Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements

Here is a post i placed in another forum some time ago After discussing in another thread the problems with the wooden building that are so often used elsewhere in the world I thought I would post my 2 cents on how its done in Africa at many farms I have visited and read about over the years. Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements The following is a general overview:

1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside of all windows and Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled, usually expanded steel mesh used for barbeque’s.

2) Many farmers built thick sand bag walls in front and under bedroom windows to stop bullets passing through walls and providing secured firing arc’s, sandbags were stacked in front of doors, about a meter away so that they were protected … and low sand bag bunkers built and fox holes were sometimes dug to provide fire positions. Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

3) It was usual to have a designated safe room, with the Radio, within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attacks

4) Every farmhouse, in a given area, was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal rocket -It performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status. South Africa also had such a system Called MARNET. MARNET also included a panic button on the front of the radio – and each radio had a unique packet radio serial code that it would broadcast when the button was pressed, this was recognized by the other radios in the same net and would alert those in the same commando team to check in to find out who raised the alarm, and then dispatch a team to go relieve the defenders.

5)At the very furthest perimeter, ( about 200 m away from the farm house ) a “fence” is placed , this is simply a coil of wire  (about 60 cm loops that are hard to avoid, and impossible to see at night )  placed at random each day, the coiled wire is designed to move when disturbed and  rattle the soda cans with stones in, that are attached to it , to wake the dogs, forming an effective trip wire alarm.

wire alarm

a ditch of about 60 cm deep and 1m wide was dug around the outer fence a few meters away to stop vehicles battering through the fences. The  fence was about 50 m- 100m  away from the main house (out of throwing distance for petrol bombs and grenades  but within accurate rifle fire range),  the outer fence was lower ( mainly due to cost )  and topped and bottomed with barb wire and alarmed with simple soda cans with stones inside that would rattle and wake the dogs, if they were disturbed, this fence would often enclose all the outbuildings, a well or dam,  and a veggie garden.

Around the farmhouse were erected security fences with barbed wire coils  (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them, or were electrified. This inner fence was usually very high 10 feet or more and strong welded mesh, topped with barb wire and close to the main house, about 4-10 meters away from the sand bags, with a ditch about 1 meter deep and about 2 meters away from the inner fence.

The reason for the inner fence and ditch was, much like todays BAR Armour on Hummers that  the American’s  use .. the inner fence would catch grenades and they would then roll into the ditch and explode there, causing little damage, also an RPG fired at the house would also be caught by the fence and do little damage to the main house, exploding or getting tangled in the fence maybe even before it armed.

Within the inner fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.” Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc.

The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse. The flood lighting often included hardened lighting, with either basic bullet proofing or reflectors . If the light is placed behind sand bags ,polished stainless steel sheet reflectors were used to provide light from the  lights shining vertically upwards . lights were/are the first targets and if the reflectors were shot they still worked … albeit with a few holes.

6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FN FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra/MAC 10. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids – usually a .22 rifle from age 10 till 14, then a full powered 303, if younger then 10 they can bring ammo and messages from other parts of the house , stand guard and bring water and food to other defenders. In one famous incident a child successfully fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night,  some had bullet-proof vests with all  they needed attached i.e magazines, medical trauma packs etc .

7) Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, as a favorite of terrorists was to land-mine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.

8) Some farm gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth the strike patterns are aimed low to strike the legs and crawling attackers.

9)Out buildings were often fitted which screens of thin steel or wood. they provide false cover to intruders, who would have to stand behind the sheets to fire around the corners of building,s but could easily be picked off if they did, by firing through the false cover.

please excuse the mspaint art


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