Grey's Scouts


Grey's Scouts

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Grey's Scouts


caption=Grey's Scout badge
country=Rhodesia
allegiance=Republic of Rhodesia
type=Mounted Infantry
branch=Regular Army, Rhodesian Bush War
dates=July 1975–November 1980
specialization=
command_structure=
size=
current_commander=
garrison=
ceremonial_chief=
nickname=
motto=
colors=Red & Grey color box|redcolor box|gray
march=
mascot=
battles=Rhodesian Bush War
notable_commanders=
anniversaries=

Grey's Scouts was a horse-mounted regiment of the former Rhodesian army, Cite web|url=http://www.specencyclopaedia.com/web/continents/Africa/Zimbabwe/Grey's%20Scouts/grey_scouts.shtml|title=Grey's Scouts Overview|accessmonthday=5 April|accessyear=2007] Cite web|url=http://www.militaryhorse.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3214|title=www.militaryhorse.org|accessmonthday=5 April|accessyear=2007] and is now a regiment in the Special Forces of Zimbabwe. The official title is now Zimbabwe Mounted Infantry, but the old title is still used unofficially.

The unit got its name from George Grey, considered a hero in Rhodesia for his acts and service during the Matabele War of 1893. The group became known for their effectiveness in the war in Rhodesia, and were feared by their enemies.

Service

Formation

After a conference was held in Salisbury Army HQ in 1974, a consensus was made to create a small mounted infantry unit, at the time known properly as No 1 Mounted Infantry Unit, a group of people that later became Grey's Scouts in 1976. Cite web|url=http://www.specencyclopaedia.com/web/continents/Africa/Zimbabwe/Grey's%20Scouts/history.shtml|title=Grey's Scouts History|accessmonthday=5 April|accessyear=2007] The original men of the Grey's Scouts had come from a provisional unit that served during 1973 and 1974, to help Rhodesian Security Forces base camps by providing pack transport that were not able to be resupplied due to the catastrophic rains and weather of the time.

Career

The scouts became officially recognised as No 1 MIU in July 1975. They were composed of 100 people, and were co-located at Inkomo Barracks near Salisbury, sharing the premises with the Selous Scouts. The Grey Scouts were initially raised for pseudo-gang work, first working in Troops, but eventually developed into entire squadrons, of which there were two. This evolving of No 1 MIU was due to the amount of progress that they had made in their previous duties and occupations in gang work, tracking and military intelligence. The group then became mostly concerned with several tasks such as reconnaissance, the obtaining of information, holding certain areas, and generally providing defence until more support could arrive. The group were also involved in military intelligence, and although they did not perform well in this area of expertise, they were still effective in combat, displayed several times in disadvantageous situations. One time, a 10 man section on patrol killed 18 ZIPRA nationalists in a battle that lasted approximately 3 hours, and another time, during a mission to take over an area, they suffered only two casualties in the killing of 51 nationalists.

Growth

Upon forming of the group, the 100 or so men of the original pack provisions unit quickly rose to approximately 400 (250 beingtroopers, with veterinary personnel also being posted to the Scouts) No 1 MIU became Grey's Scouts on 1 July 1976, but it was in January 1977 that they were accepted onto the Army ORBAT. By 1979, there were 1,000 Scouts in Grey's Scouts (some 250 Regular/NSM as troopers, territorials, and support personnel Reg/TA), in two regular squadrons.

The Commanders and Scouts

Maj. Beaver Fraser Kirk, Sgt. Maj Roy Watson and others were part of the original HQ GroupMajor Anthony Stephens was the first commanding officer of both the Regular and Territorial units of the Grey's Scouts. Born in 1932, Stephens had been a National Service officer in the Irish Guards, and as a civilian in Singapore, had married the daughter of the second in command of the Rhodesian African Rifles in Malaya. He can be credited for shaping the Scouts, and he provided good leadership to the units. Due to illness, he retired in 1977, being replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Michael MacKenna. Second in command of the Scouts was Sergeant Roy Elderkin. He provided good support for Stephens during the early years of the Scouts, and was a former riding instructor or rough rider with the King's Troop. He had retired and was the manager of a horse stud/riding school near Inkomo Barracks. Whilst the group was mainly composed of both black and white Rhodesians, a number of foreign people had joined the ranks, as well as many women from the Rhodesian Women's Service, the members of which were responsible for chores such as the working of the horses, as well as taking care of the several dogs which had been later enlisted when the Grey's Scouts also became involved in the training of tracker, explosive and mine and guard dogs raised for the Rhodesian Army and Air Force.

Disbanding

After the Grey's Scouts disbanded on the 1st of November 1980, the Zimbabwe National Army were inspired to create the 1st Mounted Infantry Battalion by their success. This new battalion was made up of many black soldiers from the Grey's Scouts.However, this new group did not last, because it proved impossible to maintain personnel for training exercises and purposes, and so the 1st Mounted Infantry Battalion soon disintegrated.

Other information

* Raised: July 1974, No 1 Mounted Infantry Unit
* Redesignated: July 1 1976, Grey's Scouts
* Disbanded: November 1st 1980

Notes

External links

* [http://www.specencyclopaedia.com/ Specencyclopaedia]
* [http://www.webshots.com/search?query=greys+scouts&new=1&source=chromeheader| Several pictures and photographs of the Grey's Scouts]
* [http://www.militaryhorse.org/ Militaryhorse]
* [http://www.rhodesiawassuper.com/ Rhodesiawassuper] Books on Rhodesia, Grey Scouts. Dvds, cds and custom apparel

See also

* Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment
* Rhodesian Light Infantry
* Rhodesian SAS
* Rhodesian African Rifles
* Selous Scouts
* Rhodesian Air Force
* British South Africa Police


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