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This searing account primarily covers Ed Bird's Special Branch (SB) service in the Beitbridge area of southern Matabeleland, 1976-1980, encompassing Operations Repulse and Tangent of the bitter Rhodesian 'bush war'.

Joining the British South Africa Police (BSAP) in 1964, Bird cut his teeth on Selous Scouts 'pseudo' operations during Operation Hurricane in 1974-1976, so was well equipped to deal with the insidious escalation of the ZANLA and ZIPRA campaigns in the south of the country.

A meticulous recorder, Bird implemented and maintained the Beitbridge SB incident log, and it is this diary of terror and death upon which Bird's account hangs, interspersed with detailed accounts of fire fights, ambushes, landmine blasts, ZANLA executions, traitors and assassinations, SB 'dirty tricks' and 'turning' terrorists.

Although first and foremost an intelligence-gatherer, Bird thrived on combat and against all protocol inveigled his way onto Fire Force operations and as an air mobile MAG machine-gunner on converted Police Reserve Air Wing aircraft. Decorated for bravery but overlooked for promotion, Bird's BSAP career became victim to spurious political expedience.

Paperback, 320 pages. Published February 2014 (First Edition)

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Thys Swart
Special Branch War Review

A detailed report on bush war activity in southern Matabeleland that provides valuable insight and contributes to a holistic view of the Rhodesian Bush War activity. An addition to my library. Thank you for documenting this history. I am from Lomagundi District and schooled in Sinoia, find this informative in terms of activity in the South. Still reading. Interesting the information regarding Selous Scouts. Enjoying the content. Precious to me.

Special Branch War: Slaughter in the Rhodesian Bush. Southern Matabeleland, 1976-1980

Very well written book with great accounts of the excellent work done by Special Branch

Charmaine McAllister
Rhodesian War Books

Part of our history, and very precious to me


Customer Reviews

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