This article was on my mind on a recent work trip. Cruising through the Arizona desert, an old favorite, “Survival of the Fittest”, by Mobb Deep, started playing. The first verse goes, “There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from/you could run but you can’t hide forever…They never around when the beef cooks in my part of town/it’s similar to Vietnam.” I laughed to myself, knowing that, yes, this Prodigy lyric is meant to be the opening for this essay. There is a war going on outside and no man is safe, a global war with spiritual influences. A war in which the woke Christians take no heed of Luther’s advice to be where the battle is raging. The Woke ain’t around when the beef cooks off in our part of town. A war similar to Vietnam (4th generational), but one that has morphed into what McLuhan describes as a “global guerrilla information war with no divisions between military and civilian participation”. Christian men need to know how to fight in this war. In my search to find out how to prepare, I came across the Rhodesian Bush War and the Theology of Guerrilla Warfare. An understanding of these two subjects will be of great benefit for the fight to come.
Historical Context of Rhodesia
Cecil John Rhodes founded Rhodesia in the late 1800’s in what is present day Zimbabwe. Mr. Rhodes had the desire to start a colony in the rough and dangerous land of southern Africa. He sought after dangerous gentlemen to join him, tough and resolute men from a military background who also possessed the cultural skill of a gentleman. He didn’t simply want males. He wanted men who could help him build a nation. As a result, an elite group of men rode north from South Africa and began colonizing a nation that would come to bear Mr. Rhodes’ name (Handful of hard men). Native tribes rebelled against the new colony and were ultimately suppressed by force and diplomacy. Unlike what happened in the American West, these men stopped any further attacks on the Natives who were now under their authority. Though the Woke will refuse to hear this, will burn with rage at its truthful mention, Rhodes’ colonizers actually stopped endemic tribal genocide by their conquest of the natives. With this new peace, the black tribal populations exploded “from an estimated 300,000 at the point of occupation to six million by the middle of the century” (Handful of hard men). Rhodesian colonization was, therefore, pro-life and pro-dominion mandate. Existence in Rhodesia was never easy, however. The local animals were dangerous and the small country was surrounded by enemies greedily eyeing its resources.
When the First World War broke out, many Rhodesians went to fight in Europe. In the inter years, between this war and the next, much progress was made in the face of adversity. Rhodesians were forged with a sense of enterprise and endurance. As the Second World War kicked off, “Rhodesia had an infrastructure and governmental organization that could compare favorably with any nation in the world…An extremely professional police force, the majority of its members black, brought peace and security. Courts presided over by highly qualified judges and magistrates dispensed justice fairly and firmly without any hint of political interference and ‘native administrators’ worked in tandem with chiefs and other traditional leaders in administering the native reserves” (Handful of hard men). Rhodesia contributed much to WW2, “Being men who had weathered a variety of challenges in the wilds of an untamed continent, they adapted easily to the rough realities of war and took the responsibilities of leadership in their stride. A large number were quickly assessed as officer material and found their way to playing distinguished roles in a variety of services, ranging from flying in the Battle of Britain to becoming specialized operatives in the Long Range Desert Group which provided the platform for the formation of the SAS” (Handful of Hard Men). After the War many traveled to Rhodesia looking to build a nation and a future. The high immigration standards were kept and Rhodesia’s economy grew with vibrancy.
All changed in the 1960s with decolonization. On 24 October 1964 Northern Rhodesia became the independent nation of Zambia. Pressure was placed on Southern Rhodesia to follow suit. The British government insisted on “No Independence before Majority Rule” and would place the ruling authority with the communist-backed black liberation movement. Prime Minister Ian Smith, a veteran WW2 pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines and survived, knew this would speed disaster for his country. “On 11 November 1965, surrounded by his cabinet, he reached for his pen and signed a document that signaled open rebellion against the Crown. Not since the American Declaration of Independence was promulgated in 1776 has such an event taken place. It was a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) and the die was cast; the country would soon be at war with the world” (Handful of Hard Men). Rhodesia was now in a fight for its life. Surrounded on all sides, the stage was set for war between Communism and Western Christian culture.
Hard Men Daring to Win
“The proxy war for the world was on and southern Africa, particularly South Africa, possessing enormous mineral and strategic value, was firmly in Sino-Soviet sights. But a primary obstacle was Rhodesia, so it should come as no surprise that Moscow and Beijing supported the ‘liberation’ movements energetically and generously. It was into this vortex that the Rhodesian soldier was thrown and so it begs the question: what if they had chosen not to fight and capitulated in the mid-1960s as the world demanded they do? Stalinist-type rule would almost certainly have followed and powerful direct economic, political and military pressure would have immediately been applied to South Africa. Just how this would have affected world history is impossible to deduce but the ramifications would have been enormous. Simply put, this did not happen because the Rhodesians chose to fight and this is the story of some of the stalwarts of that struggle.” (Handful of Hard Men).
There were two groups within the Rhodesian military tasked with guerrilla warfare and counter insurgency operations in the Rhodesian Bush War: C squadron Special Air Service Regiment and the Selous Scouts. Both units were tasked with “the clandestine elimination of terrorism both within and without the country” (Top Secret War:Rhodesian Special Forces). Both units had strenuous selection processes so that the right men joined the units. The Selous Scouts in particular had a notorious selection that started 25 kilometers from Camp Wafa Wafa Wasara Wasara (“Who dies, dies; who survives, survives”). Candidates were dropped off and told to run to the camp on arrival. For the first five days no food was issued. Throughout the rest of the course, only rotten meat was provided. According to the Selous Scouts commander, former SAS Ron Reid-Daly, “the smell alone was enough to make a hyena throw-up, but soldiers devoured it without hesitation.” The final event for the selection process was a 100 km march with 66lbs of rocks in the pack, followed by a speed march that had to be completed within 2 and 1/2 hours. Many who joined these units have been labeled white supremacist terrorists. This is far from the truth.
Andre Scheepers grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church (many French Huguenots migrated to South Africa) and was converted during his time with the SAS. Scheepers states, “many believe this was a racial war but that is simplistic and wrong; I did not fight for white domination or white rule but I did fight for maintenance of what I saw as Christian civilization and I do not apologize for that” (We Dared to Win). The men who joined these units were fighting for Western Christian civilization. They knew the odds. They knew that the world was against them. But they took action against all odds and took the fight to the enemy. John Coey was a Marine Officer who left to fight for Rhodesia as a protest against the increasing influence of secularism plaguing the United States during the Vietnam war. He joined the SAS and stated, “The basis of race, culture, and nation is vital for the survival of Western Civilization. Blood and soil, conservation and nationalism are what make a country and civilization sound, strong, and healthy. But faith is needed, faith in our way of life, our civilization, and faith in a Higher Destiny and the Divine Sanction of God” (A Martyr Speaks). History has many examples of small groups of dedicated and hard men coming together to fight against all odds.
Christian men can look from the Battle of Thermopylae to Francis Marion in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. It’s hard, though, to find a better modern example of a small group of men making life miserable for the avaricious wicked, in this case, the communists. The hard men of Rhodesia rarely lost a battle and struck fear within their enemy, but were ultimately betrayed by the West. Historian Hannes Wessles states, “The sum of it all was that a handful of hard, dedicated soldiers were making life miserable for ZANLA and their Frelimo allies in their very heartland, and at the same time severely curtailing their ability to cross into Rhodesia. A land mass the size of England had been infiltrated by no more than sixty SAS operators at any given time and they had gunned, mined and ambushed it into a state of confused disorder. Their aggression created a situation where the enemy had to be ever vigilant and defensive in territory it would have liked to call home.” Though Rhodesia lost the war officially, her men won by showing the supremacy of Christianity over and against the ghouls of communism. Since Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, it has plummeted into the world’s top 25 poorest nations. This is a judgment from God to which America should pay attention. What Christianity brings to a people, communism devours.
A Theology of Guerrilla Warfare
Rhodesia is another historical example of God preferring small groups of men. It is a very common Christian belief that God needs/desires large numbers of people to accomplish His purposes. Scripture and history rebuke this idea. We are taught in 1 Samuel 14 that the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few (1 Sam 14:6). Jonathan and his armor bearer relied on this promise, and the Lord blessed them for their faith. Two men were able to slaughter twenty men in half an acre of land, after climbing up a cliff, setting an entire army to flight and pandemonium. Let’s not soften what happened in this passage. This was brutal hand to hand combat on a cliff-top. Jonathan had no tactical advantage and was facing even greater odds than the Rangers at Point-du-hoc on D-Day. It was the Lord that brought victory. Joshua faced the same odds in Joshua 11. He faced a vast host that was supplied with the best munitions available in that time period. Ewald (Hist. Israel, 2:2 C.) stated that the enemy Joshua faced was unequaled in arms and tactics. It is likely that Joshua had sent scouts forward for intelligence like he did in Joshua 2. It is reasonable to assume that, receiving this intel, he could have turned his forces around. He pushed forward because he was confident in the promises of the Lord of Hosts.
In Genesis 14:15, Abram pursued the four kings for 120 miles. He attacked from different directions by night to gain surprise, showing Abram’s wisdom and knowledge in tactics. Faithful men do not shirk wise strategies and tactics. To drive away his defeated enemies, he chased them another 50 miles beyond Damascus. In Judges 3, the Lord blesses Ehud with a successful assassination of a tyrant king. This was an assassination planned by one man with none of the resources of the KGB. King David fought with 400 men and brought down a giant with a well-placed, smooth rock. He engaged in psychological and guerrilla warfare in 1 Samuel 24 when he cut off a piece of Saul’s cloak in a cave (imagine the intensity of this situation and David having to calm his psychological state so that he would not be compromised). Gideon went to war with 300 men. The resolve in these men to stay when 30,000 left in the face of a greatly superior foe. Though God gave the victory lets not forget these men still had to put their faith into action against impossible odds. God blessed their strength of purpose, iron firmness of nerve and reliance in His promises. And finally our Lord Christ chose 12 men, 11 at one point, to spread His gospel throughout the World. The same principle is throughout the Bible: God’s preferred choice of instrument to demonstrate His excellency of power is small bands of hard, dedicated and holy men. With God, such men are mightier than any army the world may muster.
“For masculinity is, in extremis, lethal. Males fight. They fight for both the present and for the future. The enemy who’s killing them now, in the moment of combat, may well—will—fall to one of their sons. The revenge drama is one of the theater’s mainstays for a reason. It is elemental” (Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All is Lost).
It matters little how much history or doctrine a man knows in regards to guerrilla warfare. What matters is what you do with the knowledge that you have now obtained. Daily strive to increase your lethality. Die daily. Diligently kill sin. Take and lead a wife. Make a family in godliness. Increase in knowledge and wisdom. Maintain physical readiness. Develop a minuteman type of skill set (Christian/Father/former ST6 operator Bill Rapier sets this out well). Work to build a local Christian culture. Doing these things daily will prepare a man to fight well alongside a small group of dedicated brothers. God will bless your efforts. Glory awaits us in those hard places, go make a stand.
Article by Charles Melson on the Top Secret War in Rhodesia
Articles by Dr. Peter Hammond
Bill Rapier minuteman fitness standards
Book by Michael Walsh on manhood
Highly Recommend these two books by Hannes Wessel
https://exmontibusmedia.co.za/product/we-dared-to-win/ (Andre Scheepers lineage traces back to the French Huguenots)
https://exmontibusmedia.co.za/product/a-handful-of-hard-men/ (The last chapter shows how Rhodesia’s situation is very similar to what is happening today)
John Coey’s war diary
Rhodesia to Zimbabwe chronology
Pastor Matthew Trewhella exposition on The Theology of Guerrilla Warfare