Introducing project “Military Insignia”, featuring top quality military heraldry designs. Here you will find designer apparel, accessories and gifts decorated with insignia of the Rhodesian Security Forces.
Rhodesia, officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognized state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965. With its government based at the former colonial capital of Salisbury, its territory consisted of the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia. The state was governed by a predominantly white minority government until 1979, initially as a self-governing colony then, after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, as a self-proclaimed sovereign Dominion, and latterly a Republic.
Rhodesian Security Forces consisted of the Rhodesian Army, Royal Rhodesian Air Force, British South Africa Police, Rhodesian Ministry of Internal Affairs (INTAF) and the Guard Force. Despite the impact of economic and diplomatic sanctions, Rhodesia was able to develop and maintain a potent and professional military capability. The beginnings of the Rhodesian Army go back to 29 October, 1889, when the Royal Charter was granted by Queen Victoria to the British South Africa Company, authorizing it to raise a police force for the territories that were intended to come under its control north of the Limpopo River. During the period of Federation, the army was totally reorganized and each corps now received the prefix "Rhodesia and Nyasaland". In 1955 units of the RAR were sent to Malaya to replace the Northern Rhodesia Regiment serving there. It was also during this period that the Rhodesian Air Force finally became established as a separate service with its own HQ. Two other units were formed in 1961 that were later to play an important role in the bush war of the 1970s, namely the 1st Battalion The Rhodesian Light Infantry, and "C" Squadron, Rhodesian SAS Regiment. With the breakup of Federation in 1964 the army again underwent a large- scale reorganization, with the units reverting to their original territories, two of which had now gained independence from Britain. Southern Rhodesia took matters into its own hands in 1965 with a "Unilateral Declaration of Independence" (UDI), and this signaled the start of a prolonged effort by Communist-supported guerrillas to force the whites to relinquish power. From April 1966 onwards groups of guerrillas infiltrated Rhodesia from neighbouring Zambia in steadily increasing numbers, but the bush war is generally considered to have started in earnest on 21 December 1972 when an attack took place on a farm in the Centenary District, with further attacks on other farms in the following days. As the guerrilla activity increased in 1973 "Operation Hurricane" started and the military prepared itself for war. During 1974 a major effort by the security forces resulted in many guerrillas being killed and the number inside the country reduced to less than 100. The year 1974 also saw the fall of Portuguese rule in Mozambique and the eventual opening of a second "front" in the bush war, necessitating the creation and expansion of a number of specialist units. The Selous Scouts, named after Rhodesia's most famous big game hunter, was a mostly black unit which conducted a highly successful clandestine war against the guerrillas by posing as guerrillas themselves. Their unrivalled tracking abilities, survival and COIN skills made them one of the most feared and hated of the army units. Another new unit, the Grey's Scouts, reintroduced cavalry into the Rhodesian army, forming a highly mobile and aggressive unit which could follow the enemy into otherwise inaccessible areas with greater speed than infantry. In 1976 Operations "Thrasher" and "Repulse" started in order to contain the ever-increasing influx of guerrillas. At the same time rivalry between the two main guerrilla factions increased and resulted in open fighting in the training camps in Tanzania, with over 600 deaths. The Soviets increased their influence and began to take a more active role in the training and control of the ZIPRA guerrillas. New tactics were developed on both sides. Perhaps too late, the Rhodesians decided to take the war to the enemy, and cross-border operations, which had started in 1976 with a raid on a major base in Mozambique in which the Rhodesians had killed over 1200 guerrillas and captured huge amounts of weapons, were stepped up. Attacks on large guerrilla camps such as Chimoio and Tembue resulted in thousands of guerrilla deaths and the capture of supplies sorely needed by the Rhodesians. In 1978 the Rhodesian Air Force launched the daring "Green Leader" attack on a ZIPRA camp outside Lusaka. In 1979 another airliner was shot down and the Rhodesians launched more raids on guerrilla bases, successfully avoiding air-defence systems and the Soviet MiG-17s based in Mozambique. A raid was made by the SAS and the Selous Scouts on the ZIPRA HQ in Lusaka, where they narrowly missed being able to kill the ZIPRA leader, Nkomo. A political agreement was finally signed in December 1979, and new elections took place. Commonwealth troops monitored the proceedings, but for a while it seemed that the Rhodesian army, still in control, might stage a coup to prevent a Marxist takeover, with troops and tanks on standby at strategic points in the capital. When it became clear that Mugabe had won a decisive victory at the polls, however, the military reluctantly accepted that there was no point in resuming the war and a new crisis was avoided. The RLI was officially disbanded on 25 July 1980. The Rhodesian SAS also held a simple flag-lowering ceremony. On 31 December 1981 the order was given to integrate the remainder of the RAR with other units and the last remnants of the Rhodesian army faded away.