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3 Battalion Guard Force


3 BATTALION GUARD FORCE.

We have at this stage [ JAN 2015 ] not much information about the unit and we are desperately looking for a former soldier of this unit or any other information available. Even small bits and pieces of information would help.

What do we know at this stage :

A/Comdt  Mark  Axworthy   , Officer Commanding  RHQ “ F “ / MTOKO   supplied the following information :

3 BN was formed in mid 1979. It went straight into a full infantry role in the second half of 1979, initially in the Sub-JOC Mtoko area and from mid-1979 in other parts of Mashonaland. Its HQ at Stamford Farm close to Salisbury was essentially administrative. The unit consisted of six companies, independently deployed on active operations. I don’t know if all companies were full operationally deployed. They were organized and flexible deployed in much the same way as the BSAP Support Unit . Each company had four platoons, one of each was always on R&R on a six-weeks-on, two- weeks off cycle, thereby allowing the company to remain permanently in the field. Each company was fully motorized, including at least three Crocodiles, a Puma flatback, a Kudu X and a Land Rover. Weaponry now included a full issue of lMG MAGs, 60 mm Commando Mortars, 42Z rifle grenades, hand grenades etc.. Communications by using A-76 radios.

When the unit was formed in 1979, it had triangular penants screen printed for each of its six companies.

3 BN was the model for future Guard Force development. At the end of 1979 the majority of the Guard Force was deployed on Farm Protection. A new policy was to be introduced for a structured farm militia to be trained and equipped by the BSAP using farm labourers. This would release the Guard Force soldiers deployed on Farm Protection for an infantry role. For example, at the ceasefire AHQ “ F “ had been partly replaced by the new farm militia in the Mtoko / Mrewa area and was due to become the first Farm Protection Unit fully converted to an infantry role.

The plan was to create a total of eight Infantry Battalions by converting the five RHQs into five additional infantry battalions, but the ceasefire prevented any further move in this direction.

This would have made an all Infantry trained, equipped and structured Guard Force consisting of eight Infantry Battalions little distinguishable  from the diluted RAR of eight Battalions under consideration by late 1979 or the eight Battalions of RR, which were largely manned by soldiers by the same date. The logical conclusion would have been to absorb Guard Force into the Rhodesian Army.

                                                           


Symbolic of this new infantry role was a sleeve badge [ not mentioned in any of the Rhodesian uniform books ]. This was designed, approved and ordered in late 1979 and the first sample was received in early 1980.. However it was never introduced because of the end of the War. It was to be the same size and shape as the Rhodesian Army “ Lion and Pick “ flash worn in the same place. Its background field was to be horizontal brown/red/brown stripes like the Guard Force stablebelt and its device was top be a vertical, yellow, Roman sword with “ IV “ on its hilt. The design of the sword was to be the same as on the “ Bastion “ cap badge. However, the crenelated tower found on the “ Bastion “ cap badge was no longer to be used.

This was symbolic of Guard Force’s move from a defensive protective function to a more offensive Infantry role.

At the same time a pullover of Army pattern, but in the same neutral brown colour as INTAFs V-neck pullovers was trialled.

The above contribution by A/Comdt Mark Axworthy is based on his experiences,  knowledge and access to the monthly Commander’s Conferences were such issues were discussed. Like most of our articles on our website we cannot  back up all inputs with some official documentation and must therefore rely on the memories of our former Guard Force soldiers. It is therefore very important that we can get input from other Guard Force soldiers to confirm, add on , delete or correct previous inputs.

Other  informations  confirmed  by documents :

OPS  ORDER  OP QUARTZ  [ OP THRASHER ]  27 FEB 1980:

3 BN C-COY  Odzi area

3 BN  E-COY  Wedza

3 BN D-COY Chipinga / Rusape / Wedza to protect European Farming Area Wedza / Marandellas.

LIST OF COMMANDERS COMMENDATIONs :

Comdt R H Atkinson     3 BN  D-COY

Comdt  D M Campbell   3 BN  F-COY.



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