A Rhodesia Army soldier standing guard while people play golf

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Struggle for Independence in Colonial Zimbabwe 1900-1980: Escalation of War

  • The war spread throughout Rhodesia by 1977 and ZANLA forces were stationed in Mozambique and they operated in Mashonaland whilst ZIPRA were in Matebeleland and stationed in Zambia.
  • The guerillas saw the need to be organized and be more strategic as a disorganized force was not going to defeat the enemy
  • They had to make use of modern weapons and training was intensified in countries that were allies of the forces
  • The Colonial government announced to launch a campaign to win the hearts and minds of the povo  on 3 April 1977 through General Peter Walls
  • However General Walls got news that ZANLA forces were assembling in Mapai city in Mozambique in May
  • He was ordered by Prime Minister Smith to destroy the base and he announced to the media that his forces were changing their fighting strategy from contain and hold to search and destroy and hot pursuit if it became necessary
  • The ZANLA and Rhodesian forces met on 30 May 1977 in the battle known as Operation Aztec at Mapai and 32 ZANLA troops were killed and 1 Rhodesia pilot was also killed
  • The Mozambican government argued that they shot down one helicopter and three planes and took some troops as prisoners but the claims were denied by the Colonial Government
  • The Rhodesian Security forces’ invasion of Mozambique was condemned by The United Nations Security Council in Resolution 411, of 30 June 1977
  • Walls was adamant to attack the Mapai till they had eliminated the ZANLA forces until the UN, Soviet Union and USA condemned it
  • A Woolworths shop in Salisbury was attacked and bombed in August 1977 and about 11 civilians were killed and 70 were
  • Rhodesian forces launched another attack called Operation Dingo in November 1977 which was a surprise attack and it caused a lot of casualties on guerrillas
  • The Rhodesian forces planned an insurgency to disturb the FRELIMO through its Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation

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