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n Historia - Bush tracking and warfare in late twentieth-century east and southern Africa

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Abstract

During the decolonisation era guerrilla wars fought in East and southern Africa, tracking represented an important skill mobilised by state security forces in their hunt for elusive insurgents who themselves tried to use it to avoid detection. In 1950s Kenya state game-keepers played a central role in recruiting skilled indigenous trackers, establishing a tracking school which taught British troops how to supervise African trackers and developing the tactical concept of specialised small units called Tracker Combat Teams grouped into Forest Operating Companies. Although the Rhodesian forces enjoyed considerable success in counter-insurgency tracking in the sparsely populated Zambezi Valley during the late 1960s and cultivated a tracker training programme that favoured members of the white minority and used helicopters to gain ground on their prey, the shifting of the war into the more populated east in the 1970s and the insurgent use of antitracking techniques led to a decline in the effectiveness of Rhodesian combat tracking. In South West Africa during the late 1970s and 1980s the combination of semi-open terrain and available technology greatly enhanced South African security force tracking which employed trackers from the Ovambo majority, mine-resistant cross-country vehicles for greater mobility and close co-operation with aircraft all of which insurgents attempted to counter with highly imaginative antitracking methods.

Tydens die guerrilla-oorloë in die dekoloniseringsera wat in Oos- en SuidelikeAfrika geveg is, was opsporing 'n belangrike vaardigheid wat aangedryf is deur staatsekuritietsmagte in hul soeke na ontwykende insurgente wat self ook probeer het om te voorkom dat hulle opgespoor word. In die vyftigerjare van die vorige eeu het staatswildbewaarders van Kenia 'n sentrale rol vervul ten opsigte van die werwing van vaardige inheemse opspoorders deur 'n opsporingskool tot stand te bring waar Britse troepe geleer is hoe om toesig te hou oor Afrika-spoorsnyers en die taktiese konsep van gespesialiseerde klein eenhede genaamd wat in ingedeel is, te ontwikkel. Hoewel die Rhodesiese magte in die laat-1960's beduidende sukses behaal het met die teeninsurgensie-opsporing in die ylbevolkte Zambezie-vallei, en 'n opspoorder-opleidingsprogram ontwikkel het wat voorkeur gegee het aan lede van die wit minderheid en helikopters gebruik het om 'n voorsprong op hul prooi te kry, het die verskuiwing van die oorlog na die digter bevolkte ooste in die 1970's en die insurgente se toepassing van teenopsporingstegnieke gelei tot 'n afname in die doeltreffendheid van Rhodesiese gevegsopsporing. In Suidwes-Afrika het die kombinasie van semi-oop terrein en beskikbare tegnologie die Suid-Afrikaanse sekuriteitsmag-opsporing, in die laat-sewentiger- en laat-tagtigerjare van die twintigste eeu grootliks bevorder, wat opspoorders uit die Ovambo-meerderheid, my-weerstandige oorland-voertuie vir beter mobiliteit en noue samewerking met vliegmasjiene ingespan het - alles dinge wat insurgente probeer teëwerk het met behulp van hoogs verbeeldingryke teenopsporingsmetodes.

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/content/hist/59/2/EJC163421
2014-11-01
2016-12-05
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