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FIREFORCE: One Man's War in The Rhodesian Light Infantry Paperback – May, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers; 4th Edition edition (May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0958489092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0958489096
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #684,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Fireforce' will be to the Rhodesian War what Remarque's 'All Quiet on the Western Front' was to WWI. --Jim Mitchell, The Star

Of the many books that are appearing dealing with Rhodesia and the war years, this is probably the best. --Armed Forces South Africa

About the Author

CHRIS COCKS was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1957 and served three years and 28 days as a combat NCO with 3 Commando, the Rhodesian Light Infantry (the RLI, an airborne/airmobile unit), from 1976 to 1979. He was then offered a farming job in the country’s Lowveld; however, the army refused to countenance a waiver of call-ups, so he attested into the British South Africa Police and spent the remaining 14 months of the bush war as a PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit) stick leader and avoiding the Military Police. He moved to Johannesburg in 1996 and stumbled into a publishing career, specializing in southern African military history. He has written four books: the bestselling Fireforce: One Man’s War in the Rhodesian Light Infantry, its sequel Out of Action, a steamy novel Cyclone Blues, and co-wrote The Saints, the RLI’s history. He is the historian for The Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association and edits its magazine, The Cheetah.

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Customer Reviews

Very well written.
Bruce
This is great piece on the Rhodesian War and is a must for all followers of the conflict.
Dan Wood
The American Paratroopers who had the most jumps in WW2 had maybe 5 combat jumps.
HBHCFSU

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By HBHCFSU on April 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book, written by a guy who has more combat jumps than ANYONE in the US or UK military (well, that's unsubstanitated...but I'm pretty sure.) The book's about a conscript who signs on to become a regular in the Rhodesian Security Forces, Rhodesian Light Infantry. These guys jumped in combat several times a week. The American Paratroopers who had the most jumps in WW2 had maybe 5 combat jumps. The author had close to 40. I cannot say enought good things about this book. It's well written and easy to read. Very informative and full of good information. I'm reading these books to get insight on how to win against guerillas. The Rhodesians won militarily, but lost due to politics. It's the typical story of how the military does the right thing, fights well and wins, but is held back by gutless politicians. OK enough rant from me. The book is good. Lots of action, lots of detail. I'm not a professional reviewer (as if you couldn't tell), but this book was great! One of those that I didn't want to be over! The only better book I've read on the Rhodesian Bush War is At The Going Down Of The Sun, by Charlie Warren, another trooper that served with the author in the same unit. Both books are good and highly reccomended.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By V. T. James Burgess on January 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Story of a time when the world looked the other way and a lot of good people got s*****d over by Politicians, as usual. This is the inside detail of one of the finest Regiments ever to exist.
Spot on Chris, could see the barracks gates again and, almost smell it.
Good job.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By One of Marius' Mules on February 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Fireforce" is probably the best known and most widely read book to come out of Rhodesia's Bush War. This is in fact the fourth edition from 2006 and it's just a super read. Another personal narrative, this one is also written from the stick leader/section leader point of view. That being said, the author provided plenty of background information so the reader can see the bigger picture. Some of the things I appreciated about the book: 1. There are tons of photographs scattered throughout including two color photograph sections, 2. It has a good map and a good index, 3. Several interesting appendices for you to peruse including an operations order reproduced in its entirety, 4. A chapter on uniforms, comms, weapons, and equipment (both Rhodie and terr) and 5. Pencil sketches at the beginning of each chapter. This is not "zap-blat-gott-in-himmel-bayonet-in-the-guts" braggadocio of a former RLI soldier, it's solid (that goes for Charlie Warren's book too). I highly recommend it, it's a must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Harrison on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clearly Chris Cocks has been to war. Anyone that has been in a military unit in combat that reads this book will see that quickly. He is also trying very hard to be honest about what happened to him during his service and about what he saw. One of the things a veteran learns very quickly after the war is over for him is that each man lives his own war. Even two men that served together, fought together and came home together will often have profoundly different memories of what happened. However, having said this they will also be able to distinguish between a real war story, and BS. There is no BS in Mr. Cocks' book.

Who ever starts them, wars are actually fought by young men, and women today. The men on the ground were young, very young. Wars are messy, bloody and always cruel. The battlefield of today, whether in Rhodesia or Afghanistan, is a very lethal place. That was the first thing that Mr. Cocks learned. The second was that if was not absolutely on top of his game all the time in combat--he would be killed. If he made a mistake both he and his friends could be killed. This is a hard lesson for someone who only reaches 21 three quarters of the way through the book. At some point he also learned that even if he was on the top of his game--he still might be killed. Sometimes only luck is enough to bring you home.

One of the things that surprised me in this book was the relative lack of effectiveness of the AK-47 in the hands of the rebels during firefights with the Rhodesian Light Infantry. According to both Mr. Cocks and the disparity in the kill ratios between rebels and Rhodesian forces, the AK-47 did not live up to its deadly effective reputation it earned in other conflicts in other places.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N R. de Montalk on December 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought the hardcover book about 10 years ago and rate it as one of my all time favorite books.
However, I bought the kindle version a couple of days ago and was stunned by the spelling mistakes littered throughout it. Somehow, during the process of converting to kindle format, a well written and edited book has been turned into gibberish in places. If you are annoyed by poor spelling I would recommend that you stay away from the kindle version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dan the Man on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always been keenly interested in the Rhodesian bush wars. In high school I was reading Soldier of Fortune Magazine for all the Rhodesia stories I could find. Trouble is, there's just not that much out there on the subject.

I knew of Fireforce for years but never found it available. Well as luck would have it, I was surfing Amazon and there it was. Available.

Three days later it was on my doorstep!

Chris Cocks fills in an area of little known recent history, and he does it well. He tells his story in the plain terms of a Troopie. You get the full story. From his consideration of evading his call up through training and command of his own "stick", all the way to his discharge (where ironically he was offered a promotion to sergeant to remain in service). His experiences in training, the combat, the drinking and dope smoking, all the bush war action is openly related. Written in a fast paced style. This book is dense with information. Not a word is wasted.

The wreckage, in human terms, of the bush war is shared too.

Chris Cocks carries the memories of a war and a country the world has largely ignored. He and the other bush war vets have a voice in this book that all military men (active and inactive)and history fans need to read. This is one book that I will read many more times.
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