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on April 9, 2008
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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on January 29, 2008
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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on February 25, 2010
"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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on September 8, 2014
I give it 3 stars and this is why, I really like the story. Its one of the better ones ive read. However the typos were really annoying to deal with. Maybe its because it is a kindle download, I don't know. I almost gave up reading it, it was so bad. Why didnt someone proofread it first?! It would be a first class digital book if the dozens of typos were corrected. Ive read other kindle books with this problem but nothing with this many problems. Its a real shame since it is such a good story. Someone please proofread these things!
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on December 7, 2012
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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on September 12, 2010
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. I wondered why as I read the book, and I still wonder now.

I would not compare this book to All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and A. W. Wheen, but I would compare it very favorably to Legionnaire: Five Years in the French Foreign Legion by Simon Murray. The only problem I had with the book at all was it was not longer. The man can write very effectively; he is both observant and intelligent; I wish he had reflected a bit more on the why and still give the reader the benefit of the what. That is surely the best criticism one can make of a book.

If you are interested in the infantry at war or in the Rhodesian conflict you could not choose a better book. It is the real thing.
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on October 30, 2014
Having lived through the war years in Rhodesia with a husband who went into the army for 6 weeks in and 6 weeks out as ant artillery gunner, I can really identify with this story.The language used brings back all sorts of memories of those bygone days.

Unfortunately this version of the book was NOT proof read. On every page there are instances where Spell Check has obviously been used and incorrect words printed, thus making no sense of many sentences. An example is diem for the word the or them. another is malted instead of talked. Also the words with rn come out as m - i.e stern reads as stem.

This book should not have been published as it is because it spoils the reading having to work out exactly what words mean in the context. I feel that these hundreds of error should be corrected before the book is sold.
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on March 8, 2010
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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on October 17, 2009
I just wanted to read about the Rhodesian war, I remember in late 70's
and early 80's the phrase "be a man among men join the Rhodesian army",
I kinda thought it was a mercinary war from that phrase,but after reading
the book the army was more like French Foreign legion, the RLI anyways.
Chris Cocks did not hold back writing on what he saw nor what he did during his
years in the Rhodesian light infantry, very honest and blunt,a very
interesting read.
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on November 4, 2012
In the introduction, it is claimed that Chris Cocks' FireForce was to the Rhodesian Bush War as All Quiet on the Western Front is to World War I. At first I dismissed this statement as self-boasting, however I was to find this was actually an accurate comparison. Both are well written, amazing, tragic stories of war as witnessed through the eyes of a young soldier.

Now I myself have served 4 years in the US Regular Army- Active Duty. My service included a 12 month tour of duty in South Korea, and a 12 month deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, and I am currently serving in the Army National Guard. With this being so, I felt I could easily connect with the author's stories. His description of military life mirrors my own experiences in many respects (not talking about the intense close quarters combat the author described of course!). If this book was to be read by someone with no military experience, they may have difficulty understanding various military jargon and what not, but I doubt this would prevent one from enjoying the book none-the-less.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the recent past in regards to the decolonization of Africa, the oft forgotten Rhodesian Bush War, or just interested in the counter-insurgency tactics employed by the RLI, tactics described greatly within the book and tactics that are studied today by American commanders in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

I feel this book should be more popular then it already is, as I can't find any faults with it. It is neither outright pro-, nor anti-war, and written well enough to be enjoyed by all.
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