Formation: 1 January 1974
The Selous Scouts are to be trained for, and be prepared to take part in any of the operations/tasks mentioned below.
a. Military assistance to the Civil Power.
b. Internal Security Operations, Urban and Rural (ISOPS).
c. Counter Insurgency Operations (COINOPS).
d. Classical War Operations.
In addition they are to provide Tracker Combat Teams for units of the Security Forces in order to:
a. Follow up tracks.
b. Undertake reconnaissance tasks.
(Written using information from from Dudley Wall's excellent book, Insignia and History of the Rhodesian Armed Forces 1890 - 1980)
The unit was named after Frederick Courtney Selous (1851 - 1917), the great hunter and friend of Cecil Rhodes.
It was formed at the behest of Gen Walls in 1974 following experiments by the BSAP Special Branch and the RAR.
The unit was formed under the command of Lt Col Ron Reid Daly at Inkomo and took over the tracking school at Kariba. As well as from the regular forces, many of their troops were recruited from captured terrorists who were turned and used to great effect.
The unit was of mixed race with a black majority. By 1977 it's strength was 1,000 men and it was renowned throughout the Rhodesian Forces.
Considerable effort was made in the gathering of intelligence such as weapon numbers, terrorist tactics, routes used, etc. The Scouts themselves used the same routes as the terrorists to get into their areas of operation. Through villagers they were able to make contact with real terrorist gangs, infiltrate them and then eliminate them from within.
As the war progressed the Scouts also carried out long range patrols into Zambia and Mocambique. These were recconnaissance rather than raiding parties, and the information was used to mount heavily armed raids using the Air Force and regular Army to attack and destroy large terrorist training and gathering camps.
The Scouts claim the majority of terrorist kills during the Rhodesian War, 1965 to 1980. This claim includes indirect kills.
The unit was disbanded on the 18th April 1980.