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Fireforce: One Man's War in the Rhodesian Light Infantry 4Rev Ed Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0958489096
ISBN-10: 0958489092
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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers; 4Rev Ed edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0958489092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0958489096
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,353,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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"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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a first-person account of one man's tour of duty in the Rhodesian Light Infantry in the late 1970's. The subject is interesting and if you are like me and have little knowledge of the conflict, you will come away enlightened. There are several issues with the book, however, The stories are often interrupted by transcripts of letters the author wrote home and articles in the battalion newsletter or newspapers. These distract from the flow of the narrative and would be better served being relegated to an appendix. There are also several spelling errors in the Kindle version. These complaints aside, the writing is generally good and the story itself is compelling. The author takes you from his enlistment to his discharge three years later, detailing the training and life in the infantry in a time of continual combat. He doesn't shy away from the brutal nature of the conflict at all and some passages are difficult to read. There is also a lengthy appendix with good information.
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