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Grey's Scouts
Grey's Scouts badge
Active July 1975–November 1980
Country Rhodesia Flag of Rhodesia.svg
Allegiance Republic of Rhodesia
Branch Regular Army, Rhodesian Bush War
Type Mounted Infantry
Colors Red & Grey          
Engagements Rhodesian Bush War

Grey's Scouts were a Rhodesian mounted infantry unit raised in July 1975 and named for George Grey, a prominent soldier in the Second Matabele War. Based in Salisbury (now Harare), they were known for their participation in the Rhodesian Bush War.[1] The unit was disbanded in November 1980 (following the conclusion of the Bush War in 1979) and then became a regiment of the Special Forces of Zimbabwe.


Use in the Rhodesian Bush War

The creation of the unit was probably inspired by the Dragoons of Angola, a Portuguese Army mounted unit, raised in 1966, during the Portuguese Colonial War, to combat the guerrillas in Eastern Angola. Like the Dragoons of Angola, Grey's Scouts were used for tracking, reconnaissance, pursuit, and, most prominently, patrol in the Rhodesian Bush War.[2] With measured variations in horse speed for training purposes, they would cover an area of over 65 km (40 miles) on the average day. Their routes often took them through active minefields, which they were to inspect.[3] In addition to this, the small stature and manoeuvrability of the crossbreeds they rode on was of repeated benefit to the Rhodesian forces in the construction of border defences; the Scouts could transport materials and supplies over terrains impassable to vehicles. The horses themselves were mostly given in charity by sympathisers of the Rhodesian effort from South Africa and elsewhere.[1]

Constitution and training

Initially, the unit consisted of around 200 men, but this would eventually grow to over 1,000. It conscripted soldiers from other infantry regiments of the Rhodesian Army, who were then instructed in equestrianism. Craftsmen such as farriers, horsebreeders, smithers and manufacturers were employed internally.[1]

Grey's Scouts were trained as mounted infantry rather than cavalry, and were prepared for engagements on foot rather than on horseback. A tactic of rushing and fronting with their horses was implemented to significant success by Grey's Scouts and they were noted for their skill in launching shock attacks. The number of casualties Grey's Scouts suffered during the Rhodesian Bush War is unknown, but is believed to be relatively small.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Abbott, p.20
  2. ^ Stringer, p.98
  3. ^ Beckett, p.175
  4. ^ Stringer, p.99


  • Abbott, Peter; Mike Chappell, Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues, Ron Volstad (1986). Modern African Wars. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 0850457289.  
  • Frederick William Beckett, Ian; John Pimlott (1985). Armed Forces & Modern Counter-insurgency. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0709932367.  
  • Douglas Stringer, Kevin; John Adams Wickham (2006). Military Organizations for Homeland Defense and Smaller-scale. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0275993086.  

See also



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