Title: The Saints
Subtitle: The Rhodesian Light Infantry
Author: Alexandre Binda
Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers
Johannesburg, South Africa 2007
ISBN 9781920143879 / ISBN 978-1-920143-87-9
Original softcover, 22 x 27 cm, 544 pages, numerous images
Very good, like new.
The Saints tells a story about the Rhodesian Light Infantry and the young soldiers who fought bravely and fiercely in a remote African war 30 years ago. In its short 19-year history, from 1961 to 1980, the Rhodesian Light Infantry was to carve for itself an enduring legacy as counter-insurgency fighters par excellence. Made up of over 20 different nationalities, the RLI was a 'foreign legion' in the truest sense. Having defined the Fireforce concept, that of total airborne envelopment of the enemy, in collaboration with the Rhodesian Air Force, the RLI was to develop and refine this technique with ruthless and devastating effect against the overwhelming communist tide of Robert Mugabe's ZANLA and Joshua Nkomo's ZIPRA guerrillas.
Overstretched and under-manned, troops were at times parachuted into two or three contacts a day, the highest number of descents by one para being a staggering 73 operational jumps. Kill rates don't win wars, but it is estimated that The Saints accounted for between 12,000 and 15,000 enemy guerrillas, with the loss of 85 men killed in action and 50 men who died on operations. Soldiers of the Rhodesian Light Infantry were recipients of fours Silver Crosses and 42 Bronze Crosses of Rhodesia. The RLI had won all their battles but, with the advent of Zimbabwe, the war was lost. On 17 October 1980, under the command of the last Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Charlie Aust, the colours were laid up, before the ouens of Rhodesian Light Infantry marched off the parade ground ... and into history. They had done their duty.