The Rhodesian Bush War

This is a short history of the Rhodesian Military focused on the time frame of the Bush Wars. The Rhodesian Security Forces were the military forces of Rhodesia. Founded in 1964 as the armed forces of the British colony of Rhodesia. The security forces fought on against the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) – the military wings of the communist Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Zimbabwe African People's Union respectively – during the 1960s and 1970s in the Rhodesian Bush War. Despite the impact of economic and diplomatic sanctions, Rhodesia was able to develop and maintain a potent and professional military capability; in June 1977, Time magazine reported that "man for man, the Rhodesian army ranks among the world's finest fighting units".


The Rhodesian Bush War took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in Rhodesia. The war involved three oppossed forces: the Rhodesian government, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army. The war and its settlement led to the implementation in June 1979 of universal suffrage and end of white minority rule in Rhodesia, which was renamed Zimbabwe Rhodesia under a black majority government. However, this new order failed to win international recognition and the war continued. Negotiations between the government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, the British government and the "Patriotic Front" took place at Lancaster House, London in December 1979, and the Lancaster House Agreement was signed. The country returned temporarily to British control and new elections were held under British and Commonwealth supervision in March 1980. ZANU won the election and Mugabe became the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980, when the country achieved internationally-recognised independence.

Rhodesian Security Forces Rhodesian Security Forces