Art Gallery - August 1998

The Rhodesian war may not have been a widely publicized conflict, but it did not go unrecorded. There were enough people who were sufficiently moved by what they experienced to ensure that their moments were recorded. Thus we are able to offer you this collage of different images. There are sketches, photographs and even some superb paintings. There is no "standard" to which these art works must conform. An authentic record includes sublime moments as equal partners to the consciously dramatic.

We will be changing the images here on a regular basis. Please bookmark our site and check this page regularly.

This superb painting by Andre du Plessis is titled: Fireforce. It captures well the moments of quiet preparation prior to an action. Fireforce was a uniquely Rhodesian concept. It involved the air insertion of a relatively small group of crack troops into a contact situation. Fireforce troops were often involved in multiple actions in a single day.

This black and white drawing by Nick Skipworth-Michell is evocative of the famous The Trooper statue that formerly stood on the memorial plinth at the 1 RLI barracks in Salisbury (Harare).

The combat attire depicted here (basic webbing, camouflage shirt, PT shorts, ankle boots) is authentic of the period and was much favoured by soldiers such as troopers of the Rhodesian Light Infantry. Weapon is the FN-FAL rifle, derivatives of which were standard issue in the Rhodesian Army.



Pieter de Kock's photo of a convoy paused at Birchenough Bridge is a laconic reminder of the impact the war had on ordinary Rhodesians. Insurgent attacks on vehicular traffic escalated to such an extent that armed escorts were required for travel on Rhodesia's arterial roads. The armoured turrets of the convoy machine gunners can be seen mounted on the backs of the pickup trucks.


Joseph Bishop's photograph of a group of Rhodesian Light Infantry soldiers reveals much. The comparative youth of the Rhodesian soldier is clearly evident. In the background, according to Peter Cooke co-author of: Fighting Vehicles and Weapons of Rhodesia: 1965 - 80, is a "Hippo". This was a South African produced mine protected vehicle that also offered considerable protection from small arms fire. Weapons are FN-FAL rifles and the light machine gun is the Belgian MAG.


Opinions on what constituted sufficient firepower differed from unit to unit. These troopies err on the side of caution with three MAG's...(Photo by Pieter de Kock)





Another of Pieter de Kock's pictures. In this, a soldier tackles his "rats" - the Rhodesian Army ration packs...






This remarkable sketch by Andre Du Plessis records a comparatively rare moment. The captured insurgent depicted here is authentically attired for the period. A nondescript "uniform", topped off with simple webbing. His weapon is the AK-47 - the standard issue of guerrilla armies around the globe. Rhodesian forces captured vast numbers of eastern bloc weapons and put them to good effect.




A Rhodesian mortar crew in action as captured by Pieter de Kock. The soldiers are wearing Rhodesian Army issue camouflage floppy hats, not steel helmets as would appear from the photograph.





Basil Preston's photograph The Guys, shows us how the Rhodesian soldier's own brand of humour emerged at every opportunity. Here "The Guys" model their interpretation of comfortable battle dress...





Another remarkable Pieter de Kock photograph. Here an Alouette helicopter of the Rhodesian Air Force enters or exits a bush landing zone. It would appear that the chopper technician / gunner is hanging out the door to watch the tail rotor for the pilot...




The fresh faces of youth. The webmaster and his girlfriend (later Mrs Webmaster) caught by the camera in 1979...




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