Fireforce Paperback - July 1, 2001 by Chris Cocks (Author)
"Fireforce" is the compelling, brutal, but true account of Chris Cocks' service in 3 Commando, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, during the bush war. Serving in 3 Commando's elite ranks, other than born Rhodesians, were Englishmen, Irishmen, Scots, Welshmen, Americans, Norwegians, South Africans, Portuguese, Brazilians, Australians, New Zealanders, West Germans, and Canadians, plus a host of other nationalities. It was the closest parallel to the French Foreign Legion in recent times.
Chris Cocks joined the RLI as a National Servicemen in 1976 for 12 months at the age of 18, then signed on as a regular for three years. He soon became a stick leader and at times, after promotion to lance corporal, acted as Troop Commander. His upbringing had been a sheltered one and he knew little of life...but he was due for a radical change.
Fireforce, a method of combat developed by the Rhodesians and perfected by the RLI, involved troops being helicoptered or parachuted into an area immediately after a guerrilla presence had been reported or a sighting made.
The combat strain on a fighting solier was almost unbelievable, for the Rhodesians, who were always desperately short of ground troops to deal with guerrilla incursions, sometimes parachuted the same men into as many as three contacts a day.
While estimates of enemy casualties vary, there seems little doubt that the RLI successfully accounted for at least 12,000 ZANLA and ZIPRA Communist-trained and equipped guerrillas during the long years of war. "Fireforce" is not for the squeamish. Although it has been written with unforgettable pathos and humor; it also tells of face-to-face combat in the bush and death at point-blank range. It is a book which does nothing to glamorize or glorify the war. For as Chris Cocks found at such a young age, war is merely a catalogue of suffering, destruction and death.
"Fireforce" has been described by critics as being to the Rhodesian War what "All Quiet on the Western Front" was to World War I. Read it...it will be an experience you will never forget.