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Subject: The Troopie
Yimmy    1/19/2007 7:12:01 PM
I watched that film about Amin the other day, "The Last King of Scottland". Not a very good film really, directed by a Scott, and fairly anti-English (even the main character in ral life was English I believe). In any case, I got side tracked into reading the last edition of the Cheetah, the Rhodesian Light Infantries magazine, and was wondering where The Troopie sands today, since being removed? Or indeed if it stands anywhere?
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Yimmy       9/29/2007 7:03:37 PM
If anyone is interested, I recently located for myself the book, "The Saints", which I previously mentioned, and I would well recommend it for anyone with an interest in the RLI.  It covers just about everything.

Although it costs an arm and a leg, it also comes with a 90 minute DVD, which is anything but a dry and boring documentary, in that it includes a large amount of combat footage et al.

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longrifle       9/29/2007 10:25:55 PM

Maybe you can clear something up for me? 

IIRC, Fireforce stated that the commandos were units of about 100 men and the troops were about 30 men.  The internal organization of the troop was never made clear, beyond the statement that the troop was broken down into four man sticks instead of sections/squads.

That would seem to put a troop at around seven sticks.  That seems like a big span of control for the troop leader.  Does The Saints shed a little more light on troop organization?

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Yimmy       9/30/2007 11:28:45 AM
I have only skim read the book briefly, and don't have an exact answer I am afraid.   The book does mention battalion organisation, and how it changed over the course (such as Support Cmdo breaking from Base Group and the changes in support troops, and the removing of Training Troop from 2 Cmdo and into Base Group etc), but information on the individual Troops is more broken into the main text history rather than having its own section.

The RLI was originally basically line infantry remember, and trained for conventional warfighting before the Cmdo transition occurred, and so I would assume the platoon organisation would be a near identical copy of the British / Commonwealth formation.  With the Cmdo transition and the introduction of Fireforce using the Allouette helicopters, unit sticks had to be reduced to maximum of 5 men as by the carrying capacity of the helicopter.  I don't know how/if this later changed with the introduction of the Huey.

In general, I think a chronic under-manning and shortage of helicopters prevented having too many sticks from being a problem.   Even when the Dakotas were pressed into service, they only dropped around 12-15 men, and so three sticks for the TC to look after and control.

Perhaps more to the point, the TC would often be in one of the K-Cars supervising the war on the ground from 800 feet above, while the sticks were largely engaged in a "Corporals War", whereby they acted largely with autonomy under the stick leader, with information of where their fellow sticks were located and their own grounds of exploitation.

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jack    GeorgeMckellarGalloway   8/10/2008 4:20:36 AM
Dear Yimmy,
I have known Geoege Galloway BCR (not MP) Since 1974 or thereabouts . he was my stick leader in BCoy 2RR Fire force group.He then joined me in I RLI around 1976 where we both became stick leaders. Oh, and by the way, BCR stands for Bronze Cross of Rhodesia. George was ALWAYS one of the best. A true leader (by example) Trust me , you must be thinking of someone else or you must be joking about some MP??? excuse my ignorance.
As for this misconception of Marijuana and the common usage within the RLI.. Horse shit I say. I wont deny that the guys had a smoke or two during R&R.Some even had a joint at night around the fire. Some equals between 2 and 8% of any Commando.
Based at a particular JOC. The work started when the Choppers could respond to sightings or incidents calling for back-up by SS & SAS mostly. I can assure you. To the best of my knowledge, that there was mo time nor inclination for the use of "African Tobacco". Whilst there was work to be done. Just call it discipline. Straight up!!!
As for "the rowdy" & the RLI  being rowdy? They worked 42 days in the bush and 8 days or less back at the unit. The town of Salisbury was small and few places to meet the mates, the only ones we had, we lived in the bush and fought with and watched our seventeen year old friends and some watched their twin brothers dying in front of them whilst continuing with the scene at hand. COLD FACT. It happened and they were six meters apart "Greater Love hath no man than he that lays down his life for his Friend / Brother"   If  there was a bit of a noise or rowdy behavior in town it was unintentional and I believe we deserved it. I know the civilians still loved them. "Greater Love hath no man than he that lays down his life for his friend".  This behavior was also quite common and accepted in Bulawayo where the 2nd Battalion were on the same 42/-8 days programme. There were very few civvies in the Country of Rhodesia. Everyone volunteered or got called up to a National Service of  upto two years. At The Age Of Seventeen!!! Rowdy was commonly associated with some song around at that time. "THE  BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN". ( Thin Lizzie).The restaurants and clubs all knew when the boys were back in town and there were no real problems. Remember, the average age of the guys were nineteen . Some never even had the time to go home during R&R.  Most had just left School so eager to be part of the war. Some died on their first call out on the first day. 1of 42. FACT. And thats the little that I know. What about the rest of the RLI.,The Commandos, Base Group, Everyone and I mean everyone was out there seeing the same thing with the same stories to tell. And they all wanted to be there. Even more!! Call it what you like. Call it Rhodesia
As for some other Special Forces people being more reserved  and quiet. Sure that is a fact but they were the "makonyas".
Old soldiers who went on to specialised groups. They had already done and seen it all and they were obviously less in number. However, when there was a reunion, planned or not. Then you could TASTE the word ROWDY  and the civvies and facility owners new  that something special was happening. " Leave them Alone". I once heard someone say."Those Are Our Boys" Rhodesia was at war with the world. Maybe Zimbabwe is a better place to live now and less rowdy now that they have so called liberated their prosperous country?

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longrifle       8/10/2008 6:38:23 PM
Thanks for that post.  Sorry if I got a wrong impression of the RLI from reading Chris Cocks' book.
Your description of the typical trooper sounds alot like the typical US soldier in the Vietnam era.
Speaking of.....were most of the Americans in the RLI well thought of by the Rhodesians?
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Yimmy    Jack   8/21/2008 6:03:21 PM
Same bloke?" />" height="116" width="105" />" />

Born in 1954, in 1978 (top pic) he would have been 24.
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Yimmy    Jack   8/21/2008 6:05:01 PM
Stupid software.  The second pic was supposed to be:" /> 

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Yimmy    Jack   8/21/2008 6:05:38 PM
Last go:" /> 

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