively used by the civilian population and the government, was developed by Ernest Konschel in 1974. It carried a driver on the front right, 2 passengers behind on the right, and three on the left. It was powered by a Volkswagen Type 1 engine located in a non-armoured enclosure at the rear, behind the rear axle.

The vehicle had a V-hull cab, circular external roll over bars, and a soft-top roof to prevent undue pressure build-up in the hull in the event of a land-mine blast. The vehicle’s road wheels were positioned well away from the hull, so that if a mine was triggered by a road wheel the hull was not directly over the blast. All passengers were on bench seats fixed to the hull and facing inward.

The Leopard, however, suffered from a number of critical problems, which limited its usage in military actions. They included overheating of the engine, a lack of power for traversing difficult terrain and for escaping ambush situations, and the unintended parting of the front or rear sub-assemblies from the hull while traversing difficult terrain.

The Pookie became a first vehicle designed to deal with the constant mining of the roadways. It was a one-person vehicle with a V-shaped reinforced hull and large Formula One tires bought second hand after the South African Grand Prix. It comprised of an armored capsule raised 700 millimetres above the ground between the front and rear suspension units taken from the Type Two Volkswagen Kombi. The wide tires were intended to prevent the detonation of buried mines by exerting a low ground pressure and by spanning the mines’ circumference.

To detect mines, the Pookie used lowered detection panniers, which were positioned parallel to the ground below the cab. When the vehicle was transported, the pans were raised to a 45 degree angle. The vehicle had a speed of up to 80km/h and was often used to provide security during the movement of military columns.

Another problem was the mining of dirt airstrips. To deal with that, Rhodesian forces employed a device called FU-2. It was a one-seat bicycle with detection panniers and a working set for the operator. Information about this device and its practical employment is limited.  According to reports, it was capable of covering about 2 square meters simultaneously.

After the end of the Rhodesian Bush War, the remaining Mine Resistant Armored Vehicles (MRAP) were used to clear territories from unexploded land mines, improvised explosive devices and munitions. Devices like Kill Quick- and Spider-like devices went out of use.

At the same time, the Rhodesian conflict demonstrated the high efficiency of such improvised upgrades, especially in the conditions of limited resources. Knowledge gained from this experience was actively used in multiple local conflicts in Africa and in the Middle East.

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  • El Mashi

    Thank God that racist scourge was defeated. Now, only their Zionist brethren need to go.

    • John Wallace

      And look at what they ended up with , 10 times worse . There were more blacks fighting WITH the government than against it but what would you know or care .

      • You can call me Al

        In South Africa,the Zulus fought with the white man as well, against Mandela’s terrorists, until the Yanks and British switched sides and boycotted the boycott, then backed the ANC and necklace burning scum.

        That Winnie Mandela bitch was even more evil than her husband.

        https://allthatsinteresting.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/man-burning-og.jpg

        https://hollywoodwalkofshame.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/burningman.jpg

        • John Wallace

          Yes I know all about her and she was EVIL . Nelson left her after he got out and I think he was a very insightful pragmatic man and not evil at all. Mugabe and Mandela were men at the apposite ends of the spectrum although both very intelligent . The Selous Scouts ( 90% Black troops ) missed Mugabe in an ambush by blowing up the wrong vehicle in the convoy so we will never know what would have happened had he been taken care of before he took over. Nkomo was just a drunken fool but he was leader of the the seller tribe so he was never going to win on a democratic vote.

        • Greetings You can call me Al, We deleted your comment and warn you from posting such pictures in the comment section in the future.
          Sincerely yours,
          SF Team

          • John Wallace

            The pictures SF are referring to were of victims of Winnie Mandela’s necklacing in Sth Africa . If you don’t know what necklacing was : If Winnie Mandela didn’t like you she had a tyre put around your neck and set on fire. I’ve seen worse but if not used to it it was a little gruesome so understandable that SF decided to remove the comment on the pictures but not the comment itself.

          • Long Johnathan

            I’m gonna take what you say with a grain of salt. To have been a Rhodesian Bush War veteran you literally have to be in your mid-late 60s or 70s.

          • John Wallace

            Try 68 next month. Rhodesia 75 until Easter 1980 ( arrived in Perth
            via Joburg middle of easter which was I think one week before Mugabe was sworn in. Got a question ask away and do make sure they can only be answered by someone that was there or if you prefer salt take as much as you want.

          • Sean

            http://tass.com/politics/1049186

            Just like in Western governments and MSM, “fake news” is whatever they arbitrarily decide upon no matter the country. The real purpose of any law banning “fake news” or open debate on any particular subject or historical event only servers to preserve verifiable lies for purpose of maintaining oligarchic control over public opinion.

          • You can call me Al

            Sean, the pictures were vile, factual but absolutely disgusting.

            It was not fake news, but it, they were emotionally disturbing.To be honest I wish I had not put them up in hindsight; but somehow people need to know.

            But I agree with everything you state, But SF is right (to protect others).

            Cheers.

          • Sean

            I see, thanks for clarifying.

            Cheers :)

          • You can call me Al

            Ok, fair play… but they are fact whilst vile and disgusting.

            Point taken,it will not happen again.

            Cheers for the heads up.

            AL.

      • Nassim7

        Why don’t you move to South Africa and see what the Blacks turned it into?

        In 1900, there were more Whites than Blacks in South Africa. Gives you an idea of what will happen in Europe.

        • John Wallace

          This article is about Rhodesia not South Africa. I was in Rhodesia fighting in that war so I am also aware of South Africa so not sure what you are on about ” move to SA ” I don’t have to move to know what is going on there. I have Afrikaners , British and Black South Africans here that I talk to who all still have family in SA. Not interested in either yours or Seans stories ..

          • Villainess

            So, it’s clear which side YOU would kill for.

          • John Wallace

            Yes I mostly went out with Black Africans and yes we did kill but as you have no idea , as much as you would like to think you do , so I will leave it at that. Believe and think whatever you like .

    • Sean

      EFF leader Julius Malema singing “Shoot the Boer! Kill, kill the Boer!”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOaLIIxxQlQ

    • Sean
    • Long Johnathan

      You’re a dumb fuck face. “Racist scourge” they had Africans in the god damn Rhodesian SAS and the conventional army, blacks had much much better living conditions and life in general was so much better than it is in Zimbshitwe. Oy Vey Rhodesians is so racists becuz they practiced racial segregation in society (not the military) and took control of the country so corrupt African wanna-be warlords or literal retard Africans with a fucking IQ of 70 didn’t have any political/societal/legal power. Long Live Rhodesia; FUCK Zimbabwe. Asshole

      • John Wallace

        I think you will find that the SAS were all white, 1 Commando was Rhodesian , 2 was British and 3 was Aussie and NZ . The Selous Scouts were 90% Black , RLI was all white , Support Unit and RAR was almost all black , INTAF mostly black and PATU was one black per stick. Pfumo Revanhu were mostly blacks taken from TTL’s and supposedly turned terrorists known as Spear of the People. On one mission I was told to select suitable males for Pfumo Revanhu in the North East on the border and we burnt every hut and building in the area which became a no go area after getting the locals to fill in all the trenches they had been made to dig to cut off road access .

  • John Wallace

    Never knew that bike contraption existed . I often wondered why it took the Yanks in Iraq years to get around to doing something similar to their vehicles. Those ones with the gunner sitting way up in the air with no protection especially open at the back especially in urban areas where someone from the second story buildings had an easy shot. . In Rhodesia for civilian convoys they had pickup trucks / utes with a circular turret that could spin around that fully covered the gunner , open at the top , with steel plate and they also had a steal mesh about 4 inches out from the plate to deflect armor piercing rounds. That was late 70’s and there were lots of mostly ex Viet Nam Yanks there so surprised some ideas not taken back in 1980.

  • Mohale

    “rebels’ what rubbish is that, You call people fighting for their land rebels?

    • Villainess

      I was truly ‘weirded out’ by this article. I’ve read Doris Lessing’s “African Laughter” about her 4 trips ‘home’ to Zimbabwe after having been banished by White Rhodesia for writing the truth. It had long been ‘near slavery’ with the lowest of white settlers having extreme authority over the lives of all native Africans.

      This article would be the same as writing about Euro-Israeli Zionist weaponry development without acknowledging the genetic cleansing of native Palestinians that those very same weapons are being designed to accomplish in THEIR apartheid ‘state’!
      Of course, Zionists do have access to all the world’s (U.S.) weaponry.

      • John Wallace

        Upvoting yourself doesn’t count as you either agree with what you wrote or you wouldn’t write it. The article is about conflicts where because of circumstance the locals had to manufacturer their own weapons as in the case of Rhodesia it was sanctions so get over it.

      • Sean

        What about the racial cleansing of whites in Africa?

  • Harsha