Friday, October 30, 2009
A few years ago I saw a Cold steel "Spetsnaz" shovel,it appeared to be a good tool so I bought one and stuck it away for later use.
4 years later I unearthed it in my friend Jagers shed while rooting around in there like a feral hawg searching for acorns.
The light colored handle was very polished and slippery. And the shiny black paint on the shovel head didn’t appeal to me so, I roughed it up with a bit of Course sand paper to give it a better grip then doctored it up a bit with some black and green spray paint.
The result was a camouflage looking pattern which to me is more visually appealing and the handle has a much better grip to it with or without gloves on.
Next I took a 9" flat bastard file and created a knife edge along one side then touched it up with a puck stone.
I then proceeded to dig some holes, clean up dog crap, split some pine wood with it and throw it a few times at the wood pile.
This little shovel is a nice tool and would make an excellent defensive weapon, I really like it. The weight of this shovel is about the same as a hatchet or a large Tomahawk.
After doing a bit of research I discovering that it is used by the Russian “Spetsnaz” as a defensive weapon and the Russian soldiers are actually taught how to fight with this shovel and knives.
I believe Ill use this item as a replacement for my tomahawk the next time I’m heading for the woods.
You can find more info on this item at the cold steel website if interested.
the only thing I need to do is make a case for it out of leather and canvas.
anyhoo, check out the pictures and the website and let me know what you think.
Tomahawk – Scouts out!
Back in the early 1990’s I had the honor of meeting a friendly but loquacious Canadian gentleman by the name of Mors Kochanski at the annual “Rabbit stick Rendezvous” in Rexburg, Idaho USA. Mors is the author of “Northern Bushcraft” it is an excellent book on surviving in the Canadian north.
Anyway, prior to Mors Coming to the Rendezvous I can honestly say I do not remember anyone in the USA outdoor education scene carrying or using a Mora Knife of any type. Case, Green river, old hickory, and Swiss Army blades were the most common in the USA.
While teaching his classes mors wore his Mora in a neck sheath, extolled its virtues and expertly demonstrated its functionality. Within a few days it seemed like all of the Rabbitstick participants and most of the Boulder outdoor survival school staff were wearing Moras in the same fashion.
I just figured it was a passing fad common to follower types and guru worshipers.
Lately I have been reading about the how great the Mora knife is on various outdoor forums so before departing the USA for the Philippines back in July I bought 2 Mora knives from sportsman’s guide for 11 bucks each I think.
Tody I decided to dig mine out of my pile of plunder and give them a bit of a test to see what all of the hype is about.
anyhoo, I took it out in the yard and farted around for 3 hours whittling a spoon, splitting wood, and making fuzz sticks etc. while cooking some bacon over the fire.
I also started the fire with a Brunton ferro rod and the back of my Mora.
The Blade itself is ok but certainly no better than a Green River knife, case, Buck, or old style cattaragus knife. And the sheath was/is hard plastic, ill fitting and did not retain the knife at all. If I were to use this knife in the future Id need to make a better sheath or modify the plastic one.
I suppose it is a good enough knife for things like whittling, scaling a fish or even skinning a deer/elk etc if you had too. I might even carry it on my next adventure trip because I would not be worried about loosing it.
Personally I found it a little small and not at all equal to my old green river knife.
I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings about this but I’m wondering what the attraction/devotion is to this type of knife?
Maybe one of you good folks could enlighten me as to the blades attraction.
Tomahawk – Scouts out!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Went out today with my good friend Jager into the surrounding mountains near the town of Marysville Montana to scout around for Elk/wolf/and bear.
We did a bit of Grouse hunting and looked for Burls on trees to harvest for the making of Kuksa type cups or “Noggins” as I’ve heard them call back east.
We took off this AM from ranch HQ before light and returned well after dark, after spending a total of 11 hours out in the mountains.
There was some snow coming down in the higher elevations (4000 to 6000 feet) and the wind was plenty cold, the cold air was refreshing and it was a good day to be out and about in the woods.
Jager and I sighted 25 mule deer, numerous Mountain grouse, one raptor bird I could not Identify, several beaver dams/runs and 8 turkeys.
We also passed through numerous old mining claims and saw many old buildings and an abandoned smelter. I was surprised at the number of piles of tailings I saw from old mining operations.
Here are a few pictures of today’s outing, I hope you enjoy them.
Tomahawk – Scouts out!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
In between one of the 200 or so naps I took today Jager and me took a ride up to sheep creek on the sieben ranch to look for bear and to scout out a location for the up coming wolf hunt on the 25th.
Aside from 4 deer, 1 golden eagle, and 1 red tailed hawk we saw no other live animals.
we did see A large Beaver Dam on sheep creek and the tracks of several wolves in the snow.
These wolf tracks were pretty big even considering the distortion from the snow. we could see where then ascended from a gulch and headed over the mountain to a secluded valley.
This might be the location we return to for the hunt next week. there was still quite a bit of snow up there from last weeks cold snap.
anyhoo, here are 3 pics from the day trip, i hope you like them.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Non Vi Sed Arte -- Not by Strength, by Guile
I had been cooling my heels at the airport in Inchon ,Korea for 25 hours, finally the time for my flight to the USA was at hand. I hopped on flight OZ272 bound for Seattle USA.
Working my way to the back of the 777, I located seat #42D and sat down.
Asiana airlines Impressed me again with the quality of service given their economy passengers. it was a 9 hour flight to Seattle, in that time I had 2 pretty good meals as far as airline food goes, drank red wine, OJ, water and coffee. I also scarffed down several small bags of pretzels and peanuts while watching "Transformers 2", and "Land of the lost".
The flight landed in Seattle a few minutes ahead of schedule. I made it through passport control, went down to baggage claim to get my bag.....after waiting about 45 minutes and being one of the last people still at the carousel, I finally noticed my bag come off of the conveyor belt, right behind it was a plastic bin with a sign in it saying "LAST BAG" - damn the luck! I cannot believe that my bag was the absolute last piece of luggage off of that flight, oh well.
After passing through us customs, I made my way upstairs and out side to look for my friend "Beast1210" ( from BCUSA )and his dog "Max", we met up at the appointed place at the appointed time, he gave me a much needed cup of coffee, some tioxane fuel tabs, a large plastic garbage bag and a Chicken MRE to eat later. Thanks "Beast"!!
Thanking him I stuffed those things into my pack and dug out the Filipino Bolo Knife I had promised him, we hopped into his backwoods truck and hit the road for I90, "Beast" and "Max" dropped me off at a small coffee shop/gas station, we said our good byes and i walked over to the on ramp for I90.
After about 10 minutes of thumbing I caught a ride with a guy Named Tony who was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. Tony dropped me off about 1/2 an hour down the road where I caught my next ride with a 58 year old dreadlock hippie named Jim - he is a certified , card carrying medicinal Pot smoker, and as it turns out a pretty interesting guy.
He has the longest dreadlocks I have ever seen and claimed to have been growing them since 1978! Anyway, we stopped at the Brick tavern in the town of Roslyn, Washington which is famous for being the town where the hit TV show "Northern Exposure" was filmed. The "Brick" served up some Micro brew beer and ale so I ordered ”Moose drool" dark ale, Jim had the same.
After drinking the Ale and engaging in some political conversation Jim drove me down the road to a spot about 15 miles from Roslyn. It was getting dark so i looked around for a place to camp for the night. I saw some pine trees in a cluster between the interstate and the on ramp so i hopped the guard rail and scrambled down the ramp heading for the trees.
I was in luck! the trees grew close together and had low hanging branches and the soft pine needle bed was bone dry. Taking the saw on my Swiss army knife a removed a few branched which were in my way. Taking the large Trash bag "Beast" had given me I Laid it down as a ground sheet then placed my crazy creek chair and therma rest pad on it .
I laid down and wrapped myself in my wiggies brand poncho liner and covered up with the plastic tarp i had brought from the Philippines. Between the noise of the interstate , the cool temperatures and the dampness decent sleep escaped me that night. I managed to sleep on and off most of the night but got up at 4 am, packed my junk and went back up the hill to the on ramp.
After about an hour or so of No cars I realized i was a little hungry. Digging into my packed i fished out the MRE that my friend had given me the day before. I dined on Chicken Brest, corn meal stuffing, M&M's, airline peanuts, cookies and 2 golden delicious apples. Using the trioxane fuel tabs I boiled up some water in my old canteen cup and made Instant tea.
So after 4 hours of thumbing and standing around in the cold I finally got a ride with a character named Ted and his lady friend Diane, they took me about an hour or so down the road across the Columbia River then dropped me off at "A great place to catch a ride" as Ted put - turns out it was a pretty bad place.
After 4 hours thumbing there i got a ride with a Mexican illegal alien couple named victor and esmerelda, pretty nice young folks actually, we chatted for a little while in Spanish about family, Mexico, travel and their jobs at the local Onion factory.
I asked them to drop me off at a rest area west of Spokane,Wa where after about 20 mins i got my next ride with a fella named Kermit, he was a retired USMC vet and certified rascal, he gave me some trail mix and advise, then dropped me off at a really good spot where i caught my next ride with a guy named Gus.
Gus took me across the state line into Idaho and dropped me off near Coeur d’alene,Idaho. My next ride was with a guy named Tim who was a manager with walmart in one of the small towns; Tim dropped me off at about dark near the town of Kellogg.
I managed to locate a place to Bivvy up and spend the night. Feeling a little tired I fell right to sleep after setting up my shelter for the night. I didn’t sleep very well and kept waking up every 2 hours or so, finally at about 4 am I made the decision to pack up and try to catch a ride.
The morning was windy and cold with overcast skies and i was freezing my tail off for 4 hours before i caught a ride with a knucklehead kid named Jimmy who worked for the highway department. Jimmy dropped me off in the town of Wallace, Idaho where i had an excellent breakfast at the Historic 1313 club bar and restaurant.
If you are ever traveling down I90 and pass through the town of Wallace I would recommend eating at the 1313 club, they serve up excellent food, and good service at a fair price.
After breakfast I walked around town to find an internet cafe, I managed to find free wifi at "The family affair" coffee shop, I had some more coffee and an excellent fresh made cranberry muffin while checking email.
So, I went back to the on ramp and thumbed for several more hours with no luck – it was going to be tough getting out of this town via hitch hiking!
As it began to get dark I realized that I would be spending the night there. I began to look around for a place to bivvy up for the night. Looking across the town I saw in the distance a marquee sign for the “Wallace Inn”.
Shouldering my gear I walked over to the hotel and told the desk clerk my story and asked her if I could hang out for the evening until early in the AM.
She said yes and I was welcome to rest in the lobby area and use the free wifi that was available. Cool!
After stashing my gear at the hotel I walked to the local grocery store and bought food for the road and to eat that evening, walking back toward the hotel I saw some benches outside of the local library and decided to sit there and make a couple of ham and swiss sandwiches.
While sitting there and grubbing up, I looked around the town of Wallace, apparently it was the silver capitol of the world at one time in its history – interesting.
After my meal of sandwiches, trail mix and fruit, I walked back to the Wallace in and fell to sleep in one of the lobby chairs for several hours.
I woke up around mid night then surfed the net until 3 AM then hit the road.
Around 8 AM I finally caught a ride with a guy named Steve who was heading for Bozeman ,Montana. He drove me down the road for about an hour then dropped me off at a decent place to catch a ride in the direction I was heading.
As luck would have it I managed to make it past Missoula Montana after several more rides. A local rancher named Jerry gave me a ride from the town of Bonner to the gate of his property on Hwy 200 abt 30 miles east of Missoula.
I tried but was unable to catch a ride that evening so I was forced to spend the night on the road again. It was OK tho because I was able to put up proper shelter, make some hot food and coffee.
Taking my Filipino Bolo knife I split some pitch wood and kindled a small fire – just enough to heat up some black beans and boil a cup of water for coffee, it was nice to sit there in the gathering twilight and have some hot food and listen to the animal sounds around me.
My eyelids were getting heavy so I wrapped up in my wiggy brand poncho liner and crashed out, I actually slept for 12 hours! I was awakened around 6 AM by the Hooting of a great horned owl and a Deer snorting behind my shelter, ahhhh – welcome home to Montana!
I quickly packed up and walked back down to the road where I caught a ride in about 20 mins with a young fella named Jason who had his own painting business.
Nice Kid! He dropped me off at Clear water Junction about 40 miles west of the town of Lincoln. I called my good friend Jager in Helena then he drove over and Picked my up from there.
It was an interesting trip, I am always amazed and impressed by the generosity of strangers when I travel .It seems that the folks with the least give or offer you the most.
On this particular trip I was offered Money, accommodation, and food on several occasions, it was my good fortune to meet and talk with number of good folks.
It took me 17 different rides to reach Helena From Seattle, the total distance is well over 500 miles and I would like to thank:
“Beast” and Max the Dog, Tony, Jim, Ted and Dianna, Victor and Esmerelda, Kermit, Gus, Tim, Jimmy, Steve, Ethan, Tim(2), Steve (2), Shawn, Jerry, Jason, and my good friend “Jager” .
Now it is time to rest up, eat some good food, clean and pack my gear then plan my next adventure.
Tomahawk – Scouts out!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wow, I’m about ½ way through a 25 hour layover at the Inchon airport in Korea. I was lucky enough to be able to change the Manila/Inchon leg of my trip for free, there by avoiding a 14 hour wait at terminal 1 in Manila.
I don’t know if you have ever been to the Nenoy Aquino airport but, I can assure you that a 25 hour wait at the Inchon airport is better than a 14 hour wait at terminal 1in manila.
So I hopped the Asiana airlines 777, seat 42B, for the 3 hour flight to Inchon – I had an empty seat next to me so it was a comfy trip. Flying coach is a new experience for me, back in the days when I had money – before my Chinese “Green card whore” X wife got all of it I would travel Business class.
For the Price of the ticket ($597.00 manila to Seattle) I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of service, the decent food, and the comfortable seats on Asiana, in the future Ill only use this Airline for my trips to Asia.
Anyhoo, after watching Pelham 123, and eating fish and pasta for dinner, I got up and walked around the 777 a bit. After farting a few times and bumming a cup of coffee from the flight attendants in the rear galley, I went back to my seat and took a short nap, the next thing I knew we were preparing to land.
So here I am in the Airport cooling my heels until 6:40 PM when my Asiana flight departs for Seattle.
Ill wander around some more buy another 4 dollar cup of coffee, eat a donut or 2, surf the net, take a nap, feed the president, and do some serious Girl watching.
When I get to Seattle and my subsequent hitch hiking trip to Montana ill do an update and let you know how it is going.
This is the tomahawk, live and on the road from the Inchon Airport.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Last night I was present for the inaugural Strong man Competition at the Marco Polo Resort in Cebu , Philippines. My business associates at Jungle Wild Adventures in Cebu and I were responsible for setting up the Event and there are currently plans for other strong man competitions in SE Asia.
The events were designed around the Beer keg as it was part of the German October fest celebration Here in Cebu.
The competition consisted of 7 competitors from various health and fitness clubs in Cebu, there was 5 events consisting of a Keg toss(empty), the "Ton of beer" walk which the strong men had to move 12 full kegs of water 35 meters, then back to the starting point.
The Keg Press, then holding the keg out in front of them as long as possible, then finally the "Atlas" where the competitors had to place kegs of different weight on top 55 gallon drums, all were timed events with the exception of the keg toss.
the fastest time for the ton of beer event was 4:30 seconds, one guy pressed a 40 Kilo keg 41 times to win that event, the winner of holding the full keg in front of them did it for 2:08, and the Atlas event was won in 11.3 seconds.
I was impressed with the distance the winner of the toss threw the Keg, 30' 6" !
even the empty kegs are hefty to me.
There was plenty of Bavarian style Food whipped up by Chef "D" of the Gustavian Restaurant in Banilad. There was also lots of Bavarian style Beer on tap as well as German schnaaps.
I had a great time watching the competition, I came away from it with a greater respect for the Strong man events and plan to watch a few more in the future.
The Marco Polo Hotel and Resort did an excellent job with the catering and set up of this event and went out of their way to assist Jungle Wild adventures in making this inaugural strong man competition a memorial event for all.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Just a quick post to inform you folks that i will be offline for a few days as of 15 October.
I will be leaving Cebu then flying to Seattle via manila. I managed to scrape together enough money for a ticket to Seattle only so I will hitch hike from there to Montana, swap out some gear, then hitch to Arizona.
My intention is to earn a little money as a wilderness instructor if I can locate a company doing any hiring.
If not I will most likely head for Baja Mexico where it is cheaper to live while I'm looking for a gig in the USA.
I have been checking the weather reports for Washington and Montana over the past week or so and it looks like cold weather has arrived in the NW a little early.
Coming from the tropics I will not have the warm clothing with me I would normally carry when traveling in the colder months.
My personal camping gear currently consists of:
Krag Dancer back pack with Lowe side pockets.
therma rest pad,
Crazy creek chair,
8x8 plastic tarp,
Wiggy Brand Poncho liner,
Hooded sweat shirt,
Light wind breaker,
2 T shirts,
2 short sleeved shirts,
Columbia river brand Pants and shorts,
3 pair of cotton socks,
leather gloves and wool liners,
cotton beenie cap,
In addition I have in my possession:
4 knives, Swiss army, green river, case Hobo, boker whittling knife,
ganfors bruks hatchet,
lap top,cell phone,camera,
sunglasses and reading glasses,
large dry bag,
1 2 qt canteen,
canteen cup with lid and spoon,
small fishing kit,
wrist rocket sling shot with extra rubbers and 100 00 buck shot for ammo.
It is kind of a light load and i will most likely be wearing most of my clothing due to the cold weather.
This could prove to be an interesting adventure , I'm hoping to get to Montana in 3 days. It will be necessary for me to use some of my wilderness survival skills in the form of foraging for food, making shelter, building fire etc.
Im really looking forward to it, I have been in this position before and I'm sure this will not be the last time either.
Necessity is the mother of invention, I'm very resourceful,and have cultivated Self preservation to a fine art.
There are a few words from A.B. Guthrie in his book "The way west" which sums up equipment for me.
Talking About the Plunder of Dick Summers wagon train guide and former Mountain man.
"Evans was looking at Summers little pile of plunder.There wasnt much there, Not near enough by the rules - A blanket and an old buffalo robe that covered just a teensey keg of whisky,a little bit of meal , about a shirt tail full of it, and salt meat and coffee and tobacco and a kettle and a couple of knives and two rifles, His old Hawken and an over and under double barrel with one bore big enough for bird shot. He has a little of Indian goods, too,blue and white beads and fish hooks and tobacco and a roll of scarlet strouding and some vermilion.
All this plunder put togeather wasnt much more than a couple of pack horses could carry easily.
Even so it was more than he needed.
He could travel from Hell to breakfast with no more than a gun and a horse, and would get there in time for dinner without the horse".
Look for me to be back online in abt 10 days or so.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
Friday, October 9, 2009
CHRISTMAS eve 2008; I had planned on spending a lazy day cooking and watching movies then turn in early since I have no wife,girl friend,kids or family to speak of.
But my adventurous spirit got the better of me and I grabbed my mountain bike & survival gear (camel back HAWG) and Lit out for the Huachuca Mountains abt 10 miles away.
It is a tough ride and uphill all the way from my apartment, I managed to make it into the foothills in about 1 1/2 hours. I was battling wind and rain, and I could see that there was a lot of snow coming down in the higher peaks so I made the decision to set up camp in Brown canyon.
It took me a few minutes to set up my cheap walmart tent, then rig my plastic tarp over it for additional protection.
I grabbed my gear and threw it into the tent, then it was just a matter of riding out the weather.
The gear I had on my bike consisted of tent, plastic sheeting, army goretex bivvy bag, slumberjack summer bag, crazy creek chair, my cook set, 4 knives my trusty old Green river knife named "old butch", my Case hobo, a Swiss army knife with a saw, and my old timer whittling knife.
Type 1 and type 5 nylon(parachute cord's). 1 gallon of water, camera, a light wind suit, extra socks, gloves, beanie cap, ball cap and other misc gear. my food consisted of 3 cans of sardines, instant coffee, sky flake crackers, animal crackers, thai style instant tea, and some candies.
darkness fell pretty quickly so I crawled into my sleeping bag and settled in for the night. I laid there in my sleeping bag listening to the rain hitting my tent and singing Christmas carols to myself.
During the night i could hear several Javalina moving around in the dark and heard the hoot of some owls, I noticed in the morning that a pack rat had stolen the lid to my travel mug.
It turned out to be a rainy, cold and windy night, I stayed in my bag until 1st light then got up to a cloudy Christmas morning.
The time was only about 7 am and since it was not raining I wanted to make some coffee before heading down the mountain. I kindled a small fire from oak and juniper wood using my bic lighter.
sitting in my crazy creek chair I filled my old army canteen cup with water and sat it on the coals to boil.
It was somewhat refreshing to be out in the cold air. I sat there watching wilderness TV(the fire) while the water boiled and munched a few animal crackers for breakfast.
I had done a lot of thinking during the night about Christmases in the past, I came to my own conclusion that it is all and illusion, and created by merchants to sell products.
The necessity people feel to buy and celebrate a false holiday never ceases to amaze me.
I would much rather be sitting alone near a small fire in the beautiful mountains then to be in a house full of people I don't really like or get along with, celebrating a false holiday - just my opinion.
By and by the water boiled and I made myself a full canteen cup or Folgers brand(my personal favorite) instant coffee, ate some animal crackers.
While dining in regal splendor there in the mountain I decided to stay over another night, I still had a little food and plenty of coffee. The only problem was water but I knew where to get that up the trail.
I packed my gear, then locked my bike and hid it in the woods, cached my tent in another area then headed up the trail.
My intention was to go to a spring I knew of and top off my water bottles, do a quick scout around then return to my camp area before dark. As I hiked along I began to see a lot of illegal alien signs, i.e. cast off clothing, candy wrappers, sardine cans etc.
Since I was low on food I made a quick scout around to see if I could locate a "Lay up site" and recover some canned food from the back packs the illegals throw away.
As luck would have it I located a small lay up site and was able to recover 2 cans of re fried beans, and 2 cans of tuna con vertudes(vegetables), a good score!
I stuffed the cans into my pack then continued my hike up to the spring.
Upon arrival at the spring i did as planned, topped off all of my water bottles then hid all but 1 of them.
I emptied out my pack and hid the contents of it along with the water bottles. Taking only food, water, and my bivvy sack I headed up the trail to Carr Peak. There was a bit of snow on the ground but the trail was clear.
Along the way i saw a flock of turkeys(10 i think), they were difficult to count due to their moving around. I also spotted several sonoran Coues deer, and saw plenty of javalina and Bear sign.
Since I had left Camp at about 8am I intended to hike 4 to 5 hours up the trail then turn around and head back to camp so that I would have plenty of light to do so.
It was great to be on the trail and seeing all of the different wild life, the temperature was slightly cool with a biting breeze, I loved it!
I made it all the way to the top of Carr peak 9000 plus feet, but was a little off of my allotted time schedule.
I decided to run back down the mountain to where I had stashed my water and pack contents. Stripping down to my hoody, shoes and pants, I stuffed my wind suit and other clothes in my pack then began my jogging decent.
It was a fairly easy jog down the mountain, I got to the gear stash, recovered my gear and water, then walked the remainder of the trail back to camp as a cool down.
My feet were a little sore By the time I got to camp, I left my bike hidden in the woods but recovered my tent , after pitching it and the rain tarp I again kindled a fire to boil water for coffee.
I remembered the cans of food I had recovered and made the choice to eat tuna and crackers for dinner, washed down with stout black coffee - It was a culinary delite! I finished off the meal with some hard candies for desert.
Thinking abt it I realized that I was eating an international meal - Mexican style tuna, Filipino crackers, american coffee and korean candies. Almost like dining in a 5 star restaurant!
Needles to say i was a little tired that night so I took a swig or two from my whisky flask then crawled into my sleeping bag, I do not remember anything from that night because I slept very soundly.
Early the next morning I got up, mixed instant coffee in my nalgene bottle , drank it cold, packed my gear and headed for home.
It was a good two nights in the woods and great way to spend a "holiday" weekend, I enjoyed it very much.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Rhodesian Selous scouts have always interested me, they may even be my all time favorite foreign military unit. I was in the u.s. army during the Rhodesian Bush war and remember the News from there vividly.I had a few friends from the USA and Europe who enlisted in the Rhodesian Light Infantry and Greys scouts, the Horse mounted Infantry Unit of the Rhodesian Forces.
Over the years I have had the opprotunity to meet and speak with some of the scouts , there exploits in the african bush are legendary, their skill in field craft and advanced infantry tactics were unmatched in the african theatre of war.
These guys would take off into the bush with minimal gear and weapons/ammo dressed in high top sneakers, shorts and a ripped up army shirt and use their Field craft/survival skills to assist them in accomplishing their specific missions.
Please take the time to read about the brave fighting men who took up the challenge to defend their country from all enemies.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
The Selous Scouts was a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. They were named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous (1851-1917), and their motto was pamwe chete, which translated from Shona means "all together", "together only" or "forward together". The charter of the Selous Scouts directed "the clandestine elimination of terrorists/terrorism both within and without the country."
The period in which the Selous Scouts operated was known as the Rhodesian Bush War or Second Chimurenga. This was a civil war fought between black nationalist guerrillas (ZANLA/ZANU and ZIPRA/ZAPU) and the white minority government of Ian Smith. Unlike the Rhodesian Light Infantry and the Rhodesian Special Air Service (SAS), the Selous Scouts were a mixed race force and had many black Rhodesians in its ranks including the first African commissioned officers in the Rhodesian Army.
The Selous Scouts acted as a combat reconnaissance force, its mission was to infiltrate Rhodesia's tribal population and guerilla networks, pinpoint rebel groups and relay vital information back to the conventional forces earmarked to carry out the actual attacks. Scouts were trained to operate in small under-cover teams capable of working independently in the bush for weeks on end and of passing themselves off as rebels.
The Selous Scouts were a strictly volunteer force, and only highly motivated men of the very highest calibre could fulfil the task they had to undertake. A mere 15 percent of the many who signed up to join the regiment emerged from the tough training programme with the right to wear the brown beret of the Selous Scouts.
As Lt. Col. Ron Reid Daly stated:
"...a special force soldier has to be a certain very special type of man. In his profile it is necessary to look for intelligence, fortitude and guts potential, loyalty, dedication, a deep sense of professionalism, maturity - the ideal age being 24 to 32 years -, responsibility and self discipline..."
Selection was rigorous, and even tougher than the Rhodesian Special Air Service course. As soon as volunteers arrived at Wafa Wafa, the Selous Scouts' training camp, on the shores of the Lake Kariba they were given a taste of the hardships they would have to endure.
On reaching the base (which was a 25 kilometres run away from the drop-off point) they saw no cosy barracks, no welcoming mess tent, but only a few straw huts and the blackened embers of a dying fire. There was no food issued. The goal was to starve, exhaust and antagonise the recruits. This usually proved successful as 40 or 50 men out of the original 60 regularly dropped out in the first two days. The selection course lasted seventeen days.
From the first light to 7 am they were put through a strength-sapping fitness programme. Afterwards they sharpened their basic combat skills and they had to pass a particularly nasty assault course several times, designed to overcome their fear of heights. As soon as the night fell, they went on to the night training.
In the first five days, no food was issued at all. After this only rotten animals were available. At the end, there were an endurance march of 100 kilometres, laden with 30 kilograms of rocks in their packs. The rocks were painted red, so they could not be discharged and replaced at the end. The final stage of these was a speed march, and had to be completed in a mere two-and-a-half hours.
Those who survived these days were given a week off, and taken to a special camp for the dark phase of their training. There they learned to act and talk like the enemy. The base was built and set out as a real rebel camp, and the instructors were on hand to turn the recruits into fully-fledged members of the enemy groups.
In this phase recruits were taught to break with habits such as shaving, rising at regular times, smoking and drinking and to adopt a guerilla lifestyle. The recruits, after finishing their training had little time to congratulate themselves, because only a week after their successful completion of the course, they were in the bush on patrol with the Selous Scouts.
The regiment was proposed by members of the British South Africa Police Special Branch, and many of its earliest recruits were policemen.
The Selous Scouts differed from C Squadron 22 (Rhodesian) SAS, in that it was formed specifically to take part in tracking and infiltration operations in which soldiers would pretend to be guerrillas -- so-called pseudo-operators. These tactics were used very successfully in the Mau Mau Uprising. In addition, it often recruited from enemy forces; captured guerrillas were offered a choice between prison, a trial and possible execution or joining the Selous Scouts.
This concept was initially highly controversial in the Rhodesian government; the idea of "turning" what they regarded as captured terrorists instead of punishing them was unpalatable to some. However, the idea's supporters, who won out, portrayed these operations as an aspect of counter-insurgency similar to the law enforcement use of informants and 'sting' methods to penetrate and disrupt criminal and subversive organizations.
In order to keep knowledge of their existence as restricted as possible, the "turned" guerrillas were paid from Special Branch funds which were not accountable to government auditors, and volunteers for the unit were not told of its actual function until they actually joined it; in some cases, where captured guerrillas had already entered the judicial system, the Selous Scouts would fake their escapes without informing the Criminal Investigation Department.
In order to prevent the regular army or police from firing at the regiment while it was operating, the authorities would declare "frozen areas", where Army and Police units were ordered to temporarily cease all operations in, and withdraw from, certain areas, without being told the reason for this. Many commanders felt that the initiation of "frozen areas" ceded control to the enemy and reduced the initiative of the security forces.
In addition to the obvious tactic of luring "fellow" guerrillas into ambushes, the pseudo-operators also took measures to weaken popular support for the guerrillas; in one case, for example, a group of pseudo-operators pretending to be guerrillas accused eight of the most enthusiastic guerrilla supporters in the Madziwa region of being police informers and beat them up before leaving.
The unit's detractors cited events like this as the difference between the phrases anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism.
The Selous Scouts used covert forms of chemical warfare. Clothing was impregnated with parathion and left for enemy guerillas to find.
Cigarettes and canned food were used in a similar fashion after being contaminated with thallium.
The camouflage used by reserve members of this unit as pseudo-forces were captured "Warsaw Pact" clothing originating from various countries and specified for certain operations.
There is no doubt that the regiment achieved many of its objectives; its members were acclaimed trackers, and the unit was responsible for 68% of all guerrilla deaths within the borders of Rhodesia.However, its C.O., Ron Reid-Daly, was irascible and enjoyed a poor relationship with many of the Rhodesian Army commanders; in addition, from 1978 there were persistent rumours that soldiers in the regiment had been implicated in ivory poaching in the Gonarezhou National Park and that an ivory processing "factory" existed at Andre Rabie Barracks near Inkomo Garrison.
The friction between the Army command and Reid-Daly peaked on 29 january 1979, when a bugging device was found in Reid-Daly's office. Not to mention this compromised ongoing Selous Scout operations, and therefore it became necessary to call them off.
The Selous Scouts numbered only about 1,500 men at peak strength, yet according to a Combined Operations statement, they inflicted 68 percent of the nationalist guerilla fatalities between 1973 and 1980.
Following the dissolution of the regiment in 1980, many of its soldiers travelled south to join the South African Defence Force, where they joined 5 Reconnaissance Commando. Those that remained formed 4th Bn(HU)R.A.R. which was placed on "immediate standby " for most of its short service. The battalion covered the areas to the north of Andre Rabie Barracks, as far as Miami/Mangula in the east and as far as Kariba in the north. The unit existed from 23 April to 30 September 1980 when it changed its name for the final time and became as it is today, 1st Zimbabwe Parachute Battalion/Group.