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The 1970's African Wars Influence on Modern Shooting Methods and Terms

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Cosmoline, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I've been reading up on a chapter of history I know very little about--the brush fire wars that sprung up all over the collapsing colonial regimes of southern Africa in the late 60s through the 70's. It got me wondering about the shooting terms such as "Rhodesian Carry" and "Mozambique Drill" that emerged from these conflicts. Do folks know of other terms of art that came from these conflicts?

    And beyond that, why should such obscure conflicts have had sufficient bearing on firearm techniques to warrant the naming of well-known techniques? Maybe it's just a coincidence.
  2. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Part of it was the immigration of folks from that part of the world to the US and American citizens who took part in those conflicts who became part of the Tactical Training Community. That's why you don't have drills named after the Middle East conflicts...they had been holding their own

    The Mozambique Drill comes from encountering Cuban troops wearing body armor aiding their allies during these client conflicts.
  3. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Well-Known Member

    Coincidence, I think -- those wars were going on while a lot of the modern stuff was being sorted out and distilled. And the Rhodesians heavily relied on their troop quality and training to offset the incredibly lopsided numerical situation they faced. They're the first folks I know of who made controlled pairs for engagements SOP as well as the stuff you already referenced.
  4. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...why should such obscure conflicts have..." Jeff Cooper and Soldier of Fortune magazine.
    'Mozambique Drill' came out of the wider spread use and availablity of relatively low cost body armour. Cooper invented the name, suposedly derived from a student using a BHP, who tangled with a terr in Mozambique wearing body armour. “Commentaries,” Vol. 1, No. 1, June 1994. No mention of how horrible Cooper claimed the 9mm to be or how the guy would have been better off with a .45. Cooper was a bit nuts.
    Rhodesian Carry, AKA African carry, is alleged to come from the RLI's(Rhodesian Light Infantry) habit of slinging their rifles in front. Hands free, rifle ready to use. The Rhodesians had to invent techniques due to UN sanctions.
    A style of carrying/using an FAL is the 'Brit stock over outside of the arm'. No fancy name for it. Used in Northern Ireland, etc. Push the rifle forward and the butt up. Quick to get a pistol gripped stock onto one's shoulder.
  5. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    I am unenlighted on the Mozambique Drill and the Rhodesian Carry. Anyone care to enlighten me?
  6. nwilliams

    nwilliams Well-Known Member

    The most famous is probably the Mozambique drill that was influenced by a Rhodesian mercenary at an Airport in Mozambique. It was Jeff Cooper who introduced it as tactical training technique here in the US. I never leave the pistol range without running through this drill a few times.

    There is also the "Drake Shooting" aka "Rhodesian Cover Shooting"

    In a nutshell, two shots to the chest one to the head pattern. If you want the detailed history of the Mozambique drill a simple google search is all you need, it's an interesting story. I was taught this drill years ago and as I said before I still practice it almost every time I go to the range. It's mainly taught as a pistol technique but it can be practiced with a carbine as well.

    Here you go....
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  7. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Mr. NWilliams. I will begin to practice this technique when I finally manage to obtain my pistol.

    Now, for the Rhodesian Carry.
  8. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Mozambique Drill is the technique of a double tap to the chest followed by a shot to the head.

    Rhodesian Carry is as Sunray describes it, to my knowledge. They were using big honking FN's at the time and that's apparently a good way to carry them. I've been reading on the RLI--really impressive crew. We see echoes of their techniques in modern special forces.

    Photo here:


    SOF and the mystique of the "mercenary" may well be part of the mystery here. Though from what I've read the guys who volunteered did not consider themselves mercs. These conflicts were way more complicated than I had previously been led to believe. They were not a simple black vs. white, anti-colonialism conflict by any means. They were a mix of everything from US/USSR proxy wars to ancient tribal conflicts. Or tribal conflicts with a mere facade of socialist acronyms designed to get the guns. The Cubans running around was also surprising to me. Also apparently surprising to the Cubans.

    I wonder if the losing sides sent some refugee ex-soldiers back stateside where they helped train. That would explain the influence.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  9. MistWolf

    MistWolf Well-Known Member

    Colonel Jeff Cooper was a great admirer of South Africa and Rhodesia and was one of the earliest founders of IPSC which was popular in South Africa. Col Coo[per spent quite a bit of time in Africa, particularly South Africa going on hunting safaris and setting up and participating in IPSC events. He wrote about his experiences in one of the gun magazines and also used these terms at Gunsite, the shooting school he founded here in the U.S. These terms come to us straight from Col. Cooper
  10. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Well-Known Member

    I think all the foreign nationals who served in the Rhodesian security forces did so under standard voluntary enlistments, so legally they weren't any more mercenaries than the Canadians who served in the US military in Vietnam or the generations of post-Irish independence Irish nationals who've served in the UK forces. (And they didn't get paid any extra compared to (white) Rhodesian troops.)

    And the US government did everything they could think of to harass and make life hell for US nationals who served in the Rhodesian security forces -- the Carter administration was bound and determined to "fix" that country by turning it into the Mugabe led disaster it is today.
  11. First4Freedom

    First4Freedom Well-Known Member

    Cosmoline is right, the conflicts were hugely more involved than mere black vs white, which is unfortunately how most of the world outside Africa seem to think every conflict is about. My parents lived in Rhodesia for a good while and only left when the fighting became too dangerous to be there with young children. My mother grew up there and has many a fascinating story about what it was like there and was friends with what you guys would probably call mercs. She was also involved in documenting captured firearms to create user manuals for use by government forces, I always thought that was majorly cool, she got to write the manual for the AK47 :)
  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    Soldier of Fortune magazine is a good starting point if you're interested in learning more about the various conflicts that occured in Africa during this time period. I want to say that they first starting publishing the magazine in early 1975 on a quarterly basis. Later they eventually went to a monthly publication format. Col. Robert K. Brown, the magazine's publisher, along with Jeff Cooper and others, made numerous trips to southern Africa to report on the situation there. One of the semi-regular contributors was A.J. Venter, who traveled extensively throughout the region (Rhodesia, South Africa, and adjacent AO's), and gave very detailed accounts of the anti-terrorist ops that the two countries engaged in.

    I do remember one article in SOF that explained some of the strange oddities concerning captured terrorist weapons. One observation was that on many of the AK-47 and SKS rifles the bayonet was attached or else deployed for use. When questioned about this, the captured terrorists explained that this made the rifle shoot further and staighter because of the "magical power" of the bayonet (think of it as a really long spear).

    Another unusual thing found on the weapons was that the rear sight was often found to be set at 1000 meters. Supposedly this was done to give the bullet more power and greater range to its intended target. If the 100 meter setting was good, consider how much more powerful the bullet would be at 1000 meters!

    On some of the folding stock versions of the AK's many of the magazine base plates, as well as the curved horseshoe portion of the metal buttstock, were found to be seriously deformed and heavily scratched up. The explanation for this was more of a practical nature. It seemed that the terrorists frequently used their AK's as a sort of make-shift folding chair to sit on during breaks in the action. Extending the folding stock halfway down, along with the magazine, made for a temporary bipodal resting place for their hind quarters. As long as you had your folding stock AK with you, you would never be lacking for something to sit your tired rear end on.
  13. First4Freedom

    First4Freedom Well-Known Member

    Hmm if that A.J. Venter was in fact "Al" Venter then he was a friend of my parents, small world or what? The AK47's you describe are really interesting, I guess it's a testament to how hardy they are that they can take so much abuse. We used to hear all the time about small arms caches being dug up and militants using AK's with severely rusted receivers and even worse in the barrel, I wouldn't be surprised if a good deal of those failed the operator in quite spectacular fashion. Some local tribal beliefs were a bit way out there, I knew a guy who swore drinking a small cap of diesel a day would cleanse his body, and knew more than one who wore a red cotton bracelet on their wrists for the express purpose of "turning bullets into water" should they even be set upon. Does an AK really have iron sights settings up to 1000m? Wow.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    Yes it was Al Venter. I met him once at a bookstore in Houston many years ago. I had him autograph a copy of his book, "The Zambezi Salient" while I was there. A first rate writer and very knowledgeable about nearly everything going on in that part of Africa at the time.

    I remember he asked what time it was because he said he no longer bothered to wear a watch. He explained this was because everytime he passed through some sort of checkpoint or road block in a disputed area, the first thing the "guards" would do would be to take his watch. I guess I could see his point; you lose a few nice watches this way and pretty soon it doesn't seem really important to know exactly what time it is.
  15. First4Freedom

    First4Freedom Well-Known Member

    That's great to hear, my dad was a film editor and that's how he knew Al. I grew up being fascinated by mention of his amazing firearm collection, I was really young I'm not sure if I ever got to see it though. His books on diving were also a really good read.
  16. JColdIron

    JColdIron Well-Known Member

    There is value in carrying a Medium Battle Rifle. "Turns cover into concealment!" :)
  17. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Well-Known Member

    And yet the Rhodesians made shooting controlled pairs their SOP -- because battle rifles fail to reliably stop scrawny African guerrillas . . .
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    If you don't mind sharing, what are you reading that prompted the question?
  19. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I found a copy of "Borderstrike!: South Africa into Angola" by Willem Steenkamp. And I've been looking at old Rhodesian material on YT.
  20. M67

    M67 Well-Known Member

    There was a joke at the time that Cuba was the largest country in the world. The army was in Angola, the government in Moscow, and the population in Miami.

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